Should We Drill in The Arctic?
My opinions fused with research on the current situation in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge pertaining to oil drilling.
There is no question about the existence of oil in the Earth, yet it has come to finding these deposits and extracting them for the use of mankind. ANWR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge) is located in the northeastern region of Alaska. Dwight Eisenhower in 1960 opted to grant federal protection to this region, rendering it safe from developing infrastructure. Beginning in 1977 the question, weather to drill for oil in this national refuge, has arisen; it resurfaced greatly during George Bush’s presidency. He was known to fully support the operation, even with the notion of the possible repercussions. The United States, nor any other nations should not drill in ANWR, for the destruction to the natural habitat is not worth the minute amount of oil we will receive.
A huge concern for Americans, especially our government, is our countries dependency upon foreign oil; this makes us susceptible to the wishes of other nations who control America’s oil influx. Drilling in ANWR presents an opportunity for the US to become less dependant upon oil imported from countries such as Saudi Arabia (Warrior). Still there lingers a great concern for the well-being of ANWR”s habitat during the extraction, the conventional view is that there will need to be complex infrastructure constructed in the heart of the environment in order to obtain the reserves. Yet, novel technology is emerging which will allow extractors, from outside ANWR’s boundaries to acquire this resource. Directional drilling enables an environmental conducive way to harness the oil reserves without inflicting drills into the protected ecosystem (Cfact). One would think the indigenous people of this region would oppose outsiders venturing into their lands and disturbing their ancient homeland to procure 21st century gold. However, 75% of Alaskans favor the building of infrastructure and the extraction of oil; this is solely due to the rise in jobs and income drilling in ANWR will inevitably stimulate. Projections made by a group of analysts for the drilling in ANWR, proposed the emergence of between 250,000 and 750,000 jobs as a result of this event occurring (Warrior). Not only will Alaska find their economic plight to be fading as will the entirety of the United States. This is due to the augmented production of domestic oil, which works inversely to decrease our consuming and purchasing of foreign oil (Bukisa). If extraction can be executed in an environmentally friendly manner, drilling in this northeastern region hold many positives for both the locals and there distant compatriots in the domestic US.
A colossal argument in favor of extorting oil in ANWR is the opportunity it grants the US to alleviate some of their reliance upon foreign oil. Unfortunately, when closely examined, even with the new technology of seismically scanning the region, there does not exist enough oil to uphold their argument. All of the oil in ANWR , assuming we can harness all of it, cannot reduce the US’s dependency on foreign oil imports to any significant degree; in fact it would only cover 3% of the US’s oil needs (Common). This being such an insignificant amount parades how unreasonable it is to jeopardize such a unique habitat, for only a minute amount of oil. This small increase of oil to the global oil market would only lowere the cost of oil by 5 cents, for short duration of time (Common) While only 8% of the refuge is, reportedly, said to be developed; this still leaves a lot of room for the infrastructure that is built to cause havoc upon its surroundings. 160 nesting bird species, numerous fish and marine mammals, grizzly bears, polar bears, arctic foxes, timber wolves, musk oxen, and other animals all reside among the forests, plains and grasslands of ANWR (Bukisa). The construction of any extractors, pipelines and storage facilities could easily have an adverse affect upon these previously mentioned parameters. Not only does this plan of drilling pose a threat to the northeastern section of Alaska, it also evokes the possibility of harming other nearby ecosystems; if a pipe breaks it has been shown to drastically harm the nearby ecosystem. In 1989 a catastrophic event occurred, Exxon Valdes, an oil tanker, headed to Los Angeles from Alaska ran aground on a reef near the Alaskan shore line. Within 6 hours of the crash, 10.9 million gallons flowed out into the previously pristine Alaskan environment. This natural habitat was stricken and it still suffers today, even after the earnest efforts of many parties (Vcstar). The disaster of Exxon Valdes represents an inevitability, which exists when oil is transported over seas; even one spill is detrimental to the environment and cannot be risked. The fact ANWR would not give a substantial amount of oil is one clearly the main reason drilling should not proceed any further as a solution. There are far to many reasons not to drill, however, there exist no good reasons to drill.
Drilling in ANWR is analogous to patching a bullet wound with a small band-aid while obtaining an unpleasant infection. There is too much risk associated with this action. Habits which house myriads of species, some only found in Alaska’s northeastern region, would be susceptible to m a plethora of dangers all stemming from the constructing, drilling, and transporting which would take place in ANWR. The US’s resources would be better allocated or spent on developing alternatives to using oil. The jobs that would have resulted from the drilling, could again be created by giving economic aid to Alaska using the money the us would have spent on ANWR. The analogy mentioned previously is applicable not only for Alaska’s ecosystem, but for the US’s oil dependency and needs. Drilling for oil will just prolong the inevitability that we will someday run out. No matter what occurs we must address this at some course in history. Yet, if money is spent developing alternatives the US can become fully self-sufficient from foreign oil as well as becoming a leader in going completely or mostly green.
If drilling in ANWR commences, another serene and tranquil habitat will have been tarnished. These areas are becoming extremely rare; actually few exist in the world today. How can the government and the people of the US justify their infliction upon such a land, for the consequences and repercussions far outweigh the benefits? If the US is so keen upon becoming less dependant upon foreign oil, they can either mandate its citizens to cut down, mandate that all cars exceed a certain mpg or search for oil in the oil sands of Canada. All of these options would rectify the above conundrum for the US Government. Nature exudes such a unique beauty and tranquility as well as harboring many unknown secrets that one day could provide us with answers we have sought over for decades. To destroy such an area reaffirm my belief that humans do not deserve nor appreciate the Earth they live upon.