The Wilderness Society, Alaska Wilderness League, and Gwich’in Steering Committee today expressed disappointment in a bill introduced by Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski, (R), and Mark Begich, (D), that would allow so-called “directional” (or horizontal) drilling from state lands and waters adjacent to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in order to reach oil that might be found under the refuge’s coastal plain.
The groups criticized the proposal’s exaggerated claims about the potential of directional drilling technology, its impact on the fragile Arctic environment, and the ability of the proposal to create new jobs. “We are disappointed because we would rather work with Sens. Murkowski and Begich on a comprehensive Arctic climate and energy plan,” said Eleanor Huffines, Alaska Regional Director for The Wilderness Society.