Oil Drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

Essay by araggi1 March 2005

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The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine environmental areas in our country, but it also is an area that contains the largest oil reserve in the entire US. This has led to a very intense and complicated debate as to whether we should preserve this area or allow oil extraction. Environmentalists, conservationists, preservationists, as well as many others who care for the environment are against the oil industries getting their hands on this wildlife refuge. On the other hand, the oil industry along with some of the government and many businesses in our country push for oil exploration. Each opposing side has their reasons for their stance on the issue, but it is clear that at the current time we need to pursue oil exploration and extraction in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

Those who are against the oil industry moving into the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge bring forth many arguments that deal with the harm that will be inflicted upon the environment and the native people.

They believe that this area is very unique and very important to preserve so that future generations can appreciate the beauty and quality of life that is present. They argue that the environment will be adversely affected; such that plants, animals and the air and water quality would experience negative effects. As the US Fish and Wildlife Service reported, cumulative biological consequences could include: blocking, deflecting or disturbing wildlife, loss of subsistence hunting opportunities, and increased predation by arctic fox, gulls and ravens on nesting birds due to introduction of garbage as a consistent food source. Those who oppose the oil extraction also say that the amount of expected oil to be taken from the area is much less than what the oil industry has calculated. Therefore they argue...