Advertise:   712.224.5420

Bruce Babbitt: Arctic drilling would harm Inupiats

"In 1998 the Clinton administration took the first steps to open the reserve with a two-year study involving hundreds of scientists and representatives of the Inupiat communities. Two years later the scientific teams returned with a recommendation to begin oil leasing, with stipulations for setting aside approximately 13 percent of the study area, mostly rivers and lakes, including Teshekpuk, as protected areas. They also recommended a ban on permanent roads across the fragile tundra, based upon assurances from the oil companies that they could operate with temporary winter "ice roads" that would simply melt away as summer approached and waterfowl and migratory caribou began congregating at the lake.

The Bush administration now proposes to eliminate these safeguards intended to protect the lake, the wildlife and the Inupiat who depend on it. The decision is not yet final. During the summer there will be hearings in Anchorage and Washington. Then, Interior Secretary Gale Norton is expected to make a decision. In this land of endless summer days, there are bound to be a lot of sleepless nights."

Get the Story:
Bruce Babbitt: Another Attack on the Arctic (The New York Times 7/8)

Related Stories:
Alaska to open ANWR shores to oil and gas drilling (04/01)
Alaska Native mayor decries spread of development (02/13) Norton approves development in Alaska reserve (01/23)
Norton wants to drill more than ANWR (11/04)