Transportation

Trump: Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

By Timothy Randall

How would you feel if Donald Trump destroyed 1.6 million acres of land in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, all to benefit of the oil, gas and logging industries? And at the cost of your tax dollars! In America’s largest national forest, Trump is looking to drill for oil, disrupting the many species and ecosystems that have been there for over 500 years. The environmental impact would potentially be fatal to many different animals and do more harm than good.

Aren’t we looking for ways to reduce climate change and save our planet from potential catastrophic climate events? Donald Trump clearly is not. He and his administration are hoping to lift logging restrictions set in place by the Clinton Administration nearly 20 years ago and it’s all for the almighty dollar.

This is our land, America, and we cannot allow the construction of drilling pads, processing plants, miles upon miles of roads and massive pipelines to invade our national forest; our “Amazon,” only to benefit the oil, gas and logging industries. What about our benefits beyond the energy industry? Drilling for oil does not make economic sense. Taxpayers for Common Sense analyzed the land leases and estimated that leasing the more than 800,000 acres would not generate the $2,250 per acre needed to offset the trillion dollar tax bill from 2017. It will be tough to get $2,250 per acre when the average price per acre for all land in that area has been $53.21—on average— over the past 5 years. If drilling is supposed to help with the $1.4 trillion deficit, then this is really a big joke just like logging in Alaska! Once all the federal subsidies for construction of new roads, reconstruction of last years roads, timber harvest and timber sales are accounted for, the logging program will cost taxpayers $26 million each year returning a tiny $1.69 million, for an average loss of more than $24 million each year for over the last 20 years. That total of $24 million would only be expected to rise if this project goes into operation.

The Alaskan forest is one of our greatest carbon sanctuaries and helps us persevere against climate change. Cutting and drilling would not only cost us millions upon millions of dollars but reduce our chances of fighting climate change. We would be moving backwards by emitting more carbon into our atmosphere, sacrificing our land, as well as, the species that reside there for once again, the benefit of oil, gas and logging industries!

Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is larger than many states and is the home to caribou, grizzly bears, migratory birds, polar bears and wolves. Drilling for oil threatens not only the wildlife that live there but many people that are native to the land and depend on the natural resources provided by the land. Disrupting and permanently damaging this beautiful landscape would have catastrophic consequences for the animals and the Alaskan people. We need to protect our high-value natural resources and our wildlife habitats; we need to explore new ways to not only benefit us, but benefit the world around us. Of the 157 bird species in Alaska, it is said that about 69 of those species would go extinct over an 85-year period as a result of the project. It would also hurt the population of caribou, polar bears and seals. The search for oil would pollute the peaceful, unspoiled beauty and solitude with a massive amount of noise from machinery, planes and drilling.

You can help stop Trump and his administration by visiting: https://act. nrdc.org/letter/af-arctic-refuge-170925 or by going to Google and searching: “Help Stop Trump’s Plans to Drill in the Arctic Refuge,” to ensure our largest National Wildlife Refuge stays green and clear from pollutants and irreversible, life threatening destruction.

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Illustration by Morgan Dyer

Categories: Transportation

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