March 16, 2005

3/16 - ALASKA OIL DRILLING: A black day for Environmentalism

For all the big NGOs who pound their chests over their great environmental victories, today is a day for them to hang their heads low and ask what's happened. I spent the summer of 1980 in Washington D.C. and followed the brilliant work of the Alaska Lands Coalition as twenty-some NGOs came together, formed a solid alliance, and secured the passage of the Alaska Lands Legislation. But the summer ended with clear warnings that the job of protecting Alaska would never end.

They were right. Twenty-five years later, in the midst of the "Death of Environmentalism" backlash essays, the environmental movement has faltered as the senate voted today to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge ("Anwar") to drilling. A dark day for the environmental movement without doubt.

And you know what else, last fall at the Surfrider 20th Anniversary I spoke with Lawrence Rockefeller who said he was headed up to Alaska this summer for the celebration of the 25 year anniversary of the passage of the Alaska Lands Act. Looks like they might want to postpone that little party.

Alaska Oil Drilling: Are we sure we need it?

Posted by Randy Olson at March 16, 2005 05:07 PM

Hey Randy. Ya made a mistake.

The senate added an amendment to stop the drilling, but voted the rest through. This is what I read at CNN (

So it's not such a black week after all....yeah.

Same same,


Posted by: Luke Gers at March 18, 2005 11:46 AM

Sorry maybe I jumped to conclusions. I have read other reports that said it went through. So what's the answer?

Posted by: Luke Gers at March 18, 2005 03:28 PM

Its not a "done deal" -- the Senate vote was just the first step -- but the symbolism is huge. The key point is that the there was effectively a line in the sand drawn in the Senate for the past 25 years which has now been crossed. Which is reflective of the weakening of the environmental movement.

Posted by: Randy Olson at March 18, 2005 04:16 PM