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Second, in regard to section 6 of S. 1081, Senator Jackson's bill, which sets forth the subject that can be treated through terms and conditions attached to permits for rights-of-way, we think the language should be clarified so as to insure the Secretary has the authority to attach stipulations to a right-of-way permit that would be designed to maximize the safety of the entire delivery system for which the right-of-way permit is sought.
That would include the marine transport component of the proposed trans-Alaska pipeline system as well as the pipeline itself.
My understanding is that even though the Department of the Interior has proposed elaborate stipulations that would cover the design of the pipeline itself and would be attached to any pipeline permit, it has yet to formulate any stipulations that would similarly regulate the type of tanker equipment used.
As a result there are no assurances really that the companies will be obligated to use the best equipment available.
One last thing I would like to say before I leave.
This morning I heard some news that I tried to follow up on that I think was sort of a red flag to warn everyone of the gravity of the situation. That is that sometime in the last 24 hours there was a tanker ship that ran aground near the western end of the Alaska peninsula. It is estimated that the spill, resulting spill, right now is around 210,000 gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline. The circumstances of the grounding are not yet known, at least not to me.
The Coast Guard has undertaken an investigation. However it quite possibly will be determined subsequently that this grounding resulted in part from the adverse climatic and navigable conditions of the Northeast Pacific through which the marine transport system for the Alaska pipeline is also routed.
Secondly, even though right now there is extremely light tanker traffic, infrequent tanker traffic of any kind in the Northeast Pacific, there are still these mishaps.
I think it can be concluded that when this route is turned into one of the world's busiest oil routes their frequency will increase.
Senator HASKELL. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF SAUNDERS C. HILLYER
Representative of the Cordova District Fisheries Union
Before the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, March 9, 1973 Washington, D.C., concerning legislation providing for rights-of-way across the public lands.
Mr. Chairman, I am Saunders C. Hillyer, a representative for the
Cordova District Fisheries Union in southern Alaska.
From the beginning we have been following the proposed trans-Alaska pipeline matter with obvious interest because of its threat to commercial fisheries. In April, 1971, we filed a companion suite to Wilderness Society, et al., v. Morton, Nos. 72-1796-98, D.C. Cir. (February 9, 1973) which is
the directive of the Chairman that witnesses not address themselves "to the desirability and routing of the trans-Alaska Pipeline," I will not elaborate
on the energy and environmental issues raised by the proposed trans-Alaska
pipeline. However, because of the special focus of the fishermen, it is
germane to briefly describe the circumstances that have given rise to their
concern about rights of way.
The Cordova District Fisheries Union is comprised of approximately 450
commercial fishermen, all of whom fish the waters of Prince William Sound
in southern Alaska. Their major fisheries products include several species
of salmon and crab as well as shell fish, herring and shrimp.
the wholesale value of fishery products in the Cordova area was $13 million.
The value to the fishermen of these products was a little over $6.5 million.
Not only is the membership economically dependent on the now abundant marine life in Prince William Sound, but their entire way of life evolves around their benign relation to the sea. Their activities are compatible
with the extensive use now made of the area by recreationists for salt and
fresh water fishing, sightseeing, and photography. Both the fishermen and
recreationists enjoy the Sound's wildlife including porpoises,
and sea lions, the beauty of the rugged shoreline scalloped by bays and fjords,
and its backdrop of steep mountains that creep down to the water's edge.
Unfortunately for the fishermen, the oil companies that have proposed
the trans-Alaskan pipeline chose, for reasons of their own, the town of
Valdez on Prince William Sound to be the southern terminus for their pipeline.
They further propose to load the 2 million barrels per day throughput of
that pipeline on to tankers to be carried through Prince William Sound and
the Northeast Pacific to the west coast of the United States and foreign
Thus, in the short span of a few years, this quiet Sound will be
converted into one of the world's busiest oil ports.
The resulting oil
pollution would cause massive destruction to the commercial fisheries.
Because of the inadequate knowledge currently available, it is impossible
to fathom either the duration or full scope of this damage.
Final Environmental Impact Statement did recognize that the entire Sound
would be jeopardized and that the salmon fisheries in Valdez Arm, alone,
would suffer loses in the neighborhood of $400,000 per year for each year
of the life of the pipeline (FIS, Vol 4, pp 432–433.)
It is clear that the fishermen of Prince William Sound are expected
to absorb severe loses if not total dislocation as a result of the decision
made a few years ago to run a pipeline right of way across the entire state
of Alaska to Valdez.
This shock has spurred us to review the legislation
authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to grant oil pipeline rights
of-way permits across public lands.
In particular, we are concerned that
any such legislation contain safeguards adequate to protect the public interest
in the face of pressure from Industries as powerful as the oil industry
to use the public lands for their special profit.
We fully endorse the written statement submitted by Stewart M.
Brandborg, Executive Director of the Wilderness Society, on the legislation under consideration today. I would now like to summarize our main concerns
with the proposed legislation.
First, we feel that the proposed trans-Alaska pipeline presents momentous
issues of economic, energy, and environmental policy; that these issues
necessitate highly sensitive decisions and trade-offs of national and inter
national significance; and that Congress should exercise its authority to
decide these issues since they will shape our fundamental national policies
in these areas.
We therefore urge this committee to hold hearings at an
appropriate time that will focus on important consideration of how North
Slope oil can be delivered to the lower 48 states in a manner consistent with the multifold public interest.
Second, we feel that the common corridor concept put forth in the
Jackson Bill (s. 1081) would be a useful tool for protecting the public
interest if provisions were made to safeguard such a policy from destructive
manipulation by private interest.
In particular, we are concerned with the
potential for the multiplicity of common corridors such as the oil companies
propose for the delivery of North Slope oil and natural gas to market.
must be provided that will enable the administrators of our public lands
to take the initiative in planning for their use and development.
Third, in regard to Section 5(8) of the Jackson bill, clarification is
needed concerning the liability of a holder of a right-of-way across public
lands for damage caused "in connection with activities conducted on the
right-of-way". Specifically, this provision should include language that
would indemnify the commercial fishermen for loses in the value of their
fisheries, as well as for damage to their equipment and for any personal
injury they sustain, resulting from the transfer of oil from a pipeline to tankers at Valdez and from the tanker traffic to and from Valdez for
Fourth, in regard to Section 6, entitled "Terms and Conditions" the
language should be clarified so as to ensure that the Secretary has the
authority to attach stipulations to a right of way permit that would be
designed to maximize the safety of the entire delivery system for which the
right of way permit is sought.
That would include the marine transport
component of the proposed trans-Alaska system as well as the pipeline itself.