True we are chipping away at the natural beauty that is the Arctic, but then again, nature isn’t going to help me do donuts with my Ford Pinto on my boss’ lawn!!
Yesterday the Obama administration gave the ok for Shell Oil to drill off the coast of Alaska – aka the Arctic Ocean – for the first time in more than two decades. As you may have guessed, this didn’t sit too well with environmentalists.
— Sierra Club (@sierraclub) July 22, 2015
Depending on your Facebook and Twitter friends, the news was either another great step towards US energy independence OR the greatest environmental injustice since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In other words, this was either the absolute worst or absolute best, with no in-between. So we figured this topic would be perfect for another edition of Point/Counter-Point. It’s something that we do here from time-to-time when we want to present both sides of an issue. For this installment, we’ll talk about the federal government allowing Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic Ocean.
We’ll let the original point go to environmentalists first, as they explain why drilling in the Arctic Ocean is harmful for the environment.
Point: The federal government clearly doesn’t give two shits about the delicate balance that is the Arctic!
There are times when hard decisions have to be made over environmental impact versus the progress of industry. Even as environmentalists, we can definitely sympathize with those choices.
This however, was not one of those instances!
The Obama administration giving permission to Shell, to drill in the Arctic Ocean, was not only reckless, it was unnecessary. With automotive standards continually creating more fuel efficient vehicles, not to mention that America currently enjoys being the number one producer of oil in the world already; this move only accomplishes to undercut President Obama’s environmental legacy!
President Obama not only undercut his advisors – which reportedly told him that there’s a 75% chance of a “major” oil spill – but ignored thousands of Americans (using the hashtag #ShellNo on Twitter) who opposed the drilling. Not only that, but the natural wildlife in the area – which include whales, seals, polar bears, and ect – would greatly be affected by Shell’s drilling operation. Oil companies have never been able to demonstrate an effective way to clean a spill on Arctic waters. Why would we assume this time would be any different?
You know what, fuck this noise! Might as well just burn it all down!
Because President Obama has proven time and again, that when it comes to environmental policies, he could care less!
Counter-Point: Calm down hippies, it’s only exploratory drilling!
Every time someone even thinks of touching a drill to the ground, every environmentalist in America becomes this guy!
The fact is America became the number one producer of gas and oil in the world because we, you know, ACTUALLY MINE NATURAL RESOURCES!!! Currently under the US Arctic waters, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there is 26 billion barrels (!!!) of recoverable oil! Why in the world would you leave perfectly good recourses on the table, untapped?!? The US doesn’t magically become energy efficient; you have to consistently keep looking for new resources to continue that trend!
And while yes, we should continue investing in alternative sources of energy, but the cold hard truth is this; fossil fuels are still the most reliable sources of energy. Even though vehicles have become much more efficient over time – which is definitely a positive – traditional energy sources like oil and gas continue to push the economy forward.
Also technological advances in drilling have made the entire process much, MUCH cleaner. When done right, the impact on the surrounding areas is minimal. Add to that, the US only granted Shell a limited time to see what exactly is down there. If the US feels that the impact of Shell’s drilling is too great on the environment, then they can block a second exploratory phase if they wish!
Drilling in the Arctic is a win-win! It’s time people got over themselves and realized that!
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Twitter, Google Images)