Thursday, March 17, 2005

R.I.P. A.N.W.R.?

The optimist in me thinks it's too early to mourn the demise of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The realist in me - who knows the power Republicans hold to ramrod legislation through Congress - is starting to come to grips with the fact that the time to mourn may not be too far off.

Perhaps it's just a matter of something so simple as a definition; perhaps Republicans, who despise public education and disdain anything that smacks of intellectualism, are ignorant of the definition of "refuge." Maybe this will help:

1. An area set aside for the purpose of conserving species and their habitat.

2. A place that offers protection or shelter. (This from the Fish & Wildlife Service)
More likely, this is just another Republican sop to their sugar-daddies in the oil industry. The paltry amount of oil available in ANWR (6 billion barrels - or less than 21 months at January's consumption rate), and the amount of time it would take to get commercial quantities flowing (I've seen estimates from 2 years to 10 years) can in no way compensate for the amount of damage this pristine wilderness area will suffer.

In other words, like much else that Republicans have done or would like to do, they are doing this because they can, for spite, for plain meanness.

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