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Holter: Kongakut River Diary

(1) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 3:46 PM
Subject: The Refuge

This article is free for you and meant for educating people on The Refuge. I actually met Mark Herndon when we arrived back to Kaktovik and you'll see he is mentioned at the end (not by name) then we ran accross the Oil man treks the Arctic in your website. Cool huh! I have beautiful pictures also.

Lance Holter

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(2) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 10:16 PM
Subject: Caribou

The Caribou are migrating North from the Yukon accross the coastal plain from east to west. About 130,000 Caribou migrate and around 40,000 calves are born in area 1002 of the coastal plain. The Aichilik River is further West than the Kongakut River.

Lance Holter

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Lance Holter on the Kongakut River, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) - June, 2004
(3) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 10:50 PM
Subject: Refuge62004_015.jpg

Lance Holter watering down at Aufeis flow on the Kongakut River.

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(4) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 10:21 PM
Subject: Masako Cordray photos

Attached are 2 pdf [files] with thumbnails of the images by Masako Cordray. These are great photos although the color seems a little funky in the pdfs. Take a look and see if any of them will work. The people are Gwich'in.

Ed. Note:  More information on the Gwich'in people may be found by clicking the Subject link below the parent letter (previous page), or click here.

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(5) Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 8:53 PM
Subject: Pictures - Kongakut River Diary

These are all great pictures! I don't have a way of extracting the Masako Cordray photos from the .pdf files in the quality I'd like.  I think they are 256-color resolution.

I have to take back the statement I made about a preference to scenery over people; I think the people shots here add something I wasn't thinking about.

Gorgeous land and people! What a disaster, opening up ANWR to the oil companies.

L Fox

Ed. Note:  We were unable to make contact with Masako Cordray to request permission to use her pictures. here

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(6) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2005 11:58 PM
Subject: Crime

It's a crime against nature and a human rights violation.


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(7) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 9:33 PM
Subject: Big Oil

Arctic Power and Big Oil (Exxon) give large oil money support to make fancy pro oil drilling web sites on the Arctic Wilderness. They say stuff like the Native Inupiat want it or they can do it without harming the environment and then show glossy potos etc. Of course they are liars but we volunteers and wilderness lovers need to get a better more modern and up to date site together.


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(8) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:29 AM
Subject: George Edwardson Rebuttal of Mark Farrell

We were looking for the "Oil Man Walks ANWR" story and some one found it in your website I think. I have a tremendous amount of evidence that the Native Alaskans are turning against this Oil Industrialization. Here attached (Ref. 1, below) is an op ed point by an Alaskan oil Boomer that grew up on an AK Airforce Base, flew over the coastal plain once in April 2001, worked as a student intern for AK Senator Ted Stevens then wrote this typical view of the AK oil industry. Then our Inupiat friend Edwardson wrote a rebuttal which pretty much sums up the whole argument. (Ref. 2, below) The oil boomer oped is from the Hawaii Reporter a right wing web news paper and small circulation news rag in Hawaii.


Ed. Notes:

Reference 1:  Hawaii Reporter - Freedom to Report Real News, ANWR: 'Environmentalist' Hypocrisy on Native Rights, Wildlife Protection From Hawaii Free Press, by Mark Farrell, 5/5/2005 7:42:19 AM.

Reference 2:  Due to limited availability on the web, we offer Mr. Edwardson's entire rebuttal:

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by George Edwardson


The opinion article by Mark Farrell of May 5, 2005, is an embarrassment to us Alaskans. When my 15 year old daughter read it, she said "Dad, how can this person Mark Farrell talk about us what he is saying is not true."

The Gwich'ins are not the only Alaskan Natives against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). There are dozens of other Athabascan tribes supporting them, and tribes across the lower 48. In Alaska, there are also the Yupiks and Native Village of Point Hope, a very large portion of the whole coastal people in the North Slope who have made resolutions against drilling in ANWR and the remaining communities who are definitely against off shore development.

Did you know as soon as the Federal Government learned that the ANWR drilling was going to be added to the Energy Bill, they had the Beaufort Sea Offshore Lease sale 195. To make comments that we the Inupiaq support drilling is an outright distortion of the truth. If you look at who actually supports drilling in the Arctic in places such as ANWR and the offshore, it tends to be people like you who came to Alaska in the last twenty years or so.

For your information let me explain who I am that is speaking to you. My name is George Edwardson and I have lived in the North Slope of Alaska for over 58 years of my life and that is how old I am. Having gone to college, I'm a geologist with a degree in Mineral and Petroleum Technology, and a certified Gas-field operator. To top it off I have over thirty years in the petroleum industry.

I have helped Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in creating an engineering firm, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation(village corporation of Barrow, Alaska) where I helped create UIC Construction which is #6 in Alaska and Barrow Technical Services(another engineering firm). For the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope(our regional tribal government) I was the president for over eight years; and was a member of our international organization- Inuit Circumpolar Conference for two terms (that is for six years) and was used by them as a technical consultant on and off every since it was created in 1977.

For Pan American Petroleum, I was a platform operator on platform ANNA and also ran the shore faculties that would fill the oil tankers-my running the crude tests would set the price of each tanker that went south from Kenai. In 1977 for ASRC put in the lowest bid to build the first attempt to build the Gasline in Alaska- The State of Alaska, Federal Government, and the oil industries used my numbers until the inflation of US currency reduced my figures. So you can see I know what I'm talking about-oh yeah don't forget that I helped to redesign the first oil clean up boat in Alaska that worked in Kenai.

The comment that we the Inupiaq support the drilling in ANWR by an 8:1 margin is a true embarrassment- who ever gave you those numbers did not know what they are talking about. I am related to 84 out of every 100 Inupiaq in the whole North Slope within third cousin so I do know what I'm talking about. Your more than 75% of the entire Alaskan population is some wet dream of someone who needs to learn about Alaska. Maybe people like you who have moved to Alaska the last twenty five years want to exploit my home.

I am a subsistence people and we do know our animals that we depend on. Without our animals to give us the fat that enables us to live in the cold we would die as a people. You see our human bodies cannot produce the kind of fat that would enable us to live in the cold so we have to borrow it from the animals we hunt and eat. Apparently, you did not attempt to talk with the people of Nuiqsut, who now have to travel over thirty miles and more to obtain their caribou whose migration has been altered by the development of Prudhoe Bay and the connected oil fields. Ask the people there about how the offshore development disturbed the fish so much that there were no fish to catch during the development there.

Your comment that only three square miles will be affected is an embarrassment to anyone with a little common sense. It’s not the case when the entire 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain of ANWR is to be opened to the oil industry. And, if this were to be true than why was the Federal Beaufort lease Sale 195 sold the following day the ANWR provision was put in the Energy Bill. There could be no off shore lease development without a land base and that land base is ANWR. The moment the Federal or State government goes off shore the Alaskan Inupiaq is united and standing in opposition to oil in the Arctic.

Salmon eaters throughout the whole world have to stand with us in opposition because the world’s last third of the world fisheries nursery in danger. Just to give you an example, you can put one ounce of oil in a barrel of water and any water living species cannot live in such contamination. Crude oil in the ocean will stay there a long time and travel a long way. The Arctic Ocean being near thirty degrees will keep the lighter ends of the crude in solution and the Arctic Gyre that circulates around the whole north being a ten year cycle will be toxic to any living organs that touches it.

Understand there is no capability to clean up the visual contamination even today and this is over twenty-eight years of oil development in the Arctic. My daughter in her Junior year has done a science project to study the different caribou herds DNA and found out that the different herds do not interbreed and Alaska Fish and Game and the US Fish and Wildlife gave her a grant to complete her project with Barrow Arctic Science Consortium. So with this new knowledge by our wildlife enforcer’s shoulder they be able to reassess the caribou of Alaska. My daughter Susan Edwardson won the science fair that year in Alaska. So where is your technology that is supposed to protect the animals when my middle child is teaching the US Fish and Wildlife and Alaska Fish and Game?

Mark Farrell owes the State of Hawaii an apology for attacking a good man like Jack Kelly. Jack even though he lives in Hawaii was willing to stand up with us Alaskan Natives, Jack you are a true friend of the environment, here in Alaska and your home State of Hawaii. Thanks Jack from my family and you know how big my family is.

As for the comment on 6 to 16 billion barrels of recoverable oil is by far the worst joke. How can anyone come up with such a number with only one well drilled in the region and that drilling data is confidential so not even the Federal government knows. If I had made that kind of assumption while I was in school I would have gotten an "F" on the question-what is your major in college-it sure is not related to oil and gas. Like I said I live in the coastal plains over 58 years and continuing and it sounds like you visited my home once in 2001.

Our homeland is a special place. Help us keep it this way.

George Edwardson

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(9) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:35 AM
Subject: USA Today op-ed, Alaska Thanks You

Essential [reading] for you, posted 5/17/2005 8:42 PM: "Alaska Thanks You", by Nick Jans:


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(10) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2005 3:03 PM
Subject: Arctic Coast, By the Numbers

Some usefull facts for your refrence on oil drilling in the Arctic can also be found at USA Today.

Search for "Arctic Coast".

Lance Holter

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(11) From: Lance Holter
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 3:10 PM
Subject: What We Would Lose in Alaska -

You have been sent this message from [Lance Holter] as a courtesy of

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What We Would Lose in Alaska

By Jonathan Waterman


In the northeastern corner of Alaska is a strange, polygonal-patterned plain that the local Gwich'in people call Vadzaii Googii Vi Dehk'it Gwanlii, or the Sacred Place Where Life Begins. At this cold ocean edge a caribou herd calves, polar bears den and millions of migratory birds roost. Snowy mountains come booming up out of the sea, surrounded by sandy spits and lagoons. The unscarred landscape turns and locks in your eyes. It looks limitless. It also happens to be one of the last places where we can cup our hands to drink pure water, gaze across a skyline uninterrupted by commerce and meet primeval nature. Congress, which calls this protected coastal plain the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, is close to opening 1.5 million of its acres to oil leasing. Pro-oil politicians, who travel north on weekend delegations to shake the hands of a few natives and glance at the tundra, often denigrate this alien-looking landscape to serve their agendas.

I've been going to the refuge for 20 years, and I know that the cold and bugs can blind you to the real value of the place, particularly if you're accompanying a congressional delegation keen to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Since Congress is now operating on a fast track that overlooks and seeks to subdue one of our greatest national treasures, the public needs to know what's really at stake.

Nothing compares to the refuge. Even while kayaking 1,700 miles across the Canadian Arctic, I could not find a landscape so spectacular. In the Lower 48, I have gazed into the Grand Canyon's depths, walked past Yellowstone's wonders, been bucked down several wild rivers and stumbled up the highest peaks of most states. But these are parks, surrounded by highways and encroaching civilization. The coastal plain remains our most remote, asphalt-free and undeveloped refuge.

In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt created the first national wildlife refuge, at Pelican Island, Fla. Congress quickly built on this, creating a chain of 559 more wildlife refuges from Florida to Alaska. The refuges were designed to protect migratory species and endangered wildlife, as well as offer citizens natural areas uncompromised by human civilization. ANWR is our wildest refuge, but it's not the only one with potentially exploitable natural resources. If we destroy its integrity, by placing oil derricks in its fragile heart -- the coastal plain -- we will create a precedent for opening up all wildlife refuges.

Advocates of drilling say that opening up ANWR would make America less dependent on oil imports and thus more secure. At best this idea is illogical; at worst, it's disingenuous. According to information most of us have heard, there could be 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels (235 billion to 672 billion gallons) of premium "light, sweet crude" underlying the coastal plain of the refuge. Our nation consumes 7 billion barrels of oil per year, and even if the refuge provided the hoped-for 1 million barrels per day, the resulting 0.5 percent annual increase in domestic supply would not significantly lessen our dependence on foreign oil. At best, according to various energy experts, the refuge would yield less than a year's supply of oil for the United States.

If our lawmakers could find a week to escape their delegations by walking out into the wilderness, to really compare the so-called "ice desert" with the unsightly Prudhoe Bay -- west of ANWR -- they would begin to understand what we're about to destroy. While Prudhoe Bay has a completely different caribou herd, that herd has appeared to prosper; the oil fields do not monopolize its calving grounds. ANWR's coastal plain, however, is in the heart of the Porcupine caribou herd's calving grounds. Virtually every federal and private biologist who has studied these caribou has concluded that oil development is incompatible with the herd's survival.

Build even one drill rig in the heart of the coastal plain -- along with the inevitable gravel-pad-cushioned buildings and pipelines and the gas-flared, steel town that is an oil field -- and we will irreparably damage our greatest wilderness. The administration's claim that drilling will take only 2,000 of the 1.5 million acres of available coastal plain is flawed. The supposedly small "footprint" of drill rigs will, like that at Prudhoe Bay, be linked by roads, pipelines, machinery and aircraft that will steal the silence, dredge gravel out of the rivers, monopolize the view and dominate several million acres of wildlife habitat. To claim that nothing will be damaged is the same as saying there's nothing there to begin with. America's last wild corner will be conquered by an industrial oilfield.

To know what's at stake in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to demand its protection.

(Jonathan Waterman is a filmmaker and author of nine adventure books, including the recently published "Where Mountains Are Nameless; Passion and Politics in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.")

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