Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Senate hearing reviews Alaska refuge oil reserves


  • Randy Showstack


To some conservationists concerned about wildlife habitat and wilderness beauty, the “1002 area” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is “sacrosanct.” Adam Kolton of the Alaska Wilderness League says, “Drilling the Arctic refuge would be as shortsighted as damming the Grand Canyon for hydroelectric power or raiding Yellowstone for geothermal power.”

But others say this 1.5 million acre coastal plain region of ANWR—named for the section in the 1980 Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act that deferred a decision about the future management of the area—holds significant, economically recoverable oil deposits, and that three-dimensional seismic testing and subsequent oil extraction can be accomplished with little environmental damage to the region.