What Are Some of the Pros and Cons of Oil Drilling in Alaska?

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While one of the benefits of oil drilling in Alaska is the reduction in the cost of oil in the United States, a negative is the disruption that could occur to the Alaskan natural environment and ecosystem, according to Resources for the Future.

The debate over whether to drill for oil in Alaska has been ongoing for a long time. Drilling in Alaska would allow the United States to become more self-reliant in regards to energy, with less need to depend on sources outside of the country. In addition, oil drilling in Alaska would also bring added revenue to the United States by way of international oil sales, which could generate as much as $613 billion, according to Resources for the Future. However, the amount of potential oil in Arctic National Widelife Refuge is only 0.6 percent of the world's oil, a small enough amount that U.S. imports of oil would not be significantly affected.

However, one of the major negative aspects of drilling for oil in Alaska is the damage that it could do to the environment. Drilling for oil in Alaska would occur in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is a safe haven for animals such as wolves, caribou, polar bears, wolverines and more. Facilitating the survival of this ecosystem could be costly, although the environmental effects and costs of preserving the ecosystem are as yet unknown.