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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
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
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.
Senator HASKELL. Senator Hansen.
Mr. Hillyer, I take it that you generally endorse the statements made by Mr. Brandborg in his presentation. In his presentation he said on page 3, in criticizing the proposed pipeline, that there is a short response to those who characterize us as poorly informed. He stated that the winter's energy shortages have confirmed our contention that while the proposed Alaska pipeline would bring profits to the oil companies, it would bring oil to the wrong place, the west coast, rather than the Midwest and East at considerable overall cost to consumers.
I would ask each of you: Is there not need for the importation of oil into the west coast?
Mr. HILLYER. I will try to elaborate on that.
Mr. HILLYER. The west coast is abundantly supplied compared to the Midwest of the United States.
Moreover, it depends on relatively stable sources for its oil, unlike the heavy dependence of the Midwest and east coast on potentially insecure countries in the Middle East.
Therefore it seems to me the failure obviously both of economics and national security which should be examined before a decision is made to go one way or the other.
Additionally it is well known that the gasoline prices are highest in the Midwest. Much higher than on the west coast.
Senator HANSEN. Would you care to comment, Mr. Brandborg, on that one point?
Mr. BRANDBORG. I believe Mr. Hillyer's comment will suffice. They represent the facts as we understand them.
Senator HANSEN. Thank you.
I want to comment that you certainly do your homework and we appreciate your testimony.
Mr. BRANDBORG. We thank you and the distinguished members of the committee for this generous treatment today.
Senator HASKELL. Is Mr. David Marshall present? He is next on the list.
Mr. Marshall, if you will proceed. I will appreciate it if you can just talk to the committee on the principal points you have in your statement. I think we would all appreciate it and you could then submit your statement for the record.
On the other hand, if you would like to read your statement, go ahead. I think the former, of course, is a little better.
STATEMENT OF DAVID MARSHALL, ENVIRONMENT:
PITTSBURGH Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I much prefer myself to adopt the former course since although the written paper is short, it is rather closely reasoned and would be tedious to understand if I were to read it through.
I would, therefore, prefer to summarize.
I am David Marshall, coordinator of environment, Pittsburgh, which is a citizens action group in the city of that name.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, in my off-the-cuff remarks I would prefer to go a little beyond the expressed preference of Senator Jackson, who wished us to confine our remarks to rights-of-way.
Senator HASKELL. Now, we will have to confine our remarks to the bills being considered by the committee, which are the four bills named, because that is the purpose of the hearing.
Mr. MARSHALL. Perhaps I don't make myself clear. I do wish to confine my remarks to the three bills, S. 1081, S. 1041, and S. 1040, but I wish to go beyond the one question of the rights-of-way, which is exclusively treated by S. 1081, but which forms only part of S. 1040.
Senator HASKELL. All right.
Mr. MARSHALL. We feel, first of all, to confine our remarks simply to the rights-of-way, that the environmental safeguards offered by S. 1081 are inadequate and that this is clear if one looks at the relevant sections, namely, section 5(d) (2) (a).
Now, S. 1041 is concerned with the sale of public lands and we feel that there the key section is section 104(a) (3) where it is made clear that the Secretary of the Interior may dispose of public lands if he feels that the benefits from doing so satisfy major public objectives which would outweigh other public objectives such as scenic and recreation values.
We feel that such a clause is heavily biased, therefore, in favor of development and in a sense is revealing of the spirit in forming the bill.
If we turn to S. 1040, we find that there the declaration of policy with which the bill begins is to promote the exploration and development of mineral lands.
Now, it seems fairly clear that the immediate impetus for bills with these far-reaching implications is the recent decision of the Court of Appeals in Washington. Although the frustration of Senator Jackson and others with the dragging on of the proceedings having to do with the Alaska pipeline is understandable, it does not seem reasonable to us to take off using this impetus and to go beyond this into such matters as giving the Secretary of the Interior carte blanche to dispose of public lands and establishing it as a policy that minerals should be explored and produced to the maximum extent possible.
Even if the environmental safeguards offered by these three bills were adequate. I think we would still maintain the position. However, we feel also that the safeguards offered the environment by these three bills are not adequate.
For example, in the case of S. 1040, and S. 1041, the objective is to protect the environment using the blanket phrase minimum adverse impact on the environment and we wonder, for example, under this guideline what will happen to such astonishing natural phenomena as to Kaparowitz Plateau of southern Utah, what will happen to the mountains of Colorado which contain oil shale and to the mountains of Wyoming where gas can be obtained by nuclear blasting when the only safeguard is minimum adverse impact
Quite clearly such a phrase means that the amount of adverse impact is not controlled in any effort simply so long as the amount of environmental degradation is kept to a minimum.
Now, on the rights-of-way on the Alaska pipeline, of course, we sympathize, as anyone that has been involved in, let us say, wilderness issues or land use issues must, with the attempt to render coherent what has become an extraordinary incoherent mixture of mineral legislation and rights-of-way legislation.
But we feel that although this is a laudable attempt, these bills don't succeed in their purpose and we feel furthermore that it is up to Congress to take the expressed intent of these bills to the public not simply by holding hearings in Washington, but by going around the country.
We feel, for example, that these bills may become a useful tool in persuading States to undertake the kind of comprehensive land-use planning that is obviously required.
But the questions are quite simple. Ought Congress to pass a bill which establishes a broad goal such as exploration and development of mineral lands when establishing this as a goal clearly preempts the decision that begs the question.
The question is: Is there a good goal
Senator HASKELL. Mr. Marshall, we have quite a few more witnesses. Do you
think you could summarize your statement in 2 minutes here and then we will have questions?
Mr. MARSHALL. Yes, indeed.
On the Alaska pipeline—this is my last point—you may be pleased to hear—we feel that the court, in its decision, clearly, to our way of thinking, suggested that Congress should make the decision, and now we find that these bills that Congress is intent upon putting before the public, bills which, if passed, would push the decision back into the hands of the Interior, under the oil companies, and we feel that a succession of individual decisions if made by the Secretary of the Interior, none of which may be harmful if carried out over a period of time, can become an enormously harmful decision and that time seems to have come with the advent of the Alaska pipeline controversy.
The magnitude of the decision involved we feel is too great to be decided by any other body than Congress.
With that I am pleased to conclude my remarks.