Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Oil and gas production, drilling, and trading is a big issue in the United States. Currently, much of the oil we use comes from foreign sources. Many argue that we should reduce foreign oil dependency by reducing our consumption and by drilling for oil right here in the U.S. For approximately forty years, a debate has been brewing about oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is 19,000,000 acres of land in northern Alaska, a U. S. state.”It is the largest protected wilderness in the United States and was created by Congress under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980″ (Wikipedia Foundation, Inc) More specifically, within the ANWR, a 1,500,000 acre area located between the Beaufort Sea(northern border), Brooks Range (southern border), and the Prudhoe Bay (western border) is the center of controversy.

This area is commonly referred to as section 1002 because when the ANILCA was created, in section 1002 of the document, the decision of how to manage oil and gas exploration and development for this area was tabled. (Wikipedia Foundation, Inc.)

There are various opinions with points for and against oil drilling in the ANWR’s section 1002. At this point, I am against it. I recently read a quote by U.S., President, Barak Obama in Wikipedia. It states, “In a League of Conservation Voters questionnaire, Obama said, “I strongly reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because it would irreversibly damage a protected national wildlife refuge without creating sufficient oil supplies to meaningfully affect the global market price or have a discernible impact on US energy security.” (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc)

I have to say, I agree with President Obama 100%. This area is true wilderness. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it is the most diverse ecosystem in northern Alaska. It is home to many Native Indian tribes, a large population of porcupine caribou, some large whales, and other smaller animals not popular elsewhere. Not to mention, it is on the coastal line of Alaska, which opens it up huge varieties of marine life and migrating birds from all over.

Many people don’t realize that oil drilling is big business. It will not only require oil drilling equipment and stations, but there will be roads, airports, housing, shopping, etc. This means much of the land will forever be affected. Many animal habitats and natural migratory and breeding patterns may be disrupted. The air and water will be polluted from vehicle traffic, the oil drilling itself, and many other human behaviors. Human waste will need to be dealt with. You name it, it will be a problem.

Another concern is the potential for accidental pollution. As a matter of fact, in 1989, there was a bill on the table and it looked like it might make it through the Senate, to allow the drilling, when the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It was the largest spill of its kind where 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil spilled out of the tanker and into the surrounding waters, killing and injuring countless wildlife and destroying their habitats. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc)

Lastly, experts are not even sure how much oil is even there. A U.S. Geological Survey published in 1998 stated there was between 5.7 billion barrels to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas liquids the ANWR’s coastal plain area. As compared to an estimated 120 billion in the rest of the U.S. It is estimated that drilling in area 1002 would amount to about 1% world oil production by the year 2030. (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc) This would create such a small impact on the products and services generated at the end user level. In other words, the rich oil investors will get richer and people like me will be no better off.

The benefits do not outweigh the risks. I say not to drilling in the ANWR!

Works CitedWikimedia Foundation, Inc. Arctic Refuge drilling controversy. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Ed. 7 September 2012. Web. 30 September 2012.