With the White House claiming a so-called mandate to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to massive oil development, Congressional leaders are now planning a backdoor, budget maneuver that could doom the refuge to drilling and industrialization. Instead of having a full and open debate -- and vote -- on the fate of the Arctic Refuge, they will include projected revenues from Arctic drilling in the federal budget. If that budget passes, then Congress will almost certainly approve the actual oil development.
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But if the raid on the Arctic Refuge isn't really about gas prices or energy security, then what is it about?
It's the symbolism.
The Arctic Refuge represents everything spectacular and everything endangered about America's natural heritage. It embodies a million years of ecological serenity . . . a vast stretch of pristine wilderness . . an irreplaceable birthing ground for polar bears, caribou and white wolves.
It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild state is a core American value. It stands for every remnant of wilderness that we, as a people, have wisely chosen to protect from the relentless march of bulldozers, chain saws and oil rigs.
If we lose ANWR, it'll be a major setback for the environmental community. Write, bitch, and scream from the rooftops to your elected representatives about this.