Issue No. Ten -- Date: March 1978


Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve-

A Laboratory for Cooperative Management

In 1976, with the passage of the Naval Petroleum Reserve Production Act, Congress for the first time mandated the Secretary of Interior to engage local and state groups to participate in the planning of what should be done with NPR-A. This law, specifically section 105 (c), directs the Secretary to "conduct a study to determine the values of, and best uses for, land contained in the Reserve." This study is to take into consideration the Natives who live or depend on such lands, the scenic historical, recreational, fish and wildlife, wilderness values, mineral potentials, and other values in the Reserve.

All Alaskans have a stake in NPR-A. It is largely an area of unknowns. Little is known about its history, wildlife, or topography. The Act mandated that a thorough study of the area be conducted before any development takes place.

NSB Representative addresses village participants at the recent NPR-A meeting in Anchorage.

Bob Worl, former head of NSB health department who now sits on the NPR-A core Planning Team, was largely responsible for bringing together representatives of eight North Slope Communities to discuss the planning process mandated by Congress.

The History of NPR-A.

Not many people realize that the Inupiat people of Alaska's Arctic coast have been using both gas and oil to heat their homes and cook their meals for thousands of years. There are oil seeps throughout this region, and Native hunters would cut oil-saturated tundra into blocks and use these pitch ladened bricks in much the same way urban homeowners use artificial particle logs.

Local tradition states that Charles Brower was the first to lead U.S. military geologists and other researchers to these oil seeps in the early years of this century. The abundance of these seeps attracted national attention at a time when the U.S. was trying to extend its political and economic influence to other parts of the world, particularly in the Pacific. In the early '20's the U.S. made a survey of the river drainages in what is now NPR-A and leases to private concerns were made on what was considered Federal land.

In 1928, President Warren G. Harding signed into law an act which created Naval Petroleum Reserve Four as a fuel source for its growing Navy.

About this event, Mayor Hopson stated before the Canadian Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry: "Without asking us, for it was our land, our Federal government took from us 23,400,000 acres of land, an area roughly the size of the State of Indiana, without any compensation. . . . Not many people in America knew about this taking of our land in this fashion, and it was not until the infamous Teapot Dome Scandal involving a Naval petroleum reserve in Wyoming that national attention was directed to these reserves, large tracts of valuable land taken from America's Native people without their consent."

World War II stimulated more interest in the oil and gas potential of the area, and from 1943 to 1953, the Navy conducted a program of oil exploration and drilling. There were several areas in which they made significant oil and gas discoveries. This spurred private industry to look again at their leases, particularly in the Prudhoe Bay area. In 1965, ARCO discovered a large gas deposit in that area. In 1967, they also announced a major oil find, a discovery that held great impact for the entire world and led to the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. It also precipitated the settlement of the Alaska Native Land Claims.

Workers on NSB planning team for NPR-A Bertha Louse, left , served as Inupiaq translator for the Feb. 8-9 NPR-A planning meeting. Rosita WorI contributed the chapter on subsistence to the NSB NPR-A study. She was one of Alaska's representatives at the International Women's Year Conference in Houston last year and was responsible for the conference passing the resolution on behalf of Native peoples' rights to subsistence and bowhead whaling.

 The Battle for Transfer

The next problem became one of transferring the status of NPR-A from a military preserve under the management of the Navy, which really restricted the economic potential of the area, to public lands status. Public land status would not only open up opportunities for private exploration, but also for the newly-formed Alaska Native Regional and village corporations which were given 20 tax-free years to establish profit-making viability. The state also would be free to select NPR land for its purposes, and the country as a whole needed that energy.

This battle for status transfer was led by the North Slope Borough and the City of Barrow which needed additional land for growth and expansion. For years, the Navy had refused to afford these municipalities a few acres of ground and even prohibited the local people to tap into the gas mains that crisscrossed the back-yards of Barrow.

With all these pressures, it became politically expedient for Congress to pass the Navel Petroleum Reserve Production Act of 1976 which transferred the area into public land status under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior with the new name: National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska.

NPR-A Management Plan

This Act first of all mandated that the Department of Interior would be in charge of the surface management of the Reserve "With respect to any activities related to the protection of environmental, fish and wildlife, and historical or scenic values" (Sec. 103 [b]). Secondly, Interior was directed to continue the oil exploration program begun by the Navy (Sec. 104 [c]) to identify the oil and gas potentials of the field and to continue and expand the Barrow gas field "or other such fields as may be necessary, to supply gas at reasonable and equitable rates to the native village of Barrow, and other communities and installations at or near Point Barrow."

Under U.S.G.S; management, this exploration was contracted to Husky Oil. The seismic exploration was to be completed and 26 exploratory wells drilled (a small number, some feel, considering the large area under consideration). The rate at which exploration can take place in the Arctic is about twice as slow as in other areas, not only because of the climate, but also because of the surface protection regulations which require that exploration take place only in winter and only on land with 6 inches of snow cover, among other things.

NPR-A Land Use Studies.

Section 105 of the 1976 Petroleum Reserves Act augments the National Environmental Protection Act by mandating two intensive studies of the reserve. The first (105 [b]) calls for a Presidential study to determine 1. the procedures to be used in the development of petroleum reserves and 2. the economic and environmental impact of such development. The Presidential study must be reported to Congress by January 1, 1980. The Presidential Study is being conducted by the U.S. Geological Service (U.S.G.S.).

Under Sec. 105 (c) of the Act, the Secretary of Interior is called upon to establish a task force "to conduct a study to determine the values of, and the best uses for, the lands contained in the reserve, taking into consideration (A) the natives who live or depend on such lands, (B) the scenic, historical, recreational, fish and wildlife, and wilderness values, (C) mineral potential, and (D) other values of such lands." The Task Force would be composed not only of various Interior bureaus, but also the government of Alaska, and the Arctic slope native community.

To sum up, four different programs were set up by the Act: the ongoing surface management program conducted by Interior (103 [b]), the oil exploration program (104 [c]), the Presidential study on oil development and impact (105 [b]) and the Task Force Land Use Study (105 [c]). A great deal of coordination between these studies has been organized as shown on page 4.

The Land Use Study Task Force

The Bureau of Land Management has been designated as the study leader of the 105 (c) Task Force and has established a Core Planning Team for the compilation of the study's reports and seven work groups of interagency composition have been established to conduct field studies. The Panel on Coordination meets in Alaska and reports to the Washington-level Subcommittee on NPR-A of the Alaska Policy Group. It includes representatives of North Slope Borough, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, State of Alaska, as well as U.S.G.S., BLM, and the Office of NPR-A (ONPRA). The organization of the 105 (c) Core Planning Team and Work Groups are seen in Figure 2.

Each one of the study Work Groups is under a leadership of one of the following agencies: Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Recreation (BOR), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Mines (BOM), U.S.G.S., and the BLM. Each Work Group is to look into that particular resource and evaluate its management potential. These groups are not to evaluate development impact as such, but rather give descriptive inventory, then put forth its "best use" recommendation for that particular resource.

The Core Planning Team has the responsibility of working with the Work Groups, receiving their recommendations, and identifying the conflicts between them. A barite mine, for example, may interfere with a subsistence activity, a caribou route, or a calving ground. The planning process at that point would include a phase of conflict resolution in which trade-offs may be made. It is at this crucial stage that future management conflicts can be solved: "Which agency does what kind of management, or which resources take precedence regarding a particular resource in a particular area." Some of these possible management conflicts are extreme when actual scenarios for some areas are reviewed. For example, certain land statuses, such as wild and scenic rivers, may give rise to the possibility of Native activities such as trespass. While the "Wild and Scenic Rivers" designation does not outlaw subsistence activities per se, it may prohibit snow machines during certain times of year, constructing a fish house, ice cellar, or other permanent structure. (The NSB position is that many of these possible conflicts could be avoided by the placing of the entire Borough, including NPR-A, under one land use classification, that of a Wildlife Refuge. This classification is the only one which recognizes and protects subsistence use.)

During the summer of 1977, researchers from the work groups gathered information and began to write field reports. Field work will continue in the summer of 1978. Each work group is to turn over its recommendations to the Core Team which will develop final recommendations. The planning team's final recommendations will be presented to the Task Force for review. The biggest problem facing the group at this point is not the conflicts which may surface later, but the time-frame. Congress is holding firm to an April, 1979 deadline for completing the study and land-use recommendations. And some feel that the elimination of oil and gas development impact considerations from the Land Use Study (these are to be covered by the Exploration and Presidential Study) makes these studies somewhat unrealistic. Some group may recommend, for example, that a certain area be designated as a Wild and Scenic River which may also be a prime target for oil development, and such a recommendation could be a waste of time.

The final decision on land-use status will be made by Congress which will weigh land-use recommendations against the Presidential Study of the oil and gas potential of the Reserve. Then it will decide on land status designations, resource priorities, management authority designations, and land management scenarios.

Local Concerns About NPR-A Planning

These concerns surfaced at a recent meeting in Anchorage at which members of the Planning Team explained the planning scenario to representatives from the eight North Slope Villages, including those outside the NPR area. The meeting, called "NPR-A - Developing a Land Plan" was organized in large part by Bob Won, NSB representative on the Core Planning Team. The BIA, the chief government agency in charge of exercising U.S. trust responsibilities on behalf of Native rights, came under criticism for not attending the conference.

Among the many issues raised by the Native participants at the meeting were:

 Local input into the environmental and economic impact studies of the Presidential Study (105 [b]) is insufficient. There should be no meetings of this group without NSB representation.

No work group is looking into subsistence values and use as such, by area, by resource, by season, and by use.

Reporting to the villages has been inadequate and taken lightly in the past. The example was used of Husky Oil falling to report back to Wainwright on drilling plans, exploration results, etc., after promising to do so.

Husky Oil exploration methods were criticized as being out-dated and incomplete, so that, in spite of the environmental risk they entail, they have come up with little information of use for future planning.

The residents feel that exploratory work has adversely affected fish populations in the lakes. What is planned to be done to reestablish these fish populations?

Exploration areas have not been adequately cleaned up after use. Wildlife dens have been destroyed and animals, including caribou, have been caught in seismic wires.

Erosion damage. This is a problem where roads and cat trails have been built during exploration activities.

What is the definition of "wilderness?" Of "recreational use?" These mean different things to subsistence users.

Consideration of Native systems of fish and game management has not been given. It seems that the non-Native view is that the Inupiat take whatever is available without any concepts of conservation and management.

Under what jurisdiction are historical and archaeological sites protected? What assurance is there that minimum disturbances will occur in areas of concern? How will local concerns be taken into consideration in this regard?

The planning time frame seems inadequate for adequate inventory of traditional uses, sites, etc. Local people want local review whenever work that describes their activity and areas is done.

Finally, there should be a guaranteed process of review at the village, ASRC, and NSB levels to determine village and regional concerns over subsistence site disturbance and other concerns prior to any drilling.

NSB Land-Use Study

The proliferation of regulations, the complexity of the planning process, actual exploration activities, and the fear that the land may get "locked-up" have precipitated a response from the North Slope Borough. Under the direction of Flossie Hopson, a series of Traditional Land Use Inventories were started. These were to demonstrate particular areas that are important to local people because of their historic value and present use.

Under the auspices of the NSB Commission on History and Culture and working within the Planning Department, Ms. Hopson began her work. It is significant that the inventories were to include both historic and present use and that the work is being done by the Planning Department of the Borough. Historic and present were viewed as inseparable in terms of land use values. This is. based on the fact that there is a subsistence base to most sites, and that value is enshrined in the "memory culture" of knowledgeable people today - which is activated when resources are available and needed. Shifting resource areas are not discernible in a 1 or 2 year period, but over a lifetime. That is, resource locations fluctuate. Caribou, for example, change their migration routes and grazing areas periodically, fishing areas change with river dynamics and shifting sandbar locations. Only with time depth considerations can these real changes be described and allowances made for adequate protection of native subsistence needs.

Ms. Hopson's work on the Beaufort Sea and the Wainwright and Nuiqsut areas has already been hailed as of tremendous importance not only for NPR-A planning but for other major North Slope planning programs as well. Her documents have received the approval of the villages and the History and Planning Commissions of the North Slope. It is expected that the other inventories will be forthcoming shortly since this work is well underway in Pt. Lay, Pt. Hope, Anaktuvuk and Barrow-Atkasook.

As the planning process got underway, NSB Planning Director Herb Bartel developed a mechanism involving village-based atlases showing traditional and present-day uses and values. This would provide a synthesis of Native values, both tangible and intangible. These data, narrative and graphic, would contribute to immediate protection of important geographies, and would provide the bases for long-term accommodation of both traditional and modern uses in NPR-A. This "village-atlas" approach had the support of the National Park Service as a way of aiding on-going village-borough planning, and as a means of meeting the land-use plan mandate of the NPR-A Act.

The NSB study project finally evolved as an interdisciplinary team effort that would identify present and future land-use values in a cultural and historical context. This study project, soon to be approved and released by the NSB is the only one of the 105 (c) Land-Use studies that goes directly to the permanent indigenous residents of the land for its data and its perspectives. And it is the only one that requires review at the local level before publication of data. And it is the only study designed to produce data that are ready made for practical use and integration into existing local planning processes of the Borough.

The NSB 105 (c)~Study will not lay down final blueprints for land-use determinations and operations. It will, instead, identify the sorts of stipulations and constraints necessary across the reserve and over the long term. Energy needs are pressing, but the land will be here forever.



Front page caricature of Brigitte Bardot's anti-seal hunt campaign.

The Greenland Post, caricaturizing film star as "The Sea Mother" - the most important of traditional Greenlandic deities satires the conservationist campaign in Europe on behalf of the harp seal which has already damaged Greenlandic subsistence users.


Harp Seal Controversy

Hits Greenland Hunters

The international campaign to stop the commercial taking of pup harp seals by Newfoundlanders attracted a good deal of attention in Europe this last year as Brigitte Bardot took up the campaign on behalf of the seals. It appears that her efforts and the publicity surrounding the campaign have spilled over to affect Native subsistence hunters in Greenland. Approximately 75% of all Greenlandic families hunt the seal for food and both use and sell the pelts.

On January 24, the Council of Europe, the voluntary regulatory body made up of the foreign ministers and delegates from 20 Western European states, passed a resolution asking member states involved to ban the hunting of the harp seal. On February 17, NSB Mayor Eben Hopson wired the Greenland ministry in Denmark for details, "specifically the jurisdictional authority claimed by the Council of Europe over Greenlandic aboriginal subsistence seal hunting rights."

On March 9 he received the following reply:

Regarding your Telex of Feb.17, the Parliament assembly of the Council of Europe had on January 24 passed a recommendation on the protection of wildlife and seal hunting to the Committee of Ministers. It is recommended that the ministers invite the member states directly concerned to impose at least a two-year ban on the hunting of harp seals. The situation is not quite analogous to the IWC ban on bowhead subsistence whaling. Firstly, the recommendation is not aimed directly at seal hunting in Greenland. Secondly, the recommendation will not be passed by the Committee of Ministers because unanimity is required. Thirdly, the recommendation is not binding in any case for governments involved. The harp seal hunting in Greenland will not be banned. However, the resolution and the publicity around it will probably have an adverse affect for Greenlandic hunters to the extent that it will contribute to the campaign against seal furs. The campaign has already had negative influence on seal skin prices at Oxon's last year. This ministry will continue to inform the public that this effect is unreasonable, and that the seal hunt is vital to the subsistence and culture of Greenlandic hunters. Kindest regards. The Ministry of Greenland.

0MB Tries to Renege

on Barrow Gas Field

Development-Public Danger Cited

When the North Slope Borough was invited to participate in the drafting of the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976, Mayor Eben Hopson used the opportunity to push successfully for transfer to Naval Petroleum Reserve 4 from the Navy to the Department of Interior, and to insure the Barrow gas fields would be developed as a reliable, long range fuel source for Barrow and the Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, and Title I of the Petroleum Research Act specifically directs the Government to do so. Accordingly, $13 million was included in NPR-A exploration budget appropriations for FY 1979 for East Barrow gas field development.

Now, the NSB has learned the President's Office of Management and Budget (0MB) has withheld the $13 million until a new gas distribution system is constructed for Barrow at an estimated cost of $10 million. 0MB wants the NSB to pay.

On February 7, Eben Hopson joined officials and attorneys of Barrow's utility cooperative in Washington, D.C. to meet DOI officials about the problem. In a follow up letter to assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Forrest Gerard, NSB D.C. Legal Counsel William VanNess charged that "OMB'S action in holding hostage the funding for development of the East Barrow field... contravenes Federal law . . . and presents a serious potential hazard to the reliability of gas service in the Barrow area."

This continues a dispute, beginning shortly after WWII when the Navy brought in the South Barrow gas field, connected Barrow's federal facilities to gas, and refused to connect Barrow homes until forced to do so by Congress after a 12 year struggle. In 1957, the Bureau of Indian Affairs gerry-rigged a temporary leaky gas distribution system that is still in use today, and has been condemned as unsafe.

Throughout the years, the BIA retained title to Barrow's gas system which was operated by the Barrow Utility and Electrical Cooperative, Inc., originally organized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

When the NSB was organized, it began negotiating with the BIA to take over ownership and operation of BIA properties in Barrow, including the Barrow School, and Utility Plant. Both had been allowed to deteriorate badly, and the BIA agreed to bring both up to modern safety standards. Then all three parties signed the tri-party agreement which provided the BIA would pay to modernize Barrow's gas works, after which the NSB would take ownership of the new system and the Barrow Utility Coop would operate it. But BIA began to quibble about costs, and failed to carry out the agreement, and it now appears the government has disavowed the two-party agreement, and is insisting the NSB come up with the $10-$12 million it will take to rebuild a new system. Now 0MB is taking the position that East Barrow Gas field development will be delayed until the NSB ponies up the money promised by the


This entire affair underscores the shabby treatment the Federal government has historically given the people of Barrow and the entire Arctic Slope, and the rusting, leaking Barrow gas works is a vivid symbol of Federal fecklessness endangering both the people and the land of Alaska's Arctic Coast.

Now, rather than meet its long-standing responsibilities, the government is compounding the danger to public safety in Barrow by holding up East Barrow gas field development. Knowledgeable gas field engineers have quietly warned NSB officials that South Barrow gas field well No.6, which produces 40%-60% of Barrow's entire. gas supply, is in danger of water intrusion, and there is a serious need to bring recently discovered East Barrow gas reserves into production to enable the reworking of old South Barrow wells. Barrow depends completely upon gas. There are no fuel oil reserves. If the endangered South Barrow well No.6 goes down, lives will be lost.


Native Leaders Support

Federal Subsistence Provisions

Some 200 members of the Association of Village Council Presidents met in Bethel Feb. 25-26 to discuss legislation regarding subsistence and the future of fish and wildlife management in Alaska.

Recognizing the need to protect subsistence, Rep. Steve Cowper, chairman of the powerful legislative D-2 Steering Council on Alaska Lands, told the Bethel meeting the language in Title VII of the draft d-2 bill of HR- 39 (which establishes Federal guidelines for protecting subsistence use) "is about as good as we can get," he said. "The people here have unwritten laws among themselves. Subsistence is a matter of need versus greed, and we should be able to draw the law along those lines."

Cowper also drew a good response when he told the AVCP Caucus he would support legislation requiring all subsistence needs of an area to be met before foreign hunters are allowed to take fish and game. Cowper also said the Dept. of Fish and Game should use local residents in making decisions affecting subsistence.

NSB Mayor Eben Hopson also addressed the group saying that conditions have improved for Native peoples. Section 4 (b) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which attempted to extinguish Native subsistence rights "was the last gasp of the 1950's when Native rights extinguishment was being pushed by the Eisenhower administration as a final solution to the 'Indian problem.' Today our subsistence rights are viewed as important constitutional rights in the United States, and as essential human rights by people all over the world who are closer to us now because of modern communications technology, and they look to the United States to establish high standards of justice for Native indigenous people all over the world...

"With the encouragement of the Federal government, we organized the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission to conserve bowhead stocks, and control and regulate all aspects of the bowhead harvest... Thus, we have established the first cooperative management regime for a single endangered migratory subsistence species, a regime entirely under Native control of subsistence hunters, but cooperating with State and Federal agencies.

"No longer can we stand aside and complain and advise the government. No more can we enjoy the luxury of serving on advisory committees while letting others make the hard decisions. We are being turned to, to make these hard decisions for ourselves, as well as for our State and Nation. Our management of Alaska's subsistence resources must be undertaken in the cold context of world hunger. We will be managing food as food becomes scarce all over the world. As the world becomes more crowded and hungry, our management of our game, our stewardship over oil land will come under increasingly critical attention. .

"Phase II of our land claims movement will be village-centered, and it will be the strongest and most effective part of our land claims movement. Working together, we will exercise an effective stewardship over our land, and we will prevail."


State, Interior Sign Beaufort Agreement-

Nominations Called for

A "Memorandum of Understanding" was signed early March by Cecil Andrus, Secretary of Interior and Jay Hammond, on cooperative plans for the joint lease sale of oil tracts in the outer continental shelf of the Beaufort Sea. The agreement covers the administration of areas now under dispute between the State and the Federal government. The dispute has to do with whether state ownership is to be measured from the shore or from the "Lagoon Islands." The Memorandum allows the sale to proceed before the dispute is resolved in court.

"As a rule," the agreement reads, "cost associated with disputed lands will initially be paid by the Federal Government. Subsequent to the& signing of this agreement, a Federal-State task force will be formed to work out procedures for reimbursement of costs, including interest as appropriate."

About 650,000 acres of submerged land in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's north coast is being considered for the sale, scheduled to take place Dec. 1979. About 68 percent of the land is under state jurisdiction and 19 percent federal. Ownership of the remaining 13 percent is disputed. The lease area is located about 50 miles east of Prudhoe Bay around a group of Lagoon Islands about 6 miles offshore. Both State and Federal governments claim parts of the seabed between the coast and the islands.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the acreage may contain up to 3.9 billion barrels of oil, as compared to Prudhoe Bay's 10 billion.

On March 10, the Dept. of Interior and the State jointly announced the "Call for Nominations" by which members of the oil industry can indicate on which tracts they would be interested in bidding, without committing themselves to a purchase. In this manner, the government can eliminate unwanted tracts of land from the lease sale. The tracts finally chosen for bid will be selected by the U.S.G.S. and the State's Minerals and Energy Management Division.

Environmental considerations may yet delay the sale in spite of the momentum engendered by these decisions. Under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, a complete Environmental Impact Statement must be filed by Interior for the sale to take place. With the call for nominations made, hearings are soon to be announced for input from the public. Scientists responsible for the environmental study are reported to need another 18 months for the completion of the study of fish migrations in the area and other aspects of the ecosystem.

The Planning Office of NSB has filed its own stipulations for the sale questioning the time-table and making other recommendations. It was emphasized that the exploration and development plan must be consistent with an adopted Coastal Management Plan,

and that various departments of the Borough be integrated into all matters regarding Surface Use Restrictions, Archaeological and Historical Sites, and the rights of inspection.


Labrador Resource

Publications Available

"We are determined that we as residents of the territory will have a much larger part in seeing that the costs and benefits of resource development are more equally shared. We start by condemning the view that Labrador, and the Canadian North generally, is a chilly warehouse of resources for the urban, industrial heartland of the continent."

The momentum and direction of the New Labrador Party, written of in our last newsletter, has been channeled today into a multitude of local and ethnic development organizations. These groups work separately for the interests of their members, but are united through seats on the Labrador Resources Advisory Council.

The role of this body, founded in 1976 is to speak for the rights of Labradorians on resource issues, to protect a lifestyle based on land and marine resources against the impact of massive industrial projects, and to give Labradorians a platform from which to call government and public attention to the more urgent issues of land use and development.

Readers interested in the development of Labrador resources should obtain a copy of the pamphlet, "As If People Mattered - Resource Issues in Labrador" from Labrador Resources Council, P.O. Box 430, Happy Valley, Labrador.


NSB Officials Blast

Public Haul Road Use

(Ed. Note: The following is excerpted from NSB Mayor Eben Hopson's testimony before the Special Joint Senate/House legislative Committee on the North Slope Haul Road, March 9, 1978. The state legislature is considering opening up the haul road used to build the Trans-Alaska Pipeline for public use.)

The main reason I traveled over 1,100 miles from Barrow to appear here today is to tell you that the North Slope Borough strongly opposes a forced opening of the Haul Road north of the Yukon to the general public. Such an opening would be a fiscal and environmental nightmare, not only for Borough residents but for all the people of this State.

Even though the Borough has been in existence for only about six years, we are experts in Arctic road construction and maintenance. The Borough has already spent over $7 million in capital funds and about $1 million a year in operating funds to build and maintain roads in our eight communities. We are virtually on our own in this effort. Despite repeated requests from the Borough, the State has yet to fund one mile of designated State secondary system roads in our communities. And then some of you have the nerve to seriously propose that the State now spend around $20 million next year alone, just to construct facilities and maintain the Haul Road as a wide-open public road ... this in a State which now allocates only some $50 million to maintain its entire highway system.

We have doubts whether the State has accurately anticipated all of the cost differences between restricted industrial and wide-open public use. However, even using the figures we have been given, it would cost around a million dollars a year more to open the road to the general public. And, we still haven't seen any firm financial commitment by anyone to provide all the necessary facilities and services demanded by the traveling public, especially in a harsh, remote area.

None of the cost estimates to date have considered schools, public safety, planning or other municipal services for communities which might spring up along the road if it is opened to the general public. The Fairbanks Industrial Commission report on Haul Road costs estimated that 50 percent of those who would occupy Haul Road maintenance camps would be Families. Will the Fairbanks North Star Borough send teachers up and down the road to Prudhoe Bay to teach the children of these families? Will the State send them? What about their garbage, their utility needs, their public safety needs, their emergency health care needs? The North Slope Borough already has a capital improvements program of over $150 million just to meet the basic health, safety and support facilities of its communities. This follows years and years of relative State and Federal neglect of our area. And now the State wants to stimulate costly new communities along a new public road.

While we are talking about money, let's talk some more about well-planned and well-maintained transportation systems. We noted with alarm some State and Federal reports which indicated that national energy development has seriously damaged existing Alaska highways and further that, according to the Federal Government, ". . . Repair and Restoration of the damaged highways is not a Federal responsibility . ." For example, apparently a 1976 review of pipeline-related highway impacts showed that $55 million was needed for immediate highway repair and $300 million for restoration. Now, if the Federal Government doesn't supply all or part of this money, where will it come from? How can the State adequately maintain its existing roads and still discuss a new capital, a permanent fund and other major expenditures, not to mention this new forced wide-open public use of the Haul Road? Please tell me where all the money is coming from. If the North Slope Borough practiced such poor financial and project planning, we'd have been broke long ago.

Now, let's discuss some of the cultural and environmental disasters involved in punching open this road through the Borough. The people of Anaktuvuk Pass already report a substantial influx of outside campers and hunters arriving by air each summer: as many as 10 planes a day land at the village. The people camp right near the town and go off hunting or disturbing subsistence and historical sites without even checking with the village residents. If the road was opened to the general public, we would see unprecedented numbers of people flocking all over the landscape. We have enough problems already trying to control those who arrive by air. What guarantees can the State and the Bureau of Land Management give us that the Haul Road and its adjacent areas will be fully patrolled, that all relevant laws will be enforced and that wildlife and traditional sites will be fully protected? Who will arrest poachers, pick up all the litter and promptly remove wrecked and abandoned vehicles?

We are concerned about the effects of the Haul Road and pipeline on our caribou migration. We are already seeing reports of Haul Road corridor-related fragmentation of caribou groups and interference with normal group formation. There are also documented reports of less frequent caribou sightings in the area of the road. Can anyone seriously suggest that a forced opening of the road to the general public would do anything but further deplete our subsistence resources, such as the caribou which is already an endangered species?

I will conclude with some positive policies we propose for the road in the interests of responsive local government and proper transportation planning:

1. We say limit the road to industrial use, possibly on a seasonal basis, and limit public access to a controlled tour bus operation, such as the one being proposed by the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.

2. As the gas-line is completed, we recommend full consideration of designation of the Haul Road area as a living cultural park, with full subsistence rights for our village residents and with a single cooperative management system designed to protect and enhance the Native cultures. Significant parts of the oil and gas pipelines could also be noted and protected as historic resources. We could preserve the transportation history of the corridor, starting with migrations from thousands of years ago and running right down to modern day national energy development. The Borough is working with BLM, the Park Service and the State to further explore this idea. Access to the cultural park could still be by controlled tour bus or by hiking, boat or air under careful planning and management.

3. Once it is determined that the industrial-use period of the road is complete, or that the road is no longer essential to industrial use, we recommend consideration of total closure and full restoration of the area to its natural state.

As a matter for sound State and national Arctic policy, roads such as the Haul Road should be seen as a threat to national Arctic environmental security and, whenever possible, air and barge transportation should be used exclusively to supply Prudhoe Bay and the pipeline. The State and Federal Governments should actively discourage even unnecessary industrial traffic on the Haul Road.

4. No matter what happens with the road, we insist on full State and Federal compliance an cooperation with our zoning along the road and with subsequent historical preservation and master streets and routes plans which we will prepare for the area. We are a strong home rule borough and will make full use of our powers to protect our interests. We are also considering a time-phased airport and road construction ordinance which will require the State to check with us and phase all future airport and road improvements with the needs and priorities of our villages.

5. We have noted one line of thought . . . that the road has to be punched wide-open to all public motorists because of Federal contributions of gravel: Over $2 million. I have already written the Governor and suggested the Borough might be able to use some of its capital improvements funds to help buy back gravel and other Federal investments in the road as a way of maintaining control and ensuring proper planning and environmental protection. We have been working steadily with BLM and the State on an overall master plan for the road area so we already have a record of initiating and participating in sound transportation planning efforts which has been clear and consistent over a long period of time.

I hope you will now start to treat the North Slope Borough seriously as a full-fledged home rule government, and take our position and our policies to heart. Fortunately, in this case at least, going along with the Borough makes clear economic and environmental sense for the State as a whole. We should all stop and wonder how it is that the oil industry has been able to manipulate us here, all grown adults, into seriously considering maintaining their ill-advised road to Prudhoe Bay as a public highway. How much harm are we willing to allow the industry to inflict upon us in Alaska?

(Ed. Note: The following testimony was entered on the same occasion by Elise Patkotak, Director of NSB Dept. of Health and Social Services.)

As director of the North Slope Borough Health and Social Services Department, I know that the problem of emergency care delivery along the road has not been addressed, but would be the responsibility of the North Slope Borough. The road poses great personal danger to any public user because any normal problem becomes a crisis when emergency care is not available. I am particularly troubled by the thought of bus loads of elderly tourists lured into touring the Arctic where emergency care will not be available to them.

Since we presently do not have the funding necessary for adequate emergency care in our villages, it is difficult to see how we can fund emergency care to haul road traffic. So far as I know, no health service agency in Alaska has addressed this problem, and this contains in my mind the fact that some of the most basic social problems created by opening the oil industry's work road to Prudhoe Bay for public use and maintenance have not been considered or addressed.



The 16 mm. color-sound 8-minute film on Inupiat aboriginal subsistence bowhead whaling has proven to be a valuable tool in fighting the IWC bowhead moratorium and also in making the case for conserving subsistence aboriginal lifestyles. The film is on loan for free and is also available for purchase for $50.00. It is also available in 35 mm. and Super-8 sound prints. Those wishing to show or review the film should contact Whaling Film, 610 H St., Anchorage, Alaska 99501. Phone: 907/274-2414




After a painful struggle lasting 5 years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (DHUD) and the NSB completed the development of 70 new homes and apartments for Barrow's low income families, and DHUD's Indian Public Housing Program began operations for the first time on the Arctic Slope. On February 15th, Monroe Watson, DHUD Seattle Regional Administrator for Public Housing, completed a transaction through which the NSB sold 70 housing units to the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) Housing Authority, established to administer DHUD's Indian Public Housing Program with the Borough.

The NSB housing development program has been the most important and successful part of its $140 million village Capital Improvement Program that is being fought by the oil industry. The stay of the Borough's housing program illustrates the power local government can use to solve serious social problems in rural Alaska. According to a recent survey completed recently for DHUD, fully 90% of all housing in rural Alaska is substandard by the most minimum U.S. standards for decent housing, and NSB villages are no exception. As soon as it could fight its way through the legal flock of the organized oil industrial tax-payers of Prudhoe Bay, who welcomed local government to the Arctic by suing the State of Alaska to stop the NSB's incorporation, the Borough sold $13.7 million in municipal bonds to finance the construction of public housing for its low income families, hard-pressed by the oil-crazed inflation of the Arctic, and over crowded in small one and two room homes. Tourists in Barrow call them "shacks." Housing was the single greatest social problem on the Arctic Slope in 1972, and both the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and the North Slope Borough responded.

The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation constructed new homes in Nuiqsut and Pt. Lay, and provided stores and electricity to these communities in a program to resettle these two traditional villages to participate in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The ASRC built small homes which were not designed to DHUD standards for public housing. They were well-constructed with open interiors that afforded flexible use, and which could be divided into rooms later. The idea was to provide adequate inexpensive housing for Pt. Lay and Nuiqsut ASRC stockholders as quickly as possible.

The NSB housing program had to wait until oil industrial efforts to scuttle Borough organization in the courts. When the industry lost in court the Borough's Prudhoe Bay taxpayers went to the Legislature where they were able only to limit the Borough's Prudhoe Bay tax revenue authority. After the 1973 special session, NSB officials met with industrial lawyers and executives to agree that the oil industry would allow the NSB to conduct a 5-year, $140 million village capital improvement program to be financed by the sale of municipal bonds, and the first sale, held on May 1, 1975, provided $300,000 to launch the NSB's public housing program.

NSB officials knew that government public housing programs in rural Alaska were risky business. One of the success stories came out of the Tlingit-Haida Housing Authority which built new homes for low income and elderly people in Southeast Alaska. Designed to DHUD public housing standards these units were of panelized construction, and were quickly built with an impressive amount of local labor. They had been designed and built by an architect-builder who had long specialized in public housing and who had learned how to steer projects successfully through the red tape at DHUD.

Using the same approach, the NSB embarked on an ambitious and realistic $75 million housing program involving 667 units, 136 of which have been completed. Three hundred of these projected units are intended for low-rent public housing. The rest of these units will be used for teacher and staff housing and private sale.

NSB engages in home-building program.

Putting municipal bonding to creative use, NSB in its capital improvements program has undertaken construction of 667 housing units in the Arctic. One of the completed units is seen above.





Since its organization in September, 1978, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission has been seeking the deployment of marine acoustics technology to determine the true population of bowhead whales, and to follow the health and welfare of the bowhead throughout its range. But the Federal Government has not been very responsive as the National Marine Fisheries Service seems to have been unable to break out of the hold upon it maintained by the politics of commercial fisheries and its academic establishment with no competence to deal intelligently with subsistence whaling. So while the Inupiat whalers were disappointed with the NMFS's failure to go underwater for bowhead research, it was cheered by news that NARL's Technical Director, Dr. John Kelley, an oceanographer/meteriologist, has been chairing an inter -disciplinary bio-acoustics seminar group for the past eight months to explore the potential uses of sonar as a technique to investigate distribution and movement of marine biota ranging in size from plankton to mammals in the Arctic Ocean. NARL scientists have been joined by Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel, and the group is planning to deploy a Wesmar Model S5230 scanning sonar in an experiment that will be aimed at species surveillance of seals and whales this spring. The experiment will be a cooperative effort led by NARL's Roy Nageak and Ray Dronenberg, and may also involve the emplacement of sonar buoys now in storage at N AR L. There is hope and speculation that this experiment will lead to the development of a permanent, in-house bio-acoustics research program at NARL able to connect the AEWC to a full-time program leading to individual voice printing of all migrating whales passing the research laboratory, and progressing on to pioneer inter-species communications in the management of migratory sea-mammal species. NMFS also plans to experiment with sonar, but little is known about their plans, and the whalers are wondering if NMFS is all that interested in going underwater to learn more about the bowhead.

Federal Whaling Regs Published

Whalers Reject Licensing Provisions

In late February, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published proposed regulations for the taking of the bowhead whale by Alaskan Natives for subsistence use. Comments on the proposed regulations are to be delivered to NMFS, before March 20.

As reported in the last issue of the newsletter, it seemed that some sort of a truce had been worked out between Alaskan whalers and NMFS. Responding to this new era of cooperation, NSB Fish and Game Commissioner Dale Stotts spent the following month in Washington, D.C. hammering out the details of the regulations and pinning down various government and conservationist bodies on their commitment to that cooperation. A large part of his efforts centered on convincing those concerned that the whalers would not accept the imposition of any licensing procedures on the grounds that the government has no licensing authority over aboriginal subsistence hunting. Licensing for the purpose of taking wildlife has always been strictly limited to sport hunting and fishing.

It came as quite a surprise, after these understandings and commitments had been reached, that NMFS went ahead and included an extended provision for licensing in the proposed regs. The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission quickly responded at a Barrow meeting, March 10 and 11, at which they rejected the licensing section (230.78 and related provisions).

In their comments returned to Washington, D.C.., the AEWC recommended that registration of the whaling captains be substituted for licensing as a way of avoiding conflict with aboriginal hunting rights. A response is expected from NMFS authorities within a few days.

Once agreed upon, the proposed regulations will be attached as a special "Native Subsistence" section to the regulations authorized by the Whaling Convention Act, by which the U.S. enforces domestically its obligations under the Convention of the International Whaling Commission. The regulations will be enforced until December 31 of this year. Among the other provisions are the following.


The quota of 12 taken or 18 struck is to be distributed among the following villages in this manner:

Kaktovik -- 1 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Nuiqsut -- 1 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Barrow -- 3 landed or 3 struck, whichever occurs first

Wainwright -- 2 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Point Hope -- 2 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Kivalina -- 1 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Gambell -- 1 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Savoonga -- 1 landed or 2 struck, whichever occurs first

Wales -- 0 landed or 0 struck, whichever occurs first

If for any reason the landing or struck quota for a village is not reached, the unused part of the quota may be assigned to another village. The remaining strike may be allocated upon consultation with the Whalers.

Prohibited Acts