In just a few months, energy companies may begin exploring for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Environmentalists warn this will destroy the remote area’s pristine beauty and endanger local wildlife.
Thankfully, their fears are unfounded. Opening ANWR to energy development will enrich nearby communities and the nation as a whole — without noticeably disrupting the local environment.
ANWR, usually pronounced “Anwar,” is a 19.6-million-acre wilderness area in northeastern Alaska — about the size of South Carolina. The federal government established ANWR in 1980 and decreed it off limits to energy exploration, except for a 1.5-million-acre section known as Area 1002. Congress deferred a decision on whether to permit drilling in Area 1002. Lawmakers came close to greenlighting energy exploration in this section several times in recent decades. But they ultimately backed down due to pressure from environmental activists.