Supporters of Arctic drilling believe the benefits of drilling vastly outweigh the risk of environmental damage. What's most important is to remain energy independent and to look after our communities. Opening the Arctic to drilling takes care of both.
Developing our Arctic resources means we can continue to ensure the Arctic is well managed by our neighbors while replacing the oil we are buying from foreign and often hostile countries. It also means creating jobs here at home and controlling energy costs for American families. Production in the U.S. means more royalties and revenue coming to federal, state and local governments rather than to countries whose policies we may or may not support. The bottom line is that there is much to gain from responsible development here at home.
Critics of Arctic drilling say the conditions in the region leaves no room for error. It's already difficult to clean up oil spills effectively in calm conditions. Doing so in a place where hurricane force winds are normal is next to impossible. It's better to avoid the risk entirely.
In contrast, the Arctic Ocean is prone to hurricane-force storms, 20-foot swells, pervasive sea ice, frigid temperatures and months-long darkness. There is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions. What’s more, the Arctic has extremely limited infrastructure (there are no roads or deep water ports and only a handful of small airports) and the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away.