Effects of Oil Drilling in Alaska
When one begins thinking of oil drilling within the United States it almost always goes to Alaska with the exception of the gulf of Texas, Texas itself, California or along its coast and a few other places. There is no doubt that oil drilling is now more than ever on the minds of the people of the US with the skyrocketing prices of gas and the increased cost of oil from around the world. With the economy just beginning to turn around slightly and unemployment in the process of dropping a bit for the first time in quite a while, it is time to look at all of the options to reduce the US’s dependency on oil or to find better resources for the precious commodity that people depend on.
Alaska is one of the best and least populated states to be considered and impacted by the gas and oil industry, but one of the biggest concerns is that of oil spills like the one that occurred in the gulf which was an environmental catastrophe to all of the gulf coast and outlying areas. Another concern is what may happen to the marine life along with the animals of the region including the fishing industry, agriculture, and livestock. No one wants the beauty of Alaska to be destroyed in any way, however one looks at oil drilling. If one looks at the other side of the coin when it comes to drilling in Alaska, it is quickly realized that the Trans-Atlantic Pipeline pumps 2 million barrels of oil to the surface each day and there is also hydroelectric power possibilities, along with wind power and geothermal energy.
Some of the possibilities to consider in Alaska oil drilling are: (1) the huge amounts of hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind energy resources, (2) the huge quantities of crude natural gas and oil that can also be used for exportation, (3) the extraction of large amounts of coal, (4) employment opportunities that are a result of drilling and other industries, and (5) other industries such as shipping, transportation, and increased access to the region.
Some of the risks to consider in Alaska oil drilling are: (1) pollution of scenic areas of the inlands due to waste material and any oil spills, (2) pollution due to leakages from consistent drilling of oil in offsite areas, (3) the increase of population due to employment opportunities, (4) any damage that may occur to the natural ecosystem, wildlife and terrain due to over use of resources, and (5) the decline of tourism revenue as businesses begin to move into the areas where oil drilling is taking place.
There is so much to think about when it comes to the effects of oil drilling in Alaska, but the most important things to consider are as follows: (1) the constant back and forth political bickering on whether or not to continue drilling in the reserves of Alaska, (2) the inevitable deterioration of the wilderness and the natural resources in which caribou live along with the abundant vegetation, (3) the federal lands which includes millions of wilderness Alaskan acres which has caused constant evaluation of the coastal plain, (4) the native Alaskans who feel threatened by the drilling activity that might take place in the region and disturb the ecological region, and (5) the necessity of support for the support of wildlife and wilderness areas in order to protect the habitat, animals, and bird migration for any wildlife conservation.
Once the pros, cons and effects of oil drilling in Alaska are taken into consideration it is obviously still hard to determine in which direction to go in because there are so variables to weigh out in making the proper decision for the future of the United States. It is really a must and necessity for the United States to endeavor upon finding a way to become energy independent from foreign countries. Although there are extremes on all fronts of the effects of oil drilling in Alaska it is extremely important to do what is most important for the United States to move forward in a more advantages manner in becoming energy efficient in the very near future. Hence, it is time to stop looking for short term fixes when it comes to oil drilling in Alaska and go for what is practical for the long term solution for improving our need for petroleum products in the US.