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Don't support drilling ANWR! Don't support drilling ANWR!
by Linda Lane
2008-07-20 09:35:09
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I don't trust the government to do any thing with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Here are my reasons:

Those responsible...

1. could be more competent and should hire those to work for them who have ethics and respect for everyone.
2. have shown a history of continuous spills, no planning, can not be trusted to get the oil out of Alaska safely.
3. encouraged a degenerate anti-culture to invade Alaska and now women fear walking around alone.
4. need to consider other things than short term profit motives.
5. could consider ANWR for an emergency - but it is not a long term solution - taking the oil means accepting a stop gap solution and having NOTHING left. Is this that last emergency?

Shipping oil unsafely by the government in league with private industry killed off Prince William Sound as a result of the March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdex Oil Spill. In the wake of 10.8 million U.S. gallons of oil Prince William Sound has not recovered, the land and water have not been able to clean and restore themselves to what they were prior to the spill. ("Almost 15 years after the spill, a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina found that the effects are lasting far longer than expected. The team estimates some shoreline habitats may take up to 30 years to recover. (Read more here).

I loved Prince William Sound - I photographed it - my heart literally leaped with joy to see the birds and other wildlife in the pristine blue water with white waves lapping on the beaches when I was a federal wildlife photographer there.

The Native population and other people still can not make a living from that region. In 1991, following the collapse of the local marine population (particularly clams, herring, and seals) the Chugach Native American group went bankrupt. According to several studies funded by the state of Alaska, the spill had both short- and long-term economic effects. These included the loss of recreational sports fisheries, reduced tourism, and an estimate of what economists call "existence value," which is the value to the public of a pristine Prince William Sound.)

evosweb_013_oiled_bird3_400I was devastated because in 1979 I photographed the so called "recovery vessels" along the coast at Nikiski Beach north of Kenai, Alaska near the Union Oil Refinery - yellow painted metal submersibles with no engine, that were not waterproof and fitted with no equipment whatsoever. What were these things - a joke I thought?

When I immediately showed government representatives photos of these yellow submarines - including the then head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, he said they all knew about the condition of their fleet of oil spill recovery vessels: useless.

It was in fact why I left Alaska - clearly no one in the government cares enough to protect Alaska from the short-term thinking and money grubbers. They did not even have an emergency plan for the inevitable spills. Drilling in a wildlife range - why not just go drill in the Outside / lower 49 state wildlife ranges if the US government likes that idea so much - first let's drill in the parks - how about if they start with Yosemite National Park?

You may not know that I worked on the Alaska pipeline in 1976. There are areas which are so easy to damage you would not believe it. If you just step on some sections of ground it turns into a soggy pond within weeks. In a year nothing can go by that area. Along the pipeline road all the animals had died out in a 4 mile radius. This is for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

1_400_05How do I know? My close friend was the chief biologist stationed at Coldfoot at Camp 4 on the pipeline. She was threatened by her pipeline bosses that if she accurately documented the real effects on the environment - they'd just replace her with someone who would lie for them. I suggested she provide the real statistics under the table to the state and federal biologists so that they would at least know the truth even if it was not the official "truth".

The jackasses who came from the lower US states to build the pipeline robbed, raped, and murdered friends of mine in Fairbanks. We found one of our friends buried in a car trunk in a gravel pit. They had to have help to do that. It was like a war zone. I worked with those SOBs - it took me many years to recover - maybe this shows that.

The day I arrived in Coldfoot (a camp of between 400- 800 men) - there was lots of violence - some drunk 798'er (pipeline worker, welding union) attacked an old woman in her house with a huge rock - nearly killed her in a rape attempt. What is amazing is that she managed to escape although her head was broken and bleeding. How do I know? Because the only sheriff in hundreds of miles was a friend of mine - he was the one they sent for to find and arrest the asshole who did that. She had to be hospitalized - I think she was in her 60's. I was lucky because I knew how to stay safe but not everyone was so lucky.

For me I could not stand to watch the Alaska I knew as a child become the place it is now, and a place I expect will become worse. When I last visited Anchorage my friends were totally freaked out that I walked around at different times of the day and night in public. Why? Because rape is epidemic there. How do I know for sure besides the statistics? My best friend was an Assistant District Attorney in Anchorage.

The last thing I would ever do is put any trust into a government that has lead us by lying into an expensive war with one excuse after another and uses deceit and threats to cover up the facts about the effects.

2_400_05We need to work to find alternative sources of energy - not use up our backup emergency sources in the face of their inability to plan or control the effects of removing the oil. Some areas are worth keeping just as they are because they are beautiful. We can still afford beauty can't we?

Or do we just continue to foster and support a culture of taking what we want when ever we want it - rape, lies, war.

Not me, not now, not with what I have myself seen and know - this is not from some third party source - it's from a fourth generation Alaskan.

Think of this as the last of your own wildlife reserves, and some of the last oil reserves in the country - would you use the very last of it, especially if you understood the effects it would have?

Read Wikipedia's Exxon Valdez oil spill entry for more information about the continuing problems from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill - including the "WikiScanner discovered changes made from within Exxon Mobil altering this article's descriptions of the oil spill and down playing its severity."

And the definitive State of Alaska source: www.evostc.state.ak.us


   
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Sand2008-07-20 10:22:50
See http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/26/washington/26punitive.html


Emanuel Paparella2008-07-20 10:49:59
My daughter (who lived in Fairbank for several years of her life) and I full concur on your assessment, Linda. This is so pathetic that perhaps the best response is that of the comedian Jay Leno who the other day revealed to us that President Bush has brought himself to speed on the latest drilling technologies and found them environmental friendly: he read “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

I laughed when I heard the joke but also thought of another man and another journey: that of Dante. When he arrives at the center of the earth he finds there a malevolent being that’d rather be there (in hell) as master than in heaven as creature which pretty much sums up the existential condition of modern man who’d rather live in the industrial polluting center of Mestre than in Venice, destroying Venice in the process so that he can drive around with a polluting machine called automobile. The silver-lining in this macabre story is that for Dante it is not a tragedy but a comedy: it ends well: the way up is the way down: as he journeys on bypassing evil personified he arrives at the other side of the earth and begins climbing the seven storied mountain (Purgatory) and eventually journey into the nine circles of heaven till he comes face to face with the still point at the center (God). Nevertheless the journey is not predetermined and we remain free to choose life or death. What does the Good Book say? Choose life that you may live.


Linda Lane2008-07-21 01:23:47
Thank you Jan and Emanuel.

I moved back to riding my bike as my main transportation technique whenever it is possible. I knew it was good as a youth - as an adult it's even better. It is a blue Specialized Cirrus Comp.

I am glad I finally had the courage to publish something about my experience in Alaska during the oil rush. Fairbanks was my homebase at the time but since 1979 I have mostly lived in Seattle.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this article.

There is no real way to explain the differences in the Alaska as it is now and what it was like growing up when everyone knew each others names; even as a 5 year old people greeted me on the street by my name.


Linda Lane2008-07-21 01:35:33
You may have noticed I did not speak at all about the animals that died - hundreds of thousands of them. You can tell in the photos that the ones to survive knew something had gone very very wrong. It is from a sense of compassion that I didn't mention them. People think you are a bleeding heart liberal when you mention the animals. But you don't have to be a liberal or a conservative or walk any part of the many gray areas between to recognize that something is very very wrong with extracting oil from a Wildlife Refuge. That's why they call it a "Refuge" so animals have someplace to take refuge from man.


Brad Whelan2008-07-21 02:00:29
It's absolutely pointless for us to consider drilling in unexplored regions, let alone the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Let's face it. Big Oil is a DINOSAUR and frankly scientists, inventors, conservationists and people simply fed up with paying for unbelievably high gas prices will ultimately decide its fate, and the new direction toward greener technologies. It is an inevitable path the world is heading towards whether the oil companies want to face it or not.

So I ask the question, why is it so hard for us Americans to accept that very fact and stand up to our government and say, "NO! We will not support drilling for more oil in unexplored regions because change is coming! And it is coming in the form of greener, renewable energy sources!"?

We all know that even if we started exploring and test drilling today that we would not see any of that oil for the next 10-12 years, at least! And, even then, we do not even know for sure whether or not it will change oil prices by much. And so I pop another question to everyone... Do you really want to keep relying on oil for another 10 years? Because I surely don't. Especially with the constantly rising costs per barrel and per gallon. If gas is at $4.50 a gallon as it is currently in a lot of states throughout the U.S., then I do not want, even for a minute, picture what costs will be in 10 years for a gallon of gasoline.

So, it all leads back to one fact. Big Oil is a DINOSAUR and it MUST go! We, the people of this country, need to stop sitting idly by watching this economy fail because we are too afraid to stand up and put pressure on our government to start making a difference in this country's future. We need to act NOW and we need to tell our politicians to move their focus and put pressure on Congress for the massive financial backing of renewable energy sources like Solar, Wind, and Bio-deisels.

If there's on example that sort of relates to this type of change, it would be the record industry. Major labels 10-15 years ago and before that had an absolute monopoly on what types of music you were exposed to. That is until P2P networking came along and changed absolutely everything for better or worse. The fact is though, major labels were not prepared to deal with the invention and use of newer and better forms of internet technologies in the changing world. They fought digital distribution tooth and nail, but in the end realized it was a battle they could not win and eventually succumbed, thus deciding to turn their efforts towards utilizing the infrastructure instead of opposing it. Because of that many of the major labels went bankrupt and had to pony up with other remaining majors to stay afloat.

The point being, they were dinosaurs and regardless or not if they were ready or even wanted to deal with the inevitable change in technologies, they were eventually forced to at a very large cost because the free world did not want to wait for them to change.

Whether big oil companies like it or not, greener technologies are coming and coming fast. So my question to them would be...

*Are you prepared for inevitable change or would you prefer to stick with your old ways and lose billions of dollars in the next couple decades?*

I'd like to say it is your choice, but then I'd be lying...


LL2008-07-21 02:17:53
thank you for posting here Brad. DRM is dying a slow death. So many people get convinced when something is illegal that it is also immoral too, without doing any further research.

Ethics is different that moralitity.

Can America become a world leader again in ethics, and green energy, and education and be prosperous enough without taking advantage of others who loose when it comes to globalization?


Former US Republican2008-07-21 02:23:02
Your thoughts are mine also, I am a true believer that "the government we have now is the most corrupt and evil that there is" We need atomic power, wind, solar and anything else that is not fosil fuel.


Nikiski Beach Spill 20062008-07-21 04:20:11
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2006/02/02/20060202-oilspill.html


Sand2008-07-21 06:21:38
There are a couple of points worth making.

The first involves the nature of the corporation. A corporation is a human organization designed primarily to make money. That is the nature of the beast. To complain that the corporation, be it dealing in oil or tobacco or armaments or gold or coal or whatever is driven by greed and a lack of human compassion and a total neglect of the environment through vandalism and a bent towards creating governmental corruption is a silly useless cry as idiotic as complaining that birds fly because they have wings. There is little or no element within the dynamic of a corporation to do more than make money by whatever means possible. That is the essence of the problem and there is no solution or current attempt at solution at the moment to that. Corporations are too powerful to permit any beneficent change.

Secondly the attitude of a very large number of people who disdain decent treatment of the environment and its living components have no concept whatsoever of the basic biological fact the humanity is deeply dependent upon the intermeshing of human and other life in the planet. Humans evolved out of the fantastic nature of the Earth. There is no other planet in our solar system or, so far as we have discovered, anywhere else, that comes near to the rich potential for life of this our Earth and the blatant contempt of so called practical people for seeing to it that its systems are preserved and maintained is a monstrous attitude that is rapidly leading to an Earth that is inimical to life as we know it. It is vicious stupidity and must be counteracted quickly if our descendents and we are to survive.

Finally it must be observed that atomic energy is no solution at the moment. A quick examination of the huge expense of creating and maintaining a power reactor proves that creating the fuel damages the environment in ways not favorable to the well being of the planet. The plants must be heavily subsidized, as no insurance company will undertake to guarantee that they will be safe and time and again current management has mismanaged these dangerous facilities and openly lied about the safety of the plants and repeatedly neglected the safety of the workers. And this does not account for the terrorist opportunities that the plants represent. Continuous reports indicate that atomic plants have had mock invasions to demonstrate that security is totally inadequate. The twin towers tragedy would be nothing compared to the millions killed or injured by an atomic plant smashed by conventional explosives to permit the deadly radioactivity to be freed to inflict the surrounding area. And beyond that the disposal of the radioactive waste is nowhere near a satisfactory solution. If ever hydrogen fusion reactors become practical there might be some worth in that but science has still a long way to go before that happens.

Al Gore comes from Tennessee and there have been indications that his favorable attitude towards atomic energy has some traction with Tennessee’s deep involvement with atomic energy. I would be wary of this.


Emanuel Paparella2008-07-21 07:13:01
The French get some 90% of their energy needs from atomic power. Either they are stupid or they know something we don’t. Food for thought.

Another point worth making: those who misguidedly assume a materialistic universe governed by impersonal chance and mechanistic deterministic laws but then insist that humankind should value life and attend to its own survival should be more aware of the logical contradictions in their stand. They are unable to answer why and on what basis should humankind survive? They bypass the why and proceed to the how to survive. The ancients such as Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics, such as Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, were not only wiser in positing virtue and ethics as the basis of human behavior but were also much more lucid and consistent in their thinking. They understood quite well that unless a why is posited and a Natural Law observed, the whole ethical structure of society crumbles and the meaning of the universe and even the value of life itself cannot be sustained philosophically. Most importantly they understood that human positive law is based on Natural Law and that without it as underpinning life itself is eventually devalued and found not worth living.


Sand2008-07-21 07:42:27
See http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1824284,00.html?imw=Y

Blather about "natural law" which is an undefined quality and subservient to whatever any particular flatulent idiot may propose may have comic qualities but responds not at all to the powerful forces that are currently extant.


Sand2008-07-21 08:43:25
Further information about the doubtful benefits of atomic energy may be found at
http://www.counterpunch.org/nukes.html


LL2008-07-21 10:51:32
it is hard to be ethical - it means being very honest with ourselves.


Emanuel Paparella2008-07-21 11:08:55
Indeed, the control and mastery of the earth that science has provided men who are destitute of ethical considerations is a delusion at best, to wit the current existential situation of modern man. As Michele Serres has aptly put it:

"We are now, admittedly, the masters of the Earth and the world, but our very mastery seems to escape our mastery. We have all things in hand, but we do not control our actions. Everything happens as though our powers escape our powers. Our consequences outstrip our deliberate intentions. So, it no longer depends on us that everything depends on us. We have resolved the Cartesian question: ‘How can we dominate the world?’ We will now have to resolve the next one: ‘How can we dominate our domination; or how can we master our own mastery?’”


Emanuel Paparella2008-07-21 11:13:00
For a more detailed elaboration on the above quote see:

http://www.metanexus.net/magazine/tabid/68/id/10532/Default.aspx


Emanuel Paparella2008-07-21 12:29:40
It would be hilarious indeed if it weren’t so tragic that the same people who go blathering about “domination of nature” and impersonal “market forces” and mechanistic physical laws, then display a passionate belief, to the point of resorting to argumenti ad hominem, that a corporation, an entity made by Man, has no moral or ethical responsibilities. That in itself speaks volumes on the current state of affairs of our brave new world interested in the how of survival and blissfully indifferent to the why life on earth is precious and ought to be protected and survive.


Sand2008-08-02 19:40:22
Here again we face Paparella determined to spread lies. All that was said was that a corporation had no legal obligation for public beneficence. It's only legal obligation is to enrich its investors. Morality was something else entirely.


LL2008-09-18 07:57:24
my gosh this article has 138 diggs!


fred benson2008-10-10 00:04:50
tell me why to not support anwr not all this gibber gabbish


LL2010-05-24 21:02:13
fred benson you have to learn to think for yourself.


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