Page images
PDF
EPUB

field price for crude oil are not valid.

Out cost estimates

indicate no significant difference in field price for North

Slope crude, regardless of which route is selected.

9.

With respect to the environmental matters,

Secretary Morton has stated that the greater earthquake and

water leg risks of the Alaska route are offset by larger

unavoidable damage and increased risks to permafrost zones and at river crossings in the much longer Canadian route.

A Canadian pipeline route would cross over twice as

much permafrost and muskeg area as the Alaska pipeline.

Thus, about twice as much gravel would have to be mined

and used for the berm to carry the pipeline over the

frozen Arctic.

Largely as

a result of environmental concerns

reflected in the Interior Department's environmental

impact statement, the Alaska pipeline has been redesigned,

a threefold increase in projected costs. As now

at

contemplated, the Alaska pipeline is the most carefully designed pipeline, environmentally, ever conceived. In both routes, the lines would be constructed to prevent thawing of the soil in permafrost zones. In the seismic active areas along both routes, special designs would be

utilized to withstand even the most severe earthquakes.

Safety requirements that have been imposed in the maritime

oil transport from Valdez. to the West Coast

particularly

double-bottom tankers

- will significantly reduce

the risk to the West Coast from accidental tanker spills.

In fact, if we don't ship our oil from Alaska, in specially

designed U. S. ships,

foreign oil will enter the West Coast

in foreign flag vessels that will not be subject to the

same rigid standards.

I am not minimizing environmental risks. I do believe, however, that the past delays and resultant research have greatly reduced the magnitude of these risks, and that the

overall hazards at this time are not sufficient to further

delay construction of the Alaska pipeline.

The above considerations, in my opinion, demonstrate that the Alaska pipeline is clearly superior to the Canadian

in terms of economic benefits, balance of payments, security,

and employment opportunities. Only in the environmental area does the Canadian route appear comparable, and here the risks and possible damage from either line have been

significantly reduced by research during the past few years.

Eventually there may be a need for a Canadian line, but

all evidence points out that we should move forward on

the Alaska pipeline now.

In view of the urgent necessity for early Alaska

production, I strongly recommend Congressional action to

allow construction of the Alaska pipeline at the earliest

possible date.

Now I should like to amplify some of the statements

I have made.

Timing

If Congress moves expeditiously to amend the existing law to allow a wider pipeline right-of-way across government lands, environmental hearings and administrative procedures could perhaps be completed so that construction of the Alaska

pipeline could commence during late 1974 or shortly thereafter.

The Alaska pipeline could then be completed by late 1977

[blocks in formation]

analyses, a longer construction period, and the logical

desire of Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments to

review carefully the pipeline proposals will cause inevitable delay.

United States governmental approval of a Canadian route

would be required and would be subject to the same types

of objections and delays as the Alaska pipeline. The major sequential steps that would be followed in obtaining Canadian permission, and constructing a Canadian pipeline

are as follows:

1.

Final denial of the Alaska pipeline.

2.

Soil borings and mile-by-mile pipeline design, and

[blocks in formation]

4.

Application to the National Energy Board (NEB).

[blocks in formation]

that any work will commence on a detailed design of a Canadian pipeline prior to final denial on the Alaska pipeline.

This is because the North Slope reserves are needed to

justify a Canadian line.

Detailed soil testing and mile-by-mile pipeline

design took three years on the Alaska pipeline. This could hardly be completed in appreciably less time for the much

longer Canadian line.

The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Research,

Limited, has made a preliminary feasibility study of the

Canadian pipeline but has not started detailed pipeline

design studies. They estimate 2-1/2 years for planning and engineering. It could be considerably longer.

The Territorial Lands Act requires that a detailed environmental impact statement be prepared before a right-of-way permit is issued or before easements are

allowed for construction.

Jean Chritian, Minister of the

Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, stated on March 1, 1973, that public hearings will be held under the Territorial Lands Act at an appropriate time after the Department receives an application based on a viable project proposal, accompanied by a detailed documentation of research pertaining to areas of social and environmental

concern.

D. S. MacDonald, Canadian Minister of Mines, on

January 24, 1973, stated that the decision on the actual

route to be followed must first be taken by DIAND in

conjunction with the territorial governments.

An application

could then be made to the NEB for a permit.

In other words,

DIAND's approval must precede an application to the NEB.

Presumably, a favorable ruling by DIAND would be contingent

upon a prior native claims settlement.

Other applications

before either DIAND or the NEB could be delayed by law

suits such as those brought in this country.

« PreviousContinue »