Is arctic oil drilling beneficial?

Emily Loewe, Reporter

On January 6th, 2021 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management started to auction off Arctic land to big and small oil businesses. At this auction, they sold over 600,000 acres of arctic land. These businesses have bought this land for oil drilling, and while doing so they ignored the consequences that would come with drilling for oil in the Arctic. But what are the consequences? “I think It’s going to be similar to what happened with the Dakota Access Pipeline,” teacher Chelsea McCaffrey said. “It was really detrimental to the environment there. Even just getting there was harmful to not only the animals but the land as well.”

As McCaffrey stated, there will be many consequences when these businesses do start drilling in the arctic. One of the biggest ones being the effects it will have on the environment around the drilling sites. When putting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Keystone, Colorado there were many spills due to the ice which harmed the surrounding animals and environment as well. The ice and snow surrounding the oil drills made it difficult to clean up the oil. What happened in keystone is an example of what could happen in the Arctic. Unlike Keystone though, it will be much more difficult to get equipment to the drilling site to clean up any spills. While this can endanger the animals living in Alaska, what will happen to the people near the drilling sights?

While the drilling won’t benefit the animals, it may be different for the people living in Alaska. One-third of their jobs are oil-based, but according to the Alaska Resource Development Council, they could be running low on oil which to an extent could cause a lot of people to lose jobs. But if they were to start drilling in the Arctic national wildlife refuge (ANWR) it would bring in many jobs revolving around oil which would help out their people a lot. But many fear that the drilling would put the indigenous people or tribes at risk. This could threaten their way of living because many depend on the caribou and other alike animals to keep them alive and well. Showing that this oil drilling could be dangerous for communities and animals surrounding the drilling sites, but this risk might be deemed necessary by officials to get our economy back on track.

Although this drilling could potentially endanger the arctic wildlife, the drilling could be a big hit for the economy. Researchers have said that around 30% of our world’s undiscovered gas is in the arctic, and using this instead of importing from places such as Saudi Arabia or other countries would make our gas prices decrease tremendously. If the drilling were to happen it would make the energy prices drop which will help the economy as well. Knowing this, is it worth it to drill in the arctic if it might put the wildlife around the drilling in danger? “Putting oil and money over the wildlife in the arctic is an issue,” Sophomore Hannah Schiller said. “Many of these animals are already endangered or put at risk of endangerment because of global