Protest on behalf of Arctic Refuge draws thousands to D.C.

Thousands of Americans rallied in Washington, D.C., yesterday — some dressed like polar and grizzly bears — to demand that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be protected from oil drilling. Congressional Republicans, riding the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s disruptions to the nation’s oil supply and record high gasoline prices, plan to authorize Arctic Refuge drilling as part of a filibuster-proof budget bill due for a vote this fall. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and other prominent Democrats joined protestors to condemn the effort. “It makes no sense to respond to a disaster in the gulf by making a disaster in Alaska,” said Clinton. “The answer to our energy challenge does not lie under the plains of the Arctic Refuge, but in the minds that are ingenious in America.” The Canadian government, concerned about the Porcupine caribou herd that migrates across the U.S.-Canada border, is also pressuring the Bush administration to keep drills out of the refuge.