鮭魚之鄉保住了 阿拉斯加鑽油 歐巴馬頒禁令 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

鮭魚之鄉保住了 阿拉斯加鑽油 歐巴馬頒禁令

2014年12月23日
摘譯自2014年12月16日ENS美國,華盛頓特區報導;姜唯編譯;蔡麗伶審校

歐巴馬16日將阿拉斯加布里斯托爾灣(Bristol Bay)劃為石油天然氣開採禁區。此決定保護了全美的重要漁藏與白令海的生態重地,對商業捕撈、旅遊經濟和阿拉斯加原住民社群來說具有重要意義。

阿拉斯加布里斯托爾灣(Bristol Bay)有全球最大的野生紅鮭魚族群。(來源:Todd Radenbaugh)

布里斯托灣:鮭魚之鄉 豐富生態造就數億商機

布里斯托爾灣位於白令海最東邊,長250英里、開口處寬180英里,有許多阿拉斯加主要河流流入。全球5種太平洋鮭魚:粉紅鮭、即狗鮭、紅鮭、銀鮭和國王鮭魚,都會回到布里斯托爾灣產卵。

布里斯托爾灣因此是全世界最有價值的漁業基地之一,提供全美40%的野生海鮮跟每年20億元的漁業營業額。這裡景色美麗、地處偏遠,因此也是阿拉斯加旅遊業的重要地區,每年創造1億元休閒釣魚和旅遊活動商機。

布里斯托爾灣擁有全世界最大的野生紅鮭族群,更是許多物種的重要棲地,包括受威脅的小絨鴨、海獺、海豹、海象、白鯨、殺手鯨以及瀕危的北太平洋露脊鯨。

地方社群十年努力 油氣開採禁令獲延

歐巴馬撤銷當地未來石油天然氣租約的決策,將他2010年發布的布里斯托爾灣暫時性開採禁令延長至2017年。

決策的背後,是阿拉斯加原住民部落與組織數十年的努力,並以當地漁業和旅遊業創造工作機會、強化阿拉斯加與美國經濟為助力。

包括布里斯托爾灣在內,北阿留申流域規劃區面積達3千2百5十萬英畝,1980年中期起出租,但因為訴訟問題從未真正開發。布希政權原本規劃在2011年重新出租,開放約5百6十萬英畝鑽油,大約是規畫區的1/5。

2010年,歐巴馬依外大陸架土地法第12條發布暫時的布里斯托爾灣石油天然氣開採禁令。該法條授權總統撤銷沿岸地區的潛在石油天然氣開採租約。

共和黨不反對 開採禁令獲一致認同

環境人士皆贊同歐巴馬的決策。美國環保行動基金總裁Elizabeth Thompson說,「布里斯托爾灣是脆弱且珍貴的天然寶藏,必須為其漁藏、美景和重要棲地價值保留。歐巴馬再次實踐其保護美國獨特地景的承諾。」

甚至阿拉斯加共和黨參議員Lisa Murkowski也不表示反對,「在這裡開採石油和天然氣對產業和公眾的利益有所分岐。這次我不反對這個決定。」

不過Murkowski仍批評歐巴馬將阿拉斯加保育重要性放在石油之前,「歐巴馬對阿拉斯加的態度令人沮喪─阿拉斯加產油量遠低於其潛能,而低油價迫使預算全面性的刪減卻仍決定將保育放在第一位。」

Obama Bars Oil Industry From Alaska’s Bristol Bay
WASHINGTON, DC, December 16, 2014 (ENS)

President Barack Obama today designated the waters of Bristol Bay as off limits to oil and gas leasing for exploration, development or production. This action safeguards one of the nation’s most productive fisheries and preserves an ecologically rich area of the Bering Sea that is vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities.

The eastern-most arm of the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay is 250 miles long and 180 miles wide at its mouth. Many of Alaska’s major rivers flow into the bay, and all five species of Pacific salmon: pink, chum, sockeye, coho and king, return to Bristol Bay to spawn in these rivers.

Bristol Bay is at the heart one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, helping to provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and support a $2 billion annual fishing industry.

The beautiful and remote area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska, driving $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year.

Bristol Bay hosts the largest runs of wild sockeye salmon in the world, and provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.

Today’s decision to withdraw the area from all future oil and gas leasing extends indefinitely a temporary withdrawal that President Obama issued in 2010 and was set to expire in 2017.

This action builds on decades of local efforts to protect Bristol Bay from oil and gas development by Alaska Native tribes and organizations, as well as local seafood and tourism businesses that create jobs and strengthen Alaska and the nation’s economy.

The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area that includes Bristol Bay consists of 32.5 million acres, a portion of which was leased in the mid-1980s but never developed due to litigation.

The Bush Administration set in motion a new lease sale for 2011 that would have opened approximately 5.6 million acres – about one-fifth of the planning area – for drilling.

In 2010, President Obama temporarily withdrew the Bristol Bay area from oil and gas development, exercising his authority under section 12 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the President authority to withdraw offshore areas from potential oil and gas leasing.

Environmentalists are delighted with this protection.

Elizabeth Thompson, president of Environmental Defense Action Fund, said, “Bristol Bay is a special place – a sensitive and precious natural resource that must be preserved for its abundant fishery, its incomparable beauty, and its vast and productive habitat. In protecting the Bay ecosystem from drilling, the President has delivered once again on his promise to protect the special and irreplaceable natural treasures of the American landscape.”

Even Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski did not object, saying, “Given the lack of interest by industry and the public divide over allowing oil and gas exploration in this area, I am not objecting to this decision at this time.”

But Murkowski criticized the Obama Administration for putting conservation ahead of oil production in Alaska.

“It is incredibly frustrating that this administration looks at Alaska – with oil production at a fraction of the level it could be at, and with low oil prices about to force steep across-the-board budget cuts – and decides that conservation is our most pressing need,” Murkowski said.

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS