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Drilling For Oil In The Artic National Wildlife Refuge

Drilling For Oil In The Artic National Wildlife Refuge

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Published by: abunasbi on Sep 10, 2009
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http://www.papersplanet.com under constructionhttp://kuleed.googlepages.comThe United States should not drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refugebecause it would harm the environment, disrupt the animals, and destroy plants.The United States Congress created the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in 1980 (Todrill or not to drill?: 6). The Artic National Wildlife Refuge is also known asANWR (To drill or not to drill?: 6). The Artic National Wildlife Refuge is 19.6million acres of wilderness (Scalzo, Jim Lo.: 37). Of the 19.6 million acres inthe Artic National Wildlife Refuge 17.5 million acres are permanently closed todevelopment. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is often called the "AmericanSerengeti" (Defenders of Wildlife). The Artic National Wildlife Refuge lies in thenortheast corner of Alaska (Predger, David). The entire refuge lies north of theArctic Circle and 1,300 miles south of the North Pole (Predger, David). The ArticNational Wildlife Refuge is the size of South Carolina (Predger, David). If ANWRwas a state it would be bigger than ten other states (Predger, David). If theUnited States did drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge there is anestimated 10.4 billion barrels on the North Slope (One state's free lunch: 28-32).The North Slope covers 89,000 square miles (Experts say Alaska Oil Drilling HurtsWildlife: 43). The North Slope extends from the top of the Brooks Range to theArtic coast (Experts say Alaska Oil Drilling Hurts Wildlife: 43). The UnitedStates Congress wants to drill for oil and natural gas in the Artic NationalWildlife Refuge (Battles loom inCongress Over ANWR.: 2) The United States Congress is split in half, give or take,on whether to drill for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge or not to drill(Schneiderman, Emma: 4). Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil a day are beingproduced from the fields that are already tapped (Predger, David).Another reason why the United States should not drill in the Artic NationalWildlife Reserve is because it would harm the animals living in the reserve.Another indirect effect of oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge isglobal warming would increase (One state's free lunch: 28- 32). The PorcupineRiver herd of 129,000 caribou gathers annually on the Coastal Plain to bear andnurse their young. Polar bears rely on the Coastal Plain of the Refuge as theirmost important on-land denning habitat on American soil. There are many typesof wildlife in the refuge. These animals include caribou, polar bears, musk oxen,millions of birds, wolves, foxes, black bears, grizzly bears, and several speciesof whales (One state's free lunch: 28-32). Musk oxen, grizzly bears, wolves,wolverines, foxes, golden eagles, and snowy owls gather here to hunt and den. Inthe fall, the Coastal Plain of the refuge supports up to 300,000 snow geese whichdetour to feed from their nesting grounds in Canada. Millions of other birds usethe Arctic Refuge to nest and as a critical staging area before journeying throughevery state. Wolves, foxes, and musk oxen raise their young there (To drill ornot to drill?: 6). Golden eagles and snowy owls nest there (To drill or not todrill?: 6). Enormous herds of caribou and moose roam there (To drill or not todrill?: 6). The vast artic plain is home to grizzly bears, polar bears, and blackbears (To drill or not to drill?:6). Oil development has already affected caribou herd geographical distributionand reproductive success (Experts say Alaska Oil Drilling Hurts Wildlife:43). The increased human presence has attracted scavenging animals and birds thatalso prey on nestlings, eggs and bird species (Experts say Alaska Oil DrillingHurts Wildlife: 43). Bowhead whales have changed their fall migration pattern toavoid the noise of seismic exploration activities (Experts say Alaska Oil DrillingHurts Wildlife: 43). Scientists use seismic waves to determine if there is oilunder a certain place of land. If the United States was to drill in the ArticNational Wildlife Refuge they would have to make pipelines and oil-drillingplatforms to get the oil out and to pump it to where it needs to go. Pipelinesand oil-drilling platforms will harm caribou, polar bears, and millions ofmigrating birds (Come on in.: 38). Whenever some country drills for oil it is
more likely than not for that country to have an oil spill. Oil spills are deadlyto animals, hard to clean up, and it takes the land thousands of years to recover.The United States has already had one major oil spill off the coast of Alaska inPrince William Sound. If another large oil spill occurred on the water it wouldhave a substantial effect on whales and other marine wildlife (Experts say AlaskaOil Drilling Hurts Wildlife: 43). There are over 130 bird species that findbreeding, nesting, or resting places on the coastal plain (Defenders of Wildlife).All of the oil will be pumped down the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline no matter what.Then it is loaded onto tankers and shipped out of Prince William Sound, but thetankersthat the oil is being shipped in are at an enormous risk for having an oil spill.This is because most of the ships that pick up the oil are not doubled hulled.The vast majorityof oil shipped from Alaska is carried in aging tankers with higher risk ofleaking. Only 3 of 26 have double-hulls and those are more than 20 years old.There are three main oilcompanies who carry oil out of Alaska; Phillip, BP, and Exxon. The first ofPhillip's four new Millennium Class double-hulled tankers to be built waschristened in October, 1999, and started carrying North Slope crude oil in 2001.The first of BP's three newly ordered double-hulled tankers entered service in2003. Exxon has yet to order any double-hulled tankers.The Inpuiat (Eskimo) people living on the North Slope are primarilydependent on the bowhead whale and marine resources. They have vigorously opposedoffshore oil development in the Arctic Ocean for decades, including in the areaoff the coast of the Arctic Refuge due to concerns about impacts to theirsubsistence resources from noise disturbance and oil spills. There are about 250residents in the village of Kaktovik on Barter Island on the north boundary of therefuge. Although the community of Kaktovik supported wilderness protection for theArctic Refuge until the early 1980s, they have come to support onshore drilling.They average about 100 caribou harvested annually.There are also several tribes that live in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge.One of the tribes is called the Gwich'in tribe. This tribe is known as thecaribou tribe (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). They live in Northeast Alaskaand also in Northwest Canada and have depended on the Porcupine River caribou herdto maintain their culture (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). Gwich'in means"people of the caribou" (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). The tribe shares therange of the Porcupine River caribou herd; except for the place the caribou go tohave their offspring each year: the coastal plain of the Arctic National WildlifeRefuge (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). To the Gwich'in people, the coastalplain is holy (The Artic National WildlifeRefuge). Even in years of starvation, the people did not go to the coastal plain,where hunting would have been easy during the post-calving gathering of the herd(The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). Gwich'in communities continue to rely onthe caribou to meet both their subsistence and spiritual needs (The Artic NationalWildlife Refuge). The hunting and distribution of caribou meat also enhancestheir social interaction and cultural expression (The Artic National WildlifeRefuge). When fresh meat is available, caribou will be eaten three or four timesa day; the meat being shared throughout the community and region by a network ofgift-giving arrangements as well as in trade for other goods (The Artic NationalWildlife Refuge). The songs, stories, and dances of the Gwich'in continue tocenter around the caribou (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). The caribouprovides more than just food (The Artic National Wildlife Refuge). Skins are usedfor winter boots, slippers, purses, bags, and other items of clothing (The ArticNational Wildlife Refuge). Bones continue to be used as tools (The Artic NationalWildlife Refuge). The historical respect for the caribou included the importanceof using all parts of the animal, avoiding waste (The Artic National WildlifeRefuge).Drilling in the refuge would require a large number of well pads, connected by
pipelines, roads, airports, housing facilities, processing plants, and otherinfrastructure with effects that would radiate across the entire coastal plain(Defenders of Wildlife). Oil companies want people to believe that drilling willbe concentrated to one area (Defenders of Wildlife). But, as with the North Slopeoil fields west of the Arctic Refuge, development has sprawled over a very largearea (Defenders of Wildlife). Along will drilling for oil comes spills. Toxicchemical spills are common sight at the PrudhoeBay oilfield. There were thousands of spills during pipeline construction, and anaverage of just under 400 spills annually have been reported on the North Slopesince 1996 (Defenders of Wildlife). In terms of quantity, 1.3 million gallons oftoxic substances were spilled between 1996 and 2000 alone (Defenders of Wildlife).Roughly forty different substances, from acid to waste oil to diesel and crude,are commonly spilled during routine operations (Defenders of Wildlife). Diesel isparticularly devastating to plant life; a study of diesel spills in Alaska'sarctic found that there were was little vegetation recovery 28 years after a spill(Defenders of Wildlife). Accidental spills are only half the story. Plumes ofPrudhoe Bay pollution can be detected 200 miles away and visibility in the oncepristine air has been significantly reduced by a permanent haze (Defenders ofWildlife). The oil industry saps the arid region of an astounding 27 billiongallons of water a year and releases vast quantities of waste materials in PrudhoeBay (Defenders of Wildlife). Much of this is solid industrial waste like useddrums and constructions materials, but most is liquid wastes as a result ofdrilling (Defenders of Wildlife). Daily, 3,000 cubic yards of drilling waste, 40million gallons of "produced water" or "toxic brine," 40,000 gallons of liquidoily waste and 300 cubic yards of oil contaminated solid wastes and sludges aregenerated through drilling operations that are disposed of in open waste pits, arefrozen into the permafrost, or injected back under ground with unknown effects(Defenders of Wildlife).There are several stages to creating an oil field out in the middle of thewilderness. First you must explore the land by seismic exploration. Second youmustdrill the hole in the ground to get to the oil. This phase consists of drillingand constructing a web of wells, well pads, roads to the wells, collectorpipelines, water disposal pipelines, wellhead compressors, separators, dehydratorsand storage tanks (Defenders of Wildlife).Then you must construct the buildings that you will need. The construction phaseinvolves heavy equipment and radical impacts to the landscape (Defenders ofWildlife). Intensive vehicle traffic carrying heavy equipment, crews, hazardouschemicals, and production waste characterize this phase (Defenders of Wildlife).The initial construction activities are often irreversible in there impacts andare compounded by long-term construction and maintenance activities. After thatyou can start drilling (Defenders of Wildlife). Once the well pad is completed byeliminating vegetation and leveling the site, the drill derrick is erected(Defenders of Wildlife). Engines power the hoist that lowers and raises the drillstem and bit (Defenders of Wildlife). A large crew of workers use numerous piecesof heavy equipment and pumps to send a solution of drilling fluid, or "mud," downthe wellbore to lubricate the bit, remove the cuttings, and dispose of the wastes.The drilling fluids and cuttings are supposed to be captured in a lined pit fordisposal or reuse, but are often spilled and splashed around the well pad due tothe high pressures, dangerous working conditions, and lack of governmentinspection and oversight.Finally the last stage of completion is to construct permanent valves and tubing,the installation of necessary pumps and attaching the well to the pipelinesystems. Large amounts of fluids and gas are "blown off" the well into theatmosphere usually burned to clean out contaminants left in the well and linesafter drilling. Venting and flaring often continues after production begins.The well will usually produce oil for decades with a general expectation of 20-50years of production. The production phase involves daily monitoring of the well

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