Friday, April 27, 2012

“Casting a Cold Eye on Arctic Oil”

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Nicholas D. Kristof’s editorial entitled “Casting a Cold Eye on Arctic Oil” provides a credible personification in itself. Written as a first hand account, the author clearly takes a stand regarding the debate about whether or not to drill in the Arctic Wildlife refuge. His main idea asserts that by excavating the land for drilling we would deprive our children of our national inheritance (Kristof A5). Also, the topic is identified as general and theoretical.

The first stage of his argument, conjecture, is that there is an argument to be considered. “The argument I find most compelling is that this primordial wilderness, a part of our national inheritance that is roughly the same as a thousand years ago, would be irretrievably lost if we drilled,” states Kristof (Kristof A5). He acknowledges that both the environmentalists and oil industry have differing opinions on how to use the land in the Arctic wilderness, of which he agrees with the preservation of the land.

Secondly, he defines his argument by expounding on the contrasting arguments of each party. The “coastal plain is a wasteland” and the “impact of the drilling would be a ,000-acre footprint,” contend the drilling supporters (Kristof A5). On the contrary, the author periodically inserts his argument that saving the land will allow us to show our kids the original appearance of America (Kristof A5). Kairos is engaged by the oil drillers when they talk about Daniel Esty’s proposed deal which would just be exploratory drilling, until something is found. This perfect timing is an attempt to appease the environmentalists so that they might give into the argument.

Next, Kristof employs the seriousness of the issue by explaining what the possible outcomes could be. Proposing that we drill there, if it results that there are limited oil reserves then they would have wasted the wilderness for nothing. In addition, drilling would also include excavation of the land far more to exceed the ,000 acres that drilling supporters anticipated. This gross understatement by the oil supporters spurs Kristof to list all the other consequences of the drilling. “It’s also fair to give special weight to the view of the only people who live in the coastal plains,” Kristof asserts (Kristof A5). On the other hand, following the environmentalist approach would anger the local Eskimos who strongly favor the drilling in hopes of acquiring wealth and power. “If environmentalists were so anxious about the Arctic, they should come here and clean up the petroleum that naturally seeps to the surface,” said angry Eskimo Bert Akootchook (Kristof A5). However, by not drilling it is agreed they could be squandering the opportunity to tap into a source so the dependence on foreign oil is eliminated.

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Finally, a procedure is offered in attempt to settle this dispute. Kristof affirms that President Bush’s policy to drill in the Arctic refuge is just an endeavor to “lunge for oil” (Kristof A5). As a zealous believer of no drilling in the Arctic refuge, Mr. Kristof decides to let Congress determine the fate of the land.

In conclusion, the author does reach stasis because both parties agree that there is a disagreement on all bases of the argument. A resolution is possible once the decision of Congress is published. I am sure the polar bears won’t mind.

Kristof, Nicholas D. “Casting a Cold Eye on Arctic Oil.” The New York Times 10 Sep. 00 A5.

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