Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

01/26/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SJR 2 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 32(RES) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
                 SJR  2-ENDORSING ANWR LEASING                                                                              
CHAIR WAGONER announced SJR 2 to be up for consideration.                                                                       
MS.  MARY JACKSON,  Staff to  Senator Wagoner,  said SJR  2 has  a                                                              
companion  bill in  the House adding  that opening  ANWR has  been                                                              
discussed  for  many years.  She  held  up a  commemorative  metal                                                              
sculpture indicating support for ANWR opening this year.                                                                        
4:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. DEBBIE MILLER,  Fairbanks resident, said she  has explored and                                                              
written  about the  Arctic  National  Wildlife Refuge  (ANWR)  and                                                              
even helped  conduct a wilderness  assessment of the 1002  area in                                                              
the  1980s. She  said it  is scenic  and the  wildlife values  are                                                              
extraordinary.  It is the  only area in  Alaska that  is protected                                                              
for its wildlife  while there is already a lot  of oil development                                                              
in  the  central  Arctic  region and  in  the  National  Petroleum                                                              
Reserve  Alaska  (NPRA). "We  have  no  business going  into  this                                                              
conservation  area.... It  was  not established  for  oil and  gas                                                              
4:17:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MILLER proposed  amending line 6 by inserting  "or not permit"                                                              
after "to permit" further oil and gas exploration.                                                                              
4:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
She  also suggested  inserting "some"  before  "residents" of  the                                                              
North  Slope  Borough support  development  on  page 1,  line  14,                                                              
because  some  do  not support  development.  The  entire  Gwichen                                                              
Nation is  against opening up  the Arctic Refuge  for development.                                                              
Nearly  half  of  Alaskans  and Americans  oppose  it.  The  state                                                              
should  not promote  development on  federally protected  wildlife                                                              
refuges  because  "They were  not  set  aside for  that  purpose."                                                              
Since  1964,  there has  been  no  new  oil  and gas  drilling  or                                                              
leasing on any wildlife refuge in the country.                                                                                  
4:20:55 PM                                                                                                                    
On  page 2,  she  urged  the committee  to  delete  lines  1 -  4,                                                              
because they are  not accurate. The estimated 3.2  billion barrels                                                              
of economically  recoverable oil  in the  Arctic Refuge  would not                                                              
significantly reduce  our nations future need for  imported oil or                                                              
increase oil or security.                                                                                                       
4:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MILLER  suggested  deleting  "giant"  on  page  2,  line  16,                                                              
because the United  States Geological Survey (USGS)  ruled out the                                                              
possibility of any super giant fields in the Arctic Refuge.                                                                     
4:22:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Finally, she suggested  deleting "2,000 to 7,000  acres" from line                                                              
23 saying  that Congressman  Don Young introduced  a bill  (HR 39)                                                              
that states  200,000  acres would  be up for  lease. She  surmised                                                              
that the  infrastructure  would not  be limited  to just 2,000  to                                                              
7,000 acres and that pipelines would be all over the place.                                                                     
4:23:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. FRAN  MAUER, Fairbanks resident,  said he worked for  24 years                                                              
as a wildlife  biologist on ANWR  and opposed SJR 2 or  any effort                                                              
to open  that area to  drilling and development.  He thinks  it is                                                              
inappropriate  for  any state  to  pursue development  that  would                                                              
jeopardize the integrity of a national conservation area.                                                                       
4:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
He pointed  out the  inaccuracy in  lines 27  through 29  where it                                                              
says  that oil  and gas  activities  can be  conducted safely  and                                                              
without   adversely   affecting   the  environment   or   wildlife                                                              
population saying, "This is largely not true."                                                                                  
The Environmental  Impact Statement (EIS) prepared  for leasing in                                                              
the 1002  area found a strong  probability that  development would                                                              
have major  effects on caribou,  polar bears, musk  ox, wilderness                                                              
and subsistence.                                                                                                                
4:26:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MAUER  also said  that page  2, lines 30  through 32,  say the                                                              
state will ensure  the continued health of Porcupine  Caribou herd                                                              
and  that is  not  true. Concentrations  of  calving caribou  have                                                              
been  displaced  during the  calving  season  in the  Prudhoe  Bay                                                              
area.  Fortunately, those  caribou  have a  broader coastal  plain                                                              
that accommodates  their displacement.  The Porcupine herd  in the                                                              
Arctic Refuge  has five times as  many caribou using  one-fifth as                                                              
much area  for calving. The  consequences of displacement  are far                                                              
4:27:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. LUCI  BEACH, Executive  Director, Gwichen Steering  Committee,                                                              
opposed SJR 2. She  also objected to language on  page 2, line 30,                                                              
saying that protection  of the herd and land is  not possible. The                                                              
Coastal  Plain is known  as the  Sacred Place  Where Life  Begins.                                                              
She explained  that the  Central Arctic Caribou  herd has  a range                                                              
of  100 miles  from  the  Beaufort Sea  to  the foothills  of  the                                                              
Brooks Range,  so it has some  place to go. The  Porcupine Caribou                                                              
herd has only  a 40-mile range up  to the foothills of  the Brooks                                                              
Range and that's where predators live.                                                                                          
4:30:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  AL ADAMS,  former Alaska  State Senator,  said he  represents                                                              
Arctic Power that  advocates opening ANWR. It would  bring jobs to                                                              
Alaskans and energy for Americans.                                                                                              
     People  need  to  understand  as  far  as  the  land  is                                                                   
     concerned there  is about 18.5 million acres  of land in                                                                   
     ANWR.  We  do not  want  to  touch  8 million  acres  of                                                                   
     wilderness  or the 9  million acres  of the Refuge.  The                                                                   
     only area we're  talking about is the 1.5  million acres                                                                   
     that  is   designated  right   here  for  oil   and  gas                                                                   
     development.  You hear  things  that we're  going to  go                                                                   
     there  and ruin  the wilderness  or  the Refuge.  You're                                                                   
     not  touching any of  those.... Basically,  on that  1.5                                                                   
     million acres  we will be  touching areas 64%  less than                                                                   
     Prudhoe  Bay is.  The footprint  will  be much  smaller;                                                                   
     the  technology   for  oil   and  gas  development   has                                                                   
     changed....  We're talking  about maybe  2,000 acres  in                                                                   
     this particular area.                                                                                                      
     You  know, the  oil  operations of  the  North Slope  is                                                                   
     probably the  most regulated - efficient -  and uses the                                                                   
     highest of technology....                                                                                                  
     We have caribou  in the state of Alaska. We  have over 1                                                                   
     million  caribou. One  of the largest  western herds  is                                                                   
     450,000   animals.  The   Porcupine   herd  is   129,000                                                                   
     animals.  If  you  want  to   talk  about  polar  bears,                                                                   
     there's 2,700  polar bear up in the district  - bowheads                                                                   
     -  over  9,000   animals  up  there.  So,   animals  and                                                                   
     wildlife get along with that.                                                                                              
     Somebody   mentioned  Prudhoe   Bay.  When  we   finally                                                                   
     finished  that  in  1979,  we  only  had  3,000  animals                                                                   
     there.  In  Prudhoe  Bay  today  -  caribou  -  we  have                                                                   
     32,000.  So,   the  caribou  with  oil   development  is                                                                   
MR. ADAMS said  he understands the Gwichen Nation's  concern about                                                              
caribou, but  in 1984,  it leased  all of its  land -  1.8 million                                                              
acres  for $1.8  million. "Where  was  their concern  in 1984  for                                                              
their  caribou  and  the  sacred  land?  We,  the  Alaskans,  both                                                              
Inupiat people and Alaskans, would like to see that opened."                                                                    
He said that 75%  of Alaskans support the opening  of ANWR; 78% of                                                              
Kaktovik supports  it. He point out  a small purple area  on a map                                                              
of the area that  indicates private land holdings  of about 92,160                                                              
acres. He said  development would bring money to  the general fund                                                              
from royalties  and bonuses;  it will provide  jobs in  Alaska and                                                              
the U.S.                                                                                                                        
MR. ADAMS offered  one amendment - to give the  Native Village and                                                              
Kaktovik  $50,000  a  piece  for  one of  the  sections  on  their                                                              
4:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WAGONER asked  if the  Gwichen lease  was for  oil and  gas                                                              
4:35:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ADAMS  replied yes. The consultant  at the time was  Donald R.                                                              
Wright.  He offered  to show  the  contract to  the committee  and                                                              
read the names of some people who signed it.                                                                                    
4:36:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER asked  if the Arctic Slope Corporation  is precluded                                                              
from development of oil or is the oil stranded.                                                                                 
4:36:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ADAMS replied  that under federal law,  congressional approval                                                              
is needed before anything can be done in that section.                                                                          
4:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  how close  the Gwichens  live to the  1002                                                              
MR.  ADAMS replied  that they  live approximately  150 miles  away                                                              
from that particular area.                                                                                                      
     USGA  estimates  between  5.7  billion  and  16  billion                                                                   
     barrels  in that  particular section.  Remember when  we                                                                   
     first estimated  Prudhoe Bay?  We estimated there  would                                                                   
     only be 10  billion barrels coming from Prudhoe  Bay and                                                                   
     as  of last  year  we have  already  shipped through  14                                                                   
     billion.  So, we estimate  there's going  to be a  large                                                                   
     amount of oil in that particular section.                                                                                  
4:38:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if  he is  intimating  there  may be  some                                                              
economic reason for  the Gwichen people to keep  the Inupiat lands                                                              
closed to oil exploration.                                                                                                      
4:38:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.ADAMS replied no; each tribe has a right to its own opinion.                                                                 
4:39:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS   moved  to  pass  SJR  2  from   committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations  and attached $0 fiscal  note. Senators                                                              
Stevens,  Dyson, Seekins,  Stedman  and Chair  Wagoner voted  yea;                                                              
and Senator Elton voted nay. SJR 2 moved from committee.                                                                        

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