In order to meet the global population's energy needs, humanity is challenged with developing natural resources in the most prudent manner possible. This means the United States and other nations must be open to the idea of tapping into the natural gas and oil located in pristine spaces. In particular, the United States should consider extracting the natural resources available in the Arctic near Alaska.
Why the Arctic's Abundance of Natural Resources is Important
The National Petroleum Council conducted a study to determine exactly where natural gas and oil are located. The study determined the Arctic has one-quarter of the natural gas in the world. The study also determined the Arctic has 10% of the world's oil. Furthermore, the United States Arctic likely has upwards of 48 billion oil barrels. The Arctic's wealth of natural resources have the potential to offset expected decreases in domestic production across posterity. However, if the United States refuses to drill in the Arctic, the country is almost certain to lose its energy security benefits.
An Eye on Tomorrow's Energy
There will come a point in time in which we must develop Arctic energy for subsequent years. The question is how soon this moment will come. It is up to our politicians to make policy decisions with posterity in mind. If policy decisions are short-sighted, they will backfire in the years and decades to come.
Arctic Offshore Leasing
There is the potential for presidential administrations to end Arctic offshore leasing at any time. However, an administration that makes such a decision will put the United States' energy security in jeopardy. Furthermore, the cancellation of Arctic offshore leasing puts the entire economy of Alaska at risk.
Even the native communities living in Alaska who are dependent on gas and oil development to continue their way of life will suffer if the extraction of natural resources ceases. Though such communities will not disappear if Arctic offshore leasing comes to an end, they will no longer be able to continue their traditional way of life. As an example, Alaska's mayor is on record as stating the state's Iñupiat group's way of life will be in jeopardy if ecological preservation is not balanced with adequate resource development to guarantee a sustainable future.
The Voices of the Debate
In order to reinforce the importance of allowing Arctic offshore drilling, nearly two dozen Alaskan business, labor, consumer and native groups have created a coalition. This coalition has started an educational campaign in the beltway.
Former defense experts and military personnel are chiming in on the Arctic drilling debate as well. Some have gone as far as writing pieces for the Washington Post to argue that a continued industry investment along with a permanent presence in Alaska's Arctic is essential to the country's security.
Accessing the Arctic's Energy Resources is Easier and Safer Than Many Assume
Energy companies have been safely developing natural gas, oil and other resources in the Arctic and elsewhere for upwards of a century. Today's energy companies have nearly perfected natural resource extraction techniques. As long as the companies performing the drilling, fracking and other extraction methods act in a responsible and safe manner, the people of the Arctic should not be concerned. The rise of new technologies combined with high standards of operations along with a commitment to protect the environment will prove mutually beneficial to energy businesses as well as the public in general.
So let's not close the door on the United States' energy options. It is imperative we keep an open mind to all possible energy sources. This means we should not rule out tapping into the Arctic's natural gas, oil and other resources we need to thrive as a species.