It’s no surprise that President Obama wants to score an environmental victory by setting aside millions of acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as protected wilderness.
That was to be expected the day he took office.
The surprise is an attempt to accomplish this with a Republican-controlled congress.
But, since the November mid-term elections, which went against Obama, the president has appeared obstinate and simply desiring of a fight, pushing, shoving and generally making no effort to get along with other elected officials in Washington, D.C.
That’s the perception here.
Whether Obama is trying to score political points with his loyal followers or simply mess with Alaska after Alaskans elected a Republican senator to replace the then-incumbent, Mark Begich, the timing is at the very least interesting. Obama’s proposal comes shortly after the election, and perhaps in tandem with another anticipated Alaska-related announcement — placement of Alaska’s offshore Arctic off limits to oil development.
Obama’s proposal would designate almost 12.3 million acres in ANWR as wilderness. This designation would be in addition to the already existing 7 million wilderness-designated acres in ANWR.
The effect is to curtail economic development.
If Obama would take this approach with Alaska, he certainly will take it with other states — most likely those that sent Republican senators to D.C. to replace Democrats for this session.
Other states might be vulnerable, too, especially if they are located in western states.
For sure Obama has declared war over land in Alaska. It might look like he’s being bull-headed given the likelihood of Congress agreeing with his proposal. But Alaskans know nothing can ever be taken for granted when it comes to what D.C. will do here, and will have to battle even the least-likely possibility.
— Ketchikan Daily News,