Over the last thirty years the United States has been faced with the problem of dependence on foreign countries for oil and the tight control that these exercise on the energy policies and economics of America. Many of these instances include: the oil embargos of the 1970s, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Since the 1970s, one solution offered to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign countries for oil has been opening up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Proponents say that drilling in ANWR would make the United States more self-sufficient in the area of energy, while at the same time not doing excessive damage to the environment of the area. Opponents of drilling in ANWR cite the environmental problems of off-shore drilling and maintain that this land should be left alone and allowed to stand as an environmental wonder. Given that some environmental groups do not mind allowing technology to invade the environment when it profits them and given the threats of global terror and the ever-increasing dependence our nation has on foreign oil, I believe it is in the best interests of the United States to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.Before stating both sides of the argument, I would like to make two observations that I found interesting while researching from the book, Taking Sides. The first thing that I found interesting was that in an environmental science class and in an environmental science textbook, the two articles used to present the pros and cons of opening up oil drilling in ANWR were not written by environmentalists or scientists or even oil technology experts, but rather by an economist, a physicist and a lawyer. The second thing that ran through my head as I was reading both articles was the time at which both were written. “To Drill or Not to Drill: Let the Environmentalist Decide,” written by Dwight R.
Lee, a professor of economics, and “Fools Gold in Alaska,” written by physicist Amory B. Lovins and lawyer L. Hunter Lovins, were both written in the months prior to the September eleventh terrorist attacks in the United States and the subsequent United States invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As I read both articles, especially that of the Lovins, which opposes oil drilling in ANWR, I could not help but wonder if each of the three men would either have different views or in the case of Lee a different argument for his views, if they had to write their articles post 9/11.
Another interesting fact about ANWR is that, “ANWR is home to one of the world’s largest caribou herds as well as 200 other wildlife and plant species.” (Cunningham, William P. Cunningham, Mary Ann and Saigo, Barbara, pg.
413)My argument in favor of opening up oil drilling in ANWR is based on two things: the questionable conclusions that the Lovins article draws from past energy policies and the latest factual and no-so factual data they had available to them at the time. I believe that given the world we live in today, the principles that the Lovins and other use to argue against oil drilling in ANWR can be applied to argue why oil drilling should be open in the tract of land in Alaska. By drilling for oil in Alaska the U.
S. will become more self-efficient on fuel, and the opportunity for employment will cause the current unemployment rate to decrease. The drilling creates opportunities not only for oil companies, but also boating and airplane carriers. In the article, the Lovins’ write, “In sum, even if drilling in the Artic Wildlife Refuge posed no environmental or human rights concerns, it still could not be justified on economic or security grounds.” (Armory B. Lovins and L.
Hunter Lovins, page 130) This may have been true when they wrote the article but the economics of the United States and the world have changed. They argue that the amount of oil in ANWR and the projected price per barrel for this oil would not generate enough of a profit to making drilling worth it. One part of this argument