During his second week in office, George W. Bush announced his intention to drill, and most likely destroy, the pristine atmosphere that is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

While it should come to nobody’s surprise that “President Oil” is proposing such ideas, it is surprising what a horrible idea it is. Instead of pursuing a reasonable policy of decreasing consumption and promoting renewable resources, Bush is gambling that our nation can gather and refine its own energy need right from her national monuments.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in the northeast corner of Alaska, along the Canadian border. These 19 million acres of land are home to millions of birds, caribou, deer, polar and grizzly bears and other animals.

ANWR is also the sacred home to several Eskimo and Native Americans living in the region. This refuge is exactly that ? a refuge. President Carter said of the refuge, “The vastness, the openness, is what is most impressive about the Arctic Refuge. The closest thing I have seen to this is Africa’s Serengeti plain.” Our national treasures don’t need to be poked and prodded to benefit the Republican campaign donors such as Enron.

The problem with Bush’s proposal is that it is virtually worthless. While the nation does have a high level of oil importation, the idea to drill in ANWR is idiotic. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates this region would provide the United States with enough oil for only six months. Yes, six months.

The government’s own Department of the Interior predicts that there is only a 19 percent chance of even finding oil in the refuge. And like the USGS, the Department of the Interior says that there is only about a 200-day supply of oil. Perhaps only President Bush and his oil buddies see this as worthwhile to destroy such an innocent ecosystem for at most a six-month supply of oil.

In the end, President Bush is choosing his campaign donors ? including oil companies ? over the environment. This should not be surprising, as he is the same president that feels we can drink arsenic in our water and breathe in polluted air. It’s time that the Republican party ? along with President Bush ? stop thinking of their donors and start thinking of their nation.

Our environment is America in all her glory. It’s time that Bush learns that our lives and health are not to be sold.

UR Dems can be reached at democrat@campustimes.org.

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