tv Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Hearing - Part 1 CSPAN November 2, 2017 5:13pm-7:53pm EDT
through thursday. maybe monday, tuesday, wednesday. wednesday could go into the evening, i'm told, or later into the night and thursday, maybe part of the day and i think that week members are not scheduled to be in on friday, the veterans day recess or they have a day off for veterans day. the week they come back after veterans day is when this is expected to get to the house floor. >> aaron lorenzo is the tax reporter. you can follow his reporting and covering of this bill and more at aaron e. lorenzo on twitter. thanks for the update. >> thank you. next, republican officials from alaska talk about opening up the arctic wildlife refuge to oil drilling. democrats and environmental groups oppose the drilling. this is a portion of the energy and natural resource committee hearing chaired by alaska senator lisa murkowski.
>> good morning, everyone. the committee will come to order. we meet this morning to consider opening a very small portion of alaska's 1002 area to responsible energy development to meet the $1 billion budget reconciliation instruction that our committee received last week. the 1002 area covers 1.57 million acres of land in northeast alaska within the nonwilderness portion. you can bring it over here sean. i think it's important to put this in context in terms of the areas that we are talking about. anwr itself is 19 million acres. this is approximately the size of south carolina.
the nonwilderness area is 1002 area, is 1.5 million acres, approximately the size of delaware. the area here is designated as wilderness, federal wilderness, 8 million acres there. when we are talking about anwr itself, it's important to recognize there are parts of anwr that are designated as wilderness and parts within the refuge and parts of anwr, the 1002 area specifically designated for consideration for oil and gas exploration. so, again, i want to be clear, the 1002 area is not federal wilderness. congress recognized the value of anwr when it designated the more than 7 million acres at the mali beat beatie wilderness here. that is an area that is protected and will not and
cannot be touched. the coastal plain, again, is separate from the wilderness in anwr. it's the size of delaware, again, in a refuge the size of the state of south carolina. so, again, the areas we are talking about are significant. what alaskans are asking for is to develop just 2,000 federal acres within it, about 1/10,000 of anwr. thank you. we should also understand that if we open the 1002 area, the economic benefits will be substantial. our national security will be strengthened and the environmental impacts are minimal. we will create thousands of new jobs with wages that support families and put children through college. revenue for government, tens of billions of dollars over the life of the fields.
there's been some discussion out there as to weather or not we can meet our $1 billion instruction. the answer is a simple yes. i would remind the committee, the first ten years are the start. this is the smallest part of the 40 year period where responsible production raises billions of dollars of revenue every year. they estimated the federal treasury could, depending on oil prices and resources produced and we all put that in a caveat there, it could raise anywhere from $48.3 billion on the low end to $296.8 billion over 30 years. bear in mind, that is new wealth and prosperity. new wealth. it will not be created or repurposed with so much of what we deal with. the revenues will reduce our
debt simultaneously creating the growth conditions needed to reduce it on a greater scale. opening the 1002 area will help keep energy affordable. here in the lower 48, we have forgotten what it feels like to pay $4 for a gallon of gasoline. prices are moderate, we realize that but they don't necessarily stay that way. we need to take steps to plan for the long term and we need to do that now, not in ten years, to keep energy prices affordable. a number of experts are pointing to the warning signs. you have the international energy agency that found that, quote, global oil supply could struggle to keep pace with demand after 2020 risking a price unless projects are approved soon. now, some are going to argue that we are doing just fine. we are producing more, exporting some, so we can turn our attention to other matters.
i think that's a mistake. we are projected to remain a significant net importer well into the future and setting aside the shorter term concerns i have mentioned, even the more cautious forecast from energy information is energy will be back to $100 a barrel by 2040. i think it's misleading to suggest that all the benefits of opening the 1002 area will happen all at once and all in the near term. we know that's not true. we will see the benefit for decades, not just over the ten-year budget window. we talk a lot about where we were back in 1995 when congress had passed anwr and president clinton, at that time, vetoed the effort to open the 1002 area. 1995. think about where we would have been had that action not taken
place. we wouldn't have seen as dramatic run up oil prices in the mid-2000s. states like california would not be importing so much oil from abroad. that's exactly what has happened as supply from alaska has declined. there is no question that opening the 1002 area is important for our state and national economy and we can be just as confident that the new technologies that are in place and stale coming online will ensure that responsible development does not harm the environment. between the 1970s and today, the surface footprint of arctic development decreased by 80%. several of our witnesses this morning will speak directly to that. put it in context. what was once a 65 acre pad now takes about 12 acres or less. then, below ground, the extended
reach drilling from a single pad will grow to an area of 125 square miles by 2020. just in a few years here. again, we'll have mr. shut speak to that. that's an increase of 4,000% since we began oil production in the 1970s. development in the arctic always raised concerns about wildlife and the environment and appropriately so. i would remind everyone here this morning, because alaskans have been so careful with development, fears of impact to our wildlife and land have repeatedly proven wrong. most of our roads are now built from ice and melt in the summertime, leaving no impact on the tundra. developers follow thousands of regulatory requirements, best practices and mitigation
measures. we inventory and assess wildlife and habitat to avoid sensitive places. we talk about the caribou. the central arctic caribou herd, which lives year round in and around the bay, increased from 3,000 animals in 1969, prior to development to 5,000 when development began in earnest in 1974 and was at about 22,000 animals just this last year. it's now more than seven times larger than when development began. it also may surprise some to learn we are developing energy just outside anwr at point thompson,a point my colleague knows very, very well. this is located on state land jst two miles from the border of the 1002 area. that project at point thompson is being carried out responsibly
and not harming the wildlife that crossed the invisible western boundary, again, defieing the claims we hear about possible harm. for over 40 years now, alaskans have repeatedly proven we can develop stafely and responsibly. we will not harm the caribou or polar bears whose den can be protected. the snow geese whose nesting areas can be safeguarded or other wildlife that visit. we are sensitive to the habitat in the region and care for it. alaskans understand this. this is why more than 70% of us have supported opening the 1002 area to responsible development. we areless acutely aware that our state needs this and we'll hear this from our governor. right now, we have the highest unemployment rate in the
country. we have massive budget deficits projected to last quite a while. the transatlantic pipeline system, the economic backbone of the state is one quarter full. we know, we know full well that opening the 1002 area is not an immediate cure. we also know that it's something that we have to do today because the benefits of development will take time to fully realize. it's like the old saying, we say a lot around here, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. the second best time is now. we need to take that first step today so that we can realize the benefits going forward. i was born in alaska. my husband and i have raised our boys there. i hope that they lead long and healthy lives in a place that is so beautiful and so gorgeous that it sometimes takes your breath away. what i know is that no one cares
more for alaska as those of us who live and work and raise our families there. we love our state. we respect the land. we would never risk its future for the sake of development. but, we also realize that is not the case here. the 1002 area was created by a congressional compromise. we always knew its future would require another one. today, alaskans are offering just that. we are not asking to develop all of the 1002 area, but instead, we are asking 2000 acres for about 1/10,000 of the refuge. we have waited nearly 40 years for the right technologies to come along so the footprint of development is small enough to ensure that the environment continues to be respected and will not be harmed. this is not a choice between energy and the environment.
we are past that. what we have today is a great lineup of witnesses to help our committee understand that. we have our entire alaska delegation with us, our governor, our congressman, our senator, we have our lieutenant governor, a number of alaska that live on the north slope. i thank all our witnesses for being here. i look forward to an excellent and informative hearing. senator, i turn to you and welcome your remarks. >> thank you, madam chair. i welcome the governor and colleagues to today's discussion. i should start this by saying this hearing is a great departure from the strong working relationship that senator myrurkowski and i have t to work on an energy agenda to move forward. it's too bad we are not using our resources to force the house colleagues to reconsider the important bill that included over 100 priorities to move our country forward on everything
from cyber security to energy efficiency. i also don't support the make up of today's panels. two colleagues who do not support opening the wildlife ref zhuszh who carried this bill, senators marquee and bennet were not allowed to be part of the panel. i believe we should have had more witnesses from indian country that represent not just the alaska native claim settlement act and corporations and yes, corporations are charged with economic development, but individual tribal members throughout alaska and the united states of america don't support this kind of development because they believe in the wildlife nature that god has given us and we are stewards for mother earth. i thank them for that. i thank them for their strong spiritual beliefs. thank you. we are here today because someone came up with a ludicrous
idea we can pass a tax reform bill that raises the deficit, increases taxes and that will take a sliver out of a wildlife refuge to do it. i want to call this caribou for millionaires. it is the most ridiculous idea i have heard as it relates to meeting the tax reform agenda. no, i don't like the set up of these three panels. i'm always glad to hear from the governor and always glad to hear from our colleagues, but our other colleagues should have had their voices heard and indian country better represented. when will we see the language? when will we have any idea about this process? so, i am disturbed. i could go in a direction of saying that we don't have to worry because some of the press reports are that from bloomberg news and others that, quote, the coastal arctic refuge does not
have rock formation and there is no great interest in developing the arctic wildlife refuge and there are safer bets. one could have the attitude there are, particularly with the trump administration's desire. i'm not sure where in the united states of america they don't want to drill, but with their 1.7 billion acres they want on the outer continental shelf and many other places in america, i find it hard to believe there will be the economic incentive to drill in the arctic wildlife refuge. why put a big "x" on top of something that is so unique to the united states of america? when i recently researched why we got to this point and heard some of the first people that made their case to the eisenhower administration quoting from the reports, quote, we knew it must be preserved as an original fragment of the past. the last opportunity to protect
part of this continent as it once was, end quote. why? because, as other people said, quote, it was a spiritual place, an arctic wildlife refuge. the fact that, quote, they also said it was an area that was left undisturbed by man. it was the last laboratory in which plants, animals and where they live, as they have always lived, is preserved, end quote. so, this is why we got to this point. this is what's unique about it. this is why, from the eisenhower administration to today, we have fought to protect it. now, is alaska's economy of great concern to us as a nation? yes. do we, in the pacific northwest, i think one of the first things i said to the chairwoman is let's talk about why the natural gas pipeline in alaska hasn't been built, because it has a
bigger impact than this. there are issues in which we need to be mindful about the energy economy moving forward. but this idea is not new and it's not better. there's nothing that's xhanged here. there's no new science that says we don't have to worry about this wildlife and there is no new science that says the oil development will take up a smaller footprint. this map that we will get to everyone basically shows that the development will take up a significant portion of the refuge. the 800 mile long transalaska pipeline, 219 miles of power transmission lines and so on and so forth. so, the notion that wildlife can exist in this unique environment in the same way with this development is just wrong. i look forward to hearing from secretary perry on this because i sent him a letter yesterday,
asking him how they can exist together. we'll look forward to seeing how he answers that. i also point out the uniqueness of this area has entered into an international agreement. the caribou population is so unique, so specific and so special that we have entered into an agreement with canada on it. that's because they want to protect this population of caribou as well. so, the notion that we should move forward on a wrong headed idea because all of a sudden people want revenue for a tax bill, and move forward today on something we don't know what we are moving forward on and language is just not the way i think we should be proceeding. i hope that we will have a chance, our colleagues to ask witnesses questions about this, but be assured, even though we don't agree with the process or the process of trying to get 51 votes to change the arctic wildlife refuge, we are never
stopping. we are never stopping and trying to protect the arctic wildlife refuge and the uniqueness and working with the people who also support that idea. thank you. >> thank you, senator cantwell. we have several panels this morning. i appreciate not only our delegation being here, but all the alaskans and the visitors that have joined us this morning. very distinguished panel, we will be led off by our colleague here, senator sullivan. he will be followed by the congressman for all alaska, congressman young, who has represented us in the house of representatives for 45 years? 45 years, going on 46. and the panel will be rounded out by our governor, governor
walker has been in office now for three years, is a lifelong resident and has great leadership and i appreciate you being here as well governor. >> i'm an independent senator. >> that is true. he is an independent. we don't talk about political affiliations here of anybody. that is noted for the record. senator sullivan, if you would like to lead off with the welcome, please. >> thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on this very important issue for the country. many in this room are protectors of alaska's environment. with all due respect, there are three people in congress who care more about alaska's environment than anyone else in the entire body. senator murkowski, congressman young and myself. the fundamental disconnect and discussion of the 1002 area is
the debate has not kept up with alaska's high standards, the highest in the world, and i'll talk about that, and advancement in technology. with all due respect to the ranking member, a lot has changed. a lot changed. responsibly developing the 1002 area is a win, win, win for the country. it will create jobs and grow the economy, increase energy security for americans and very importantly, it will help protect the global environment and strengthen our national security. the last two points i would like to emphasize in my remarks this morning. m madam chair, alaska has the highest standards for arctic development than any place in the world. i was in charge as alaska's commissioner of the department of natural resources. it's no impact exploration or specific requirements related to our incredible species like the polar bear or caribou, mandating
the best technology. we have a 50 year record of responsible resource development in our state. let me give you one example. no impact exploration. as the chair noted, on the north slope, we only allow for exploration during the winter months, they have required to build ice roads. you can see examples in some of the slides i provided. they have to leave before the winter ends. the ice pads and roads melt and have zero impact. the only thing left is a small capped well. that's one example of alaska's very high mandated standards. as the chair pointed out, we use these standards very recently in the past four years on the coastal plain in the same ecosystem of the 1002 area being debated now with the development of the point thompson project. there's a slide.
see how close it is to the 1002 area. there was minimal impact on the environment. the footprint, as you can see from the slides is very, very small and producing energy right now. madam chair, here is the issue those in congress who want to shut down resource development in alaska never acknowledge. when you disallow investment in alaska, the place with the highest standards on the environment in the world, you don't end up protecting the global environment. what you do is end up driving capital and investment to jurisdictions with much less environmental standards or no standards. countries like nigeria, venezuela and iran and russia, many of which are geo political foes. this brings me to the second point. producing more energy responsibly, oil, natural gas, renewables. making the united states a world
superpower. it will dramatically strengthen the national security. some of you know i served in the marine corps 24 years and served as u.s. assistant secretary of state. i have seen how energy can be used as a tool for good, productive diplomacy, but also for troublesome power grabs by the nation's foes. we don't have to import energy. when we don't have to import energy from countries that don't like us or better yet, when we can export american energy to our allies like japan or korea or even countries like china, this helps national security. i sit on the armed services committee. we have heard from military and civilian leaders from the country, democrats and republicans from secretary ash carter to secretary mattis, consistently stated that
producing more energy strengthens the national security. i know my friend senator king heard the comments consistently on the armed services committee as well. it's not just the americans who recognize this. the russians do as well. a recent new york times article from october 29 titled "russia uses its oil giant as a foreign policy tool." >> we'll include that as part of the record. >> they are wielding oil as a geo political tool spreading interest and challenging the united states. let me end with an anecdote of a meeting in last year at the halifax national security forum with senator mccain. we were meeting with a senior level russian and we asked him at the end of the meeting, what many can we do as a country to push back against the putin
regime. he looked at us and said, the number one thing you can do, the number one thing you can do is produce more american energy. opening the 1002 area using the highest environmental standards in the world and the most advanced technology will produce more american energy for the betterment of our country. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator sullivan. congressman young, you have been through a few anwr debates. we welcome your comments this morning. >> are you sure of that? madam chair, thank you for having this hearing and ranking member cantwell and the rest of the members of the senate. i don't feel comfortable on the senate side. i need a flashlight most of the time because sometimes it's pretty dark over here. i am one of the few people, there's one left in the congress that went through this battle 45
years ago, actually 42 years ago. this 1002 area, the history of it was created by senator jackson and senator stephens when the senators were really knowledgeable about what goes on. we recognize this area at that time about the value of oil and why we have the 1002 area. as you mentioned, anwr is about 19 million acres of land. 1002 footprint will probably be, i can't say what size it is, but i represent alaska. you see anything different on my nose right now? this is -- i am alaska. one tengt of one tengt percent. we are talking disturbance. the map was drawn up by the sierra club.
that bothers me. that's old information. this little dot on my nose, i weigh 225 pounds, this little dot is what we are talking about, the 1002 area. it's the potential of probably around, early estimates 10 billion barrels, problem 20 billion barrels of oil. senator sullivan brought it up, this is an issue of national security, national security. it is the one weapon russians willing, we can have the security for the nation as a whole. i was interested to hear about the caribou. you are going to hear a lot of nonsense stories later on in the day. i am interested in canada, the ambassador sent out a letter about opposing anwr. did we say anything when they drilled 270 wells right in the area for the caribou? 270 wells were drilled in this caribou area, where they cross
every year. they built a 400-mile road across the area, too. did we say anything then? this is not about, it's not ability the environment or the caribou, it's about economics. i'm ashamed of canada right now. is there an emotional issue they don't know about, been there or seen it nor understand the caribou herd. that's one thing that bothers me the most about the legislative process. what used to be, as i mentioned, the senators worked together when states were effected. we didn't get involved in the shipyards of certain members districts how they mismanufactured a ship. we didn't do that. we had people going and saying this is a great environmental area. maybe i'll find out how many of you have gone up to the senate side. let's think about national
security. i can run every two years, i'm not one of you guys, every six years. i supported this and fought for it 13 times. 13 times i have moved without a house on the senate side but once. president clinton vetoed it because he said it wouldn't relieve the environment we had that quickly. think about that a moment. if we are to be energy sufficient, to control the international instances that can be faced, we need anwr. the congress recognized it when we passed it. john cyberman agreed to this prodecision because they knew the value of that oil and the value to this nation. now, we are fighting the same battle again because of the ignorance and misinformation from those of us that don't have
resource development at all not only in alaska, we are easy to pick on because of the three person delegation, but make us less strong. to make us a second rate nation. that's what a lot of you wish to do. as a house member, i'm going to pass this again. i hope you have the courage to do what is right for this nation, what is good for alaska, what is good for the nation and good for all the people in the future. madam chairman, i thank you for having this hearing. i will remember and remind you, look at that little blue dot on my nose. that is the 1002 area. i don't think it changed my appearance very much because the coastal plain is not that area you see by all the environmental groups. it's a flat terrain that, in fact, was set aside by this congress and the senators for
the development, not the preservation. i yield. >> thank you, congressman. thank you for being here. governor walker, welcome. >> good morning, chairman murkowski, ranking member cantwell, thank you for the opportunity to speak. i am governor of alaska. i am nonpartisan. i have a goal as governor that future generations will be able to have the same benefits growing up in alaska that i had growing up in alaska. the territory, the lieutenant governor grew up in alaska. we see many changes for good. alaska is different. resource development is in our dna. we did it long before statehood and continue to do it. it's 70% of our income. we have done it for a long time. we do it right. we are careful and individual lent of the environment. i remember when we became a state. we celebrated. the deal was a compact that said
alaska, we cannot sell the resources in the ground. we have to live off it. we have to live off the royalties of it. that's how we fund our state. that was the deal then. we accepted that. we didn't realize we may not have access to resources to develop to live off those resources. that was the deal. all i'm asking for is to get the deal we made in 1969. the great compromise was made under -- was the 1002 was set aside for future development. that's what the deal was. we are asking for the benefit of the deal made long ago. this has become something i have lived with as an alaska president all my life. now, i'm dealing with it as governor of alaska in many ways, which i'll get to. the oil pipeline, the only thing wrong with the it is it's three quarters empty, sitting next to, miles away, from the most prolific area of hydrocarbons you can imagine.
10 billion barrels. you know, this is not about money. this is not about who gets what money in alaska chlgt this is about our future. this is about an economy and the young people who want a decent education. i want to thank the committee members that came to a field hearing in bethel and went on to a location in oscarville. you saw part of alaska that many have not seen. i'm a believer in seeing firsthand what alaska looks like. you know, we are a vast state, as we all know. we own, as the state of alaska, 242 airports. the reason we do that is 80% of our communities do not have roads. talking about infrastructure, we don't have enough to upgrade. you know, i sat in a listening circle a few years back. one of the elders said to me, i was not governor, he said mr. walker, my goal as a grandfather is to see one of my grandchildren flush a toilet in
their village. the infrastructure needs to be paid for out of the resources. that was the deal we made with congress when we became a state. we need the benefits of the bargain. we need it now. as i came into office, $1.6 billion deficit that grew to $3.7 billion deficit. i have had to do things i hope no future governor has to do. we made difficult decisions. i said no to help for funding. we closed facilities and laid off thousands of people. we have reduced our budget by $1.7 billion. it's tough to do. that hurts. public safety, alaskans don't feel safe right now. we are having a special session as we speak to bring that safety back. you know, i signed recently, a third of this week, a climate change administrative order. we have a climate change team.
eaed with dress that in alaska. we looked at climate change. it's impacted alaska. we relocated 12 villages. i have been to smaller. but we cannot do it without the financial resources. i don't see it coming from washington to relocate 12 villages so we need to look at how can we bring in the revenue. the only way is off our resources. alaska is unique that the beauty above ground is unparallel. the beauty below the ground is unparallel and our resources and we need to develop responsibly. as a governor, i can tell you that the support in the alaska legislature is 90% in support of this. please, please, let us develop our resources responsibly to fund our state and make alaska fuel safe and fund our health care and they are the highest in the nation by multiples.
please let us have the benefit of the bargain that we made in 1959 with this body. thank you for your time today. >> governor, senator congressman thank you for not only your testimony here this morning putting into perspective from a historical perspective, from a defense pe spective, from a resource perspective, it has great value to the conversation and we certainly appreciate it. i know congressman, it is a long way over to the house side. so we will let you get back as we move to our second panel. but i want to thank each of you. >> could i -- >> thank you, madam chair, but i'm gad to see so many of my colleagues on this side all serving with me. >> it is not so bad on this side. >> everybody but abraham lincoln served. >> could i ask the governor a quick question. >> we are not prepared to do a
question. if it is quick. >> i think -- we don't get a chance to talk to him that often and i would appreciate a chance that we do. part of this idea is traveling with a package of legislation moving through the house that gets rid of the local sales deductions and washington and lask alaska are unique in that we don't have income tax and we deduct, are you supportive of your -- that concept and they would pack this with blocking medicaid. are you supportive of those concepts as part of the package to get anwr opened up. >> senator cantwell, i have looked at the package and i willee -- i will evalute ate the package and i have been getting ready for the hearing today. we look at us as a part of the
solution on the deaf significance. revenue from alaska because the royalties will be shared equally between the federal government and the state of alaska and if there is innocent terest in red the budget. >> we'll get you information but our an analysis is alaskans will pay $1,100 to $1,400 tax increase and individuals $900 on that sales tax deduction so i think it is i bad idea for our state and your state and i hope no one around here takes the bait to open up anwr. but thank you. >> we'll do all we can to open up anwr. >> senator cassidy. >> health care reform is not part of this. block granting medicaid is not part of this. it could be a disinformation campaign put out there to obscure the truth. we'll come back to health care
reform. but that should not be speaking of here as if it is jermaine to the argument. that is misleading to the american people. >> i -- i went do somewhat limited jurisdiction here in the energy committee. our instruction is to find $1 billion and as we mentioned, repeatedly, that we have that opportunity within the 1002 area of alaska. governor and senator and congressman, thank you for being here this morning. let's call up the second panel, please. and as you are getting seated, i will provide brief introductions. we've heard from our governor, governor walker, his lieutenant governor, and partner is our lieutenant governor byron millot, lieutenant governor is a
leader of great renowned in our state, an alaska leader hailing from yakutat and has had nun opportunity to appear before the comm committee on numerous occasions and followed by greg sheehan. greg is the principle deputy direct your for fish and wildlife at department of interior. it is good to have you before the committee. mr. samuel alexander has joined us and we welcome him as a tribal member from the gwich'in government and thank you for traveling such a long distance and mr. matthew rex ford, the tribal administrator at in the native village of catovic, the one community, the one village within the 1002 area. it is good to have you here. so lieutenant governor if you would like to lead off this morning. we've asked you to try to limit
your comments to about five minutes. your full statement will be inkrorpti in -- incorporated as part of the record and at the conclusion of your testimony we'll have the opportunity to ask questions of each of you. so governor thank you for traveling and being before the committee. welcome. >> thank you, madam chairman and ranking member cantwell and members of the committee, the statement of governor walker in the record details the reasons clearly that alaska -- the state of alaska supports the issue before the committee. that the need for development is clear. that the need for the revenue is clear. that the availability of revenue should develop and take place, will be real. i want the focus my remarks
briefly on the history of -- as also has been spoken to of the anwr issue. i was here as a young staffer during the development in the senate as a young staffer during the development of the alaska native claim settlement act and milka and ultimately the federal classifications in alaska, flowed from anksa in section d-2 of that act. there were bargains made that were made very clear to alaska, which from time to time i had the opportunity to help develop and which in practice i saw go
away in my home village of yakka tack, i saw preserve areas created in the st. alias national park in which we were promised as native residents, as native subsistence users, as folks who lived in that area for centuries were promised that we could use that area into the future, they were carved out for that purpose and i saw camps that my family owned and others in our community used for generations burned down by the national park service, regardless of what had been promised to us by this congress. i see in anwr the 1002 area being an area in which the congress made a promise to alaska and to our country that
we would develop those resources should they be able to be done safely, should they meet the market tests, should they be able to be brought to market. we see a complete infrastructure on the north slope of our state with a pipeline to market as the governor said, that is now only 25% of capacity. we see point thompson literally on the border of the 1002 area with the infrastructure to allow the minimal impact in the 1002 area for exploration and even development made possible without any further significant impact on the environment. we see the ability to deal with our national security
requirements, which alaska is very concerned about as we look to certain neighbors of our state, our unique global national security location. we see the need for our people -- alaska is the one state that makes use of our fish and game and plant resources as a highest priority for food security among all of the uses of our resources. it is called subsistence. it is our highest public policy use. and as resources become scarce, as they cycle through the -- the life cycles of resources, we make sure that our people who
depend on the resources for their livelihood, for their life ways for food security are the ones that had the ultimate access to those resources. no other state does that. my wife, my children are athab baskan and coya con and not gwich'in but i game to this office on the basis that i have fought for my entire life, the life ways -- the desire, the aspirations of alaska native peoples and i will continue to do so with every breath that i have. thank you. >> thank you lieutenant governor. mr. sheehan. welcome to the committee. >> thank you. thank you chairman, and ranking member candwell and members of the committee for the opportunity to present the department of interior testimony
on resource development in the alaska 1002 area. the area is contained within the arctic national wildlife refuge and i'm deputy director of the wildlife service. i spoke with our staff in alaska and i appreciate the passion that surrounds every aspect of this issue. the debate before us is a significant policy question that congress anticipated decades ago and addressing today. the roots of the hearing date back to 1980 when the alaska national interest lands was signed into law. that law expanded the existing arctic national wildlife range to 19.3 million acres renamed the national wildlife refuge and they enhanced long-term conservation of fish and wildlife resources in the refuge and set aside part of the refuge, the 1002 for potential development of oil and gas
reserves and nilka had the range as wilderness, requiring the area to be managed in accordance with the wilderness act and it includes conservation of fish and wildlife and fulfillment of international agreement and continued subsistence by residents and ensure water dwaunt and quality in the refuge. section 1002 provides for the continuing assessment of the fish and wildlife resources of the coastal plain of the arctic refuge. it also provides for the analysis of the impacts oil and gas and exploration development and production and authorizes exploratory activity within the coastal plain. research observation and actives have been occurring on an on going basis since the passage, and the congress statutorily deferred a decision regarding future management of the
1.5 million area coastal plain in recognition of the natural resource and specifically 1003 state those leasing or development leading to the production of gas shall be taken unless authorized by a act of congress. a number of key steps were taken by the department related to the 1002 area unique status and an assessment completed and sent to congress in the 1987, the secretary of interior considered they lease the area for oil and gas. since 1987, the u.s. geological survey has conducted a number of assessments of the resources in the 1002 area and the most rece recent analysis determined there is a mean estimate of 10.3 barrels of recoverable oil with 80% to 90% being economically recoverable at $42 per barrel. and the sources continue to inventory and monitor the fish and wildlife and natural
resources within the 1002 so that current data is available for future activity. in 1988 the conservation recognized it for the [ inaudible ] herd for alaska native people. other important wildlife species including polar bear and birds and several speciesin habit the area. at fish and wildlife service we are committed to ensuring the health of all species as congress provides direction on future use of this area. last spring sect zinke visited the north slope with chairman murkowski and a bipartisan senate delegation and signed an order that requires the u.s. geological survey to update the resource assessment for the 1002 area. including collection and consideration of new geological and geophysical data and the potential for reprocessing existing data and it does not violate any requirements for
energy development. this evaluation is consistent with the scope and intent and will provide the department's understanding of resources within the 1002 area. the administration as fy-18 budget proposed oil and gas loosing in the 1002 area and we support the area to open the area for production. if leasing is authorized, the nation beliefs it will boltster economic and provide revenue to the state of alaska and the federal government. the department will follow am lickable requirements to ensure that the development of the area is conducted responsibly. chairman mur cowski, i appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the department on this issue and look forward to answeringy questions you may have. >> and thank you. and mr. alexander, welcome to the committee.
>> [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> good morning, my name is samuel alexander. i'm from fot yukon alaska, and i live in fairbanks. my parents are clarence and jean alexander from ft. yukon. chairman and ranking member and fellow members of committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the arctic national wildlife refuge. today i'm here to talk about why my people, the gwich'in nation oppose the opening of the national wildlife refuge. as a graduate of west point and a special forces officer, my people have asked me to speak because i walk in two worlds, your world and the guchin world. so why do we oppose the opening of the refuge to drilling. at the heart of the issue is freedom. the freedom for us to continue to exist as indigenous people. to exist as guchin. and what does it mean.
the word means people and place and for tens and thousands of years it is alaska and to be connected to the land, to be gwich'in is to believe the animals are owed the deepest respect and in that regard it is our duty to protect the land and animals. we as gwich'in see the opening of the refuge on the attack on us and the porcupine which we depend. i served in the u.s. military as a green beret i deployed to ruck to free the depressed and little did i realize i came home to find my own people under attack. when we advocate for ways wir viewed with derision as we are trying to fight progress. we take the long view and embrace our traditional ways because they have served us well for a millennia. people have started to embrace our ways. you see a new interest in diets free of process food and what we
call a traditional diet and awalking among the national world is good for your brain and you don't have to tell a gwich'in that. when we see somebody looking unhealthy we say [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> we come from. [ speaking in a foreign language ] uks the sacred place where life begins and these grounds are being threatened all all development. a study by the national counsel shows the disruption of kabibu and this brings us to the issue of food security. what is food security? according to the department of the agriculture, food security is access by all people at all times to enough food for an active and healthy life. foodin security is the household and economic condition of unlimbed access to food and what is adequate food for gwich'in
the real adequate food is food that comes from the land. caribou and moose and sal mob. we had a hard time eating your diet. i followed a diet and it was disastrous and i couldn't heat a host of healthy foods. over the thousands of years of calling the arctic home we adapted to a animal based diet. and it wasn't until i tarted eating gu eating food that i tarted feeling healthy again. the heard will limb you the our access to traditional healthy food and push us from food security into the realm of food insecurity. no amount of money can replicate our healthy diet. no amount of money can replicate our ways. tell me how replacing caribou with highly processed foods will be better for us. it will not. if we rely on our stores for food we would look at spam and
m mac -- macaroni and cheese and what you find in the lower 48 and to what end are you opening up the ref annual. to what end will you destroy our way of life. you aren't addressing climate change can a ch is stressing other food sources and the caribou, you rnts address the [ inaudible ] and aren't addressing energy security. as a former special forces i fail to see at hoping a refuge provides us any advantage. we are hard-pressed to understand your reasoning behind opening the refuge. so i will leave you with this. the late traditional chief moses sam of arctic village once said when describing his up bringing on the land, i what was never hungry. it is a rich life. we live a rich life because of our connection to the land, and to the porcupine herd. money can't buy our wealth.
but the reckless pursuit of money can take it away and for that we'll never stop fighting to protect the porcupine caribou and our way of life. thank you for your time. [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> thank you mr. alexander. mr. rex ford. welcome to the committee. >> chairman murkowski, and ranking member cantwell, members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. my name is matthew rex ford, and i serve as a tribal administrator for the native village of [ inaudible ]. i'm also the president of the corporation. both [ inaudible ] serve as members of the voice of the arctic. along with 18 other north slope communities and entities. i was raised and live in alaska located inside the 1002 area and all of the organizations i previously mentioned, nvk, kic
and voice support oil and gas development there. approximately 92,000 acres of surface lands in and around the community are owned by the corporation. our village corporation. these lands are within and are then surrounded by anwr. we are an island in the middle of the largest wildlife refuge in america. much of that land is also the ancestral home of the people that are indigenous inhabitants of the region and used the resources they've blessed us with for more than 10,000 years. and many refer to anwr as a 1002 area, this is the home of the [ inaudible ]. the people of dopeople. they are vital to the resource and another is oil and gas and
lots of it. we rely on the boundy of the land and find sus continuance within anwr. since the mid 1980s our people have fought to open our homelands to responsible exploration and development. at the same time, we were 48 lawmakers and special interest groups that the country -- in the country have waged war on the idea, citing the disruption of wildlife and the pristine arctic environment. the arctic will not become conservation refugees. we do not approve of efforts to turn our homeland into one giant national park. which literally guarantees us a fate with no economy, no jobs, reduced subsistence and no hope for the future of our people. we are already being impacted by restrictions of access to the federal lands for subsistence
purposes. as anwr debates occur the views are left out and in fact this is precisely why the leadership of the arctic slope region created voice in 2015, tired of outsiders living thousands of miles away speaking on our behalf and driving arctic policy decisions that directly affect us and our community. my fellowin pat and i believe in a social license to operate and perhaps no other potential project in the history of america has called for such a blessing from local indigenous people more than this one. we have the benefit of decades of experience working with the oil and gas industry to implement stringent regulations to protect the lands through best management practices and the industry consistently has lived up to the standards. we know development and anwr can be done safely because it is
already being done safely. all over the arctic. we think that now is the time to open anwr to measure exploration and development for the benefit of our community, all of alaska and the nation. thank you. >> mr. rexford, thank you. and thank you to each of you on the panel here this morning. we'll now begin with the round of questions. five minutes to each member here. mr. rex ford, i want to begin with you. if i may, and i do so because i believe that you are right in your statement that so often the voice of the people who actually live within the 1002 area, the area we are speaking about today are often either not heard or just overwhelmed by outside voices. i think people are often surprised when they realize that
there is a village within the 1002 area and there are people who live there. that the community of catovic, you fly into and there is an airstrip there and you have a school for your children and you have a community hall. you have a store where i think most who go in are shocked and horrified by the prices. but that you live and work and raise your families within the 1002 area. and i think oftentimes i go back to the map that i showed initially, this is an area the size of the -- the anwr is the size of the state of california. the 1002 area is an area the size of delawarement b, but the one village in delaware and that village of catovic is the home to you and your family and to others. can you provide for the community a little bit of the
expectation that the people of catovic might have from the development of the 1002 area, again we're talking about a small, small piece. you've seen development at point thompson which is 45 miles from the village of catovic. if you could put it in context, i would appreciate it. >> thank you, chairman murkowski. yes, the benefits to the community of catovic will be a lot. because the north slope bureau has a tax base and that is our -- our regional municipal bureau who taxes industry and that provides the infrastructure that has provided so much to our communities, provided us roads and houses, schools, clinics, to be able to flush our toilets and so, yes, the benefits we've seen and we do not want to go
backwards. we do not want to hinder the economic -- the economy of the north slope bureau. >> thank you. i remind people that your kids, what your hoping for for your children is no different than than minor anybody else. you want them to be well educate and have a good future. lieutenant governor, i would like to ask you a question. you've spoken very passionately here as you have in other forums about subsistence and the identity that it is to our alaska native people throughout our state, whether you are up north in the 1002 area or down in yakutat in your home community. many will say that a subsistence lifestyle and an opportunity to
access the 1002 area are not consistent. that there is an in consistency and that -- it cannot be done and why do you believe development can occur without negatively impacting, the herd or the native subsistence way of life. >> in the some 40 years of development of the arctic, for oil and gas production the resources have been both stable and have grown and waned as their biological cycles determine. particularly the caribou resource has grown. it has moved generally as it always has.
in that region. the impact of development has been carefully managed and constrained. the management by alaska of the both the petroleum resource and the renewable natural resources, particularly fish and game, has been as senator sullivan, a former commissioner of natural resources of our state and attorney general of our state has emphasized, has been of the highest order. the priority for subsistence use of our fish and game resources is the highest statutory priority in our state.
as i indicated, it is something that i personally have fought for my entire life. and whether it is the gwich'in, the inuit or the clicket or any other rural user group of our natural resources, the state of alaska has that management and that responsibility as its highest priority and we will continue to fight for it. >> thank you. senator cantwell. >> mr. alexander, thank i for your service to our country and thank you for articulating what i think so many people know or a lot of people know that our great outdoors provides great relief. one of the reasons why our veterans have been out spoken again this administration's wrong headed policies, whether it is tacking on park fees or trying to run overin tick witnesses act, but i so -- i
appreciate our veterans being so supportive of making sure we have a place to fish and hunt and rec re rate. so thank you for and i just would point out for the record, i this think there were 640 oil spills since 1995, including 13 spills of over 10,000 gallons, since 2009 as a result of those operations including a 2000 british petrol um ordered to pay penalties because it illegally disposed of taxic chemicals and in 2011 bp exploration was ordered to pay 25 million for an estimated 213,000 gallons of crude oil from the pipelines on to the north slope. so we know what happened. we know what happens. the notion that people think that this is kmcome is orat, i
think the science doesn't support that. we'll find out what the secretary says. on the gwich'in population, you talked about the migration impacts and we've seen some changes in this caribou population. what is the biggest concern in the development that the migration will move out of the reach of subsistence for the gwich'in people or could you explain what it is that we're so concerned about. >> you know, it is interesting when you are down here in the states and you want to go get some food, you go to the store and you grab you some beef and costs you maybe $4 a pound or something like that. you want to get something organic, nice and tasty and healthy, it is twoigood going t cost you 10 or $15 a pound so as
gwich'in we recognize we have that tasty caribou running around out there and it plays a big part in our diet. and we're concerned that we call this place [ speaking in a foreign language ] . the sacred place where life begins. this is where the porcupine caribou herd. this is the only spot that they have their caving and we're concerned that you have any type of disruption in that ground, it is not they are going to move elsewhere. they won't exist. if you look at the boundaries of the gwich'in nation, it follows the path of the caribou, so when people talk about us being not in the 1002 area, that is true in one sense. but in the other sense, we speak for the caribou. that is why we are here.
we're their voice and they live in that 1002 area and that is where their bibbys their babies are born. where their children come from. and it is our responsibility to ensure they have a safe place to do that. to calf and it is our responsibility to future generations of the gwich'in people to ensure that we maintain our livelihood which is tide to the caribou. so very important for us. >> and have you -- have we seen changed in that population closer to area where drilling has happened? >> you know, people always bring up the central herd and they talk about how the numbers have grown. they say there is more caribou there. well more of something doesn't mean healthy of something. let's keep that in mind. there is americans, we're a lot more now, doesn't mean we are a lot healthier. so let's keep that in mind. the terms of the impact though,
we do see an impact. the caribou, they are scared of the development. they run away from that stuff. they don't want to be out there. and in fact when we go hunting, you might not know this, but caribou have scouts, they have scouts that go in the front and when the scouts come into trouble, the rest of the herd moves. so we always tell our people, you leave the scouts alone and let them go ahead and you let the main herd go by. so the impact that it is going to have a real impact and we also have -- haven't addressed the impact of the climate change and impacting the caribou land as there is more brush than ever in the past, they've had to change where they go. it is a climate change is real. i just left fairbanks and there is no snow on the ground. when i was a kid, it would be 30 below by the time it is halloween. it was 30 degrees when i left. and that has a real impact on
the caribou as well. when it ices over, they have a harder time tote -- getting to th their food and i hope this body recognized that. >> thank you mr. alexander. >> thank you. senator lee. >> thank you very much, madam chair, i want to add my support for the opening up of a coastal plain region of anwr to responsible energy development. this proposal makes sense on a number of levels. from an economic perspective, opening up this small remote area will provide potentially billions of dollars in federal revenue alone, over the next few decades which could be used to chip away at our staggering budget deficits that we are facing. and new development will be a boon certainly for alaska. a state that is struggling with high unemployment and with its own budget shortfalls. opening up the coastal plain
also makes sense from an environmental perspective. energy development in the united states needs some of the most rigorous environment standards in the entire world. this is especially true in alaska. where responsible energy production has occurred for decades without undue harm to the surrounding environment, including polar bear and caribou habitat. much of the credit for this environmental record of responsibility should go to recent technology innovations. for example, thanks to modern drilling methods, developers could access hundreds of miles of oil, of subsurface oil while occupying a few acres of surface land. companies continue to -- innovate the cost of development will fall even further. but perhaps the biggest single reason why i support the opening of the coastal plain is because it is widely supported by the
people of alaska. and particularly the inopiate who live in that part of the refuge. i'm a strong believer that local input should play a role in land management issues. people living in, on, near the land in question should have the most significant say in it. the people closest to the land deserve to have their voices heard. and deserve to have their wishes respected. coming from the state of the utah where the government owns two-thirds of the land i fully understand the frustration of alaskans who lives and livelihoods are subject almost constantly to the whims and wishes of well connected interest groups. regulators and politicians in washington, d.c. thousands of miles from where the people connected to the land
themselves live. so mr. rex ford, in your testimony, you articulated these frustrations very clearly. and very passionately andel kwept -- eloquently and could you talk about the importance that we should take into account, the importance of in corporating local knowledge and input in major land decisions, including decisions like the ones that we're discussing today. >> yes, thank you, senator lee. so we -- i'm sorry, can you repeat the question. >> can you talk about the importance of taking into account local knowledge and input in the local sentiment of the people immediately affected by the land on making decisions like these. >> yes, thank you. i would have to say that also
the -- what brought about the technology advances was the participation of the local government on the north slope and their stringent rules and conditions and stipulations that they put in place to ensure that this is done right. and living in the arctic national wildlife refuge is trouble some in the sense that we have limited access to our lands, to the mountains during the summer season. we cannot travel over the tundra without disturbing our harming the tundra because it is wet land. but throughout most of the year it is frozen and we use snow machines to go to the areas where we need to find what we are looking for. >> so you experience the land differently, you have a deeper familiarity with it than say somebody in washington, d.c.
would have and that has an impact on the way you view it and on the way it should be managed. >> yes. very much so. and we care deeply about the caribou, about the polar bear, about the whales, more than anything else because that is what gives us our livelihoods. we have a strong subsistence community and much of what is caught, if we have an over abundance is traditional knowledge to share that abundance with first the elders and those who cannot provide for themselves. >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator lee. senator heinrich. >> mr. alexander, i want to thank you for being with us here today. i had a chance to visit the north slope, places like dead
horse to see a number of the developments that have occurred in the bay area. and to visit the refuge as well and to go to places like arctic village. i was struck by the connection, the language and cultural connections with the navajo people in the southwest. that really surprised me. and in listening to everyone here today, what really struck me was the way you talked about this place. and how different it was from the way my colleagues talked about this place. or the way that the gentleman from the department of interior talked about this place. they talked about the 1002 area. they talked about anwr. anwr to me sounds like a middle eastern country covered in sand where we should develop lots of oil and gas. they don't talk about a refuge. and you said, this is the sacred
place where life begins. can you talk a little bit more about how your people talk about this place. >> thank you, senator. our people think of this place as the heart and we think of [ inaudible ] as the heart of the refuge. this is the heart of the refuge. and it is interesting, earlier our congressman talked about how it was just a little dot on his nose, i thought that was funny because you know if i were to say to you, you wan to do something about that dot on your nose, let's go ahead and have open heart surgery, you would probably think that is not a good idea. right? that's not a good idea.
so when we talk about the refuge, we talk about land, it is tied to our language and our understanding of the world. and the caribou, we are connected to them when we recognize that. we talk about -- i hear this talk about development all of the time. we need to develop this and develop that. when i think we need is understanding of the sustainability of the life that we live at guchin. we are not asking and sitting here asking for anything. we are not saying we need hospitals, we need schools, we need all of these things. we're not saying give us money. what we're saying is let us live as gwich'in. because we are recognize the wealth that we have as people and it is nothing that you could give us, we recognize it is something that could be taken away from us. and so when we talk about the land, we talk about the caribou, it is in reverence to them.
and you know, i keep hearing, well the locals. let's hear what the locals have to say about the 1002 area. the locals are caribou. those are the locals that don't have a voice. and that is why we're here at guchin. >> and what struck me about that geography is the flan is the flat place to the west is frankly an industrial zone. you could say how -- you could say birds nest on every drilling rig, but it doesn't look like that when you are there. and then to the south and to the east are mountains. and this is the place where the caribou flow like a river and this is the spring. and if you lose the spring, you lose the whole river, don't you. >> absolutely. because i think there is this idea that with development, you're only going to maybe harm
part of the herd or maybe they'll move over a little bit. there is not that option for them. there is not that option. and so we're talking about the destruction of the herd, andir repparable damage to our culture and people living there for tens of thousands of years. and when i say tens of thousands, i'm not making up numbers. there is a place called blue fish cave in the yukon territory, the oldest known human campsite in north america and that is guchin territory. >> thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. senator cassidy. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. there is actually -- i'm from louisiana and believe it or not, even though your average temperature in july is cooler than my average temperature in december, there is a lot of similarities between the state an we have a lot of oil and gas development. one of the reasons i think this is a positive thing is there are
so many folks in our state who didn't go to college, good people who make good incomes because they are able to work in the oil and gas juindustry and make a product which the rest of the world wants and economically beneficial for that family and about equal opportunity for these folks but i could also apply what we do in louisiana to some of the stuff that we see here. everybody discusses responsible oil and gas development with a limited footprint. and i can say that in the gulf of mexico that technology has progressed so that you could dynamically drill from a central point far out and then tieing back therefore limiting the pad, if you will, so the sub c is a tie back or similar to what is here. and i look at that, because if you look at what senator sullivan gave us, it took us 65 acre gravel pad in 1970, to do the three kwar miles of
drilling. and 12 acre gravel pad in 2016 to do a 58 kwar miles. and now for future extended research drilling, it will take a 12 acre gravel pad to do 125 square miles. and that is very similar to what we are currently doing in the gulf of mexico where once you have the rig, you go far out and then tie back in a way which minimized impact. so i will say that. i understand there issent currently a proj wekt with 35,000 feet and reach 125 kwar miles so it is not just the gulf of mexico, it is also in alaska. mr. lieutenant governor, we actually have empiric evidence of everything we're discussing. since the drilling gun in prudoe bay not far from section 1002, how has development affected the
area, and how have these technology advances that we spoken of, if you will, modify that impact? >> the technology capacity as you've just described is working on the north slope. the act dblt -- the act to reduce the footprint and the ability to reach out is taking place as we speak. there has been no impact on the 1002 area, simply because that is the issue before us today. to allow that potential to be tapped. there have been comments about -- about spills and other
negative consequences of a massive decades long development on the north slope. producing billions of barrels of oil. and what i can say to that is that technology has again allowed us to be aggressively responsive, that the regulatory regime has changed, will continue to evolve, and the technology has grown, our ability to respond to difficulty has grown. the ability to maintain the habitat literally, the eco-system has been aggressively managed. and the issues responded to, and that is of course part of the emphasis of our testimony today.
is to say that we can deal both with the need for the development, the production of the petroleum resource, to manage the future of the renewable resources- >> let me mention because i'm about to rup out of seconds. to em -- emphasize your point. dan sullivan gave this out and it shows ice pads being used for this rig and when it thaws you see no roads or pads because they are ice pads and roads and they melt away and the only thing left is an eight by eight foot well house that remains for future development but nothing else seen. so you have done a very nice job of preserving the eco-system without trace. except for an eight by eight
foot well house. >> that is exactly right. >> i'm out of time. i yield back. thank you. >> thank you senator, cassidy. senator cortez masto. >> thank you madam chair. thank you gentleman for the conversation today. i would like to start with mr. sheehan, mr. sheehan, you have extensive background in conservation and 25 years in utah, nevada and it is our neighbor to the east and i've spent a lot of time in southern utah and you've been there for 25 years as the utah division of -- with the utah division of wildlife resources and that is the correct and the director at some point in time in the last five years. >> i was the director for the past five years. >> that is great can i ask you this. my understanding of the 1980 law and the purpose of the refuge states four things. to conserve fish and wildlife
populations and habitats in the natural diversity, to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the united states with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitat, and to provide a manner consistent with purposes one and two for the opportunity for consistent subsistence and to ensure water quality and quantity within the refuge. are those purposes still true today. >> yes. absolutely. those are still being fulfilled. >> so can then you explain to me how if we are to open up to oil and gas drilling, how that is compatible with those purposes. >> thank you, senator. as part of the 1980 law that you referenced, it established criteria to manage the area by and that is still being fulfilled.
in when you talk about compatibility, in the refuge act it said each refuge shall be managed to fulfill the system and the specific purpose for what that refuge was established ant and at the time section 1002 and 1003 created an avenue for the discussion of exploratory work and potentially drilling down into the future under section 1003. so at this point, the department of interior and the president and secretary are committed to honoring the desires of the state, honoring the desires of the need for energy independence and still fulfilling the law of anoka which providing opportunity under that very law that you mentioned to perform these type of activities. >> so there is no compatibility standard that you have to look
at. you feel it is in the law that you have the authority to come in and listen to the locals and this is what they want so this is what you are going to do, is that correct? >> certainly we strive to make every action compatible as best we can within that area. as has been mentioned multiple times today, that is a 19.5 acre area and within the boundaries of the refuge, about a million and a half are in the 1002 area. if this body of congress elects to allow for development of oil and gas resources in the area, we'll work to ensure compatibility of that use, with other existing use -- >> so is your position today that -- -- that u.s. fish and wildlife doesn't have a position. you are going to really do whatever we say in congress you should be doing. so you are not here advocating one way or the another? >> no, senator. i'm saying that the compatibility of that refuge will be determined as i
mentioned with this specific purposes for which that refuge was established. >> which is it different than what i identified previously. >> it is -- those four elements, you mentioned. but it is certainly also the potential exploration and development of other uses as we've heard from multiple members here today. >> thank you. let me just ask governor mallet, lieutenant governor, thank you so much for joining us today. you know, we've been instructed to raise a billion dollars in this committee as part of fiscal year 18 budget to pay for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy. i don't see how opening the refuge to oil and gas leasing will come close to raising that billion dollars but i'm here to understand the numbers and understand why many think it can. can you explain that math to me or do you have an understanding of that at all? >> i have a general understanding. i've seen the materials, i've
seen the -- the analysis. it seems very clear that with the prospective development and the already existing analysis of the size of the reservoir reserves, that very significant revenue can accrue to both the federal and the state governments. >> do you think it will be a billion dollars to the federal government? >> i believe it will be many multiples of that number. yes. >> based on the numbers that you've seen. >> yes. >> okay. i appreciate that. i notice my time is up. thank you. >> thank you senator. senatorver aso. >> thank you very much. lieutenant governor, pleasure to see you. when governor walker testified early. >> he mentioned a bipartisan
group of us who have been to bethel and then to oscarville and hi a chance to do that and with senator murkowski this spring and had an opportunity to visit pump station one and with senator murkowski and had a chance to visit at dead horse. it's my understanding that the through put on the pipeline peaked in the late 80s and declined to 75% of the pipeline capacity. can you explain the importance of pipeline capacity and why it's so important? >> the pipeline is at 25% of its capacity. the need to continue to utilize it and its full capacity is clear when we look at the national security interests of our nation, when we look at the revenue needs of our state, when we look at the revenue needs of
our nation, and the impact on the economy of our state, the impact on the economy of our nation are each very clear. the opportunity to allow our nation and our state to have revenue not just to meet the full range of existing budgetary needs, but to be responsive to a changing climate, particularly in our state is very real and must be addressed. and if not by our nation, then by our state, which we are fully prepared to do. but it requires resources, fiscal resources in order to do so. i want to emphasize, once again, that our national security interests is critical. that we in alaska sometimes feel
fairly vulnerable. we are in agr geopolitical area where modest capacity of destructive force that we can be a target. we know a changing arctic is changing the security interests of each of the nation's involved. those are open questions as we speak. and the need for our nation and our state to have security is very significant. we also support and believe that with that kind of national security interest being responded to, that the full range of interests that allow us to live reasonable, responsible, good lives create a society for
our state are significantly tied in with the pipeline and its ability to deliver petroleum to our nation and to our world. >> i agree that's essentially the same assessment i had having been to the locations. and obviously being from an energy state in wyoming similar concerns and needs that we have for a nation in terms of energy security and energy independence. and now as president trump says dominance. in terms of the geopolitical threats we face around the world as you so appropriately stated. i have one follow up. given the close approximaproxim purdue bay, do you believe there are opportunities that could actually improve existing wildlife habitat? >> i believe so, yes. the north slope borough has a
very robust resource management program. the state of alaska and our fish and wildlife management and our natural resource department and our department of environmental conservation will work as hard as we can in order to both maintain and where opportunities present, to grow the full range of fish and wildlife and other natural resources on those lands. >> mr. sheehan, do you have anything you might want to add to that and improve existing wildlife habitat is th? >> thank you, senator. certainly i think there is work going on throughout those areas now for mitigation. but also a lot of research. and we are trying to learn not just simply about how to mitigate, but how to use best
practices to avoid conflicts, to avoid challenges that could exist from the introduction of oil and gas so that if we do have this type of work done down the road, that it's done responsibly and as best it can be with the wildlife resources. >> thank you. thank you very much, madam chairman. >> thank you senator bledsoe. senator king. >> thank you. i have technical questions that i think are important in evaluating this. i don't see any witnesses that could address them. i'm afraid mr. sheehan you are the nearest i can get. the first question is as i understand this proposed legislation which we haven't seen yet but the house ibill talks about 2,000 acre limitation. senator has mentioned that. is that contiguous 2,000 acres
within this? or is that 12 acres here hand 10 acres over there? do you know what that 2,000 acre means? >> thank you, senator. i'm going to have to defer that question. because i've not seen any language so i can't respond to that. i don't know what language. >> i think that's an important question. because it was presented to me as the size of dulles airport which is fine if it's just one place. but i think what it means is it's scattered all over the place. and if you add it all together it's 2,000 acres. second question, do you know how many wells are contemplated in this development? >> again, i think that depends on what's passed by the body of this congress. if in fact an action is passed, because that could stipulate which area of this could be developed, potentially all of it, potentially some part of it. so i think until we have a better sense of that i can't respond to how many wells. >> if we are being told there is 10 billion barrels here, if
that's what people are representing is we are after, it seems to me we have to do some calculations what does that imply. my back of the energy, and always dangerous to turn me lose with calculator is we are talking several thousand sand wells to produce billion over ten years. and again i think it's important to assess the impact. are we talking 10 wells? 100 wells or 1,000 wells? third question, any idea how this oil is going to get out from all these wells? how does it get any where? >> well, again, i suspect that the most likely method of moving that would be via pipelines. but that's how most of that oil is moved now. >> we are not only talking about these 12 acre pads, but talking about now talking about pipelines and presumably roads to get to these various places. any ideas on the cost of
extraction in this region? what we are talking about? whether this is $50 or $40 or $60? >> well, they say it's economically recoverable at $42 a barrel. when they define economically recoverable they say 12% profitability factor, if you will, or 12% margin on that. so that's the price point that was done in an analysis in 2009 and certainly oil prices a little higher than that today. but it's hard to say what they could be many years from now. >> i understand you are a resource guy. and you are from the department of interior not a boil and gas guy. but it does bother me that you are representing the administration telling us this is an okay deal without knowing the answers to my questions. i don't see how you can say this looks fine unless you know how many wells, how many miles of pipeline, where they will be located. i mean, we are being asked to
make an assessment here of ocean hally economic benefit versus environmental risk but i don't see how you can make that evaluation without knowing the questions to those answers i've raised. >> thank you again, senator. >> without having a full set of legislation without knowing the direction to us, it would be hard for smief or even an oil and gas expert to answer all of those questions. but what i'll say is that they are difficult choices to make here. >> i agree with that. but i want to know what choices i'm making. i don't want to make choices where i don't understand what the impacts are going to be. that's all i'm suggesting. >> well, and what i would say today is that we support responsible development in whatever form or fashion that that best occurs in. and we know more about what that footprint of that area looks like and what technologies are best available if and when this
effort takes place, which could be many years from now, before drilling takes place. and i expect it will be evolving technologies between now and then just as we have seen many in the last eight or nine years. >> thank you. madam chair, i hope if we are talking about marking up legislation, we will have the material and data to answer the questions we have raised. i don't see how we can make this decision without answering the fundamental question of how many wells are we talking about, how many miles of pipeline. we just can't make that trade off without having that data. i would respectfully request that we have an opportunity to explore that data before we are being asked to mark up a bill. >> and senator king, i do hope that you are going to be able to stick around for the second panel. because i think that we will have an opportunity to get into some more of the specifics. but, again, recognizing that in terms of what may actually be
produced, again, depends on a lot of variables that we are going to make assumptions on. but again i think you will get more of the specifics with some of the folks that we have coming up. >> i hope so. i looked down the list and didn't see anyone that i thought would be responsive to those particular questions. >> i think, madam chair, too, my colleagues and i feel strongly we want to see something and understand it before we vote on it. so it's hard to believe that that would take place by next wednesday. >> we are certainly not going to be voting on anything that we don't have in front of us. so this is an opportunity for us to. >> that's the issue. my colleague is saying he wants to understand from experts what that impact is. >> today's hearing is an opportunity for us to hear about the 1002 area, something that this committee hasn't had an opportunity to do so in about seven years now. so let's go to senator daines. >> thank you, madam chair, ranking member cantwell.
i know it's a long flight from alaska to washington d.c. thank you for making that journey. i must tell you from montana, somebody who respects the voice of the people in those states, i'm deeply struck from the fact that we have both u.s. senators from the state of alaska, their lone congressman, the governor, the lieutenant governor, 90% of the alaska legislature, and 70% of alaska when polled on this issue went going forward as we we r- pro prose to do in drilling in the 1002. and i think it's a big ar can't for the washington d.c., folks a long ways away from alaska, in some way be dictating the future of what alaskans want to do in
being contrary, here in this body, and your voice should count in this city, and to this senator it does. thank you for making the journey. in my home state, like alaskans and those from colorado, we have a blend of protecting the environment as well as responsively developing our natural resources. this is a senator who spent 70 miles in august backpacking in the wilderness with my wife over two weekends, credit to my wife for carrying all that weight too, she's tough. but i cherish those outdoor experiences, i cherish the ability to hike, backpack, climb mountains. this is in no way either or proposition. this is truly a boat and both
situation. i saw the passion for outdoors for incredible land skapts in alaska when i had the opportunity to see the north slope in may, in fact with the chairman of this committee. and i'm struck, alaska is an amazing place. truly beautiful. but i know the frustration alaskans who say we want to be able to define our future and not have washington d.c. do it for us. mr. sheehan, as i stated earlier, protecting the environment is a value of both montanans and a last calaskans . i never hunted caribou but it's on my bucket list. do you believe that production in the 1002 area can have minimal impact on the local
caribou herds? >> thank you, senator daines. i guess i harken back to my time was brought up by the good senator from nevada about serving as state director in utah where we too there built great populations of large deer, elk, moose, and conversely had energy development within many of those same areas. you've seen that both in colorado and montana as has been pointed out. these efforts to go into these fragile landscapes can be done. they can be done successfully. yes, do our employees have concerns about doing this in a very careful manner? certainly they do. but we have wildlife challenges throughout america that we are
challenged with every day. not only the federal u.s. fish and wildlife services but among all of the states. and as we look at all the challenges that exist in america, whether that's oil and gas development, wind energy, solar, and all the other opportunities there that are there for developing energy, all of those have impacts on wildli wildlife resources and fish resources. i'll say this, if this congress directs us this way, we use the best science and technologies and other strategies such as timing that we have heard much about today and reduced footprint to make sure that that has the least amount of impact on the native wildlife species. >> i want to talk to lieutenant governor mall at tot. we have millions of public lands of wilderness. alaska has as i understand over
150 million of acres, about 15% of the total acres and hundreds of millions of additional acres of federal lands totaling 60%, some suitable for hike, snowmobiling, some should be left as wilderness, but some for timber, gas exploration. do you believe we are taking a balanced approach by opening up section 1002 to production allowing alaska and all americans to benefit from the revenue and security generated from this land? >> thank you, senator. i'll just emphasize, once again, that i was with the alaska federation of natives, when anoka was being developed. i was with the native community as a leader with development of and six, which is the precedent act to anoka.
the effort at balance was among the most important considerations in the development of the alaska national interests lands conservation act. anoka, which ultimately gained the approval of such joints of conservation as congressman moluda, the secretary of interior at the time from idaho. the range of conservation interests and other interests across our nation and within alaska. it was a grand bargain that was dealing with immense millions of acres, 160 million acres of land
in our state went into the federal classifications in our state. within those classifications there was balance -- >> i'll insert myself too. i only have a little bit of time. do you think we are taking a balanced approach? >> absolutely. >> thank you. >> you mean when i'm respond tg i'm using your time? wow, i didn't know that. sorry. >> it was probably better that i interrupt you than the chairman from your state. >> thank you. >> i appreciate that lieutenant governor thank you. senator. >> thank you, madam chair. i am very, very concerned about the direction of where this is going. and one of the reasons i did not support the budget resolution was because of the provision that would assume a billion dollars coming from opening up it. and i appreciate the ranking members comments, opening comments, and other colleagues
that have expressed concerns. but when we talk about listening to people from alaska, we certainly want to do that. i wish we had more diversity here in terms of view points from alaska, that would be more helpful. i remember in 2010, i traveled with senator to alaska to attend afield hearing on impact on climate change on alaska when we saw what was happening in terms of the snow melting. really quite astounding to see the impacts of climate change on our arctic. and on that trip, i had had an opportunity to visit the tuksa bay and meet with the native americans there in far southwest part of alaska, which has become a center of alternative energy investments which i was so impressed with, very tall, large wind turbines and particularly happy to find out that some of the component parts were
actually manufactured from michigan, so i felt an immediate connection with what the tribe was doing and how the vision of that in moving to types of energy that would actually be so much better for alaska in terms of what's happening in the climate changing. and then i had the opportunity to meet with the tribal elders nutuk to discuss what was happening for them, the importance of preserving local language and culture. and the fact that they are going to have to be ee evacuavacuated. i don't know if that's happened. but at the time we were walking on boards, water was seeping up the whole community. the whole village was going to have to be moved because of the water coming in and going to engulf the community. and as a result of the permafrost melting. and we saw directly what was happening. and so this is deeply concerning to me that we are not embracing what i saw in terms of new
opportunities with types of alternative fuel that would actually, it would seem to me, benefit the quality of life of people in alaska. but as we sit here today to discuss opening anwr to oil drilling even with no evidence that drilling in these areas will increase energy security and real questions about whether allowing drilling will help the federal budget at all, it feels very much like a political exercise as opposed to looking for the future and what's needed for the people of alaska as well as preserving this pris contiti area. i know you've spoken about this, but can you help me understand real world consequences of allowing drilling in aernwr and talk more about the tribal perspectives what it would mean to allow for new drilling in these pristine lands?
>> thank you, senator. you know, when we think about the real world consequences of drilling, it goes back to the protection of our way of life of the people. there is a story about how long ago we had to rely on the caribou and the closeness of our relationship is such that weigh even say that there is a little bit of caribou heart in us and a little bit of human heart in the caribou. and so, you know, this impact is a real impact. and it's funny to me because i don't quite understand. we kept talking about economic development and this as accuse to go and drilling, economic development, what does that actually mean? i think that's not a recognition that the subsistence economy is a real thing. it's not a recognition that -- i find it hard to understand like why would somebody, why would
this person want to work a 40 hour a week job making money so they could go around and buy organic food? why does that make sense? why would you do that? i'm going to work harder so i can buy food of lower quality? how does that make sense? that doesn't make sense to me. that's why we are perplexed as to what you say when you talk about progress. is progress like eating spam? is that progress? i don't think so. you know, here down in the states when you want to talk status people talk about going to whole foods and eating organic food. that's status. right. you are saying oh, it's important because it's important for our health to eat this healthy food. so what is all this drilling for? so that we can have money to do what? to live like that? we already live like that. we are not trying to change
anything in that regard. i think you can learn a lot by seeing how we live. you can learn a lot because we are not chasing our tails up there. and so going back to the tribal perspective, the tribal perspective is that it is our responsibility and our duty to take care of the land and take care of the animals. because they've taken care of us for thousands of years. thousands of years. and, you know, you are going to hear alaska native corporations representatives coming up here and talk about responsible development too. and i want to make clear while i have time to do such, alaska native corporations are not tribes. they are not tribes. they do not have a traditional language. their purpose is profit. our purpose is to protect our traditional way of life and live that way of life in an honorable way. so our elders told us when you go up there, you do it in a good way. you do it in a good way.
and that good way is to be respectful. i have a peer over here, he's from the north slope and we respect their food security. whenever there is any issue of drilling in arctic ocean, we know that the they don't want drilling in arctic ocean, because it will impact the whales and sea life and they know that and don't want that. we stand beside them and we recognize the right to exist as indigenous and food security and we stand by you when you do such. >> thank you, i realize my time is up. i'll submit. i have further questions but for the record thank you. >> thank you. >> senator gardener. >> thank you, madam chair and the witnesses for being here today. i recognize as senator daines did this is it a long way to travel so thank you very much for being here. mr. sheehan a couple of questions that came up during some of the other questions. when congress moves forward as we are today, if there is a
least plan developed for the 1002 area, environmental laws don't change. they are not waived. they remain the same as they are today chlt is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> so there would be a leasing plan developed with public input. is that correct? >> absolutely. there would be full environmental impacts. >> so full environmental reviews? >> absolutely. >> and how this effects the environment? >> yes. >> does that change as a result of the 1002 process? >> no, nothing in that process that would allow for change in those considerations or rules. >> will this area be going into production the day after congress passes legislation? >> we would expect that probably least sales perhaps too would occur four to five years from now with drilling being potentially as far out as 7 to
10 years. >> so 7 to 10 years. litigation, do you get sued or does this waive lawsuits? >> this doesn't waive lawsuits. >> so there is going to be litigation? >> but we don't like lawsuits like everyone else. >> i'm saying environmental reviews and analysis doesn't change one iota, correct? >> that's true, yes. >> thank you. lieutenant governor, the governor opening statement talked about the history of the founding of alaska. laws that led us to the current situation you are experience with working with oil and gas industry. so i have a couple of questions for you. is that correct? >> yes. >> when the alaska national lands conservation act passed in 1980 arctic by almost 9 million acres to know what we know as the anwr. is that correct? >> yes. >> that bill doubled the size of the national park system doubled
the size of the national refuge system and tripled the amount of land? >> yes. >> placed a side the 1002 for petroleum environmental qualities and the possibility of safe development is that correct? >> yes and the studies conducted by the department of interior full for the 1002 area. is that correct? >> yes. >> does the tuns consume more oil today than it produces? >> yes. >> so we still import oil today, i think that's been talked about. is it fair to say that not all of the country import oil from shares the same as united states? >> absolutely. >> and it allows us greater leverage. so does it make any sense we would tie the hands of the state of alaska hands of the people when we have opportunity to sustain bly develop a resource that will increase national
security of the united states and the pros expert of your state? does it make any sense to tie your hands? >> it does not. >> and so based on your experience and these answers, this is not a situation where there is something new being proposed by congress. actually something that congress set forward to allow. mr. schein hand, it was mentioned your experience in the state of utah in the wildlife work in particular. utah i think 25 years in utah. is that correct? as a conservation specialist? >> yes. >> last five years prior to your appointment running the state of utah division of wildlife resources. oversaw increasing mule deer. is that correct? >> that's true. >> energy production? >> in certain areas of the state. >> how did you grow a population when you have that development? how do you balance that? >> well, i think the key to balancing any of that work is to
try to avoid and minimize footprints the best we can. our biologist and team members there work with those development companies to look at sighting locations and have tried to develop those areas in the most responsible way they can to minimize impact to wildlife numbers. and i think that we have seen some good success with those efforts. >> so on based on your professional experience then can we responsible develop the resources congress has put in agreement with the state of alaska and minimize impact to wildlife and other parts of the ecosystem? >> certainly, i believe if that's developed there can be similar ech forts to minimize the impacts to wildlife in that 1002 area. >> thank you. my time has expired. madam chair. >> senator gardener. will next go to senator franklin. >> thank you. >> one argument that we often here from my friends across the aisle is we need to open more
federal land to drilling. and in alaska. but if you look at the facts, it's simply not true that the big oil companies like access to public lands, especially in alaska. of the more than one million acres of federal land under least for oil and gas drilling in alaska, only about 17,000 are actually being drilled by the end of fiscal year 2016. 17,000 out of 1 million. maybe that's why the pipeline is only operating at 25% of capacity. and the trump administration just announced that it would least another 10 million acres of the national petroleum reserve in alaska. he a flounsed this in september. simply put, there is no shortage of federal oil and gas leases in
alaska. it's not even close. and i don't know why it is necessary to open a pristine natural area like this refuge. why the refuge? and speaking to what senator king's questions that mr. sheehan could not answer, i just think that if my colleagues across the aisle think that drilling in this refuge is such a good idea, we should have hearings. we should do this as regular order and not do this on the quick and cheap because of a tax plan. mr. alexander, i'd like to read you a quote from my good friend late senator paul wellstone.
senator wellstone fought for more than a decade to preserve the arctic national wildlife reserve and for the rights of the we chen people. he said of the people, i quote, they are fighting for the most fundamental right to exist as indigenous people who are integral part of the landscape of the unique ecology of this region. we cannot condemn the we chen as people. we must respect their right for survival. you've spoken eloquently to this. but doesn't it seem strange to all of us, to me it does anyway, that we are talking about you -- and by the way thank you for your service in the military --
but talking about changing the habitat and the way of life for these indigenous peoples to get a billion dollars worth of resources, a lot of which is to address climate change. can you just talk to the irony here or your feelings on it. >> that's absolutely correct, senator. and thanks for your words. it is absolutely astounding we want to -- when i was in the army we used to call itself licking ice cream cone and this is what it's become, where we are trying to drill more oil, pump up new pollutants to address climate change and the impact it has had. and that's insanity to me and to the people. we don't understand that. and so perhaps my colleagues here can explain it. but i can't understand it. >> mr. lieutenant governor, i
mean, you know the impact of climate change on your state, that your state is warming twice as fast as the rest of the country. >> yes. >> and this means coastal erosion and melting permafrost. and i hear part of the reason for drilling in this area when there is going to be over 11 million other acres available to drill is to address mitigation for climate change. drilling for oil in the last pristine arctic eco system on the continent, while climate change is having a disproportion nate effect on the region seems to meal kind of ironic.
as you've made clear, lieutenant governor, climate change has deeply impacted your constituents. i think we need to curb emissions and provide support to communities to help them adapt to climate change, but not by drilling in the habitat of the food source for an indigenous people. do you disagree that there is some irony here? >> lieutenant governor, the senator's time is expired but i'll allow you an opportunity to answer the question because it is an important one. >> i disagree. we need to continue to evolve our petroleum based economy as
we also seek to be responsive to our climate change reality. nobody knows that better than we do. we live with it every single day. it will take decades for us to withdraw from reliance on a petroleum based economy. and for us in the meantime to rely on sources other than our own raises national security issues. it raises economic issues. it raises issues that impact us in alaska very directly. the resources that the development of the arctic plane can bring to alaska will allow us to have fiscal resources to meet rapidly changing climate
circumstances. otherwise, we have no real ability to respond. the national government must ultimately also respond. i do not believe there is an irony when the eco system that we are discussing is already in place to allow the most minimal going forward impact on the arctic coastal plane of any oil development. i do not think it is ironic that even -- >> madam chair, i think we are going to have two notes at noon, and there is several of our colleagues here, i know our lieutenant governor here has been over. i hope that we can get a short summation here so we can move on. >> sure. i disagree that it is ironic. i think it is a national
interest. it is in alaska's interest. it is in the world's interest that we allow this kind of development to take place. that it has the most minimal imfa impact that we can see. and allows us to be responsive to a climate change fuel toture beaddress. >> thank you. senator. >> thank you, madam chair. the hearing is in the context of the republican tax and budget plan signaling out this committee to come up with a billion dollars of savings over the next decade. they have until november 13 to come up to this amount. so this hearing is support the budget and tax proposal that cuts $1.5 trillion from medicare and medicaid and imposes massive reductions and funds for education and affordable housing
among other things. all to benefit huge corporations and the wealthy. so we, therefore, should resist the urge to compartmentalize what we are doing in in committee as disconnected from a larger picture t the larger picture being the republican tax and budget plan. so here we are the decades long debate over the arctic national wildlife refuge is highly controversy issue that has come to do a fight protecting pristine ecosystems and continuing our reliance on fossil fuels. and we should not be doing this to pay for tax cuts for the risch. instead we should be discussing how to raise royalties from companies already drilling and mining on public lands so that taxpayers get a fair deal, reduce overly generous revenue sharing payments from offshore oil drilling, and limit the
ability of companies to flare national gas so resources from public lands are not wasted. so i want to ask mr. sheehan a question. does the trump administration support drilling in anwr? >> yes, they do. >> okay. so is that why there is an august 11 memo from u.s. fish and wildlife acting director james kurt instructing the agencies alaska regional director to update a rule that had to do with exploratory drilling between 1984 and 1986 and lifting these calendar constraints so that more applications can be submitted to approve drilling? that's where we are heading, right, despite the fact it is congress that gets to make the ultimate decision as to whether or not drilling is appropriate in anwr.
>> thank you, senator. first of all, the document you are referring to and those surrounding documents are not any part of a rule that's been publicly released this. but i'll say this, if in fact this body of congress wants to contemplate the development of oil and gas in the 1002 area of the arctic national wildlife refuge, it should be done with the best science, the most current science available. and that involves probably the most current level of exploration using the most modern technologies. that original research that was done was done in the early 1980s. >> mr. sheehan, do you think this committee can come up with all of that by november 13th. >> i don't believe this, in my opinion, this committee is asked to have all that research work done. i believe that should the body of congress pass it, we want to make a best informed decision to
our public of what and where and when that could look like and to industry who may be interested in pursuing getting in on that work. >> i agree with that. that's why i'm glad senator king raised some very specific questions to you which you cannot answer. so really has to do with, you know, mr. lieutenant governor, you said that we should proceed in a way that has the most minimal impact. and of course that is the crux of the debate as to what kind of impact drilling anwr will have. so there are people on one side of the debate that says this is going to have a terribly detrimental impact on the environment and as so eloquently put by mr. alexander it would impact their way of life. and by the way mr. alexander i'm glad you came to testify because i believe as native peoples you share certain common perspectives as a native hawaiis do and that is a spiritual
connection to the land. and i think it is really important that the wynn chen tribe which covers a large part of the area we are talking about as well as inc canada, i'm grateful for your testimony. that is why the debate has continued. there has been a huge discussion as to how minimal would the impact be and those that believe it will not indeed be minimal. thank you madam chairle. >> thank you. >> senator sanders. >> thank you very much, madam chair. my guess is historians in years to come will look back at hearings like this and they will ask what were they thinking about? what world were they living in? didn't they see what was going on all around them? all over this planet today we
are seeing nations, including our own, ravaged by the impact of climate change. and meanwhile, while climate change is doing horrendous damage to peoples all over the world, we have hearings like there that talk about more oil exploration, more dependency on fossil fuel, when the evidence is overwhelming that this country should lead the world in trance forming our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energies. and it is especially surprising that in a beautiful state like alaska, which has been hit so hard by climate change, that you are not leading the world, leading this country in telling us the damage that has been done and the need to move away from fossil fuel. right now according to nasa, the
first six months of 2017 are almost a full degree hotter than any year since records started being kept in 1880. this is unbelievable. the duration and strengths of hurricaneses, and i just came back from puerto rico, have increased by 50%. 2017 is already one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. the inter governmental panel on climate change tells us that the average global sea levels have already risen by about 3 millimeters annually since the early 1990s, and coastal cities all over our country and the world are in danger of being flooded. and here we are talking about more dependency on fossil fuels. more destruction of the planet. what world are we living in? what are you going to say to your children and grandchildren?
meanwhile, there is a revolution taking place in sustainable energy. we are seeing the price of solar and wind plummeting. we are seeing massive corporate investments, not in oil and gas, by the way, but in sustainable energy. solar sector today employees more people than apple, facebook and google combined. so i have a simple question. i understand mr. sheehan your boss the president told us during the campaign it was a hoax. briefly, is climate change a hoax or is it real? >> no, senator, sanders, certainly i believe that chiemt change climate change is real. we can see it from alaska to many other areas. but what i do believe is as we look at these alternative forms of energy, that are coming online, you don't have to look far around this country to see
new wind energy and solar popping up all over the place, but they still represent a small very part of the energy in this country. >> that's right. but my question to you is why is not the trump administration recognizing that reality, investing heavily in trying to move us in that direction, rather than encouraging more oil and gas exploration? >> i think they are encouraging those other energy sources. but i think they are also trying to be forward looking. >> you think. >> and say what do we need ten years from now. >> you think trump administration is urging us forward in wind and solar. is that what you are saying for the record? >> i haven't seen a back stepping in those particular sorts of energy mechanisms. >> really? well, i think you should examine what your administration is doing. let me ask the lieutenant governor very briefly. that at a time when your state, perhaps and it's a beautiful
state, it is the last natural wilderness we have, don't you think that alaska should be leading our country in terms of transforming our energy system away from the products that have caused the problems that are impacting your state? >> absolutely. we feel it every single day. we know it. we have investment in alternative energy. we need to continue to do so. there were references to wind power. if you look at wind power and other alternative forms of energy, we are making those investments. we need to make more. but we also know that we cannot flip a switch. and that's not a pun and turn off our reliance. >> but we will not flip that
switch as long as we do oil and gas. let me ask one last quell. >> senator sanders we are out of time. we do have one moran votes coming up. >> let him finish. >> we went three minutes over on two of our colleagues. >> if it's a quick question. >> i want mr. alexander to summarize briefly the impact that this drilling will have on his peoples way of life. >> senator sanders, we believe that drilling (speaking language) will devastate us as a people. because you are talking about 80% of the whew chen people, being the porcupine caribou herd. so our connection to that is so strong you are talking about absolute change in the way we live as people. what about the next generation, will they have the opportunity
to learn how to hunt caribou and respect it? i don't know. and i'm hoping that you here today will protect that. >> good. thank you very much. >> okay senator. >> i want to thank you all of you for being here. and you can see this is quite divisive, if you will. but the bottom line is we live in a real world, we don't live infancy world and can't pick and choose what we would rather have. really we are a country that depends on almost 20 billion barrels of oil a day. that's the facts. and we imported it all from 70 countries last year. that's a fact. i come from a state of west virginia and it's a state that believes really in all energy policy and never hesitated once when this country needed the coal that made the steel and built the guns and ships and did everything for this country. people work hard and they will
continue to. and i thank governor walker for being here and governor mall it i want you to know you are not the only democrat that believes in policy and respects and supports anwr and going in ha responsible way. i also know that i voted against the bugtd because i thought the budget was a gimmick to get to a budget reconciliation was to take us out of the process. democrats cannot participated and has not participated in budget process for all tax reform which the country needs. but with that being said, i also realize that we are going to -- there is going to be more fossil used in the word than ever before. all we can do is find different technologies and different abilities to use it until we find a technology or a new industry that will provide a more cleaner energy, if it's going to be fusion or some other form, in the near future. but right now the world is using more coal, we are using more
oil. and i look at the dependency we have. and when you start looking at the security of our nation, the more that we are less dependent on foreign oil better we are and stronger we are as a nation. also, i noticed that the point thomas, thompson, i'm sorry, point thompson, last three years coastal plane has been exported development. and i think that's been done in an environmentally sound way, a balance between the environment and the economy up there. it's within the same ecosystem as 1002. i understand, mr. alexander, and everyone depending which side you are on, there has to be a balance to be had here. i don't know why we can't find that balance. why it's always either one side or the other. why we are divided as a nation. why we are divided as a people. it always comes down to what side are you on. i've had people ask me what's your politics. you ought to ask me what's my
purpose. you should careless whether democrats or republicans. i want a country that's strong. and country can environmental 0 be strong if we are energy independent. that's the fact of life. and if you want to set the technology standards the rest of the world should use you should develop it right here. for the last 8 years under the administration we never spent anything in research trying to find better ways of using natural gas in a much cleaner way. but with that being said i want all renewables. i said tell me what five hours of the day you want your energy? tell me what five hours you want your refrigerator or heat to work? and i think mr. sheehan you can relate to that. but if you could, briefly, mr. mall it, speak on, do you believe there is a balance? i know, i don't think you all would be representing the great state of alaska thinking you are encoaching and changing the lives of your citizens there.
or have you just basically thrown caution to the wind? >> we need balance. first, let me say very quickly. i'm a clin ket indian. and when people ask me to be brief, i'm doing my damnest. but we need balance. we need to build a future in which renewable energy sustains our children. it is an absolute high priority that alaska recognizes its responsibility for and will at every juncture possible take -- >> is alaska developing clean flrg with renewables? >> yes. >> basically extracting resources? >> we have a lot way to go. we have invested and continue to invest as alternative energy as
a high priority. >> and mr. alexander, is there a balance to be found here that we can preserve the way of life of your wonderful people, but also have energy independence if we can and use the resources that we have? do you think that's possible? >> thank you, senator. >> or have you made overtures towards that that you are trying to find the balance and it's been rejected? >> senator, what i would say is this, is why is the balance being put on the back of my people? >> i'm just saying. >> and i'm answering your question, senator, why is the bans bei balance being put? because if you look at the north slope there are plenty of other polices to drill, as mentioned earlier, plenty of other polices. so that's the balance. you have npra you can drill in. we don't need to drill in arctic national wildlife refuge. >> can i ask real quick then as far as lieutenant governor then have you looked at other areas
finding the balance? and protecting their rights? >> absolutely. and with a pipeline, the reality being three quarters empty with all of the existing areas of exploration and development. and more coming on with recent discoveries. we still are a long way from being responsive to current national energy needs. and we need to continue to find the ability to achieve national security, safety in energy. and we need the excess to the 1002 coastal plane in order to achieve that. >> let me say my time is up. . and thank you. but those of us who come from extraction states have done the heavy lifting. west virginia has been heavy lifting for a long time and we continue in hour way of life has
been infringed upon also. and all we are asking for is tolerance here as we try to find alternatives that we can respect your people and your way of life. and also to balance have the energy we need to keep this country strong. i think that's a responsibility. there is no nobody in west virginia wants to drink dirty wart as far as alaska. so in the most scientific way or the most advanced way you possibly k i know the footprints as far as horizontal drilling. we've been blessed with shell, gas, and it's unbelievable. we know we can do it much cleaner much more environmentally friendly. so i would advise all of you to try to find that pathway forward. try to find that balance that i think you can. i hope you can anyway. thank you, madam chairman. >> senator, thank you.
and i appreciate the focus on balance, as we try to do around here. i spent a lot of time last night reading everyone's written testimony. and i was struck we have achieved this balance. it is time to permit the exploration and development. the state has shown that wildlife protection can be achieved on the north slope. and i think it's important to remember that what we are seeking to do in the 1002 is not something that has not been done in the north slope. we have 40 years plus of a track record up there. 40 years of insuring that caribou continue to move through, that polar bear are protected, that snow geese are
protected, that mitigation we talk bute has been addressed. at the same time we have been leading not only the country but the world when it comes to our innovation and our pioneering with -- i talk about it a lot in here in this committee. so much to be proud of from alaska's perspective and i know that each of you, as you have provided to testimony here today have contributed to this conversation in a very important and a substantive way. our votes have started. we have two of them. it would be my intention to thank this panel. thank you for your time. this is a long time to be sitting and fielding questions. so we appreciate that. we will taken a at ease and it's my intention that we will resume the hearing at 12:30 with the second panel.
and so again, thank you to each of you, the rest can all take a stretch break and we will be back at 12:30. sonny, thank you for your time from houston, texas. and now we're going to return to austin, and joining us on the c-span bus is and now we're going to return to austin and joining us on the c-span bus is james dickey who is the chair of the republican party in texas. mr. dickey, thanks for being with us. what are the blessings and the curse of controlling all three branchs o