Drill here? Drill now? I think not.
How about “Happy Birthday, and Cheers to the next 50 years!”
This year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – “ANWR”, as folks like to call it. A swathe of wild land the size of South Carolina became a federally protected area in 1960, and then established as a wildlife refuge in 1980 with the passing of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).
One of the most important conservation measures yet taken by this nation, the Act protects over 100 million acres of federal lands within Alaska; this single statute more than doubled the area of national park and refuge land in the country and tripled the area of federally designated wilderness. Roughly 40%, or 8 million acres, of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was (and is) designated wilderness. This one landscape makes up over 7% of the designated wilderness in the United States.
Next month, on Dec 6, 2010, ANWR turns 50 years old. Turn your thoughts northward, and give it a moment. Or several moments. 19 million acres of land this country gifted to itself. It’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve visited the refuge a number of times now, and each year the visit has been unimaginably rewarding. To those who’d rather see it turned into an oil well, I’d ask to what end?