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ANWR a Wasteland?
Letters / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner / November 11, 2005

To the Editor:

Does anyone else take offense at Sen. Ted Stevens' remarks about the "wasteland" that is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? In "ANWR vote expected today," Nov. 3, Stevens is quoted as saying that ANWR in winter is a "barren wasteland, frozen wasteland." His feelings for ANWR in the summer do not improve, "The rest is just constant, constant tundra, no trees, no beauty at all." I find it hard to believe that a senator would be so repulsed by such a large portion of his home state.

My family and I had the opportunity to drive the Dalton Highway in early August all the way to Deadhorse. In my 40 years of traveling, that trip will always stand out as one of the most memorable trips in my life. While I realize the Dalton only skirts ANWR, I can only imagine that it is as beautiful as the wilderness we drove through (if not more so). Even if you were to ignore the amazing wildlife that we observed, the sheer beauty and magnitude of the tundra environment we saw was enough to make me want to make the trip every year for the rest of my life.

When you add in the caribou, musk ox, wolves, songbirds and waterfowl we saw, it was almost sensory overload. When we arrived at Deadhorse, I marveled at the ingenuity and tenacity of the people who built and run all of the equipment up there. I also felt that it was perhaps one of the ugliest places I have ever seen. To imagine the sprawl that would occur if ANWR is opened makes me shudder. The incredible unspoiled views of the "constant, constant tundra" would be ruined with the wellheads, roads, pipelines and infrastructure that would accompany the drilling of ANWR.

While we are on the subject of Stevens, I can't help but notice the similarities between him and my 4-year-old daughter. His tantrums and tirades sound just like her. If the senator feels that he is not going to get his way, he childishly whines that he will quit. My daughter would get a time-out. Well Stevens, here is one Alaskan saying "Go ahead, I won't miss you!"

David Christensen / Fairbanks

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