Bp Oil Spill

To Drill or Not to Drill:
An In-Depth Look at the Ethical Dilemma of Drilling for Oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge

Jeremy J. Peichel
Buena Vista University

Paper Prepared for Presentation at
Midwest Political Science Student Convention,
Omaha, NE

President Eisenhower established the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 1960.   In 1980, ANWR doubled in size to 19 million acres, with 1.5 million acres of coastal plain set aside for drilling and study.   The issue under dispute in Congress is whether to utilize approximately 1500 acres of that 1.5 million to find oil.   The House of Representatives and Senate proposed numerous amendments to this legislation, forcing a conference committee to negotiate the final compromise.   Having passed the House of Representatives, the Senate Democrats initiated a filibuster in late November 2003 to prevent the revised bill from passing on to the President.   As of today, the bill remains tabled indefinitely in the Senate.   The proposal has special stipulations to not only open up the area to exploration and drilling, but also to use all the fees and lease revenues to fund alternative energies.
My goal is to attempt an objective point of view on this issue by discussing first the arguments for drilling in ANWR and then those against drilling.   In critically examining these two arguments, through the lenses of utilitarian and deontological frameworks, we should be closer to determining the most ethical course of action.
The main reason to develop the Coastal Plain of is that drilling in ANWR is economically beneficial.   Drilling will provide money to fund the development of alternative energy sources.   It will boost our economy through the creation of jobs and reduce our trade deficit.   It will also give us more negotiating power in the oil market and reduce our dependence on foreign oil as well.   By looking out for these interests, we also further national security goals.
The Bush administration’s...