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Drilling the States on Oil

Benjamin Glenn
You are riding your bike into the tranquil California Sequoia Forest.
All of the trees reach higher than your eyes can appreciate. Birds and
branches creak with the essence of freedom. A loud sound intrudes on
your ride making you shiver and hold your ears. As you come around a
corner a field packed of drilling platforms, burning and extracting fossil
fuels, controls the once beautiful and free landscape.
As farfetched as it sounds, the future of our national parks could
look like this. 12 of the 408 parks already have drilling rigs and more are
planned to be put into place. It is thus critical that Congress put in more
laws to protect our national parks and forests. For the following
generations to see nature as we do now, the conservation of our national
parks must be improved.
180 out of 196 countries in the world have environmental health in
their constitution and as a right. Although we like to call the United States
a world leader, we fall behind in environmental health. The United States,
Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Oman, Afghanistan, Kuwait,
Brunei Darussalam, Lebanon, Laos, Myanmar, North Korea, Malaysia, and
Cambodia are the 16 countries who have not protected the environment
in their constitution. We do protect lands in the United States, but even
those protected lands are falling into land that will be drilled. If
environmental rights were written into our Constitution it would change
how the parks operate around the subject of oil drilling.
The reason we have National Parks is to let everyone experience
nature in the purest form possible. Oil drilling is currently happening
because there is a demand for the oil and even though oil development
can help the finances of many people, it will only last a short time. Our
time should be spent finding sustainable solutions and not digging
ourselves a deeper hole of oil. As the National Park Service Director,
Jonathan B. Jarvis said on October 16, 2015 at a press release We have a
fundamental responsibility to conserve park resources for the enjoyment
of future generations. Drilling for oil will scar the land and hurt water
resources with the technology of fracking being used. Fracking is the
process of injecting liquid at high pressures into boreholes, to force open
existing fissures and extract oil or natural gas from the ground.
Looking at this topic through a philosophical lens will verify our
obligation to a healthy environment. Utilitarianism is a moral philosophy
based around pain and pleasure, looking at both sides you find which one
will benefit the masses more and go with that. In a more long term
Utilitarian viewpoint, like Peter Singers , the short term benefits of oil

extraction do not out weight the long term costs to our grandchildren who
will not be able to experience the world in the same wonderful way . The
oil that comes from an average well is 500 bpd (barrels per day) and each
barrel is worth about 30 dollars depending on the market. Slowly each well
produces less of course because the oil is not infinite. When a rig is done
they pack it up and plug the hole, but thats not the end of the story. If
fracking fluid is used it may seep into water sources which can cause the
land around the well to become a nutrient-generated dead zone. It cost
approximately 1.5 million to 4 million dollars per year to clean up fracking
contaminates from the earth per well. When all of the money comes in
from all the wells it will only pay for a few of the wells that used fracking,
not to mention the non-recoverable dead earth.
Peter Singer once said [h]uman decision-making is complex. On our
own, our tendency to yield to short-term temptations, and even to
addictions, may be too strong for our rational, long-term planning.
Applying his environmental ethics to oil rigs inside national parks proves
the point that it should not happen.
Recently the Obama Administration tried to integrate fracking laws
which stop oil enterprises from fracking without restraints. It was stopped
a day before the law went into action by a federal judge. The National
Parks Conservation Associations Landscape Conservation Program
manager, Nicholas Lund, sees this law as a step in the right direction as
he says, [t]odays rules are long-overdue updates to help ensure that
national parks and their adjacent landscapes arent contaminated by
fracking fluids on nearby public lands.
A world with no national parks, no natural forests, and a suffering
environment is no place to put our kids and future generations. The steps
we must take are those of the laws being pushed into place. The new
laws, like the ones the Obama Administration have tried to be put into
place, must be advocated for and pushed into action. Its time the United
States opens its eyes to the lesson the other 180 countries have to teach
us about protecting and improving our shared home.

Work Cited
Brennan, Andrew. "Environmental Ethics." Stanford University. Stanford
University, 03 June 2002.
Web. 03 Dec. 2015.<
http://stanford.library.usyd.edu.au/archives/sum2010/entries/ethicsenvironmental/#IntChaEnvEth>

Slayton, April. "National Park Service to Update Oil and Gas


Regulations." National Park Service. National Park Service, 16 Oct. 2015. Web.
http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/release.htm?id=1752
"Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water
Resources." N.p., Dec.
2012. Web. <
http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/hfreport20121214.pdf#page=135>
"The Costs of Fracking." Environment America. N.p., 20 Sept. 2012. Web. <
http://www.environmentamerica.org/reports/ame/costs-fracking>
Wolff, Brian G. "Utilitarian Ethics." Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions (2013):
2324. Web. Dec. 2008. < http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethicsenvironmental>
"Protect Our Parks and Forests From Drilling." Environment Colorado. N.p., n.d.
Web.< http://www.environmentcolorado.org/page/coe/about-environmentcolorado>