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The environmentalists are at it again in Alaska. You all know about how we can't get a gazillion barrels of oil out of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge — ANWR — and now the anti-oil crowd is demanding the rest of Alaska be off limits to oil exploration, too.

This is a line from an AP story today about western Alaska, one of the few places in the world we don't have to send troops to protect an oil supply. The AP story says: "Conservationists hope an eventual listing of the yellow-billed loon will curb petroleum development in the 23-million acre reserve that covers much of Alaska's western North Slope."

That's 400,000-square-miles of Alaska they want off limits to oil over the yellow-billed loon.

Let me introduce you to the yellow-billed loon. There are 16,000 of them in the world, and about 5,000 nest in the area where oil exploration would be allowed. Let's remember the enviros and their liberal enablers are always saying we're fighting for oil in Iraq. Now let's just say they're right for a moment. That means the enviros value 5,000 yellow-billed loons more than a like number of American soldiers.

Of course, they say we should just stop using so much of the stuff, and we wouldn't be faced with such a grotesque tradeoff. Maybe.

But in the meantime, here we are fighting to democratize parts of the Middle East that sit on oceans of oil so people there can live in peace and the prosperity that will come with selling their oil. That fight involves a price and we are paying it daily. And yet enviros — and their liberal cohorts — choose this moment to try to put a bird in the driver's seat when it comes to exploring for oil in a place we don't have to fight to defend.

Sometimes it's a tradeoff: Do we want to ruffle a loon's feathers, or send more troops to guard more oil overseas?

I don't think it's a difficult choice to make, and I'm sure it's not just me.

That's My Word.

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