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Arctic Drilling Pros and Cons

Having to do with drilling, melting glaciers, and wildlife in the region around the north pole

Arctic Drilling Pros and Cons

There have been several proposals for drilling inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge since President Jimmy Carter established it in 1980. It was protected from oil and gas exploration until 2017 when Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski put a clause requiring two lease sales into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of the Trump Administration. 

The significant tax cuts included in the package were also intended to be paid for in part by these sales. The findings of the first-ever lease auction of property in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling were made public by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in January 2021. 

The judgment has been hailed as a significant triumph by the petroleum sector. It’s being seen as a terrible setback by environmentalists. We will examine both perspectives.

Pros

There seem to be more disadvantages than advantages regarding Arctic drilling; let’s look into the benefits.

Using Oil Reserves That Were Previously Inaccessible

Along with 400 billion barrels of oil, it is predicted that the Arctic has 30% of the world’s currently undiscovered natural gas. The nation will see dramatically lower energy costs due to access to hitherto inaccessible oil deposits, enhancing the economic climate nationwide. 

The country’s economic situation will improve as energy problems will be much alleviated, and its dependency on foreign oil will be significantly reduced.

Enhancing Indigenous and Local Communities

Arctic drilling will be finished as part of an offshore project in Alaska, ultimately leading to Arctic exploration. Oil and gas corporations will aid in enhancing local and indigenous communities by providing employment (and subsequently money) to Alaska. 

Other industries besides oil and gas, such as retail and development, will also experience significant improvement with a stronger local economy. 

Enhancing Scientific Research and Conservation Efforts

Oil firms must carry out various scientific investigations and support local conservation efforts to guarantee the ongoing safety of drilling. 

The Arctic Sea has just recently begun to be thoroughly investigated, and establishing a commercial operation there will have enormous advantages for the scientific community, including protecting marine life through water sound dampening.

Cons

Here are some reasons why new oil and gas drilling should not be permitted in the Arctic.

Weak Animal Populations

Whale, polar bear, seabird, and walrus populations are all becoming more and more vulnerable to the changing climate of the Arctic. An oil leak destroying their environment is the last thing these magnificent animals need.

Communities Rely on Safe Environments

Indigenous peoples of the Arctic have inhabited the area for thousands of years and are still a part of it. Even a little oil spill or gas leak might endanger a community’s access to food and upend long-established customs.

Oil Spill Cleaning

The track record of fossil fuel firms is not the cleanest, and there is little evidence to suggest that their business methods would make spills in the Arctic any less likely. 

There is no simple method to prevent an oil leak from destroying ecosystems and eradicating species due to unpredictable ice conditions and months of darkness. This raises serious concerns since there is yet no effective technique to clean up a leak in the icy seas of the Arctic.

Rescue Teams are Far Away

Drilling would pose severe risks to both human and wildlife safety. Our government’s capacity to respond to catastrophes is frighteningly constrained. There is minimal response and support infrastructure along Alaska’s extensive northern coastline, and the closest Coast Guard post is more than 1,000 miles away.

Emissions Affecting the Climate

The obvious issue with Arctic drilling is how it affects the environment. Our climate and the health of our seas are already being affected by the carbon dioxide emitted when fossil fuels are used, endangering both natural and human systems. 

If we allow further drilling in the Arctic, we will not be able to meet the global objectives to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Is Arctic Drilling Worth It?

The nation has already discovered sustainable energy that can effectively replace fossil fuels. Alternative energy is relatively new, yet they have a long development history, can financially sustain Americans, and cause little to no moral harm to people, animals, or the environment. 

A nonrenewable energy source that is becoming exhausted and will ultimately run out entirely is fossil fuels. We must stay away from fossil fuels if we want human civilization to endure in the long term. America needs a future without fossil fuels to be clean and sustainable.

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