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The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Well, I am old enough to remember the visuals streaming into our TVs from the Exxon Valdez oil spill, (1989), an occurrence that statistically wasn’t supposed to happen.

Amongst the groans and public anguish was a future silver lining promise, permanent protection of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. That promise was because we could see what can happen despite assurances that that will never happen. “We will now permanently protect the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling, period.” Well, permanent doesn’t seem to mean the same thing Merriam Webster says it does.

In fact, just some 30 years later leases for drilling under the Trump administration are happening. Really? I am sure the same safety assurances are being promised. I mean really who would predict a tanker captain that couldn’t even drive his car because of DUIs would turn over the piloting task to his first mate of maneuvering through a narrows and that would cause this catastrophe? Oops, where did that reef come from? “Hard right rudder!” You cannot turn a tanker on a dime!

A wildlife refuge is a refuge for wildlife for a reason. Can wildlife at least have that area? Drilling for gas, oil, coal is not the direction this world needs to be taking. Steering this world in the right direction is a slow methodical process much like steering an oil tanker. It won’t be turned once we hit the ‘reef.’ Let’s maneuver in the right direction.

Can we at least start by not drilling in an area that is supposed to be a refuge for wildlife?

Karol Simas

Gold Beach


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