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Volume 71, Issue 137, Friday, April 28, 2006

Opinion

Alaska: Price for rebate

Fabian Sifuentes
Opinion Columnist

To counter rising gasoline cost, Senate Republicans proposed giving taxpayers $100 gasoline rebate checks. Right now, that will pay for three tanks of gas (provided you sport a Scion like I do). By the end of summer, I might get lucky to get two tanks out of it if gas prices continue to increase. Nevertheless, the money would be very useful.

Not so fast. In order to help everyone out so they can continue to be gas gouged, the Republicans threw in a blurb about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Imagine that. They have a chance to pass legislation that would benefit every driver in the nation no matter what party affiliation they are, but they won°Øt do it unless there is something for them to gain politically.

This ticks me off because their job is to serve their constituents. As escalating gas prices threaten to collapse our economy, all the Republican-controlled Senate cares about is representation via the ultimatum. 

People will argue how clean the drilling process will be in Alaska, but you never hear them talk about the support services. That is what would threaten Alaska°Øs ecosystem.

Roads big enough to haul industrial equipment must be built. That means clearing an area twice the size as the proposed roadway so construction equipment can be operated. 

The noise pollution of 24-hour operation would drive away indigenous wild life. 

It is easy to pick on Alaska°Øs national parks because its representation is so small in Congress. 

Would there be this much of a debate if oil were found in Big Bend National Park? What if oil was found near the Grand Canyon? Would we dare drill for oil there?

Alaska is out-of-sight and out-of-mind for most people, and it is easy to approve destroying one of its national parks.

Since most states wouldn°Øt dream of destroying its own national parks to drill for oil, why should those states approve the drilling in another state°Øs park?

If Congress were really interested in improving gas prices, it would threaten to remove tax breaks to oil companies if they didn°Øt start reinvesting record-breaking profits to make aging oil refineries more efficient so they can produce more gasoline to reduce gas prices.

What am I thinking? That would mean they would have to do their job and serve their constituents. Why would they want to ruin all of the money and gifts they receive from lobbyists?

Sifuentes, an opinion columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached at fabian.sifuentes@gmail.com.

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