To the honerable members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives,
The Artic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Covering 19.6 million acres of some of the most pristine and diverse terrain in the United States, this refuge supports many animals dependent on its fragile ecosystem, including the U.S\' second largest caribou herd, over 130 bird species, polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, wolverines and grizzlies. It is no great wonder it is often called the American Serengeti. And yet oil companies still insist that it is a vital energy resource that must be developed despite the cost to the environment.
Drilling in ANWR would require the construction of pipelines, refineries, quarters for hundreds of workers, landfills, water reservoirs and many other types of infrastructure, not to mention the 10+ years needed before the first drop of oil reached the U.S. Although the oil companies promise to only develop 2,000 acres, the effects would be felt in the entire area. 30 miles away at the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, where the same type of development occurred, oil spills happen nearly every day and there are 55 contaminated waste sites.
Proponents of the plan insist that drilling ANWR would decrease our dependency on foreign oil. This contains 2 essential faults of reasoning. Although America needs energy independence from such an unstable region as the Middle East, since the oil crisis of the 1970s our country has diversified its oil imports. Today more oil comes to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada than the Persian Gulf. Furthermore, since the U.S. produces only 3% of the world\'s oil, yet consumes a staggering 25% of it, the U.S. can never achieve a high level of energy independence with our current consumption rate. Not only will it not make us less dependent, but even the Energy Information Agency (EIA) admitted in March 2004 that \"It is expected that the price of ANWR coastal plain production might reduce world oil prices by as much as 30 to 50 cents per barrel... Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the OPEC could countermand any potential price impact of ANWR coastal plain production by reducing its exports by an equal amount.\" Put simply, it will not have any positive economic or geopolitical impact.
If anything, what the U.S. must do is cease losing money on ineffectual and potentially environmentally catastrophic projects, rather than to develop more energy efficient technology, as well as renewable energy sources. This is the only way we can become energy independent considering the fact that the EIA estimates an shocking 60% percent of energy used in the U.S. is wasted.
In short, the solution to our energy woes is not environmentally damaging production in fragile areas that would prove to be unhelpful, but an aggressive energy plan to ensure both independence and environmental health. Far from ruining our economy, this new stage of our country\'s energy development would provide many safe high paying jobs, far less dangerous than operating or even being near oil equipment. It would also lessen the strain on our healthcare system by reducing emissions that cause many common medical problems.
The time to do this is NOW, when we still have the ability to preserve both our nation\'s security and beauty for future generations. So please, when the bill to drill in ANWR comes to your consideration, vote NO to protect our nation\'s, and the world\'s, future.
This petition was created and is sponsered by David Kaner, age 13, of New York.
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