What are your thoughts on the Obama Administration's decision to allow oil and gas exploration in the Arctic? What are the drawbacks to your position?

Expert Answers
pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not sure of your opinion on this issue, so I will try to show you both sides of the argument and let you make your own decision. First, look at the positive aspects of this. There is projected to be 34 billion barrels of crude in the Chukchi region, over half of it less than 200 feet deep. By 2040, analysts project shale oil will not be enough to power the American economy; other sources will be needed.

Now, for the negatives. I am biased in my opinion, so this list may cloud your judgment. First, greater availability of oil will lead to less desire to develop alternate sources of energy, such as hydroelectric and solar. Global warming is becoming a worldwide issue, and America uses more oil than any other country — developing oil reserves is not a good example for nations that America criticizes for their pollution. Next, it's cold in Chukchi and supply lines are hard to create. While workers can be enticed with higher salaries, it would become more difficult to supply these workers with what they need given the current state of roads in the region. The region is also ecologically delicate in ways biologists are just starting to realize fully. The region is home to saltwater fish that are an important part of the world's food supply and ecosystem. Any potential spill would take a gargantuan effort to clean up — perhaps even larger than the Deepwater Horizon Spill of 2010.

I have enclosed an article that lists both the positives and negatives of America's Arctic drilling program. For your paper, I would take a side, and then argue the side I chose, then point out the drawbacks of my side, whether or not I decide to drill. You should also, however, make sure you point out that your side is correct in that its positives outweigh the negatives.