Paul Krugman attacks reflexive anti-conservationism on the part of Republicans today in his NY Times column:

The real reason conservatives want to drill in ANWR is the same reason they want to keep snowmobiles roaring through Yellowstone: sheer symbolism. Forcing rangers to wear respirators won’t make much difference to snowmobile sales — but it makes the tree-huggers furious, and that’s what’s appealing about it. The same is true about Arctic drilling; as one very moderate environmentalist told me, the reason the Bush administration pursues high-profile anti-environmental policies is not that they please special interests but that they are “red meat for the right.” (The real special-interest payoffs come via less showy policies, like the way the administration is undermining enforcement of the Clean Air Act.)