Before reading this paper you should ask yourself one question. Should the Bush Administration drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? To answer that questions quite simply, the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game says no. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in the northeast corner of Alaska between the Beaufort Sea, and the Brooks Mountains. The 19.
6 million acre protected refuge is a very important part of many animals in Alaska. It provides birthing, mating, and resting grounds for 100's of species of animals. There are 160 bird species alone that use the refuge as breeding and nesting grounds. It is the most important denning area for U. S. polar bears, while the Porcupine caribou herd, the 2 nd largest caribou herd with 130, 000 head, use the refuge as their calving grounds.
The Bush Administration is looking into drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to help with the United States dependence on foreign oil for energy. However the White House is overlooking that they will be doing America more harm than good if they do explore for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Many organizations have done research on the effects if drilling and the results are very negative. National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stated that, "Prudhoe Bay -- a gargantuan oil complex that has turned 1, 000 square miles of fragile tundra into a sprawling industrial zone containing 1, 500 miles of roads and pipelines, 1, 400 producing wells and three jetports." All of this combined a few barrels of oil but nothing that will ever make a dent in our dependence upon foreign oil. However more importantly it has caused 60 giant contaminated waste sites. These sites leak very often and disperse lead, acids, pesticides, diesel fuels, and various solvents in to the ground, and the nearby water sources.
All of this leaking matter will affect many generations of fish and wildlife, and make the habitat inhabitable. According to Bill Updike of Defenders Magazine, "Oil contamination from leaks in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, during transfer to tankers, and from tanker accidents occurs frequently, too, ... ." In 1989 there was a huge oil spill in Alaska, a total of over 10 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the sea killing 250, 000 sea birds, 2, 800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles and almost 24 whales. What's worse is that these numbers only show the immediate affects, that oil spill is still affecting animals today, and will continue to affect fish and wildlife for many more years.
Defenders also stated, "Biologists project that the birthrate of the Porcupine caribou may fall by 40 percent if drilling is allowed. They also believe seismic exploration could disturb denning polar bears and cause them to abandon their cubs to die. Even small spills would be disastrous for seals and other marine mammals found along the refuge coastline because oil and chemicals from spills tend to accumulate within the air holes used by these animals." The NRDC also found that," drilling proponents often say there are 16 billion barrels of oil under the refuge's coastal plain, the U. S. Geological Service says the amount that could be recovered economically -- that is, the amount likely to be profitably extracted and sold -- is roughly 3. 2 billion barrels." Not only would be very little oil, but America would be forced to wait for 10 years for that oil to even reach the pump.
The production of the site would be expected to reach it's peak production in the year 2027, which would mean that the refuge would be producing less than two percent of Americas oil demands that year. A large factor would also be that the oil is not just in one concentrated reservoir, it is spread out over 30 different small reservoirs covering all areas of the refuge. This factor alone would increase the danger of oil spills and habitat destruction by many folds. Another huge and maybe the largest component would be the Alaskan congressional delegates themselves. As of now they are strongly considering the continuation of oil sales to Asian countries such as Japan, China, and Korea. This would mean that the United States government would be destroying our natural wonders to provide oil for foreign countries.
You now have the facts, and you now have a clear picture of what is to happen if the Bush Administration is to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Now you must decide whether or not you want America to hurt itself for something that would cause more harm, than good. Or do you want to just leave one of America's great wilderness refuges alone.