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Environment
Alaska Natives at center of ANWR drilling debate


As the debate over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge occurs in Washington, two Alaska Native villages are closely watching to see how it will affect their daily lives.

Kaktovik, an Inupiat Eskimo village in ANWR, largely supports drilling for the jobs and revenues it would create. The village corporation owns surface rights in ANWR and the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., which represents 8,000 Inupiat shareholders, owns subsurface rights.

Arctic Village, a Gwich'in village just outside of ANWR, is opposed to development. Residents fear drilling will destroy the caribou herd that they depend on for subsistence and cultural purposes.

Even among Inupiats, there is some disagreement. A recent petition to oppose development in ANWR garnered 57, out of 188, adult signatures. Most Inupiats are outright opposed to off-shore drilling for fear it would hurt their whaling rights.

Nuiqsut, another Inupiat village, has had some experience in the matter. Drilling takes place right outside the village and while it has helped provide some governmental services, residents say the jobs and revenues that were promised have not been realized.

Get the Story:
Oil and 2 ways of life in Alaska (The San Francisco Chronicle 2/3)

Relevant Links:
Arctic Slope Regional Corp - http://www.asrc.com
Gwic'hin Steering Committee - http://www.alaska.net/~gwichin
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Willdife Service - http://arctic.fws.gov
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Pro-Development site - http://www.anwr.org

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