It seems that big oil and their Congressional allies are relentless. When it comes to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), there is never a crisis for which drilling isn’t the answer. High oil prices? Drill the ANWR. Too few jobs in America? Drill the ANWR. The latest crisis, what can we do to reduce the deficit, has the same answer—drill ANWR.
The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Sept. 21 to discuss opening the ANWR to oil and gas drilling, and using the revenue to pay down the federal deficit. As with many of these hearings, there was heated rhetoric from both sides. While drilling promoters trotted out questionable jobs statistics, defenders of the ANWR quickly pointed out flaws in the arguments—many of them stemming from inflated numbers in an oil-industry produced jobs report.
“It’s not creative. It’s not new,” said Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters of the idea to drill in the ANWR. Karpinski and David Jenkins of Republicans for Environmental Protection defended the ANWR from the pro-drilling witnesses, including the Alaska congressional delegation, noting that the estimates of available oil and job creation potential were suspect at best, and would have devastating impacts on the ANWR.
But while members of Congress argued in Washington, another hearing was taking place across the country, showing how much support the ANWR has in Alaska.
In Anchorage, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted a public hearing on the ANWR's draft revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan, and people who spoke in favor of wilderness protection for the coastal plain and other parts of the refuge outnumbered the pro-drilling crowd by a margin of 2 to 1.
Many Gwich’in tribal members attended, and a wide array of citizens spoke passionately about their love for the refuge and the importance of preserving it for future generations. Instead of pleas for short-term gains in oil revenue and jobs, the majority of Alaskans at the hearing called for responsible stewardship of wildlife, the preservation of a unique and irreplaceable landscape, and protections for native culture and subsistence ways of life.
The message from Alaskans was clear—the ANWR is too special to sacrifice for oil.
The question is, will anyone in Washington listen?
For more information, click here.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.
Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.
- 10 Little-Known Shark Facts - EcoWatch ›
- 4 New Walking Shark Species Discovered - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Incredible Species That Glow in the Dark - EcoWatch ›
FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.
- Which Is Worse for the Planet: Beef or Cars? - EcoWatch ›
- Greenhouse Gas Levels Hit Record High Despite Lockdowns, UN ... ›
- 1.8 Billion Tons More Greenhouse Gases Will Be Released, Thanks ... ›