About the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By JEROME FITZPATRICK, a REP member in Pennsylvania

AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: published in the Harrisburg Patriot-News on March 21, 2001.


Americans soon will learn how we think of ourselves when the U.S. Senate votes on whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

America is not desperate for energy. Solar and wind power beg for use.

We can cultivate less wasteful lifestyles. Such innovation requires leadership, which is not forthcoming from an administration propped by oil interests and avowedly hostile to the environment.

Now it is up to the Senate to define whether we have become so estranged from nature we want to moonscape everything for utility, or whether we have a sufficient spark of the divine to allow Creation some haven of its own, and to allow unstained remaining areas of great beauty. As the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge goes, so goes the rest.

Even if we were to extract oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge without spilling a drop, it still would be a desecration. There is more to wilderness than simply being neat about the intrusion. There is the sound of wind, of bird calls and of the wolf pack.

These do not mix with noisy machinery, powerful all-night lighting, the incessant movement of trucks, bulldozers, airplanes and ships. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is no place for an extractive industrial park.

I am member of the national Republicans for Environmental Protection, which has given highest priority to the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We believe that conservatism and conservation are synonymous.