Environmental Views of The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve

The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) is a beautiful 19. 6 million acre coastal plain, and is located in the Northeastern part of Alaska. ANWR is home to numerous species of wildlife and one of the largest untapped oil preserves in the United States. There is an immense debate between the opposing environmentalists and the politicians who want to drill for oil on a section of ANWR, which is only 1. 8% of the refuge. Environmentalists who oppose drilling for oil in Alaska say the wildlife and the native populations are threatened by drilling for oil in ANWR, even though most of the natives are strongly in favor of drilling.

ANWR could save the US from having to import $800 billion worth of foreign oil, creating hundreds to thousands of American jobs, and generate hundreds of billions in royalties and taxes (anwr. com). Three different environmental ethic views will be addressed, Utilitarian, Deontology, and Lockean. The Utilitarian argument is that the greatest function of ANWR will be reached through drilling. It implies that the intrinsic qualities of the land are of lesser value, and that ANWR serves the people better by being given over to the purpose of oil production.

Deontology views ANWR rationally. The question is asked: what would a rational person do when developers propose to convert an unspoiled landscape to commercial use? In the Lockean view, man has a right to use property and the various resources of the earth as he wills, to support his life and values. The development of ANWR overshadows the minimal risk of environmentally disrupting the wildlife. The US economy and the citizens of Alaska would benefit from the development, not to mention the wildlife would be monitored and thus receive more attention.

Introduction Alaska is surrounded by ocean and mountainous terrain and has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States. Alaska is home to the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, in which hundreds of thousands of wildlife reside alongside with one of the largest oil preserves in the United States. Environmentalists are vexed about the possible disruption in the wildlife’s natural habitat and the effects it may have on the Alaskan Natives.

Congress is being faced with the challenge of merging diverse goals, national needs for added homeland energy supplies, the national need and importance in safeguarding wilderness or nearly wild lands, and the availability of subsistence fish and wildlife resources for the Alaska Natives. In 2004, the US imported an average of 58% of its oil and during certain months up to 64%. That equates to over $150 billion in oil imports and over $170 billion including refined petroleum products, which is approximately $19. 9 million dollars an hour, according to ANWR supporters.

Current legislation calls for responsible development on no more than 2000 acres of the 1. 5 million acre coastal plain. That is 0. 01% of ANWR’s total acreage of 19. 6 million. The remaining 99. 9% would remain off limits to development (anwr. com). We will explore Utilitarian, Deontology, and Lockean environmental views and determine whether or not wildlife and petroleum development and production can coexist. The Utilitarian View of ANWR The Utilitarian belief asks the question, what would be the best for the greatest amount of people?

Or in other words, what would be best for the majority? In our natural history, Utilitarianism has had a huge impact on how the American society operates. All the decisions, as a nation, are decided by the majority. The most popular example of this would be the voting for a new president to lead the county. Every four years, an election is held by certain to determine which political candidate will be the next leader of the country. There is much campaigning and debating; however, the people ultimately decide what would be the best.

The Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is another example of Utilitarianism. The land ANWR occupies is known to be rich with many natural resources; the most precious of these natural resources being oil. The U. S. government has come to the conclusion that drilling for oil on only a small part of the refuge will not cause extensive harm to the wildlife and ultimately the environment. The government has compared the consequences of drilling for oil to the good that it would do for the majority of the people in the US.

Not only will it produce one of the largest amounts of oil in North America but also it will provide many jobs to those who live in the surrounding areas. Therefore, is the best decision for the greatest amount of people that the land remains unused and desolate? Again, the majority is in the best interest of ANWR because of the benefit that it would have on the economy, and for the stability of the US. Increasing the oil production in Alaska will not only provide more jobs for residents, but the effect on the economy will help it flourish.

The economy will grow beyond comprehension, because the country will have the ability to produce its own oil supply instead of importing oil from other countries. By doing so, the job market will again be stable because of the constant need for workers, and the price of oil will decline. That alone is a great benefit for the majority of the people. Constant worries regarding gas prices and cost of living would then decrease, dramatically. Sacrificing a few acres of land is a small price to pay for the benefit of our Nation’s existence, prosperity and people.

For society to be successful, drilling in ANWR is necessary. Creating jobs, stimulating the economy and not damaging a lot of land would be the outcome and can only be seen as the best decision for the majority of the people. That is how a Utilitarian would make his argument for the drilling in ANWR. Deontology History The basis of Deontologist ethics is a branch of ethical teaching centered on the idea that actions must be guided, above all, by adherence to clear principles; such as respect for free will.

It is categorical imperative that a rational person will do anything under any set of circumstances. A deontologist is only concerned about doing the right thing. The term deontology is derived from the philosopher, Immanuel Kant. Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. A large part of Kant’s work addresses the question “What can we know? ”

The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind’s access to the empirical realm of space and time. The Deontology View of ANWR The Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the crown jewel of America’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

It is tucked away in the state’s remote northeast corner. This 19. 6-million-acre wildlife sanctuary is an awe-inspiring natural wonder: a sweeping expanse of tundra studded with marshes and lagoons and laced with rivers dramatically situated between the rugged foothills of the Brooks Range and the wide, icy waters of the Beaufort Sea. It is the wildest place left in America, or otherwise often called the “American Serengeti”. It is home to caribou, polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, wolverines, grizzlies, and snow geese, all which depend on this fragile, unique ecosystem for survival.

It would be irresponsible to sacrifice this national treasure for a few months’ supply of oil. (http://www. savearcticrefuge. org/learnmore. html) The people of Alaska would like to implement a proposal to declare the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska a national monument, which would prevent oil exploration and drilling in that area. Here are some statements written by Alaskan people with their reasons of why the monument should be declared. (http://www. defenders. org/wildlife/arctic/news/arcticpoll. pdf) The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national treasure and it is America’s last unspoiled wilderness. The Arctic Refuge is home to rare wildlife, including polar bears, and it would only provide enough oil for 180 days of U. S. consumption. We should declare the Arctic Refuge a national monument and prevent oil drilling. ” “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contains some of the world’s most important oil reserves. These oil reserves can help the U. S. become less dependent on foreign oil, and it will reduce the high price of gas for consumers.

Drilling will only affect two thousand of its nineteen million acres. We should open the Refuge up for oil and gas exploration. ” In 1987, as Alaskans quietly observed the tenth anniversary of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline the object of one of the stormiest environmental controversies in U. S. history the stage was set for another classic petroleum debate in the Arctic. The focal point this time was the huge 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northeastern corner of the state, just east of the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. Prudhoe Bay is the source of most of the crude oil that flows through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which meanders for 800 miles between the Arctic and a tidewater tanker terminal at Valdez. ) Environmental organizations immediately promised a battle royal to preserve the Arctic refuge. They said it was a key habitat not only for caribou, but also for dozens of other animal species including the polar bear; they claimed as well that its importance in wildlife wealth compares to that of Yellowstone National Park and East Africa’s Serengeti Plain.

Several members of Congress also served notice that they would fight Hodel’s proposal. Representative Morris K. Udall (D, Arizona), chairman of the House Interior Committee, was a leading sponsor of a bill to turn the coastal plain into a wilderness area in which all development would be banned forever. The issue was unresolved late in the year. An agreement signed in July between the United States and Canada to jointly manage the Porcupine caribou herd that populates the region appeared to increase pressure on Congress to reject the Interior Department’s drilling recommendation.

Thomas McMillan, Canada’s environment minister, said the pact sent a message to Congress “that both countries value that herd. ” Both the Interior Department and members of Alaska’s congressional delegation stated that there was no connection between the caribou treaty and the recommendation to Congress to open the coastal plain to drilling. (http://encarta. msn. com/sidebar_1741573203/1987_Alaska. html) As for the view point of a Deontologist, they would like things to just happen without the entire battle of voting, debating and any other loopholes to stop them from declaring the Alaskan Refuge a historical monument.

Being able to make a rational decision under any type circumstances is what all deontologists believe in. The Lockean View of ANWR The basis of the Lockean ethics is property rights. A Lockean views land in three different ways, one is that all land that is in its natural state is un-owned. Second they believe that humans have property rights over their bodies and their land, and third they believe that mixing labor with un-owned land creates a property right.

Lockean theorists have the view that labor may be degrading land, and does not allow for the preservation of land. Property rights are defined as the rights to own property and keep the income earned from it. It is also defined as the rights of an owner of private property; these typically include the right to use property, as she seems fit and the right to sell it to which she seems fit. A stipulation to these definitions is zoning. An individual has the right to use his or hers land for anything as long as it is within the zoning laws of the property.

An example of this would be having livestock such as horses or cows in an area in which the property is not zoned for, or another example would be having an industrial building located in the center of a residential area. The term Lockean is derived from the philosopher named John Locke. Locke was well educated and graduated from Oxford. His main belief was that property rights should be based on the labor connected with the land. He believed that the person who worked the land was the one who owns the land and that if the land is not worked or used than it is not owned.

John Locke is one of the key players for the basis of property rights. The Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, also known as ANWR is in the middle of an environmental versus economical war. One of the concerns from the environmentalists is who will own the land once some is set aside for the drilling. Will the land be property of the government, or will the company that will be doing the drilling own it? Environmentalists are afraid that if the government allows drilling on this national refuge that they will allow drilling or destruction to be done on other refuges.

They are afraid that this is going to open a floodgate destroying those areas that are protected and leave no national refuges or nature anywhere. As for the viewpoint of a Lockean, they would view the land that is being used drilling to belong to the company doing the drilling. This would be based on the idea that land that is not used is not owned. The rest of the land on the refuge would remain un-owned and would be reserved. A Lockean would want to use the land for the drilling because they view the land only as valuable as what it is being used for.

There are countless arguments regarding the drilling of oil in ANWR. A Utilitarian would most likely argue for the drilling, as it would only benefit the majority of the population in the U. S. A Deontologist would want a rational decision, whatever it may be; and a Lockean theorist would want to use the land for its value and what it could provide to the people occupying it. The benefits of drilling seem to outweigh the opposition. Harvesting the earth’s natural resources for the prosperity and longevity of all species would seem to serve the greatest purpose.


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