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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Disaster Averted…This Time

Well, initially this piece was supposed to uncover a breaking story you hadn’t heard about. But now that it’s old news, this is more about the fact that you hadn’t heard about it. Let me take a minute to tell you all about the news you weren’t getting from the news. A lot’s gone on in the past week up on the Hill that you all ought to know about. Word kicking around last week was that some of our representatives had been putting in some serious overtime on the Anti-Terrorism Act. The problem was, these guys weren’t putting in time combating terrorism. Remember that whole issue a few months back over the plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Well it turns out that despite widespread opposition, just before calling recess on August 1, the House passed its version of the energy bill (H.R. 4) 240-189, which includes an amendment to sink a diamond-bitted drill into the refuge after all, on top of 33.5 billion dollars worth of subsidies, 75% of which goes to fund coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy. The kicker is that in light of Sept. 11 most of Congress had decided to put all partisan issues on the backburner, most until 2002. That is, most of Congress. According to Earthnet News-Sept. 28, it turns out Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK) had been putting in late-night hours trying to get the House’s energy bill sticky-taped to the Anti-Terrorism Act currently making its own bipartisan bee-line through Congress.

You see, there’s been a really tense situation going on between lawmakers and environmentalists since the all-encompassing terror of September 11. Environmental organizations that have known about this energy bill for the past two months and had been fighting it up to the eleventh realized the importance of a unified nation in times like these. No one wants to be labeled un-American. We went through that with the McCarthy Communist paranoia of the fifties. So all major environmental groups have laid-off current combustible issues to allow the government to do the bipartisan work required to get us through these turbulent times. And for all intents and purposes it seemed like Congress was doing the same, not bringing partisan politics into the picture, thereby preventing public accusation that anyone in government could be taking advantage of a national crisis. Now I’m not one to lecture about backhanded politics, the system is the way it is. But for two senators to have seized an opportunity like this to push their partisan agenda seems…we’ll say less than beneficial to the nation as a whole.

Granted, the bill had amendments attached to limit oil production in the region to no more than 2,000 acres, with 50% of the royalties going to maintenance of federal lands and research into renewable energies. It also had to pass through Senate, (who were expected to authorize more funding than the House for energy efficiency, renewable energies, and conservation), and some environmentalists expected the debate between the two to last well into the 2002 fiscal year.

Fortunately, Earthnet news reported Oct. 4 that Senate had UNANIMOUSLY voted to keep any and all energy provisions off of all anti-terrorism legislation. Forgive me this brief albeit shining moment to say, “HOORAY for Jim Jeffords!!!” Now, this is just speculation, but something tells me had he not made the move he did last summer to Independent, and both the House and Senate were still controlled by the Republicans, they might have been shining up those drill bits as we speak.

However unfortunately, the battle is not yet won. It seems Sen. Murkowski is determined to open the ANWR for business and is already eyeing other bills to stick it to. Here’s where you come in. Now there’s no pressure from this end, you’re gonna’ live your life as you deem fit, and you ought to, you’re American. That means you’ve got the right to walk, talk, choose, vote, what have you, you live here. But let me ask you quick: how does it make you feel that these kinds of backroom politics are happening in the wake of a national-strike that-international catastrophe? And maybe more importantly: what do you think about the fact that no TV station, no radio station, no mainstream paper decided to inform you of this process that’s been going on for weeks? Do you think this is newsworthy? Would you maybe like to have known about this a week ago? A month ago? Then maybe, if it struck you as important enough, you could’ve been in a position to do something about it. As it is though, Senate bailed us out of this one. How many times you think that’ll happen? Place a bet? Let the dice roll…

Or you can get yourself informed. Knowledge is power, bet on that. Why do you think you didn’t hear about all this in the first place? Because everyone in power’s got the knowledge to keep it from you. But on an up note, there’s other ways to gather info than mainstream media. Want to get turned on to a couple of alternative news sources, i.e.: Earthnet news? Allow me…

Here’s just a couple off of Earthnet news’ list:

www.motherjones.com

www.indymedia.org

www.fair.org

www.alternet.org

and, lest we forget Earthnet’s very own: www.envirocitizen.org

And while we’re at it, I might as well give you a few reasons why drilling in the ANWR would be a bad thing:

1) Any oil extraction will require construction of hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines, construction of housing for thousands of workers, and inevitable oil and toxic chemical spills, adding to the hundreds already occurring annually in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.

2) If estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey are correct, less than a six-month supply of oil is available in the ANWR at current U.S. consumption rates.

3) The argument that we need to drill the ANWR in light of oil demand for war is bogus. Any oil we extract from ANWR wouldn’t be available for at least ten years!

4) A bipartisan survey conducted by the Wilderness Society shows that the majority of Americans would rather have the country increase its reliance on alternative forms of energy and improve efforts to use our energy more efficiently than drill in the ANWR.

**But you tell me. First check out these four sites:

www.aip.org/enews/fyi/2001/104.html

www.eff.org/se/ashcroft_proposal.html

www.hsus.org/whatnew/arcticdrilling040501.html

www.nrdc.org/legislation/ahr4.asp

Then drop a line and tell me what you came up with: [email protected]