WASHINGTON - March 18 - The Alaska Wilderness League released a compelling new online advertisement today, just in time for the 15th "dark anniversary" of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The humorous and hard-hitting animation looks at the devastation produced by the Exxon Valdez disaster on March 24, 1989, and draws parallels between the Valdez spill and the Bush administration's misguided plan to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
At the end of the animation, viewers are urged to tell their Member of Congress why protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is important to them. The animation is featured at http://www.notanothervaldez.com.
"If the oil industry messed up so bad 15 years ago, how can we trust that their new plan for Alaska - drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - would be any safer?" said Cindy Shogan, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. "It is not worth sacrificing America's last frontier for about 6 months of oil that won't flow for another 10 years."
The animation is the centerpiece of the Alaska Wilderness League's campaign to increase awareness of the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and educate people about the ongoing threats to the Arctic Refuge from oil and gas exploration and drilling. Though polls consistently show that most Americans want to protect the Refuge, certain Members of Congress and the Bush administration remain intent on exploiting it for short-term gain.
The Bush administration was recently dealt a setback in its attempt to exploit the Arctic Refuge. Their back-door scheme - a provision to include revenues from oil drilling in the Refuge in the 2005 federal budget - was stripped from both the Senate and the House versions of the budget bill. However, conservationists remain vigilant for renewed efforts to open the Refuge in the coming year.
The 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the country's largest wildlife refuge. It contains one of the last intact expanses of arctic and subarctic ecosystems, providing essential habitat to polar bears, birds, musk oxen and arctic fox. The Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge is the calving ground for the 129,000-strong Porcupine Caribou herd, upon which the Gwich'in, a 7,000-year-old native culture, depends for their subsistence.
"A disaster the magnitude of the Exxon Valdez oil spill should never happen again, least of all in such a fragile place as the Arctic Refuge," said Shogan. "Congress and the Bush Administration need to honor America's desire to keep the Refuge clean and safe, instead of bowing to their oil industry cronies."