The Arctic Refuge and Lisa
Before we discuss the Arctic Refuge, I have one question. Have you ever actually followed through on a New Year’s resolution? I annually promise myself I’ll lose weight and the next year, I’m inevitably a couple of pounds heavier. That said, anyone who KNOWS me understands that it doesn’t take a New Year for me to get fixated on a resolution.
In my home we are active in treating our planet as a precious commodity. We believe that future generations of people and wildlife deserve respect and consideration in the choices we make. Hence, the following quote is the REAL reason for writing this post and randomly referring to Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski simply as Lisa.
“We would never risk our state for the future of development.”
When was the first time you heard that the 2018 tax bill included drilling the Arctic Refuge? If this is your first time hearing this important piece of information, let me bring you up to speed.
Congress approved the 2018 Tax Bill on December 2, Saturday morning, just before 2 am. After the Republican-lead congress unanimously voted ‘yes’ on this bill, it went back to the House of Representatives to vote on a few provisions. The final tax bill was signed by Trump on Friday December 22, 2017.
As a former educator, my students knew that I would’ve NEVER accepted a poorly researched final paper (i.e. pg 257). Before I digress, today’s post is a plea to every American voter regarding…
The Arctic Refuge (a.k.a. America’s ‘Crown Jewel’, America’s ‘Last Frontier’)
Why is this happening?
Who is primarily responsible for including the Arctic Refuge in the 2018 Tax Bill?
Following in the steps of her father, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski proudly announced,
“Of course, the bill also includes a title that I am proud to have written, to open a small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area in ANWR in northeast Alaska to responsible energy production.”
“Environmental impacts will be minimal.” – Lisa
Senator Murkowski, on the Senate floor, repeatedly assured Americans that this is a “small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for responsible energy development.” Looking at her prop, this area looks comparatively small to the rest of Alaska.”Only 2 thousand surface acres will be open…and will do it with a care and a concern for the environment.” – Lisa
“I want to be clear, the 1002 area is not federal wilderness.” – Lisa
Let’s be VERY clear. This particular part of the Arctic Refuge is a sensitive reproductive area for the Porcupine Caribou Herd that the Gwich’in tribe (Alaskan Natives) have successfully coexisted for thousands of years. Moreover, MANY “healthy, dynamic populations” of wildlife (animals and plants) live in the Alaskan Refuge as well. According to the Christian Science Monitor,
“The 1002 area is the last 125 miles of untouched coastline. And this last stretch of wild coastal plain is a critical area for the entire Arctic Refuge, because thousands of animals and millions of birds use this spot for calving, staging, nesting, and feeding.”
No one truly knows for certain how much oil is in ANWR
Oil, a fossil fuel, comes from decayed and pressurized plant material that has been buried and partially fossilized. To reach oil that is located deep beneath the surface under different forms of rocks, seismic blasting is required. This violent form of oil exploration will negatively affect marine life and coastal jobs/economies.
“Responsible resource production does not come at the expense of the environment.” – Lisa
Clearly, oil wells will be built. During the drilling and fracking process for shale oil, millions of gallons of water and thousands of gallons of chemicals are required per oil well. Moreover, an infrastructure is required with refineries, buildings for workers, drilling pads, etc. According to Lisa, there is “a town, a village, people that live there.” Regarding water impact to nearby communities, where will any waste discovered or produced go?
“Only 2 thousand surface acres will be open” – Lisa
The following map represents the environmental impact within area 1002.
Map via Audubon.org was created by Stanley Senner, vice president of bird conservation for Audubon’s Pacific Flyway. Sennner “mapped out what 2,000 acres of drilling might look like based on other oil and gas fields in Alaska.” Please read more….
O.K., how will workers get to area 1002 and how will they transport the oil?
A refuge is not like a national park. It doesn’t have paved roads because it’s focus is wildlife conservation. Logically, remote sites like this one have to somehow connect to civilization. Unfortunately, habitat-fragmenting roads, pipelines, and power lines are all required and will dramatically expand beyond that 1002 area. Keep in mind, history has proven over and over that oil rigs and pipelines leak/spill.
Why drill America’s iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for a FINITE resource? When it’s gone, it’s gone!
“conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity is critical to addressing climate change”- Climate Change and Biodiversity
What can we do?
I’m not exactly sure. I’ve called our representatives in both the House and Senate, left messages, written post cards, sent emails, and signed petitions. Unfortunately none of my efforts worked because the tax bill passed. This has led me to a resolution that I have made to myself … directly tweeting Lisa on a daily basis.
My initial tweets to Lisa began as a way to personally make her aware that I did not agree with sneaking the Arctic Refuge for drilling purposes into a tax bill. Then something interesting happened. In the process of tweeting Lisa, I became immersed in information on the Arctic Refuge, the fossil fuel industry, biodiversity, climate change, the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy, and so much more.
I have also come to realize that cutting off oil all at once would devastate our economy. However, like most of the world, divesting responsibly from fossil fuels and moving towards renewable energy is responsible both environmentally and economically.
Maybe, just maybe, Lisa might pull away from the old-school, carbon-blowing way of thinking and evolve towards sustainability.
The future of OUR planet depends on YOU and ME 🌎
Note: Both photos of Senator Murkowski are snapshots taken while I was watching C-SPAN. The featured photo of this post is from the November 2. 2017 meeting. The second is from the December 1st tax debate on the Senate floor.