www.nytimes.com

America’s wildest place is open for business

If you've never heard of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, you're not alone. But it deserves our attention, now more than ever.


Twenty years ago, in July 1997, I toured the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska with then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and a gaggle of reporters and agency staffers. What most impressed me, other than the vast number of loons, ducks and other migrating waterfowl, was the clearly visible network of tracks criss-crossing the tundra – a legacy of 1960s-era truck traffic probing for oil.

The vividness of those tracks some 40 years later stands as testament to our inability to understand our impact in our world. And this 1998 editorial from the New York Times, on the eve of Babbitt's decision to develop the reserve, gives weight to the notion that once land is developed, it's gone forever. But protection needs constant vigilance.

The whole debate again reminds me of President Johnson's words:

"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it…. Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted."

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in February 2019. (Credit: School of Media and Public Affairs at GWU)
Originals

Peter Dykstra: Happy birthday, Senator Inhofe!

On November 17, 1934, Blanche and Perry Inhofe of Des Moines, Iowa, delivered a lasting gift to climate denial. James Mountain Inhofe (the imposing middle name is actually his Mom's maiden name) came into the world.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

Clouded in Clarity: A comic on chemicals & controversy

Harmful chemicals are difficult to understand. So, to pair with our investigation, "Exposed" we present EHN's first comic, "Clouded in Clarity," which focuses on BPA and the controversy around an ongoing, massive study on it.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

Exposed: How willful blindness keeps BPA on shelves and contaminating our bodies

We all are exposed daily to bisphenol-A (BPA) and other bisphenols – estrogen-like substances added to food can liners, paper receipts and plastic containers.

Keep reading... Show less
BPA testing in the lab of Cheryl Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri researcher. (Credit: Cheryl Rosenfeld)
Originals

Exposed: A scientific stalemate leaves our hormones and health at risk

This is part 1 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Researcher Pat Hunt at her Washington State University lab. (Credit: Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: On the edge of research honesty

This is part 2 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Researcher Pat Hunt with lab mice in her Washington State University lab. (Credit: Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: Deciphering the real message about BPA

This is part 3 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
Valspar cans. (Credit Lynne Peeples)
Originals

Exposed: Toward a BPA-free future

This is part 4 of a 4-part investigation of the science surrounding the chemical BPA and the U.S. regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.

Keep reading... Show less
From our Newsroom

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.