Essay by pballer8806High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2006

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What would America gain by allowing heavy industry into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Very little. Oil found in the refuge would not be enough to end America's dependence on foreign oil. The oil companies will deface and ruin the portions of the refuge they occupy, and more oil will not solve America's energy needs. These are the reasons to opose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Oil from the refuge would hardly make a dent in our dependence on foreign imports, leaving our economy and way of life just as exposed to swings in worldwide oil prices and supply as it is today. Although it is claimed that there are 16 billion barrels of oil under the refuge's coastal plain, the U.S. Geological Service's estimate of the amount that could be profitably extracted and sold represents, less than a year's U.S. supply. It is also estimated that it would take 10 years for any Arctic Refuge oil to reach the market.

Even when production peaks in 2027, the refuge would produce only one or two percent of Americans' daily consumption. Whatever oil the refuge might produce is simply irrelevant to the issue of meeting America's future energy needs.

Oil produced from the Arctic Refuge would come at an irreversible cost. The refuge is among the world's last true wildernesses, and it is one of the largest sanctuaries for Arctic animals. This wilderness is a vital birthing ground for polar bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, caribou and the endangered shaggy musk ox, a mammoth-like survivor of the last Ice Age. For a sense of what big oil's heavy machinery would do to the refuge, just take a look at Prudhoe Bay. Prudhoe Bay is a gargantuan oil complex that has turned 1,000 square miles of fragile tundra...