Oil drilling makes tax plan an even worse idea.
Byline: Pat Boleyn For The Register-Guard
I was sickened to learn that the tax plan approved by Congress benefits the rich and wealthy the most, reduces health care for millions and increases the deficit. It also opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
I was on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a wildlife biologist many years ago. I have fought for its preservation for many years since. The coastal plain of this pristine refuge is home to so much wildlife that it has been called the Serengeti of the United States. I have seen and studied much of this wildlife. I have been a college ecology faculty member for more than 20 years and worked as a wildlife biologist for 20 years before that.
The beauty of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will never leave my mind and soul. I was part of a team that catalogued all of the rich plants and animals that depend on the coastal plain of this massive refuge for much of their lives.
If any of those wealthy politicians knew the grace of this land and its importance to the animals that call it home, they would reverse their decision. I know, after working for years as a wildlife biologist to protect our treasured natural areas, that without our voices and our laws, wildlife suffers.
This means the polar bear that uses the coastal plain to come off the ice and den.
The grizzly bear, which comes out to the plain with her cubs to escape the mosquitoes.
The Porcupine caribou herd, which migrates to the plain also to escape mosquitoes.
The musk ox, using the plain for calving. The 200-plus bird species that lay their eggs in the quiet mossy hummocks of the wet tundra of the coastal plains.
The cat tractors that run the plains to extract oil will permanently damage the permafrost on the coastal plain, and some of the plants that form the soft raised tussocks of the tundra. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge should be a crime, not a sanctioned practice.
It will decimate a big portion of our planet's biodiversity.
Why does biodiversity matter to the rich politician far from the strong winds of the arctic? Well, they think, not much - but they should think again. These ecosystems are part of what makes our planet thrive. The arctic coastal plain is not a dead place. It is teeming with life that is beautiful, elegant and has been a part of the life of indigenous communities for centuries.
It is neither morally right nor good for our planet to destroy this fragile tundra and the hundreds of wild animals and indigenous peoples that depend on it for their sustenance - all for a mere bit of oil for our fossil-fuel-hungry country. All this because of a deal that has to do with a massive tax plan by the Trump administration that will benefit wealthy corporations, harm the rest of the American people and decimate one of the last wild coastal tundra plains on the planet.
It's time to roll up our sleeves and keep working for those vulnerable species that cannot speak for themselves.
Pat Boleyn of Springfield is a wildlife biologist.
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|Title Annotation:||Guest Viewpoint|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jan 21, 2018|
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