We Should Drill
The land concentrated on in the debate is the northern coastal plain of ANWR in Alaska. ANWR consists of 19. 6 million acres, and only 1. 5 million acres are up for oil exploration, this area is known as Section 10-02. Only 2,000 of those acres are going to be drilled in. That is in comparison to a postcard on a football field. Less than one percent of ANWR will be used for drilling and only eight percent will be used for exploration. There are many unknown factors about drilling in ANWR. Many citizens argue on whether or not ANWR will be hurt drastically because of the drilling.
That brings up the debate on whether or not animals would be harmed during the construction, or if animals would decrease in numbers due to the interruption of migrating patterns or habitats. There is the unknown aspect of how much oil ANWR will actually yield, as well as the expense that America will need to pay in order to drill. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the debate of whether or not to drill in ANWR, some of the arguments are based upon feelings and not facts; there are the instances where facts cannot refute each other, or there is no clear ‘morally’ correct answer.
By drilling in ANWR, there will be hundreds of thousands of occupations formed. The amount of jobs created is estimated to be about 736,000 (“Top Ten Reasons to Support ANWR Development” par 3). These jobs would provide safe energy supplies as well as produce a demand for services and goods. Trading and manufacturing the oil that comes from these reservoirs produces many jobs. These jobs give employed citizens the opportunity to turn their lives around as well as improve the country’s economy by bringing money into the nation.
The country’s economy will be affected immensely by drilling in ANWR, but in a positive way. The government would receive a lot of the revenue due to drilling; according to the Office of Management and Budget, they would earn approximately 152 to 237 billion dollars (“Top Ten Reasons to Support ANWR Development” par 2). This money could go towards paying off the country’s enormous debt or help decrease our trade deficit, which continues to be fed by the buying and selling of foreign oil (Palin OP1).
Along with all of this, our dependency on foreign oil would also be reduced by drilling in ANWR. America depends on foreign oil immensely because Americans consume large amounts of it daily. Roughly fifty-seven percent of all oil coming from a foreign country, mainly from unstable and nondemocratic countries in the Middle East, goes to the United States (Borger 25). According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), if America does not start producing oil at home the nation’s dependency on foreign oil will rise to rise to sixty-four percent by the year 2020 (Coon par 1).
Representative Richard Pombo, a California Republican, commented on ANWR and the possibility of being able to decrease America’s dependency on foreign oil: “ANWR is not the whole solution, but I believe it’s the biggest reserve of oil we have in the United States and our best opportunity to lessen dependence” (Marek 37). By drilling in ANWR, the amount of oil that would be gained could possibly be equivalent to the amount of oil that could be accumulated from Saudi Arabia after thirty years or from fifty-eight years of independence from Iraqi oil (Coon par 2).
When the United States imports oil that the average consumer uses, it adds up throughout the year, costing America roughly 330 billion dollars. That could be broken down into almost 37. 75 million dollars every hour (“Top ten reasons to support ANWR development. ” par 7). Once America drills in ANWR, it provides scientists more time to figure out an alternative fuel (the oil supply in ANWR will only last about twenty-five years). This would sustain America long enough to explore the ideas of alternative fuel more thoroughly.
The oil underneath the coastal plain of ANWR will support America for approximately twenty-five years depending on how much oil proves to be there. The number of barrels that could emerge from ANWR fluctuates tremendously, causing some disagreements with people opposed to drilling. There is a 95 percent chance that there will be over 11. 6 billion barrels of oil produced in ANWR (Marek 37). The highest possible estimate that has been produced is sixteen billion barrels of oil. In order to retrieve all of this oil, the government will have to drill in ANWR.
The ANWR region is known for its rolling mountains and gorgeous picturesque landscapes, though the area that the government would be drilling in is the flat, dreary-looking northern plain of ANWR. Joseph Goldberg wrote in a Washington Times article, “Hardly a Pretty Place: Use ANWR for Drilling”. He commented on ANWR and said, “If you wanted a picture to go with the word ‘Godforsaken’ in the dictionary, ANWR would do nicely” (Coon par 5). There are areas of coastline that need protection, but ANWR is not one of them (Lieberman par 5). The coast of ANWR is not one of the most pristine places, but it does house many of different animal species.
The animals in ANWR are not endangered in any way, nor are they going to be put in intentional harm to further this drilling process. In Prudhoe Bay, approximately 55 miles west of where the drilling portion of ANWR would be located, the caribou herd has flourished greatly (Borger 25). Their population started at 3,000 and swelled to around 27,000. Those numbers are from the period after the drilling started there (Coon par 8). In Prudhoe Bay, no polar bears have been harmed or killed, and the Marine Mammals Protection Act guards them. ANWR can be compared to drilling sites in Prudhoe Bay because they are very similar.
In Prudhoe Bay, no species have become extinct and none have had a drop in population (Lieberman par 11). Another wildlife refuge that has had drilling occur in it is the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has a much higher animal population than ANWR, but the public never hears about the drilling there because there are never any problems that arise that need to be reported. Animals and drilling sites have coexisted for decades; there is no reason for drilling in ANWR to have a different outcome. Not only have animals lived alongside drilling, but also so have the indigenous people of Alaska.
Many different communities live in or around ANWR, and some of them even own parts of ANWR. The Inupiat people are worried that without drilling, their community may lose all of the modern day commodities that they have grown accustomed to because they do not have the funds to afford them (Wallace 52). The Inupiat people make money off the drilling in Prudhoe Bay and the Prudhoe Bay’s oil production has slowly been dwindling (Wallace 52). The village of Kaktovik also supports the drilling and they own roughly 100,000 acres of the land that would be used for exploration (Bourne 65).
Not only do villages surrounding ANWR agree and support the drilling, almost 75 percent of Alaskans support drilling (Lieberman par 12). If the government allowed oil companies to drill in ANWR, they would produce hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economy, they would save Americans from depending on unstable Middle Eastern countries, would cause no harm to the environment.
According to a Republican Senator from Alaska, Frank Murkowski, “Pushing production out of America to nations without our environmental standards increases global environmental risks. He advises America to produce on its home soil, where they know how oil production is done and where it is closely monitored to be as environmentally safe as possible. Not only would drilling affect this generation, but also it would affect generations to come. Drilling in ANWR would help boost our economy and help this country immensely. Shannon Bowerman Hour 4 February 12, 2008 English Research Paper – Against Drilling The Future of the Animals and Gwich’in People John Oliver, a politician, does not support the drilling of ANWR.
He noted one of the key facts: “Yet, if we accept the solution offered today by this bill to explore and develop for oil on the coastal plain of ANWR, it will be five years, at least, and probably closer to eight before the first barrel of oil flows from that effort. ” It could take years until any significant amount of the oil would be ready for use. Not only is it possible that the drilling would hurt the land, but it might affect the lives of animals. In addition, the possible oil discovery would only last Americans 25 years until ANWR’s resources would expire.
There is also the possibility that there is no oil to drill, and if there was, some Americans believe they should save it until they have exhausted all other resources. This all distracts from the real issue – America’s consumption of oil. Alaska’s northern shore already hosts many pipelines – over three thousand wells are exploring and searching for oil, not to mention additional production wells. Any action taken upon this area greatly damages it because the land is exceptionally fragile upon the northern shore.
According to Ben Lieberman, the oil wells could “despoil one of the few remaining pristine places” in Alaska, and this world (Lieberman 7). The land has been impacted very heavily since the opening of the first pipelines, and this dilemma will only increase if America decides to drill there. If the government allows drilling in ANWR, not only will the land become overused, it will become altered. Any physical disturbance, “[could] scar the land for decades” (“The Impact of Oil Development on the North Slope” par 2). By running the necessary pipelines, the land will be corrupted.
The building process will also blemish the pristine wilderness of ANWR. The industrialization of this area will devastate the beautiful landscape of ANWR. Not only will the landscape be destroyed, but also animals’ lives will be shattered. ANWR is one of two polar bear denning sites located in North America (McNally). Once drilling begins, females will be chased off or disturbed, possibly leaving newborn cubs in their dens. The already scarce polar bears might dwindle in their numbers. Area 10-02 has the highest population of denning polar bear females out of anywhere else in North America (McNally).
Not only will the numbers of polar bears be affected, but the number of caribou and migrating birds will reduce. Caribou migrate through ANWR, and with the occurrence of drilling, their path might be changed and their homes may be destroyed (Marek 37). Migrating geese will be troubled as well due to new objects in their territory. Bowhead whales also migrate near Alaska, and the destructive piping and construction would ruin their habitat (Bourne 53). The pipelines needed for drilling in ANWR may ruin animals’ lives and homes, possibly leading to the extinction of certain species.
Animals are not only put in danger by the construction of the pipelines, but also because of possible oil spills that could result from drilling in ANWR. With an oil well, the chances of oil spills increase immensely. There could be roughly one spill a day (“The Impact of Oil Development on the North Slope” par 8). According to oil company officials, there is “no known technology for cleaning up an oil spill in the broken ice conditions” (Bourne 57). The drilling would take place in Alaska during the winter, so broken ice is a possible condition that could create even worse circumstances for the animals and their habitat.
Oil spills affect the environment, but so does air pollution: greenhouse gases are emitted from the wells and transporting ships and add to global warming (“The Impact of Oil Development on the North Slope” 6). There are also waste reserve pits and toxic materials that seep out of their containers, contaminating the nearby habitat. Many factors during the development and operation of the oil drilling affect the animals. While animals do not have a direct say in the matter, the people in villages around or in ANWR voice their opinions loudly.
The Gwich’in people are afraid that the drilling in ANWR would end the existence of caribou hunting because the caribou would be driven off by the oil wells (Wallace 50). Gwich’in are the “People of the Caribou”; their lives revolve around the caribou. Caribou are even the center of most of their ceremonies (Wallace 48). The Gwich’in are worried that they are going to have to give up their way of life in order to allow the drilling in ANWR. With the loud, disruptive drilling of supposedly oil-filled ANWR, many animals’ lives will be destroyed.
There is also no promise that oil will be produced, and if it is, it will be decades before it is available. The underlying cause of the energy problem in America is our nation’s consumption of oil, and by drilling in ANWR, the problem is not solved. Our foreign dependency will only drop four percent if the drilling in ANWR is allowed (Marek 37). Representative Allyson Schwartz from Pennsylvania put the problem in one sentence: “Simply put, drilling in ANWR would be expensive, environmentally devastating, and would do very little to fix our energy crisis or to bring down the price of oil and gasoline,” she told the American public.
Americans should see the problem as it is and not try to cover it up by the short-lived solution of drilling in ANWR. Shannon Bowerman Hour 7 February 12, 2008 English Research Paper – Interview Mr. Timothy Jones is a natural resource specialist that works for the Alaskan Division of Oil and Gas for the Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Jones explained the history of the wildlife refuge, passing along information on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conversation Act that established the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Jones did not have much information on ANWR because it is a nationally owned piece of land.
The amount oil that will be produced “is going to be about eleven million barrels on average” according to Mr. Jones. Jones did not support the drilling of ANWR because it has the possibility of hurting the environment as well as it will not “decrease our [America’s] dependency on foreign oil. ” The interviewee did not have much information on the topic that was being discussed. He had personal opinions, but not facts or figures because ANWR is not a state owned region; the national government owns it. Mr. Jones was able to assist in reaching others that worked at the national level through his government connections.
They pointed out great facts and positions, but it was not a personal interview for it was done over the internet. They presented great references that helped debate both sides of the issue of whether or not the government should fund for drilling in ANWR. Although Mr. Jones lacked the necessary statistics and facts, he did a marvelous job helping me reach out to others and learning more about a topic. Shannon Bowerman Hour 7 February 12, 2008 English Research Paper – Survey Analysis When choosing a demograph to poll, there was no excellent one to choose.
There were no Alaskan indigenous people to interview, nor were there any politicians. Therefore, the demograph of the survey on whether or not the country should fund for drilling in ANWR started with high school students working its way up to the CEO of a company. All adults knew where and what ANWR was, whereas only 75 percent of children knew what ANWR was.  Some believe that ANWR is a major concern, while others just think that it does not matter, and it does not bother them, they have no personal preference
Foreign oil dependency should be cut was almost entirely approved up, except for one person. 3] Again, almost all of the polled believed that environmental hazards should be taken into consideration.  Then, the dreaded question was asked, “Should ANWR be drilled in? ” and it was almost evenly split.  Allowing the government to drill in ANWR was barely supported. The number of people knowing what ANWR was shocked me because it is an under the radar issue that many people do not pay attention to. For the number of people that did not know what ANWR was, they almost all voted ‘no’ for whether or not ANWR should be opened for drilling.
ANWR will not hurt the surrounding wilderness because of the furthering of piping technology as well as the government’s want to create a stable and profitable habitat for the caribou, and polar bears. Many Americans support the environmentally responsible drilling in ANWR. Americans will have to decide where they stand within the coming years because bills have reached the House and Senate trying to allow drilling in ANWR, but they have all been shot down. The bills are drawing near, and the American public will have to vote upon the morally desirable choice for them.
This bill has been presented at least three times to a committee, eventually climbing the ladder to the President for signing, and it has been vetoed every time. The ramifications of drilling in ANWR and yielding to no oil; and ANWR would become known as the travesty of the century. The chances of finding no oil is near to impossible because the Prudhoe Bay is roughly 55 miles from where the site of the drilling in ANWR would be held, and it has produced a tremendous amount of oil to supply America. Any of the exploration holes have looked promising also.
Congress needs to create more and different ideas and allow the public to view these plans, allowing them to make their own decisions. As long as the government is environmentally responsible, there should be no factors stopping Americans from supporting the drilling in ANWR. By drilling in Alaska, America cuts its dependency on foreign oil; especially the oil of unstable and untrustworthy countries of the Middle East. America would then keep the money in its country versus paying an uncooperative, undemocratic country outside of the United States, and it would possibly become an economically independent country in the future.
The future of ANWR is in the hands of the Americans. They will decide the ultimate fate of the wildlife refuge. They have to make the decision on whether or not ANWR stays the same with the beautiful mountains that adorn postcards, or if the unseen flat northern shore of ANWR will be used to benefit the country, the drilling never touches the gorgeous mountains and fields. Americans decide their own economic future when they vote for or against ANWR; they voice their opinion on America’s dependency on foreign oil and how it should or should not be cut.
The public also concludes what they support by choosing which country that their money goes to. By voting to drill in ANWR, the American citizens choose their destiny, and help play a role in what future generations are to face in this country. Congress of the United States should put the word out there and participate in educating people of the pros and cons of drilling in ANWR. By providing the information to the citizens of this country, Americans would be intelligent and educated enough to make the right decision that would better the country and the lives of those around them.