Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Are you ready for renewed debate over Arctic drilling?

September 12th, 2008 by cdunagan

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.

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3 Responses to “Are you ready for renewed debate over Arctic drilling?”

  1. NIkky Says:

    I for one support drilling for oil in our nation’s Polar Bears.

  2. NoSpin Says:

    Every junkie needs a good fix – “drill baby, drill!”

  3. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    No drilling in that beautiful place…and I’ll still vote for the McCain/Palin team.

    I seem to recall that after the years of drilling, we would deplete that oil in less than six months.

    Take the money saved from a futile wasteful drilling and use it to speed up more research on alternative energy as I see it.
    Sharon O’Hara

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist