As the date of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference drew closer, it became clear that the Conference would become an important milestone in the history of the Arctic, and in the history of the circumpolar Inupiat community of North America. When a Canadian Nor Air Jet lands in Barrow Sunday morning, June 12th, it will disembark the most important figures in the Inupiat land claims movement in Canada and Greenland, and they will join with their counterparts in Alaska to organize to defend their land, and the world's Arctic environmental security. Up to 300 are expected to come to Barrow to participate and observe this coming together of the Inupiat of the Arctic, a community of about 100,000 living under four flags. And a delegation of Saami observers from Finland will watch and advise and learn what this all will mean for the 100,000 Saami of Scandinavia. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference is expected to result in the organization of an Inupiat Circumpolar Assembly, and such organization is regarded as an important regional development by the World Council for Indigenous People. Both the Saami and the Greenlandic Inupiat have played provided leadership in the formation of the World Council for Indigenous People, and the Inuit Circumpolar Conference sets an example to be followed by all Native people wherever natural resource development threatens their land and environmental security.
Charles "Etok" Edwardsen, Jr. NSB Washington, D.C. Liaison, flew in mid-May to Northern Quebec to meet with Charlie Watt, President of the Northern Quebec Inuit Association, to discuss the objectives of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and Edwardsen outlined the need to draft a charter for a permanent Inupiat circumpolar organization to participate in Arctic coastal zone management with the governments of Greenland, Canada and Alaska. Watt agreed to this need, but requested that all be present in Barrow for the Conference before such a charter is drafted. The NSB had planned to have a charter document drafted for the Conferees, but it was agreed that Charter adoption would be much more likely if its drafting involved all Conferees together from ground zero. Date: May - June 1977
In a much-publicized manner, the Canadian government announced that it was delaying its decision on whether or not to permit continuance of the blowout plagued DOME/CANMAR/HUNT wild cat Beaufort Sea OCS operations, citing the Ekofisk Bravo oil blowout in the Norwegian North Sea. However, the Inuvialuit's Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement (COPE), Inuvik, NWT, knew that the delay was only political show business, and that the government would announce a 3-year permit early in June, and COPE planned to sue both the Canadian government and DOME/CANMAR. Sam Raddi, COPE President, phoned Mayor Eben Hopson from Inuvik to say that it would be necessary for COPE to take the DOME/CANMAR affair into court to prevent unreasonable environmental risk to the entire Beaufort Sea ecosystem. COPE's ability to intercede successfully in court may depend upon Raddi's ability to raise funds to pay lawyers. Funding COPE's legal challenge will be one of the matters discussed by delegates at the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. This will be the first environmental suit filed against an Arctic OCS project.
Mayor Eben Hopson used the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) public hearings in Anchorage, May 16, 1977, to vent NSB frustration with the environmental impact statements with which it has been bombarded since it was organized in 1972. The CEQ, established in the Executive Office of the President, is reviewing the adequacy of EIS statements prepared in connection with the three competing Prudhoe Bay gas pipeline routes. Saying that the NSB was not adequately consulted by any of the three pipeline consortia in the preparation of the EIS statements under CEQ review, Hopson cited the Canadian Berger Commission (Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry) report as the only worthwhile EIS statement ever received by the NSB. Since 1973, the NSB has received six EIS reports prepared in connection with major oil and gas exploration or developments within its jurisdiction. Pointing out that the EIS process "is under widespread attack in the U.S. and Canada," Hopson said that "EIS reports tend to irritate rather than inform. They commit information overkill. They reveal nothing by talking about everything. They are usually poorly written, hard to read, and seldom read. They are poorly organized and over-generalized. They are seldom site-specific, so they seldom use as reference text by our land use planners. And they are often inconclusive about the balance of risk to our people and our land. They constitute an undisciplined discipline, and I feel that our environmental scientists who write them do all of us a disservice."
Justice Thomas Berger provided Mayor Eben Hopson with a copy of his 213-page report entitled Northern Frontier -- Northern Homeland, volume I of his 8-volume report. The second volume will set out terms and conditions that should be imposed if a pipeline is built through the Mackenzie Valley. Written in an easy, first-person narrative style, volume I of the Berger Report is an impressive environmental impact statement that lays out many of the same problems being experienced by the people of the Arctic Slope. Displaying a sensitive regard for the feelings and opinions of Canada's Inupiat and Indian people, Justice Berger supports NSB contentions that Arctic resource development is closely interwoven with the circumpolar Inupiat land claims movement, and that the Inuvialuit claims must be settled before any pipeline is built. The Berger Report recommends against any pipeline route across the Yukon Territorial coastal plain, and recommends that the Canadian government establish a National Wilderness Park for the Northern Yukon, and a Whale Sanctuary in the Mackenzie Bay. The Berger Commission report has become an important policy planning document for the NSB's Arctic Coastal Zone Management Program.
Billy Neakok, director of the NSB's new Department of Conservation and Environmental Security, has responded to NSB Assembly President Oliver Leavitt's query about the NSB environmental protection policy by writing a seven-page memorandum to Mayor Eben Hopson for Assembly consideration. Neakok's memorandum details the history of NSB environmental protection policy evolution since 1972 cites an overall policy of cooperation with oil and gas operations within NSB jurisdiction; and details a 4-point strategy that includes regional and international Arctic Coastal Zone Management, surface disturbance management, game management, and Arctic environmental research management. This memorandum policy statement was included in the mailing of the March-April Newsletter, and was the subject of a presentation at the annual Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Surface Management Seminar conducted at Alaska Methodist University during the week of May 16th. As it was last year, the BLM Surface management Seminar focused upon surface management problems of the Arctic Slope. Mayor Eben Hopson will submit Neakok's Memorandum to the NSB Planning Commission and Assembly with the hope that the Assembly will issue a formal NSB environmental protection policy resolution to guide NSB program managers. Copies of Neakok's memorandum are available by writing to the Department of Conservation and Environmental Security in Barrow.
Arctic ice, in the form of huge, swift-moving iceberg shave caused the Danish government to require offshore operators exploring in the Davis Strait beginning this year to abandon their original plans to use semi-submersible platforms and to use drilling ships instead. Mobil plans to drill 2 wells in 1977, and ARCO and Chevron each will drill one well. All drilling operations will begin in July. The chart below, Offshore Greenland 1977, clipped from the European trade magazine, Noroil, details the new Arctic OSC operations off the southwest coast of Greenland.
The plan for educational exchange and cooperation between the NSB School District and Greenland schools has been approved by the NSB School Board. The plan was reported in previous issues of the Newsletter to be under development by Edna Ahgeak MacLean, Native Language Center, University of Alaska; and Carl Christian Olsen, Director of International Programs, Knud Rasmussen Folk High School, Sisimiut, Greenland. Barrow High School students attending Knud Rasmussen Folk High School will take a course that will include study of Greenlandic Inupiaq and its Greenlandic orthography comparative circumpolar Inupiaq orthographies in use today; Inupiat literature from Greenland, Canada and Alaska; organizational structure of Greenlandic society; ancient to contemporary Inupiat history; Greenlandic media, art, dance, and music. Barrow students will be encouraged to teach a course on some aspect of Alaskan Inupiat culture to Greenlandic students.
According to Thomas K. Williams, Director of the Petroleum Revenue Division, Alaska Department of Revenue, the assessed valuation of all oil and gas exploration, production and pipeline transportation property within the North Slope Borough, both at Prudhoe Bay and on the National Petroleum Reserve, has been certified at $3,304,836,500.
The NSB Assembly has confirmed the appointment of eight NSB citizens to the new NSB Inupiat Language Commission established by Ordinance 76-31 adopted January 4, 1977. This ordinance, like that which established the NSB Cultural and Art Commission, was written in both English and Inupiaq to create the Inupiat Uqalungisigun Sivunniuqtinik -Inupiat Language Commission. Working with the Canadian Inuit Language Commission of the Inuit Tapirisat and the Greenland Language Commission, Inupiat leaders hope to develop a circumpolar Inupiaq orthography for use in circumpolar communication and education. Appointed to this new language commission were Edna MacLean, Barrow, Molly Pederson, Barrow, Rachel Sikvayugak, Anaktuvuk Pass; Rex Tuzroyluk, Point Hope; Emily Wilson, Barrow; George Agnassaga, Pt. Lay and Wainwright; Bass Gordon, Kaktovik; and Ruth Burnell, Atkasook.
Dale Stotts, NSB Came Management Coordinator of the Department of Conservation and Environmental Security, traveled to Washington, D.C. at the invitation of the National Marine Fisheries Service to attend an interagency work session to develop U.S. positions to take to the International Whaling Commission session later this year in Melbourne, Australia. Arnold Brewer, Sr. was originally scheduled to represent the Barrow Whaler's Association at this meeting, but was unable to attend due to illness. A second such session will be held on June 8, 1977. Stotts observed that, of the 20-30 officials present, nobody seemed to feel that traditional whaling activity should be curtailed, and that the U.S. position at Melbourne will be to defend traditional subsistence whaling in the Beaufort Sea. Such national environmental organizations as Friends of the Animals seek to prohibit Inupiat subsistence whaling altogether. The NSB hopes to be able to lead Friends of the Animals to regard subsistence whaling as a natural and necessary part of the Arctic ecological balance necessary for both the whale and the Inupiat to survive as Arctic species.
Twelve government biologists are presently at work in Barrow and Pt. Hope conducting a whale census and monitoring the whale harvest, the Department of Conservation and Environmental Security has learned. The Marine Mammal Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service has four biologists assigned to monitor the harvest. This program was begun in Barrow in 1973 as a result of an agreement with the International Whaling Commission, and was extended to include Pt. Hope in 1974. In addition, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has assigned 8 additional biologists to the task of conducting a census of bowhead and beluga whales as part of the OCS Environmental Assessment Program (OCS-EAP) being conducted in preparation for the U.S. Beaufort Sea OCS lease sale. Because the Bowhead whale is on the endangered species list, the Federal government has a special responsibility to determine the most probable impacts of OCS operations upon the Bowhead's Arctic habitat, and an effort is being made to make a careful count of the migrating herd. Typically, the government biologists working at this task have not bothered to seek the advice of the Arctic Slope regional whaling community that has been keeping a careful count for thousands of years.
Responding to Mayor Eben Hopson's testimony on Prudhoe Bay gas pipeline route EIS statements, on May 19th Nicholas C. Yest, Acting General Counsel for the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ), wrote to Mayor Hopson. "We are holding hearings on Reform of the National Environmental Policy Act. Given the thoughtful way you commented on the EIS process in your Alaska Natural Gas presentation (page 5) if you choose to do so, we would appreciate you sending us a letter expanding on your views for inclusion in the record of our NEPA hearings." On page 5, Hopson had said "In my opinion, the EIS process must be improved in the Arctic if it is to have any significant role in the defense of our national Arctic environmental security. Both the questions of Beaufort Sea OCS operations and a Prudhoe Bay gas pipeline routing have enabled us to see that there can be no reliable Arctic environmental security until Canada and the United States negotiates a single set of rules to govern all Arctic energy resource development. The United States is bound with Canada in an inevitable Arctic energy partnership. Decisions reached through this partnership will be executed by an oil and gas industry controlled by U.S. corporations. Regional Arctic environmental impact assessment must be treated as a matter for international cooperation."
Because we Inupiat are the indigenous people of the North American Arctic, we have a right to protect our land from harm. None of the EIS reports prepared by any of the competing pipeline companies have adequately involved any part of our circumpolar Inupiat community in environmental impact assessment."
The Washington, D.C. CEQ hearings will be held June 6-8, 1977, and will focus upon reform of the EIS process. CEQ is responsible for the administration of the EIS process throughout the Federal government, and guidelines for this administration are found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 1500. The NSB will respond to Yest's invitation by outlining how an Arctic regional environmental impact assessment protocol might work in cooperation with local government and Native regional organizations.
Mayor Hopson's specific suggestion that the State Department send a man to Barrow for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference to discuss revisions of the U.S./Canadian Migratory Birds Treaty, contained in a letter in April to Cyrus Vance, was rejected by Donald King, State's Director of Environmental Affairs. But he asked for more specific suggestions regarding the Treaty for consideration by the Department of State and other agencies. Both the U.S. and Canadian Inupiat communities want the Treaty revised to permit subsistence hunting by Arctic Inupiat and Indian villagers. Donald King said that "With regard to the U.S.-Canadian dialogue on this (subsistence hunting) and other matters covered by the Treaty, I can assure you that well-established channels are available and are in regular use between our two governments, both at the resource management level between the Canadian Wildlife Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. and between the Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of State. Thus there is no lack of bilateral communication in this area." Both the Canadian Wildlife Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are being accused of blaming the other for failure to bring the U.S./Canadian Migratory Birds Treaty into line with the U.S./USSR Migratory Birds Treaty that specifically permits subsistence hunting by indigenous people of Alaska and Siberia. Hopson had hoped to use the Inuit Circumpolar Conference to move both national governments forward to quickly revise the U.S./Canadian treaty accordingly. This will be a major subject at the Conference with or without State Department help.
Feeling awkward in its work with international organization and negotiations leading to circumpolar Arctic coastal zone management agreements able to assure NSB's environmental security, the NSB has been trying to establish a good working relationship with the State Department. Beginning in July, 1976 with a meeting with Donald King, Director of Environmental Affairs, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Mayor Eben Hopson and his staff have been writing and meeting with State Department officials regularly. Throughout, the man most familiar with the Beaufort Sea problem has been Karl Joneitz, Environmental Affairs Officer in the Office of Canadian Affairs. Charged with U.S./Canadian trans-frontier pollution problems, Joneitz has followed the DOME/CANMAR Beaufort OCS project from the beginning. He has been kept fully informed about all aspects of the forthcoming Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and it is apparent that his advice is sought and followed by his superiors at the State Department. Joneitz has always felt that the Inuit Circumpolar Conference is part of the Land Claims Movement, and that State Department involvement with the Conference would be regarded as a kind of unwarranted interference in Canadian and Greenlandic land claims, sensitive domestic politics in both Canada and Denmark. By early May, State Department officials had responded to Mayor Hopson's letters to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance seeking State Department assistance with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Both Donald King and Morris Busby wrote to say that no State Department representatives would attend the Conference. Privately, Busby and Joneitz explained to NSB staff and consultants that they thought State Department participation at the Conference would compromise both the Conference and the State Department's work with other Arctic governments. They went on to say that the NSB should regard the State Department as a service agency, able only to negotiate positions worked up by and through other Federal domestic departments and agencies. For the NSB, the avenue to State Department assistance winds through the Governor of Alaska, and the Departments of Interior and Commerce. The only shortcut might be through Congress which could conceivably direct the State Department to develop the kind of Arctic policy initiatives sought by the NSB. The policy of the NSB will be to continue to keep the State Department advised, but to refrain from any further requests for its direct assistance. Rather, the NSB will seek State Department assistance through channels.
With the help of NSB Washington counsel Bill Van Ness, the NSB has successfully recruited Russel Train to help with Federal Arctic policy development. Russel Train, formerly Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, is proud of his role in the negotiation of the U.S./USSR Migratory Birds Treaty. Train signed this treaty for the United States. Train said that he would try to attend the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and recommended his friend, former U.S. Senator James Buckley, long-time friend of the Arctic and a personal friends of the late Howard Rock, founder of the Tundra Times. Buckley, who has visited Barrow before, will attend the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and will work with Train with Arctic policy development. Both will assist with the revision of the U.S./Canadian Migratory Birds Treaty to permit subsistence hunting in the Arctic.
NSB staff and consultants attended the annual Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas. The entire Astrodome complex was the scene of a multi-million dollar industrial exposition of all technology involved in offshore oil and gas operations throughout the world. With thousands of firms from throughout the world exhibiting, nearly 70,000 attended the week-long Conference. Several "Arctic" papers were delivered, including one by a Army scientist who said that he had tested electronic instrumentation capable of measuring the thickness of Arctic sea ice and permafrost, and would be useful in finding pockets of crude oil trapped beneath ice after any Beaufort Sea blowout that may occur. Early reviews of this year's OTC noted sharply increased numbers of underwater technology exhibits: several industrial submarines; many submarine industrial TV and remote deep-water electromechanical manipulation systems; lots of deep sea diving equipment. All this pointed to the fact that it is getting harder to make a dollar in the oil business, and to the growing importance of Arctic OCS reserves to this business. Having only recently digested the news that the energy industry was thinking of tunneling beneath the Beaufort Sea to extract these reserves, NSB official were startled to learn that consideration is being given to borrowing a nuclear submarine from the Navy to conduct Arctic OSC seismic surveys. The OTC was held during the week following Red Adair's capping of the North Sea blowout, and much was learned about BOP systems from the extensive displays of all types of blowout preventers from all three manufacturers whose officers were present to explain just how the North Sea blowout happened: human error. Denmark had the most attractive pavilion in the Astrodome where NSB staff learned all about plans for explorations on the Greenlandic shelf in the Davis Strait, and spoke with representatives of the Greenland Technical Organization and the Royal Greenlandic Trade Corporation. NSB staff found the OTC to be the single most effective way to learn a great deal about actual OCS operations in a very short time, and Mayor Hopson is thinking about joining with the State of Alaska to become an exhibitor at the 1978 OTC in Houston, energy industrial capital of the world.
A strongly-worded resolution calling upon Church support of Inupiat community efforts to protect the ecological balance of their Arctic homeland was passed by the Department of Mission and Evangelism of the Synod of Alaska-Northwest, United Presbyterian Church. Chief Architect of the resolution was the Rev. Charles White, formerly pastor of Barrow's Utpeagvik Presbyterian Church, the first Chairman of the NSB Planning Commission, and now associated with the Ecumenical Metropolitan Ministry, Seattle, an interfaith group assisting the NSB to marshal ecumenical ecclesiastical support of Inupiat circumpolar community organization, and the development of a circumpolar Arctic coastal zone management program. Sixteen high-ranking church leaders from the U.S., Canada, Greenland, and Geneva have been invited to attend the Conference. Of particular interest to the NSB is the involvement of Canada's ecumenical Project North, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, New York. The latter is an organization that votes proxies at large annual Church-held stock and stockholder meetings. The NSB hopes to work with interested church groups to establish an Arctic dialogue with large multi-national energy corporations operating anywhere on the Arctic coast in the hope that they can be induced to cooperate in sound Arctic Coastal Zone Management planning and implementation.
Kent Grinage, 30, a marine engineer graduate of King's Point Maritime Academy, has been named Manager of NSB Utilities by Mayor Eben Hopson. A member of the Schaghticoke Indian Tribe of Connecticut, Grinage was formerly employed as an engineer with New England Telephone, and before that with the Knell Atomic Laboratory. Grinage, who has been employed with the NSB for the past year, distinguished himself by personally leading the successful Anaktuvuk Pass electrification project this past winter. Grinage has been negotiating with the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) to test new fuel cell generators for Arctic village utility use. Fuel cell utilities are under design and development by United Technologies for ERDA. Developed from the fuel cell technology that powers space satellites, the new fuel cell utilities being tested could power entire villages silently, with no moving parts to wear out, and with no need for full-time power-plant operators. Because of the availability of natural gas in Barrow, it is possible for these new space-age power generators to replace the large solar gas turbine generators now in use to power Barrow. Grinage is hopeful that the NSB can work with ERDA to have a large fuel cell utility under test in Barrow within the year. In the meantime, Grinage plans to replace village diesel generators throughout the Borough with a new, standardized Caterpillar system within the year so that NSB villages can benefit from the latest diesel technology until the day when they can be replaced with fuel cells.
The NSB Planning Department has let a contract to Alaska Consultants Inc. to engage Gillian Smythe to develop a master plan for the community of Wainwright. This plan is expected to be completed by the end of June, 1977. Smythe, a long-time community planner with extensive experience working with such rural Alaskan village communities, has been working with the Wainwright people to come up with a plan that will reflect community growth/development desires, and incorporate plans for land use, streets and roads, utilities and other community facilities, housing development, and public safety.
Sam Raddi, President of the Inuvialuit's Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement (COPE), Inuvik, has informed Mayor Hopson that he plans to meet with Canadian government negotiators in Ottawa on June 13th to begin negotiating the Inuvialuit land claims settlement agreement. This means that Raddi, and COPE's Nellie Cournyea, will not be able to attend the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, though others will represent the Western Arctic Inuvialuit OCS explorations in the Mackenzie Bay.