"Encouraging the federal government to end the federal subsidy of ethanol, and requesting the Congress of the United States to mandate that land currently used to grow corn for the production of ethanol be returned to its natural state."
"I ask you to join me in sending the message that what is good for the goose must be good for the gander."
- Sen. Bunde
Fifty-two United States Senators recently voted against the opening of ANWR to oil drilling, proclaiming that by doing so, they were saving wilderness and preserving wildlife.
During debate on Amendment 272, "To prevent consideration of drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Senate Concurrent Resolution 23, the fast track budget reconciliation," many senators spoke on behalf of keeping the 1002 region in a state of "pristine wilderness."
For example, Mr. Durbin of Illinois said, "The Arctic Refuge includes boreal forests, dramatic peaks, and tundra. It features a complete range of arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems, with an extraordinary assemblage of wildlife." He declared, "We have a responsibility in this generation to leave to the next generation the natural heritage that we were given."
Illinois produces 766 million gallons of ethanol produced from corn, the most of all fifty states. I hope that he understands that this resolution would protect the next generation from ethanol subsidies.
The amendment's sponsor, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, explained her position this way. "I say to my friends from Alaska, I hope they will understand the people in this country who support keeping this 5 percent of the North Slope in its pristine environment are doing so because we think it is good for the soul of this country, and we believe there are more jobs to be created through other means.
However, I agree with Senator Lisa Murkowski, who said during the debate, "But this thought process implies that … Alaskan residents, my constituents, the jobs they will get are carrying bags for these people when they come to visit as a tourist."
Many of the senators who voted for Amendment 272 represent the top 20 ethanol-producing states in the nation. Some of the nation's most influential businesses profit greatly from the federal ethanol subsidy and do big business in those states. Those senators support industrial development in their states, to the detriment of their own wildlife and wild lands. Yet many in those and other states who supported keeping ANWR closed to development are ardent environmentalists - when it comes to someone else's state.
I also agree with Senator Murkowski when she said, "It is demeaning and it is unfair to say that Massachusetts can keep its 20,000 petroleum-based jobs; that New Jersey can keep its 27,000 petroleum-industry jobs; and New York can keep its 36,000 petroleum-industry jobs, while Alaska supposedly looks to other alternatives. Why is it OK for everybody else to do it, and yet in Alaska for some reason we are not responsible, we can't handle it, we don't do it right, we need to lock it up and preserve it because it is the last Serengeti?"
This resolution is meant to send a message to those United States Senators who support the environmentalists' viewpoint. They believe that saving 2,000 acres in Alaska is worth more than Alaskan jobs and Alaskans' right to develop our state in the manner we see fit.
I ask you to join me in sending the message that what is good for the goose must be good for the gander.