The Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the most promising and prospective area for commercial oil and gas development in the United States today. Notwithstanding a 1987 recommendation from the Secretary of the Interior that the ANWR Coastal Plain should be made available for full oil and gas leasing, exploration and development, the Congress of the United States has failed to take action to permit these activities in the Coastal Plain. Since the Secretary's recommendation in 1987, the State of Alaska has advocated consistently that the Congress should enact legislation to open the Coastal Plain to oil and gas leasing, exploration and development
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) is the Native corporation established by the Inupiat people of Alaska's North Slope pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. ASRC's Inupiat shareholders have major cultural, subsistence and economic interests in ANWR. One of the North Slope's eight villages, the Village of Kaktovik, is located on Barter Island within the boundary of ANWR, and ASRC owns approximately 90,000 acres of subsurface rights in and around the Village of Kaktovik. ASRC and the Inupiat people have consistently supported Congressional action to open the Coastal Plain to oil and gas leasing, exploration and development under strict stipulations to ensure the protection of the environment of the Coastal Plain.
In pursuing Congressional action to open the Coastal Plain to oil and gas development, ASRC has worked closely with numerous companies and organizations that share ASRC's interest in development of the Coastal Plain. In recent years, ASRC has worked closely with Arctic Power, a grassroots organization established by Alaskans to advance public information on and interest in this issue. ASRC believes that Arctic Power has played an essential role in educating policy-makers and opinion-makers on this important issue, and will play an increasingly critical role as the Congress considers whether to take action on this issue this year. ASRC recommends that the State of Alaska continue to support Congressional action to open the Coastal Plain to oil and gas development, and extend its financial assistance to Arctic Power to ensure that Arctic Power can continue its important role in educating members of Congress and other policy-makers on this issue.