Oil Drilling and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

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America is at a crossroads. This country's dependence has on oil has driven it to several big decisions it must make in the upcoming decades. America could make an attempt to abandon oil as its primary source of energy, or it can cling to oil and try to not be as dependent on other countries for it and regain its old position of the world's biggest oil producer it held a decade ago. The latter is extremely harmful to the environment, especially in the state with the most untouched nature America has today: Alaska.

If America wants to become self-sufficient with oil and gas, the environment of America will suffer greatly. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska is the site some Americans want to drill because it is suspected to have a large amount of oil under its surface. Former President George Bush spearheaded initiatives to drill this area in order to lessen America's dependence on foreign oil, but Senate has vetoed the bill to this date. This land contains roughly 180 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, and 36 species of fish among its abundant and diverse wildlife. It is also home to Inupiat Eskimos and Athabascan Indians. The drilling of this area will result in the displacement of these people, and subsequent loss of a land and culture that they have lived in harmony with for generations.

 If America agrees to drill these lands the country is giving in completely to the mindset that profit is more important than environment. In order to avoid this wilderness from being destroyed, the American public must bring many things to the government's attention. First, the country must commit itself entirely and genuinely to alternative energy research. Solar, wind, water, and electricity have all been explored. America must fully engage in the use of these materials in order to make a change. Also, American families must work diligently to decrease their consumption of oil. For the last decade this has been quite a trend but it hasn't been taken as seriously as it should. This means the obvious changes of less SUVs, more carpools, and other car-related issues. This also means being aware of oil use in the places we don't normally think of such as the heating of our homes. Over the next 50 years, America is going to experience a drastic change concerning energy, hopefully it is a change that takes the environment seriously.

 

For Additional Reading:

http://search.proquest.com/docview/870522499

 

http://library.fws.gov/Refuges/arctic00.pdf

 

http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/lnacademic/?verb=sr&csi=138620&sr=HLEAD(Senate+blocks+Alaskan+oil+drilling+plan)+and+date+is+December+22%2C+2005

 

http://search.proquest.com/docview/1170553782

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1 Comment

Our use of oil and other non-renewable resources is serious problem affecting not only the US, but also the world. I agree that the nation needs to get behind alternative means to energy, and lessen the amount of oil we use on a regular basis. At the rate oil is used the resource will run out in about 15,000 days or a little over 41 years which is well within our lifetime. To add to that statistic we also only have about 164 years worth of gas remaining. Even if legislation is passed at this very moment limiting our oil use we still need to find the best replacement, and then the new energy source needs time to be fully implemented. The process will most likely take years. Within that time other countries can advance industrially and begin to use the world’s already limited natural resources. The depletion of oil really is an international problem that deserves more attention than it gets. Society relies too much on limited resources, and is in a rude awaking if nothing is done. In my home state of New Jersey I know citizens are encouraged to install solar panels on their homes or properties, and the government will even reimburse money to you annually. Solar Energy may not be the best replacement, but it is a definite start.

To see more real time statistics visit http://www.worldometers.info

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