Starkville Daily News - - FO­RUM -

to our wilder­ness crown jew­els — has been tax cuts.

Those sali­vat­ing over the tax­cut stew should know that rav­aging the Arc­tic Na­tional Wildlife Refuge would not make it fis­cally re­spon­si­ble. As im­plied ear­lier, re­cent Arc­tic

lease sales would point to a haul in the range of $145 mil­lion, nowhere near the $1 bil­lion pro­jected by the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice.

It’s un­clear that drilling in the refuge would even make eco­nomic sense for the play­ers. An­a­lysts say the price of oil would have to top $70 a bar­rel to make drilling worth the com­pa­nies’ ef­forts. The U.S. bench­mark price re­cently

stood at about $57. Some think the price will rise, but oth­ers see it fall­ing. This would be a risky bet.

One doesn’t know how to put a price on the con­tin­ued sur­vival of arc­tic foxes, musk oxen, cari­bou and po­lar bears. Some cost-ben­e­fit analy­ses of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions present tough choices. Sac­ri­fic­ing Amer­ica’s nat­u­ral birthright to par­tially off­set a

rich per­son’s tax cut would be a mes­sof-pot­tage deal.

Fol­low Froma Har­rop on Twit­ter @ Fro­maHar­rop. She can be reached at fhar­rop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Har­rop and read fea­tures by other Creators writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit the Creators web­page at www. creators.com.

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