The following is a statement by Earthjustice Executive Director Buck Parker on the Senate vote approving a back-door approach attempting to pave the way for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
“While today’s vote by 51 Senators in favor of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is disappointing, the battle is far from over. This was only the first round — drilling proponents have a very long way to go before a single well could be drilled in this exceptional landscape. Today’s vote only succeeded in adding more controversy to an already controversial and difficult budget process.
Turning the Arctic Refuge into the arctic industrial zone does nothing to resolve America’s real energy problem. America is the greatest technological power the world has ever known. This country, or another, will eventually develop the alternative energy sources that will relieve us of our reliance on oil. We should be leading the way. The oil addiction is environmentally damaging and dangerous to the nation’s security.
The American people strongly oppose allowing the oil industry to despoil this unique national treasure. In the end, I am confident that the will of the American people will prevail over the desire of the Bush administration to pander to a handful of oil companies.
On behalf of the spectacular wildlife of the Arctic Plain, the Gwich’in people whose very culture is inexorably tied to this land, and future generations of Americans, we vow to continue our fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
Read the Alaska coalition’s press release about the vote (pdf file)
Read a statement from the Gwich’in tribe (pdf file)