If you check out my Yahoo Search Bytes that I put into my sidebar column on the front page, you would see that one search is for all videos related to ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I picked this as a topic because a vote is forthcoming that would keep ANWR drilling within the budget bill, rather than as a separate bill.

The reason why ANWR was added to the Budget bill is that this bill only requires a simple majority; a bill making an exception to the rules governing national wildernesses that would allow drilling in ANWR requires a 60% majority in Congress to pass. Because of this more stringent restriction, bills to drill in ANWR have been defeated in Congress for several years now–something those who have added to the budget bill are all too aware.

The ANWR addition to the budget bill is a bad decision. The projections of income to the government from drilling in what is truly our last American wilderness have been inflated — studies have show that rather than the billions we expect to get, oil companies are paying no where near the leasing rates estimated in the bill.

In addition, all the oil companies who have been a part of the Arctic Power alliance (which brings you this weblog) have dropped out except Mobile. The demand isn’t so high that we can expect some form of windfall from the profits.

More importantly, ANWR is an extremely fragile environment that could be permanently damaged by the development necessary to support these operations. It is the type of land that speaks to our souls; to the spirit that lives in each of us, demanding places in this world where no man, or woman, has set foot. Whether we ever visit these places or not, we need to know they exist.

At a minimum, whatever amount of oil exists underneath ANWR should be held in reserve for a future time when oil has become scarce. At least then, the petroleum necessary for the medical and industrial communities could be supplied until alternative sources are found. And if it’s never needed, the land can remain as we have it now–untouched, and wild.

Besides, if this drilling is really the good thing those who support it say it is, then wouldn’t allowing it survive as a bill of its own? Rather than be snuck in the back door in the Budget bill?

Loren Webster points to an online campaign being run by John Kerry to hopefully convince the necessary number of senators to vote for stripping the ANWR proposal from the Budget plan. Regardless of your views of Kerry, and whether you’re Republican or Democrat, Libertarian, or Green, if you would rather see the debate about ANWR be above board and out in the open, rather than snuck in through the back; and if you agree with me that we as a people need to have our wildnerness in order to survive as a species, sign the campaign, leave a comment, contact your own senators.

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