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ASJE Passes Arctic Wildlife Refuge Resolution

by ASJE Tuesday, Oct. 09, 2001 at 3:35 PM (503) 736-9777 1125 SE Madison Street, Suite 100-D, Portland, Oregon 97214



WHEREAS nearly 55,000 direct jobs (full-time equivalent) and 84,000 total (fte) are dependent on Alaska's healthy natural environment, and

WHEREAS these jobs produce almost .6 billion of income for Alaska workers and represent 26% of all jobs in Alaska, and

WHEREAS the 55,000 direct jobs amounts to six times the number of direct petroleum jobs and more than twice the employment of the petroleum, mining and construction industries combined in Alaska, and

WHEREAS commercial fishing and tourism are the largest sources of jobs and income that depend on healthy ecosystems (other job categories include sport fishing, government, natural resource management, sport hunting, wildlife viewing and subsistence), and

WHEREAS U.S. households receive an estimated billion worth of economic value per year from the continued preservation of Alaska's federal conservation units in their pristine state, and

WHEREAS the Tellus Institute has estimated that ten times more jobs would result from energy efficiency than from drilling in the Refuge, and

WHEREAS a widely circulated "up to 735,000 new jobs" figure came, in the first place, from a 10-year-old study funded and released by the union-busting American Petroleum Institute and has been widely discredited by the Congressional Research Service, the Tellus Institute and the Economic Policy Institute, and

WHEREAS the Center for Economic Development estimates that at best, 46,300 jobs could be created by Arctic drilling proposals, not significant considering the size of the U.S. economy, and

WHEREAS building a new natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48, a -15 billion investment, would create many times more jobs than drilling the Arctic Refuge, and

WHEREAS most of the steel used in Alaska's oil fields comes from Japan, not the U.S., and

WHEREAS the estimated 9.2 billion barrel yield predicted by the American Petroleum Institute is, by most accounts highly improbable; U.S. Geologic Survey estimates stand at 3.2 billion barrels, and

WHEREAS an average of 400 spills a year in the Arctic harm the environment, and

WHEREAS 95% of Alaska's North Slope is open to exploration or development, including the Indiana-sized National Petroleum Reserve, where Phillips and BP are said to have just discovered a billion barrels, and

WHEREAS government estimates state that just 6 months of oil will be found and will not be available for at least 10 years, making any oil extracted from the Arctic now unavailable to alleviate any perceived or real energy shortage or national security need, and

WHEREAS the Coastal Plain is a critical part of our nation's preeminent wilderness; the Arctic Refuge is a place where 129,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd gather on the Coastal Plain to bear and nurse their young each year, where 300,000 snow geese ready themselves for migration, is the nation's most important polar bear denning habitat, and is critical biologically for its concentrations of other migratory wildlife, and

WHEREAS the Gwich'in (Athabascan) people are the northernmost Indian nation living in North America and 7,000 Gwich'in live on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine Caribou herd, and

WHEREAS for thousands of years, the Gwich'in have relied upon the Porcupine River caribou to meet subsistence needs, and

WHEREAS caribou are vital for food, clothing, tools, culture and spiritual guidance for the Gwich'in people, and

WHEREAS all proposals to drill the Arctic Refuge open the entire 1.5 million acre coastal plain "1002 area" to oil exploration and leasing and would industrialize hundreds of square miles and the biological heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and

WHEREAS the Arctic Refuge is unique on the North Slope of Alaska and in the world. It is the only place in the nation where the full spectrum of arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems is protected in an unbroken continuum.

THEREFORE we join our brothers and sisters in the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, the Communication Workers of America, the National Federation of Independent Unions, the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981), PACE, the Teamsters for A Democratic Union and members of the Denali National Parks Professional Drivers' Association (Teamsters Local 959) in

RESOLVING to oppose oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge in Alaska, recognizing that drilling in such sensitive areas is neither a solution to energy problems in the U. S. , nor does such drilling stand to benefit labor in any substantial way.

[Information from Alaska Conservation Foundation, spring 2001, Center for Economic Development, Tellus Institute, WashPIRG, Sierra Club national]


The ASJE is a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a world where nature is protected, the worker is respected, and unrestrained corporate power is rejected through grassroots education, organization, and action.

Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment

1125 SE Madison Street, Suite 100-D

Portland, Oregon 97214

(503) 736-9777 -- Phone

(503) 736-9776 -- Fax

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