Abstract

The Environment Protection Board sponsored by Gas Arctic Systems has been charged with the responsibility of investigating the environmental aspects of the proposed gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Alberta. This paper outlines the concept of an environm.ent board, it's terms of reference, why it was formed for this project, and how it functions.

As a general background, the paper points out that concern for environmental costs associated with technological projects sterns from several roots including: a changing law of supply and demand; the increased magnitude of man's activities, and; the changing concept of externalities.

The Environment Protection Board was set up in September 1970 and initially has addressed itself to establishing base line information through field studies and other searches. It's 1971 report was issued on January 4, 1972 and became a public document six weeks later. This was an interim report and will be followed by others including a final impact assessment.

The author of the paper acts as secretary of the Environment Protection Board and general director of the investigations. Liaison is maintained with the sponsor and there is an overlap of responsibility for certain investigations. The ultimate goal is for biologists, engineers, and pushers, to act as a team as far as possible in the various stages of design and possible construction, but in the initial stages the e:m.phasis has been on providing the EPB with sufficient autonomy and support to carry out it1s advance investigations and make its reco111Inendations with adequate freedom.

The paper strongly advocates that environmental investigations and considerations become a standard part of planning on technological projects associated with the petroleum and mining industries.

Introduction

In 1969 the Trans-Alaska Pipeline consortium announced that it would build an oil pipeline from the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay to the tanker port of Valdez and confidently proceeded to buy 800 miles of pipe. Almost three years later piles of pipe lie rusting on the tundra, and still no permit to build has been granted. Several other major construction projects have been delayed or abandoned in the last few years because of public or governmental concern that they would be seriously damaging to the environment. One thinks immediately of the S.S.T., the Everglades Jetport, the Ramparts Dam. In previous years such projects would have been accepted and financed and constructed almost without question. Clearly, we have e entered a new era in which technological projects must justify themselves on environmental grounds as well as by the traditional technological and economic considerations.

The purpose of this paper is to point out why we have entered this new era of environmental concern, to discuss some basic and generally applicable procedures for investigating the potential and actual effects of any constructing project, and to lllustrate the practical problems of applying these procedures by using the experience of the Environment Protection Board in preparing an environmental assessment of the Gas Arctic Systems project.

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