For some 45 years, oil developers, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and politicians have laid claim to what most will agree to be an uninspiring landscape, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. For environmentalists, ANWR embodies America’s final stronghold of untamed wilderness and is place worth protecting from development. Meanwhile, the Bush administration and oil investors have sought open the refuge and allow drilling in the name of national security, economic growth, and local and state interests.
Proponents of drilling have held fast to the argument that the drilling equipment and pipeline will only occupy a fraction of the coastal plain, and have downplayed the ecological harm that industrializing ANWR would cause.
Environmentalists have tirelessly argued that oil exploration in ANWR will fundamentally change this landscape forever. In the words of GREENPEACE USA:
‘America's Serengeti’ would become a wasteland of roads, pipelines, drilling platforms and oil spills.For many Americans, just knowing that a place like ANWR exists is enough reason to save it from oil exploration.
But would those who seek to preserve this place on existence value alone be willing to use the same area to develop clean, renewable energy? Does a wind farm belong in ANWR?
Many environmental groups, including GREENPEACE USA, have come out in support of a large scale industrial wind park in the heart of Nantucket Sound. What they fail to acknowledge is that the ecological destruction they are promoting in Nantucket Sound is the same destruction they are seeking to prevent in ANWR.
Consider the following:
The similarities between the two proposals are striking.
ANWR and Cape Wind have both been proposed on public lands. If ANWR is opened, the oil industry profits. If Cape Wind is permitted in Nantucket Sound (a body of water twice nominated for protection as a National Marine Ocean Sanctuary), Jim Gordon and other investors profit.
Developing ANWR will spoil “America’s Serengeti”, an industrial wind park on horseshoe shoal will forever change what it is to be Nantucket Sound.
Construction at both sites has lasting cumulative impacts on local ecologies.
Both proposals will negative effect migratory routes for birds and animals, and pose serious threats to endangered species.
The presence of tens of thousands of gallons of oil at both locations is a serious threat to wildlife in the event of a spill.
Developers have overstated the energy potential at both sites, misleading the public.
As previously stated, much of the support to save ANWR comes from people who will never travel to see the coastal plain. The knowledge that this place exists is enough for them. If the mere existence of a place warrants saving it, then why would one fail to consider the destruction of Horseshoe Shoal when supporting the Cape Wind project? So you do not think America needs to drill for fossil fuels? Then how about a wind farm for ANWR?
I wonder what GREENPEACE USA would think about all this. Their say is that:
Drilling in our protected lands is not the solution to our energy crisis. Everyone agrees we should be striving for energy independence, but the best way to achieve that is through investing our tax dollars in clean, renewable energy such as solar and wind.130 440’ turbines on ANWR’s coastal plain would be quite a sight. Getting them there would cause the same destruction (if not more) as oil exploration. Would the benefits of renewable energy outweigh the ecological destruction in ANWR? Does the “green” nature of a project make ecological destruction OK? It shouldn’t. As seen here, there are appropriate locations for industrial energy projects, and there are inappropriate ones.
ANWR should not be home oil drilling or a wind farm. Likewise, Nantucket Sound is not the place for Cape Wind.