The proposal for further oil drilling in protected areas is a subject that generates controversy. Proponents argue that the exercise relieves countries by making them self reliant as opposed to importing oil from foreign nations (White 19). On the other hand, opponents cite the negative environmental effects that come with the drilling exercise. This paper will weigh between the pros and cons of oil drilling in protected areas.
Drilling exercises conducted on Prudhoe Bay, located on Alaska’s Northern slope, generate 15 percent of North American oil output. A report by the National Academy of Sciences notes positive economic and social development in the surrounding localities (Cochrane 133). These include better health care and institutions of learning. The Academy report points out that wildlife such as gulls, foxes and ravens have thrived as they feed on garbage around oil fields. In addition, as noted by the Washington post, further drilling exercises in protected areas will provide a boost to the economy, along $100 billion in potential revenues to the tax officers. This is already happening in Russia, which is witnessing an emerging middle class.
Oil, a yellow-black liquid used to make jet fuel, propane and diesel, is located underground; therefore, engineers must drill into the ground. This exercise has negative environmental effects. Oil drilling calls for removal of topsoil and vegetation, both for the necessary pipelines and oil wells (Holing 87). This exercise reduces plant diversity. Oil fields become susceptible to invasive weeds and erosion. Waste output that settles on surrounding vegetation prevents photosynthesis causing ecological damage. Drilling creates dust and chemical emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. These harmful gases reduce air quality and accelerate global warming (Holing 146).
We conclude benefits of oil drilling in protected areas outweigh the negative externalities in the short run. However, in the end, oil drilling in protected areas will result to environmental disaster for the future generations. Countries should seek alternative green energy sources for the benefit of future generations and avoid drilling the protected areas.