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Oil-drilling protesters bring dessert

Huge baked Alaska is shared at Capitol

From Paul Courson
CNN

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About 100 people rally Friday on Capitol Hill with a 900-pound baked Alaska to protest possible oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Citing fears that the U.S. government may allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, about 100 protesters sought to melt their opponents' arguments with a Capitol Hill rally Friday featuring a gigantic baked Alaska.

Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream company known for its activism, was one of the sponsors. The Alaska Wilderness League also helped organize the demonstration.

"This is not going to last very long, just like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, if you drill up there," said Arnold Carbone, one of the creators of the mammoth frozen treat and a "flavor guru" at Ben & Jerry's.

Proponents of the exploration say it will counter U.S. dependence on imported oil. Estimates on how much oil it would produce and for how long vary greatly between supporters and opponents of the plan.

A dozen people walked the baked Alaska, weighing about 900 pounds, from a freezer truck and placed it on display. They carried the massive dessert on two large sheets of plywood and a set of 2-by-4 lumber.

"It's a combination of cake, 'fossil fuel,' one of our new flavors and marshmallow," said Carbone, whose shirt was covered with melted bits of cake.

Baked Alaska usually consists of ice cream on a bed of cake encased in a pastry crust or meringue that's quickly browned in the oven.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved an energy bill this week that includes a provision to allow drilling in the Alaska refuge. (Full story)

The House vote brought a serious mood to the group at Friday's rally.

Pointing to the Capitol dome, John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA, said, "Our congressmen, who take an oath to serve the people up in that House, are serving the oil companies. They're not serving us. And we're going to serve them baked Alaska."

The crowd cheered.

"Don't bake Alaska" with oil drilling, said Yola Carlough, director of social mission at Ben & Jerry's.

Sharon Kim, enjoying some of the ice cream cake, said, "We're trying to protect the wilderness in Alaska" by opposing "all of the drilling that's potentially going to happen and all of the disruption to the wilderness that's going to happen."

The protest occurred on Earth Day, which environmental activists have celebrated since 1970.


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