December 27, 2005
Does Senator Cantwell Hate The Inuit?
Probably not, but the Inuit
who live in Kaktovik have good reason to think that she
does. More than anyone else, those native Americans would benefit from drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Many would be able to find jobs with the oil companies,
which they need, if they are to have better lives in Kaktovik. A poll shows that a large majority
of Kaktovik residents favor drilling in
But Washington's junior senator blocked those jobs, and progress for the Inuit of Kaktovik, when
she helped kill drilling in ANWR. Why does she favor blocking something so much in the
interest of this small, poor native American village? I don't think that she was motivated by
racism, though I would not exclude a related sin, which I call "urban imperialism".
Urban imperialists do not live in rural areas, but are quite willing to set the rules for those who
do, and are generally unwilling to listen to the residents of rural areas.
Urban imperialists would be enraged if, for instance, the loggers of the Olympic peninsula and the
farmers of the Columbia Basin were to make detailed regulations for the inner city residents of
Seattle and Tacoma, but they feel quite comfortable doing the reverse.
A more important reason for Cantwell's actions was, most likely, electoral calculation. A large
proportion of Washington's voters hold religious views* about the environment and by blocking drilling
in ANWR she will delight those voters. And I would not be completely
surprised to learn that Cantwell shares those religious views, in part. She claims to be a
Catholic, but then so does John Kerry.
Cantwell's actions will also please many who believe that the oil companies are wicked, and that
anything that thwarts the oil companies is good. (These same people often believe that gas prices are
too high — and that oil companies should be blocked from drilling in ANWR and other "sacred"
areas. I have never quite figured out how to respond to that combination.)
It is no accident that Cantwell justified her actions in part with a demagogic attack on the oil
companies — or that she ignored the immense sums that would go to the federal government if
drilling in ANWR was successful.
And Cantwell may have still other motives. Extreme environmentalists often are large
contributors to the Democratic party and its leftwing allies. Blocking ANWR will not hurt her
Whatever Cantwell's motives, one thing is certain: She helped keep the Inuit of Kaktovik
poor. I hope a few of them will come to Washington and campaign against her next year.
Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.
(*There's nothing original in this argument. John McPhee titled his 1971 book on the longtime
head of the Sierra Club, David Brower,
Encounters With the Archdruid,
because Brower's opposition to almost any kind of development was essentially religious.
You can see the religious nature of the opposition to drilling in ANWR in the language often
used by opponents. The refuge, we are often told, is "sacred" and would be "desecrated" by
those profane oil companies.
When discussing environmental issues, I have begun calling those with essentially religious
motives, "preservationists", and those who just want cleaner air and water for people,
"conservationists". The terms aren't perfect, but they fit historically. (A few
who support the preservationists do so for entirely selfish reasons; they want to keep wild areas
for themselves.) I am a staunch conservationist, but not at all a preservationist.
Once you recognize the religious motives of the preservationists, you will realize that what they
want may often be unconstitutional. The 1st Amendment prevents the federal government from
building cathedrals for the Catholic church; it also prevents the federal government from
providing sacred groves for the Sierra Club.
The Seattle Times, which supported Senator Cantwell in 2000, ran an
applauding her efforts to keep the Inuit of Kaktovik impoverished. As is true of most city
newspapers, the Times is full of urban imperialists. And so they have no trouble in
keeping the Inuit of Kaktovik too poor even to have indoor plumbing.
You will sometimes see the claim that Alaskan natives do not support the drilling.
Those who make that claim support it by referring to the
Gwich'in, who do oppose
drilling. What those people almost never tell you is that the Gwich'in live hundreds of
miles from the drilling site, and favored drilling on their own lands in the past.
Need to brush up on the Inuit? Here's the
Wikipedia entry, where you will learn, among
other things that the singular of Inuit is "Inuk" or "Inuq".)
Posted by Jim Miller at December 27, 2005
10:14 AM | Email This
1. It's just a matter of time before we'll drill up there. It'll just take another oil crisis or two, and the oil companies will be drilling holes like nobody's business. It doesn't matter what Patty and Maria think about it.
This is standard operating procedure for Cantwell who was deeply involved with the Speaker Joe King to bring us the Growth Management Act. It's all about control and it's couched in warm and fuzzy rhetoric in order to disguise it. She loves it when the TV news uses those great scenic shots to describe ANWR, etc.
What is equally troubling is that Republicans also go along with some of this nonsense. We need the ability to drill in ANWR in order to:
1.) Gain leverage over the OPEC cartel- if they know we are willing to tap our own reserves, what do you think will happen to the speculative futures market?
2.) Provide revenue to the fedral budget from leases- get it, we are "paying" ourselves- not some foreign country.
3.)Provide needed jobs as the author mentioned.
In addition, the Magnuson Amendment must be changed in order to allow more crude to enter Cherry Point and lower prices at the pump. We need courageous elected leaders to stand up to those like Cantwell and do the right thing- not cowtow to the environmental fringe.
It's all too obvious that the Democrats are doing everything in their power to support the terrorists.
Here is a way we can take some of the money that inevitably ends up in the terrorists pockets and put it back into our own economy. By increasing our drilling at home, we not only lower the price of gas (however slightly, a small change is still better than none) and we send more of our American dollars to American interests that gets taxed by the American government.
I hope Maria Cantwell gets called to the carpet for this, but unfortunately, too many Washingtonians can't tell the difference between conserving our natural resources and balancing that with our economic needs, and putting trees and bears ahead of people. (And here, there are no trees or bears or much of anything but lichen that is at stake!)
What is really interesting an virtually forgotten by everyone not involved in tribal work is that Cantwell recieved huge support in the form of soft money and advertising in her Senate run. Slade Gorton was the tribes #1 hit list target and they were going to everything they could do defeat him.
The tribes did a massive voter registration campaign and it could be argued that Cantwell's margin of victory was entirely due to the tribal vote.
1) "These same people often believe that gas prices are too high — and that oil companies should be blocked from drilling in ANWR and other "sacred" areas. I have never quite figured out how to respond to that combination."
Oh, it gets better. These are the same folks driving around with "Free Tibet" bumper stickers next to their "No Iraq War" bumper stickers. In principle, freeing Tibet is a wonderful idea, but it's difficult to imagine doing that without a body count that would not reach into the hundreds of millions. Literally.
2) Not drilling in ANWR means that the higher price of oil will induce drilling in other parts of the world... who care little about avoiding damage to the environment while doing so.
the choice is between us doing it cleanly, and someone else doing it sloppily.
3) Dennis, remember that we're not entirely sure whether Cantwell's "margin of victory" really had a plus or minus in front of it, as the race was decided by a last-minute dump of ballots from King County.
6. During the debate while the local TV news stations were doing their kneepad thing for Maria, they kept showing film of ANWAR. I wrote to both Ch 7 and 5 and asked them if the footage they were showing was the actual place where the drilling was to occur. Neither station bothered to respond.
7. For a revealing account of the religious aspects of environmentalism, also check out Ernest Callenbach's puerile 1975 novel Ecotopia, concerning the secession of the Pacific Northwest from the US to form a coercive state of which Miz Cantwell would be proud. It figures that Ecotopia would be run completely by women, much as Washington State is today.
You are right about the tribes vote.
I would like to point out however that
unlike in the past there was and
I believe there still is a chance to
Get there vote.
Mark Hulst actually made some in roads
with the tribes they were interested and
agreed with what he had to say.This information
was given to Chris Vance and as usual he did
nothing.and know Mike McGavick can't change
that.Because they will see him as nothing
more that a slick businessman pandering
Remind me again why tribes get to vote? I thought they were citizens in their own nation.
I'm sorry to be terribly ignorant of this subject. But it is troubling that our senators are being picked by people who don't consider themselves as citizens of the United States.
10. DOES THIS MAKER HERE A INUIT-PHOBIC?
As mentioned by others, we will inevitably drill ANWR; it is just a question of time; and whether we have a chance to do it on a careful, orderly, and methodical basis; or are forced to do it in a desperate panic when there is a REAL oil crises.
And no: the $3.00+ per gallon we had earlier this year was not even close: If radical terrorists were to, say, overthrow the current Saudi Royals or put the Saudi loading facilities out of commission for even a few months, THEN we would know what a real oil crises looked like (all of Saudi Arabia's oil exports are I believe loaded at just 3 facilities: Yanbu, Ras al-Juaymah, and Ras Turana (see google) ).
In any case, the footprint for drilling in ANWR (most work would be done in the winter) is on the order of 2000 acres; out of something over 20,000,000 total: One part out of TEN-THOUSAND.
The idea that drilling ANWR with modern methods would "destroy" it is another piece of left-wing radical propaganda without basis in fact.
I have proposed on other blogs the following steps for any Congresscritter who opposes development of domestic energy resources and infrastructure, especially the no-growth, no-build, conserve-only proponents:
1. Reduce the thermostats in their Congressional offices to 40 deg. or so in winter, 85 deg. in summer. If they want us to conserve only, let's start with them.
2. Disallow about 90% of their travel budgets. That will save tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel every year.
3. Remove their parking spots at the Capitol and National Airport. They can walk to work and take the Metro to DCA. Let them lead by example if they want the rest of us to use less energy.
4. Allow them no TV time. That will save electricity on the lights and cameras and ancillary equipment their press conferences consume.
5. No printed materials will be allowed to be sent from their offices. That will save trees and the energy necessary to harvest those trees and process them into paper.
Since these slimemolds want the rest of us to make do with less energy and make whatever changes in our lifestyles are necessary to achieve that, let them be the first ones to do it. Let CantDoWell try that on for size, and then maybe go hideout under a clump of tundra in the dead of winter up in her beloved ANWR.
13. Conservation is always good. I go along with what George Will said in his op-ed piece and it would serve you well to read it.
Repubs - ANWR -fahgetaboutit ! cut your losses and focus your energies toward promoting alternative fuel sources for internal combustion engines - biodiesel and ethanol is a small step in the right direction.
14. Mike McGavick needs to heed some advice other than that of Chris Vance and State Repub leadership here and drop ANWR like a hot potato. There needs to be a new direction that resonates with undecided voters, otherwise that race is over !
WOW, KS, biodiesel and ethanol.........Most REAL analysts have concluded both consume more BTU's to produce than they produce.
Another liberal recurring wet dream......
It really does get tiresome responding to delusion.
Moron: A pipeline is already in place north to south Alaska. All transport via tanker between US ports is double hulled. Washington is the natural destination of Alaska crude. Pipelines southbound already exist. WA is an energy state. Caribou love pipelines. Native Alaskans love pipelines and JOBS.
Conservation is good? Says who? Al Gore? Uh huh, a real expert......at gaining weight.
LIBERALS hate prosperity and capitalism. YOU SUCK.
If conservation (implied, conservation only) is "always good", then why don't you go along with me on the suggestions for the slimemolds who propose it? Get on the bandwagon and get CantEverDoWell to cut travel by 90%, turn down the office thermostats in DC to 40 deg. this winter, ride the Metro to DCA or walk to work? What's that? No takers? Why am I not surprised?
In fact, why don't you take Will's advice to conserve and start by cutting your personal energy use? The best way would be to not use your computer. Stay off of the internet and never post here again, saving those precious natural resources and doing your part to save ANWR. If you don't, we'll be justified in assuming that you're another do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do liberal 'Rat.
THS - pulezze - you sound as environmentally ignorant as Rush Limbaugh or as Michael Savage calls him Hush Limbo. Doesn't there need to be conservation ? Al Gore is an environmental wack job. Conservatives should be conservationists - right ?
Look, dude - the Republicans caved last week when ANWR was brought up for a vote and helped Cantwell look good. Sorry they wimped out, but they did and unless they pull out a miracle, they will have to make do with the consequences ! How about using your ingenuity - along with others in proposing some solutions for alternative fuel sources in lieu of ANWR, which would have taken 10 years + to affect fuel consumption. How in the heck did the Republicans cave when they are in the majority ? I like prosperity and capitalism as much as the next intelligent person (FYI - I voted for Rossi in 2004).
Observer - I wish that the Repubs would have voted in Ted Steven's rider from drilling at ANWR onto the Defense bill, but they caved and wimped out to the Dems. George Will is a conservative and when I spoke of conservation - I meant reasonable conservation.
Unfortunately, by caving the Repubs made it that much more difficult for Cantdowell to be beaten by her opponent in 2006.
OK, KS, I'll take you at your word, and withdraw the (nasty) remark about do-as-I-say liberal 'Rat. In my own defense, I get a little worked up on this issue, being in the energy business myself (on the academic side).
There is a lot of misconception out there on the conservation/new sources issue. Nobody favors waste (I don't think most SUVs are all that necessary, FWIW), but conservation only preserves, for a time, what we have on the supply side. As demand grows, new sources will need to be developed. To the extent that ANWR resources can be reasonably developed and utilized, they should be.
I lived through the late 1960s-early 1970s issues with the trans-Alaska pipeline debate, and a lot of the same old hoary arguments against that are being rehashed in the ANWR debate. It took the oil embargo of 1973 to snap people out of their torpor and get the pipeline built, and that has been a boon to the state of Alaska and helped the domestic energy supply. ANWR is shaping up along those same lines. It may take OPEC turning off the spigot (and causing a debilitating recession in the Western economies) to do the trick again. I hope not, but I can easily see it happening.
20. I wish I had more faith in the Republicans than I do, but they can't even win when they are in the majority on the national level and they keep looking helpless as a minority on the local level. I am hoping that some of the criticism here will get the grass root types riled up enough to spur them into action at the local level.
It is true that the Republican party has been disappointingly ineffective at advancing their agenda even though voters continually hand them electoral victories that place them in the majority (at the national level) for cycle after cycle. It is also interesting to note the constrast in style between the Republicans and the 'Rats when it comes to governing.
You have to give the 'Rats credit for one thing, they know how to play political hardball. As much as I despise the 'Rats for their positions on the issues and other things, they are tough when it comes to having their way. When they were in the majority on Capitol Hill, they bulldozed their agenda through and basically told the opposition to f-off if they didn't like it. When they are in the minority and they don't like something, they filibuster, they obstruct, they build coalitions with the few on the other side who are willing to go along with them, and essentially control the debate and the agenda.
Republicans, OTOH, seem to cower in fear before the minority, as if they were still in the minority, try to accomodate the 'Rats, do everything they can to go along and get along as if that is going to curry favor with the 'Rats, when in fact all it will get them is a stab in the back. Eventually the voters are going to wonder why they gave these clowns their ticket to run the place at all.
"Urban Imperialists" - yes, that is a good characterization.
Another good characterization is calling Seattle's peculiar variety of environmentalism a cult-like religious movement. (Much like contemporary gender feminism).
23. Good article, but one mistake. There are no "Inuit" in Alaska. There are Upiks, Aleuts, Tlingit, Athabascan, Gwich'in Iniupiat and several small southeast Alaska tribes, but no Inuit. Inuit are an arctic tribe located in eastern Canada. Kaktovik, I believe is a Upik village. As a thirty year resident of Alaska, I find it odd that 99% of the people that vehemently opposed ANWR drilling have never been there, while 99% of the residents of Alaska are for it.
24. Good article, but one mistake. There are no "Inuit" in Alaska. There are Upiks, Aleuts, Tlingit, Athabascan, Gwich'in Iniupiat and several small southeast Alaska tribes, but no Inuit. Inuit are an arctic tribe located in eastern Canada. Kaktovik, I believe is a Upik village. As a thirty year resident of Alaska, I find it odd that 99% of the people that vehemently opposed ANWR drilling have never been there, while 99% of the residents of Alaska are for it.
Jim - Thank you for kind comment about the post.
If you check the first link, you will see that the residents of the village consider themselves part of a group usually called Inuit in Canada and Eskimo in the United States. But it is the same group.
If you check the last link, you will find that anthropologists now use Inuit for the entire group, which extends from Siberia to Greenland.
And, it will reduce confusion in the future if you make it clear that you are not Jim Miller in your comments on my posts.