Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sarah Palin's "barren" ANWR

The Palins and Greta Van Susteren discussed ANWR "On The Record" and concluded that the area where Sarah Palin wants to drill, baby, drill is barren.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Todd, it struck me that it's quite flat and there's not a lot of -- I didn't see a lot of animal life or anything. How far south is it like this? What's the terrain like?
TODD PALIN: Many miles south before we get into the mountain range, as you can see. And so when you see pictures of ANWR in the mountains and moose, I don't see that anywhere here, or to the north of us.
SARAH PALIN: You can look about 60 miles south and still see what we're seeing right now. So yes, as Todd's suggesting, the fundraiser pictures and the websites that show waterfalls and moose and mountain ranges and Dahl sheep climbing along shale (ph), that's not the real ANWR.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything to ANWR besides this flat that we've seen? I mean, have we have seen pretty much a representation of ANWR.
TODD PALIN: Pretty much. On our flight down here from Prudhoe, down here to Kavik hunting camp, yes.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what about animal life? Have we seen -- have we seen any animals since we've been here?
TODD PALIN: Saw about five caribou when we landed, and there's a caribou across the runway here. But there's plenty of caribou around here normally.
SARAH PALIN: Somebody said they saw two birds. That adds to the species list. But there are some -- out of the 20 million acres set aside in ANWR, there is wilderness. There is refuge area. There are some more beautiful, more scenic landscapes to look at. But the 1002 area, the 1.5 million acres that have been set aside for the oil and gas development, including the 2,000 acres that are needed for the footprint for the development, that's the barren remoteness that you're looking at.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you don't have a sense of how big this is unless you actually come up and look at it.
SARAH PALIN: Absolutely. That's key, you know, to consider the 20 million acres of this, plus the 23 million acres of -- that's pretty much adjacent to the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska area. These tens of millions of acreages that are so vast, so remote, yes, people don't understand even what kind of context we're talking about until they get up here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Todd, can you understand any of the environmental concerns or any of the complaints about this from people?
TODD PALIN: Well, you know, working on the slope for close to 20 years, knowing what we do every day to maintain our license to do business, it's hard for me to understand the direction. You know, they just want to lock up this state. Any kind of species, endangered species, they just want to lock up our complete state, let alone ANWR, for resource development.

From Wikipedia:
The question of whether to drill for oil in the ANWR has been an ongoing political controversy in the United States since 1977. The controversy surrounds drilling for oil in a 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) subsection on the coastal plain, known as the "1002 area." Much of the debate over whether to drill in the 1002 area of ANWR rests on the amount of economically recoverable oil, as it relates to world oil markets, weighed against the potential harm oil exploration might have upon the natural wildlife, in particular the calving ground of the Porcupine caribou.
A few google searches later, it turns out that area 1002 is far from barren.

The area is home to the following creatures: caribou, Porcupine caribou, muskoxen, polar bears, snow geese, gyrfalcons, Arctic foxes and bowhead whales, among others.

Porcupine caribou movements throughout the year in area 1002

Polar bears in area 1002

Distribution on muskoxen in area 1002

A few pictures of the wildlife in "barren" area 1002:

Porcupine caribou

Arctic gyrfalcon


Snow geese

Bowhead whale

Arctic fox

Alaska Stock and Alaska In Pictures have hundreds of photographs of wildlife in area 1002 of ANWR.

Further reading:

Management of the 1002 Area within the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain

Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain Terrestrial Wildlife Research Summaries

Wikipedia: Arctic Refuge drilling controversy

Eco-risks loom as arctic oil activity grows

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