ASRC Sees Wilderness Review as a Broken Promise
Two days after the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced a plan to conduct a series of reviews of ANWR to determine if more areas should be designated as wilderness, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation joins Alaska's congressional delegation in opposing the move. The review includes the coastal plain, also known as the 1002 area, which is believed to hold a mean estimate of 10.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation owns title to 92,000 acres of subsurface rights within the 1002 area, and the Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation owns title to those surface rights.
"Even President Carter himself refused to designate these 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain as Wilderness because of its potential for oil and gas development", said Tara Sweeney, ASRC Vice-President of External Affairs. "This decision is at odds with the government's own promise made inside ANILCA, and could severely impact the subsistence activities, traditional way of life and local economy for Kaktovikmiut, the people of Kaktovik."
Kaktovik is the only village within the 19.6 million acres of the ANWR boundary, and sits within the coastal plain. A Wilderness designation could force the village and its people to be surrounded by Wilderness, making them essentially refugees on their own land. Kaktovikmiut have called the area home for thousands of years.
"Let's not forget, even the Fish & Wildlife Service itself admits it doesn't have the authority to decide whether the plain should be open to oil and gas development, so why is it trying to influence the process?", said Richard Glenn, ASRC Vice-President of Lands & Natural Resources. "Resource development can be a continuing economic engine on the North Slope, let's not shut that engine down before it gets started."
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is owned by and represents the business interests of the Arctic Slope Iñupiat. Since opening enrollment in 1989 to Alaska Natives born after 1971, the corporation's shareholder base has nearly tripled, growing from the 3,700 original enrollees to around 11,000 today. Corporate headquarters are based in Barrow, Alaska, with administrative and subsidiary offices located in Anchorage and throughout the United States. ASRC, along with its family of companies, is the largest Alaskan-owned company, employing approximately 10,000 people worldwide.