The Alaskan Highway Pipeline Project. Essay

2204 words - 9 pages

Introduction to the Issue:The Alaskan Highway Pipeline Project is one of Trans-Canada's natural gas pipeline constructions. This project will be to move natural gas from Prudhoe Bay (North America's largest oil field) in Northern Alaska to markets in the lower 48 states. This "non visible" pipeline is suggested to run from Prudhoe Bay where it would parallel the road to Fairbanks, follow the Alaska Highway corridor through the Yukon Territory and continue across northeast British Columbia and on into Alberta heading south where it would cross the border into the United States. Once all rights-of-ways have been passed both in Canada and the United States, the production of the Alaska highway pipeline will be under construction year round: lengths of pipeline will be buried underground along with construction of several compressor stations (above ground facilities to compress the natural gas and push it through the pipeline) as well as meter stations (where the gas gets tested and measured).Estimated project highlights in Alaska only:Length: 745 miles (1200 km)Pipe diameter: 48 inches (122 cm)Compressor Stations: 6Construction time: 3 yearsProduction Costs: $6.8 billion (estimated) for the whole project*Predeger, D. (2005) ANWR [internet]. Arctic Power. Available from:http://www.anwr.org/[Accessed November, 2005].What is the environmental system that is affected?The environmental system that is being affected by the Alaska Highway Pipeline is known as ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Reserve). This system resides in Alaska with a wilderness area equal to the size of South Carolina (19 million acres). ANWR is a reserve made to preserve the many land and marine mammals within an 8 million acre area. The other 8 million is designated as natural research areas and national natural landmarks. 1.5 million of these acres is known as the coastal plain in the northern part of ANWR, and this section of land is also known as a study area where they are exploring oil and gas development potential.The development within ANWR affects some First Nations villages and there is a difference of opinion to agree or not agree on the issue of this pipeline project. For example an Eskimo village near the proposed drilling site says they are open to this land based pipeline since most of their country food comes from the marine environment which will not impacted by the project. In contrast, the Gwich'in First Nations who live further inland are working with numerous environmental groups to oppose the oil exploration. As part of their heritage the Gwich'in people have relied on the Porcupine Caribou Herd as a source of food, clothing and tools. Their concern and one of the big issues in the pipeline development is the impact of drilling on the calving grounds of this migratory herd.*Predeger, D. (2005) ANWR [internet]. Arctic Power. Available from:http://www.anwr.org/[Accessed November, 2005].*Eaton, S. (2005) Alaska Preserve hangs in balance [internet]. The plain dealer...

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