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Travis Siebert, Published May 20 2009

Don’t open last natural treasure to drilling

In response to the May 17 letter to the editor (“Conrad works for our energy future”):

I missed the original editorial, but it’s great to hear that Sen. Kent Conrad is on board for alternative energy.

It is unfortunate, however, that some in Congress do not share his vision and want to see us continue down a path that exploits outdated fossil fuels. Alaska’s two senators, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R, and Sen. Mark Begich, D, have introduced a bill that waives major environmental laws to allow for a directional drilling program into and within the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Drilling, no matter which direction, would damage the Arctic Refuge. As the National Academy of Sciences has documented, the impacts of development extend well beyond the direct footprint, or the place where the drill touches the ground, with roads, air strips, gravel mines and more.

Our Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee where this bill may be considered. He must oppose this effort to open one of our nation’s last untouched treasures.