Monday, July 15, 2013

Editorial: Jewell response on ANWR laughably, provably dishonest

Can the Obama Administration tell the truth about anything? Barely into the second term, it has long been clear that the only time you don’t have to decide whether this administration is being dishonest or incompetent is when it is being incompetently dishonest. Such is the case with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s June 28 letter to Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell rebuffing his pledge of $50 million in state funding for 3-D seismic exploration of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “This Administration remains opposed to drilling in the Refuge and I support that position,” Jewell wrote. “We, nevertheless, have reviewed your offer and conclude that any new ‘exploratory activity,’ which would include seismic work by the statutory definition, is prohibited by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and would require Congressional authorization.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s a straight-up lie. To figure that out, you need read no further than the “purpose” statement in the very section of ANILCA cited by Jewell (16 USC 3142b) in her letter to Parnell: “The purpose of this section is to provide for a comprehensive and continuing inventory and assessment of the fish and wildlife resources of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; an analysis of the impacts of oil and gas exploration, development, and production, and to authorize exploratory activity within the coastal plain in a manner that avoids significant adverse effects on the fish and wildlife and other resources.” (emphasis mine) So while Jewell claims Congressional authorization is needed for exploratory activity, a plain reading of the purpose statement shows that approval has already been granted. Jewell wasn’t done, though...more

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