When you can protect a vast and delicate Arctic ecosystem from oil exploration and possible destruction and piss off the Republicans at the same time, you’re doing something right.
The Obama administration will propose setting aside more than 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, the White House announced Sunday, halting any chance of oil exploration for now in the refuge’s much-fought-over coastal plain and sparking a fierce battle with Republicans, including the new chair of the Senate Energy Committee.
Oil industry officials decried the proposed limits as another example of the administration’s regulatory excesses. “Today’s announcement is the perfect bookend to the president’s State of the Union speech last Tuesday in its utter disregard for the midterm election results and disdain for a Republican-controlled Congress,” said Stephen Brown, vice president of federal government affairs for the petroleum refiner and marketer Tesoro Corp. “There is no longer any pretext of bipartisanship — just this ‘my way or the highway’ approach.”
Well, given that the Republicans have done everything they possibly could to halt any effort by the Obama administration to do anything about climate change or alternative fuels, why should they bother consulting with them in the first place?