One week after a study by the U.S. Geological Survey showed that oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could harm caribou, the agency has completed another study claiming that the drilling scenarios most likely to be approved by Congress would not affect the species. The two-page report was commissioned by Interior Secretary Gale Norton shortly after the release of the initial study, which was widely interpreted as a major blow to the Bush administration’s drilling plan. Opponents of that plan decried the follow-up report as desperate political maneuvering by the Interior Department; Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), an outspoken critic of opening the refuge to drilling, said he found it “hard to believe” that a seven-day study could be more accurate than the original one, which surveyed 12 years’ worth of scientific literature on Arctic wildlife. Advocates of drilling insisted, however, that the original study was based on scenarios that do not resemble those actually being considered by Congress.
Get Grist in your inbox