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Alaskan Oil Drilling Overturned -- For Now

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According to this article at MSNBC, the Senate shot down the plan to drill for oil in the Alaska Arctic Wildlife Refuge. However, there is still potential life for it as it is a very large part of the energy bill passed by the House -- so the battle isn't over yet. My recommendation is to continue to write your representatives and let them know where you stand on this issue!

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I support drilling ANWAR.

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Uh, why? It will destroy the plantlife and the wildlife in a nature preserve, and we will only get maybe three months worth of refined oil and gasoline from it. Drilling in Alaska isn't worth the cost on the environment.

*bonks you with a large stick*

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*bonks you right back.*

I too support drilling in ANWR. The claims of damage to the environment are massively exaggerated. (the actual development footprint of drilling sites would be about 2000 acres)

The plants and animals around the existing Alaskan oilfields are doing quite well, and present day technology will allow ANWR drilling to have much less impact than those old fields.

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Why don't we just kill all the animals and plants, and pave the entire planet? Would that make you happy??

*Bonks you really hard with a large stick*

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Can we please try to keep any discussion on the level of mature, responsible citizens?

I haven't really delved into the specifics of the ANWR drilling proposals, but in general, oil and gas drilling can in theory be done with only minimal impact on the local flora and fauna, as the resource being extracted is thousands of feet underground. You can't say that about strip mining, timber cutting, underground mining, cattle ranching, or even farming, all of which effectively destroy (or at least substantially alter) the land as wildlife habitat. The question, then, is how much money and effort are they willing to put into keeping the environmental impact to a minimum.

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I'm posting in regards to tidbits from the other tread that was started under this article, so if you get lost, please forgive me and see the other major thread.

I've seen this exact same pro/con arguements come up before, when Flayrah ran the initial article that this drilling was being proposed.

Anonymous wrote: The claims of damage to the environment are massively exxagerated (the actual development footprint of drilling sites would be about 2000 acres)

I'll take this opportunity to point out that even though 2,000 acres is a "small amount" when you compare it to the 1.5 million acres that's been set aside for the refuge, that is still an immense piece of land in general and home to a lot of flora and fauna. With that statement out of the way, let me say that this defense labors under one very large assumption: that nothing will go wrong. We've seen time and time again that regardless of the technology we have, the laws that are in place and the procedures that are followed it is still very possible for a catastrophic failure to take place and irreparable harm to be done. There is no reason that the Exxon Valdez incident should have happened, but it still did. Everyone around knows that sometimes, for no good reason at all, Bad Things Just Happen. If there should be a spill or a leak the impact to the environment within the refuge would be substantial. Should it be safe to drill? Sure. Will it be? Maybe yes, maybe no. I follow the mindset that it's better to be safe than sorry. It just isn't worth the risk, despite the claims of newer, less pollutive methods.

mwalimu wrote: but in general, oil and gas drilling can in theory be done with only minimal impact on the local flora and fauna, as the resource being extracted is thousands of feet underground.

I'll grant you that this is true. This seems to be an especially strong arguement when one takes the comparison he drew of deforestation, strip mining or even farming as "destructive practice" into account. Again, I will say that we're laboring under the assumption that nothing will go wrong -- that's a pretty big gamble. However, we also have to take into account the amount of "prep work" that will need to take place to get to the oil and the impact that such activities will have upon the environment. Think of the activity and building that will take place just to do site surveys and then, possibly, exploratory drilling. Should the results of that exploratory drilling be positive there will be an even bigger flurry of activity to at last set up a full-scale operation. While the resource that is being extracted is beneath the ground, the activities to do the exploration and extraction are most certainly taking place above ground and will not be accomplished in a trivial manner. Roads and/or docks will need to be constructed, equipment will need to be moved in, engines will be run in the area, platforms and pipelines will be installed and shelters set up for the workers. Building a road or dock is not something that is a "minimal impact" upon the landscape or wildlife. What about the pollution from the machinery used to bulldoze and pave the service roads? What about the s***** that sits in a bilge and then is pumped out into the harbor? Where will the refuse from the initial setup go? What will be the drain and impact upon the local resources to support the workers (water, sewage disposal, etc)? That certainly will not be something that is accomplished without altering the landscape either. The simple act of a human being present plays a role and impacts the state of the environment. The impact only becomes larger the further down the timeline you progress.

Third, this is a designated refuge. If we want that word to continue to mean anything, we can't just up and ignore its status as a area of land that's been set aside to remain pristine just because it's inconvenient for us and we're feeling a price crunch at the pumps. Saying "Oh darn, we think there's oil in there so we want to remove the protection granted to this small piece of wilderness" is a step backwards from the direction we had taken towards global conservation by creating the ANWR.

Fourth (and final) point: this is not going to solve our nation's energy problems in anything but the short term. You want to impress me and give me faith that we're doing the right thing? Take the money we're earmarking for this exploration and extraction, leave the ANWR alone and redirect the funding towards research in alternative energy (fuel cells, etc). By opening the ANWR for drilling, even in that "relatively small" plot of land all we're doing is temporarily alleviating the price crunch felt at the pumps by people who drive SUVs that get 10 or 12 miles to the gallon and have 30 gallon tanks. Finding an energy source that moves us away from our dependency upon foreign (or even domesticly-supplied) oil is the only true fix to the predicament we're in. Even the Big Three in Detroit acknowledge that alternative energy is going to be the wave of the future and are working to begin moving away from traditional fossil fuels. Why prolong or even sabotage the inevitable?

-Feren

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

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