Despite its name, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is a mostly unspoiled wilderness in Alaska’s far north. For years, the only oil drilling allowed there was a low-impact site specially planned to have the least effect on the land and those who lived near it.
Until now. The Obama administration has approved a plan by oil giant ConocoPhillips to begin operations in the Greater Mooses Tooth area just west of Prudhoe Bay. The project, which will include the construction of roads through a previously pristine wilderness, was given the green light after years of lobbying by ConocoPhillips and an Alaskan who has worked for years to push for drilling no matter the cost to the environment, according to a report by ProPublica and Politico.
Andrew Lundquist was staff director of Vice President Dick Cheney’s infamous energy committee. Lundquist was the driving force behind efforts to begin the process of spoiling the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, Alec MacGillis wrote for ProPublica and Politico. The area, despite its name bestowed by the U.S. Navy during World War II, is a large wilderness area inhabited by thousands of wild animals and a few Alaskan Natives.
Lundquist left the Bush administration to set up a lobbying shop. With ConocoPhillips as a client, he continued to push for a project in the reserve. But instead of being like the one site approved during the Clinton administration that was restricted to drilling during winter and needed no roads to operate, the Greater Mooses Tooth project would require the…