Lately many miles of protected national lands are being opened to fossil fuel extraction. Opinions are so very divided on how to proceed with this… Native tribes in the southwestern USA oppose reduction of national parks such as Bears Ears in favor of oil, gas and coal leases. To them the “empty” acreage is filled with holy places of prayer, and contains innumerable petroglyphs — messages from the ancients. The fossil fuel industry could bring jobs to all local people in an area where jobs are hard to come by. Ranchers, among others. are beyond fed up with federal control over the west’s empty public lands, where not all that long ago they would run cattle freely.
In Alaska it seems as though Native peoples have long, long joined many other Alaskans in desiring careful extraction of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). They get jobs as well as numerous other benefits when the oil flows through the pipeline. That pipeline requires a certain amount of oil to flow through it every day or it becomes economically a drain (pun intended) on the companies running it, and it may suffer damage.
Plus ANWR sits beside the once abundant, now dwindling oilfields of Prudhoe, so adding extra infrastructure to move ANWR oil to refineries in the 48 below wouldn’t be too complicated.
Environmentalists bitterly oppose all this opening of public lands, a stance which meshes nicely with the position of Southwestern tribes, while clashing sharply with desires of Alaska’s Inuit Eskimos, who have inhabited what is now the ANWR for millennia. Inuit are a bit similar to western ranchers in being baffled and angered when federal hands grasp and then control lands that were once their own source of life and livelihood — without consulting them or offering any form of negotiation beforehand.
That northeastern edge of Alaska has had billions of barrels of oil removed from beneath it, and who knows how many more would come from ANWR? Is it possible that big sinkholes will develop?
The more I read on these issues the more multilayered the situation unfolds in my mind.
The more I know the less I know.
I have a big headache!