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Oil Drilling Should Not Be Allowed In The Artic National Wildlife Reserve

1284 words - 5 pages

The Artic National Wildlife Reserve Should Not Be Drilled for Oil Majestic mountains dotted with ancient pines, caribou caring for their newborn calves, chirps and songs of hundreds of different birds; these are all sights and sounds that are found in the Artic National Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is truly one of America's last unspoiled landscapes, but in several years it will be invaded with oil drillers. The Artic National Wildlife Reserve does contain oil, but not enough to justify destroying America's most pristine wildernesses.On March 16, 2005 Senate voted 51 to 49 in favor of opening the nineteen million acres of the Artic National Wildlife Reserve, also known as ANWR, for oil drilling (Kenworthy & Watson). ANWR is nineteen million acres located in the northern part of Alaska. They plan to drill 1.5 million acres of the coastal plains - the heart of the reserve. The ANWR is home to over 36 land mammals, nine marine mammals, 36 fish species, more than 180 migratory and resident bird species, and it is also serves as a birthing ground for over 130,000 Porcupine caribou (The Debate Over Oil Drilling in the Alaskan Wild"; Markey). The history of ANWR contains members of both parties. In 1960, Republican President Eisenhower set aside the majority of the reserve, and in 1980 Democratic President Carter expanded it (Markey). In 1989, Senate proposed that part of ANWR become open to drilling, but an oil spill in Prince William's Bay prompted the bill to be dropped ("The Debate Over Oil Drilling in the Alaskan Wild"). Now, however, the rising price in oil, fifty-five dollars a barrel, has caused senators to overlook the long-term consequences of oil drilling for the short term satisfaction of oil for a few decades.Opposition argues that oil found in ANWR will reduce America's dependency on foreign oil. The exact amount of oil in ANWR is unknown, but according to a survey done by the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a ninety five percent chance that at least eleven billion barrels lie under its surface (Marek). America today consumes twenty-five percent of the world's oil, but only controls three percent of oil reserves (Markey). Independence is hard to achieve when the nation guzzles down twenty million barrels of oil a day (Kenworthy & Watson)! Foreign oil imports will only go down from seventy percent to sixty-six percent when ANWR is in full production (Marek).Opposition also argues that the wildlife in the area will not be negatively affected. This conclusion was reached by looking at wildlife at Prudhoe Bay oil fields in Alaska. The caribou that occupy Prudhoe Bay are Central Artic species; they are non-migratory and have actually increased in numbers since the oil fields opened. Female Central Artic caribou have recently shown less success in reproducing, and scientists are blaming the oil fields (Barringer). However, ANWR is home to the Porcupine caribou, a migratory species that ends their migration at the coastal plains...

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