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Predictibly, the Anti-ANWR Spin Came on Cue

On Saturday, the Wisconisn AP reported that both GOP Senate candidates — Ron Johnson and David Westlake — were in support of opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR ,to drilling, especially as an option to off-shore drilling.

Both Republican candidates in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race want to see an environmentally sensitive region of Alaska land opened up to oil drilling, a solution they say would help avoid such catastrophes as the BP oil spill fouling the Gulf of Mexico.

Sen. Russ Feingold, the Democratic incumbent, disagreed, saying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is too sensitive to withstand large-scale drilling.

In interviews with The Associated Press, businessmen Ron Johnson of Oshkosh and Dave Westlake of Watertown said it’s safer to drill in Alaska’s so-called ANWR (pronounced ON’-wahr) region because any spill would be immediately accessible to emergency crews.

“ANWR may be environmentally sensitive but it may be easier to drill up there and with less environmental impact than trying to drill in very deep water,” Johnson said. “You know, these oil rigs are being forced so far offshore. By doing that we’re just increasing the risks.”

Johnson and Westlake will square off in a Republican primary in September. The winner will take on Feingold.

On cue, two of the more environmentally-minded liberal bloggers in the state, James Rowen and Bill Christofferson pounced on the news.  Christofferson going so far as putting up the following “Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day-Approved” photo of ANWR on his blog post.

Pretty isn’t it?  Here’s the problem, while this is ANWR, it is not the proposed drilling site.  In fact, where Christofferson has shown above is literally hundreds of miles from the proposed drilling site near ANWR’s northern coast along the Arctic Ocean.

In 2001, as the debate about re-opening ANWR came forward for the first time, National Review Online Editor-at-Large, Jonah Goldberg took a trip via airplane (it was too cold to get there via land transportation) to the proposed drilling site for an article for the magazine.  Here’s what he came back with:

As you can see, it’s a lot different than the one “Xoff” has on his blog.  In fact, here’s what Goldberg wrote about all the pretty mountains and other common themes from the “We’ll kill the environment!!!” crowd on ANWR.  (Feel free to use the URL links to the photos he’s highlighted.  Above is picture 150.)

Now, as for the mountains in ANWR: There are many beautiful mountain ranges in this South Carolina-sized wilderness. But the ones closest to the coastal plain are not covered in lush trees, as you might think from looking at the media coverage. This far north it’s too cold, dark, and bleak during the winter for trees to survive. So these mountains are impressive geologically, but — at least from what I saw — they look like barren, massive piles of gravel. For example: [169] [179] [171]. And some have really cool glacier-ice formations on them, like this [178]. But remember, these [180] are still very far from this [150].

I did see some caribou closer than this [150] but I didn’t snap any good pictures. As you can see [151], they are hanging out on the shore of the Arctic Ocean trying to escape the bugs. I like to call the one on the very far left-hand corner Arthur. Speaking of the Arctic Ocean, the ice never really goes away [152]. Here you can see the dividing line between what were two giant sheets of ice [154]. That line is not man-made in any way.

And finally, this is me [131] looking like a doofus in hardhat and goggles at the Alpine Oil installation. The reason I don’t look fatter is that standing against a large petroleum facility has a beneficial slimming effect, which is the real reason why I am favor of opening up ANWR. I do not pretend that you couldn’t take prettier pictures up close on the tundra where the drilling might be, but that’s not why I was there. And, besides, you couldn’t take pictures of beautiful mountains where the drilling would be because, well, there are no mountains of any kind where the drilling would be.

Pictures do indeed say a thousands words, especially the ones being used which are blatantly false.

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