Letter: Protections counter-balance Big Oil

Jack Gerard’s opinion piece on Thursday represents an extreme view of oil development in Alaska. As executive director of the American Petroleum Institute, he sees the world exclusively in terms of oil revenues, jobs and the number of barrels produced per day.

Oil production statistics and inflammatory rhetoric about “bureaucratic roadblocks” don’t tell the whole story. Gerard does not acknowledge legitimate concerns about oil spills, environmental damage or the loss of subsistence resources.

Federal policies allow access to 72 percent of the economically recoverable oil in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska while protecting important wildlife habitat. That balanced approach meets the interests of all Americans.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appropriately protects the nation’s last great, intact wilderness in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. That area was set aside more than 50 years ago when the Eisenhower administration recognized its priceless beauty and importance to future generations. Some places are simply too special to drill.

We need federal protections to counter-

balance the oil industry and those who see public lands only as a resource to be exploited.

— Nicole Whittington-Evans

Alaska regional director

The Wilderness Society