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Should We Drill in Alaska?

Have you seen the cartoons of oil-coated polar bears? This summer, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to allow petroleum companies to drill for oil and natural gas in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Senate may vote this month. If the bill passes Congress, President Bush says he will sign it into law. Then oil companies can begin to search for oil in the remote region.

Americans are divided on the issue, with some polls reporting that slightly more people oppose drilling than favor it. Environmentalists say that there is not enough oil there to risk damaging ANWR's fragile land and wildlife. Those who favor drilling say it will create thousands of jobs, reduce U.S. need for foreign oil, and lower prices at the pump.

Read the arguments for both sides and decide where you stand.

Yes We Need New Energy Sources

The U.S. imports more than half of its oil from other countries. When foreign countries cut back production, gas and oil prices rise. That hurts the U.S. economy. Drilling in ANWR, says U.S. Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas), "will allow us to produce more energy at home."

Most Alaskans, especially native peoples living in the north, support drilling. They say that oil companies can extract oil while still protecting the environment. Drilling will help spur the economy and prevent future shortages of gasoline and home heating oil.

no Let's Protect Our Wildlife

Northern Alaska's environment is fragile (easily harmed). For caribou and other species, the ANWR is a vital nesting and breeding area. One burst pipeline could do irreversible damage and harm entire species.

Besides, many experts say that ANWR's oil will not solve our energy problems. Drilling will cost billions of dollars, says scientist Amory Lovins, and provide only a small portion of U.S. needs.

Let's face it, the more energy we have, the more we'll use. We should conserve oil and gas while developing alternative energy sources that do less harm to the environment.
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Title Annotation:oil search in Alaska
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Sep 17, 2001
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