Caving in on ANWR

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2001

The following editorial appeared in Monday's edition of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press:

The energy bill that passed the U.S. House last week represents a miserable example of narrow interest group politics and pork-barrel giveaways. When Congress reconvenes, it will be up to the Senate to present improvements instead of raw politics dressed up as an energy plan for the United States.

The House bill lavishes $33.5 billion in tax cuts and incentives -- three times what President Bush recommended -- to encourage large doses of energy production and tiny dribbles of conservation. ...

It is a false policy choice to assert that it is jobs or the environment. But that's the mindless message, pushed now by labor, which had during the 1990s made a strong, progressive alliance with environmentalists in the political area. The wedge apparent in the outcome of the House energy bill bodes ill for the immediate and long-term futures of progressive coalition building.

The shocking manifestation of interest group politics gone nuts in the House energy bill is its support for drilling oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The generous easing of restrictions on drilling in other federal land sites is more than enough of an opportunity for oil and gas companies to produce more domestic fuel. The cost-benefit of getting into ANWR makes little economic sense and abrogates the rights of the native people who depend on the precariously balanced Arctic ecosystem. ...

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