Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska be Opened for Oil Exploration?

timer Asked: Nov 26th, 2017
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GEL 1 writing assignment #2 Fall, 2017 Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska be Opened for Oil Exploration? The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR, pronounced ‘Anwar’) sprawls across the North Slope of northeastern Alaska, including part of the Brooks Range and the broad coastal plain that slopes northward toward the Beaufort Sea. (See a map at the bottom of this file.) Nearly as large as Maine, ANWR is home to wolves, grizzly and polar bears, moose and caribou, muskox and countless waterfowl. But oil and natural gas likely exist beneath ANWR, in potentially large amounts approaching 7 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Oil companies and the current U.S. government would like the 1002 Area of ANWR open to oil exploration and production. The controversy: Should the 1002 Area of ANWR remain pristine, reserved for the wildlife that it harbors, or should the 1002 Area be explored to increase our domestic oil supply and reduce dependence on foreign oil imports? Background The Alaskan North Slope oil boom began in 1968 with the discovery of oil around Prudhoe Bay. Oil was eventually transported in 1977 along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline to the ice-free port of Valdez along the southern Alaskan coast. Today, North Slope oil supplies a quarter of domestic output. Trans-Alaska pipeline If the 1002 Area were open today, oil production would probably begin by about 2021. Production would likely peak around 2035 at about 1 million barrels per day, just under 4% of our projected domestic energy needs. Development would require: 1) a new grid of seismic exploration surveys, with attendant scarring by equipment, but minimal effect on wildlife, 2) ice roads, airstrips and exploration wells, and 3) a network of oil fields, processing plants and pipelines. Oil companies say they can develop the area with a minimum of environmental damage. But what might the real effect be? Can the oil industry actually explore and develop the region without causing more than cosmetic damage? Or will they irreparably harm the ecology of the region? The reality is that you and me and the rest of the civilized world depend on oil to maintain our modern way of life. We use it in our cars (as gasoline), we fly on jet fuel, we use it to create plastics and synthetic fabrics, we use it in paint, rubber and pesticides, and the make-up some of you are 1 wearing was made from petroleum. Despite a dramatic increase in domestic production over the last decade, America imports about 10 million barrels per day from about 70 countries. This foreign source of oil constituted about 25% of total U.S. consumption in 2016. We use about 19 million barrels of oil per day, mostly as gasoline for our car-centric society. This total is about 20% of total global consumption, more than China and Russia combined. We don’t live in a digital age, or a post-industrial age, or a solar age (yet), but rather we live in the oil age. Paper 2 Details For your assignment, write a 5-6 page point-of-view paper that lays out as coherently as possible your opinion on whether we should open the 1002 Area of ANWR for exploration. The paper should be double-spaced with 1" margins – use a 12 font. We’d like you to research the issue using the links below to get started. Build your paper using as many references as you find necessary. Your references may be all from the web, or they may be from newspapers or reputable newsmagazines. The “References Cited” section constitutes part of page 7 of your paper. This paper is due at the beginning of your discussion during the week of Nov. 27 – Dec. 1. (This is the week after Thanksgiving break, so plan accordingly.) We don’t care about your politics and we want you to reassure you that you should feel secure that you are not going to be graded on your political slant. We are going to judge only one thing: your ability to present a clear argument. You’ve had a writing workshop and you’ll receive editorial feedback on your first paper from your TA. Be sure to incorporate the lessons learned into this second paper. If you lost points on the first paper because you didn’t carefully follow the guidelines in “WritingGEL1papers.pdf” then be sure not to make that mistake again. Of course you’ll want to provide as much evidence and data as possible to support your argument. Be sure to include any maps, figure, or graphs if they enhance your document. Any illustrations don’t count in your page total. Some questions to consider (or not) when writing your paper 1) What is the North Slope of Alaska and where is Prudhoe Bay? How much oil did we expect to find there? How much have we already found? How much do we expect to find in ANWR? 2) How will the crude oil from ANWR be transported away from the production sites? Will it be possible to use the 800-mile long trans-Alaska oil pipeline to ship the oil to the Gulf of Alaska or does a new pipeline have to be built? Once the oil reaches the Gulf of Alaska, how will it be moved to the lower 48 states or to Japan? 3) In November 2002, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake occurred on the Denali Fault in Alaska. The transAlaska pipeline crosses the Denali Fault. Was the pipeline damaged in the earthquake? What about larger earthquakes that have occurred in Alaska such as the 1964 earthquake in Prince William Sound? Would an earthquake of that size adversely affect the pipeline or the pipeline terminal in Valdez? 4) What happened in Prince William Sound in March of 1989? Why did the Exxon Valdez run aground? 2 What was the impact of that event on the environment and the local fishing economy? What measures have been taken to prevent a recurrence of that disaster? Are those measures sufficient? 5) What will be the impact of drilling operations on the ecosystems of ANWR? What types of wildlife will be primarily affected? How can drill sites be designed to minimize these impacts? Why might it be preferable to transport equipment in the dead of winter over icy roads rather than in the relative warmth of summer? 6) What are the consequences of increasing our dependence on oil and natural gas in a world who’s climate is changing? Is it wise to exploit every last drop of oil or might it be best to leave it in the ground? What other energy resource to we have that might replace oil and natural gas? A few web resources to get started: • Pros and cons of drilling in ANWR: • Views from the native peoples of northern Alaska: • One site against drilling: • One site in favor of drilling: Composed by DAO, Oct. 2017 3

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School: New York University

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Oil exploitation in the ANWR




Argument against Oil Drilling In ANWR
After the discovery of oil in the Prudhoe Bay, the oil boom in Alaskan North slope began.
According to the researchers, drilling oil in this region would add to the amount of oil produced
in the country and would meet the daily demands with only 4% remain unattended. The
exploitation of oil in the stated region would thus provide benefits to the nation as the long-term
success would become achievable by providing people with enough fuel and energy to use for
their daily operations (Health Research Funding, 2014). From ANWR, it would become possible
to find sufficient fuel and energy for the nation as a whole so that it would become unnecessary
to import from other countries. The country has 25% of its energy from importing, but through
the exploitation of the region, it would not become meaningful to import. The analysis shows
that the region will have to produce 1 million barrels of oil on a daily basis.
The drilling of oil in this region will call for the building of other ice roads and airstrips
that would assist in the transportation process. In this case, it will become necessary to have
other pipelines constructed so that they can transport the oil to a place where it can then be
transported through the airstrip and the roads. On the other hand, it would become necessary to
build processing plants and more pipelines that will aid in the transportation activity (Defenders
of Wildlife, 2017). The need to implement changes that will make the activity successful will
require interference with the ecology of the region, and regardless of the researchers claiming
that it will have minimum effects, it might also become hard to handle the changes for the
wildlife. The construction of different plants and more pipelines will imply that the region will
have to embrace human activities on land that may have adverse impacts.



The argument on whether or not to drill oil in the ANWR region has gained different
reactions from various groups. In some cases, some people feel that the o...

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