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The Drilling in ANWR Pros and Cons

ANWR drilling is a sore subject.  It’s constantly discussed and debated, particularly during elections.  It takes a decent understanding of all the issues involved to join the discussion.

The drilling in anwar issue starts in the beautiful state of Alaska.  ANWR is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  It’s a little more than 19 million acres in the North Slope in Alaska.  More land has been added to the area that fell under federal protection beginning in 1960.  The resources cannot be obtained while the land is protected.  But the land was protected so the resources could be obtained  What good are resources that can never be tapped?

When the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was built ANWR drilling became a hot issue for environmentalists.  They were interested in protected areas where the pipeline didn’t reach.  This was done in 1976.  Jimmy Carter created over 100 million acres of national parks in Alaska, stipulating that drilling in ANWR could only happen with the approval of the Congress.  Both pro and anti drilling people went into action.  One side was angry at Carter for requiring Congressional approval for drilling, while the other side was angry at him for even allowing the possibility of drilling in the area.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recommended opening ANWR drilling in November of 1986.  It proposed a trade of ANWR land for land owned by Eskimo tribes to accomplish this.  Environmentalists stepped in with concerns about the movement of caribou.  The US entered an agreement with Canada that both countries would have a say in drilling the area, which squashed the Wildlife Service’s recommendation.

People keep arguing over the possibility of ANWR drilling.  Those for it say the oil and natural gas are needed.  Not only will it create a larger world supply, but it would help America drastically decrease the oil imported from foreign sources.  But dependence on foreign oil is often exaggerated as an issue, as the US gets most of its oil from stable areas in the world.

Those against ANWR drilling continue to point to environmental concerns.  These are the people who would rather humans be at risk than disturb the lives of some minuscule population of tree slug.  

ANWR drilling will continue to be a major discussion.  Even if drilling begins, people will try to stop it and the cycle will continue.