Alaskan Oil Project Threatened by ‘Polar Bear Huggers’
ALSO ON THE ENERGY FRONT, some congressmen are fighting a plan by the Bush administration to issue permits for oil drilling in the Alaskan part of the Chukchi Sea, saying polar bears would suffer. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said the lease sales must be stopped to “protect the polar bear, and the rest of us, from global warming.”
He introduced a bill to block the drilling. The lease sale is the culmination of a five-year study that was approved by Congress last year. The polar bear has no natural predator and there has been no significant loss of population. A Republican aide said Democrats are using the polar bear to stop drilling in Alaska “just like they used the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest to shut down the timber industry.”
“This could be a severe threat to our domestic energy production effort and national energy security,” said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee. Republicans said Markey’s bill would block production of 15 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.