This report describes the environmental characteristics and renewable resources of the Arctic Slope and the Beaufort Sea in relation to oil and gas development. Problems associated with industrial activities are identified, and recommendations for avoiding or minimizing environmental and resource damage are advanced. It is noted that the simplicity of the ecosystems, the slow rate of organic processes, and the presence of permafrost create unique problems in connection with pollution, waste disposal, restoration of vegetation, and all activities which disturb the vegetated surface. In the Beaufort Sea, the shallowness of the continental shelf and the presence of pack ice represent serious physical obstacles to oil development and transportation and heighten the probability of potentially harmful accidents. The risk of serious environmental and resource damage in the Arctic will be greatly lessened by the imposition of high operational and safety standards. There is need for strengthening legal authority to promulgate essential regulations. As an interim substitute, close and effective cooperation between Government and industry must be developed. Both Government and industry have an obligation to support research aimed at providing an adequate understanding of numerous environmental and technical questions.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Environmental influences of oil and gas development in the Arctic Slope and Beaufort Sea