Arctic Refuge: Oil Drilling

By Riley Hilbert, Nina Galindo-Calvete, and Leilani Quintero
MAR. 14, 2021

The risk of climate change and its effects on the earth have been increasing due to the destructive actions of humans. The most recent concern facing the environment is oil drilling in the arctic. Although it is a source for economic growth and jobs, oil drilling is believed to be one of the main catalysts for climate change.  According to The Wilderness Society “In 2017, Congress passed a backdoor provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allowed the Trump administration to begin the process for leasing vulnerable refuge lands to oil companies.” As we approach the future, we should find new alternatives to preserve the earth rather than find ways of destroying it.

A demonstrator holds a sign against drilling in the Arctic Refuge on the 58th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, during a press conference outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 11, 2018. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Climate change has been increasing due to  human activities that impact the environment, such as carbon pollution. The leading cause of carbon pollution is the burning of fossil fuels. When drilling for oil, fossil fuels are burned, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This releases greenhouse gases that continue to contribute to global warming on Earth. 

Currently, the Arctic National Wildlife refuge (ANWR) is being faced with potential oil and gas development. ANWR is located in the Alaska North Slope region and it is the largest oil reserve in North America. ANWR is home to a wide variety of wildlife species; if oil is drilled from there, many of the animals’ habitats will be ruined. The arctic is already being affected by the ongoing issues with climate change, and oil drilling will only create more problems for the environment and wildlife there. 

Oil drilling in the arctic has become a controversial topic since there are many benefits, including lower gas prices. Since the arctic is the largest oil reserve in North America, people believe that it should be used to help the economy and  increase the oil revenue in Alaska. Although this is an advantage,  is  it  worth hurting the environment? Many individuals think that the oil should be used to help the economy in the present but don’t consider that it will continue to affect the environment for many years to come. If people don’t prioritize the environment now, then there will be no future for the economy or anything else.

Instead of harming the environment through oil drilling, there are alternative solutions to preserve the Earth for  future generations. If we decrease the amount of fuel emissions and begin to use other cleaner sources of energy, there could be many benefits.. This would lower the demand for oil and gas, causing  oil drilling to be mostly unnecessary. Finding new ways to conserve energy will be crucial in decreasing the amount of fossil fuels being consumed. 

People should be prioritizing saving and conserving the environment by avoiding an increase in  oil and gas development. According to Green Matters, “ In August 2020, the Trump administration approved a full gas and oil drilling plan that would make 1.5 million acres of the preserved natural lands available to drilling.” Many companies voiced their opinions  on this, causing the process to be slowed down and eventually halted.  When President Joe Biden was elected into office, he blocked the drilling in ANWR as one of his first acts. Hopefully, as we approach the future, there will be more action and development to protect the planet and everything on it.