Wild Profits

Urstadt, Bryant
April 2005
Technology Review;Apr2005, Vol. 108 Issue 4, p74
This article discusses the report Arctic Petroleum Development: Implications of Advances in Technology by Terry R. Twyman of the U.S. Congressional Research Service. Central to the case for allowing exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the argument that new technologies will allow the industry to get the oil out with minimal damage to the landscape and wildlife. In 2001, as the debate about the refuge was making its near-yearly round through Washington, D.C. and the media, Twyman's report was provide to members of the U.S. Congress. For the most part, the report was optimistic about the industry's ability to extract oil while minimizing environmental damage. The report argues that development in drilling technology will render a relatively small environmental impact on the refuge. But of all these technical advances, the environmental lobby, as might be expected, is skeptical. Environmentalists continue to doubt that Arctic exploration can be conducted with anything like minimal impact. They believe none of this innovations is compatible with wilderness, and exploration of the refuge will turn into an industrial corridor. It is not beyond reason, however, that the industry could drill with acceptability low impact. However, the current balance of power in the U.S. gives a good reason to conclude that the oil industry will not probably be able to deliver such impact.


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