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Drilling isn’t answer to our energy needs

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Katie Roehl
June 19, 2009
This commentary was among those written by students in the Washington Seminar program at Janesville Parker High School.

“Drill baby, drill!” was the Republicans’ chant in the past presidential election. But do Americans really understand the implications of expanding oil drilling?


After all, drilling rhymes with killing, which is exactly what it does. It kills not only habitats and animals but also our relationships with other nations as well our own country’s progress. Upon reflection, I believe we must wean ourselves off our oil dependency by continuing to drill in areas already open for leasing, but conserve areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Arctic Seas.


It would be regressing, rather than aiding the United States, if we were to continue expanding drilling. This can only increase our dependency on fossil fuels. The economic advantages of expansion would only be temporary; eventually the oil will run out and we will be even worse off if we do not prepare now.


Other countries tax the oil companies and earn significantly higher royalties off development than the United States. For example, Norway taxes companies at 78 percent and puts a fair amount of that money into a pension fund. The United States could take similar actions but put the money into renewable energies.


The environmental destruction seems remote to us now, but that damage will eventually make its way to our backyards through global warming and water pollution. Oiled marine mammals are only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of environmental damage that petroleum causes. Though extracting more government revenue from oil companies most likely would cause prices of gasoline and other petroleum products to rise, we can all afford a little sacrifice so that we still inhabit Earth generations from now.


I believe we are headed in the right direction under the Obama administration. With Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar shutting down several onshore drilling locations, it appears the oil industries and supporters of drilling will be opposed, at least under the current administration. I predict the next step might be the “Use it or lose it” policy toward offshore leases that Obama talked about in his campaign, probably once the economy significantly recovers.


Expanding drilling will hurt us more in the future than it will help our economy in the present. Please do not leave this issue for my generation and future generations to deal with. Now is the time for action.



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