Friday, March 18, 2005

By Patti Davis (Daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.) - About Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Dirty Footprints
We must write letters of outrage to the senators who voted to drill in
ANWR, says our columnist. But maybe all there is left to do is weep.

By Patti Davis (Daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.)
Updated: 2:26 p.m. ET March 17, 2005

March 17 - President Bush must be feeling so victorious. The Senate has
now said yes to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the
pristine place President Eisenhower took measures to protect in 1960.

Environmental groups have said the fight isn’t over, and I want to
believe there is still something we can do—write letters, e-mails, rise
up en masse and say no. But I don’t know if anything will help at this
point. It’s possible that the only thing we will be able to do is
weep—at the devastation of wild, untamed land where caribou are free to
breed and give birth far away from the harm that humans bring. Where
polar bear are a common sight and where cars and trucks and engines are
never heard. Where people are outnumbered by the vast numbers of birds
and animals—safe for the moment, but soon to be doomed.

The absurd statements made by politicians and oil companies that the
environment can be protected while drilling for oil are just
that—absurd. It assumes that we are ignorant. Roads will be carved,
trucks will rumble through, drills will be stabbed into the earth. Oil
companies don’t care about nature, the environment or the animals that
will be terrified and traumatized. They don’t care, and neither does
the Bush administration.

It is possible that the senators who voted for this measure care
re-election, so that’s where the letters and outrage should be

In 2001, when my sister Maureen died, Sen. John McCain came to her
memorial service. I spoke with him for quite a while that day and,
because the effort to drill in the Arctic was in the news at that time,
we spoke about it.

“It will never get through the Senate,” he said to me. “It won’t

I’ve held onto his words since then. I believed him … mostly because I
so desperately wanted to. When I saw the news today, I sat down and

CONTINUED: We Have An Administration that Cares Nothing for This Planet

We have an administration in Washington that cares nothing for this
planet, for beauty, for pristine places, for innocent animals with soft
brown eyes. Everything is a war to this president, and he is determined
to win.

If this actually happens—if 1.2 million acres of this exquisite land is
given over to oil companies—the area will never be the same. Ever.
George W. Bush will leave office and if we are very lucky someone who
cares about the future of the planet will be elected. But the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge will forever be scarred by what this president
set into motion.

I don’t believe this is even about oil; after all, we won’t see any of
it for another decade. This is about another victory for the Bush
administration. This is about Bush leaving his footprint on yet another
corner of the earth and then walking away and not looking back at the
damage he has left behind.

It’s how he has lived his life—failing to acknowledge the consequences
of his actions. From 1979 to 1990, when he was in the Texas oil
industry, investors lost millions of dollars after three of his
companies went bankrupt—but Bush walked away with a profit and has
never even commented on his sloppy business sense. His military record
has never been adequately explained. CBS took the hit for shoddy
journalism when it raised questions about his Air National Guard
service, but Bush continues to deflect inquiries about the real issues.
Nor has he ever owned up to the false information about WMDs in Iraq;
meanwhile people are dying every day over there.

When his last term as president is over, he will walk away from a war
that he got us into based on lies, from a gutted environmental policy
and possibly from the destruction of a fragile, beautiful place called
the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. We will be left with the damage
this administration has caused, with scars on the earth and memories of
wildlife that used to roam and fly over vast acres … before they
started dying.

True to his nature, this president will walk away and not look back.

Davis, the daughter of Nancy and Ronald Reagan, is a writer based in
Los Angeles
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

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