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Leave oil in the soil in ANWAR

President Obama wants to solidify what his predecessors began, going back to 1960. He announced a plan in late January to seek wilderness designation for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
President Eisenhower in 1960 had established the Arctic Wildlife Range in northeastern Alaska, in recognition of the area’s extraordinary importance for wildlife, scenic beauty and recreational values. In 1980, Congress under President Carter enlarged the Range to encompass all the major Arctic ecosystem types: from the Brooks Range mountains to boreal forest portions, the tundra region with abundant summer-flowering sedges, phlox, poppy, lupine and other wildflowers, and the coastal plain along the Beaufort Sea. All but the last area was placed under wilderness-status protection and the Range renamed as Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the 1980 law.
From President Theodore Roosevelt’s time, for more than a century, naturalist scientists have described the great riches of birds and animal life there. In 1915, Roosevelt cited an avian-concert portrayal of thousands of tundra birds settling in for the night. He noted that their “tremendous chorus [is] made up of the notes of numberless loons in small ponds, joined with the rolling cries of cranes, the bugling of flocks of swans on larger ponds, the clanging of innumerable geese, the hoarse calls of various ducks, and the screams of gulls and terns, all in a state of great excitement, apparently trying to outdo one another in strength of voice, [the result] a volume of wildly harmonious music.”
One of millions of migrating birds from every continent, Arctic terns travel 10,000 miles from Antarctica to nest and raise their young in the Refuge. For numerous other, unique wildlife — polar and grizzly bears, sheep, moose, musk-oxen and wolves, and caribou roaming in immense numbers — it is nursery and home and, quite literally, the last place on Earth to go.
Congress has repeatedly attempted to extend wilderness-status protection to the coastal plain, currently judged the very heart and biologically most important part of the Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The latest unsuccessful bills to this effect were in 2007 and 2013.
That sliver of the Refuge represents the last 5 percent of Alaska’s North slope not already used or available for oil and gas development. Estimated to perhaps contain a five-to-nine month’s U.S. supply, oil conglomerates have unceasingly sought drilling rights there after President Reagan proposed to make it available for this purpose. Yet the American public, deeming drill pads abhorrent in this wildlife nursery, has consistently opposed oil development in the Refuge.
Some good-news and bad-news developments in the energy field are relevant to consider. First, authoritative studies show that non-fossil energy technologies can eliminate our reliance on oil, within a few decades time. The bad news is that, if we would pass a climate-safe world to future children, much of the currently known oil, coal and natural gas reserves cannot be burned.
What better place than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to begin the “leave-oil-in-the-soil” transition!