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Here it appears
clear that maximum tangible renewable product
a phrase dear to the heart of the U.S.Forest Service--lurks in the
wings, ready to stride onto center stage. Recreation and scenic values
are implicitly;secondary. When push comes
to shove, i.e. when
developers get to developing by asking the USFS or the NPS or the
BSFW or the BLM for land, they will show the economic benefits to
be obtained. The burden of proof will then as usual be on those
who would preserve the integrity of federally-held land as
resource for the public good, to prove that its preservation
will outweigh its exploration and development. The problem here is,
as we all know, that our rudimentazy cost-benefit tools are at y present biased in favor of such development. The bill is a natural
consequence of the work of the Public Land Law Review Commission.
Public participation in the process of disposal is not mandatory
(Title I, Sec. 106). And as with S.
1081 we find the clause on
ironmental protection for rights of way (Title IV, Sec.404 (d)) cursory
best, in that "minimum adverse inpact oa-the environment"is the
goal. On the face of it, this permits any amount of degradation, subject
only to its being shown to be a minimum. What will happen to the southern
half of Utah under such a safeguard, when Muskies stride like colossi
, strip mining with a passion? Of what use 404 (d) then?
S.1040, however, is the bill of which we
are least enamoured. Its
declaration of policy,
just as with Senator Stevens'
begs the question. Section 2's "to foster, promote, and
exploration for and the production of mineral de pests in the
leasable lands" may not be the best
use of these lands.
that is decided, the rest foldows. 2(f)'s"to require that
mineral exploration and production be conducted in a manner which will
prevent or substantially reduce their adverse environmental effects"
smacks of a pious hope, to be overwhelmed in decisions of the
magnitude of the Alaska oil deposits, the coal of southern Utah, the
deposits of Colorado, the gas via nuclear explosions of
Wyoming. It does not convince us to define maximum ultimate recovery
as"the greatest quantity of the mineral deposit which can be economically
recovered in accordance with the best mineral conservation and sound
practices;" (Sec.(3) (1)), while Section 122 on
rights of way uses the same phrase as s.1041 --minimum adverse
environmental impact-- which I have criticized above.
So in the words of Lenin: What Is To Be Done? I do not know.
that these bills be taken round the country
for hearings and that rights of way clauses and the bills themselves
not be enacted until this is done. That something has to be done
about rights of way and
a miscellany of mining laws is we agree
Yet we object to the rushing through in this hasty manner of bills
having profound public consequences in response to
court decision and with the shrill notes of "energy crisis"
piping throughout the land. Public participation should begin at the
beginning --with these bills--and not regarded as
device when the most important decisions have already been made
in the Washington D.C.
Senator HASKELL. Dr. Robert Henshaw, State College.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT HENSHAW, STATE COLLEGE, PA. Mr. HENSHAW. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Robert Henshaw. I have been conducting research for 8 yea in northern Alaska on wildlife that live there while I was on the faculty of Casy Gimellon (phonetic) University and Penn State University.
This research has been supported throughout by naval research, so my credentials are somewhat less formal than the preceding guests today.
I was also a contributor at the request of the plaintiffs in the original court case to respond to the Department of Interior's Environmental Impact Report on the trans-Alaska pipeline system and I wrote opinions at that time primarily on wildlife and mammals.
I appear here today to comment specifically on the four bills that you have listed as the topics for the day dealing with rights-of-way.
In the short time I had to prepare this statement, I am sorry I don't have a written statement I can put in your hands to help you follow it.
Senator HASKELL. That is not necessary. It is all being taken down.
Mr. HENSHAW. So I will go hurriedly. I will refer to the transAlaska pipeline to illustrate principals because that is the experience that I had in Alaska, but I hope to be talking to the general topic of the rights-of-way.
I should preface my remarks however' by saying that I believe an obstructionist attitude regarding construction of a trans-Alaska pipeline is not appropriate.
On the contrary, if we have exploitable resources, they will and should be exploited.
In their recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court referred to Justice Holmes. They defined litigation over the Alaskan pipeline as great because of the high public interest and immediacy. There is a high interest today because of the immediate priorities having an exploitable energy resource in the middle of an energy crisis.
The law may be great for reasons quite converse to the court cases. Here timelessness, nonspecificity, broad practicability, longer term priorities, and the setting of procedures and precedents which will avoid irretrievable losses are important criteria.
The actual legal right-of-way is an easily definable entity. However, the concept of a right-of-way is not nearly so clear.
I wish to comment then from the standpoint of wildlife, the protection of wildlife, and particularly the preservation of the ecosystems of the wildlife regarding right-of-way legislation.
The point I wish to develop then are the uniqueness of each habitat and of each species relationship to its habitat and the uniqueness of the impacts of any construction, any right-of-way, on these habitats and the species.
Particularly, I wish to emphasize the subtleties, most of which are not yet even known, and finally the need for Congress to arm the Department of Interior with strong environmental guidelines.
A 50-foot corridor which has been discussed this morning in a number of ways has a very definite disruptive effect in the Midwest or in western mountains, or for that matter in Alaska at the northern end or the southern end of a pipeline.
In northern Alaska, if the pipe were laid in or on high ice content permafrost, if melting occurred subsidence would occur and the guesstimates now are the right-of-way would no longer be 50 feet wide. It might be hundreds of yards wide in just a few years.
In southern Alaska, on the other hand, are more stable soils and more rapid plant growth. It is quite possible that healing would occur and the scares would be minimal.
The effects on grazing animals who tend to be beasts of habitat moving from one traditional feeding ground to another and to calfing grounds. Failure to reach any of these grounds would mean death to that group of animals.
Recent studies still underway supported in part by the Department of Interior and in part by the oil industries themselves show that at least 80 to 90 percent of caribou coming upon a pipeline, 48-inch pipeline as it is now proposed for the trans-Alaska pipeline—that is, setting on top of the ground--would be deflected, caused to reverse themselves or be funneled along it.
Caribou are a principal protein source for the Alaskan Natives. We, and they can't afford to lose that. Carnivors, on the other hand, range widely, up to hundreds of miles in search of food. Disruption of this species either in numbers or locations will have an adverse effect.
The right-of-way corridors may afford a very high density of the nutrients for the grazing animals. They may tend to congregate there. Carnivors may as a result move into this
gold mine of prey species food. At first glance this might seem good. This is not so. This would be a very unstable situation, a very localized abundance of animals. The populations could build to an unreasonable level and then crash dramatically.
Rights-of-way are not 50 feet nor 300 feet wide to wildlife. They may in fact be hundreds of miles wide in their effect. Wildlife can effect rights-of-way.
The high abundance of grazers might denude the cleared areas above rights-of-way.
In central and northern Alaska we can expect that caribou, moose, wolves, bear, and others would be funneled along the pipe, would tend to tromp down the vegetation, destroying all of the vegetation under it and the result would be thermal erosion.
The entire foundation of the pipeline could be endangered as a result of the animals themselves. Possible answers to this are in alternative designs.
Russia, for instance, a nation with 50 percent of its country on permafrost, has developed engineering capabilities specifically aimed at solving the problems in coal ranges, suspended pipes have been tried and my feeling is that pipelines suspended 10 feet or more above the ground would eliminate most of the criticisms that wildlife conservationists have leveled at the current pipeline designs.
The answer then is proper attention early on the design and route alternatives. Not to make incontrovertible decisions which may cost
the environment dearly or may cause the demise of natural systems.
When one right-of-way can do, more than one is intolerable. At the moment in Alaska an oil corridor is planned and a liquid gas corridor has been proposed. This would be an intolerable situation and it would lead to the possible demise of the second largest caribou herd in northern Alaska.
Considering the wide ranging impacts felt in an ecosystem multiple use corridors for power, for materials, communications, transportation, are vitally needed, the fewer corridors, the less impact. demands for additional corridors. That is, fewer effects on the wildlife.
Long-range planning and land use will lead to fewer new demands for additional corridors. That is, fewer effects on the wildlife.
Long-term planning must have clearly at its core a commitment to not develop areas at the cost of ecosystems within. Senator HASKELL. Dr. Henshaw, due to the constrictions of time,
think you could wind up in 2 minutes ? Anything further you want to submit in writing for the hearing record will be accepted.
Dr. HENSHAW. Yes; I will attempt to do that.
Again, if I may stick to my notes—I am coming very close to the end of what I had put together.
To this end, I feel that the bill, 1040 should be strengthened in the area of providing wildlife and environmental guidelines to aid the Secretary of the Interior in taking action.
My understanding of the content of the bill gives the Secretary of Interior carte blanche on all of these lands. His office as a result is placed in a very difficult position where he must listen to the business interests on the one hand, and the conservationists interest on the other.
It is my feeling the bill should be strengthened in the area of furnishing very concrete guidelines to the Secretary of the Interior giving him very strictly the intentions that you have in mind for protecting and following, if you will, the intent of the original NEPA Act, to protect environment, giving him firm decisionmaking ability.
I don't think it is there implicitly or specifically in the wording of titles I, II, and III. In contrast the statements in title IV are, in my personal opinion, almost a variance to the intent and really the great value of the bill as it is now written in the other sections.
It deals too specifically in my personal opinion with pipelines per se when we must think of rights-of-way for many, many uses.
Senator HASKELL. Thank you, Dr. Henshaw, very much indeed.
As I said, anything you want to submit within a reasonable time for the record, we will accept. We will call a reasonable time 2 weeks.
I have no questions.
You have indicated that you don't believe the legislation dealing with rights-of-way should in any way subtract from the protections granted by or set forth in NEPA, is that correct?