20 OCT 1976
Responses to 15 Questions Submitted
by the Anchorage Times
In this context, the routing of the gas pipeline will be decided by Congress. While the all-American route may be best for Alaska, I feel that broader national interests and politics will decide this issue in favor of an Alaska-Canadian route to fuel the Midwest. The regional energy politics of our Eastern and Midwestern states will join to outvote Western and Northwestern congressmen supporting the all-American route. In Congress, I would work with the Democratic majority and with the new Carter administration to insure that our new national Arctic Policy provided for access to gas for Arctic communities at below-market prices.
Question 2. OCS Development. I feel that the Federal OCS program of the Nixon-Ford administration has great potential for serious economic, political, and social harm to the people of Alaska. It threatens great environmental damage that could cause us serious problems with our neighboring nations, Canada and the USSR. Clearly, the OCS program is dominated by the special interests of the oil industry.
As Congressman, I would work closely with the Carter administration to treat the OCS program in Alaska under our new national Arctic Policy which would regionalize our Alaskan OCS program, and enable it to be administered differently from the rest of the OCS program in the lower 48 states. In Alaska, we would combine the OCS program with the Federal/State Coastal Zone Management Program, and provide for State and local participation in all coastal zone resource management, including OCS program planning, leasing, exploration and actual development.
I would work hard to insure that the Alaskan OCS program became a joint cooperation between the State and Federal governments. This cooperation would begin with the Arctic Beaufort Sea OCS program, and for the Arctic, we would bring all Arctic shelf oil and gas operations in the ice zones of Alaska, Canada and Greenland under a single international code of rules designed to expedite safe and responsible OCS exploration and development. And I would work to eliminate the need for matching funds to enable coastal communities to receive Federal aid to prevent or manage harmful impact from OCS operations. Impact management funding would be regarded as a normal cost of OCS exploration and development.
I would join in effort to organize our coastal states and municipalities behind these new OCS program reforms, and I think that they would be supported by our new Democratic Congress and the Carter administration.
Question 3. The Haul Road. While it is true that the Federal government helped finance the Yukon River bridge, and this bridge was designed for public use, the rest of the haul road appears to be just another fiction created by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Corporation, and will become part of the lingering scandal of the pipeline’s construction. The haul road is but a construction haul road, and it was not engineered or built for public use, or economic maintenance. It must be maintained on a 24-hour/day, 365-day/year basis, and this would clearly cost more than the State of Alaska can afford.
Even at such cost, the haul road would be both unsafe and unreliable for public use. If this road were to be closed and not maintained constantly for just a single winter, it would rapidly deteriorate and would be impassable the following summer, and need reconstruction. Unfortunately, the haul road issue is part of the politics of oil in Alaska, and the oil corporations have held it out to Alaskans as a viable public highway, a positive result of oil pipeline construction providing for public access to the Arctic. This is simply not true.
I see no future for the haul road as it is now engineered and constructed. If I had to choose between Federal support of a new highway to the Arctic, or a railroad, I would probably choose the railroad as being less harmful to the Arctic environment. However, neither highway or railroad would be economic, and both would require Federal help to construct and maintain. I feel that under our new national Arctic Policy, transportation should be subsidized in Alaska as it is in Canada, and would deal with Federal support of Fairbanks/Prudhoe Bay surface transportation in this context.
Question 4. D-2 Lands. The management of public lands in Alaska would be an important part of our new national Arctic Policy under the Carter administration. I would work to insure that this Policy provided for joint Federal/State public land management, and work to dispose of D-2 lands in this context. I would resolve our present impasse by classifying lands about which no dispute exists immediately, and establish a separate State/Federal public land management authority to provide for ongoing economic assessment of public land values.
I would not want to lock any land away from prudent exploration to determine natural resource values in light of current market conditions, and projected market conditions. I feel that the values that I hold in our land can be protected while allowing carefully-regulated exploration and development. I would provide for Alaska’s joint State/Federal land use authority to work through local government wherever possible. D-2 land use planning and management would become an important part of coastal zone resource management. I would work for maximum flexibility for Alaskans to allow us to exercise our stewardship of our national wealth in our land in light of the changing economic conditions of our nation’s future. This land management flexibility would provide for greater roles for local government in game management, also.
I feel that land management in Alaska, like the OCS program, should be s State/Federal partnership overseen by Congress. I feel that the Bureau of Land Management should be phased out as the shadow government of Alaska.
Question 5. Clear Cutting in the Tongass National Forest. Southeast Alaska is suffering from economic recession, and the recent court ban on clear cutting became a serious economic problem in the Southeast because it stopped logging operations upon which much of Southeastern Alaska’s economy depends. Recently, Congress passed the National Forest Management Act which repealed older legislation banning clear cutting, and providing the means through which the forest products industry could get together with conservationists and other interested citizens of Southeast Alaska to plan sound clear cutting as the means to harvest the over-ripe forests of hemlock and spruce throughout the Alaska panhandle. I feel that this legislation, properly implemented, will do the job for the people of Alaska by allowing over-due harvesting to begin, something that will be good for the forests, and good for the people.
Question 6. Regional Corporations and Termination of Native American Programs. I am opposed to termination of America’s Native American programs under any circumstances. These programs resulted from peace treaty obligations made to a number of American Indian nations over the past two hundred years, and these programs have been extended to all Native Americans as a matter of national policy. The land claims settlement was a real estate transaction that has nothing to do with the several health, education and social service programs to which Alaska’s Native people are entitled. Rather than termination, I would vote to extend the services of these Native American programs to all Americans. When I was successfully treated for cancer, I knew that I would never have been able to afford this treatment had I not been a beneficiary of the Alaska Native Health Service. I feel that the benefits I enjoy as a Native American should be available to all Americans.
Question 7. The Difference Between My Campaign Slogan and That of My Opponent.
I have never been able to learn just what Congressman Young’s slogan was mean to convey, but I do know that it has caused a good deal of scandal among Alaska’s Native community. To his credit, however, I have noticed that he has not emphasized this slogan as his campaign slogan this year, as he did against Willie Hensley. My campaign slogan, “Alaska First” was intended to convey my feeling that Alaska’s Congressman should work for Alaska’s interests first, before national interests even, when our interests differ from those of the larger national interest. Such an interest, for example, may be the all-American gas transportation route. I feel that Alaska should receive special treatment, not equal treatment with other states. Alaska is more important to the future of our nation than other states. I would work for this special treatment through the development of our new national Arctic Policy which will deal with the special opportunities and problems of our Arctic land and environment. Our new national Arctic Policy will mean much for Alaska First, but above all else will result in great home rule for Alaska: home rule over the stewardship of the national wealth in our land.
Question 8. Constitutional Amendment Banning Abortions? No.
Question 9. Cutback National Defense Spending? Yes. I feel that our military establishment is too fat and inefficient; suffers from too much corruption; and we can probably increase our military preparedness precisely by cutting the defense appropriation for probably every area of military spending. I feel that the Carter administration will extend the Watergate reforms to the Defense Department, something long overdue. I feel that our military needs leaning out, and it should become more trustworthy and capable of our national defense. The present military budget rewards incompetence, and weakens our national defense. Reducing the defense budget is an important part of the solution to this problem. And now is the time for Alaska to become less dependent upon the defense dollar, so I would not automatically oppose efforts to economize and make the Alaskan defense forces leaner and more capable.
Question 10. Foreign Policy. Our foreign policy should be changed to reflect more the golden rule by which we all should live. It should be designed to extend our economic strength rather than our military might. We should not support military dictatorships imposed either from the right or the left, and we should reward democratic governments with economic aid. We should not compete with other nations for foreign military influence, but should restrict our competition to the market place. Our foreign policy should take into account American industrial responsibility for good political behavior abroad, and for international environmental protection, such as in the circumpolar Arctic region. We should have a definite Arctic foreign policy in this age of Arctic environmental risk. And we should require American-controlled multi-national corporations to behave themselves when operating in other nations so as not to make enemies of our friends.
Question 11. The American Arms Trade. The great American arms trade is a trademark of the Nixon-Ford administration, and is the most scandalous and scandal-causing aspect of our domestic and foreign policies. I look for the Carter administration to do something about this scandal, which I see as the economic carryover from the termination of the Vietnam War. The arms trade can only lead to another war, and it should be stopped immediately. It is sapping our own national defense, and destroying our national security.
Question 12. Government Dominance. I feel that government is intruding too much into the private lives of our citizens because government has grown too fast, too fat, and is remarkably inefficient and in need for massive reorganization. But for all of that, Americans are the most free people, and our government does not dominate our lives as much as is true in Europe, for instance. In Alaska, government dominance can be overcome through the organization of local government. Really, the only government you can really trust is your own local government, and local government is what makes America as strong a nation as it is.
Question 13. Gun Control? No.
Question 14. Special Interests and the Federal Government. I feel that the problem of Federal government is basically its inability to deal effectively with the politics of special interests. Thus, Federal regulatory agencies appear to be dominated by the special interests that they are supposed to regulate. Examples are the Interior Department, where the Energy and Minerals section is traditionally run by political appointees who come from, and return to careers with resource development corporations; the Civil Aeronautics Board; the Federal Communications Commission — the list can go on and on.
There is nothing wrong with special interests seeking political advantage in Washington D.C. I draw the line, however, when large oil corporations are permitted to spend millions of pretax dollars in media propaganda campaigns to create a favorable political climate of opinion to force the Federal government to choose between oil interests and the public interests, and the people often lose. In my campaign, I have pointed to the oil industry as having undue influence through the use of its wealth to manipulate political opinion, and I feel that the Washington oil lobby derives its strength from this kind of unjust manipulation. I feel the oil corporations operating on public land should be required to be as politically discreet as publicly regulated utilities are required to be.
Question 15. International Arctic Shelf Treaty. There is a great national need for an international treaty governing all oil and gas exploration and development on the Arctic Shelf. Canadian and American government scientists have told me that the Dome Petroleum Corporation’s Canadian Beaufort Sea drilling project was ill-advised, and that the oil industry has not yet developed proven techniques and safe technology able to withstand the challenges of the ice environment of the Beaufort Sea.
I regard the oil industry’s Canadian OCS operations in the Beaufort Sea to be a serious contravention of our own national Arctic environmental safeguards. Without a formal treaty with the other Arctic Shelf nations, there is no way that we can be assured that the oil industry will be held to a single set of rules for responsible circumpolar Arctic off-shore operations. Without such a treaty, the oil industry will be free to play all Arctic coastal nations off against each other. We need tight international Arctic organization to deal effectively with the international oil industry.
Toward this end, I have joined with other Arctic community leaders in Canada and Greenland to plan the first Inuit Circumpolar Conference that will be held in June, 1977. The future of America lies in the future of Alaska, and the future of Alaska lies in the Arctic. We must have a strong national Arctic Policy equal to the task of protecting our international Arctic environment from inadvertent disaster.