Artic Refuge : LUSENET : usd eco : One Thread

USD-ECO's take on Artic Refuge:

We, As United States citizens, are coming to a time where oil resources are dwindling. As a nation, we import 55% of oil, and it is more pertinent than ever that we find alternative sources. Drilling is not only hazardous to the environment but other methods can be sought to answer our nations energy problems.

Many think drilling in Alaska will answer all our problems. According to them, Alaska is potentially our nation’s largest oil deposit domestically, and will create new jobs, bring in federal tax revenue, all the while indicating that United States imports over half of its oil. After all, the oil industry would only need 1.5 million acres of land, and oil industries are creating more environmental friendly ways of extracting oil. However, others sing a different tune.

Conversationalists assert that drilling for oil is not the answer, for it would only supply 2% of United States needs. Moreover, based on a United States Geological Survey, the refuge has an estimated six-month oil supply. It would take ten years to get to the surface, eliminating any chance for an immediate impact. Oil companies have a poor record in Alaska. Alaska based oil companies have destroyed over 17,000 acres of wildlife and marine habitat from gravel fill excavation, and according to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, oil company’s discharge more than a spill a day, destroying habitat occupied by wildlife such as elk and caribou.

Drilling oil in Alaska will be detrimental to the Canning River and its habitat in Northern Alaska. For Northern Alaska is the only refuge for some animals such as polar bear, grizzly bear, and oxen, protecting it from the coastal industrial complex and other polluted areas in Alaska. Without the Canning River, many animals will soon face the possibility of extinction, and their habitat destroyed, ruining such a river that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called it the “biological heart refuge” of Alaska. Furthermore, American Rivers lists it as the 2nd most endangered river in America, in order to save Alaska’s wildlife, drilling must be stopped.

To answer our nation’s energy problem, we can turn to alternative sources such as improving gas mileage. Currently, cars and light trucks guzzle 40% of U.S. oil. By updating Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) to 45 mpg for cars and 34 mpg for light trucks, 3 million barrels of oil each day will be saved. Using lean-burn engines and gasoline-electric hybrid engines, Americans will save money at the pump. Furthermore, by changing engine valves from two to four and requiring that all vehicles be front wheel drive would improve fuel economy by 17%. In doing so, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) believes 47,000 new jobs will be created in the auto industry and by saving money at the gas pump, Americans have 244,000 new jobs.

As we look at our options, the best bet is to encourage new alternatives, for oil will not be around forever. Introducing a new fuel economy standard, and perhaps even considering fossil fuel development can avoid drilling. It is the best answer for America, and it is the best answer for saving our most precious refuge.


-- Erik Kraai (, December 03, 2001

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