Key Democrat says Arctic Refuge now safe from drilling due to defeat of Republicans

Jeff Bingaman, senator from New Mexico will be the new chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He says the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is now safe from drilling proposals. The oil industry’s political representatives can count the votes too, and they agree.

Story by James W. Brosnan. Albuquerque Tribune.



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  1. Kalanu Avatar

    Good news for the caribou. Let’s keep our eye on this one. It hasn’t gone away yet.

  2. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    I think this is the key quote from the article and important for us to consider – all public land issues are political. We as conservationists, environmentalists, or whatever need to keep this in mind. Here’s to hoping the Democrats can get things done…

    “It may make people feel good to be right on an issue and be able to champion something where they know they’re right. But I’d be much more interested in trying to get something done,” Bingaman said.

  3. Insider Avatar

    This is only a temporary victory, albeit much deserved for ANWR. Until the 1002 area is given Wilderness designation, environmentalists will always have to be on guard against the oil industry’s incessant efforts to drill/develop the coastal plain. I’ve been to this area and it is truly worthy of Wilderness status. Comforting to know that for the immediate future it seems to be safe from those who would despoil it through oil development.

  4. Alan Gregory Avatar

    Only full, unqualified wilderness designation — for the whole shebang — will fully and forever protect the refuge. And by the way, the next time you hear a lousy politician refer to the “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” as “ANWR” (anwaar), don’t let him/her get away with it. This bastardization of the refuge’s full name is a standard radical right-winger’s way of belittling the importance of the refuge. Don’t accept this — especially from Rush and Billy O. Conservationists should be pressing for full wilderness designation for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

  5. Todd Ringler Avatar
    Todd Ringler

    This is good to hear. Bingaman was also helpful in getting the Valle Vidal protected from drilling — that legislation went through in a day after being hung up for more than a year (which came after two years of lobbying).

    The confusing thing about Bingaman is that he really won’t get on board with protecting Otero Mesa — 1.2 million acres of Chihuahuan Desert grassland (about 1/2 of which is suitable for wilderness designation). I know many folks reading here know more about Wyoming drilling than NM drilling — so think about the Powder basin and replicate that over the entire SE portion NM (75,000 wells at last count). Right next to all that drilling, and next in line on the chopping block, is Otero Mesa. All we are asking for here is a little bit of restraint — they nuked the rest of the area — can’t we just leave a little bit?

    Bingaman is just noncommital about the idea of protecting Otero — why would Bingaman say yest to protecting ANWR, say yes to protecting is Vidal — but waffle on Otero … the only reason is because Harvey E Yates Company (the company that wants to drill Otero) is a big contributor.

    So while thanks goes to Bingaman for ANWR and for the Vidal —he is the position to help protect something very special — the question is will he?

    Todd Ringler
    Santa Fe

  6. Kim Avatar

    dem or repub,,,it always come down to money, and power,,who has it, how wants it..and how much one can pesonlly benefit and still look like a white knight,,, dont be fooled into believing that the dems are saints when it comes to corruption,,,,remeber James Traficant? tried and sent ot prison,,,rember dan rostenkowski,,, who brother bill c pardoned!!!!????indicted on 17 counts, plead gulity to 2 and still drew pension while in prison,,,,,william jefferson from Lousiaina who was cooling his cash in the fridge,,,sandy berger pleading gulity to rmoveing claissified docujments in the front of his pants,,so dontg think when they get a little comfortyable,,,and when they think no one is looking,, there grubby little hands are gonna get caught in the cookie jar,,,,so dont think anything is safe from either party,,, if you do,,, you will be disappointed sadly,,,

  7. Insider Avatar

    Kim is on the mark b;y reminding us that all politicians are subject to influence peddling. But if you look at voting records, as compiled by the League of Conservation Voters, the Dems typically are “greener” than the Repubs.

  8. Tim Z. Avatar
    Tim Z.

    Did anyone see this news that came out yesterday? they can’t have ANWR so Bush is going to release this area to drilling.

    Teshekpuk Lake, North Slope, Alaska
    The BLM may also allow drilling in and around the vast Teskekpuk Lake, which sits near the Arctic coastline and is currently off-limits to development. Until now, its shores were considered too important to birds, caribou and wildlife to allow oil rigs.
    It was also in Sunday’s Idaho Statesman


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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