Oil industry PR has drilled away at one familiar theme: that drilling can be done in an “environmentally responsible” fashion. The reality on the ground is that oil infrastructure sprawl and pollution continue to have lasting, serious environmental consequences, and claims for vaunted new technologies have greatly exaggerated their promise.
Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay oil fields are an industrial complex of drill rigs, production plants, roads, pipelines, gravel mines, and airports that sprawl across 1,000 sq miles of tundra.
There is over a spill a day at Prudhoe Bay. Over 400 crude oil and other toxic spills occur in the North Slope oil fields and pipelines each year, totaling 2.7 million gallons over the past 13 years. The industrial complex emits millions of tons of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. On the 20-year anniversary of Exxon Valdez, lasting impacts remain.
Oil and gas development on Alaska’s North Slope has harmed wildlife, wilderness and Alaska Native subsistence. Interior Department studies predicted Arctic Refuge oil development would have major impacts to the Porcupine caribou herd, muskox, water resources, subsistence, recreation, and irretrievable loss of wilderness.
There’s a better way to repower America using our ingenuity. Barrels of oil saved through conservation far exceed the potential for oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. We must build a clean energy economy while preserving our most treasured wild places.
Get the latest information about Alaskan North Slope oil exploration and development impacts here.