The Corner

Obama Proposes Expanding No-Drill Territory in AK; Senators Furious

After touting that the United States is “as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years,” and that the U.S. is “number one in oil and gas,” the president is keen to ensure that neither of those accomplishments lasts. Via the Washington Examiner:

President Obama has proposed setting aside more than 12 million acres of the Alaska coast as wilderness in a move that will pit him against Republicans from the state.

Obama’s plans to impose strict federal protections over an expanded portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] would keep Alaskans from accessing the wealth of petroleum reserves that lay below the “fragile” habitat there.

“I’m very proud that my Department of Interior has put forward a comprehensive plan to make sure we’re protecting the refuge and that we’re designating new areas, including coastal plains, for preservation,” the president said from his seat aboard Air Force Once in a video released Sunday.

“I’m going to be calling on Congress to make sure that they take it one step further: designating it as a wilderness,” Obama said.

Here is the administration’s video, replete with picturesque footage of Alaskan flora and fauna:

Alaska’s presence in the Senate is not happy. “What’s coming is a stunning attack on our sovereignty and our ability to develop a strong economy that allows us, our children and our grandchildren to thrive,” said Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski in a statement:

It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. The promises made to us at statehood, and since then, mean absolutely nothing to them. I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska.

Added senator Dan Sullivan: “This outrageous action confirms what most Alaskans have feared – that the Obama administration’s war against Alaska families and the middle class would only intensify under the final two years of President Obama’s tenure. . . . We will defeat their lawless attempt to designate ANWR as a wilderness, as well as their ultimate goal of making Alaska one big national park.”

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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