Earth News: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Oranges and the Ozone and Wildlife on Guam

MOTHER EARTH NEWS environmental earth news briefs includes questioning whether Congress will address the oil drilling proposed in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, oranges and the ozone and wildlife tragedy on Guam.


| May/June 1988



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Development proponents have asked Congress to open the the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY LINDA BLECK

Environmental earth news briefs, including congress addressing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, oranges and the ozone and wildlife tragedy on Guam. 

Environmental Earth News

Clean Air and Caribou 

Election years have a way of distracting politicians from important legislative decisions, but Congress may nevertheless come finally to grips with a number of issues that have been argued over for several years. Two are at the top of most environmental organizations' agendas.

One concerns the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This 19.3-million-acre reserve runs from the Arctic Ocean on the north across the Brooks Range on the south, from the Canadian border on the east to the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay on the west. As it did in Prudhoe Bay, oil has made the ANWR a national issue.

Development proponents have asked Congress to open the refuge to oil drilling. They cite national security—the vulnerability of the Persian Gulf, for example—and the need to develop domestic energy resources. Opponents, who hope to have the refuge legally protected as wilderness, point to Interior Department estimates that say there is but a 21% chance of discovering economic quantities of oil and that even if oil is found it isn't likely to add significantly to the nation's reserves. They argue that the wildlife there, notably the 200,000 caribou of the Porcupine River herd, deserve statutory protection and that even exploring for oil would pose unacceptable threats. Competing bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate. Readers' views on the matter will be welcomed by senators (Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.) and members of Congress (House Office Building, Washington, D.C.).

The other hot topic along the Potomac just now is clean air. The Clean Air Act of 1972 was strengthened considerably in 1977; now environmentalists want it expanded to take on acid rain and toxic air pollutants (which are ignored by existing laws) and to get tougher on smog-producing ozone. Urban areas were supposed to have solved their ozone problems by January 31, 1987, but none have done so. Many, in fact, are farther from the goal than ever. Again, your elected representatives will welcome your views on any of these matters.





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