Chapter 6 Summary, Quick Read for Judith Layzer

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  • Topic: Alaska, Petroleum, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
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1959 Congress annexes Alaska
1960 Arctic National Wildlife Range established by Fred Seaton of the DOI l969 Trans-Alaska Pipeline System formed by a group of oil and gas companies. They want to build a huge pipeline from south to north coast of Alaska! 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act buys out native Alaskans of their land for gas and oil exploration, basically they can claim any land they want except land for the pipeline 1972 EIS released stressing the need for oil resources to be developed for national security interests 1973 Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act gets signed into law, opening Alaska for oil and gas exploration and the trans-Alaskan pipeline 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act federally protects over a hundred million acres of land in northern Alaska 1986 Another EIS, but this time it is challenged by environmentalist groups because it was formed without public forum 1987 ANWR Coastal Plain Report says that there is only a 19 percent chance of finding oil in the area 1989 The infamous Valdez-Exxon oil spill occurs, staving off final policy on drill and exploration leases in the ANWR coastal plain. 1996 Budget bill vetoed by Clinton based on pro-drilling ANWR provision 2005 Budget bill approved by Senate which includes pro-drilling ANWR provisions 2007 publicizes that gas and oil development are crucial to the American economy and supports pro-drilling leases on its website.

Historical Resource Exploration
Alaskan territory was acquired from Russia in the late 19th century. It was primarily known for its source of Klondike gold fields. Much of the territory's population was based in small boom-and-bust economies based on the natural resources of gold, oil, gas, and timber. The federal government did not want an unstable economy based solely on resource exploration so it set aside millions of acres of land to conserve those resources and develop them responsibly. The United States Navy began to search for oil and gas in the 1930's while the National Park Service creates a recreational agenda for some areas.

There were some people against this form of development in Alaska. Bob Marshall called for preservation of the wild places of Alaska. However, developers like Robert Atwood and Walter Hickel supported statehood to increase economic development. And although the state was annexed the land was not developed due to overwhelming native tribe land claims for nearly twenty years. When Hickel became governor of the state, however, Prudhoe Bay was developed for its oil. Trans-Alaska Pipeline

President Nixon placed Walter Hickel as head of the Department of The Interior. Walter Hickel wanted pump oil from Prudhoe Bay all the way to the southern Alaskan port of Valdez, some 700 miles of pipeline. Those who supported the pipeline were better mobilized and formed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. The pipeline would effectively split the wild places in two, forcing caribou herds and other species to shift their ecological niches drastically. Although environmentalists saw this as a negative impact and tried to stop it the project went through due to a pro-drilling DOI report. It was recalled due to it not having been opened to forum as provided in the National Environmental Policy Act and Mineral Leasing Act. The EIS was redone, but strongly suggested oil development for the sake of national security and oil independence. This led to the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The act meant that native Alaskans were paid by royalties from oil and gas developers, giving them stronger stake in further resource development. It also prevented native Alaskans from using land claims to block the project. The last and legal EIS was presented in 1972 and the pipeline project was passed in 1973. The ANILCA

It was under provisions of the ANCSA that Fred Seaton assumed nearly 9 million acres of land as the Arctic National Wildlife...
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