Political History of the Arctic Refuge

Political History of the Arctic Refuge

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) , finalized in December of 1980, designated the 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain within ANWR a study area, to be evaluated for its oil and gas development potential. The resource evaluation, conducted by the Department of Interior, was released in 1987 and recommended that Congress open the Coastal Plain for oil and gas exploration and development. Since then, Alaska’s Congressional delegation, our Governors and State Legislature’s have been working toward that end. In 1995, the U.S. House and Senate approved Coastal Plain Development as part of a balanced budget act, but the entire measure was vetoed by President Clinton.


1903                           President Theodore Roosevelt established the National        Wildlife Refuge System.

1949                                                        The National Park Service began a recreational
survey in Alaska to identify areas with special natural values.

1954                                                        The National Park Service recommended that the
undisturbed lands in the northeastern corner of Alaska be preserved for their
wildlife, wilderness, recreation, scientific, and cultural values.

1957                                                        The Department of the Interior announced plans
to ask Congress to establish an 8,000 square-mile wildlife reserve in the area
identified by the National Park Service study.

Jan. 3, 1959                 Alaska Statehood

Dec. 6, 1960                Arctic National Wildlife Range
Created (8.9 million acres) Public Land Order (PLO) 2214

1964                                                        President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness
Act, establishing the National Wilderness Preservation System and policies for
wilderness management.

1969                                                        The first manager was hired for ANWR.

Dec. 18, 1971              Alaska Native Claims Settlement
Act. The Act gave the Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation (KIC) surface rights to
69,000 acres along the arctic coast within the Range.

June 20, 1977              Trans Alaska Pipeline Start-up

Dec. 2, 1980                Alaska
National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The Act expanded the Arctic
Range to approximately 18 million acres, renamed it the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, designated eight million acres as Wilderness, designated three
rivers as Wild, and called for wildlife studies and an oil and gas assessment
of 1.5 million acres of the ANWR Coastal Plain (the”10-02 Area”).

Gwich’in opt out settling for
Indian Reservation status and thus not subject to ANILCA 7i revenue sharing of
natural resources. Likewise they don’t receive benefit of other native natural
resource royalties.

1983                                                        The Chandler Lake land exchange agreement
conveyed subsurface ownership of Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation lands to the
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.

one million acres were added to the south side of the Refuge when the State of
Alaska decided not to retain control of lands it had selected under the
Statehood Act.

Winter, 1983-84          Approx.
600 line miles of 2D geophysical data acquired in ANWR

Winter, 1984-85          Approx. 580 line miles of 2D
geophysical data acquired in ANWR

Dec. 2, 1985                ANWR closed to any further geophysical

Sept. 2, 1986               Secretary of Interior’s Report to
Congress, as required by Sec. 1002 of ANILCA

Feb., 1987                   Draft Environmental Impact
Statement for ANWR Exploration Published

Sept, 1987                   Dept. Of Interior recommends
to Congress to open the coastal plain.

1988                                                        House Merchant Marine & Fisheries Committee
approves an open ANWR Bill.

Congress added 325,000 acres to
the south side of the Refuge, bringing the total area managed by the Refuge to
approximately 19.3 million acres and making ANWR the largest Refuge in the
National Wildlife Refuge System.

early 1989                   House Merchant Marine &
Fisheries Committee again approves an ANWR Bill.

Mar. 24, 1989              Exxon Valdez aground in Prince
William Sound.

Aug 2, 1990                Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.

October 31,
1991        Congress debated National
Energy Policy Act, Title 9 of which allowed for development of the Coastal

Energy Committee approves Title 9.

Nov. 1991                   Senate Roll-call vote on Sen.
Wellstone amendment to cut off debate on ANWR, 50 to 44.  (60 votes needed to defeat filibuster)  National Energy Policy Act shelved.

October 1992              New National Energy Policy Act,
without ANWR, passed.

Nov. 1992                   Mr. Clinton elected President

March 1995                 ANWR resurrected as part of the Balanced Budget bill.

May 24, 1995              Senator Roth amendment to table
ANWR from the Budget Resolution defeated 56 to 44 votes.

Sept. 1995                   President Clinton tried to
create a National Monument of ANWR under the Antiquities Act – this was

Sept. 19, 1995             Cong. Vento motion to strike ANWR
from the Budget Reconciliation Bill in the House Resources Committee, defeated
27 to 14.

Oct., 1995                   House vote on Budget
Reconciliation plan including ANWR, passed 227 to 203 votes.

Oct. 25, 1995              Sen. Bumpers asset sale amendment
(which would drop ANWR from the Reconciliation bill), defeated.

Oct. 26, 1995              Sen. Baucus anti-ANWR amendment
defeated 51 to 48 votes.

Dec. 6, 1995                President Clinton vetoed the
Balanced Budget Act which included a provision to open ANWR.

May, 1996                   A new Budget Resolution was initiated by Congress.

May 24, 1996              Sen. Bumpers again tried an asset
sale amendment on the floor of the Senate as a way of killing ANWR.  The first amendment was modified and defeated
98 to 0, but a second attempt aimed directly at ANWR was defeated 52 to 46

1997                                                        President William Clinton signed the
"National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act." This Act provides
specific guidance to the Refuge System, and establishes the mission of the
National Wildlife Refuge System "to administer a national network of lands
and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration
of fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United
States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans."

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed
that the barrier islands and the lagoons which they enclose, along the
northeast coast of Alaska, are within the boundaries of the Arctic Refuge. The
State of Alaska had hoped to claim ownership of these lagoons and to lease them
for oil and gas exploration and development.

May 1998                    U.S. Geological Survey
released the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 1002 Area, Petroleum
Assessment, 1998
  containing the
highest estimates ever for the region.  The agency’s mid-range estimate of oil in place rose from 13.8 billion
barrels to 20.7 billion barrels of oil.

Jan. 2000                     Representative Vento’s
Morris Udall ANWR Wilderness Bill has 165 co-sponsors; while Senator Roth’s
Senate version has 25 co-sponsors.

March 31, 2000           Assumptions about ANWR revenues were
included in the FY2001 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 101) as reported by the
Senate Budget Committee. An amendment to remove the language was tabled.
However, conferees rejected the language.

January 10,
2001         Clinton announced that ANWR
would not be declared a national monument.

May 24, 2001              Vermont Senator James Jeffords
changes party affiliate from Republican to Independent.  Democrats take over Senate majority.

July 27, 2001               Representative Billy Tauzin (D-SD)
introduces HR4 that included a provision to open ANWR.

Aug. 1, 2001               HR4 passed in the House of

Dec. 5, 2001                Senator Tom Daschle introduces
S.1766.  Bill does not move.

January 17,
2002         The Interior Department
concluded that the proposed Arctic drilling plan would not violate American
treaty obligations to protect polar bears.

February 26,
2002       As the energy bill begins to
wind its way through the Senate, the White House considered a
"scaled-back" version of the ANWR drilling plan, including only
500,000 of the original 1.5 million acres of the refuge’s coastal plain.

Mar. 12, 2002              Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
introduces S.517, The National Energy Policy Act.

Apr. 25 2002               S.517 passes Senate 88-11.  It did not contain ANWR.

Nov 2002                    Conference Committee fails
to pass Comprehensive Energy Bill

Dec 2002                     Energy Bill is shelved.

April 2003                   Amendment vote to take ANWR
language out of the House Energy Bill.  The vote did not pass.  House
votes and passes its version of the Energy Bill (H.R.6)that included ANWR.
Senate votes 52-48 to strip from a budget resolution language to lift the
longtime ban on the development of oil in the ANWR.

July 2003                     Senate passed the 2002
Senate Energy Bill excluding ANWR language.

August 2003               GAO Report of wildlife refuges.
Over 100 of the 500 wildlife refuges nationwide have had oil and gas
exploration on them.  45 Currently have
operational oil and gas sites on them including a refinery in Alaska’s Kenai
Wildlife Refuge

Sept 2003                    Conference Committee
convened and failed to reach agreement

2004                                                        The House again passed a comprehensive energy
bill that included authorization to open the Coastal Plain to exploration and
development.  No action occurred in the

Jan 2005                      Sen. Domenici reappointed
Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee and in inaugural speech
announces opening the Coastal Plain of ANWR.  Congressman Pombo of the House Natural Resources Committee vows to
submit pro-ANWR legislation as soon as possible.

Feb 2005                     President Bush reaffirms
commitment to open the Coastal Plain of ANWR to oil and gas exploration by
including it in his proposed budget to Congress and in public address on the

March 16, 2005           Senate vote – Cantwell Amendment to
strike ANWR from Senate Conference Resolution 18 (FY2006 Budget Bill).  Defeated 51-49

March 17, 2005           Senate votes on Concurrent Budget
Resolution including ANWR.  Passes 51-49

March 17, 2005           House vote on Budget Resolution.  ANWR was included in the Resolution.  Passed 218-214

April 20, 2005             House vote – Markey Motion to Srike
ANWR from HR-6.  Defeated 231-200

April 2005                   House includes ANWR in its
version of Energy Bill, votes and passes initial language.  Senate does not include ANWR in its version.    

April 21, 2005             House vote – HR-6 vote for passage
with ANWR included.  Passes 249-183

April 28, 2005             House vote – Vote to agree to
Budget Conference Report.  Passes

April 28, 2005             Senate votes on House Conference
Report (H.Con. Res. 95) Including ANWR.  Passes 52-47 (1 not voting).  ANWR
thus locked into Budget Reconciliation Process to be debated in the Fall.

Mid 2005                    USGS updates 1998 ANWR
assessment stating that advances in technology would dramatically increase
productions estimates made in 1998 and lessen footprint and thus impact to the
environment.  Suspiciously does not give
any estimated updated numbers.

August 8, 2005           Energy Policy Act 2005 passes House
and Senate but does not include ANWR language.

Sept 2005                    Hurricane Katrina wipes out
10% of nations refining capacity and 25% of crude production. 

December 2005           Senator Stevens introduces ANWR
provision to Defense Appropriations Bill politically negating ANWR inclusion in
the Budget Reconciliation Bill which cannot be filibustered.

Dec 19, 2005               House passes Defense Appropriations
Bill conference report (HR 2863) including ANWR provision 308-106. Bill moves
on to Senate.

Dec 21, 2005               Senate fails to achieve 60 votes
needed (58-41) to prevent a potential filibuster of the Defense Appropriations
Bill which includes ANWR provision.  ANWR
dropped from bill (S Con Res 74)

March 16, 2006           Senate passes 2007 Budget Resolution
including $3 billion from proposed 10-02 Area lease sale revenue 51-49.

May 17, 2006              House passes 2007 Budget
Resolution without ANWR.  The Resolution
will move to Joint Conference Committee for debate and finalization.

May 19, 2006              HR5429 ANWR Standalone bill
introduced by Chairman Pombo (R-CA)

May 24, 2006              H.Res 835 Introduced allowing
consideration of HR5429 and DoI to conduct lease sales in 10-02 Area.

May 25, 2006              H.Res 835 passed 234-184. HR5429
passes House 225-201. Sent to Senate June 5th.

July 26, 2006               HR 5890 by Rep. Nunes
American-made Energy Trust Fund. Shelved in Energy Subcommittee.

Sept.21, 2006              S.3917 Sen. Burr introduces American-Made Energy Freedom Act of 2006,
companion bill to HR5890. Shelved in Finance Committee.

January 5,  2007          Representative
Markey (D-MA) introduces HR-39 Udall-Eisenhower Arctic Wilderness
legislation to declare 10-02 Area “wilderness” and thus permanently
off limits to exploration. Shelved in Committee.

Sept 25, 2007              ANWR amendment killed in House
Resources Cmte. Rep Bishop (R-UT) to amend HR 3058 to include pro-ANWR
language.  Rejected 17-10 , 20nv

Nov 7, 2007                Senator Lieberman (ID-CT)
introduces S-2316 Arctic Wilderness Act legislation to declare the 10-02 Area
as “wilderness”.   Currently in

Feb 19, 2008               HR 5437 American Made Energy Act
introduced Reps. Ross (D-AR) and Nunes (R-CA) uses ANWR royalties/oil tax to
fund vast array of energy programs across nation.  Referred to committees.

March 2008                 Congressional Research Service
state ANWR development could generate $84-237 billion in taxes and royalties at
$100 per barrel.  And up to $298.6
billion in taxes and royalties at prices over $125pb.

March 13, 2008           Introduction of S. 2758 >The American Energy
Independence and Security Act of 2008 by Sen Murkowski (R-AK) Authorizes
opening of 10-02 Area if the price of oil reaches $125pb and remains there for
5 consecutive days.  The bill funnels tax
and royalty revenue to the LIHEAP and Child Nutrition programs.  Referred to Energy and Nat. Res. Cmte.

>May 2008                    Oil reaches +$130 per barrel

>May 7 , 2008               Introduction of S.2958 The
American Energy Production Act as an amendment to the S.2284 The Flood
Insurance Bill. Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduces amendment to combat price
of fuel with provisions for opening ANWR and OCS.

>May 22,2008               Introduction of HR6071 American Energy Independence and Price
Reduction Act by Don Young (AK-R)  Opening the 10-02 Area of ANWR and OCS.  Co-sponsored by Rep Bartlett (D-MD)

June-July 2008            Throughout the summer ANWR bills stack up following the
skyrocketing price of oil.  By August, 19
active ANWR bills lay in committee on Capitol Hill. 

August 2008               August recess put off by some
members who stage an Energy Talk-In on the House floor.  Members express their concern at leaderships
lack of action on the price of gasoline and dealing with the energy crisis.

November 2008          Senator Obama elected President.

6 2009            111th Congress begins, Representative Don Young re-                                                          introduces the American
Energy Independence and                                                              Price
Reduction Act, now HR.49.   In same week
Rep.                                                     Markey
/ Sen. Lieberman introduce traditional ANWR                                                  Wilderness
legislation (S.231, HR.39)

July 2009                     In total 15 ANWR bills are
introduced between January and mid July 2009.  2 of those bills are Wilderness bills. No new bills for rest of year.

March 31, 2010           Obama announces OCS plans, cancels
Chuck-chi and Beaufort leases, closes Bristol Bay to leasing.  Cook Inlet continues to be available.

April 22, 2010             Discovery rig in Gulf erupts in
flames and sinks next day.  Realities of
risk in OCS work hits home.

June 2010                    USFWS initiate ANWR
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) to study management of ANWR.  Plan puts forth 6 alternative land
designation scenarios.  2 for total
wilderness designation, 2 for some designation, 2 for status quo. Public comment
period opens and final review due in two years.

February 2011             Shell Oil Co. releases estimate of
economic development of OCS in the Arctic stating over 50,000 jobs nationwide
and over $140 billion in business and payroll over 50 years.  OCS begins to transform as a prior taboo
energy concern in the Arctic to a politically acceptable new issue. 

June 2011                    HR2021 allowing Arctic OCS
development passes House 253-166 with 23 D supporting.

August 2011               USFWS release first draft of ANWR
CCP with public comments and six alternatives on land management.  Alaska claims violation of NEPA and ANILCA
with no consideration given to “alternative land uses”.  Ironically definition of 10-02 is area for
oil and gas exploration. Final CCP due in a year.

November 2011          State holds joint lease sale for all
State and some federal arctic lands.  Leases
off Staines River and near ANWR awarded.  Only minor leasing on federal side accomplished.

January 2012               21 bills supporting oil and gas
exploration in Alaska’s Arctic reside active on the books of Congress. 11
contain an ANWR provision and 10 contain and OCS provision. 

February 2012             HR 3407 containing ANWR passes House
Nat. Res. Cmte. 29-13. HR 7 containing the remnants of HR 3407 moves to a vote
on the floor of the House.  HR 3410 on
OCS revenue sharing moves for vote.

April 2012                   USFWS misses its deadline to
finalize the ANWR CCP states unknown estimated completion date and or finding.

October 2012              HR 2150 containing an NPR-A
provision passes out of House Nat. Res. Cmte awaits floor vote.

January 2013               Senator Bingaman of New Mexico
retires ending 6 years of stagnation on energy legislation. Zero discussion on
OCS development and zero chance of ANWR passage.  Senator Mary Landrieu of Lousiana takes over
chairmanship and Senator Murkowski of Alaska retains Ranking position.  OCS but not ANWR back on the table.

April 26 2013              HR 527 Helium Act allows $50m
Arctic legacy well clean up fund passes House 394-1 and 96-2 Senate passage on
Sept. 19th.

May –July 2013          State of Alaska proposes 3D seismic
study of 10-02 Area of ANWR to update 1984 2D seismic for better decision
making.  Sec. Jewell rejects proposal
stating ANILCA creates timeline and no more exploration allowed.  State hold press conference with North Slope
Borough and submits extensive Environmental Impact Statement on 3D seismic
proposal.  Again rejected by Jewell.

June 28 2013               HR 2231 with OCS revenue sharing
receives successful vote in the House 235-186.

November 20
2013     HR 1965 Federal Lands Jobs and
Energy Security Act passes House 228-192.  Allows $50m for 3D seismic work matched by state.  Could be used in ANWR.

June 25, 2014              HR 4899 allowing OCS lease sales
and repeal of NPR-A “B-2” plan passes House 229-185.

Sept 18, 2014              Energy Solutions Act allowing OCS
Revenue sharing and NPR-A “B-2” revision passes House 226-191

October 2014              State of Alaska releases decision
on Staines River border clarification on ANWR.  Allows OCS leases to be realized north of disputed land.  USFWS claims Staines River as ANWR border yet
State claims 1960 Public Land Order 2214 is clear Canning River is border.

November 2014          National election Republicans take
Senate 54-46, increase majority in House by 58 votes.  Alaska’s Senator Murkowski obtains Chair of
Energy Cmte. and DoI Budget Cmte.

State of Alaska opens up law suit
against Sec. Jewell and Dept. of Interior over ANWR 3D seismic request.  To be heard in Anchorage Federal Court.

December 2014           At close of 113th Congress
23 bills introduced for Arctic Alaska. 10 contain pro ANWR provision with 2
against.  OCS leasing and revenue sharing
and NPR-A repeal of “B-2” other bills.  OCS
Revenue sharing and repeal of NPR-A “B-2” plan pass House twice each.  All DOA in Senate due to opposition from
Majority Leader Harry Reid and President.

January 19 2015          Federal District Court Judge Gleason
hears State’s case in favor of allowing application for 3D seismic work to
Dept. of Interior.  Case pending to be
decided in 3 weeks plus.

January 25 2015          Secretary Sally Jewell and President
release USFWS Comprehensive Conservation Plan on ANWR two years late.  Calls for full wilderness designation of ANWR
in violation of NEPA and ANILCA.  Alaska
Governor and delegation outraged and vow to fight the issue through budgetary
process and other avenues.  Jewell states
possible arctic OCS and NPR-A Greater Mooses Tooth site also on table for
restrictions and closure.