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Environmental Issues

Oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve is it really going to help?

Oil Spill Victim
Oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve

Let’s face it, most of us enjoy the convenience of motoring to work, the movies or to complete one of our seemingly countless errands. What we may not often think about is the global cost of thoughtlessly jumping behind the wheel. As Arctic Drilling proponents push foolhardily toward destruction of “America’s finest example of an intact, naturally functioning community of Arctic/sub-Arctic ecosystems," we are increasingly called upon to recognize those costs.

Drilling will bring irreparable harm to the delicate environment and its inhabitants.

Allowed to go forward, drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, also called the 1002 area, might result in a few months’ supply of oil, but will cause certain, irreversible damage to an environment that nurtures more than 45 types of mammals, nearly 40 types of fish and almost 200 species of birds.

The ill effects will not be limited to animals. Indigenous people, such as the Gwich’in Indians, who depend upon the Porcupine Caribou Herd for their very existence, will suffer irreparable harm as well. Along with the musk ox (once nearly extinct) and grizzly, the Porcupine Caribou Herd owes its growth and survival to the delicate ecosystem of the ANWR that sustains them.

The Refuge provides a habitat for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, thought to be among the largest in the world and a critical link to survival for the region's indigenous inhabitants. Like the Gwich’in, many in Alaska make their living hunting and fishing and depend on a clean environment to find success in these areas.

Drilling is a threat to the Caribou calving grounds and akin to threatening the Gwich’in, who call this precious area “the sacred place where life begins.” Sadly, drilling will make this a sacred place no more, and life as its inhabitants know it will be forever over.

Other inhabitants, such as polar bears, depend upon the area for feeding and denning needs that support their survival. Snow geese, also indigenous to the area, are known to be particularly sensitive to any disturbances and with very few feeding habitats other than the AWNR are unlikely to survive displacement.

Proposed drilling will not be contained as has been claimed by proponents.

Contrary to statements offered by those that would disturb the last of America’s intact ecological environments, drilling would not be confined to a mere 2,000 acres. Instead, widespread drilling to access what research has shown to be scattered pockets of oil would result in devastating and irreparable harm to the environment and its inhabitants. It is naïve to imagine that a centralized drilling location exists. If the ANWR is not protected, this pristine land will give way to well pads, pipelines, housing and other contaminants that will drive far reaching change for the climate as well as wildlife culture.
Bird - That Won't Make it

Past examples show the dangers of drilling

If you have any doubts about the wisdom of drilling for oil in the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Reserve, consider Prudhoe Bay where, despite strict environmental regulations, we find an industrial complex plagued by toxic spills, contaminated waste and chronic pollution. Even Prudhoe, site of the largest concentration of oil found in North America has done nothing to curb our hunger for or dependence on foreign oil. The Reserve will yield only a negligible supply of oil and do nothing to reform the habits of a nation that consumes oil, a non-renewable resource, with no real commitment to grooming far more ecologically responsible, renewable resources.

Why can’t they just give it a rest? The Arctic Refuge coastal plain comprises the last patch of Alaska’s north coast that is still legally closed to oil exploration and development. This comparatively small patch of land is an absolutely critical habitat for most of the wildlife in the refuge. It is incumbent upon us to protect the world we live in and to preserve this space for those that will inherit it.

Proponents try to pull the wool over our eyes

It has been suggested that drilling in the ANWR will reduce gas prices as well as U.S. dependence on foreign oil. That is simply not true. Countless studies and more than 1,000 scientists from the United States and Canada in a 2005 letter to George W. Bush dispute these claims while advocating for the more responsible needs of renewable energy sources and more fuel efficient vehicles. Indeed, focused attention on these goals will yield more productive solutions than the oil that might be recovered from the ANWR. It is simply unconscionable to risk this delicate ecosystem – it becomes even more objectionable when we understand that such drilling will worsen the problem of global warming and disturb the wildlife that depends on the Reserve for its very survival only to increase oil reserves by a mere 0.3 percent. That pittance is unlikely to be ready for market in less than ten years. Rolling in record profits, big oil has no legitimate reason to avoid short-sighted and irresponsible tactics. If they will not act with integrity, it is up to us to hold their feet to the fire.
Alaska Oil Spill Site - Pipelines Do Break

Speak out against drilling in the Arctic – Your voice counts

Nearly sixty percent of Americans oppose Arctic drilling and it is that opposition that has held the line so far. Still, proponents are not giving up. Aware of strong opposition by a large majority of Americans, drilling proponents are scrambling to push their bill through any backdoor that limits discussion. Such tactics represent a blatant disregard for the needs of the environment and the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants - both animal and human. Your voice counts. Let Congress know that you are not willing to destroy the magic of the Arctic Wildlife Natural Reserve for a few barrels of oil. Demand that Congress provide permanent protection with its passage of the Arctic Refuge Wilderness Bill.

Call your Senators Today: 202-224-3121

Related Terms for This Article:
Drilling for Oil in the Arctic Refuge.
Problems to oil Drilling.
Offshore Drilling.
Why we Need e85 and Ethanol Today.

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