; wilderness
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



  • pg 1
									RESOURCE                                                                R            E            V
                                                                                                                I          E            W

                     A LASKA W ILDERNESS

                                   56 percent of the nation’s total.
                                   In fact, if combined, federal
          ho owns Alaska?          Wilderness in Alaska would
   Of the 365.5 million acres      create the 11th largest state in
that make up Alaska – from         America. To put the 49th
the lush rain forests of the       state’s federal Wilderness into
southeast panhandle to the         another light:
flat, barren tundra of the            •It is larger than each of the
Arctic – federal agencies          following states: Florida,
currently lay claim to 235         Illinois, Minnesota, New York
million acres – 64 percent of      and Washington.
the 49th state.                       •It is bigger than the com-
                                   bined size of Maine, New
    Alaska Land Facts              Hampshire,             Vermont,         The 235 million acres of federal lands within Alaska, much of it closed to
        See Page 3                 Massachusetts, Rhode Island,            development, is considerably larger than the entire state of Texas, more than the
                                   Connecticut, New Jersey,                total combined size of California, Oregon and Washington, and bigger than the
  To put Uncle Sam’s share in      Delaware and Maryland.                  combination of 15 eastern states as shown below: (States listed in millions of acres)
perspective:                           What’s left over outside this       Maine (21.2)                                Pennsylvania (28.9)
  •Federal lands in Alaska         massive federal enclave? The            New Hampshire (5.9)                         Ohio (26.4)
alone are much larger than the     state itself owns 90.3 million          Vermont (6.1)                               Delaware (1.3)
entire state of Texas.             acres and is entitled to an addi-       Massachusetts (5.3)                         Maryland (6.7)
  •Federal acreage in Alaska is    tional 14 million acres under           Rhode Island (.7)                           Virginia (26.1)
larger than the combination of     the Statehood Act. Native               Connecticut (3.2)                           North Carolina (33.7)
15 eastern states stretching                                               New York (31.4)                             South Carolina (19.9)
                                   corporations own 37 million
from Maine to South Carolina.                                              New Jersey (4.9)
                                   acres and will receive an
  •Federal      ownership in       additional 7 million acres
Alaska is larger than Oregon,                                              percent, leaving 58.6 percent               restricted or prohibited and
                                   through federal conveyances.
Washington and California                                                  to the federal government and               public access is difficult.
                                      Once all federal con-
combined.                                                                  0.7 percent in conventional                   In addition, Alaska itself has
                                   veyances are completed, the
  Also of note, Alaska’s 58                                                private ownership.                          a vast state park system, the
                                   state will own 28.6 percent of
million acres of “official”                                                   Forty percent of the federal             largest in the nation.
                                   Alaska while Native corpora-
federal Wilderness account for                                             share is set aside in conserva-               While portions of the fed-
                                   tions will hold title to 12.2
                                                                           tion system units -- national               eral domain are considered
                                                                           parks, refuges and forests.                 among the “crown jewels” of
                  Alaska Land Status                                       These units account for 70                  America’s wild lands, beneath
             (Pending Full Federal Conveyance)                             percent of America’s national               some of these conservation
                                                     State                 park lands and 85 percent of                units lies much of the future
                                                     28.6%                 its wildlife refuge acreage.                wealth and security of Alaska
                                                                           Unlike Lower 48 parks and                   and the nation. Although the
                                                                           refuges, the vast majority of               estimates vary according to
                                                                           the Alaska units have no road               the source, Alaska could hold
                                                                           access and few visitor facilities           30 percent of America’s oil re-
        58.6%                                              12.2%           such as campgrounds, visitor                serves and nearly 20 percent of
                                                   Other                   centers and hotels. Economic
                                                   0.7%                                                                         (Continued to Page 2)
                                                                           development is either severely
     A LASKA
         (Continued from Page 1)
                                                                        This map depicts, in general, Alaska’s federal conservation system
                                                                        units. With the exception of NPRA, BLM lands are not shown.
its natural gas. Its coal re-      the concerns of city life be-
sources are immense and            hind. However, few are             places that are easily accessi-                   opposition from national en-
other mineral deposits such        aware that most human activ-       ble and useable by the general                    vironmental groups to ex-
as zinc and gold are world         ity is virtually eliminated in     public, but most are just as                      pand it is likely to keep a
class.                             areas that are formally desig-     inaccessible as those areas                       heavy cap on a seasonal
   With such a rich endow-         nated as federal Wilderness.       with the official designation.                    tourism industry.
ment of natural resources          Formal Wilderness bans not           With the exception of the
comes great potential and          only all types of resource de-     narrow trans-Alaska pipeline                          Wilderness and Energy
opportunity for Alaska and         velopment, it prohibits the        corridor, it is impossible to                        For more than 20 years,
its economy. However, re-          construction of public and         cross the vast Alaska main-                       North Slope oil fields sup-
moteness,      climate,    and     private recreational facilities,   land without entering at least                    plied America with 20 per-
tremendous geological diver-       including       campgrounds,       one restrictive conservation                      cent of its domestic oil
sity translate into high costs     backcountry lodges, visitor        unit. While the extensive net-                    production. Many of these
for industries trying to tap       centers and motor tours.           work of conservation units                        fields, however, are in steady
the massive resource deposits      With few exceptions, roads,        has preserved a great portion                     decline and overall produc-
of the last frontier. Moreover,                                                                                         tion is less than half of its
political considerations pose                                                                                           1988 peak. The oil industry is
an even greater challenge.                                                                                              struggling to offset the
   Alaskans strongly support                                                                                            decline with new technology
resource development and                                                                                                to enhance recovery, and sev-
expanded access opportuni-                                                                                              eral new smaller fields have
ties, but Washington calls the                                                                                          helped stabilize production.
shots on nearly two-thirds of                                                                                           Today      North Slope      oil
Alaska’s lands. And even                                                                                                accounts for 17 percent of
with Republicans in control                                                                                             domestic production.
of Congress and the White                                                                                                  However, the best oppor-
House, a powerful national                                                                                              tunity for boosting Alaska
environmental lobby contin-                                                                                             production and reversing the
ues to dominate congres-                                                                                                nation’s increasing reliance
sional proceedings on Alaska                                                                                            on foreign crude lies 65 miles
resource issues. Key deci-                                                                                              to the east of the giant
sions on the biggest issues,                                                                                            Prudhoe Bay field – the
such as oil development in         as well as new hiking trails       of Alaska, the cumulative                         Coastal Plain of the Arctic
the arctic and logging in the      and cabins are banned.             overlay of federal and state                      National Wildlife Refuge
Tongass National Forest,             In addition to Alaska’s 58       land withdrawals poses a                          (ANWR). The State and the
have been driven largely by        million acres of federal           mounting      challenge    to                     oil industry are not seeking
mis-perception.                    Wilderness, millions of other      efforts aimed at growing the                      to open any designated
                                   acres are under Wilderness         state’s economy.                                  Wilderness areas in ANWR
           Wilderness              consideration. And tens of           While the parks and                             to exploration. In fact, the
   The average American is         millions of acres are wilder-      refuges     have    attracted                     targeted prospects are all
likely to define wilderness as     ness in the general sense, but     adventure-seekers to the                          located inside an area set
land in which one can enjoy        lack the official designation.     state, an extremely limited                       aside by Congress in 1980 for
natural conditions and leave       Some of these lands are wild       road system and fierce                            potential oil and gas develop-

Page 2                                                      Resource Review                                                                  www.akrdc.org
ment. However, that area,             Even under a full leasing          assumption. With advances in         ered, that would be enough
known as the “1002” lands,          scenario and assuming devel-         technology resulting in a            to replace imports of Saudi
will require congressional          opment of several major              smaller development foot-            oil at current rates of con-
authorization before explo-         prospects, petroleum opera-          print, America can produce           sumption for nearly 30 years.
ration can move forward.            tions would directly affect          perhaps up to one-quarter of            While the volume of
  But like other big Alaska                                                                                   ANWR’s recoverable oil is
resource issues, the percep-                                                                                  comparable to the National
tion in Washington and                                                                                        Petroleum Reserve Alaska
across the Lower 48 is that                                                                                   (NPRA) west of Prudhoe
development would destroy                                                                                     Bay, ANWR reserves are be-
America’s “last remaining”                                                                                    lieved to be concentrated in
wilderness for a “six-month”                                                                                  larger accumulations in an
supply of oil. In reality, not                                                                                area one-twelfth the size of
one acre of federal or state                                                                                  NPRA, close to existing
Wilderness would be touched                                                                                   feeder pipelines.
in or outside ANWR.                                                                                              Although 74 percent of
  A factual look at the refuge                                                                                Alaskans support oil devel-
reveals that nearly half of its                                                                               opment, Congress will have
19 million acres is perma-                                                                                    the final say on ANWR. A
nently closed to development                                                                                  decision authorizing devel-
under a federal Wilderness          only several thousand acres,         its future domestic produc-          opment could help revitalize
designation. When combined          leaving 99.9 percent of              tion from one one-hundredth          the state and national econ-
with similarly managed lands        ANWR untouched.                      of one percent of ANWR.              omy, but the outcome is far
inside the refuge, some 92            As for the perception of a            The     U.S.    Geological        from certain as environmen-
percent is off-limits to devel-     “six month” supply, such an          Survey estimates ANWR                tal groups, fostering a percep-
opment, leaving the remain-         argument is based on a sce-          could contain from 5.7 billion       tion of Alaska far removed
ing 8 percent – the “1002”          nario where all oil consumed         to 16 billion barrels of recov-      from reality, gear up to influ-
coastal lands - available for       in America would come from           erable oil. If a mean average        ence public opinion and the
exploration.                        one field – an impossible            of 10 billion barrels is recov-      national media.

                        Alaska Land Facts
  Total Lands In Alaska                 365.5 million acres
          Federal                       235.1 million acres          (64.3 percent)**
          State                          90.3 million acres*         (24.7 percent)*
          Native Corporation             37.4 million acres**        (10.2 percent)
          Conventional Private            2.7 million acres           (0.7 percent)
                                                                                                                     Photo by Frank Baker
  Federal Lands In Alaska                                   Total                        Designated
           Bureau of Land Management                        85.0 million acres
           Department of Defense                             2.3 million acres
           National Park Service                            52.9 million acres           33.5 million acres
           Fish & Wildlife Service                          72.4 million acres           18.7 million acres
           Forest Service                                   22.5 million acres            5.8 million acres
           Federal Wilderness - Alaska                                                   58.0 million acres               Photo by Carl Portman
                                                                                         (56 percent of U.S.)
           Total Designated Wilderness in U.S.                                           105.7 million acres

  • Total Conservation System Units in Alaska: 148,375,000 acres (includes 575,000 acres of BLM WSR)
  • More than 60 percent of federal lands in Alaska and 40 percent of total acreage in the state are set aside in Conservation System
  Units. These lands severely restrict development and public access is minimal.

  * Alaska’s entitlement under the Statehood Act is 104.5 million acres. After final conveyance, State ownership will increase to 28.6%.

  ** Total Native allotment under Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and subsequent amendments is 44.5 million acres. BLM lands
  will be reduced as the federal government moves to meet its obligations under the Statehood Act. Federal share of Alaska will fall to 58.6%.

  Source of land statistics: U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Division of Conveyance Management, September 2001

(907) 276-0700                                                 Resource Review                                                              Page 3
           S TEADY C LIMB
   The Central Arctic caribou herd that
spends much of the summer grazing and
feeding in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields contin-
ues to thrive, according to the latest annual
survey of the Alaska Department of Fish
and Game.
   The 2002 survey estimated the herd has
grown to 31,857 animals, an increase of 17
percent from the 27,128 counted in 2000.
                                                                                                                            The Prudhoe Bay oil field lies within the
The survey is taken in July, the climax to the                                                                              center of the Central Arctic caribou
short Arctic summer when the caribou                                                                                        herd’s summer range.
bunch into huge groups along the Arctic
coastal plain seeking relief from pestering
swarms of insects. In the winter the herd mi-
grates to the south side of the Brooks Range.             North Slope are bugs and an occasional bear,             While wildlife habitat in the oil fields is no
   Most operating North Slope oil fields are              but inland they face predation from wolves.              longer wilderness in the general sense, the
within the range of the Central Arctic herd.                The herd has grown from 5,000 animals in               undeveloped areas between facilities are
The trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the Dalton              1974, when oil development was just getting              commonly used by caribou and other ani-
Highway servicing the oil fields snake                    underway on the North Slope, to nearly                   mals. In fact, research has provided no
southward through the center of the herd’s                32,000 today -- an increase of 537 percent.              evidence that oil field activities have pro-
range.                                                      Although oil field infrastructure is spread            duced any measurable change in population
   Biologists reported that a healthy preg-               out over a wide area of the central North                of any fish or wildlife species using the
nancy rate and high calf survival contributed             Slope, industry has designed roads, pipelines            North Slope.
to the herd’s healthy population increase.                and facilities to minimize impact on wildlife              Today there are more caribou in Alaska
The greatest challenges the herd faces on the             and allow for free movement of caribou.                  than people.

  Foreign oil accounted for 55 percent of total U.S. oil demand in 2001, up from          Conservation and new energy production from ANWR are not mutually ex-
37 percent in 1980 and 42 percent in 1990. Total imports in November 2002              clusive. Since conservation itself is not an energy source, America must pursue
climbed to 58 percent. Domestic production in November was 5,742,000 barrels           new energy production to limit its reliance on foreign sources of oil. However,
per day (b/d) of which nearly 1 million                                                                                           new conservation measures would
b/d came from Alaska.                                                                                                             lead to the more efficient use of en-
   To stem the rise in oil imports, the                                                                                           ergy, allowing Americans to get more
U.S. must find more domestic oil sup-                                                                                             out of every barrel of oil -- whether it
plies, launch serious conservation ini-                                                                                           comes from Alaska or elsewhere. As
tiatives and put more emphasis on                                                                                                 shown at left, conservation, combined
alternative energy sources. All three                                                                                             with ANWR production, could offset
approaches must be embraced as                                                                                                    imports from the Persian Gulf region.
each by itself will not significantly re-                                                                                            Over the long term, alternative en-
duce America’s reliance on foreign oil.                                                                                           ergy will play an increasingly impor-
   This chart depicts American oil im-                                                                                            tant role in the energy mix, however,
ports from selected regions during the                                                                                            every energy source has its own set of
first eleven months of 2002. The chart                                                                                            impacts on the environment.
also shows current North Slope pro-                                                                                                  Meanwhile, ANWR is this nation’s
duction, potential daily production                                                                                               best onshore prospect for increasing
                                                   Source: U.S. Department of Energy
from ANWR and the impact conserva-                                                                                                domestic oil production. No where
tion could have in the equation. For example, raising CAFE standards on new            else in North America is there believed to be so much recoverable oil concen-
vehicles by 5 percent annually until 2012 could save 1.5                               trated in a small area. With the world’s most stringent environmental regula-
million barrels of oil per day by 2010. But, that is no reason not to increase         tions and standards, coupled with advanced technology, the development
domestic oil production.                                                               footprint can be confined to one one-hundredth of one percent of ANWR.

Page 4                                                                      Resource Review                                                             www.akrdc.org

To top