This is fascinating look at the
“opposition” and another call for the people of
Regards, Jim Muckerheide
Article Published: Sunday, August 21, 2005
You be the judge: Environmental activism or just a job?
By SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI
Several weeks ago on a weekend when I remained in
The man clearly did not recognize me, nor did I offer my background as an Alaskan. He informed me that the president's energy plan was only about drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which was a bad decision. When I suggested there was more to the president's energy plan, he told me I was flat out wrong.
I don't usually engage people on door-to-door missions, but there was something that made me decide to engage this young man. Taking his brochure with the factually challenged anti-ANWR rhetoric, I stopped myself from shutting the door. Our conversation offered me a new perspective on political activism and the spreading of misinformation by groups like U.S. PIRG.
I began to engage the young man on the merits of the
president's and Congress's energy plans beyond oil production, like
conservation, renewables and efficiency standards. He rejected nuclear power as
too dangerous, assuring me wind power was the way to go, regardless of the
amount of land needed to generate enough power, the number of birds that would
be killed or the viewshed issues. I brought up ocean energy, but he was
concerned about its impact on fish. He conceded the merits of natural gas but
insisted it should come from foreign sources--never mind that most nations'
environmental standards are nowhere near
We had been discussing energy issues almost 20
minutes with me challenging him point for point when he broke down.
"Ma'am," he said, "this is just a job." He continued,
"I don't really believe that we shouldn't drill in the
He told me he was a university student and had seen the U.S. PIRG job posted on a campus bulletin board. For a few hours each night, he would go door-to-door talking about energy issues and encouraging people to become U.S. PIRG members. He "seeded" his clipboard of membership names by writing down false names next to addresses in the neighborhood, making people think their neighbors had signed up. After the first membership fee over $75, the young man earned 35 percent of any additional monies raised.
For only a few hours' work each night he averaged about $190. "This is the best summer job I've ever had," he said.
He explained he was doing this for leadership skills as he was a team leader for four others canvassing the neighborhood that night. I informed him what he was doing wasn't leadership--leadership is about advocating for issues he truly cared about, regardless of financial reward. While I was certainly concerned about his actions, Alaskans should be even more concerned about the motivation of opponents to opening ANWR and their willingness to mislead and deceive the public in the process.
Rather than focus on the distortions and fundraising tactics of U.S. PIRG, Alaskans should recognize how committed the forces that want to stop us from responsible energy development truly are. Alaskans must become equally passionate about increased energy production in this country and why the perfect site is a tiny portion of the Arctic coastal plain.
This young man was just a disingenuous salesperson. Americans, however, need to become ardent hawkers of a sound energy policy that combines renewable energy, conservation and new technology with a balanced willingness to produce more energy domestically. Congress took giant steps forward with the newly signed energy bill, and we will go even further when we take up ANWR again this fall.
Alaskans need to team the passion of our opponents with a love for the truth. That is how we will emerge victorious in our battle to open ANWR to responsible oil development.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has represented