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LETTER: Interior Department kowtows to greedy fossil fuel interests

Updated December 2, 2019 - 8:52 am

It’s understandable that local officials would push back on fracking that may affect Mesquite’s water supply (“Land near Mesquite withdrawn from BLM oil lease auction,” Nov 12 Review-Journal). Given that there are more than 550,000 acres involved, and that more than 80 percent of the proposed acres are not east of the Mormon Mountains, why would the Tule Desert even be considered? This is a travesty.

But things elsewhere are even worse under this administration.

There are more than 20 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge. Of that, about 1.5 million acres make up what is called the coastal plain. These are America’s most majestic lands, home to polar bears, musk oxen, wolves and nearly 200 species of migratory birds. Yet the U.S. Department of the Interior is barreling forward with plans for destructive oil and gas exploration and drilling, disregarding the serious biological, cultural and climate impacts fossil fuel extraction will have in the rapidly warming Arctic.

The 1.5 million acres should be spared. But like in Nevada’s Tule Desert, the Trump administration is disregarding the safety of the environment, the indigenous people and the eco-system in its own right. It is a systemic greed problem.

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