Tonight we have some rather ugly news. Sadly, I present to you that portion of the US Tax Bill passed by the US Senate tonight that seriously threatens a place very dear to me. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, as it’s casually called.
Click to read it and weep.
“The Secretary shall issue any rights-of-mayor easements across the Coastal Plain for the exploration, development, production or transportation necessary to carry out this section”.
I guess we can be glad at least this section of the bill was actually typed. The Tax bill was revised and revised, in private, up to the very last minute, so repeatedly that it ended up looking like this, below.
We have no idea who even saw the bill before it was voted on. Sen Johnson, Wis, said “You don’t really read the kind of legislation”.
Perhaps he meant youreally read it.
This is a piece of Tax legislation that just passed a vote in the US Senate. Perhaps instead they should be voting for some more computers.
So what does this mean? It means we’re a whole lot closer to losing a wonderful wilderness. Losing a refuge for wildness. Losing where we come from. Losing where we go to.
Below you can see part of the Section, Section 1002, the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And one of its most famous inhabitants, the polar bear. Click the photo to see a larger version of the image.
I know which photo is more appealing to me.
I’ve written many times over the years on why I think it’s a mistake to open the Refuge to drilling. And I’m sure I’ll be writing some more.
It’s not over yet.
We, the people who spend time in the refuge, owe it to the place to stand up for it. The place has stood up for me more times than I can remember. I’ve walked miles across it’s tundra. I’ve paddled it’s breadth in my raft and spent many nights sleeping on the ground there. And I’d MUCH rather do that without an oil rig in the background. I can’t imagine the creatures who live there don’t feel the same way.
For all those who love the refuge, the creatures who live there, and people who live nearby, we need to engage.
We need places like this.
And sometimes they need us.
An engaged citizenry is perhaps the most critical element of any function democracy. Engage.