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Alaska Editorial: Try, try again

Posted: July 30, 2013 - 11:00pm

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes it difficult to gather scientific information in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Sometimes it just seems like obstructionism, especially when all kinds of modern technology is available to conduct scientific tests with the utmost regard for the refuge.

The state provided a plan to the secretary of the interior for 3-D seismic testing in ANWR, in order to gain information about the quantity and quality of hydrocarbons beneath the coastal plain.

The information would be more helpful than that collected in the 1980s.

Gov. Sean Parnell says “obtaining accurate and complete scientific information from ANWR is a top priority for Alaska and a necessity for our country ... it is a mandate of (the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act). Federal law provides clear direction that the Interior Secretary must take certain actions upon the submission of ... (an) exploration plan.

“It is unfortunate that the (Wildlife Service) failed to consider all of the technological advancements and new information detailed in the state’s plan,” he says. “Instead of doing any new work or review, they relied exclusively on a political memo prepared more than 10 years ago.”

Parnell intends to ask the national director of the Wildlife Service to revisit the decision.

As well he should. The natural resources of ANWR will be very valuable to the United States, not just Alaska.

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