Use Katrina as Fuel for Conservation, not Corruption
Today Senator John Kerry (D-MA) spoke at the Arctic Refuge Action Conference in Washington, DC. Kerry said that by drilling for oil in Alaska, the United States would not only be destroying one of the last remaining wildlife refuges, but could not even produce enough fuel to sustain the nation for six months. Drill in Alaska and "save a penny per gallon in 20 years," Kerry continued, quoting an official report from the Bush administration's energy department.
According to Kerry, the drilling would not even yield a result for ten years, and according to other experts, most of the fuel unearthed there would be shipped to Japan, not America. A former resident of Alaska, and biologist, mentioned that ninety-five percent of Alaska is already being drilled for oil, and since the refuge would contribute only five percent of that oil, the fuel it offers would be minimal at best. The idea that drilling the "sacred land" of the Gwich’in Indians and Eskimos could ever compensate for the oil we import from the middle east is a myth. In fact, the only oil company that even promotes arctic drilling is Exxon. All other oil companies view the drilling as unprofitable. Exxon has managed to garner government subsidies and may make marginal profits - at the expense of the last arctic wildlife reserve on Earth.
An environmental staffer representing Congressman Gerlach (R-PA), said that since the rise of gas prices post-Katrina, more letters than ever before have been sent to the congressman asking him to vote to support the arctic drilling. The situation is a paradigm within a paradox, in the words of Ani Difranco. Fossil fuels and their byproducts have increased global temperatures, perhaps a cause for the tsunami in Indonesia and even possibly a cause for hurricanes Katrina and Rita. If the burning of fossil fuels may have caused these catastrophes, in no way, shape, or form, can they be justified as a reason to burn yet more fossil fuels - and furthermore, destroy the wildlife and the lives of the Gwich'in Indians.
Michael, an Gwich'in hunter, traveled for five days to speak with representatives in the House. He told a story of his first hunting trip and how his elders “told him which caribou were safe to kill, so that the population could be sustained.” For millennia the Gwich'in have preserved the herd of approximately 130,000 caribou in the refuge, and when they kill caribou, they do not kill caribou mothers or young caribou, and they use every part of the caribou carcass. The Native American Indians in Alaska have tried to maintain a balanced ecosystem in the Alaskan wilderness, and by corrupting the last natural environment for the caribou and the polar bears, America is destroying the work of thousands of years.
A twelve year old girl also spoke at the conference. Savannah Walters, who three years ago, at age nine, set out to investigate alternative ways to conserve energy, estimates that simply pumping up tires can save Americans hundreds of dollars on gas each year, and extend the life of tires by 25%. In fact, pumping up tires would be more successful at saving gas money than drilling the arctic wilderness.
So don’t use Katrina as an example for arctic drilling. Just pump up those tires, buy hybrid cars, and use public transportation. It will not only save you hundreds of dollars, but it will save the most beautiful place on earth.
http://www.pumpemup.org/ - Savannah Walters’s Information on Tire Pumping
http://www.anwr.org - Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Facts Database and General Refuge Information