WASHINGTON -- Environmentalists who have worked for decades to protect Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil development on Thursday kicked off a celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the vast sanctuary.
Their goal for the next 50 years, the environmentalists said, is to make permanent the ban on any further oil or gas development in the refuge's coastal plain. And they say there's no greater case for doing that than last week's explosion at an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens to become as big an environmental disaster as the 1989 grounding of the Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska.
"Today, we see an ocean burning," Debbie Sease of the Sierra Club said outside of the Capitol. "We need no further evidence that drilling is dangerous."
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