Will Drilling For Oil In The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Affect The Balance Of The Eco-System In That Area?

Read Complete Research Material

Will drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge affect the balance of the eco-system in that area?

Will drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge affect the balance of the eco-system in that area?


Drilling For Oil in ANWR effect on wildlife

The intrusive nature of fossil fuel extraction makes it an undertaking which is disastrous for the surrounding ecosystem. As one of the world's few remaining balanced ecosystems, it is imperative that corporate interests are not given the opportunity to begin exploiting the resources of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Alaska's North Slope is the 48.8-million acre coastal region sandwiched between the peaks of the Brooks Range, which runs East/West across the northern portion of Alaska, to the south, and the Arctic Ocean to the north. This region consists of three major areas: National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, Prudhoe Bay, and the coastal region of ANWR, designated the “1002” area. While the two former areas have been opened to oil development, the latter has remained undeveloped, except for seismic testing and exploratory surveillance carried out by the United States Geological Survey in the 1980's, because of its importance to the surrounding ecosystem.

ANWR is a continuum of 6 different eco-zones, encompassing 19,049,236 acres of land (Gallagher, M.). It is home to 36 species of fish, 180 species of bird, 36 species of land mammals and 9 species of marine mammals (USFWS). Despite the advent of less intrusive technologies in recent years, the infrastructure, equipment and personnel necessary for fossil fuel development is still very destructive and would certainly cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem of ANWR and the neighboring Yukon territory (in Canada). As it turns out, several of the “low-impact” technologies have no, or limited, feasibility for use in ANWR's 1002 area. A view of any of the thousands of oil fields and off-shore oil rigs which dot the American landscape and coastlines makes it clear that claims of petroleum extraction infrastructure coexisting, in harmony, with nature are absurd.

In 1923, upon finding evidence of large amounts of untapped oil, President Harding created the 23-million acre Naval Petroleum Reserve, number 4 (NPR-4) in the western North Slope of the Alaskan territory. The purpose of such reserves was to ensure that the U.S. Navy had an untapped source of domestic oil in the event of war. NPR-4 was America's largest Federal oil reserve, which would remain undeveloped for many years.

During World War II, the entire North Slope was restricted from public development, and held exclusively by the military for emergency use. (USFWS).

In 1950, as the Alaska Statehood Committee was pushing for statehood (Schubach, E.), largely due to the populist perception that corporations based in the state of Washington were receiving more wealth from Alaska's resources and trade than were Alaskans, the National Park Service (NPS) began a survey of Alaska to identify areas with “special natural values”. After concluding the survey, in 1954, the NPS recommended the preservation of “the undisturbed lands in the northeastern corner of Alaska…for ...
Related Ads