[This is an article from my blog that I posted last Monday after the White Hose pushed through legislation the Friday night before to allow drilling for more oil in America's crown jewel, the Wildlife Refuge on Alaska's northern edge. Future posts will follow.]
These are members of the Porcupine Herd. Once upon a time, they used to number in the millions. Now, depending on who you talk to, they count between 100,000 and 150,000. Their numbers dropped significantly after the pipeline was built and are just recently (30 years later) getting back to a position of stability. Remember the movie "Never Cry Wolf"? That's what the wise ones blamed the lower population on--very hungry wolves that evidently could eat many thousand times their body weight in caribou. Emergency legislature was passed, authorizing the offering of a bounty to catch the little varmints, which was just recently clipped because the wolves had almost been hunted to extinction.
Caribou need to range free (migrate) for many hundreds of miles through Canada and Alaska to the north coastal plain because they need to eat, give birth, and run into the water during summer when the flies and mosquitoes literally threaten their lives and their sanity. They have this all figured out already. The animals and plants all used the last million years to figure out everything they need to survive, creating a perfect, symbiotic, ecological balance--and without any help from us. This is why their calving grounds were protected by law and named: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Then, oil was discovered. *cue Beverly Hillbillies music*
So when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens says the animals can just "go around" the drilling aparatus, and that it won't bother them, I think it shows his hard-headed ignorance.
When Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski bangs his fist on the podium in his peculiar mini-filibusters where the veins on his neck pop out, demanding the passage of drilling in ANWR, I think he wreaks of desperation from outside pressure.
When Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton flips from being an ok conservationist to a yes-woman, saying that drilling won't hurt the animals, it's because she's feeling pressure from her boss who is feeling pressure from the oil industry to get a move on.
Back Door Men
In an article dated April 7, 2003, by the Natural Resources Defense Council it explains the results of a 12-year government study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey on the harmful effects drilling will cause. The caribou are 'particularly senstive' to disturbances in their environment and would "most likely avoid roads and pipelines." So, the Back Door Men and his cronies said they would do their own study. "They didn't like the results of the 12-year study, so they ordered a seven-day rush job to get the results they really wanted," said Chuck Clusen, NRDC's director of Alaska projects.
The Union of Concerned Scientists writes: "Drilling pristine Alaskan lands is a short-sighted and ineffective strategy tantamount to placing a band-aid over a compound fracture." In the year 2000, "the U.S. imported 54% of its oil production sending $180,000 overseas each minute." On their pie chart, the biggest piece goes to transportation at 67%. Yet, Bush and Co. keeps voting down even a paltry 5% decrease in emissions, tax breaks for consumers trying to buy hybrid engines, and stalling any effective research and development on alternative energy sources. Note: "alternative" means: NOT oil. Bush has a legacy tied to oil that is common knowledge. This is a no-brainer.
The Dance of the Seven Veils
I'm not proud of it, but there were times when I took employment as a stripper. Usually forced by economic reasons, my dancing job would commence after my day job ended. I would already be tired when I got there. Then these horn dog losers would follow me around for eight hours and the conversation would go something like this:
"Will you go out with me?" "No." "I'll take you where ever you want." "No." "I'll spend all my money on you." "No." "I want to take you out, when should I pick you up?" "Never." "Where do you live?" "I'm homeless right now." "You could come live with me." "My boyfriend wouldn't like it." "He wouldn't have to know." "No." "You're a stuck-up bitch. Whatr ya, a lezzie?"...for eight hours. I wasn't a hooker, or looking for love, or looking for a date. I was just looking for those single dollar bills to make ends meet, that's all.
Bush is dancing for those Bills, too:
I want to drill for oil up there in Alasky . Everybody: No. Bush: But I want to, I promise the animals will be safe! Everybody: No they won't. Bush: But it will end our dependence on foreign oil. Everybody: No it won't. Bush: But we'll get a whole bunch of crud outta there! Everybody: No we won't. Bush: Stuck up. I'm not playing with you anymore.
And he sulks off to whisper behind his hand to get these frickin' bills passed BEFORE next year when he has to start campaigning all over again.
From CNN.com, Terry McCarthy writes: "How Bush gets his way on the environment. With the nation distracted by terrorism and the economy, the president has quietly maneuvered to challenge limits on drilling, mining, logging and power generation," rolling back "three decades of environmental policies." His strategies boggle the mind with his use of sleight of hand. He also uses jedi mind control techniques, telling everyone over and over how sincere he is, how concerned he is for the environmental causes while appointing lieutenants from those same energy corporations the laws were made to protect us from. They take their place on the dais with a pre-conceived list of regulations they need softened and successfully chase down loopholes in the legislature. He instructs the Republican party members to refer to themselves as "conservationists." It's just a mind dance, behind smoke-colored veils.
When the Interior's assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Rebecca Watson, delivered a speech to a pro-energy group, she "decried America's low-energy I.Q. as hampering any discussion of the role of the [Arctic Refuge] in contributing to our domestic energy supply." In other words, we're too stupid to know that ripping up the North Slope will solve all our problems.
The amount of available oil has been (generously) estimated at between 16-19 billlion barrels of oil, but usable oil? maybe 3.2 billion barrels, spread across 30 small deposits that will require a vast network of roads and pipelines macrame-ing hundreds of thousands of acres to reach and connect them all. And estimated time for blastoff of the crude orgasm? Not until the year 2010.
And now to help out here come the Mighty Teamster's, smelling lucrative government contracts and full benefits, jumping on the bandwagon with their hefty powers of persuasion to help lobby the passing of this legislature, because gosh darn it! that's the kinda guys they are. (Note to self: don't feed dog tonight.)
As thirsty America sucks down 20 million barrels a day, even if we could use all that was drilled in the Arctic Refuge, it would be less than six months' worth, although oil industry puts that estimate much longer, of course, used in combination with imports--to several years' worth. But by that time, the flora and fauna would have suffered irreversible, irreparable damage. And there is more oil than that off the Florida coast. (Oh wait. That's where the "other" Bush lives. Never mind. He probably wouldn't want to look out his window at oil derricks.)
It's not just that the caribou herds will suffer and may be deccimated entirely, and that several Native tribes have lived on those herds for thousands of years, no; there is a world teeming with life in the aptly named Wildlife Refuge (see the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for descriptions and pictures) of: rare plants, slow-growing tundra, 160 species of birds, Arctic wolves, Arctic fox, grizzlies and polar bears, even a survivor from the last Ice Age, though endangered now--the shaggy musk ox, distant cousin to the wooley mammoth, Wooley Booley.
So....if you're the President and you want all those kickbacks promised to you by the oil industry, and everybody keeps telling you no....how do you get to those dollar bills?
You start a war, silly.