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Congressional Vote To Drill Arctic Refuge Edited Version

Dear Editor: This is an edited version of the article previously
submitted. I ask your consideration of the first – but this will provide all
necessary information for one to base a decision for support of the
issue. Thank you.

Respectfully Submitted as Guest Article or Letter to the Editor:

Recent broadcast news reports about the natural disasters of
Katrina, Rita, and the escalating terror and loss of innocent life in Iraq
have been followed up by the question – “How does all this impact oil
prices, US supply and demand and our daily life? Various accounts
are provided – but the one report you do not hear within mainstream
media is one that requires the attention and immediate action of
each American citizen. I beseech you to please read on.

America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is under a subversive
aggressive attack by drilling supporters and at risk of being
destroyed by a quick, virtually unknown Congressional vote that is
about to take place. If you are not a member of a wildlife organization
or a listener of NPR, you would not easily be aware of this. Here are
the facts.

America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR) was established
in 1960 by President Eisenhower. In 1980 Congress passed the
Alaska National Interest Lands and Conservation Act (ANILCA)
which enlarged the Refuge to its present size of 19.3 million acres.
Protection of these lands came at a high price though. To guarantee
the final passage of the bill, the Senate had to compromise that the
Coastal Plain of the Refuge was to be set aside for study of oil and
gas potential – paving the road in the future for the oil industries to
drill the last 5% of the entire Coastal Plain that does not already
allow for oil drilling. Well, the future is NOW. Utilizing this advantage,
the petroleum industry is presently working once again within our
walls of government to have the Refuge completely opened for oil
exploration and drilling. How?

Drilling supporters have successfully lobbied to pass a non-binding
federal budget resolution that will open the Arctic Refuge to oil
drilling. The next step is to vote for a “Budget Reconciliation Bill” that
will change the law so that drilling can proceed. First, we must
recognize that drilling America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a
federal policy change that must be presented separately for vote and
passed by the House and Senate. It does not belong as an expense
line item in the Federal Budget. (Past proposals to change this policy
was denied and the Refuge protection upheld.) Secondly, we must
as responsible citizens recognize that this proposal to change policy
was strategically “buried” within the federal budget for easy passage
and is an abuse and failure of national policy. This subversive action
alone provides a reason in itself to press our Representatives to vote
against the Budget Reconciliation Bill.

Proponents of drilling – including George W. Bush – state that drilling
ANWAR now will decrease oil prices and will reduce our
dependency on “foreign” oil. But the facts state these claims to be un-
true. The United States Geological Survey reports that the most likely
amount of oil pumped out of the Arctic Refuge would be
approximately the same amount of oil that the US consumes over
several months. Oil industry executives testified that it would take ten
years after drilling was approved before any oil from the Refuge
would be available – and the price reduction would be one cent per
gallon. According to the Department of Energy, the US will still
depend on imports for 65% of its oil into year 2025. Drilling for oil in
America’s Arctic Refuge will do nothing to address America’s long-
term energy needs.1 What then will we as a nation gain by drilling
the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge now or ever? More importantly –
what do we lose – forever?

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge holds one of the last completely
preserved ecosystems left in North America. It’s Coastal Plain is
essential to the survival of many species. It is home to more than 180
species of birds. Millions of migratory birds depend upon the
Refuge’s tundra and coastal lagoons for nesting, molting and
feeding during the Arctic summer. It is the natural habitat of polar and
grizzly bears, wolves and other numerous species – many
endangered. It is the calfing grounds of over 129,000 Porcupine
River Caribou Herd – the largest in the world. It is the home of two
groups of North America’s last subsistence native peoples – the
Gwich’in of the mountains and boreal forest and the Inupiat of the
Arctic coast – both who live and breath the fabric of their 10,000 year
old cultural traditions woven by the the Coastal Plain of the Arctic
Refuge. The Gwich’in call the Coastal Plain “The Sacred Place
Where Life Begins”.2
According to the Alaska Department of Environmental
Conservation’s Oil Spill Database, the oil fields of Alaska’s Northern
Slope have averaged over 400 oil spills a year since 1996. The US
Department of the Interior has estimated that the Porcupine River
Caribou herd could suffer a decline of up to 40% if oil drilling takes
place on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.3 Oil industry
proponents claim that drilling the coastal plain would disturb only
2000 acres, but in reality the massive industrial network needed to
support 30 oil deposits would span the entire plain1.5 million acres.4
In other words, roadways will be built, pipelines will be laid,
explosive mines will be dug and ports will be built. (A detailed
reference map4 is attached).Is this the way America honors “The
Sacred Place Where Life Begins”? Where is our decency and
common sense? How can we as a nation “under God” even consider
allowing such a devastating, senseless act to take place against that
which God has bestowed upon us as stewards? Should we not
continue to honor America’s wilderness which was set aside for
national protection by upholding it’s protection?

During “Save the Arctic Action Day”, a rally held in Washington DC
on September 20th, I and many other concerned NJ constituents
had the privilege to join the tribal members of the Gwich’in and
Inupiat in meetings with our Representatives. I heard their plea in
their native tongue. I shared photos of their village and its
surrounding beauty – I shared their pain and their tears. We
comforted each other. (Congressmen LoBiondo did not attend our
pre-scheduled meeting, but his aide, Dana Richter, graciously met
with 48 of us on his behalf).

My thought was – nothing has changed. From the beginning of our
American journey modern man has taken the position that we have
dominion over all species and the earth that sustains us. Like the
Gwich’in and Inupiat peoples who are at risk of losing life as they
know it, I too believe that nature dictates that all species are
connected and interdependent of our basic survival, that you have a
responsibility and an obligation to preserve, conserve and nurture it
for the health and well being of the entire planet.

Yet historically as a people, as a government – we have repeatedly
choose to disrespect, disregard and in many cases destroy diversity
of people, wildlife and land worldwide. (If you are thinking “I do not
do this” – think again – if you witness others doing this (like your
government) – and do nothing to change it- then you are at fault as
well). We ignore the warning signs that the earth sends us, pointing
out to us how our choices in the name of progress (greed disguised)
have created imbalances, injustices, war and terror.

The facts indicate that we (the petroleum industry included) have
known for many years that it is inevitable that our current energy
resources will be depleted. Instead of our government providing a
national energy plan that promotes energy security by way of energy
efficiency; and incentives to produce alternative energy resources –
technology that is available NOW – we continue to allow business to
go along as usual – drill, consume, strip and destroy all that is in our
path for profit, for power. (Manufacturing agricultural based fuels
alone would support our South Jersey farmers and keep our
countryside green.)

America is better then this. We witness the best that we can be as a
nation during crisis – tragedies that awaken us to our goodness our
responsibilities, our humanity. America gains nothing by drilling
f we, as mindful constituents remain silent – we are as much to blame
for this tragedy as are our Representatives who fail us under
pressure from the powerful oil lobbies. (George W. Bush received
$2.36 million in contributions from Big Oil and Gas in the 2004

We as a people must change our mindset, our habits and our
dependency on oil – and we must will our leaders to force this
change now. The date of the congessional vote will not be
announced until one week before it is to occur. Please call or write
your senators and representative NOW. Urge them to keep drilling
out of the Arctic Refuge and permanently protect the Coastal Plain as
wilderness. Urge them to vote against the Budget Reconciliation Bill.
That is all it takes to make a difference.

Karen Gambale’ Adezio
325 Central Avenue
Ocean City, NJ 08226
Home and Studio: 609-391-8400
Following is the information you will need.

Local Office:
Congressman Frank LoBiondo
5914 Main Street
Mays Landing NJ 08330
Washington DC: 202 225-6572

Senators of the 109th Congress
Jon Corzine (D – NJ) Class I
(202) 224-4744
Web Form: corzine.senate.gov/contact.cfmSenator Corzine

Frank Lautenberg (D – NJ) Class II
(202) 224-3224
Web Form: lautenberg.senate.gov/webform.html

House of Representatives web sites: www.house.gov
Senate Representatives: www.senate.gov

For more Information concerning the ANWAR visit the following web

Alaska Wilderness League at www.AlaskaWild.org
The Wilderness Society at www.tws.org
Arctic Refuge Action – 1888-8WildAK

(Reference: 1,2,3, Alaska Wilderness League; 4, Alaska Coalition; 5,
American Wilderness Society).


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