[ True to the pattern, ignorant Americans may again be duped by short-sighted politicians under the sway of large corporations which aim to hide the unsustainability of our energy consumption as long as possible. While recent U.S. government claims suggest that drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will yield “up to” 1.4 billion barrels of oil, this is at best a stopgap measure: the U.S. consumes 20 million barrels a day; hence one way to quantify the net effect of the proposed destructive drilling is to think of it as a 50-day appeasement of our oil-greedy appetites (although some argue there’s over a year’s worth of oil in the Reserve). By another measure, “the nation will import about 65 percent of its oil in 2025, as opposed to 68 percent without” (The U.S. Energy Information Administration). It is not too late to derail this faux solution to the global energy problem, because
[o]pponents of drilling will have another chance to defeat the proposal after House and Senate leaders meet to resolve differences in their respective budget resolutions, or later when committees in both chambers decide the details for drilling in ANWR. (18 March 2005, CapitalEye)
Will the public be duped again in the end?
The author of the piece below, Davis, is Ronald Reagan’s daughter. Thanks to Mari Sorri for passing it along. –BL ]
Dirty Footprints: We must write letters of outrage to the senators who voted to drill in ANWR, says our columnist. But maybe all there is left to do is weep.
by Patti Davis
President Bush must be feeling so victorious. The Senate has now said yes to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?the pristine place President Eisenhower took measures to protect in 1960.
Environmental groups have said the fight isn?t over, and I want to believe there is still something we can do?write letters, e-mails, rise up en masse and say no. But I don’t know if anything will help at this point. It’s possible that the only thing we will be able to do is weep?at the devastation of wild, untamed land where caribou are free to breed and give birth far away from the harm that humans bring. Where polar bear are a common sight and where cars and trucks and engines are never heard. Where people are outnumbered by the vast numbers of birds and animals?safe for the moment, but soon to be doomed.
The absurd statements made by politicians and oil companies that the environment can be protected while drilling for oil are just that?absurd. It assumes that we are ignorant. Roads will be carved, trucks will rumble through, drills will be stabbed into the earth. Oil companies don’t care about nature, the environment or the animals that will be terrified and traumatized. They don’t care, and neither does the Bush administration.
It is possible that the senators who voted for this measure care about re-election, so that’s where the letters and outrage should be directed.
In 2001, when my sister Maureen died, Sen. John McCain came to her memorial service. I spoke with him for quite a while that day and, because the effort to drill in the Arctic was in the news at that time, we spoke about it.
?It will never get through the Senate,? he said to me. ?It won’t happen.?
I’ve held onto his words since then. I believed him — mostly because I so desperately wanted to. When I saw the news today, I sat down and wept.
We have an administration in Washington that cares nothing for this planet, for beauty, for pristine places, for innocent animals with soft brown eyes. Everything is a war to this president, and he is determined to win.
If this actually happens?if 1.2 million acres of this exquisite land is given over to oil companies?the area will never be the same. Ever. George W. Bush will leave office and if we are very lucky someone who cares about the future of the planet will be elected. But the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will forever be scarred by what this president set into motion.
I don’t believe this is even about oil; after all, we won’t see any of it for another decade. This is about another victory for the Bush administration. This is about Bush leaving his footprint on yet another corner of the earth and then walking away and not looking back at the damage he has left behind.
It’s how he has lived his life?failing to acknowledge the consequences of his actions. From 1979 to 1990, when he was in the Texas oil industry, investors lost millions of dollars after three of his companies went bankrupt?but Bush walked away with a profit and has never even commented on his sloppy business sense. His military record has never been adequately explained. CBS took the hit for shoddy journalism when it raised questions about his Air National Guard service, but Bush continues to deflect inquiries about the real issues. Nor has he ever owned up to the false information about WMDs in Iraq; meanwhile people are dying every day over there.
When his last term as president is over, he will walk away from a war that he got us into based on lies, from a gutted environmental policy and possibly from the destruction of a fragile, beautiful place called the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. We will be left with the damage this administration has caused, with scars on the earth and memories of wildlife that used to roam and fly over vast acres — before they started dying.
True to his nature, this president will walk away and not look back.
Davis, the daughter of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, is a writer based in Los Angeles.