Retired federal judge and former conservative New York Sen. James L. Buckley, once an ardent opponent of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, wrote Sen. Ted Stevens (R.-Alaska) last month to say he has changed his mind. “With proper management, I don’t see that any significant damage to the Arctic wildlife would result, and none that wouldn’t rapidly be repaired once operation ceased,” wrote Buckley.
Stevens forwarded Buckley’s letter to every member of the Senate and House of Representatives. “ANWR will be the second largest oil field in North America, capable of producing an estimated one million barrels of oil per day,” Stevens wrote his colleagues. “This is oil produced on our own soil, with our own workforce, used to heat American homes and power America’ farms and industries.” Buckley has visited the Arctic nine times in the past 13 years. “I just don’t see the threat to values I cherish,” wrote the stalwart environmentalist.