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Congress

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Throughout the last few years, there has been continued political debate over whether or not the United States should open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling. Proponents argue that the supply of oil would help decrease gas prices and provide jobs for many Americans. Those who oppose the drilling argue that the cost to the environment would be too great. Congressman Doc Hastings agrees with the proponents of drilling in his article entitled, Forget 10 Years—Drilling ANWR Would Pay Off Right Away”. Congressman Hastings argues that the total amount of land needed for drilling, only 500,000 of the total 19 million acres, is a small price to pay for the various benefits the United States would reap from drilling on this land. He goes on to say that improvements in technology allow for drilling without significant environmental costs. Additional benefits would include tens of thousands of jobs and vast revenues for the federal government. According to Hastings, there are 10.4 billion barrels of oil which could be available to U.S consumers. Congressman Hastings does note the criticism that the oil would not be available for many years. However, he argues, that the immediate economic benefit of job creation makes drilling worthwhile regardless of the timeframe for oil procurement.

An analysis of Congressman Hastings argument will note that the thrust of his argument is focused on economic benefits. Although there have been many who have warned of environmental risks, Congressman Hastings does not fully acknowledge these arguments. The small scale of the drilling, only 500,000 acres, seems to be enough to write off those environmental risks. One can compare Congressman Hastings arguments to those of Cindy Shogan. She argues against drilling in ANWR and disputes many of the benefits touted by the Congressman. In response to his argument concerning increased oil supply, Ms. Shogan argues that the total amount of oil believed to be in ANWR would...