Even though Obama wants climate action to be one of his presidency's chief legacies, he's not yet ready to base his policies on what actually needs to be done. In this case, he has taken two big steps forward with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and then followed up with an ill-advised step backward on offshore drilling.
The Obama administration's recent announcement recommending a wilderness designation for the Arctic Refuge's coastal plain says the administration stands by our nation's legacy of conservation stewardship of important federal lands over short-term economic profits, drilling and destructive development.
Fifty years ago, the battle to create the magnificent Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in far northeastern Alaska inspired Congress to approve America's Wilderness Act, the law that has since protected millions of acres of some of our nation's most iconic and cherished wild places. The Arctic Refuge is, simply put, astonishing.