Wilderness Society: Plenty of oil without ANWR

A report released by The Wilderness Society on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline argues that oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not needed to ensure long-term operation of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

“Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline Flow: Doing Just Fine After 40 Years,” was released on June 19, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the oil pipeline, which began operating on June 20, 1977.

According to author Lois Epstein, an engineer and Arctic program director for The Wilderness Society, the pipeline can continue to function for roughly another half century without oil from federally protected regions.

“Don’t take my word for it,” said Epstein. “State court cases have reached this conclusion and there have been substantial, new oil discoveries on state and federal lands in recent years.  The decline in trans-Alaska oil pipeline flow reversed in 2016 and that is a good news story for Alaska.”

With new oil discoveries in the U.S. Arctic documented in the report, the industry is poised to increase trans-Alaska oil pipeline throughput for many years, she said.

As a result, there is no justification to pursue seismic activities or drilling projects on controversial, ecologically important and federally protected Arctic regions, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, off-limits portions of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and the Arctic Ocean, she said.