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baker_paper - Oil or Animals An Analysis of a prospective...

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Oil or Animals: An Analysis of a prospective oil pipeline project in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Austin Zimmerman 1.011 Project Evaluation - 1 -
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Background Information There are huge oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska that are largely unexplored because the area is a federal wildlife refuge and the law prohibits its development. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was created in 1960 to be 8.9 million acres. The 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was constructed in 1977 to bring oil from the Prudhoe Bay area of the North Shore to the southern Port of Valdez. In 1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was passed by Congress, expanding the refuge to 19.8 million acres. Section 1002 of ANILCA gave Congress the right to permit further oil and gas exploration, development, and production within the 1.5 million acre costal plain area of ANWR, known since as the 1002 area. In 1985 permission was given for an exploratory well to be drilled, and the results were kept confidential. Since then only explorations that don’t physically alter the area have been allowed, leading to inaccurate and incomplete data about the size and location of oil reserves in the area. In 1987 a Final Environmental Impact Statement was submitted to Congress detailing the effects development would have on the 1002 Area. The details of this report were determined by careful study of the wildlife and environment in the area, and also by studying the environmental impact the trans-Alaska pipeline has had in a similar area. By early 1989 Congress was leaning toward ANWR development. However, on March 24, 1989, 11 million barrels of oil spilled in the Prince William Sound, causing an enormous and lasting environmental disaster. As a result, Congress did not pass legislation to allow drilling in ANWR. It has been a heavily debated issue since and has been brought to the floor in both Houses several times. In 1995 legislation was passed by both houses of Congress but vetoed by - 2 -
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both houses since. Most recently this Spring 2003 the House approved the drilling but it was voted down by the Senate. From the looks of things there is no way the current Senate is going to approve this. Generally, Republicans are in favor of allowing exploration and development and Democrats are against it. As always, though, there are exceptions and people whose views and votes don’t align with that generalization. In any event drilling in ANWR is currently not allowed by federal law, specific legislation would need to be passed in order for it to be permitted, and with the current Senate it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. - 3 -
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course CIVIL 1.00 taught by Professor Georgekocur during the Spring '05 term at MIT.

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baker_paper - Oil or Animals An Analysis of a prospective...

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