Last week’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the potential for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) provided valuable testimony from ANWR stakeholders, and a shameful display of insensitivity from Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
Sen. Cantwell used her opening remarks to condemn the makeup of the panel, many of whom traveled thousands of miles from their home in and around ANWR to testify in person. After complaining that there should have been more tribal members in attendance, she insisted that the tribes are against development of the 1002 area of the refuge, effectively putting words into the mouths of those unable to attend. Moments later, the Tribal Administrator for the Native Village of Kaktovik, Alaska, representing the community where drilling is being proposed, testified in support of opening ANWR to development.
In a moment of irony, this is what he had to say: “Our people are tired of others – outsiders who live thousands of miles away – speaking on our behalf and driving Arctic policy decisions that directly affect us and our communities. ANWR is a perfect example.”
I hope Sen. Cantwell was paying attention.
Point Hope, AK