Alaska opened up 389,000 acres to new oil exploration.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 – The Interior Department has decided to open 389,000 acres of Alaskan lakes, tundra and shoreline to oil exploration, reversing an eight-year-old compromise intended to protect the habitat of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds and the hunting grounds of Inupiat natives who live near the Beaufort Sea.
Henri Bisson, the state director of the federal Bureau of Land Management in Alaska, said Thursday that the new plan would increase by as much as two billion barrels the oil that could be recovered from the northeastern section of the National Petroleum Reserve while providing protection for birds in the summer when they shed their flight feathers and hatch chicks.
Critics, including Alaska Natives and groups like the Audubon Society and the Wilderness Society, said the protection would not prevent fragmenting the birds’ habitat or the disturbance when pipelines were built.
There will be airplane and helicopter traffic, the critics said, and industrial activity will be a fixture of the collection of lakes and damp tundra that is now empty 150 miles west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Looks like they were bound and determined to drill around that area one way or another. I can’t help but wonder why we’re not pouring billions into finding alternative sources of energy since we’re likely to reach maximum production capacity in the next several years.
I have the feeling the next decade is going to hurt if we don’t quickly shift our focus to other, renewable sources.