Arctic Oil Fight Not Over

Kundrat, Lisa
August 2005
YES! Magazine;Summer2005, Issue 34, p10
This article reports that proponents of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are one step closer to gaining access to its north coastal plain, but they're not there yet. On March 16, 2005, the U.S. Senate voted to keep a provision in the federal budget that opens the refuge to oil drilling. The U.S. House later included refuge drilling in an energy bill. Drilling in the 1.5 million acres between the Brooks Range and the Beaufort Sea in northeast Alaska has been banned since the 1980s. The refuge contains all of the remaining 5 percent of America's arctic coastline still unopened to oil extraction. The tundra wetlands where drilling would take place are considered by scientists to be the heart of the refuge. The area is habitat for nearly 200 species of wildlife. It is unclear how much oil from the coastal plain could be recovered profitably. A 1998 study by the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the recoverable oil in the refuge to be 10.4 billion barrels. Current U.S. oil consumption is 8 billion barrels per year. Strong opposition from citizens and environmental organizations has until now prevented drilling.


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