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Drilling In The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

2715 words - 11 pages

“Too often in politics, there are fallacious either/or arguments put up as a justification or an excuse for an action or view which is skewed in such a way as to suggest that there is only one acceptable choice.” Peter Garrett. The United States, and much of the world is dependent on oil, a dying resource. Oil supplies are limited and fossil fuels are becoming increasingly hard to extract. The debate over drilling in environmentally important areas is a heated one. Each side of has their own opinions and proof that their argument is without a doubt, the only way. These preinstalled views are nearly impossible to sway, and rightfully so, everyone is initialed to their own opinion. But this paper will attempt to shed a little more light on the issue, and with any luck , influence a few to look at things in a slightly different light. Base of the limited life of oil; cost effectiveness and environmental damage, drilling in ANWR should not be conducted.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a 19,300,000 acre refuge in northeast Alaska; it is the largest wilderness area in the United States and is managed by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge was created under the Public Land Order 2214 in 1960, and was expanded in 1980 through the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). This Act is the source of great controversy because it included the highly debated 1002 area. Believed to hold crude oil, the 1002 area makes up only 10% of the refuges total area, but includes a majority of the Refuge’s coastal plain, and arctic foothill ecological zones (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). This vast wilderness contains great biological value, and is unlike any other.
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest unit in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge is America's finest example of an intact, naturally functioning community of arctic/subarctic ecosystems. Such a broad spectrum of diverse habitats occurring within a single protected unit is unparalleled in North America, and perhaps in the entire circumpolar north.” (Arctic Refuge: Oil and Gas Issues). The refuge is a delicate treasure there are few like it in the world and its existence is threatened. The ecological makeup is one of a kind. The refuge contains five different ecological regions, which are home to 45 species of land and marine mammal ranging in size form a pygmy shrew to a bowhead whale. The refuge is also well known for polar, grizzly and black bear, wolf, wolverine, dall sheep, moose, muskox, and caribou. It is also home to 36 species of fish and 180 bird species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).
Perhaps the largest biological issue with drilling in area 1002 is the Porcupine caribou Herd. Drilling supporters argue that caribou are affected by the drilling operation. Examples of this are made at the Prunhoe Bay drill site where caribou actually use gravel pads and roads to avoid insect attacks and are unaffected...

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