Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers 19 million acres of forests, mountains, wetlands, tundra, and wild rivers. It is the second largest wildlife refuge in the United States. The refuge provides a home to many different, and nearly extinct animals including: musk oxen, caribou, migratory birds, Dall sheep, as well as grizzly, black, and polar bears; and this is just a short list. There are a wide variety of marine mammals that migrate to the Beaufort Sea, off the cost of the refuge, during the summertime (Big Oil Q & A). Drilling for oil in the Arctic's very delicate ecosystem would cause irreversible damage upon the wildlife and would bring no substantial amount of oil in return. These damages far outweigh the need for oil in the United States.
The Arctic's ecosystem is very delicately balanced. The severe climate makes it very inflexible in the survival of its inhabitants. The species impacted have little time for recovery, because of the short growing season. The Arctic's short food chain can mean that when one of these species is lost, it will have devastating effects for the dependent species. .
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's web page explains the risks of drilling in "Big Oil Q & A":.
Wildlife and plant life that live in or use the seasonally rich coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are triply at risk. First, oil exploration and extraction activities are concentrated in the refuge's most critical and sensitive areas such as calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd and denning areas fro one of America's two polar bear populations. Second, because the impacts of oil and other chemical spills accumulate in areas such as air holes used by seals and other marine mammals, the impact of even small spills is magnified. .
These are just a few damaging affects arctic drilling can cause (Big Oil: Q & A).