Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More on Stevens...

Read more about Ted Stevens' latest underhanded ploy to "get his drill on" here and here.

This time, Stevens is trying to dangle the money from oil leases in front of Katrina victims for the purpose of coastal wetlands restoration projects, the "natural levees" that will be absolutely vital if the residents of the Gulf Coast are going to be adequately protected from hurricanes. This is ironic for many reasons, mainly because Stevens had earlier threatened to resign in a huff if money allocated for two bridges in Alaska was diverted to help pay for repairs to the I-10 bridge across Lake Ponchartrain. One of those Alaska bridges was the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," which would have connected a small town to a tiny island with a population of 50. Stevens has made his career by claiming that the people of Alaska, who are the recipients of more per-capita federal pork-barrel dollars than any state in the country, are somehow being discriminated against. Meanwhile, he apparently has no problem trying to wrest control of local decisions away from the people of other states such as Washington, i.e. the residents around Puget Sound (although he recently abandoned his plan to increase tanker traffic here as a political favor to Mike McGavick, the Republican challenger for Maria Cantwell's Senate seat).

For me, the ANWR issue is not as much about the ANWR land specifically, or the particular peoples or animal species who depend on the land for subsistence, although that in itself should be a sufficient argument in favor of preserving the area. In my mind, this issue is more about drawing a line in the sand, and saying that we will finally exercise a little self-control as a society and stop ruining every last piece of untouched land, and that we will at least make an attempt to break our dependence on non-renewable sources of energy. Ted Stevens not only has his bizarre jones to destroy ANWR, he also routinely votes against funding renewable energy sources, ethanol requirements, hydrogen-powered vehicle targets, limiting mercury emissions from smokestacks, limiting road building in national forests, and just about every other environmental cause imaginable. He has been given a rating of 5% by the League of Conservation Voters.

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