Department of Interior

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For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Joe Martyak (EPA), 202-564-9828
March 4, 2003
Mark Pfeifle, (DOI), 202-208-6416


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) today produced a report entitled, “Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton released the following statements:

Administrator Whitman said, “EPA welcomes the work of the NAS in preparing the report on cumulative impacts of oil and gas exploration on Alaska’s North Slope, which Congress called for in its 2000 appropriations. The report identifies several concerns about protecting the environment in this sensitive arctic ecosystem, but recognizes the significant technological advances that are being implemented to provide such protections. By implementing our regulatory programs responsibly and effectively, EPA continues to help reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas activities on the North Slope.

“The report also confirms that new technologies, innovation, and American ingenuity can help protect the environment and promote energy security. Although we are still reviewing the 400-plus page document, I am pleased that it compiles existing information, reaffirms our technological advances, and reiterates the need for balanced management on these issues of great importance,” Whitman concluded.

"The National Academy of Science report provides important information about the cumulative effects of 30-year-old energy production technology on Alaska’s North Slope," said Secretary Norton. "It is important to note that cutting-edge technologies would significantly reduce or eliminate a number of the effects cited by the Academy.

“We can protect wildlife and produce energy on the portion of Alaska’s far north slope that was set aside for possible energy production in 1980 by President Carter and a Democratic-controlled Congress. With new technologies and the most stringent regulations in history of energy production we can protect the tundra and wildlife on the North Slope.

“Protections with broad Congressional and Administration support include: mandated ice roads and runways to protect habitat; utilizing no more than 2,000 acres for exploration; strict analysis of each proposed exploration side to avoid sensitive springs, streams, rivers and wetlands; and exploration only in the winter to protect breeding, spawning and wildlife migration patterns."


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