Although presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama are both opposed to drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it appears this decades-old debate over Arctic oil is beginning to warm up again.
Higher gasoline prices and the outspoken support of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seems to have opened the door to new discussions about drilling anywhere in the United States — especially Alaska.
So, as an environmental reporter in the state closest to Alaska, I’m beginning to think about how and when to cover this story. A lot has been written about this issue through the years. I can dust off my old files, track down recent reports about drilling technology and begin to consider the political forces at work. Let’s see how the upcoming election shapes the debate.
In the meantime, here are some recent columns and stories I found interesting:
David Shukman of the British Broadcasting Corporation wrote a cursory story about the issue yesterday, complete with a video fly-over of Alaskan oil fields. It serves as a quick refresher on the debate.
Rick Steiner, a University Alaska professor, took Palin to task for what he sees as her willingness to sacrifice Alaska’s environment. His column was published in Sunday’s Seattle PI.
Lars Laestadius of the World Resources Institute suggests that a prerequisite to drilling in the Arctic should be “public monitoring” of oil exploration and development like nothing that’s ever been done before.
If anyone comes upon an interesting story about drilling — in the Arctic or anywhere else — feel free to pass along a link as a comment on this entry.