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near-shore areas. Careful location of the route along this corridor could minimize total length of high ground-ice permafrost for the Canadian route to make equal or less hazard than the shorter Alaskan route.

With the present inland route I estimate that the trans-Canada route is 360 to 400 miles versus 300 miles for Alaska.

Another major permafrost consideration is that associated with haulage and service roads. All of the Alaskan pipeline must be built and serviced from roadways, which themselves constitute a serious threat to permafrost stability and thus to the pipeline.

With the Mackenzie Valley river corridor available for shipping pipe and service vehicles along a major portion of the route, new major roads paralleling the pipe need not be built. This is a benefit rather than a detriment.

With a suspended pipeline, particularly carrying both gas and oil pipes, no roads need be built at all in permafrost areas, even to carry pipe from barge to construction sites.

Long-term environmental damage will probably be greater in Alaska from roads than from the pipeline itself. Certainly the effects upon game, vegetation, and permafrost will be greater associated with the roads and vehicle travel over them and the thawing, road construction, and greater gravel volumes required in Alaska, not Canada as Morton was informed, will do greater damage to stream habitat and fisheries away from the immediate pipeline and road rights-of-way due to thermal erosion, stream course changes, particularly in Alaska where the pipeline route parallels many rivers rather than crossing them at right angles as in Canada, and necessity of hydraulic reequilibration after gravel removals.

Roadways cannot be reclaimed in the Arctic in lengths of times necessary to protect premafrost thaw effects, as has been amply demonstrated by Interior investigators, R. Siga foos, for instance, and many others.

Now, I have been able to present today material on the marine leg and the environmental hazards of it. We will request submission of Dr. Richard Warner's statement at a later date.

The value of fisheries in Prince William Sound are on the order of $52 million. There are great monetary risks as well as the more simply quantified monetary risks.

For instances, new studies in the Atlantic have shown there are long persistent toxic fractions released into the sea from petroleum and those Alaskan oils carry particularly large volumes of these more volitile toxic fractions.

We also have learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the extent of petroleum pollution is greater than previously known in the ocean.

Perhaps Congress or the Coast Guard could provide some of this information.

In summary, the major terrestrial advantages of the Canadian versus the Alaskan route are lesser Canadian seismic hazard by on the order of 100 times; lesser hazard associated with most probably-mode stream crossings; and route possibilities requiring less gravel, less

stream destruction, less high-ground-ice permafrost crossing, and fewer miles of permanent roads.

Coupled with the clear short-term and long-term economic advantages of the Canadian route assuming international cooperation, total absence of the marine leg and associated severe hazards to Canada and to a lesser extent the United States, and the security advantages of the inland route, there seems little reason to continue Alaskan pipeline proposals except as a favor to energy company interests who would stand to make the greatest short-term profit from the Alaskan route.

Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Curry follows:]



Testimony prepared for the U.S. Senate Committee
on Interior and insular Affairs for hearings on the

Alaska Pipeline

May 2, 1973, Washington, D.C.

Robert R. Curry, Associate Professor of Environmental Geology

University of Montana, Missoula, Mt. 59801

I am Robert Curry, an Associate Professor of Environmental Geology at the University

of Montana.

I hold advanced degrees in plant ecology and geology with a Ph.D in

geology and geophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. Beginning in

February, 1969, I have been deeply involved with the scientific analysis of problems

associated with Arctic Alaskan petroleum development.

In the early spring of 1969,

while employed as a professor at the University of California, I was engaged by the Department of the interior, U.S. Geological Survey, to conduct a reconnaissance sur• vey of the then-pending Alaska pipeline proposal and to help to formulate policy

guidelines that might be used by the Department of Interior to assure minimization

of environmental impacts for the Alaskan petroleum development.

I was then serving

as a scientific advisor to the U.S. Senate Public Works Committee on matters of

environmental effects of offshore petroleum development prompted by the Santa Barbara

oil spill and was advising the President's science advisory staff on the same matter.

Since I held a research hydrologist position with the Geological Survey and was

employed part-time by them and since I had lived in Alaska and studied arctic land

scape processes there while employed by the University of Alaska, I was asked to

begin work for Interior in April of 1969 on route selection criteria for determining

environmental impact of the various petroleum transshipment and roadway schemes then

being proposed and effected by petroleum companies and the pipeline consortium.


work included overflight and ground-visits to the Hickle-Highway and the surveyed

Trans-Alaska pipeline route, and preparation of an advisory report.

Following presentation of my findings and conclusions to Interior, I began a long and

intense involvement with other scientists to bring the issues into the public realm.

This contributed to the preliminary Injunction and long litigation in Wilderness

Society vs Morton, Civil No. 928-70.

I have served in an advisory capacity in this

litigation since the granting of the injunction and have prepared and digested many

thousands of pages of documents on those aspects of the arctic pipelines within the areas of my expertese; namely arctic geomorphology, hydrology, and plant ecology. I have published professional papers in these fields, specializing particularly in

those geologic processes that constitute hazards to human beings and their works

such as river flooding, seismic hazards, permafrost considerations, slope stability,

and similar natural events.

Since 1961 I have visited and conducted field work on

approximately 95% of the proposed Trans-Alaska pipeline route from Prudhoe to Valdez

and have investigated representative portions of both the Alaskan and Canadian por

tions of several alternative Mackenzie Valley pipeline routes as far south as

Edmonton, Alberta. I have also traveled extensively within Canada and had frequent

discussions and assistance from Canadians to help me evaluate the basic data for

their routes.

At this time I wish to attempt to summarize an extremely large volume

of factual information on the comparative terrestrial environmental impacts of the

Alaskan and Canadian pipeline alternatives.

These geologic and hydrologic data

overwhelmingly favor Mackenzie Valley routes.

Primary factors under consideration

are seismic risk through pipeline failure associated with local ground accelerations and offsets, sea waves, slope failures, and glacier accelerations; flood and scour hazard associated with buried river crossings and glacier outburst floodways; foundation failure hazard associated with high ground-ice permafrost melting; and service and haul-road substrate destruction causing increased siltation in waterways and loss

of permafrost and vegetative covers.

Basic physical route comparisons

Some serious misinformation is still being used as the basis for comments and decisions

regarding the environmental impacts of the two major pipeline routes (see for instance letter of Rogers C. B. Morton to "Senator', April 4, 1973). Although it is true that the Trans-Canada route is longer, it is not at all true that there is more unstable

permafrost, more chances of slope failure, equal seismic risk, or equal hydrologic risk. Morton's letter to Congressmen of April 4 also Illustrates some misconceptions about the hazard geology of the two routes, such as his ideas about design for earthquakes, permafrost, and river crossings that cause me to seriously doubt that he has the ability to grasp these technical matters sufficiently to assure his capability to attach adequate environmental and technical stipulations to any arctic pipeline

permit, no matter where constructed.

These factual and implied errors are so over

whelmingly incorrect that they must be thoroughly challanged in open scientific

forum. The following analysis will cover some of the major points of terrestrial


Seismic Hazard

It is well-known that the Canadian alternatives offer less seismic risk than the

Alaskan route but the degree of this difference

not fully appreciated. First,

the magnitude of expected earthquakes was seriously underestimated for the longest

mid-section of the Alaska Pipeline route (67° N. to Donnelly Dome) because earth

quakes of several times larger magnitudes have occurred within 30 miles of the pro

posed pipeline within recent historical times.

The very high risk seismic zone

comprises over two-thirds of the Alaskan route while the lesser (6.0) highest risk

zone for the Canadian route is less than 120 miles in length.. About 450 to 500 miles

of the Alaskan route are through areas with a conservatively-determined risk of 8.0

95-290 O. 73 - 15

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