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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Hoff

Drilling for oil in a pristine refuge

Earth is running a fever. From 100°F in Siberia to 130°F in Death Valley, summer temps in 2020 are setting grim records and fires so intense, they spawn “firenados.”

The US government’s response? To invade the pristine wilderness of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil exploration. This is not just a few wells: the plan calls for well pads, airstrips, roads, pipelines, dock facilities, and storage facilities—all disruptive to the fragile arctic environment.

My upcoming book Project Hannibal takes place in this magical place. Today, it's threatened by governmental short-sightedness.

The Arctic Refuge is a national treasure, home to climate-threatened polar bears, caribou, and millions of other animals and migrating birds. The Refuge’s resources are vital to the culture and subsistence of the indigenous communities in the area. The permanently frozen ground is a major repository of Earth’s carbon—the thawing of the permafrost could be a climate catastrophe.

So why disturb this precious, fragile environment to drill for oil, especially at a time when a global oil glut has sent oil prices crashing? This invasion of the one of our precious refuges was mandated under the Trump administration by a 2017 law.

It will take a new administration to prevent this tragedy.

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