U.S. plans to drill in Arctic Preserve

The U.S. Interior Department is planning on drilling for oil and natural gas on a 1.5 million acre preserve in Alaska.

Mary Conaway, News Editor

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska home to many species such as the porcupine caribou herd has been desired by the Trump administration for its oil and gas reserves in the ANWR project.

The ANWR in the U.S. Geological Survey is supposedly containing billions of barrels of oil which made the SAExploration, a company based in Houston, Texas specializing in oilfield services, propose the idea to drill the land to the Bureau of Land Management. According to National Geographic, “The seismic prospecting has to happen in winter when the tundra is frozen, so the vehicles won’t sink into the mire. The trouble is, winter is when female polar bears come ashore to dig dens in deep snow drifts and give birth to their cubs.”

They were supposed to drill this winter but ended up postponing after the government shutdown. According to the New York Times, “The postponement will have no direct impact on the Interior Department’s plan to open the coastal plain, 1.5 million acres known as the 1002 Area, to oil and gas development.”

The refuge is home to many of native arctic animals and although the area is mainly uninhabited, there is an Alaskan Native community on the northern end who have been fighting against the drilling. EcoWatch reported, “Among the staunchest opponents of drilling are indigenous people in northern Alaska and the Canadian Arctic, whose cultures and diets are entwined with the Porcupine herd.”

Environmentalists have continued to oppose the drilling of the ANWR. According to the New York Times, “the seismic work could have lasting effects on the fragile landscape, compressing the tundra and potentially altering vegetation types and the flow of water.”

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