The "footprint" includes buildings, pipelines and other related facilities--
but only where they touch ground. In fact, pipelines will cover hundreds of miles of the Refuge, and only their support
posts are counted toward the 2,000-acre total. Gravel mines and roads were not counted.
Jim Waltman of the Wilderness Society notes, there will be airstrips, housing,
pumping stations, power plants, power lines, sewage treatment, and waste disposal needed to service the work crews.
The 2,000-acre "footprint" also overlooks seismic or other exploration
activities, which degrade the arctic environment, with 64,000-pound exploratory rigs. They can only travel on ice roads,
whose longevity has already been reduced by half due to global warming.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that oil and gas deposits are spread
throughout the wildlife refuge coastal plain in small pools and pockets, leaving the entire 1.5 million acre area open to
leasing and exploration— not just a confined space of 2,000-acres.
All of this, of course, poses an unpredictable threat to the herd of 120,00
porcupine caribout who migrate, forage for food, and calve in the area.