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Norton Distributed a Pro-Drilling Video

April 16, 2002

Re "Accusations Fly Over Arctic Refuge Video," April 12: That the Department of the Interior often functions like a press agent for Big Oil should surprise no one. Its latest adventure in industry PR is the distribution of an industry-backed propaganda video trying to make the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "America's Serengeti," appear lifeless and sterile.

The video portrays the refuge in the dead of winter, when industry contends that most of the work will be done and when wildlife activity is less--and less visible. But the fact is that impacts are year-round, and it is deceitful to pretend otherwise.

The network of roads and pipelines serving the scattered wells and other related development will have a major impact on this biologically fecund treasure.

This is something that the U.S. Geological Survey admitted in a recently released and years-in-the-making study that Interior Secretary Gale Norton ordered revised in a week. So much for relying on sound science.

Apparently, it must sound good to oil companies in order to be considered sound by the Bush administration.

Norton, protege of the notorious former Interior Secretary James Watt, is making her mentor proud. He could hardly outdo her in fealty to industrial interests and willingness to mislead the public.

Carl A. Zichella

Regional Staff Director

Sierra Club, Sacramento

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