8 Envtl. Law. 169 (2001-2002)
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: In the Debate over Drilling in the Refuge's Coastal Plain, the Environment Is Only True Loser

handle is hein.journals/environ8 and id is 177 raw text is: NOTE

ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: IN THE DEBATE
OVER DRILLING IN THE REFUGE'S COASTAL PLAIN, THE
ENVIRONMENT IS THE ONLY TRUE LOSER
i. INTRODUCTION
The ongoing debate over whether to explore and drill for oil in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge), a highly contentious
topic for decades, is once again at the forefront of national policy. The
current debate focuses on the coastal plain of the Refuge, known as the
1002 Area because of the reference to the Refuge's coastal plain in
section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.'
President George W. Bush leads a group of Republican politicians, large
oil companies and some Alaskan residents who favor opening up the
coastal plain to   oil drilling  and  exploration.'   In   contrast, the
environmental movement strongly opposes opening up the coastal plain
to any drilling activity.3 Both sides agree that the actual degree of
environmental harm created by any action taken on the coastal plain is
uncertain; however, data     compiled   by   scientists, geologists and
biologists indicate that any oil exploration and drilling in the coastal
plain of the Refuge will have a harmful effect on the environment.4
1 16 U.S.C. § 3142 (1994); see also U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, U.S. DEP'T OF THE
INTERIOR, ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, 1002 AREA, PETROLEUM ASSESSMENT,
1998, USGS Fact Sheet FS-040-98, at 1 (May 1998) (noting that the Refuge's coastal plain is
known as the 1002 area because section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands
Conservation Act addresses the status of the Refuge) [hereinafter PETROLEUM ASSESSMENT].
2 See, e.g., Richard Keil & David Morris, California Crisis Engulfs Alaska Refuge,
SEATTLE TIMES, Jan. 30, 2001, at A3 (quoting President Bush as saying: I campaigned hard
on the notion of having an environmentally sensitive exploration of [the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge], and I think we can do so.).
3 E.g., Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska
Environment Center, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society.
4 See, e.g., U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE, U.S. DEP'T OF THE INTERIOR, POTENTIAL
IMPACTS OF PROPOSED OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT ON THE ARCTIC REFUGE'S COASTAL
PLAIN: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW AND ISSUES OF CONCERN (Jan. 2001) [hereinafter
POTENTIAL IMPACTS]; ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, ALASKA, COASTAL PLAIN
RESOURCE ASSESSMENT: REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO THE CONGRESS OF THE
UNITED STATES AND FINAL LEGISLATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT 105 (N.K.
Clough et. al. eds., 1987) [hereinafter FINAL LEIS].

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