What’s 18 million acres?

Thursday’s New York Times Corrections section contained this rather revealing item:
“An article on Aug. 20 about the Bush administration’s proposed energy plan misstated the extent to which President Bush would allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. He proposed opening 1.546 million acres, not all 19 million.”
Now, this is a pretty fundamental error. Anyone who has followed the issue even at a great distance should know that the administration has proposed opening only a tiny fraction of ANWR to oil drilling. Yet the Times got this basic fact entirely wrong.
The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is an enormous, Godforsaken place. It contains few animals and hardly any people. If it is not suitable for oil exploration, then no place on earth is. Nineteen million acres are about 30,000 square miles, which means that ANWR is considerably larger than the State of West Virginia. The oil drilling proposed by the administration would disturb only a tiny portion of this wasteland and would have little or no impact on wildlife.
We are being blocked from developing this resource, which is critical to both our security and our economy, by the environmental lobby and the Democratic Party. Their effort feeds on ignorance, and ignorance is what the New York Times propagates on a daily basis.

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