Arctic Drilling could have long-term environmental consequences

Drilling in the Arctic hurts wildlife and indigenous people.

As former President Trump’s administration came to a close, they announced it had made final plans to open up 80% of vast areas of once-protected Alaskan arctic territory to oil development.  The decision is to open up more land on the western north slope.  This decision is killing the wildlife in the arctic. 

Social Studies Teacher Mr. David Chee said, “I understand we need to tap into our oil reserves, but I would like to keep our wildlife sanctuary intact.”

The western north slope is one of a number of pro-drilling actions taken by the Trump administration in its final days.  The plan was signed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and it allows lease sales to proceed under relaxed standards.  This plan is using 23 million acres of land in the north slope for oil.  Former President Obama also had this issue, but he decided to use 50% of the arctic for oil and the other 50% was to remain protected for the environment and indigenous people. 

Trump’s plan allows leasing in Teshekpuk Lake, the largest lake in Arctic Alaska and a safe place for migrating birds and wildlife.  There had been no development on this land since the 1980s and the administration of President Reagan.  This move looks to be an attempt to increase the oil the U.S. produces from its Alaskan region.

“I think this is a bad idea,” said eighth-grader Celeste Carmona.

Legislation was passed in 2017 to open up the Arctic National Wildlife refuge.  Now, there are auctions among oil companies to reserve the drilling and production rights.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management released its plan for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).  NPR-A is Alaska’s primary locale for the state’s daily oil production of about 466,00 barrels per day.  NPR-A decision got a swift response from the environmentalists, who have already sued to overturn the plan. 

The drilling is putting walruses, polar bears, bowhead whales, ice seals, beluga whales at high risk of extinction.  The drilling is putting the world in danger as well like pollution, landscape concerns, plants impact, animals impact, and spilling oil in the sea.  A lot of influences and celebrities are putting their platform to uses by announcing what happening, getting people to sign petitions, and donating money to help stop/save on the drilling.

Principal Ray Gonzales said, “I think we are all affected by the damage we cause to our planet. We all share this planet and we should all do our best to take care of it.”