The Episcopal Church has joined with other faith groups in a statement condemning as morally wrong an amendment to a defense authorization bill that would permit oil companies to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Proponents of drilling in ANWR say that the oil is needed for “reasons of national security” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center and subsequent preparations for a global “war on terrorism.” But opponents say conservation measures will do more to assure steady oil supplies.
“Drilling for oil or gas in ANWR will not benefit the troops we now pray for. In fact, it is unlikely to see oil or gas production for 10 years,” the statement said. “Americans can and should conserve today to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and important natural resources during this national emergency.”
Drilling supporters also claim that most Native Alaskans support their position.
“The Native Alaskans who support drilling are predominantly Inupiat, or Eskimo, whose culture and primary subsistence source are more related to marine wildlife – whale, seals, and fish – not caribou,” said Bishop Mark MacDonald of Alaska. “A disruption to the caribou herd from drilling would not be as devastating to their subsistence way of life. The Inupiat are very strong in their oft-stated opposition to offshore drilling.”