Oil and Wildlife Do Not Mix

By + More

From the peaks of the Brooks Range, across rolling tundra, wild rivers and vast wetlands to sparkling coastal waters, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to a stunning array of wildlife. The refuge contains the greatest diversity of animal life of any conservation area in the circumpolar region. It was created to protect the many unique, and often endangered, animals that exist in the delicate balance of the extreme Arctic conditions.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

But the Arctic is home to more than just rich scenery and stunning wildlife. The indigenous Gwich'in and Inupiat people have lived in the Arctic and relied on the bounty of the refuge for more than 20,000 years.

Opening the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas drilling will irreparably damage the fragile tundra and its wildlife, threatening native subsistence communities. To understand what's at stake, look at Prudhoe Bay, where less than 100 miles west of the Arctic Refuge drilling has resulted in hundreds of spills involving tens of thousands of gallons of oil each year. A similar fate awaits the coastal plain of the refuge if oil companies get their way. Oil and wildlife do not mix. Behind shallow assurances of safety and environmental responsibility is a dismal record of spills, air and water pollution by oil and gas companies.

Drilling proponents will say anything for a chance to exploit this American treasure for their own gain. Last week, Arctic Refuge drilling was heralded as the answer to our budget woes. This week? It is a jobs' savior. Next week? Perhaps Arctic Refuge drilling will be hailed as the answer to world peace.

[Read about how competition impacts gas prices.]

The truth is, drilling in the Arctic Refuge, one of our nation's last great wilderness places, will do next to nothing to reduce unemployment, our budget deficit, or gas prices--and it likely won't bring about world peace.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation's last great wild places. It should not be opened to destructive oil and gas drilling but saved for future generations. If we have the vision and boldness to protect it, our children will thank us.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is currently deciding the future of the refuge. The agency should protect the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness, prohibiting oil and gas drilling. Some places are just too special to drill; the Arctic Refuge is one of them.

Dan Ritzman

About Dan Ritzman Alaska Program Director for the Sierra Club's Resilient Habitats Campaign

Tags
Arctic
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
oil
gas prices
economy
environment

Other Arguments

#1
286 Pts
Drilling in ANWR a Disaster Waiting to Happen

No – Drilling in ANWR a Disaster Waiting to Happen

Jessica Ennis Legislative Representative at Earthjustice

#2
106 Pts
There Will Never Be a Time to Drill in ANWR

No – There Will Never Be a Time to Drill in ANWR

William H. Meadows President of The Wilderness Society

#4
84 Pts
America Is Not Prepared to Safely Drill in ANWR

No – America Is Not Prepared to Safely Drill in ANWR

Frances Beinecke President of the Natural Resources Defense Council

#5
75 Pts
Drilling in ANWR Will Not Solve Our National Energy Crisis

No – Drilling in ANWR Will Not Solve Our National Energy Crisis

Cindy Shogan Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League

#9
-84 Pts
Majority of Alaskans Agree With Drilling in ANWR

Yes – Majority of Alaskans Agree With Drilling in ANWR

Dan Sullivan Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources

#11
-89 Pts
Developing Domestic Oil Resources Is Part of the Solution

Yes – Developing Domestic Oil Resources Is Part of the Solution

Marilyn Crockett Executive Director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association

#12
-91 Pts
With ANWR We Can Take Immediate Steps to Boost Domestic Production

Yes – With ANWR We Can Take Immediate Steps to Boost Domestic Production

Robbie Diamond Founder, President and CEO of Securing America's Future Energy

You Might Also Like


See More