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Volume 13, Issue 20 ~ May19 - 25, 2005
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Another Bright Idea in a Less-than-Brilliant World?
by Pat Piper

Congress, where great minds spend great amounts of time deliberating The Great Issues, is about to decide if the current administration’s plan to drill for oil in a wildlife refuge is a good idea.

The answer is, Of course it is. Don’t let the fact it’s a wildlife refuge way up there in Alaska bother you.

A bit of background. In 1960, Congress declared more than 17 million acres of Alaskan land a preserve for caribou, elk and ice. But it put another eight percent of the land in suspended animation because geologists pointed down and gave a thumbs-up. There was oil to be had, and any time oil is involved, we do whatever is required to get it.

Twenty years later, the country had just come out of waiting in gas lines because something called OPEC started ramping up the price of a barrel of oil. Now, still another 20 years later, automobiles use 70 percent of the gasoline produced from the 20 million barrels of oil a day that fuels the United States.

When oil is involved, we don’t learn lessons other than how to get it out of the ground faster. That’s progress.

Some clowns have suggested the better answer is to use less oil, as was discussed for a few seconds in the 1970s, but that, of course, is insane. Others, including oil experts, have said the oil in Alaska isn’t going to do anything to stabilize the price of gas at the pump. They forget we work long, hard hours so that each of us has the right to drive whatever we want, wherever we want. Besides, as many as 735,000 jobs might be created if we can start the wells drilling in Alaska.

The Bush administration has taken a lot of heat about drilling in a wildlife refuge. Those who bloviate, saying things like, It’s a wildlife refuge, which means you can’t put an oil well there, don’t understand that new techniques in drilling will make it seamless. The caribou won’t be bothered. The fact it was designated as a place where civilization isn’t allowed is the result of a bunch of tree-huggers with too much time on their hands.

Parks? We don’t need no stinking parks! We need parking lots. We should open up all 17 million acres in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. Just think of the great homes that can be built. More jobs.

Let’s close down Assateague Island on the Eastern Shore and let Disney build something there. Let’s tear out all 22 boat ramps and the beach at Sandy Point State Park and make it a strip mall. More jobs. Build a 20-pump gas station in the parking lot and sell crab cakes. Make it a big condo and call it Sandy Pointe.

The administration has proposed opening up one-third of national forests to logging and hopes to build roads as soon as possible. We need the wood from those trees so we can ship it to Alaska for the homes that are going to be built. National Forest? We don’t need no national forest!

This is the beauty of these modern times. If it’s inconvenient to make the tough decisions and do the right thing, just change what’s off limits.

It’s progress when you think only about right now. In fact, if we can get our way, the entire world will be paved. All of us can drive anywhere we please, which is what our founding fathers wanted us to do.

Pat Piper drives his 40-foot cigarette boat out of Deale, tosses beer cans and garbage bags into Chesapeake Bay and catches as many rockfish as he wants. Then he docks the boat and drives his Hummer home. He’s ticked about the price of gas and never keeps a calendar because he lives for the moment.

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