Buster 2011 001-1-1aThe Obama Administration has decided it is within their prevue to designate and manage 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an area that has historically been separate from the already 18 million acres of protected lands designated three decades ago. “Designating land as protected wilderness is usually only done by an act of Congress,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. The plan would permanently ban oil drilling in the area and also prohibit other forms of development. The now 19.8-million-acre refuge borders Canada along the Beaufort Sea. The newly designated area is estimated to hold 10.3 billion barrels of oil. “Our country has become so dependent on foreign nations for some of our basic necessities such as oil and food. If these countries were to bump the price of oil or shut off our food supply, we would drastically feel the effects,” Johnson stated. “This withdrawal is depriving Americans of economic development and doing nothing to lessen our dependency on foreign nations,” Johnson continued. Johnson compared the designation to the withdrawal and closing of 1 million acres of public land in the Arizona Strip to uranium mining back in 2011. “This closure took away the potential for roughly 4,000 jobs and over $30 billion of economic development to our area,” Johnson said. “By continuing to cut off these public areas we are cutting off our future,” Johnson said. “As with the withdrawal of land near the Arizona Strip, this withdrawal hurts not only Alaskans but all Americans. It takes away the potential to develop and produce on the land,” Johnson said. “Technology has come a long way, and it is possible for us to be able to drill on this land without disturbing the natural beauty and habitat of it,” Johnson said. “This designation is depriving Americans of the opportunity to be energy independent as well as taking away any opportunity American citizens would have for future development,” Johnson continued. The battle over the ANWR has been going on for over three decades. The area was designated as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1960 to conserve the natural diversity of wildlife and fish populations within their natural habitats. In December 1980, Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) designating most of the original Arctic National Wildlife Range as Wilderness except for approximately 1.5 million acres on the Refuge’s coastal plain. When ANILCA was signed in 1980, Section 1002 of the act set aside 600,000 acres of the 1 million acre coastal plain of ANWR for evaluating potential oil and gas resources. The Department of Interior has stated they intend to carry forward the band and protection, even though a true designation can only be done by an act of Congress. The designation not only bars oil and gas development but also road-building and all motorized access to the area, such as ATVs. To receive future updates and information regarding Mohave County, please sign up for our monthly newsletter or press release list at www.busterjohnson.com ###