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Societal Implications - Alaskan Corporations


The Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act divided land in Alaska among several Alaskan corporations, private property, governmental, and national parks. These lands fall on top of each other. This means that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the 1002 area are national parks, yet there are spots of land that are territories of native corporations. These spots of land include primarily the villages of native Alaskans. Such areas are creating the greatest controversy because they are corporately owned, so the corporations feel that they should be able to do whatever they please with this area. The locations are also in a federally protected area, so certain limitations are in place. On the North Slope, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) is in control of the land. This land includes the 1002 region, which is approximately half of ANWR. The Doyon company is in charge of the largest area of land in Alaska and is in charge of the rest of ANWR. The actions of each company directly affects the other company, because they are so close to each other and share the same types of resources.

Corporations want to drill for oil, because it will lead to profit; however, native corporations, which are owned by the natives that live in the area, are concerned about the condition of the environment and the health of their people. The ASRC has several underlying diversified companies including: ASRC Energy Services and Petro Star which are primarily concentrated on oil drilling, Alaska Growth Capital which is a banking system, and Top of the World Hotel which is a tourist enterprise that depends on a pristine wilderness. Doyon has corporations that are just as varied such as the following: Doyon Tourism, Doyon Drilling, Lands and Natural Resources, and The Doyon Foundation which has an emphasis on the well-being of Native Alaskans. If the native corporations were solely concerned with obtaining oil, one would think they would be completely pro oil exploration in the 1002 area, but the corporations also know that there are other sites in Alaska with oil. For example, the ASRC stated in their 2002 annual report, "ASRC will continue to advocate for development of our resources in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), but ANWR is not the only egg in the basket. With opposition in Congress still a barrier to ANWR, oil industry attention is now focusing on the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A). The Company strongly supports exploration and development in the NPR-A because of the jobs and other economic boost it would give to our region" (pg. 4).

In addition, Deborah Williams, part of the Alaska Conservatory, pointed out that the Alaskan government does not acquire taxes from its people or companies and that there is no tourism fee. Several cruises use Alaska as their main destination every season. As stated earlier, the corporations are involved with tourism, and those branches of the corporation could expand and profit form an inflated tourism program. The Alaskan government likes the prospect of drilling because it obtains royalty revenue from the drilling corporations, but revenue can also be obtained from other means such as tourism.

Drilling affects families possibly quite detrimentally. Workers will live at the drilling site for long shifts because of the length of the commute to get to the drilling site. Traditionally, shifts last around two to four weeks. It is not the optimal setting to raise a child in a home that has one or more of its caretakers gone for this amount of time.


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