It's an Arctic refuge, not an 'ANWR,' conservationists insist

Groups opposed to oil exploration on the coastal plain of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would like to see the acronym "ANWR" stricken from the debate, writes Greenwire. Any connection the letters once had with the concept of a refuge has been lost in the political scuffle, they say.

As the House moves closer to passing a bill that would open a portion of the refuge's coastal plain to drilling, environmentalists and their Democratic allies warn the term "ANWR" fails to convey a place rich in wildlife, cultural values and wilderness.

"ANWR" -- pronounced ANN-warr -- connotes a landscape of mineral wealth ripe for development, some refuge advocates argue.

Groups also oppose calling the refuge's 1.6-million-acre coastal plain the "1002 area," a nickname that came from Section 10, Paragraph 2 of the 1980 bill that named the refuge and drew its modern boundaries.

"It's the bane of my existence," said Emilie Surrusco, communications director for the Alaska Wilderness League, a Washington, D.C.-based group that is fighting plans to drill in the refuge and offshore in the Arctic Ocean.

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