THE ARCTIC COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, P. O. BOX 69, BARROW ALASKA 99723
TELEPHONE (907) 852-2611
Issue No: Six_____________Part 2_____________Date:September, 1977
NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE CONDUCTS EIS HEARINGS ON SUBSISTENCE BOWHEAD WHALING MORATORIUM
Under the gavel of Hugh Dolan, Chairman of the Department of Commerce Appeals Board, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) conducted a series of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) hearings on the risks associated with a decision to file a formal U.S. objection to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) moratorium on Inupiat subsistence bowhead whaling. The hearings were held in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 8, in Barrow on Sept. 12, and in Kotzebue on Sept. 15. The U.S. government has until October 21 to file such an objection which would exempt it from the obligation to enforce the ban.
The Government Position
The hearings were also an outlet for the opposition. The NMFS presented a controversial edited draft of its environmental impact statement (EIS) to justify its 7-year effort to lead the IWC to call for the subsistence whaling moratorium. This is the first time the NMFS -- a division of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Dept. of Commerce -has had to present its case to the public.
The NMFS released two drafts of their EIS which had been prepared with no knowledge or input from Inupiat whalers or the Inupiat community. The second draft omitted much material contained in the first draft relating to Inupiat cultural integration of bowhead whaling and moratorium enforcement problems. This material was evidently deleted through pressure applied by militant, anti-Native whale conservationists both inside and outside government.
This second draft contained no hard data on the health and status of bowhead stocks. Considerable emphasis was given in the draft to the possible loss of U.S. prestige in the international politics of commercial whaling that would result from a U.S. objection to the bowhead subsistence moratorium. The Washington, D.C., attorneys of the NSB circulated both drafts of the NMFS EIS among national conservation groups, pointing out their scientific weakness, the deletion of the Inupiat cultural data and information about enforcement difficulties in the second draft, and the close anti-Native politics of the NMFS that led to the IWC ban.
In preparation for the hearings, the officials of the North Slope Borough produced an 8 minute film documentary (The Last Anchor: see related story) in which all aspects of subsistence whaling were compared with commercial fishing. The film was shown at the Washington, D.C., hearings and has been distributed nationally.
The NSB also joined with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) to host a meeting of whaling captains from all around the Arctic coast from St. Lawrence Island to Kaktovik. Seventy-two whaling captains attended the August 29th meeting in Barrow that led to the organization of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. The new commission charged NSB Mayor Eben Hopson with the responsibility to deal firmly with the government on the issue and to make it clear that all whaling captains intend to hunt the bowhead next Spring, regardless of the government decision on the ban.
The following week, Hopson was in Ottawa to solicit the aid of the Interim Committee of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) in opposing the ban. In addition to passing a resolution calling upon the U.S. to file an objection to the moratorium, the Interim Committee also decided to send most of its membership in company with Hopson to the Washington, D.C., hearings to be held on Sept. 8 and 9. Among them were Moses Olsen, leader of Greenland's majority Siumut Party; Kristian Poulsen, journalist from the Greenland Post; Ove Posing Olsen, a Greenlandic businessman; Nelson Green, Inuvialuit land claims leader from Inuvik, N.W.T.; and Mary Sillit, representing Bill Edmonds, President of the Labrador Inuit Association.
Nelson Green led the Canadian Western Arctic Inuvialuit delegation to the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Nelson works closely with Sam Raddi at the Committee for original Peoples Entitlement (COPE), Inuvik. He was instrumental in shaping the political compromises that resulted in the Canadian delegations support of a permanent ICC organization. A member of the ICC interim Committee, Green testified in the D.C. Bowhead whaling EIS hearings in support of the Inupiat whalers with whom the Inuvialuit trade and are closely related through the people of Kaktovik (Barter Island)-- Photo by Roderick
The Washington Hearings
The first hearing took place in an old and crowded multi-purpose storage room in the basement of the Department of Commerce. It was SRO, with the observers competing for space with old furniture, film projectors, and a film crew with equipment and hot lights.
Moses Olsen and Nelson Green presented testimony supporting the inviolability of Inupiat subsistence whaling rights. Olsen criticized the Danish government for voting for the moratorium in Australia in June. Green connected the bowhead subsistence whaling rights to the subsistence hunting rights being strongly asserted the Inuvialuit in the Western Arctic land claims negotiations with the Canadian government. The Inuit were joined by the Friends of the Earth, an influential national environmentalist organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. FOE clearly startled representatives of the other environmentalist organizations testifying at the D.C. hearings, and signaled widespread acceptance of the Inupiat argument that bowhead subsistence whaling is a necessary part of the Arctic ecological system.
Kristian Poulson now with the Greenland Post, attended the ICC Interim Committee meeting in Ottawa, and flew to D.C. to cover the Bowhead subsistence moratorium EIS hearings. Poulson has chronicled the Greenland Homerule movement for many years, and is anxious to help Greenland establish strong political ties with Canada and Alaska. -- Photo by Roderick
Racist Government Comments
The NSB observers were shaken by the explicit racist comments made by those who would ban Inupiat subsistence whaling. The low point was sounded by Defenders of Wildlife lobbyist Tom Garrett, deputy U.S. Commissioner to the IWC, and a leader in the plot to ban subsistence whaling. Calling the Inupiat a "bastard culture," his testimony contained slander very similar to that of Barry Lopez in his article in the September Harper's magazine which appeared on the newsstands a few days earlier. NSB attorneys are reviewing Garrett's testimony with a view toward seeking a public apology and a clarification of the Department of Commerce's policy toward the Inupiat community. NSB Mayor Eben Hopson has asked both Alaskan U.S. Senators, Mike Gravel and Ted Stevens, to help respond to Garret's offensive testimony. NSB officials regard Garrett's attitude toward the Inupiat to fairly reflect that of all who have worked behind the scenes so long to ban subsistence whaling, both in and out of government.
The Barrow Hearings
The Barrow hearings were attended by Assistant Secretary of State Patsy Mink, formerly U.S. Representative from Hawaii, who is familiar with the Native land claims movement from her work on the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Arriving in Barrow Sunday in the company of Alaska Governor Jay Hammond, Mink was warmly received at a dinner of Inupiat food served in the historic Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Company building, now Brewer's Cafe, in which Knud Rasmussen was once hosted on his historic Arctic trek from Greenland in 1928. After dinner, Mink thanked her hosts, and spoke about her role in answering the question of objecting to the IWC moratorium. Her powerful delivery encouraged Barrow's community leadership. It was said of Rep. Mink that no government official had ever displayed so much compassionate understanding of the social problems at issue in the subsistence whaling question. After dinner, Mink met with several whaling captains in the NSB Assembly Chambers where they answered her questions about bowhead whaling, and about other whales mentioned in the EIS as alternatives for subsistence harvesting.
The Barrow hearings began with Hearing Judge Hugh Dolan making a special point of the fact that no testimony would be accepted in Inupiaq, the only language capable of scientific discussion of the Arctic environment. The NMFS had failed to provide for translators, a failure that observers thought fairly reflected the overall insensitivity of NOAA's entire handling of the bowhead subsistence issue. NSB Washington D. C. Liaison, Charles Edwardsen, rebuked Dolan harshly, charging "English supremacy", and invoked constitutional language rights of all non-English-speaking whalers wanting to testify. There was widespread disconcertion among State and Federal officials present when Edwardsen announced in Inupiaq that he would hold Inupiaq-language hearings in the NSB Assembly Chambers, and most present followed him out of the room. Hasty negotiations between Nolan and Hopson yielded agreement that the Inupiaq testimony would be translated
and transcribed in English by the NSB and be included in the EIS hearing record. The most significant testimony was delivered at these "rump" hearings, with all of Barrow's most respected elders taking opportunity to place their views on record. The hours of testimony were translated, transcribed and edited within days of the hearings and flown by priority pouch to Dolan and Mink in Washington, D.C. At the English hearings, Dolan heard Governor Jay Hammond ask for a U.S. objection to the moratorium, placing the State of Alaska in support of Inupiat subsistence whaling rights, and the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club and the active Fairbanks Center for the Environment joined the Friends of Earth in support of a U.S. objection to the moratorium. Nobody testifying in Barrow supported the subsistence whaling moratorium.
The Kotzebue Hearings
NSB Washington, D. C. Liaison Charles Edwardsen and NSB Game Management Coordinator Dale Stotts traveled to Kotzebue with the Barrow Dancers to help organize the NANA region to testify at the EIS hearings held on September 15th. Kotzebue has a large community of people from Pt. Hope. Pt. Hope is the source of muktuk and whale meat for the Kotzebue region and southward to Unalakleet. Once aroused, the people of Kotzebue turned out to testify at the hearings, now provided with a translator. Nobody in Kotzebue testified in favor of the moratorium.
The hearing record closed September 23rd, and now the government has until the end of October to decide whether or not to file a formal objection. The NSB has planned a national public information campaign in the hopes of securing widespread political support for filing such an objection.
Michael Amarook. President of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, led the Canadian delegation for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and addressed the conference only in Inuktutuk. -(photo by Roderick)
NSB JOINS WITH CHURCH GROUPS TO DETAIL ARCTIC OIL INTERESTS
When the Interim Committee of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference met in Ottowa September 10th, it reviewed a document produced for the NSB and the ICC by the Metropolitan Ecumenical Ministry, Seattle, Oil and Gas Exploration and Development in the Circumpolar Region of Alaska, Canada and Greenland -- An Analysis of corporate Involvement. Authored by consultant Gary Mulhair, the complete analysis of all corporations and consortia with leases or permits north of the Arctic circle in North America. The study reveals that there are 217 million acres (the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Calif., Oregon, Wash. -- combined) under lease or permit by a total of 134 different firms or partnerships. Of the 217 million acres tied up, 9.6 million acres are in the Alaskan Arctic, 205 million acres are in the Canadian Arctic, and 3.1 million are in Greenland. These figures include all Arctic OCS and near shore acreage. Ten firms own 59% of the 217 million acres.
Seattle management document presents a
The other 124 firms own small parts of the remaining 41% of the Arctic acreage under lease or exploration permit. Of the entire 134 firms in the Arctic, 111 operate in only one country; 19 operate in two countries, and only four, BP, Cities Service, Gulf and Standard, operate in all three North American Arctic countries.
The report was produced under the direction of the Rev. Charles R. White, ICC Liaison for Church Relations, Metropolitan Ecumenical Ministry, Seattle. White was formerly pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Barrow. White met in Chicago with the Presbyterian's Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment to discuss how the Churches might use this report to develop dialogue and communication between the Arctic oil industry and the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and the NSB. The Committee voted to help organize the top ten Arctic oil operators through direct negotiations and by voting stock and proxies at annual stockholder meetings of these oil corporations and their financing institutions. Both the NSB and the ICC seek orderly negotiations with the Arctic oil industry to develop a common set of rules for all circumpolar offshore oil and gas exploration and operations.
15.0% Aquatain & Elf
12.3% Dome Petroleum
5.1% Those interested in obtaining a copy of this Corporate Analysis should write to the Planning Department, North Slope Borough, Box 69, Barrow, Alaska 99723.
Uvilu Doyle, NWT, was the ITC translator, shown here introducing the Baffin Island throat chanters who performed in the cultural exchange conducted in the evenings during the Inuit Circumpolar Conference. Photo by Roderick
OCSEAP USERS PANEL MEETS IN SEWARD
The NOAA-funded Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Program, headquartered at the U. of A's Geophysical Institute, Fairbanks, convened a three-day meeting of the OCSEAP Users' Panel in Seward on September 19 - 21. The Users' Panel is an innovation in consumerism in which 25 representatives of local, State and Federal agencies and conservationist groups meet from time to time to be briefed on the progress of preparations for Federal OCS lease sales. The OCSEAP is working with the lower Cook Inlet area, and the Beaufort Sea coastal area.
The Users' Panel reviewed and discussed the draft Beaufort Sea Synthesis Report. NSB reviewers of this impressively-detailed 219 typed page report were impressed by an important feature: the detailing of important information gaps that need to be filled before informed decisions about environmental risk can be made.
OCSEAP staff are enthusiastic about the rich biology of the near shore lagoon areas behind the barrier islands east from Harrison Bay, and they are discovering what the Inupiat have known all along: the great importance of the Beaufort Sea near shore areas to the overall Arctic food chain.
The OCSEAP program is favorably viewed by NSB officials because it has taken the time to establish helpful communications with the NSB, and to include the NSB in program planning and review. NSB Mayor Eben Hopson will ask the State's new Coastal Policy Council to recognize the OCSEAP program as an important existing component necessary for Sound Coastal Zone Management.
NSB PRODUCES FILM TO HELP IN DEFENSE OF WHALING RIGHTS
Produced for use in the NMFS EIS hearings on bowhead subsistence whaling, The Last Anchor is an 7 minute film that lays out all of the important issues at stake in the bowhead whaling controversy. Produced from stock footage on hand, the film was produced by the NSB to be used in the EIS hearings, and in a national campaign to gather public support for the defense of Inupiat subsistence bowhead whaling. Available in either 16mm or 35 mm, the film is free of charge to those wishing to display it if they contact the NSB in Barrow, Box 69, or dial (907) 852-2611 or 274-2414 in Anchorage. Copies of the film have been sent to major network news agencies in the U.S., Canada and Greenland. The film is fast-moving and exciting, and contains sequences from an actual hunt, kill, and sharing of a bowhead whale. It is of professional quality, suitable for movie audiences and television stations. Copies can also be purchased for $50.
Jean Malurie, a French Americanist Anthropologist, shown discussing the ICC agenda with Eben Hopson, was invited to observe the Conference because of his keen interest in the circumpolar Inuit Community. He has been producing a film about the Circumpolar Inuit Community, including the Yuit of Siberia. which Malurie was permitted to photograph by the Soviet government, which traditionally has favored French Scholars with cooperation. NSB officials and ICC leaders are hoping to view Malurie's film, and to be able to use it to aid in their work. -- Photo by Cysewski
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER . . . . The NSB has received many inquiries about this Newsletter. Those wishing to subscribe can get their names on our mailing list by writing to the following address:
Arctic Coastal Zone Management Newsletter , 323 East Fireweed Lane
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You will be placed on our computerized mailing list. So far, our mailing list has 1580 active addresses, and is received by hundreds of readers in Canada, Greenland, Denmark, and several other European countries where interest in the Arctic runs high. The purpose of the Newsletter is to describe the Arctic Coastal Zone Management politics of the North Slope Borough. Those wishing to contribute to the Newsletter should send their material to the Office of the Mayor, North Slope Borough, Box 69, Barrow, Alaska.