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Opponents To Drilling In Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

1577 words - 7 pages

“The conversation of our natural resources and their proper use underlines almost every other problem in our national life,” Theodore Roosevelt. Americans’ dependence upon petroleum-based energy sources has required the United States to consider a variety of options to fulfill [the] ever-increasing energy needs, even drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] (Smith). The controversial question on whether or not to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve has been in battle since its establishment. Drilling in ANWR would cause severe damage as it is a danger to its native plants and animals as the land is their home and birthing ground, the land discussed to be open to drilling will not be the only land set to a path of destruction, and along with the use and distribution of the oil found, as of how much could be discovered and if it is worth losing precious land all to a nations greed of oil.
In 1872 Congress set aside a piece of land in Wyoming, establishing Yellowstone as the country’s first national park. This was followed by the first forest reserve in 1891, and the first wildlife reserve in 1903 (Opener). With the creation of parks and reserves our nations land would be preserved and cared for with the admiration for generations to come. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] was established to protect native plants and animals from human interference. The Refuge would cover 19 million acres, an area about the size of South Carolina (Opener). This land has been sought after for years, as it caries for animals and plants that exist nowhere else on Earth, just like the Amazon Rain forest it needs to be protected and persevered. To protect the ecosystem, most of the Refuge was declared closed to oil exploration (Opener).
Given the concerns about the oil crisis in 1980, it is surprising that in the same year, Congress created a wildlife reserve just east of Prudhoe Bay (Opener). A coastal plain totaling more than 1.5 million acres was earmarked as a site that warranted further federal study to assess the plain’s oil stores and the feasibility of drilling for petroleum (Herndon). Such site would be open to large oil companies to unmask its natural beauty and potential endangerment to its plants and animals. For a sense of what big oil’s heavy machinery would do to the refuge, just look 60 miles west to Prudhoe Bay – a [giant] oil complex that has turned 1,000 square miles of fragile tundra into a sprawling industrial zone containing 1,500 miles of roads and pipelines, 1,400 producing wells and three jet ports. The result is a landscape defaced by mountains of sewage, scrap metal, garbage, and more than 60 contaminated waste sites… (Document E). Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR], federally protected land, would also be likely to cause severe environmental problems that would persist long after the oil in the region dries up (Smith).
The Refuge is among the world’s last true wildernesses. And it is one...

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