The Instigator
Pro (for)
10 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

The U.S. should legalize and encourage drilling in ANWR

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,611 times Debate No: 6229
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Definitions. ANWR is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. For this debate "drilling in ANWR" means commercial drilling and recovery of oil and gas within the boundaries of ANWR, and construction of a pipeline to facilitate transportation of the recovered fuels. "Legalize" means to remove any executive orders prohibiting such drilling, and to pass legislation that provides for leasing the limited areas as described in existing proposals to commercial interests for development. "Encourage" means taking legal steps to prevent lawsuits that unduly tie up development, and refraining from enacting excessive taxes or placing other burdens that would make development uneconomic or delayed. Nothing in the resolution prevents reasonable requirements and inspections with respect environmental safeguards such as are now mandated for drilling on the North Slope.

The reasons for favoring this resolution are:

1. The security of the United States will be enhanced by reducing dependence upon foreign oil. The greater the energy-independence of the country, the less the potential threat from foreign powers threatening to cut off energy supplies and the less the impact from any action that attempts to do so.

2. The economic well-being of the United States will be enhanced by reducing foreign trade deficits. For the purposes of this debate, I will assume that the price of oil is set internationally, and will not be affected by increased U.S. production. The economic benefit derives from the oil being purchased domestically rather than money being drained out of the economy. The benefit to the U.S. economy is will be $1.15 trillion dollars if the average price of oil over the life of the project is $115 per barrel. It may be more than that, depending upon the price of oil seven to twenty years from now, and the ability of future technology to economically recovery of reserves. Currently, only about half of the estimated reserves are economically recoverable. The economic arguments are given and quantified at

Because I am not arguing that the price of oil will drop as a consequence of new drilling, the length of time it takes to bring the resources on line is not relevant. By all accounts we will have foreign trade deficits to offset for at least the next thirty years.

3. The State of Alaska, the Inuit people, and the Federal government will substantially benefit from increased tax revenues. The Inuit people and the State of Alaska both favor drilling.

4. The fact that the word "wildlife" is in the ANWR name does not mean there is a substantial wildlife population. The US also has National Forests that have no trees. ANWR is barren tundra with few life forms. There is negligible danger to the environment because

4.1 Experience with drilling on the North slope showed five-fold increases in the size of caribou herds, and no harm to the population of any wildlife species.

4.2 The area subject to drilling in ANWR is desolate, and the area to be drilled is tiny. ANWR is roughly the size of South Carolina ( a little smaller than Portugal) and the area to be drilled is about the size of the Charleston airport. The ratio is that of the size of postage stamp to a football field.

4.3 Major drilling activity is in winter, when there is essentially no wildlife present at all.

4.4 Modern technology reduces environmental risk and harm compared to the North slope, which nonetheless suffered no significant harm.

4.5 The risk due to oil tanker spills is reduced because the oil will travel a shorter distance by tanker than with the alternative of buying foreign oil.

5. Drilling on existing offshore oil leases for untapped reserves is not a viable alternative to drilling in ANWR because the cost of recovery is too high to make it economic. Oil prices are extremely volatile, and it takes many years to recover a drilling investment. Consequently, an upward spike in oil prices does not produce an immediate corresponding investment in expensive-to-recover oil. Investors look ahead to the likely prices in the long run. The end result is that oil that is less expensive to recover will always be tapped first, so we need to make as much available as possible.

Summary. Drilling in ANWR will not by itself achieve energy independence or end trade deficits. Nonetheless, the amounts are significant. We might, for example, reasonably expect to offset the entire cumulative foreign trade deficit with China. This can be accomplished with no expenditure of taxpayer dollars; in fact it will bring substantial revenues into the Treasury.


1) Just because we will drill within the border of the US does not mean it will limit dependence, espicially with money hungry democrats in charge. They will most likely sell it to try to fix Geoge's inexistence financial problem. Inuits= terrorists

2)Alaska is still a long way away ergo it will still cost a significant amount of money to transport it. In 7 to 20 years there will be new alternative energy sources not just oil so ha. Inuits=terrorists

3)Do the carribou favor drilling in their home. I didnt think so Inuits=terrorists

4)Refuge mammal list
Gray Wolf
Wolf Story: A family of wolves
Wolf Story (Polish language version)
Polar Bears
Polar bear denning locations and habitats
Brown Bears
Black Bears
Moose migration study
Wildlife Trends: North Slope Moose
Caribou (Porcupine Caribou Herd, Central Arctic Herd, Caribou and the Coastal Plain)
Maps of Caribou locations
Caribou movements in a late spring year (1987)
A Caribou Year (and a scientist's year)
Frequently Asked Questions about Caribou
Three caribou herds
Dall Sheep


Refuge bird list
Which Arctic Refuge birds travel to or through your area?
Bird migration routes
Worldwide bird migration
Tundra Swans
Snow Geese
Map of Snow Geese fall use areas
Eider Egg Hunt: Field Research along the Coast
Wildlife Trends: Peregrine Falcons
Buff-breasted Sandpiper


Refuge fish list
Arctic Grayling
Map of Arctic Grayling locations
Dolly Varden
Map of Dolly Varden locations
Arctic Cisco

4)1herds= population density
population density=deprivation of resources Inuits=terrorists

4)2 thats retarded the charleston airport is huge think of how many cariobou could fit in there

4)3 cariobou are always there and it still takes up space where they could leave

4)4 there would stille be harm and risks like the exxon valdez

4)5 exxon valdez nuff sed son

5) nuclear is cheaper and does not kill caribou instantly just slowly

Summay: think of the adorable animals (just google baby polar bears and think of what you would be killing) and finally inuits=terroists
Debate Round No. 1


1. I argued that the security of the U.S. would be enhanced by independence from foreign oil. Con argues that the oil would be sold rather than consumed domestically, so that we would continue to import foreign oil. This is, of course, ridiculous. However, if that were to happen, the U.S. would nonetheless remain energy independent. If a source of foreign oil were to withhold supplies, the US. would simply stop selling the domestic oil and use it locally instead.

2. (1) Con argues that transportation costs from Alaska will be high. The transportation costs amount to only a few cents a barrel, and they would be cheaper than the costs of transportation from Russia or the Middle East. Besides, transportation costs only affect the profit margin on the price, which is set internationally. (2) Pro argues that alternative energy will replace foreign oil in 7 to 20 years. There are no legitimate projections by any legitimate source that such a scenario is viable. For example, Obama set as a goal reducing oil imports by only about 10% in ten years. (3) "Inuits=terrorists" If so, they should be given jobs in the oil fields to get their minds off it.

3. I argued that both Alaska and the Inuits favored drilling. Con argued that caribou were opposed, but provided no evidence of that. The evidence is that they like warm pipelines and pay no attention to drilling.

4. Con provides a list of animals that are somewhere in the vast ANWR for at least some part of some years. I challenge Con to identify which species will be affected by drilling and provide evidence of any claimed effect. Birds are unaffected because drilling does not impact flying over the site. Fish are unaffected because the drilling is inland. species like moose never get within a hundred miles of the site. So which species are affected and how are they affected?

"Most of the images of the proposed drilling area that people see on the evening news are misleading precisely because they tend to show the glorious parts of ANWR, even though that's not where the drilling would take place. Even when they position their cameras in the right location, producers tend to point them in the wrong direction. They point them south, toward the Brooks mountain range, rather than north, across the coastal plain where the drilling would be. ...n summer, the coastal plain is mostly mosquito-plagued tundra and bogs. ... In the winter, it reaches 70 degrees below zero (not counting wind chill, which brings it to 120 below) and is in round-the-clock darkness. ... Indeed, before the age of environmental Romanticism ... Both the New York Times and Washington Post editorial boards enthusiastically supported drilling in ANWR in the late 1980s. The Post noted that the area 'is one of the bleakest, most remote places on this continent, and there is hardly any other where drilling would have less impact on surrounding life. ...'

4.1 I argued that the Prudhoe Bay drilling site, which is much larger than the planned ANWR site, has brought no significant environmental damage. Con argues that caribou might be affected. The evidence is to the contrary:

"In terms of overall health, the Central Arctic herd has prospered (Cronin et al. 1998; Maki 1992; Pollard et al. 1996). In 1972, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the herd numbered 3,000 animals. Since then it has increased to between 25,000 and 27,000 (Maki 1992, 1703). The caribou population fluctuates naturally, reflecting factors such as predation, parasites, habitat condition, hunting, and weather (Cronin et al. 1998, 201)."

Since 2000, the herd has grown even larger

4.2 The proposed area of drilling is about two square miles. Pro argues that many caribou could fit in two square miles. In fact, the caribou have no difficulty walking around the drilling equipment and using the other 25,000 square miles. Environmentalists often imply that wildlife won't cross roads or go under the elevated pipelines. The experience with Prudoe Bay proves this false. animals are designed to walk around trees and other natural obstacles and have no difficulty doing the same thing with man-made constructions. Moreover, horizontal drilling techniques developed since Prudhoe Bay make it possible to cover large area from each drill platform, so there is much less construction required.

4.3 I argued that there is no significant wildlife present in the winter when drilling activity occurs. Drilling had to be in winter when the ground is frozen to permit the importation of supplies. Con rebuts that the caribou are still there. They are not. Con's link to the government site shows that they migrate to winter ranges far to the south.

Female polar bears hibernate in the winter, and male polar bears hunt for seals on the coast, not near the drilling areas. There are about 25,000 polar bears in the world, with 60% of them in Canada and only about 2500 in Alaska. Environmentalists sometimes claim that human activity interferes with the winter hibernation ("denning") of female polar bears. However, the ANWR drilling site is near the village of Kaktovik and environmentalists make no argument that the native population has had any effect on the polar bears. ANWR is between Prudhoe Bay and drilling sites in Canada, and no impact on polar bear populations have been claimed for either drilling area. Churchill, Canada, is rank with polar bars despite the human habitation There is no evidence they have been frightened away.

There is some evidence that wildlife populations of many kinds have increased near Prudhoe Bay If drilling activities are disastrous to wildlife, environmentalists should be able to point to specific bad effects. They cannot.

4.4 and 4.5 Con argues that there is a danger from tanker spills. that argument was answered by pointing out the alternative is to ship oil from longer distances, which poses even greater dangers. Beyond that, improved technology has minimized the danger of tanker spills. Tankers are required to be double-hulled, and

"Two tugs, equipped with spill cleanup gear, now follow laden tankers out from Valdez, the terminus of the Alaska oil pipeline. ... Cleanup capacity has been beefed up to recover a theoretical 12.6 million gallons over 72 hours. While that estimate depends on flat calm and perfect weather - both unlikely in a real spill - it is considerably better than when the Exxon Valdez went aground."

5) Con proposes nuclear power as an alternative to ANWR. Oil is used almost entirely for automobiles and transportation. Due to the size and weight of nuclear reactors, while practical for ships and submarines, nuclear is not practical for automobiles. Well, maybe for some of the larger SUVs ...


baseketballer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Arguments are continued, awaiting Con's emergence from hibernation.


baseketballer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by HempforVictory 7 years ago
Yeah, if you're up for it. Sorry I couldn't accept before, I was very busy that week working on projects and studying for finals.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Sure. Do you want me to send you this topic as a challenge?
Posted by HempforVictory 7 years ago
Still interested in a debate Roy?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
Have at it lad. Interesting that no one who claims to know about environmental issues would accept the challenge.
Posted by baseketballer 7 years ago
im totally messin with you man i have no clue what im talking about so im totally wingin it good luck debating this large egoed man
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by adamh 7 years ago
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