The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve

Essay by tonykarmineCollege, Undergraduate August 2002

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It seems completely insane for the United States to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be a contradiction in terms. The Refuge was created to prevent exactly what the Bush administration is proposing to do. One must question the timing of this plan. Data compiled by the Center for Responsible Politics shows that gasoline and oil firms donated $1,889,206 to Bush's presidential campaign, placing the industry among the top ten special interest contributors to Bush in Election 2000. Individuals connected with the oil industry contributed an additional $85,500, while the Bush Presidential Inaugural Committee received $1 million in contributions from the gasoline and oil industries. (Palmer 23)

First of all, no one is even certain of how much oil there is in the Refuge. The most accurate estimate is approximately 3.2 billion barrels. Last year, the United States consumed 7 billion barrels of oil.

At the current rate of usage, this would last for roughly 166 days. (Swift 27) It is likely that any oil obtained from the Refuge would not last long enough to make a difference. It would be like smashing a family heirloom to get a handful of pennies.

The United States is a gigantic oil addict. And the brain of this beast, the Bush Administration, is doing exactly what the brain of any other addict would do; get as much of the substance that it is addicted to no matter what the cost. And the cost of this would be great.

Conservation is something that apparently the Bush Administration is not aware of. The United States uses an incredibly disproportionate amount of oil relative to its population. Public transportation, alternative energy sources and automobiles that are more efficient are just three things that the United States could do to alleviate its dependence on oil. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that increasing fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles by just three miles per gallon would save more than one million barrels of oil per day - roughly five times the amount of oil that the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is likely to produce. (Palmer 21)

The tragedy of 9/11 has only given the Bush Administration more leverage in pushing for drilling. Purchasing oil from "terrorist" nations supposedly funds their activities against our country. The United States purchases oil from a number of nations, not all of which are "terrorist" nations.

If the Bush Administration succeeds and begins to dig up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, it would be an illogical act with no other purpose except to make money for the people who put Bush in office.

Works Cited

1. Palmer, Mark J "Oil and the Bush Administration" Earth Island Journal 17.3 (2002): 20-23

2. Swift, E.M "Pipeline Dreams" Sports Illustrated 13 May (2002): 70-79