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HUMS ~V'~?O~M~T I~TI2ODUCT10~ The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) requires MMS to study and manage the effects of OCS activities on the "human, marine, and coastal environments." OCSLA defines the human environment broadly, to include "~e physical, social, and economic components, conditions, and factors which interactively determine He state, condition, and quality of living conditions, employment, and health of Pose affected, directly or indirectly, by activities occurring on the OCS." (43 U.S.C. § 1331(i)~. OCSLA thus provides a clear and unambiguous mandate to study and manage broadly defined effects on social systems, as well as on physical and biological systems. The human environment is affected from at least four causal routes. Two of them are reasonably analogous to the causal routes of effects on He marine and coastal environments. They are actual biological and physical alterations and development-induced changes in the community. The over two, responses to opportunities or Greats and long-term or cumulative changes, require more discussion. Changes in the Physical Environment Alteration of the human environment that results from disturbances and changes in He physical environment can in turn affect environmental services He ways in which people use Heir environment. If an oil spill 129
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130 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA leads to mortality or contamination of fish populations, for example, commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing in an area can change. Similarly, ship traffic or pipeline construction can lead to changes in wetlands or shorelines that serve as nursery grounds for fish. Traditional hunting practices in areas that are turned over to pipelines, drilling activi- ties, support services, and over forms of industrial development can be disrupt, curtailed, or elirT iruted. For example, the migration of bowhead whales, and hence Weir accessibility to subsistence hunters, might be affected by offshore drilling activities. DeveloPment-enduced Changes The second causal route involves economic, demographic, and other changes brought about by leasing and development processes themselves. Among its other implications, for example, OCS oil and gas development can lead to increases in population and economic activity, which can have significant implications for the human environment. Some changes are positive, such as the increase in jobs or tax revenues. Others are negative, such as an increase in social pathology due to an erosion of the local culture. OCS of! and gas development can bring additional people to an area- from off-duty workers who choose to live or recreate near where they work, to job seekers, to persons who simply are interested in seeing industrial activity. The increased contact of these new people wig Alaska Nadves can lead to cultural erosion or to the creation of additional implica- tions for the human environment, as for example Trough increased hunting pressure on local game. Responses to OPoortunIties or Threats The third avenue of change has less resemblance to those that can be seen in the biological or physical realms. Although tile changes to physical or biological systems do not occur until a project leads to physical alterations, observable and measurable alterations in He human environment can take place as soon as Mere are changes in social and economic conditions, which often occur from tile time of the earliest rumors or announcements about a project.
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 131 This category involves the patterns of responses Hat follow tile opportu- nities and threats that attend proposed development. Speculators buy pro- perty, economic development opportunities are created, politicians man- euver for position, interest groups form or redirect their energies, stresses can mount, and a variety of other social and economic effects can occur. These can be particularly important for development that produces large changes, such as OCS of} and gas leases; Mat create controversy; or Tat are seen as risky by residents. These changes have sometimes been called "pre- development" or "anticipatory" impacts, but they are real and measurable. Even Be earliest acts of speculators, for example, can drive up the real cost of real estate. Examples of OCS-related effects in this third category sometimes called "opportunity-threat impacts" in the social science literature (Freudenburg and Gramling, 1992 - include cases in which individuals and communities act to avoid a threat to their futures or to capitalize on potential opportuni- ties resulting from proposed development. These groups also can simply become embroiled in debates over whether a proposed development involves opportunities, Treats, or bow. Attempts to capitalize on opportunities can include seeking financial gain by anticipating changes in property values or working to gain political advantage from vocal opposition to proposed development. If proposals appear to pose Treats, the results can include fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the potential future of the community, which can In turn motivate predictable responses, as when people take time off from work to attend meetings, ~ organize, or to protest. Many of these Important changes in the human environment can take place before a lease sale (NRC, 1989a, 1991a; for a more specific documentation of opportunity-~reat impacts, see especially NRC, 1992b, Appendix C). Oppor~nity-threat impacts are important not just for purposes of studying and managing OCS activity but also for creating an understanding of and possible resolution to the current deadlock in He OCS leasing process. As a recent NRC review notes, He lon~term consequences of this gridlock can include "erosion of public Bust in national and local institutions (O'Hare et al., 1983; Baldassare, 1985), alleged economic losses (Cook, 1988), incidents of destructive and criminal behavior (Marshall, 1989), and even large-scale social pathology (Schwartz et al., 1985; Hickman, 1988~" (NRC, 1992b, p. 27~. Social scientists have studied this topic, developed an understanding of He critical issues, and suggested strategies for managing change and
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132 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA resolving conflict (Creighton, 1981; Freuder~urg, 1988; Hance et al., 1988; Gregory et al., 1991~. Two preconditions for resolving gridlock are defin- ing Me problem and developing approaches dial acknowledge and incor- porate lessons learned. Such strategies by no means guarantee success, but failure to incorporate experience can be a prescription for failure. Overall, as one NRC review concludes, the public's reactions to government decisions are socioeconomic effects of Me decisions and are a legitimat~even essential subject of socioeconomic study. In addition, a better understanding of these effects could lead MMS to develop a decision-making process that results in fewer and smaller effects than does the current process (NRC, 1992b). Lono-Term. Cumulative Change The fours category is long-term or permanent changes to economic, social, and cultural systems Mat result from Me community's response or adaptation to temporary alterations in its environment. As is Me case for biological systems, temporary changes to human systems can result in permanent changes in Me way these systems operate. Nowhere is this more relevant Man in rural Alaska, where indigenous cultures are increasingly integrated wig modern industrial society. Most would agree that dramatic forms of cultural and social disruption should be avoided. Many of tile longer-term effects, however, tend to be more subJde, and most are gradual in onset. Because of its remoteness, for example, the North Slope Borough (NSB) already has been identified in the peer-rev~ewed literature as being particularly susceptible to He phenomenon of "overadaptabon" ~ et al., 1982; Freudenburg and Gramling, 1992~. Local people begin to adapt to changes, but when the changes (extraction of oil, for example) stop, the population cannot return to its earlier condi- tion even if He adaptations are no longer needed or functional. For example, if a hardware store is replacM by a diesel fuel shop, the hardware store may not reopen when development ceases. This is a special problem for the NSB and Northwest Alaska Native Association (NANA) regions because many of He subsistence skills and much of He culture are passed on from generation to generation-a long break could mean that these skills and culture would be lost.
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 133 NSB has used money from onshore oil activities to build an infrastructure that requires substantial maintenance. As the oil money declines and finally runs out, maintenance could become a significant burden on the community. It is unclear whether Be Inupiat economy and culture w'll be able to assume Mat burden and survive. One ironic result of what often happens when dependence on extraction (dependence on revenue from of} and gas development and production) is coupled with remoteness is that there can be a long-term increase, rather than decrease, in local poverty. This is contrary to common expectation, and it happens despite high average wages-not only after the shut-down of operations, but often even during the operating lifetimes of extractive facilities (Drielsma, 1984; Elo arm Beale, 1985; Tickamyer and Tickamyer, 1988~. Although such a result can be predicted, it is not often adequately anticipated; the necessary studies are not conducted in advance. MMS has not conducted studies that would identify ways of mitigating or managing boom-bust impacts. Further discussions of boom and bust resulting from of! and other resource development are found in the work of Bunker (1984), Cummings and Schulze (1978), Gulliford (1989), Krannich and Luloff (1991), and Weber and Howell (1982~. DISTI~CTIV[~I AS OF THE HIGH ARCTIC MID ITS P[OPLIS One distinctive characteristic of Be Norm Slope, as well as of over areas of rural Alaska, including the Kotzebue-NANA region, has to do with the continued vitality of local tradition. The North Slope is home to several thousand Alaska Natives, whose traditions in many respects are quite strong. The Inupiat people and culture are unique in that Hey are the U.S. inheritors of the only cultural tradition to survive and Drive in high arctic conditions, although they resemble over indigenous U.S. cultures in their strong adherence to traditional activities. Because of the cold and because of He radical annual cycles of daylight arm darkness, the high arctic is the most extreme environment to which He human species has ever successfully adapted. The human adaptation has developed over 4,000 years in He area from Greenland to the Bering Strait. Within that region lives a relatively uniform population He Iduit or Inupiat whose unity is in part reflected by similar linguistic and genetic characteristics. The traditional high arctic populations of He Beaulort and
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134 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA Chukchi seas represent one regional variant of culture adapted to the extremes of cold weaker, lack of sunlight, and highly seasonal patterns of resource availability. Studies of the biological characteristics of Alaskan Inupiat suggest that they have developed several genetic adaptations to condidons of extreme cold and food shortage not found in other areas of the world pamison et al., 1978; Moran, 1982~. The Alaskan I~piat also have adapted or attempted to adapt to a variety of radically new and different ways over the past century and a half. Since We I860s, when the first Yankee whalers passed through the Bering Strait in pursuit of the bowhead whales, adjustment to Euro-american ways and doings have been a part of Inupiat cultural heritage. Contemporary I0upiat behavior and cultural practices are a complex distillation of technologies, genetics, behavior, and institutions. Through it all, however, core features of Idupiat identity and cultural practice have been retained and passed on. Inuolat Culture Culture is perhaps the most uniquely human of characteristics; all human beings are raised in cultural systems, which include not only a way of life, but also a reasonably coherent understanding of We meaning of life and of our own place within it. The resultant sense of coherence and integration of ourselves within a larger context is also what gives us a sense of purpose and self-esteem. All human societies transmit cultural systems to their your, but each generation responds as well to environmental changes, often making new judgments about who they are and how they wish to live, resulting in bow continuity and change across generations. The issue is not whether cultural change will occur; it always has and always will. The questions are, instead, what will be die nature of Cat change and to what extent will tile affected people be able to decide Weir own futures? The answers to these questions can exert a powered influence over We degree to which We resultant change will, on balance, provide for fulfilling lives or lead to cultural disruption and social pathology. This is We foundation of We OCSLA definition of Be human environment as including "quality of living condidons" (43 U.S.C. § 1331 bilk. Evidence indicates Tat Be results of change can include severe trauma and stress, as well as confusion and breakdown in cultural transmission from adults to children. Studies of Be
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 135 Exxon Valdez oil spill (Impact Assessment, 1990; Palinkas, 1990), of population relocation caused by dam building in Egypt and other parts of Africa (Colson, 1971; Scudder, 1973; Scudder and Colson, 1972), and of political displacement in Arizona (Scudder, 1982) demonstrate Mat serious disruptions to We continuity of cultural systems Mat are tied to specific locales can result in a declining quality of life (as measured by Me poor health of individuals, Me dissolution of social relations, and the disappear- ance of cultural institutions). For Alaska Natives, as for any other culture, change is constant, and even within a relatively small community, it is possible to discern a continuum, from those who are extremely traditional to Nose who are most similar to the nonnatives of Me lower 48 states. Even in Me case of such traditional activities as whaling, the crews tend to use some modern equipment (motorized aluminum skiffs, used primarily in Me fall season) along win more traditional equipment (sealskin boats, used primarily in spring wh~lirlg). In many ways, this approach to the adoption of nontradi- tional technology is similar to what can be found among midwestern farmers, for example, who use modern tractors rather Man horse-drawn plows and yet who continue to see themselves as part of the long-established traditional activity of farming. Through Weir creative blending of tradi- tional and modern ways, the North Slope Inupiat have maintained a remarkable degree of cultural integrity and community cohesion. Core elements of the Inupiat culture, upon which their distinctive and valued identity are founded, include subsistence, ceremonial activities, language and music, and kinship and family relationships. SubsIstence Distribution of subsistence hunters is fairly well known and is extensive due to modern small-scale motorized transport. Subsistence activities in- clude hunting, capturing, processing, distribution, and consumption of wild animals, especially Me bowhead whale. Meat and fish consumed by Arctic communities come from marine and terrestrial harvests in widely varying proportions from year to year (S. Pedersen, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, pers. commun., Nov. 1993~. The bowhead whale is central to Idu- piat self-perception and has become increasingly important in Me past 15 years as a symbol in external and international cultural arenas. The
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136 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA bowhead whale hunt mobilizes a large portion of the population. Adult men lead and manage as umealiks (captains of the hunt), coordinating their crews into hunting units. Younger men participate as crewmen and in the cutting up of the animals. Children and adults alike eat Novak (skin and blubber) as it is cut from the whale. Women keep knives and ulus (traditional skinning knife) sharpened and collect the portions they take home to their families. Ceremonial ActIvIties Tightly linked to subsistence practices and perhaps a crucial element in the maintenance of a collective, public identity for the Inuplat is the regular practice of religious and cultural ceremonies. Their link to subsistence comes from the centrality of giving gifts of subsistence products to others as a demonstration of generosity and goodwill. These ceremonies include games, dancing, singing, and gift giving. Language Speaking Inupiaq is still a strongly valued cultural characteristic. Many adults and elders continue to speak it as a first language and prefer its use on occasions of public testimony. The language is particularly important because of its vocabulary for identifying environmental conditions of ice and snow as well as the characteristics of animals and their behavior (Nelson, 1969~. Although television and formal education have promoted We use of English among younger generations, there continue to be many who understand and attempt to use I0upiaq. The language is now taught in the schools in We hope of continuing its use. Tinsels anti Family Sharing and interacting among extended family continue to be important components of IAupiat culture (Luton, 1985; Jorgenson, 1990), whose practices include adoption, name sharing, and resource sharing. Occasions to celebrate family ties often derive from the distribution and consumption of subsistence products, which are crucial both culturally and as a source
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 137 of nutrition for many families because of the extraordinary cost of imported foods, which often are inferior nutritional quality. Kinship is transgenera- tional in that the IAupiat believe that the spirits of the deceased reappear in newborns who are named for their ancestors. extreme esolatlon Because of the remoteness of the North Slope and western Alaska from potential markets and supply sources, the region faces understandable but considerable challenge in attempting to compete, in most industries, with locations that support larger populations and have a climate that is less severe. As already noted, the North Slope Borough presents the most extreme example in the United States of the challenges of geographic isolation. Hundreds of miles separate the borough from Fairbanks, the nearest metropolitan area; basic food products, such as agricultural plants and livestock, are virtually impossible to keep alive outdoors. Even more so than for the more southerly regions of Alaska, the North Slope has a high degree of dependence on economic input from the lower 48 states, exacerbated by the high cost of transporting even basic goods, such as fruit and vegetables, to a region that has little capacity to grow its own. The region also has an extremely high dependence on extractive industries and hence especially high levels of susceptibility to potential boom-and-bust disruptions. Experience shows, moreover, that these disruptions can include sigrufi- cant problems related to busts even if He boom periods are managed reasonably successfully. These conditions present challenges for many, if not all, of the potential antidotes that are prescribed for dealing wig similar disruptions in less remote regions. Perhaps because of a previous failure to recognize such impediments to diversification, until the past few decades it was relatively common to encounter references to continued adherence to subsistence activities as reflecting an unfortunate weakness of economic rationality among indigenous peoples. As noted by Bowles (1981), among others, closer attention to the facts of extractive activities in remote loca- tions tends to point to a different conclusion. In all too many cases, even what appeared once to be steady and reliable jobs in mining or of! extraction will be found within a few years to have succumbed to the notorious volatility of world commodity markets. In short, even these steady jobs can disappear just as quickly, as did thousands of oil-related jobs in southern
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138 OCSDEClSIONS: ALASKA Louisiana during the 19SOs (Centaur Associates, 19864. Subsistence ways of life, by contrast, display remarkable resilience over the centuries, often In locations that seem largely unsuited for formal economic activities, other than the extraction of raw- material deposits that happen to be both large and unusually rich. In light of experience, a continued commitment to a subsistence economy can be a highly rational form of insurance against the inherently unpredictable fortunes of extraction. Forth Slope Borough Rapid and radical changes in the past 20 years have dramatically trans- formed the living and working conditions of the North Slope Inupiat. The creation of Be North Slope Borough has been a major factor in buttressing Ibupiat cultural practices and in buffering the people themselves from participation in the oil industry labor force at Pru&oe Bay. Before 1970, cash was relatively scarce on the North Slope. There were low-paying local government jobs, but Me money came mostly from the sale of furs or handicrafts and from seasonal construction employment, which often was available only at a distance from the home community (Chance, 1990~. Living conditions were harsh; the one- and two-room tarpaper shacks of most residents lacked running water or sewage treatment facili- des. Tuberculosis and bronchial problems were endemic (Chance, 1990~. Because they were forced to enroll in high schools in the lower 48 states and serve in Be U.S. military, many Idupiat were introduced to the standard of living and quality of life available in most over parts of the United States. In the face of some emigration in search of employment and a more cornfor~ble life, the ~piat leadership determined to create a better quality of life on the Norm Slope. When this was accomplished, many displaced I0upiat returned home. The discovery of of! at Pru~hoe Bay and its eventual commercialization through Me Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in 1979 opened up an entirely new era in North Slope Inupiat existence. The development was perceived by Be IIiupiat as having the potential to provide tile improvement in the quality of life desired by most Norm Slope residents (McBeath, 1981~. Under tile leadership of Eben Hopson, in 1972 the elders formed a borough (now the North Slope Borough), which would encompass He Pru~hoe Bay field (McBeath, 1981; Chance, 1990~.
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 139 Through this instrument, taxes were levied on oil industry facilities and infrastructure at Pru~hoe Bay; the revenues were used to underwrite the creation of a government bureaucracy and to fund the Capital Improvement Project (CIP). Through the CIP, borough tax revenues derived from Pru~hoe Bay oil-field facilities were used to provide construction jobs and improved living conditions. Substantial investment in all Norm Slope communides was made In new, upgraded housing; In freshwater and sewage treatment systems; in airport runways; in schools; and in government buildings. Inupiat men went to work for substantial wages and thereby upgraded Weir subsistence equipment and household inventories (Kruse et al., 1981; Jorgenson, 1990~. In addition, the borough government created a substantial number of clerical and administrative positions, held mostly by women, providing relatively stable cash incomes for many households. The North Slope Borough was politically controlled by the IIiupiat, who elected a mayor and assembly members. Although this arena became subject to substantial competition among Inupiat families and factions, it provided a buffered, insulated opportunity for He Inupiat people to obtain employment and income. Thus, over He period of He 1980s, very few North Slope Inupiat took permanent employment in He of} industry. Most preferred some form of temporary or part-dine employment Hat was more compatible who subsistence hunting. The borough's hiring and employment practices buttressed this culturally preferred pattern (TR 125~. The North Slope Borough also has promoted the preservation and retention of Inupiat cultural knowledge and tradition. Annual elders conferences have been funded, and biographies and information about the history and practices of the Inupiat have been recorded. An Office of History and Cultural Heritage has been created to oversee the collection, storage, and use of this material. Through the creation and control of the North Slope Borough, die Inupiat obtained revenues for use in ways Hat are congruent with Inupiat values. Because the Norm Slope Borough is a political arm of the state of Alaska, its practices are subject to state law, and control of its power can be maintained only Trough democratically elected officials. The substantial Inupiat majority has dwindled as newcomers have been attracted by He successful economy. If in the future the direction of He Norm Slope Borough were to pass out of Inupiat hands, current policies and practices could change.
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142 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA environment. Less attention has been devoted to the ways in which sub- sistence activities, and the broader cultural significance of given environ- ment~ settings, might be disturbed or affected by OCS oil and gas activities even In the absence of major spills. This weakness, in turn, leads to neglect of the pragmatic steps that might be available for avoiding or mitigating such effects, examples of which range from the outright loss of certain areas for subsistence purposes because of Weir conversion to industrial use to Me loss of areas for pipelines and processing facilities. Less overt problems also merit study: These include noise, which is purported to drive some species from traditional seasonal use areas, and the increased survival of human populations, which puts more pressure on wildlife. Economic Growth Considerable attention has been paid to the economic impacts of OCS oil development through MMS's development of economic growth models and related work. Economic growth models simulate economic, fiscal, and demographic changes caused by various forms of development. First, de- velopment scenarios are prepared that specify the number, kind, and probable locations of of} and gas development facilities. These are trans- lated into employment estimates, which are used to project socioeconomic conditions. The economic growth mode} has three integrated components: economic, fiscal, and demographic. The economic component projects em- ployment, wages, real disposable income, prices, and total output. The fiscal component projects the level of government activity, such as person- ne! expenditures, state government employment, and expenditures on capital improvements. The demographic component projects population change through separate projections of three components: births, deans, and migra- don. The models are then up to project changes Hat could result in these demographic and economic factors from OCS development. The projec- tions from MMS models appear to be consistent with He general state of practice in over locations. Mixed Cash-Sunsistence economies The status of economic activity within He North Slope Borough is
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 143 reviewed in several studies Mat provide significant insight about We evo- lution of this remote society over the past two decades. The studies show Rat Be Inupiat have demonstrated a remarkable ability to develop and adapt to new institutions and to use Rem to promote their political and economic welfare (TR 125~. The dominant financial effect of of! development on the local communities was Be influx of cash Trough property taxes on of} facilities in Prubhoe Bay. The funds collected were used to finance capital improvements Rat resulted in large numbers of jobs for local residents. Inupiat men took the majority of high-paying, temporary, construction- related jobs; Hey then became the largest unemployed sector of Be population as construction declined (TR 125~. Inupiat women tend to hold lower-paying, but permanent, jobs in administration and to achieve leader- ship positions in new institutions (TR 125~. Direct employment of Alaska Nadves by Be oil industry has been far less significant (TR 85; TR 1203. The major reasons for this appear to be an absence of formal training and certification-Alaska Natives often are not adequately trained or certified for jobs in the of} industry, such as welding or heavy equipment operation-as well as an unwillingness of Inupiat men to commit to steady shift work if it conflicts with hunting or village activities (TR 85~. MMS found that many Inupiat view oil industry jobs unfavorably (TR 85~. Increased government revenues within communities stimulated rapid business expansion; however, most new businesses and professional and high-skill positions are largely dominated by non-Natives (TR Ilk. Subsistence is an Important component of He mixed economy (TR 133), despite the rapid growth in the cash sector. In many cases, proceeds from the cash economy served to finance subsistence activities (TR 125; TR 133) rather than to substitute market commodities for subsistence harvests. Indeed, many of Hose with jobs in the cash sector view employment as a temporary effort to collect enough money to finance subsistence activities. Also, many wage earners continue with subsistence activities in Heir spare time. Cash obtained from jobs is used to continue the Inupiat traditions of sharing, whereby employed individuals-particularly He elderly-provide cash to hunters, who return a share of He harvest (TR 125~. To date, conflict between oil development and subsistence activities has been isolated; He major impact has been in regulatory restrictions on subsistence land use in development areas (TR 85~. However, Here is an intense and widespread concern among He Inupiat Hat offshore develop
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144 OCSDECISlONS: ALASKA ment wiD harm subsistence hunting, and this could lead to significant social stress (TR 85~. The studies conclude Mat Were will be an eventual decline in the cash economy as oil revenues decline. The proposed OCS activity could help forest the decline in borough revenues and could stabilize Alaska Native populations for more Ran a generation (TR 1003, but He lease-sales will not bring enough income to reverse He decline in tax revenues, expenditures, employment, or population (TR 1203. Develoomental Activities The economic effects of development also have received significant attention. Social and cultural effects have been less thoroughly studied. Experience to date shows that Alaska Natives received very few of the jobs available at the major North Slope of! operations He North Slope Borough estimates less Han I%. On die over hand, Here are several oil-field ser- vice companies (for catering, etc.) that are owned by Alaska Native cor- porations. These appear to compete successfully for business and to hire a high proportion of Inupiat workers. In addition, He North Slope Borough, in particular, experienced considerable success in using oil-derived tax revenues to support He hiring of Alaska Natives who work directly for He borough and, hence, indirectly for one another. SESP contributed significantly to He decisions to pursue an "enclave" approach to development, lessening significantly the amount of interaction and potential conflict between oil workers and Inupiat residents. This ap- proach appears to be seen as having achieved reasonable success. It does not appear, however, Hat SESP has dealt as successfully wig anticipating, quantifying, or overwise documenting He broader range of social and cultural effects directly associated wig development-potentially ranging from easily quantified measures, such as crime rates (Freudenburg ant! [ones, 1992) and He proportions of non-Native residents in the North Slope Borough, to less easily quantified, but arguably no less significant consider- ations, such as He degree to which a higher proportion of non-Native residents would be expected to lead to a loss of cultural pride and die sense of Inupiat self-determination, or about steps dial could be taken to manage or mitigate such changes.
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social Indicators HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 145 The basic logic of the study of social indicators is most often expressed by analogy to economic indicators. Just as some economic statistics such as the rate of inflation or the measures of productivity can be seen as "indicadng" the overall health of the economy, social indicators are intended to provide documentation on the overall level of sociocultural health in a community or region. MMS began its social indicators studies in 1987, and the effort has since received a significant fraction of the overall funding for socioeconomic studies in the Alaska region. Given the special requirements of the Alaska region, SESP had to modify the methods and goals that are standard in other social indicators studies. In many ways, the modifications resulted in studies that complement MMS's economic modeling effort. The social indicators studies display a keen awareness of Me special nature of the Alaskan context, particularly wig respect to Inupiat villages. The studies produced rigorous estimates, for example, of the degree and kind of sharing of subsistence take, producing information that could provide a useful baseline against which future changes could be compared. At the same time, the studies do not appear to have provided Me detail or kinds of information that would normally be expected in a state-of-the-art social indicators study. There appear to be gaps in the kinds of data gathered from government bodies (on physical and mental heals and on "social pathology" indicators, such as crime and violence, drug and alcohol abuse) and in the kinds of data normally gathered through standard survey techniques, such as individual assessments of well- being, community stability, and quality of life. Opportunities and Threats MMS-funded studies do not appear to have dealt, except in a highly preliminary way, with the responses to opportunities and threats Mat can be expected to result from proposed development. To MMS' s credit, several studies have noted that Me world views that are taken for granted within the agency are not necessarily shared within Inupiat communities, and vice versa, and several studies have taken pains to point out Mat neither set of views Would be considered superior. To date, however, Me studies do not appear to have considered the likely social and economic responses to opportunities and threats the more specific patterns of behavior likely to
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146 OCSDEClSIONS: ALASKA result from the opportunities and Treats Hat are perceived by affected populations, including Be responses of non-Native as well as Inupiat populations. Even Cough Be information on Alaska Native world views can at least formally be considered to be "available" for decision making, it is impossible for Be committee to judge Be degree to which it has been taken into account. Based on existing social science literature, it is clear that opportunity- ~reat impacts (those anticipatory impacts that result from people's seeing an impending physical or economic change as an opportunity or threat (Freuder~urg and Gramling, 1992~) will occur if leasing goes forward, and Be general nature of those impacts can be anticipated. The social science literature also makes clear Cat opportunity-~reat impacts can be mitigated, at least in part, by establishing an appropriate decision-making process. Furler discussion of mitigating opportunity-~reat impacts in presented in Chapter 7. Although Be social science literature provides general lessons, opportu- nity-threat impacts often vary in ways Cat are highly case-specific, particularly for communities and cultures as unique as Lose in Alaska. Thus, no amount of general study will provide Be kind of site-specific information Cat is required to understand and manage the effects of any particular lease sale. Given that little attention has been focused on opportunity-~reat impacts in northern Alaska, little is known about the specific form ark severity of Be impacts Cat can be expected for leases in this region. Also, lithe is currently known about Be appropriate pragmatic steps Mat could be taken to mitigate Pose impacts within this particular context. In addition to the need for an improved understanding of opportunity- ~reat Impacts In Be region as a whole, site-specif~c assessments of potential impacts wall be needed before it is possible to make informed decisions about specific lease sales. For these assessments to be taken seriously, Hey will need to be considered in adequate kept and detail in He decision- making documents related to a given lease sale. Londer-Term Adaotations The committee has been unable to find evidence that SESP has dealt in a systematic manner with long-term or permanent socioeconomic changes that are likely to result from OCS development. Several studies do refer
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 147 generically to Me potential for an eventual "bust" once the petroleum reserves are exhausted (TR 125), but they have not dealt adequately with Be more gradual (and equally predictable) problems of cultural erosion and overadaptation. Some evidence of He potential for problems from develop- ment at Pru~hoe Bay already can be seen. The Norm Slope can provide a textbook illustration of Be potential for overadaptabon, but it does not appear that systematic studies have yet focused on this potential or on the steps Mat could be taken to deal with the likely result. In addition, far too little information is available about specific implications of extractive dependence for the North Slope Borough. CONCLUSIONS AND HI CO~DATIO~S The specific conclusions and recommendations for this chapter follow. For Be general and overall conclusions of this report, see Chapter 8. MMS's socioeconomic studies in Alaska deserve considerable credit for the scientific progress they reflect. lThe Alaska SESP conducts extensive and substantive reviews of the social and economic impacts of OCS activities on Be North Slope of Alaska. The quality of work, judged on its own terms, is generally quite good. SESP has established a credible baseline analysis of social and economic conditions in Northern Alaska, and a number of important questions have been addressed. Furthermore, the program has carried out some studies Mat analyze potential changes, particularly economic ones, associated with OCS of! and gas development. That work, however, has failed to deal adequately with other issues that are critical to projecting and managing social change. As a result, a significant fraction of the information that is necessary for informed decision making is unavailable, and as a corollary, not enough effort has been devoted to the pragmatic questions of what steps, if any, could be taken to avoid or lessen effects. Although it is important not to underestimate the value of He solid foundation that has already been provided by SESP, it is also important to recognize Bat much work is skill needed. In some cases, relatively discrete gaps in the existing data can be filled by means of stand-alone studies. In other cases, however, a broader program of study will be required, particularly for projecting and maiming social change. The committee was unable to provide cost estimates with confidence.
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148 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA Conclusion I: Although the demographic and economic effects of develop- ment-phase activities have received a good deal of competent attention, SESP does not appear to have dealt as successfully with assessing likely social and cultural impacts from development-phase activities or wig identifying tile steps Hat might be taken to manage or mitigate diem. Partly as a result, not enough is yet known to permit the adequate assessment and management of the socioeconomic impacts that would be likely to result from development activities. Recommendation I: Detailed attention should be paid to the range and scale of potential changes resulting from all phases of OCS activities, from MMS's prelease activities through the likely long-term infracts. Altemative: None recommended. Conclusion 2: To date, studies generally have failed to reflect the fact Cat Be human environment can be expected to change as soon as He potential for OCS-related activities is raised, often well before biological or physical disruptions begin. There is little evidence Cat systematic attention has been devoted to He fact Hat MMS can substantially ameliorate or exacerbate opportunity-~reat impacts. Recommendation 2: The real (and open predictable and quantifiable) soc~oecononuc consequences of leasing arm exploration-phase impacts need to be described at addressed. MMS's influence over the magnitude and probable evaluation of these impacts will need to be assessed as well. The reasons for increased attention to this issue are pragmatic i.e., related to successful prosecution of He leasing pro- gra~as well as scientific. Alternative: None recommended. Conclusion 3: MMS's socioeconomic studies have proviclecl credible baseline assessments of He significance of subsistence activities and of He damage Hat could result if subsistence resources were damaged by a major oil spill. However, studies have included little attention to He alterations to subsistence activities Mat can take place even in He absence of oil spills and have not dealt systematically wig He long-term or permanent socioeco
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 149 nomic changes (excluding of} spills, sudden shutdowns, or over acute or dramatic events) likely to result from development. Given Hat Be proba- bility of major spills is much lower Man that of less dramatic, but still significant, non~pill disruptions, greater attention needs to be devoted to We possibility Cat subsistence resources and activities can be disrupted even in the absence of spills and potentially even in He absence of production, as in the case of the controversy over He effects of drilling noise on He ac~vides of the bowhead whale. Recommendation 3a: Commission social science studies that assess the impacts of OCS activities on subsistence and other significant sociocultural concerns likely to take place even in the absence of a spid. Because the studies need to be credible to the aff3ectect popula- tions and because the Inupiat have a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna of the region, it is vital that greater effort be devoted to the cooperative development of studies or negotiated agreements with the Norm Slope Borough. In addiiton, work should begin imme- diately, in close cooperation path the North Slope Borough, the state of Alaska, and affected citizens and their representatives, to address the scientific and pragmatic issues involved in dealing with the implications of the gradual, but cumulatively sigruficant, adaptations that are likely to take place even in the absence of acute or dramatic disruptions. Particular attention needs to be devoted to the assessing whether OCS of! and gas development might increase He possibility that prosperity and cultural vitality will continue well beyond the period of active exploration and development. Otherwise, develop- ment could contribute to furler intensification of the already serious potential for overadaptabon and long-term socioeconomic stress. This recommen~6on could not be considered to have been met if represen- tadves of the North Slope Borough are merely offered the opportunity to provide data studies that remain fully within MMS control; instead, every effort needs to be made to carry out these studies wig the full cooperation and collaboration of the Norm Slope Borough. Alternative: None recommended. Recommendation 3b: Maintain an experienced am qualified staff of social scientists at secure adequate~r~ing to carry out the neces- sary studies. Clearly, much of SESP's progress results from its .
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150 OCS DECISIONS: ALASKA historic ability to draw on a high-quality staff and on generally ade- quate funding. Unfortunately, in recent years, Me MMS staff in Alas- ka has been cut dramatically. SESP had five professional staff through 1991; by July 1992, there were two a. Imm, MMS, pers. commun., 1993~. This level of staffing is insufficient to fulfill infor- mation needs. Furthermore, the recent loss of experience and institu- tional memory are significant concerns. At a minimum, SESP re- qu~res experienced and qualified staff members in the areas of an- thropology, economics, and sociology. Alternative: None recommended. Recommendation 3c: Seek to maintain arm strengthen ties to the broader social science community. Experience shows Mat Were is no substitute for having at least a core of in-house staff members who are expert in relevant social science disciplines. Experience also shows that there are two important advantages in seeking to maintain and strengthen ties to Me broader social science community. First, such ties can promote efficiency, permitting MMS to draw a far broader range of areas of specialized expertise than the agency could afford to support in-house. Second, they are vital in avoiding insularity and in maintaining the scientific credibility of study results. Alternative: None recommended. Recommendation 34: Ensure that quantification, analysis, arm scientific conclusions are included in social and economics studies. The technical personnel within MMS expressed to Me committee during our meeting in Anchorage Me belief dial policy-making personnel discourage Me drawing of conclusions about OCS-related impacts in socioeconomic studies, arguing Mat such decisions need to be left as a prerogative of policy makers. Just as it would not normally be considered acceptable scientifically to have a policy maker draw conclusions about the biological impacts of OCS develop- ment, it is scientifically inappropriate for technical social science extrapolations to be drawn by policy makers. Conclusions regarding effects on Me human environment should come from scientific studies. Alternative: None recommended.
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HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 151 Recommendation Be: Explicitly pin' longitudinal, post-leasing studies, at least u' areas where development appears likely to take place, at the outset. This is a lesson Hat can be learned from MMS's experience in Me Gulf of Mexico. Despite He clear differences across regions, at least some of He questions that cannot currency be an- swered about socioeconomic changes in Alaska are ones that could be adored why greater confidence if a higher level of long-term, post- development research had been undertaken in He Gulf. Recent post- leasing studies Here offer considerable promise for beginning to compensate at least partially for this problem, although some questions will not be answered wig He same degree of confidence, or as efficiently, as might have been possible if He research had been earned out in a more timely manner. Conclusion 4: The studies focusing on mixed cash-subsistence economies provide an adequate description of baseline conditions. However, Hey fall short of providing a filll analysis of potential impacts. For example, many smbies describe subsistence ac~vides and Heir cultural importance, but they do not attempt to analyze, quantify, and draw conclusions about He significance of possible changes in subsistence activities caused by specific scenarios for potential development. Reconunendation 4: To the extent feasible and! appropriate, studies should quantify potential impacts to the subsistence sector of the economy using methods akin to those that quantify impacts to the cash sector. The available MMS development scenarios should be used to identify areas lost to subsistence activities. This information could then be linked to information from MMS subsistence studies, which indicate where subsistence activities currently occur for each North Slope community. In this manner MMS could quantify the effects of potential land-use restrictions on subsistence activities for each community. Efforts also should be made to quantify over potential impacts to subsistence. This would require 2 person-mon~s annually. Alternative: None recommended. Conclusion 5: No sh~ies attempt to determine whether or how alterations to He subsistence economy can be mitigated. The fact that cash obtained from employment is used to complement, rawer than substitute for,
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152 OCSDEClSIONS: ALA SEA subsistence harvests suggests Mat it will not be easy to mitigate losses in subsistence activity wig monetary compensation. Recommendation 5: A thorough analysis of whether arm how alternatives to subsistence activities can be mitigated is needed. Studies also should address whether, in the face of a declining input of cash, Inupiat communities will be able to revert to a primarily subsistence economy, or, if the communities will collapse, whether and how such an impact can be managed. Alternative: MMS's decision-making documents should assume "worst-case" scenarios, i.e., that ejects on subsistence may be unmiti- gable. Conclusion 6: We concur with previous reviews that the rural Alaska mode} is well documented, replicable, and scientifically defensible. The economic impact mode! is adequate in terms of generic professional stan- dards. However, Be mode! is not well adapted for particular circumstances on Me North Slope. Additionally, some concern has been expressed about whether He mode! adequately explains human migration patterns, particu- larly Pose of Alaska Natives. Recommendation 6: Economic growth models should be better adapted to the specific situation of the North Slope to measure cash flow to the local comrralniaes ureter various scenarios for development andfor expenditure of resulting property revenues. Alternative: None recommended.
Representative terms from entire chapter: