Arctic Refuge Has Lots of Wildlife—Oil, Maybe Not So Much
After four decades of debate, Congress looks set to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling.
There are few places left on the planet that remain unscathed by the heavy footprint of humanity. The 19.6-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the northeast corner of Alaska, is one of them—a vast primordial wilderness that stretches from spruce forests in the south, over the jagged Brooks Range, onto gently sloping wetlands that flow into the ice-curdled Beaufort Sea. ANWR is the summer breeding ground of nearly 200,000 caribou, the winter den of dozens of polar bears, and the gathering place of millions of migratory birds that descend upon it each spring from every flyway in North America.
Now it may soon be home to oil wells, gravel roads, air strips, oil camps, and all the