Target: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Goal: Preserve pristine Arctic wilderness while still allowing oil development in Alaska
At the Arctic Imperative Summit in Alaska this past Sunday, David Hayes of the Interior Department re-emphasized the appropriateness of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska’s “Alternative B” plan. The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is a 23-million-acre federal landholding on the Arctic coast which is being maintained as both an effort to supply precious oil as well as protect important wildlife. At the summit, David Hayes called the proposal a balancing of ecological and development efforts. Many senators and oil companies, however, disagree.
The new proposal was put forth on August 13th, Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Its main points include putting half of the reserve under special protection which puts it off limits to development (such as drilling), allows for construction of pipeline for offshore drilling but only under necessary requirements, and also closes off development on important sites in which caribou are known to migrate and calve, along with the protection of bird habitats, among others.
Many opponents are calling the proposal the “most restrictive plan possible”, and others say it “will unnecessarily restrict access to rich oil and natural gas resources”. These claims may be valid from a standpoint of maximum development and oil production; however, the proposal is far from “unnecessarily restricting”. Said proposal clearly allows for oil companies, such as Shell, to make use of the vast amounts of oil found in the land. Regardless of whether access is allowed to 100% of the oil, the agreement would fairly allow for development alongside the necessary maintenance of important wildlife. To make the plan as “unrestrictive” as opponents wish would be to ravage the environment for which a significant part of the reserve is known. Finally, there is the argument that The United States “runs on oil”. While also valid, this is no excuse to continue to fuel such a dependency at maximum capacity. An effort such as this one, which begins to wean the country off an addiction, could help The United States in its move along the path to finding alternative energy resources.
There is currently an outcry occurring on the part of those who wish this proposal to be “undone by Congress”. Urge the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee not to cave in to such rampant pressure by oil companies and development-dependent members of the government. The NPR-A proposal is of great value and equally sustains two very significant efforts on the part of both environmental and economical maintenance. As such, support for Secretary Salazar should be strengthened and the proposal continued to be lobbied for.
Dear Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,
The “Alternative B” proposal currently being lobbied for in defense of half of the NPR-A’s acreage for the livelihood of Alaskan wildlife is of an enormous importance and value to The United States of America. Many representatives within the government, along with big oil companies, are calling the proposal out as “unnecessarily restrictive” and wish for far more of the land to be put under development.
We urge you not to give in to these demands. Support of Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar must be maintained, and the equality presented in the proposal emphasized. As you know, development is in fact being allowed and the prior concerns that pipelines would be barred have been addressed and proven to be false. The proposal places the country on an important trajectory towards discouraging continued, and flawed, dependence on oil.
What opponents argue for is that we may maintain our comfortable lives at the expense of those of countless innocent and necessary species. Doing so would promote the exploitation of the environment when the proposal as it currently stands allows for equality and appeasement to both camps. Please, do not allow the rising pressure to discourage such a proposal.