"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Monday, October 20, 2003

Give Aways

The federal government is essentially giving the resources of Alaska away for free...

On Sept. 24, amid the hubbub of Mike Leavitt's confirmation hearings, few journalists and policy makers stopped to notice that the DOI's Minerals Management Service put 9.4 million acres in Alaska's Beaufort Sea on the chopping block at unusually low royalty rates. The area in question is not far from the Arctic Refuge, off the northern shore of Alaska—land of polar bears, bowhead whales and Inupiat Eskimos who still practice maritime hunts...

There are, of course, likely environmental side effects: Last spring, a report by the National Academy of Sciences warned that seismic exploration and offshore drilling in the area would threaten endangered bowhead whales as well as the livelihoods of traditional Inupiat hunters. Needless to say, that report was overlooked.

Although the Beaufort sale troubles many Alaskan wildlife experts, they say it's merely one of many concerns in the region, some of them potentially far more serious. "This is just a small piece of a larger picture in which the federal government is essentially giving the resources of Alaska away for free," said Eleanor Huffines, Alaska regional director for the Wilderness Society.

Huffines says she is realistic about the need to expand drilling, and the Wilderness Society has identified areas in Prudhoe Bay and western Alaska where it is not opposing increased development. "What concerns me is that no matter how reasonable we try to be in balancing commercial and environmental concerns, [the Bush administration's] plans show no balance at all...

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About Me

Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.