The Environment: Voices and Choices - Reading Comprehension
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The Environment: Voices and Choices Reading Comprehension
     The Environment: Voices and Choices reading comprehension (sample is shown below)



The Environment: Voices and Choices
By Cindy Campbell
  

1     If you and your family travel to national forests, use automobiles, or drink water and breathe air, you will want to learn more about the environmental concerns of 2004. Candidates for public office are debating issues such as clean air and water, road building in national forests, Arctic oil drilling, and fuel economy. For over thirty years, the government has regulated the environment, and as progress is made, more concerns surface.
 
2     The four domains of our environment—air, land, water, and energy—have been under the supervision of the federal government since 1970 when President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within the EPA, government agencies were reorganized to protect and develop the environment. Before this, governmental activities were uncoordinated, and there was little concern for what was considered a non-issue.
 
3     By 1970, the American public demanded air and water cleanup and elimination of hazards to human health within the environment. The first Earth Day in April 1970, promoted by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was an attempt to bring the environment into the limelight. A grassroots movement of twenty million demonstrators, communities, and schools across the country commanded the attention of the government. It forced environmental concerns onto the national political agenda where they have been debated ever since.
 
4     So, back to you, your family, and 2004. First, let's consider oil drilling. Anyone who uses gasoline to power engines from jet skis to semi trucks has been pinched in the pocketbook by rising gas prices. Could the U.S. ever improve the situation? Remote territory in Alaska is part of this issue.
 
5     The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a 19.6 million acre corner of the 49th state. Caribou, musk oxen, snow geese, polar bear, grizzlies, wolverines, and arctic foxes, plus others call it home. A 1.5 million acre section of ANWR coastline is known as 1002 Area and is not considered wilderness. Those who want to use it for oil drilling believe that oil could be taken without disturbing the wildlife. Opponents believe that the available oil is too little to make a difference. U.S. Geological Survey estimates show a possible six-month supply at the current rate of consumption. Ninety-five percent of arctic coastline is already being explored for oil, according to about.com. Even with today's strictest environmental rules, spills of hazardous materials occur in Alaska daily. These spills added up to 45,000 gallons in 1999. To drill or not to drill: that is the question.

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