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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

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Should the United States Drill for Oil in the ANWR? The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or ANWR is one of the largest areas of protected land in the world. It encompasses areas of Alaska and Northwestern Canada. The area was initially set aside by President Eisenhower in 1960, because of the area’s value to the environment. What with it being part of the shrinking tundra, and the only protected tundra in the United States. However, despite the environmental significance of the ANWR to the surrounding areas, parts of the United States’ government would like to drill for oil in this important area. According to a study by the Gallup organization, support of the drilling has gone down in recent years. On top of that, more recent studies are…show more content…
It is one of the last remaining ecosystems to be largely untouched by man. To drill in that area is to drill into, and to destroy a vital portion of the ANWR. The pursuit of oil would also lead to the contamination of water. With the coastal plain already having very low amounts of fresh water, this would be a crippling blow to the area’s diversity. In addition to this, the ANWR’s wetlands would be crippled. Contamination of the wetlands would lead to the loss of many species that solely inhabit that area. To see what might happen to the ANWR if oil is drilled there, one could look at nearby, Prudhoe Bay. The constant development in the area has led to what is essentially a cesspool of human waste. As the article “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Should Be Conserved,” said, “The result (of oil drilling in Prudhoe Bay) is a landscape defaced by mountains of sewage, sludge, scrap metal, garbage and more than 60 contaminated waste sites that contain—and often leak—acids, lead, pesticides, solvents and diesel fuel.” One counterargument to these statements is that, oil is worth more than the ecology of one area. This thinking, while seemingly practical, is flawed. The tundra is a rapidly shrinking biome. If the tundra is left to rot, countless species of plants and…show more content…
What if, this debate might not be necessary in the first place? What if the notion of the oil a vast amount of oil isn’t tangible? According to the United States Geological Survey or the USGS, the amount of oil in the ANWR is between 5.7 and 16 million barrels. The process of extracting the oil will be nowhere near to being done by 2030. While this means a more stable business, it also means that the drilling will have a much longer-living effect on the area. Also, according to the Environmental Information Administration, or the EIA, even with the nation’s shrinking dependency on foreign oil with a boom in fracking, current imports of petroleum are far greater than the ANWR will ever produce. Many groups would argue by mentioning that the ANWR drilling is positive because it will reduce the United States’ reliance on foreign oil, which saves the United States money. In response to this, the National Resources Defense Council stated that the ANWR’s oil would only serve as a “distraction” from the United States’ foreign oil dependency. As stated earlier, the ANWR just doesn’t contain enough
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