President Obama announced Sunday that he’ll use his executive authority to designate 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, walling it off from resource development. This abrogates a 1980 deal in which Congress specifically set aside some of this acreage for future oil and gas exploration.
He also did this without so much as a faretheewell to any of Alaska’s leadership, including, explicitly its Republican delegation in Congress. Not a what do you think. Not a heads up. Nada.
Here’s his cynical divide-and-conquer bribery attempt:
The Obama administration is poised to unveil a draft plan for selling offshore oil and gas leases that is expected to rule out auctioning drilling rights in parts of the Atlantic Ocean as well as in some Arctic waters and along the West Coast between 2017 and 2022.
The draft plan is expected to keep the door open for selling oil and gas leases off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, though with a larger buffer zone than previously outlined. Possible oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea [off the northwest coast of Alaska] also would be set back further from the coast than during a previous 2008 auction of drilling rights in those Arctic waters.
This draft also would set off limits areas in the Beaufort Sea, off the north coast of Alaska, that had been available before this. It’s a naked attempt to get Republicans to abandon Alaska in return for the promise of future drilling elsewhere.
None of this has anything at all to do with energy or energy independence for the US. It’s entirely, and tightly, centered on an insecure man trying to show how powerful he is to those lesser men and women impudent enough to disagree with him.