BROOKLIN, Canada, Sep 8 (IPS) – While the George W. Bush administration has so far failed in its bid to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, eight million acres of pristine Alaskan wilderness goes on sale to oil and gas companies Sep. 27.
Located west of the Prudhoe Bay’s oil fields, the eight million acres include Teshekpuk Lake and the surrounding wetlands, considered important habitat for caribou and water birds.
“This is the most important bird area in the entire circumpolar Arctic,” said Stan Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska, an environmental group.
“We’re not opposed to oil and gas development, but it needs to stay out of critical areas like this,” Senner told IPS from Juneau, Alaska.
“The lands near Teshekpuk Lake are one of the most important ecological areas on the entire North Slope,” agreed Nicole Whittington-Evans, assistant regional director in Alaska of the Wilderness Society.