Monday, August 11, 2008

No More Drilling on Public Lands

President Bush and the McCain campaign are beating a dead horse these days and it is called the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They want you to believe that we must squeeze the last bits of oil out of the earth, wherever we can find it, and we need to start right here at home by destroying our last remaining wild refuge and devastating our coastal wetlands in the name of boosting corporate oil profits. The right wing echo chamber has taken up the cause celeb, and candidates across the country can be heard ringing the bells of freedom for the global oil market.

Developing our remaining public lands for oil and natural gas is a waste of time and resources. The industry already leases 44 million acres of land for oil and gas development, and to date they have not used almost 30 million acres of public land. In addition, drilling in our most fragile wild spaces is a slap in the face to the environment and future generations who will judge us on the basis of how we cared for and exercised responsible stewardship of the natural resources of the planet.

The time will come when there will be no more oil to drill and we have already reached far beyond the point where we must begin to invest in sustainable alternatives to oil, such as biofuels, solar and wind power as our primary sources of energy production. Drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge is like using a garden hose to put out the forest fire. Clearly we need to develop new strategies and begin to invest in a sustainable energy infrastructure not dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. The scientific evidence has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that global warming is real and we are the source of the problem. It is time to become part of the solution.

The oil and gas industry already has plenty of access to public lands in the United States. It is up to us to protect our coastal beaches and marshlands from environmental devastation. It is up to us to lock up ecologically sensitive regions in Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Colorado before they are destroyed forever. There is no clear evidence that drilling on our remaining public lands will lead to a decrease in oil prices. In fact, oil prices are going to continue to rise regardless because global demand is far outstripping supply. The only real solution is to begin to invest in our alternative energy infrastructure and develop green solutions to the global energy crisis. We face a real challenge in the years ahead, but we can begin to make the right choices now by saying no to continued drilling in environmentally sensitive regions.

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