One small act can create a huge event that unfolds and starts creating more and more problems. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would result in a worse environment for the animals, destroy any plants and trees that were supposed to be reserved, and even run the wildlife out of their homes. It would be terrible.
It's out of the way. It's a place many of us will never see. The benefits outweigh any potential risks. These are the arguments we hear for drilling in this reserve. The truth of the matter is, drilling has been demonstrated over and over again to impact ecosystems in ways we have not predicted, sometimes to great detriment. It behooves us as responsible people not to abuse it. The long-term benefit is small. The long-term risk is much larger. It doesn't matter that 99.9% of the world will never see this reserve. Most of us will never see Mount Everest, either. That doesn't mean it's okay to mine it.