To the Editor:

With GOP members of the U.S. Senate and House tinkering with tax legislation, what could possibly go wrong? For one of America’s last pristine wildernesses, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the answer is: A LOT!

For over 40 years, repeated attempts by various GOP lawmakers to pass standalone legislation that would permit oil drilling in the 19-million-acre ANWR with its fragile ecosystem were rebuffed by environmentally conscious members of Congress and/or the President.

Well, with the passage of the tax reform bill, that’s about to change.

If asked to put a monetary value on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, “priceless” would be the response of most Americans.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senior U.S. senator from Alaska, evidently thinks otherwise.

Breaking new ground for political craftiness, she succeeded in rolling an Arctic refuge oil drilling provision into the tax-reform bill.

She estimates that oil production would generate more than $1 billion over a 10-year period.

So, motivated by monetary greed, this crafty politician sold out to Big Oil the Arctic refuge which belongs to all Americans, not just the residents of Alaska.

According to a Dec. 15, NY Times article, in 1985 an exploratory oil drilling platform was permitted within the Arctic refuge where it operated for eighteen months.

Thirty years later, the delicate tundra on the drilling site has yet to recover. It won’t take Big Oil long to despoil this fragile wildlife refuge, home to thousands of caribou, muskox, polar bears and countless wildfowl.

This is an ecological disaster in the making.

A few GOP lawmakers with backbone objected to this sellout. Regrettably, none were from Texas — a shortcoming worth remembering when you vote.

Waldo Montgomery

Belton

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