From page A1 of today's Citizen
: "How the thirst for oil imperils an ancient land."
The Gwitch'in people have depended on the Porcupine caribou herd for 27,000 years. Now, that way of life is in jeopardy, writes Paul McKay.
The Ottawa Citizen
OLD CROW, Yukon - There is no geological fault line that connects Washington and this isolated, Arctic Circle aboriginal village, but the 300 Gwitch'in residents here are bracing for what may be biggest change in their 20,000-year history.
The epicentre of the change that looms over the Gwitch'in will be the U.S. Congress. The trigger will be the stroke of a presidential pen that will pass into law a bill that will accelerate oil, gas and coal production on federal lands in nearby Alaska. At the top of that wanted list is a strip of coastal flat near the Yukon border, called the "1002 lands" after a 1980 Congressional provision that vetoed federal drill leases there. [...]
This age-old bond between the [Porcupine caribou herd] and the Gwitch'in has existed since the last ice age. What is at issue now is whether new Alaska drill rigs and pipelines in the Porcupine herd's preferred nursery will cause a catastrophic collapse in breeding, and whether there are better ways to satiate oil-addicted America.
Let's see: Patronizing depiction of hunter-gatherer noble savages? Check. Implications ("stroke of a presidential pen") of overt callousness, and It's All George Bush's Fault? Check. "Oil-addicted America" is to blame for "[imperiling] an ancient land?" Check. Casual dismissal of the fact that any upcoming action only increases the reach and output of existing drilling apparatus, and isn't some cartoonish re-enaction of enviro-agitprop? Check.
What liberal media? Oh, right