Well, since the caribou population actually INCREASED with the opening of Prudhoe bay- and I have hunted and been in those areas as well- I doubt very seriously that the porcupine herd will even notice there are rigs out there- the area is that big. Think state of texas big- but empty of anything but arctic life- no single large settlement of poeple there- the 7000 are scattered in a very, very large area- with the Gwich'in natives closest- and most dependent on the herd. No doubt whatsoever in my mind that the decimation of that herd would be like genocide to that culture as well- and I am not exagerating one bit- their entire way of life is tied to that herd.
So you can see I am a bit torn here. I know Gwich'in natives, have spoken with them on this very issue- and thier concern for the herd is real.
But once drilling is done on Prudhoe bay- once those rigs are dissassembled and nothing but gravel pads are left- the place will still be just like man found it for millenia. I have no doubt about it- because you just have to go out there and see nothing but the rig for a gazzilion miles in any direction- and this is from the air!
The foot print is just too small to have any real effect. In fact- the real pressure may come from opening up roads to that area- now that the Dalton Hiway is open ( and I went up it this summer to recover a motorcycle) - there are more enviromental threats than when the oil company was the only allowed entity to use the roadway.
So many folks worry about pressure, from all things- from Eco-tourists!-
Now that may very well be the real legitmate argument for the Gwich'in natives- the invasion of unwanted Yuppies with wool! Also consider- all operation is only done during the winter- when there is no porcupine herd in that area
- the biggest hole in the ENTIRE "we may harm the herd" thinking- the fact that there is nothing but caretaker staff there during the summer- and all
construction is done in the winter- so there is absolutely no way the oil company could "disturb" the herd in any way!
If you ask most Gwich'in natives, they will tell you they are more concerned about the "invasion"'s affect on the herd than the oil companies- so it is a legitimate concern- the added population of POEPLE there due to roads being added.
It is the attitude of the pro-ANWR crowd that scares the Gwich'in the most -
here is an older post by Neo-con30:Make an argument for the animals that trumps a profitable industry. You say you can't eat the animals, but you can get food from other sources. If you are suggesting that Alaskans will starve because they are so dependant on the wildlife for food, I would withdraw my support for drilling, but I doubt that is the case. Then again, you live in Alaska and know best about the dietary habits of Alaskans.
Are there other reasons not to drill besides saving animals or wildlife? I have not heard any arguments that exceed a possible reduction in gas prices, or a possible decrease in dependancy on the Middle East. I am not suggesting that drilling in Alaska will rid us of the need to import from the Persian Gulf, but it may decrease our imports from that region and sway our foreign policy in regards to military action abroad. It is certainly a gamble, there is a possibility for a profound effect, or it could mean nothing. I am willing to wager the caribou's life on the former, even if wrong, the possibility is worth it.
As you can see, when most folks that are "pro-ANWR" make speeches to them- and then hear stuff like above out loud quite a bit- after all, they do have Fox TV
So the perception that the Pro-ANWR poeple aren't really worried about a "mere 7000 poeple" - which would scare you if you were one of those 7000 eh?
So- to directly answer the questions:Does drilling in ANWAR justify the potential threat of cultural extinction, even for a community that numbers only 7,000 people?
No- genocide is never acceptable! Even for American interests! Since the community straddles both borders, does Canada have a legitimate stake in the discussion of opening ANWAR?
Absolutely- just don't count on a pro-oil person to actually listen LOLWhat relevance, if any, does the 1987 agreement between the two governments to preserve the Porcupine herd and ensure that "the interests of users of Porcupine Caribou are given effective consideration in evaluating proposed activities within the range of the Herd" have?
Well, I think it has a great deal of relevence- since really, in this area, all the way to Washington state- our resources and economies are totally intertwined, and to violate this agreement doesn't say much about our treaties (or our honesty by sticking to a good faith agreement) does it- not that it ever mattered to America to ever follow our treaties!
, especially when it comes to the native poeples.And one additional point of order on this issue- the Gwich'in do not live in the refuge- the Inupiat do
The residents of Kaktovik, the only people living on the Coastal Plain of ANWR, support oil and gas development in their 'back yard'. Alaska's indigenous people have benefited greatly from North Slope production. In addition to providing a tax base for the local government, oil development has provided jobs, funding for water and sewer systems and schools. Native and village corporations with oil field-related subsidiaries are working on the North Slope, and the local government has a voice in permitting and environmental regulation.
BTW- check out the picture here:http://www.anwr.org/features/pdfs/faces-caribou.pdf