Finally Drilling ANWR?

In today’s Los Angeles Times:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Monday he would consider tapping oil from Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by drilling outside its boundaries if it could be shown that the refuge’s wildlife and environment would remain undisturbed.

He goes on to mention that ANWR is a “very special place” and should be protected.

Why though?  What is really being protected?  The environmental movement has raised ANWR to a deity-like level, as partly evidenced by Salazar’s comments.  I want to know why.  Take a look at this “special place” in the photo below and please comment on why we should try to preserve this area at the cost of staying dependent on foreign oil.

ANWR -- Isn't it beautiful?
ANWR -- Isn't it beautiful?
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