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More Human Than Humans

by Jessica Smith
Opinion, The Shorthorn, October 3, 2003

Environmentalists go too far in trying to protect Mother Nature

Jessica Smith is a journalism senior and a contributing writer for The Shorthorn Liberals are out of touch on many issues, but their stand on environmental issues takes the cake.

Environmental groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals firmly believe animals are more important than people ó they are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to protect animals at our expense.

For example, PETA is currently on an anti-milk campaign because members think cows suffer needlessly to provide a healthy substance for humans. An activist even dressed up like a cow and protested in front of an elementary school in Scotland with several other supporters.

When did animals become more important than people?

Fortunately, there is major resistance to their radical ideas, as evidenced by the group of anti-PETA protesters who sprayed the activists away with milk. However, despite these hysterical protests, the environmentalists still have the loyal support of the Democratic leadership.

They also oppose drilling for the oil and natural gas we need to fuel our country. Liberals go into hysterics when anybody suggests expanding our use of nuclear energy or building more hydroelectric plants. It seems that environmentalists would prefer to put our energy and economic livelihood in jeopardy just to protect an endangered animal species.

Despite consumers dealing with rolling blackouts and energy shortages, environmentalists want to punch a hole in one or more of the federal dams on the Snake River to let the salmon migrate. However, the activists and most of the Democratic leadership reserve the majority of their propaganda for opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They claim drilling even in a small part of the refuge would threaten the migration habits of the Porcupine Caribou.

Why should the national government shape its energy policy and threaten the energy security of 280 million Americans because of a bunch of Porcupine Caribou? Despite the rhetoric, the facts do not add up.

First, the Bush administration only proposed to drill 2,000 acres. Is that really going to affect the migration habits of the caribou? No, it isnít. Weíre leaving more than 18 million acres of their natural habitat.

Further, liberals claim drilling there will destroy the environment. However, state-of-the-art technology now allows oil and gas companies to drill with a minimum of surface equipment, allowing them to drill sideways as well as down. All of this severely diminishes the damage we do to the surface where the drilling occurs.

Next, the refuge isnít exactly the most popular tourist spot in Alaska. Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the refuge ďis a flat, treeless, almost featureless plain.Ē Temperatures can drop to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, 56 days are in total darkness annually and about nine months are harsh winter, he said.

Does this sound like one of the most pristine areas in America to you? I guess it is to the environmentalists.

Perhaps most shocking of all is the evidence that drilling for oil may actually help the caribou population grow. For example, in Alaskaís Prudhoe Bay, the Central Arctic caribou herd has grown from 6,000 in 1978 to 19,700 today, according to Murkowski.

Itís obvious how out of touch the liberals are in regards to the issue of drilling in the refuge. But what makes the situation ridiculous is that Alaskan Democrats, including their governor, actually support drilling in the refuge. They take offense to liberals in Washington thinking they know better than Alaskans what to do in their own backyards.

In light of all of these things, the liberalsí argument that drilling in the refuge would destroy the Porcupine Caribou is simply laughable. However, what isnít humorous is that these people are jeopardizing our energy and national security in the name of Mother Nature.

Jessica Smith is a journalism senior and a contributing writer for The Shorthorn
More Human Than Humans
October 3, 2003 Used with permission of The Shorthorn student newspaper at the University of Texas at Arlington

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