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Oil Drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge

In 1870 thefirst national parks and forests were set aside for wildlife protection and for the extraction of resources. Along with the timber, oil and mining industries, tourism offered economic benefits. But by the 1920s all development was prohibited on these land areas. However external pressure from commercial interests led to the re-opening of these land areas so that the industries could resume operation. In 1964 the Federal Wilderness Act designated "wilderness" areas as areas where ecosystems are not harmed by man and where man is a visitor and does not remain. Unfortunately it has become quite clear that man has an effect on his entire environment. This is proved in the development and employment of pesticides and other man-made chemicals that travel by ocean currents or seep into ground-water. Moreover, there is still pressure to expand the commercial use of national forests and parks and strip wilderness areas of their protection from this commercial use to exploit their resources.
In 1960, the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was classified as a wildlife preserve. However in 1980 the ANWR was evaluated for its potential economic gain by drilling oil. In 1987 the Department of the Interior proposed that the coastal plain be open for drilling but President Bill Clinton vetoed Congress's approval. In 2001 California experienced many electrical blackouts. President George W. Bush declared that California was experiencing an energy crisis and that opening the ANWR was imperative to maintain national energy security. The National Energy Security Act of 2001 was promptly enacted and debated strongly ever since.
Overall, the debate over the protection of wildlife areas is primarily focused around economic arguments. Thefirst argument suggests that the economic benefits from the exploitation of natural resources are so great that it should be permitted. The alternative side recognizes only a short-ter…

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