Preserve the Coastal Plain...
Jun 22, 2017 | 1113 views | 0 0 comments | 115 115 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Trump’s plan for a balanced budget includes opening the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates roughly a six-month supply, and a drop in the bucket for the budget. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the Coastal Plain has a “greater degree of ecological diversity than any other similar sized area on the North Slope.”

Except for the Coastal Plain, almost the entire North Slope is open for drilling. Destroying the Coastal Plain, which sustains polar bears, muskoxen, 200 bird species that migrate to six continents, and the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou the Gwich’in need for survival, is reprehensible. Ignored are the Gwich’in people of the Arctic, who depend on the Porcupine caribou herd for their cultural, spiritual and physical survival.

I recently attended a film screening and discussion about the Arctic Refuge in Moab and heard Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee. She expressed that her people are “strong,” and 20,000 years ago followed the caribou migration, but now live in villages along the migration route and still depend on the caribou for their cultural, spiritual and physical existence. She said they also suffer from the effects of climate change.

The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, representing 229 Native Alaskan tribes, officially opposes any development on the Coastal Plain. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is federal land, not Alaska state land, and belongs to all Americans. President Dwight Eisenhower established the Arctic National Range specifically for its “unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” President Jimmy Carter expanded the area, designating much as protected wilderness for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and to protect treaty rights. I’ve trekked there and know what’s to lose.

Destroying the Coastal Plain for a six-month oil supply is an environmental, climate change, public lands, and human rights issue.

—Phyllis Mains

Cortez, Colorado

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.