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tv   Alaska  CSPAN  August 3, 2018 5:55pm-8:02pm EDT

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an encouraging sign. i think what the caller is reflecting >> coming up, stars and stripes reporter, faces topics discussing the new veteran secretary. and house senator wasserman talks about his outlook for the upcoming midterm election. watch c-span's washington journal. join the discussion. t.v. our cities tour visits alaska to learn more about its unique life.y and literary for seven years now, we've traveled to u.s. cities, the book scene to our viewers. watch more of our visits at
5:56 pm tour. a special to presentation of our c-span toies tour, as we take you alaska. known as the last frontier, it's u.s.argest state in the and 60% of its over 663 square miles is land administered as part of the national park system. of only population 740,000. the united states purchased russia in 1867 and state init as the 49th
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1959. with the help of our gci cable in the next two hours, we'll visit juneau, fairbanks, then anchorage, to learn about the history and culture of the state from local authors. beginning with project chariot, the plan to detonate h-bombs off the coast of alaska. with thousands of miles of coastline, alaska is home to many species of whale, including humpback and bel beluga. every year, tourists hope to catch a glimpse of some of the mammals.argest next, we speak to author dan on his book "the firecracker boys." >> 1958, edward teller, h-bomb,d father of the came up to alaska, unannounced,
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to createed his plan an instant harbor on the coast of alaska, by burying and detonating multiple thermonuclear bombs. up this gigantic crater, a mile long. all this dirt would be ejected as high as the stratosphere. the sea would rush in and you'd have this instant harbor. it might glow in the dark, but harbor. be a the atomic energy commission was part of the federal government. they were an agency of almost unlimited power. unlimited funding. guys told me, you know, we ton't consider -- we had answer to anybody but the president. not the congress. not anybody. had never been thwarted in anything they wanted to do, project chariot. and it was a little band, you of eskimottle village
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people who gave them their first defeat. literally like these atomic scientists came up to alaska in their backombs pocket and they were faced down by guys with harpoons. was a brilliant physicist of hungary and had fled the nazis and had come to and was set up along with a lot of other brilliant physicists, in the manhattan project, to develop america's which welear bomb, used at hiroshima and nagasaki, aided in the ending of the world war ii. ad teller was a bit of renegade. in fact, he was pretty much manhattanle at the project. and he had to be turned loose from the team effort, to build the first vision bomb. and he was allowed to work on own projects, which was
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seeing past the bomb and he was the interested in thermonuclear bomb, the fusion bomb. ultimately wasn't very -- but he was such a powerful force and such a powerful physicist that they set him up with his own laboratory, essentially, out in livermore, a while los alamos continued to develop both the fission and the fusion bomb. of course, it was all secret until the first explosions. there was one test in new mexico, but nobody knew what it was. and then there were the two bombs dropped in japan to end the war. and there was a lot of sentiment to hail the advent of the atomic age as a very positive thing. thething, maybe, as some of
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political people argued, a war would become obsolete, because these weapons were too powerful, no one would there use them. of course, we just had, so there was a great euphoria, actually, about this time, over all things atomic. to the point where atomic physicists were looked to as enlightened people on how we should manage our educational system in the country and all sorts of things about which they knew nothing. you remember, perhaps, or you don't remember, but you've read and seen the pictures of the atomic cafe and the atomic cocktail and sputnik when sputnik went around the world, the satellite. that whole era of looking toward space and to the atomic future. electricity was said to be soon too cheap to meter, that it would all be free, that there
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would be nuclear airplanes and nuclear powered ships, and this great era was going to be ushered in. what nobody was paying much attention to was the really devastating contamination that comes from the whole nuclear process, from mining uranium all the way through any kind of explosion or power generation in a nuclear power plant. we have toxic waste that will outlast civilization that needs to be managed beyond the lifespan of civilization. happening.s all i was part of the cultural push for this sort of thing, but then emerging in the late 1950's, people began to associate fal lout from atmospheric testing with certain human problems, disease problems. there was being proposed nuclear test ban treaty's for the world. -- treaties for the world, and
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that would have shot down the opportunity for guys like teller to test nuclear weapons, at least in the open air. but if he could convince people that a peaceful use of nuclear weapons was a positive thing, it had relatively good public support, then, under the name peaceful use, he could continue to test, develop, and refine what were explosives that could be used as weapons. it's likely they came to alaska for a couple of reasons. one, they wanted it to be remote. touching off a nuclear bomb, things get shook, there is radiation release. there's a seismic effect, but there's also just the shockwave that is above ground that knocks things over. so, they wanted a remote place. if anything went wrong, you wanted as few people around as possible. it's also possible that they felt like alaskans had very little political clout and
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couldn't really mount much of a protest, and that would have been amplified in the village of eskimo people who were nonwhite, non-proficient in the english language. and in every metric of political influence, they were low. i think that's what was lost on these guys. -- that wasn't lost on these guys. the atomic energy commission and the u.s. geological survey looked around. where would be a good place that might be relatively remote or actually quite remote, relatively remote from the villages, and where a harbor might be useful or where these geology might sustain such an excavation? there really isn't very many good sites in arctic alaska to support a harbor. the bearing see is very shallow -- bering sea is a fairly -- is very shallow.
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nome is a big town. they would've liked to put one near nome, but it didn't work out. they ended up taking a -- pick ing up a spot near a little tiny creek. they justified it by saying that there were fish stock that could be exploited up there, but there was no harbor for safe haven for fishermen. there were natural resources like cold that could be exported if there was a harbor -- like coal that could be exported if there was a harbor. the reality was that harper would have been frozen for nine months of the year-- that harbor -- the reality was that the harbor would have been frozen for nine months of the year. they were going to place the bombs at the mouth of the creek in a string, blow up this big channel that would have, initially it was going to be 2.4 megatons of energy. of, that's the equivalent
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2.4 million tons of tnt. i calculated once that if you loaded all that tnt onto flatbed trucks,one-ton flatbed in a convoy literally bumper-to-bumper it would stretch from fairbanks, alaska, to southern argentina, bumper-to-bumper. it was something like 40% of all the firepower expended in world war ii touched off in a single instance. see, i think there were four little bombs at six hiroshima's each, if you can imagine, and two big bombs at 60 hiroshima's each. this would have created the kind of epic contamination that undoubtedly would mean that the eskimo people would, for quite a radius around there, certainly
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tens of miles, scores of miles, would never go back. wherever the wind happened to be blowing that day would have been pasted with contamination many, many times greater than sure noble, the world's worst -- than chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear accident. the place they picked had a couple of huts that were occupied seasonally by local eskimos, who might travel in that direction, caribou hunting. the bluffs themselves were utilized to collect seabird eggs. the people lived a substance since -- a subsistence life and gathered eggs. they are most famous for hunting sea mammals, whales, walrus, beluga, and caribou in the
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hills. nobody was a permanent resident. the nearest village was a town called point hope, is the name it's been given. the name the people give it means index finger. it's on a spit of land that points back toward asia, where the people came from. their village is at the tip of that. it is apparently the oldest continuously occupied site in north america, goes back centuries. it was established and maintained because of its position relative to the migration of bowhead whales. --ching a bowhead whale was would sustain the village for quite a while. it was thousands of pounds of meat, which they could store in underground cellars, frozen. word went out that there were
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surveyors at the creek. little by little, word filtered back from fairbanks and anchorage, where teller and his entourage did explain the project. finally, it filtered back to the people who would've been most affected by it the native people of point hope,. so, when they learned about it, their immediate reaction was resistance and they demanded that a delegation come talk to them. march,t happened in 1960. men from theor so atomic energy commission and some scientists they recruited went up there to explain the project to the eskimo people. and they were not pleased. and they basically said we don't want -- when we say that, we mean it. a little woman, little, i mean, stoodus, but very tough, up and said, we're pretty sure
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you don't want to bomb your place where you live. [chuckles] just gave them hell. wanted one said they of the commissioners to come up. the aec had five commissioners. they said we want one of those guys to come and explain it to us, and that happened. the people were very smart. they tape recorded everything, which was very unusual and very shocking to these guys when they came in their suits and went up to the head table. two tape recorders were running. basically the atomic energy commission people, lied to the people of point hope about the effects of nuclear weapons testing in the pacific and its effect on animals, food, and people, and it's on tape. they knew better.
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to atomic energy commission publications of that day and see they knew better when they told the eskimo people otherwise. they painted a very benign picture as to the effect on human health and on the food animal. the eskimo people had their own sources of information. magazine," which had covered the bravo test in the pacific, the fallout of which landed on the japanese fishing trawler and people died from that explosion -- exposure. some of them had served in the military. one was even a member of the cleanup crew at nagasaki. they were not without sources of information. they challenged what they were hearing. later, they got more information and ended up writing a letter to and the atomicdy
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energy commission and the secretary of interior. they told the secretary of interior, we claim this land as our land. the federalinister public lands, hold it in trust for us until it is adjudicated. you can't give it to become a nuclear wasteland legally. they were right. i think it is quite fascinating that the atomic energy commission -- i don't know if anybody has done a study of this, but i think they were one of the very early professional practitioners of public relation. they really understood how to conversation widely in the public. they had speakers bureaus. they had little magazines for children who would come to the schools. they had people go to the schools. they had professional pr people on staff.
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--y made films,, shows films, commercials. "the sunny side of the atom," "our friend, the atom." a lot of them cartoons with sprightly music. and they, of course, worked very hard within alaska among the people they called the opinion shapers. so, they worked over the press. by thess was very taken argument of the atomic scientists, so that all the major newspapers in the state were very gung ho for project chariot. the president in border regions of the state's university was in favor of it. essentially, the president told -- literally, he told his
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professor, if the united states government says it is safe, that's all we need to hear, which is antithetical to the notion of what science is and what a university is. nevertheless, he was a big booster. it meant dollars coming into the state and into his university. it meant growth, development. state, city and in this development is the byword. if we can get federal dollars to move and grow -- -- state of alaska -- they ratcheted up their opposition. one of the outcomes was that s group group -- teller''s
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funded a series of scientific studies, maybe because they thought they were important. it's not completely clear. what is clear is that they put together the most comprehensive array of environmental studies prior to a project than had ever been done, i think ever, anywhere. it essentially prefigured the modern environment impact report, which would not be required till after the passage of the national environment of policy act in the 1970's, and this was in the late 1950's. that's another thing that came out of chariot that is quite historic. it meant that you were going to understand the effect of what you are going to do before you did it. that was a milestone in policy. at the creek, these studies included geology, hydrology, .oil
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they had bird studies, mammal weather, studies of all kinds, and studies to include the human use of that ina by the native people their subsistence lifestyle. there were 42 different studies. the book that resulted is this big. and what they started to show with some of these scientists coming out of fairbanks here, started to show that, around the world, there had been problems with radiation moving up through the food chain to man. states, with fallout from an atmospheric test in nevada or somewhere, it would dump radioactive dust onto plants like grass. cows would eat the grass. pretty soon it is in their body,
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their milk. some of these nuclides are atop a last like nutrients. cc in 137 is an analog of calcium and it can end up in your bones -- the tissues of these animals were becoming radioactive, so are there milks and so were the people. in the arctic, it was different. in the lower latitudes, in grasslands, grass dies off every year. whatever was in the grass is now in the soil. the new plants might take some of those radio nuclear iced -- take up some of those, but they tended to discriminate against them somewhat. in alaska we didn't have grasslands, we had tundra. ofdra plants contain a lot what are called lycan -- lichen. they are a spongy little plant its is rootless and grabs
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mineral nutrition from airborne dust. it's sitting there, designed to capture fallout or any particles coming down, and incorporating it into its tissues. it didn't die off every year. it could live 70 years. so, now you have a caribou coming around, eating lichen and he may graze over many acres, and he is collecting the fallout that has come down not just this year, but in all previous years going back decades. concentrating that into his body . above that, you have the eskimo guy, who i think they used to eat on the order of seven caribou each year, some number like that. now you are concentrating those radionuclides even further. the arctic food web was much .aster than in the lower states
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the radiation could go in bigger quantity to move faster into people. they figured it out by looking at studies done in canada and in the scandinavian countries and they started to make noise about this. thethat changed a lot momentum of the project. even though the aec had carefully not designed studies to test that here, i think not accidentally, either, but these guys were aware of the literature from abroad showing these problematic food webs. so, it started to back up a little bit. simultaneously, eskimo protests were getting national play. "the new york times" was reporting on it. club magazine." the sierra
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bulletin had a whole issue on it. three, 4, 5, 6 magazines are talking about it. in it is starting to be public relation terms costly for the aec to press with this. they probably could have done it because they had done everything they wanted to do before, but i think it became too costly a pr problem for them to continue to push it, and so, at the same time, there were developments happening. this is getting delayed year after year now because of the protests, the length of the studies. they are doing more testing in nevada. they are learning some things that the chariot explosive would have topped them. -- taught them. there's less need for it from their point of view. they all of a sudden declare ,hat is not necessary anymore we might do it, we might not, abeyance.l hold it in
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you can see that behind the scenes when you get declassified documents. you could see this was quite orchestrated from a pr standpoint. they had a big test in nevada designed to answer some of the questions the chariot would do. they could do anything they wanted in nevada. they had their test site there. there was nobody breathing down their neck like in alaska. they shot off a 100 kiloton explosion that made a crater big enough that you could easily float an aircraft carrier in it. it's huge. i've been to the edge of it. it's massive. caused theom that people in st. george, utah, to have to turn on their streetlights in midday, all of that radioactive dust went all the way into canada, in violation of the atmospheric test entry. immediately on the explosion of that last shot called the sudan
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blast, they released a press release saying it has answered the questions chariot was going to give us and we don't need it .hariot -- need chariot this press release was written before the explosion. they were clearly trying to withdraw from project chariot, save as much face as they could. they never used the word cancel. to this day, 50 years later, they have not said it's canceled. becometeller went on to arguably the most influential scientist in america in the 20th century. he was an ardent opponent of treaty might ban be put forward. any sort of arms control. hock -- hawk.nt
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whenever we had a republican administration, his stock rose and he became essentially a counselor to every republican president. when we get a democrat, he would recede to his laboratory and the hoover institute in stanford. even into the george bush -- era, he got the presidential metal of freedom. he was very renowned, respected, and a listened to elder in the scientific and nuclear arms community. interestingly, he came back to alaska in the late 1980's. it was when reagan was pushing star wars, which was a faith-based missile defense system using lasers. it was something concocted on the back of an envelope, practically.
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$100 billion later, no such system exists. the one they do have this phony, too, but that's another story. anyway, teller thought why not -- i thinkf these they were missiles, but also a laser component, some laser armament and missiles on the north slope of alaska. because it strategically is a good place. it's white -- right between russia and the u.s. high up in the arctic. also, it is not a warm place that generates a lot of cloud cover. you had a lot of clear days there. for a number of sensible reasons, he thought that would be a great place. he came back to alaska to visit the north slope and check it out. i was doing my work on project chariot then. i was working on this book. i thought, here he comes back again with a defense related
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-- -tech it has a lot of similarities. devices involved nuclear explosions in space, too. it had a lot of similarities to the project chariot thing of decades earlier. i was able to interview him. i got on his schedule in anchorage, got a film crew. theot 8.5 minutes into interview before he said, can we take a break? we shut down the machine and he just exploded. he went off like his own nuclear blast, cursing and yelling at me, outraged that i would ask him tough questions about project chariot, which were
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perfectly appropriate. they were perfectly legitimate journalistic questions. it's just that nobody ever really did that to him. he hollered that he had had a perfect interview this morning where the reporter let me talk about anything i want. i thought, well, we've got plenty of that. what we don't have is putting his feet to the fire on project chariot a little bit. he threw us out. just before the door slammed, i heard him tearing up his release. that recording is in the archives, although it can't really be used without his permission, which he never gave. answer reaction was his that there was no good answer ,rom him about project chariot that it was problematic, it and make sense, it had enormous potential to pollute. it wasn't proposed for the reasons they gave.
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the whole thing was nonsense from start to finish. he did not have a good response. i believe that's why he did what he did. wasairness, teller undoubtedly a patriot and very high, if not for most in the list of his motivations is to protect america. i think he gave way to many lesser motives as well. he was doing what he thought was right. his problem was that he thought it was better to keep the public unaware of what he was doing for the good of the country, as he saw it, and in so doing, he usurps the basic prerogative of a democracy. that's not how it works here you don't keep information from us and decide what's best for us. we get to decide, even if we are
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in perfect, even if we don't know all you know. we do not cede our prerogatives to authorities or experts. that's the whole nature of our government. he didn't quite get that. we have to be in charge of our fate. that's part of the bargain of democracy. we have to pay attention and we have to stand up and argue. we have to fight. because a free society has to be a skeptical one. that's the way we protect our freedom. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> fairbanks is located in alaska's interior and is two hours north of mount mckinley, with a population of nearly 33,000. it is the state's second most populous metropolitan area. fairbanks is a military hub with fort wainwright located within city limits. it is also known for its rich gold deposits, which led to a gold rush at the turn of the
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20th century. next, we continue our special look at alaska as we learn about the building of the trans-alaska ,ipeline from dermot kohl author of "amazing pipeline stories." we are here about the midway point of the trans-alaska pipeline. the project is 800 miles long. oil was discovered on the north slope of alaska in 1968. the largest oil field ever found in north america. . instant that knowledge spread, everyone knew this was going to change the state of alaska for good. the pipeline came about after a long series of court delays and bureaucratic delays and environmental battles over the future of alaska.
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in 1973,ress acted which coincidentally was about the time of the air of oil embargo,- arab oil pipeline construction moved ahead rapidly. 1974 and it was completed in the summer of 1977. intense andrly rapid period of construction that really transformed the state. in the early 1900s, coal brought newcomers to alaska. here was an endogenous -- indigenous population here for hundreds of thousands of years, but that began to change in the early 1900s with the gold discoveries. that really held sway up until about world war i. after that period, then we get a slow transition to what was really, you could say, it was a
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government dependence in many ways. the alaska railroad was built during the world war i era. its construction really made a town like fairbanks sustainable because for the first time it was possible to get decent transportation from the coast into the interior of alaska and it was possible to ship cargo and freight here. that gave it sort of an economic basis. with the arrival of world war ii and since that time, there has been a heavy military presence in alaska. that is ongoing to this day. the government economy has long here. major element that began to change with the discovery of oil.
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the largest oil field found in north america, peak production was about 2 million barrels per day since 1988 and it has been steadily declining since that time. today it is about 1/4 of that level, but it's still a lot of money and still the basis of how the state economy operates with government both federal, state, and local government as secondary options. the pipeline begins on the north coast of alaska. it is to the east of the arctic national wildlife refuge, which has been in the news for many decades now about whether or not oil exploration should be allowed there. the pipeline proceeds more or less directly straight south go valdez -- to valdez. the major oil companies that had leases on the north slope got together and formed a pipeline service company, a consortium of
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these major oil companies. agreed tottee, they get this build. -- built. oil companies don't usually like to cooperate with each other. they are bitter competitors. in this case, they had to cooperate in order to get their oil to market, and they knew that. one time, there were seven oil companies in this consortium. today it is only bp, exxon, and conoco phillips. the pipeline is 800 miles long. about half of it is above ground. wherever it is above ground, the soil conditions are not very good. took, if you include the financing charges, about $10 billion in the 1970's, which today would be more than $30 billion. this pipeline was really the thet major test of
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environmental protection agency, which had just been created in the nixon administration and grew out of the growing recognition that the environment needed to be protected. their original proposal was that the entire length would be buried. it was the united states geological survey and others, scientists, who said, you can't do that because of the poor soil conditions. you need to elevate the pipeline. this technology that you see here was developed in response to environmental worries that, if you wanted this thing to last and not damage the environment, you had to take lots of special precautions. these are designed to help keep the soil frozen far underneath where we are standing and to keep the pipeline stable.
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the pipeline is built on these -- is set up here so that it can move back and forth in case of an earthquake. we do have earthquakes here. they do move the pipeline from side to side. it has had a really strong and good environmental record. notable exceptions on that was the exxon valdez oil spill, which was not a minor thing at all. it was a major catastrophe. while that was not on the land portion of the 800 mile project, it was part of the system. to understand the time at which this was built, it is good to go back and remember what happened in the 1970's. the opec oil embargo of the 1970's really shook up the united states. the gas lines that occurred created real political uncertainty and help build the momentum to get congress to
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approve this project. once that happened, the oil companies knew that they had billions of barrels of oil waiting to get to market, but they wouldn't be making any money and they wouldn't be able to profit on that at all until the pipeline was finished, so they built it as quickly as they could do it. in order to get the project build as quickly as possible -- as quickly as possible, which is what the oil companies wanted to do because they would not be making any money until the first barrel of oil got shipped out about as -- out of they wanted everybody to work together and do it rapidly.
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that is why the construction went on seven days a week throughout the year. multiple shifts, most of the time. the peak employment was late 1975. there were 28,000 people employed from one end of this project to the other, which is the largest single thing that was going on in alaska at the time. no conversation took place in fairbanks in those years without the words pipeline coming up within 30 seconds or so, i would say. the town was really overrun by construction workers, and with -- when there were 28,000 people employed, maybe over the years, 70,000 people worked on the projects, because many worked for a short time, quit, and someone else came in to replace them. a lot of people who lived in fairbanks, which had been a fairly sedate town, really had trouble adjusting to this, because there were no real roads around fairbanks at the time. most of the roads that were built in the community, the four-lane highways, came about after the project. so, traffic jams, believe it or not, in this small town, were a huge nightmare because everything was congested.
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and the turnover of jobs in town was severe. there was a joke in one bank about giving tellers seniority pins if they stayed on the job a month. it was just constant turnover, constant turmoil in the community. and all sorts of problems that came from this invasion. that is what everyone refer to it as, this invasion of construction workers from outside. the construction workers were here because the money was good. the oil flow began in june 1977. what alaska discovered after that was something we should have known all along, but it really hit home with the iranian hostage situation and the oil crisis that occurred in the late 1970's.
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that is when oil money began flowing into alaska, after the price of oil shot up. thanks to that conflict in iran. that began to repeat a pattern. alaska was suddenly, its economy was directly impacted in a major way by events that took place thousands of miles from here. in other words, we became instantly tied to the oil market, and alaska had no control over their own market. it was sort of along for the ride, for better or for worse. the oil on the north slope was found on state land, so maybe the original plus for the state of alaska was that when alaska became a state and it was given the option of choosing certain lands, the geologists early on figured this land on the north slope would be good to select.
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had they not selected it, the economy of alaska would have been entirely different. the state geologists selected that land and leased it to oil companies. what that meant was alaska retained ownership interests in oil on that land. 1/8th of the oil on that land belongs to the state. about 1/8th. that 1/8th share, the cash value of it, was meant to help run its government. plus, the severance tax the state collects on the rest of the oil -- the severance tax and the oil royalties have amounted to tens of billions of dollars over the years and provided the economic power to the state economy. in the 1970's, there was great
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concern all of this oil money would flow and it would be spent immediately. the state adopted a constitutional amendment to save a percentage of its royalties and created the alaska permanent fund. it was established in 1977 and is still collecting millions of dollars each year. and in 1980, it created this unique system by which residents receive a check each year from the earnings of the alaska permanent fund. it is the alaska permanent fund dividend and is one part of the state government that is universally popular in alaska. one of the things that struck me was how often environmentalists would say, by putting this pipeline in, this is like putting a scar across the mona lisa.
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that is the kind of language they used at the time. for supporters, it is like a thread across a basketball gym. that would be different ways people had of looking at it. the intensity of the environmental fight and the bitterness of it that occurred in the 1970's has faded into the background. it has become an accepted part of the background, like telephone poles, electric wires, and that sort of thing. that is normal, i guess. you become accustomed to what you see around you. this is a positive tourist -- popular tourist viewpoint here. thousands of people come to the pipeline to see it up close
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every year. it is a symbol of modern alaska in many ways. and it has changed the state culturally and economically. juneau is the capital city of alaska, located in the state hospital and handle with a population of over -- state's panhandle. it has no roads that connect it to the rest of the state. despite this, it is a popular destination for cruise ships and tourists coming to ride the mount roberts tram and visit mendenhall glacier. coming up we continue our special look, at alaska as an author talks about her book alaskanndian: an native memoir." at thes born in juneau
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edge of the juneau indian village at the end of the second world war. my mother was full-blooded klinkit.-- cleane so ier knew my father, don't know what nationality he klinkit, luckily, the nation follows matrilineal progression, so i belong to the same clan and nation that my .other belongs to when i was a girl growing up in the village, my grandmother taught me songs. when i was young, i had blonde hair. she called me "blonde indian" and taught me a little song and dance and she would dance with me while i sang that song. during that time when i was growing up, juneau was obviously, and of course, a lot
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smaller than it is now. i think we had one stoplight that only blinked. it didn't really intend to stop any cars. there were not that many cars anyway. i think there was one bus. my aunt irma and uncle george lived very close to where we are now. sometimes there would be a bus, but we always walked. juneau was quite a bit different. it was still a territory. we were under territorial laws. colonized, soy there was still a lot of repercussions of colonization. some of the effects of colonization are of course, there is a good deal of discrimination. there is a good deal of oppression. there is a good deal of taking. the people who inhabited this
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land for 10,000 years or more had in quick -- had intricate laws whereby certain parts of the land could be used by certain clans and the and,sticated legal system of course, all those were done away with when new laws, new religion, new language, new everything came and alaska because of gold -- we were poor. we had property in the juneau indian village that was the result of a townsite project that people brought in. juneau is not a traditional permanent village. the permanent village is further out by the glacier. juneau was not a permanent village, but it became a village
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when the town started growing. established the townsite for the juneau indian village, they parceled out certain parts and my family still owns one of the restricted small,operties, very big enough to put a family house on. that was our economic fodder. my grandmother worked in canneries during summer, and m grandfather fishedy and my uncle fished and my mother did similar work. of course, i didn't know my father. it was 1945 when i was born. in those days, any place in the united states that was very difficult, a lot of issues raised. included particularly
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in many of the native functions during those times. they were not -- my grandmother and mother were not -- they didn't participate as much in native functions. when i was very small, my grandmother would take me two different parties, they call them. some people call them hot lunches. -- pot lunches. i remember doing that. my mother was sort of ostracized . she did not participate in many of the native functions. of course, i wasn't very welcome in most of the white functions. i picked a lot of barriers. i have to say i was an unsupervised while child. to the degree that when i was 15 years old, my mother had had enough. she moved us to california, where i stayed for 25 long years
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and never came home. when we moved to california, my mother took the soonest opportunity to go up on her own. she ended up moving to washington dc -- washington, d.c., and staying on the east coast for several years, while it has been my lifelong practice to cling to the west coast. and she kept in touch, but she had said she would never go back to alaska, never. because of the difficulties she had had. and that was one of the very serious considerations that i had to spend a lot of time thinking about when i decided to come back home. when i turned 40, my life was in shambles. i was broke. my children were grown and were living with their father. i was penniless. combat -- trying to
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for a few years. i turned 40 and said, let me go home or let me die with my thoughts facing north. it took me eight months to get from san francisco to ketchikan, living in my car, standing in food lines, sleeping in shelters. when i got to ketchikan i camped out from, may to october, then i found a job, found a place to stay, sent for my mother, set for my children. two years later, i made it all the way back home. and when i came back home, i wasn't sure what to expect as far as whether people would remember us, but the mountains were still the same. the eagles were still the same. the place was still the same. the people and the culture accepted and welcomed us back home. we were walking downtown on french street and somebody from across the street yelled "da
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isy!" she remembered her. from that day on, she was happy to be home. to have all these generations of my family back here in juneau, my grandchildren live here. my children live here. my great-grandchildren live here . it means more to me than i could ever say. my mother lived the last few years of her life here in juneau , and so she rests in our old family plot in the evergreens cemetery. i don't believe that she would be -- find rest anywhere else. solstice18 summer marked the 113th annual midnight sun game in fairbanks, alaska. the amateur baseball game starts around 10:30 p.m., and because
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the sun is out for nearly 24 hours, there is no need for additional lighting. up next, we continue our special look at alaska as we speak with mary shields, the first woman to complete the iditarod and the author of "sled dog trails." >> smokey! smokey! oh, coming in the bottom door, basement door. hi, smoke. look who's here. if you act right, you might get on television. >> mary, what was it like the first time you crossed that finish line of the iditarod? >> it was relief. i had been traveling for 28 days out in the cold. melancholy, too, because i was loving the traveling and i didn't want it to come to an end, but i didn't want it to come to an end. it was quite an exciting finish.
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we went down a chuting made out of snow fence, and hundreds of people came out at 3:00 in the morning, cheering the dogs in. i could see something at the finish line. i couldn't tell what it is. when you're out in the cold, your warm breath freezes. sometimes your eyelashes get frosted and stick together. can take your warm -- you can take your hands out of your mittens and thaw them out. i wasn't going to do that the last mile of the race. it was a group of women from nome. they had a banner. 1974, the said, banner said "you've come a long way, baby." a very nice welcome after 1000 miles on the trail. >> where did your interest in dogsledding begin? >> i guess i was for a long time. i came to alaska to work with the campfire girls. we would go from village to
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village. we were out in the summer, so i didn't see any dog teams. i saw them tied up, but i didn't think, oh, those are sled dogs. the summer, iof decided i wanted to make my home here in alaska. i had snowshoes and skis, cross-country skis to get around if i wanted to go exploring, but in the middle of october, some friends of mine came down on the train. my mail came on the train. if i had mail, the engineer would blow the whistle and i would go down to the tracks. this day, he really blew the whistle. something special was coming. my friends had come down to see if i was still alive. sometimes people go off on these adventures and no one ever sees them again, and i was a perfect candidate for that category. i was a brownie dropout. i knew nothing about living out in the woods. ane and sally had worked on archaeology dig, and when their
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job finished, they asked if they could stay and learn how to live the way those people live, and they were welcomed and they learned how to preserve berries and smoke salmon. they had to go on a moose hunt and health butcher a mood -- moose and they had to learn to drive a dog team. mike saw me dragging him dead trees and a pail of water. he said, mary, you need a few sled dogs. they had dogs they weren't using anymore. they went back to fairbanks. a couple of southbound trains later, the engineer is just wailing on the whistle. the train comes to a stop. outcomes of little black dog -- out comes a little black dog, than a red fluffy dog, then an old gray dog -- then three dog harnesses. the only instructions that came with this little beginner's kit were taped on the back of the old dog sled. it had every thing i needed to know in two sentences.
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"dear mary, there's nothing to it. just put the dogs in front of the sled." that's really all there is to it. i put the harnesses on. i don't know if they were on right. i tied the dogs to the front of this led. they got in a big dog fight. i pulled one off, the other two would start fighting. this went on and on. i was crying and screaming. i unclipped the dogs and they ran down the trail to the cabin. i made many trips dragging all that dog food home. that's when i got my first dogs, and i've had them ever since. >> how did you train them to use this led? -- the sled? >> they knew more than i did. i just did what made sense. i worked with the lead dog all by herself for the first week. then i added one of the red dogs. then i put all three together. they went in the same direction without fighting.
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i praised them and gave them little treats when they did the right thing. >> when did the idea of racing dogs come in? >> i met my future husband to be and we went on a camping trip thanksgiving of 19 -- um -- 1970, i think. and we both loved it. in november, the days were getting darker and colder and shorter. for the next 22 years, we went on a month-long camping trip in the month of march when it is getting brighter and warmer and sunnier. i just loved it. one time we went to visit a friend at christmas time. december is not a good time to travel because it's dark and cold. we had to snowshoe quite a bit. we got there the afternoon of christmas day. we spent a week or so. when we came home, we were back on snowshoes in front of the dogs. when i got home, i started hearing rumors about the iditarod race where the race
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committee hired people in the villages to break the trail. it was a chance to see 1000 miles of alaska and not have to break trail on snowshoes. i called up the committee and said, i'd like to go on your race. who are you? i said mary. they said, how many dogs do you have? i said six. they said, you have to get eight. i said i will get two more. now you have to compete -- complete a qualifying race. i was lucky to get in on an early year. there were 49 teams that year. two who were women, one from fairbanks and myself. i just had a wonderful experience. >> can we get a little bit of background, i guess, on the iditarod race? how long is it? what does it consist of? >> it is 1049 miles the year i
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went and it goes from anchorage, alaska, all the way up to miln, alaska, through the center of the state of alaska. area -- nome had a gift a diptheria epidemic and they brought the serum to save lives. they celebrate that, when dogs came to the rescue of people. it goes through mountains, the yukon river, along the ocean, trails on all different kinds of terrain and different places. now the trail is part of the national historic trail system and it is quite well marked. back there you might see a marker on a tree and then you don't see anything for a couple of miles. it's much easier to have a bicycle race on it. i did a junior iditarod >> before you end your friend decided to compete in the race,
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was there every history of women type heat -- women competing in the iditarod? no, the first year there were just trying to keep the trail connected. i don't think there were very many women, just 10 or so. >> what was the reaction to you and your friend signing up? mary: when i pulled into a checkpoint, sometimes men were there, and they took off and thought thatnd i was interesting, they were going to spend the night there. and i have a feeling they didn't want to be seen traveling with me. >> can we talk about your first day and maybe your first overnight of the iditarod. were you nervous? mary: i was very nervous. oceane traveling near the . i didn't really know where i
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was. it was dark of course, at night, and i was wondering whether this was such a good idea. i only had eight dogs and i was a little nervous. and then i got to the first checkpoint and i got my supplies. to i thought, if admitted the first checkpoint i could probably make it to the second. i broke it down into 50 mile segments, i could do 50 miles, i could do another 50 miles. and as the trail went on i got more and more comfortable and really enjoyed it. the dogsledding aspect of it, when you were setting up camp, were you camping? in a you are not camping. you are trying to get to the finish line faster than those other teams. and we find that the dogs that are happiest and healthiest put on the best performance. routinehem on the same
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that we train them on. most people put in 1000 or 2000 miles during training. you can't tell the dogs what to do unless you have trained them properly to do that. so we run them for four hours or five hours at a stretch to bending -- stretch depending on trail conditions. and then you make them stop and rest of them for an equal amount of time, for five hours. would love to recuperate 100%, but you are doing chores at the rest stop when the dogs are sleeping. so it is a different thing. to makedon't have time the campfire, melt the snow, and make their food. you carried in a cooler, like a coleman cooler you take a picnic. but it's not frozen anymore, and you can scoop it out and feed the dogs and then they can go to sleep and digested while they are resting. them beforenot feed
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you take off because then they will just regurgitate it very -- just regurgitate it. just boxesod is not of macaroni and cheese, it is real meals that you have cooked and frozen. and on the trail all you have to do is thaw it out and eat it. pizza is very popular. are creating fat content when you are out in the day and and with pizza you can heated up on your campfire and have a hot meal in no time. mine would put five or six paris does inside his out, and whenit he was hungry he would fish out -- five orout --
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inside his parka to thaw it out, and he was hungry he would fish one out of his coat. when have you chores done, you want to rest but you don't pitch the tent. you're not going to get that comfortable. you just lay down on your big parka with your boots on and have a loud alarm on your with wristwatch. when the alarm goes off you have to get up and take off. >> how long did it take you to complete? it to me 28 days, which was very long. the new record is eight days, 14 hours. so a lot has changed. i have had a few physical problems the past two years, i broke my hip so haven't been on
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a slide for two years. but i intend to be on it this coming winter. i like to go out and see were my neighbors are in check the traps. dogs at theive wanted to mush until i was 60. that seemed reasonable. am 73 so i don't need a great big number of dogs. i can't handle them. but they are the sweetest dogs and all of alaska. >> what would your device beat anyone who was watching, who wants to join in the iditarod or compete in the iditarod? are not a dog musher to begin with, i would encourage them to be one of the checkers at the checkpoints or help at the start and finish, and then a run dogs for a couple of years, going camping trips and learn how to take care of yourself, and then sign up for the race.
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don't rush it. you can get yourself in serious trouble if you go out before you know what to do. the mount roberts tramway is the only aerial tram in southeastern alaska. it rises 1800 feet from downtown juneau to the top of a mountain, with views of the city and gastineau channel. native, we learn the history of the people of southeastern alaska. ♪ singing] [foreign language spoken] my ancient name has been
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lost in time, the meaning of it. my ceremonial name means a woman who stands in the place of a man. i am eagle from the thunderbird clan, and i am from the house lower than the sun. i love to welcome people to southeast alaska, home of the inket tried.kl we have about 30,000 members. we had a rich, complex society. we traded a lot with our neighbors to the north and south and interior. and we were great entrepreneurs. thatt was a woman controlled the trade, and if a woman did not approve of the trade, they could make a trade transaction, so we were very
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active. large, wooden canoes that we could transport all the way down to washington, into the oregon area. and also we were expanding westward, into prince william sound. it was a very large society, very complex, very rich. andthen the russians came, it was a mutually-beneficial relationship with the russians, as long as they stayed in their forts at nighttime and didn't of ouriming ownership land. we liked the ability to trade, and we traded not only with the russians but also european groups that were coming to southeastern alaska. but we were trading for material and then incorporating it into our culture. and our culture as a result group.
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and some people say even our hearts flourished, because we had things -- our art flourished, because we had things to refine our art. but it was a traditional culture, a native culture. it was only when the americans came in they thought they needed to change our culture. i'm sure others have heard about the assimilation policy, where they wanted to suppress native culture and assimilate us into a the larger society. into the larger society. we wanted the benefits of the larger society, definitely. but i think we wanted the best of both. but they saw value in our culture, our traditional culture, and they wanted our traditional culture to persist. in the initial contact with the americans, they at first acknowledged our traditional laws. for example, if there was a
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demanded thee payment of some sort of payment, the military would actually pay us. gainedthe united states in strength in terms of numbers of people in southeast alaska, then the decision was made that they did not need to adhere to our laws. so they began to impose their laws on us. this would be in the late 1800s, early 1900s, and we said we really need to deal with these laws that are affecting us. we formed a voluntary organization, the alaska native brotherhood, and we decided we needed to become very politically involved. our people were taught how to speak english. -- there were great
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stories about how they would and then c-a-t, they would say, how do you spell cat? and then one person would say a-c-t, a-c-t. but they wanted to learn about american culture because they wanted to influence those institutions that had an adverse impact on us. i like to think the civil rights movement began in southeast when wein 1912 -- began to fight discriminatory laws and policies that tried to change us and get rid of our native culture. one of our missions here at the alaska heritage institute is to promote cross-cultural understanding, and we take that very seriously. not only do we want to perpetuate and an enhanced our
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culture, we want to teach non-natives about our culture. because the thinking of the shame of being a native person came from the outside, came from the teachers, came from the missionaries, came from the policeman at a very personal level. i was actually taken from my family and put into a missionary of all and orphanage things. and here i have such a large family. attempt again to say where you live, your cultural values, your cultural practices are not worthy, you are a pagan and you need to be changed. .o i was removed to school and it is still, today, a lot of our people suffer from that. a lot of our people were picked and were placed in boarding and we are feeling the
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suffering, the intergenerational trauma from that period. but it was not happy time. there were signs, no natives allowed. and i remember as a young lady going into the store and tearing down these signs, no natives allowed very and when we were building this building, the city did not like the font of our side, future home, and i was so angry i said by me that side -- sign that said no natives allowed and we will use the same font. if it was acceptable then, it is acceptable today. actthe antidiscrimination was enacted for very real reasons. one would go to movies, we would have to sit in the back. i mentioned we went to segregated schools. it was very real. ♪
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celebration is a four-day event in which we celebrate the afteral of our culture, trying of outside forces to suppress our culture. we like to make the statement, it we are, our culture is strong, it is vibrant. it is a four-day celebration that includes dance, song, workshops on different aspects of our culture, even a food contest. alaska,ere in southeast if they attended our celebration, they would have heard young children speaking klinket, so wees, are well on our way to restoring our native language. we still have a long way to go. i would say local tribes are becoming the model in terms of
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cultural language restoration. our cultures are vibrant. i wear my crest on my different jewelry to show who i am. it identifies that i and many go, i am a thunderbird, i have a special relationship to the sun, i have spirits that help me. i would say our culture is strong. had seen the celebration in 2018, i think they would have agreed with me. park is a 6tional million acre preserve located in interior alaska. it is home to denali, also known as mount mckinley, with 20 3000, 310 feet. it is north america's highest pick. 20 3000, 310 feet. feet.
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we continue with a look at fish farms and alaska. broughtussians first leutian islands. it was a very big industry for the russians, and then the americans took over. it was the third-largest industry, behind gold-mining and seven fishing -- and salmon fishing. it was important enough that they governor hired a veterinarian to take care of the fur farms.- the the veterinarian was the only one in the territory, expect -- except for another one that had quick to start fur farming.
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it started in 1749. it was a very small start. the russian captain of a ship that was coming for seals and started at the commander islands for the winter, to make a crossing to the islands. and he picked up a litter of fox's. -- foxes. esese were very special fox because they did not turn white in the winter. they were there he special, they were called blue foxes. dark furs were very popular in moscow and in china, he picked up his special the ateualked to
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people about not killing these animals and in fact feeding them more in the winter. and heed for two years, said i will come back after a while and we will trap these foxes and i will bring you trade goods. tip of the is at the aleutian islands, and you can see the islands make a sweeping curve, and you can see that it teu island and kamchatka. and the russians were taking all these rich first. they had up -- these rich furs. and they would soon exterminate all these foxes on the commander
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island. the purchaseme of of alaska in 1867, the russians had quite a number of farms going. the largest one, the americans took it over. both the russians and americans, as their using islands fences, because foxes do not like to swim. most of them were wild, running foxes, being fed by food that was put out. and as it became more sophisticated they built track boxes, where they had the and a little door that would when a fox walked open, and
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then they sorted the foxes. it ended up taking more popular and him were all sorts of animals being raised in cages on the mainland, skunks and andoons and chinchillas rabbits, mostly in people's houses. so it has changed greatly over the two centuries. have been used for various purposes back to genesis. and they are very important in the north. china is called. russia is cold. and at the same time there was a parallel market for elegant palaces ine who had needed.that were not heede and to have a full lining for was dress or your bodice
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wonderful for its looks, and its warmth. and of course, just furs for beauty. and during the early development of the automobile, those were open cars and furs were very popular. in 1930, which was close to the peak, there were more than 600. the population of the territory at that time was 60,000. so there was 60,000 people in more than 600 fur farms. the thing that changed fur farming of course, was the market. and during world war ii, synthetic warm materials were developed by the americans. the germans were still using at the end of the time you could get warm close without -- warm clothing without first.
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and people who were offended by the idea of killing foxes and so on said, we don't need this at all because we no longer needed for warmth. and that helped peta get started, and the protests against it. but fashion changed. after the war, a lot of people moved to california and didn't need a virchow -- did not need a fur coat. the big tied after the war was buying washing machines and after thee big tied war was buying washing machines and cars, and they did not need furs. the last farm closed in 1993. alaska has had a lot of boom and bust industries, including fur
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farming, and people moved on to do something else. after the war, we had a huge construction boom. at that time gold-mining was also declining, but then of course oil came. so people were pretty flexible about moving on to something else. i think there is some misunderstanding about fur farms and their cruelty. at least on the islands, it was not an industry of deliberate cruelty. where everyone was a little bit ignorant about the consequences, unintended consequences. a 13 mile long glacier is au alaska. june
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the glaciers of southeast alaska enough water to fill 40 million olympic-sized swimming pools. the exxon valdez oil spill affected portions of the alaska coast. i was in eagle river near anchorage and it was all over the news. by the time i got to work, i knew all about it. my first reaction was disbelief. how could this happen? and the second reaction was just shocked at the enormity of it. they spilled i think 11 million gallons of oil and it covered 11,000 square miles of ocean. it was inconceivable until it happened. >> where wae were you working? for "the anchorage daily news" and i was a
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reporter. >> can you tell us what the history was of the oil industry in alaska? how large was it? >> the oil industry we know today got its start in alaska in 1967 when there was a huge oil strike in prudhomme bay. the pipeline began operating in 1973, and that is when the tanker traffic in prince william sound began, so about 15 years had passed before the spill. fromil industry in alaska, the day oil was discovered, had an in norma's land share -- had n enormous land share. money sondustry put
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fast into state coffers that the joke was, even the alaska legislature couldn't spend it all. on stateit was spent services. so the oil industry was generating all this money and took a keen industry in politics, because they are always interested in taxes and regulation. so their influence over the legislature became enormous overtime, and it was almost mandatory to be oil-friendly to get elected to the legislature in this state. >> who were some of the companies operating here? are bpbig three were and , exxon mobil and conoco phillips. over time the names have changed as the companies merged and absorbed each other. arco,s conoco used to be but the big players haven't changed much, bp and exxon.
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>> you mentioned the influence over the legislature. what did that mean regarding regulations over oil? a norma'salways in panel get any new regulations in rane, and the trend really in the opposite direction. regulations tended to get looser and not tighter. and then there was the oil spill. most regulation having to do with the tanker, the exxon valdez, were federal in origin and focus. the regulations having to do with cleanup, on the other hand, were fundamentally at the state level. thethat was part of problem. regulations were a big part of the problem in the spill. operations oversight were to lose, and that is why the tanker hit the reef. and the state oversight of cleanup was to lose, and that is why the company that runs the
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system in prince william sound, the tanker terminal, was unprepared for the cleanup. the first three days there was virtually no cleanup effort, and it was ideal cleanup weather. they had three days of really good weather in prince william sound after that spill, and this glossy lake of oil just spreading from this tanker, and essentially nothing happened to clean it up. how does the oil process work? where is the oil pulled from, and why was it on a tanker, and where was it going? >> sure. the oil was produced on alaska's north slope, which is up in the arctic, harsh climate, harsh environment, permafrost country.
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it is hard to operate in, you have to be careful not to disrupt things, there is a population of caribou and polar bears that have to be protected. slope, there are two big fields, including prudhomme bay. they are massive fields, like saudi arabia or russia or something. and on the north slope is a eight hundredruns south -- 800 miles south across the middle of alaska to rinse william sound. and there it is loaded onto oil tankers and shipped to markets on the u.s. west coast. i think the exxon valdez was headed for long beach. it was carrying about 53 million gallons of oil, so it lost about 20% of its cargo. and the rest is history, sadly. host: can we talk about what happened on that day?
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>> sure. valdez a little before midnight and sailed out of valdez and through prince william sound, and at 12:04 a.m. on march 24, good friday, it hit a wreath, a well-known -- a reef , a well-known navigational marker on prince william sound. earlier there had been reports of icebergs in the tanker lanes, so the captain asked for permission to deviate from the tanker lanes to avoid these icebergs in case they were still there. it's a typical maneuver but nothing at happened all the time, and the failure was to return to the tanker lanes at the proper point. instead, the ship sailed into this reef.
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conditions on the ship contributed to the accident. the master was joe hazelwood. there was always a question whether he was drinking, and if he was drinking whether it was a factor. that was never established quickly, and i kind of doubt it myself. what he did was to put the third mate in charge of the bridge, and go below to do paperwork. the tanker crew, and this was identified as a factor in the accident, were working very hard. the size of the crews on these ships had been reduced over the years, so there was a constant battle with fatigue and overwork and stress, and that wasn't identified as a contributing factor. and anti-rate, the third mate ,as in charge -- at any rate the third mate was in charge of -- in charge of the bridge and was not qualified
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to be doing the work he was doing. oil was thech tanker carrying, and how much spilled? >> it had about 53 million gallons on board. they usually measure tanker cargoes in barrels, and that was one and one quarter million onrgoes -- quarter millio barrels. think it lost about 250,000 barrels. the number i give using generally-accepted figure. the reason it is difficult to figure out how much oil it lost is because as oil came out, water came in, so it's difficult to get an exact measurement of the oil lost. host: you mentioned this happened in prince william sound. where is that, and what would people have found their? -- found there?
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sound is ailliam couple of hundred miles south of anchorage, more or less in the middle of the state. it is this beautiful, expensive, closed waters with islands and peninsulas and coastlines, a rich population of sea birds and fish and animals, bears and sea otters and so on. anyone who has ever visited prince william sound has just been stunned by the natural and relatively untouched by man. you don't see much development at all. a few villages, a few fishing boats on the water, maybe cargo vessels coming into the container port in valdez, but very little touch from the hand of man. and then you had this tanker oulll the soil and f
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everything in sight. it was just a shock to the koch is nice, how this could happen. shock to thet a consciousness, how this could happen. oil itself doesn't travel very fast. it floats on the top end is carried by currents. happenedt a storm, as in prince william sound today's after the spill, then it gets churned up by the waves and mixes into the water. when that happens, it is a threat to fish and plankton and so on in the water. when it is on the surface, it is a threat to birds and w hales. then it hits the beaches, and destroys beach ecosystems. host: when was exxon alerted that the spill had happened, and
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when did efforts to stop it begin? i am sure exxon was alerted immediately by the crew of the ship, we are in prince william sound and we are leaking oil. the captain of the ship got on the radio and called the coast guard in valdez immediately, and he said we are a ground and evidently leaking oil. and he said on the radio he was going to try to rock the boat andget it off the reef perceived, which is a terrifying possibility. the ship was so badly damaged it probably would have capsized had he succeeded in doing that. well, he didn't, and the ship stayed on the reef and continued to leak oil. the response effort began almost immediately. the problem was, there were so
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few resources and boats and looms and clean up the available. not much could be done. so it started from a tiny beginning and ramped up over the spring and summer. was: whose responsibility it for the oil spill? did exxon have a response plan? did alaska have a response plan? >> the primary responsibility for the response plan fell on at -- fell onshipper exxon, as the shipper. valdez, and the meeting aftermath it was carried out by the pipeline services company. wascompany at the time responsible for i think, the first three days of the response effort. they sent out the boats and booms and cleanup equipment to clean up the mess and prevent it from spreading.
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and after that first three days, the shipper is supposed to take on management of the response, and exxon did that. after a short amount of time it was exxon running the spill. host: what is the process of cleaning up oil? and what are some of the challenges of an oil spill of that magnitude? it, there arelify two aspects of cleanup. one is containment, trying not farthert spread any than it has. the other his removal. both are very difficult. we had a huge area that had spilled oil on it, and then a lot of the oil hit the beaches and immersed itself in sand and gravel and plants and all of that stuff. so removal was very difficult. spill was toto the use something called a dispersant. the name of the dispersant at
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the time was correctsit. and the dispersant is supposed to break the oil into tiny be processed can by bacteria and so on in the water. oil is an organic substance and given the right time and circumstances, nature will reprocess it into harmless things. correctsit is, ous itself, so they and it was asit, dismal failure. and they noticed all the oil on the beach and they had two solutions, one of which was ridiculous and one which was devastating. the ridiculous one, they hired people to go on the beach with
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essentially paper towels, and white the oil off the rocks. [laughter] yes, they did. was theyd and they did decided, we will get high pressure hot water washers and blast these beaches with this hot water, and it will wash the oil back into the water and then we can clean it up. oil thatcleanup some way, but they did further damage to the ecosystem on those beaches, because the hot water was hot and probably also blasted some of the oil deeper into the sand. so the cleanup for the most part was an abysmal failure. maybe they got 15% of the oil, but that is just a wild guess. nobody really knows. it's probably fair to say the effort was for the most part a pr effort to show america and the world that something was being done to clean up the soil. said soonofficial
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after the spill, they were going to clean it all up. of course, they did not even come close. host: how far did the oil spread? >> i think the farthest oil that was documented from the exxon valdez was 1200, 1300 miles away. it floated down prince william sound on the currents and came up to the south end of cook alet and anchorage, completely different body of water and by sea, several hundred miles. we talked about a response plan, and i told you the primary responsibility was on the spiller, which is true. federalof the agencies, and state, that are in line to participate in a spill, they had their own response plans saying what they were going to do. so every agency in prince william sound was theoretically
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ready, but as a practical matter none of them were, but they were all on the front lines immediately. anybody that a presence on prince william sound had to jump in immediately. the oil spill had a devastating impact on the fishing economy of prince william sound. ,ther than the oil industry fishing was the mainstay economy in prince william sound. so they get salmon out of there, shrimp, herring, crab. and after the spill the fisheries were just closed, because it would only have taken oiled salmon-- one to show up at the market in seattle to completely shut down the industry. so those populations were damaged and could be fished for a while. herring is one example, and i
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think shrimp is another. so the fact that fishing had been shut down and everybody was going broke forced this agonizing dilemma on the fisherman of prince william of princeishermen william sound. and that was, should they hire out their boats to work on the cleanup for exxon? and they decided they just couldn't, but there were others who could, and it provoked and divisions. and those who did, they were pillionaires, because they were making millions off the spill. so it cost a great deal of division. there was a creation of a citizens advisory council. and there were increases in
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every form of the family and social dysfunction than you can imagine. there was more drinking, more suicide, more divorces, more family violence, everything bad that can happen to a small, one-industry society happened to those people in prince liam sound. host: how long did it take until the cleanup was completed? the cleanup was intensive in the first year and continued in the summer for another year or two and was then discontinued, because there was not much left. even today, there is some oil under some beaches in prince william sound, not a lot, just a few thousand gallons, but it is a testament to the persistence of this oil. climate, cool at least, and once that oil gets below the surface it doesn't degrade very fast. so that oil has not been reclaimed by nature and returned to routine compounds. host: did congress get involved?
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did not get involved. they did what congress does, they passed legislation and held hearings. they passed the oil pollution act of 1990, which perceived defect that led to the exxon valdez spill. host: what were the key points in it that would affect oil? >> well, there were several. tankersit required that ugs, all theby two time way out of prince william sound. also had two tugs response equipment on them and in their he could begin the response immediately if the tanker started leaking oil. if it had been possible to put a boom around the exxon valdez, it would have helped.
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the other change that was fiercely advocated by people in prince william sound and alaskans in general, even before the oil craze started, was to require double hulls on oil tankers. a double tall is exactly -- a hull is exactly what it sounds like. ulls, anyrlier punter would result in an oil spill. but with the double hull, there was about 11 feet of space there, and you could get a puncture without an oil spill. it was estimated after the spill that if the exxon that these -- the exxon valdez had had a double hull, it would have made
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a tremendous difference. so the oil pollution act of 1990 did require that ships coming indeed all, and american ports that carried oil, had to have double hulls by a certain deadline. and they did make the deadline, and now they all have double hulls. host: did the spill make a difference in the alaskan legislature, and alaska impose any new regulations? stand: the regulations and alaska were revised to learn some of the lessons of the spill. climate, the political alaskans weretwo down on the oil industry, but it is the biggest source of funding for the state government, and i'm sure the biggest source of donations to the state
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legislature. a lot of people work in the oil a lot of state money comes from tax from the oil this thingnd we have called the alaska permanent fund, which was made up entirely from part of the oil revenue and stands that i think $60 billion. income from that fund is starting to pay for state government because oil revenues have declined as oil production has declined. one of the uses the fund has been put to is something called the alaska permanent fund dividend. once a year the state sends every alaskan a check, and a think the highest was $2200. and we all know it comes from oil money, basically. right now it is earnings from the fund, but that fund came from oil money. oils i was saying earlier,
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and the oil industry has this tremendous mindshare in alaska. at times it is a love-hate relationship. a lot of people hated the oil industry because of that spill. a lot of them still do, because of the way it kind of controls our politics, but the fact is it is kind of like a bad marriage, it is not quite bad enough to .et out host: can we talk about the pateness to respond to the b oil spill off louisiana. were there any similarities? >> there were no parallels in an operational sense. two completely different sets of circumstances. what was similar to alaskans i'm surefrom afar, they had all kinds of plans to keep that from happening on the oil rig and plans to deal with it when it did happen, but did
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any of that work? now, it did not, and that it will got loose and spread and spread and spread. so the impact there was to the same extent as it was here, and impact to communities along the gulf, the fishing communities, on.n and someo after that spill, a lot of people from their can appear to look at what we had done on prince william sound, and met with the citizens advisory council, having a mechanism to give citizens a voice on how the oil industry operates in these areas. mccandless spill was much larger than a on valdez and continued for day after day after day, whereas exxon valdez was a one and on event. done event. host: has the oil industry
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learned from x all valdez and the spill off louisiana? stan: yes and no. in the immediate aftermath they did respond. there is judgment on the sincerity of their response, and if history is any guide that attention will be lost, the attention of the public will turn to other matters. but the attention of the oil industry, on the issue of getting lighter regulations never wanes. they will always be there and will always be doing that. i have a saying about capitalism that is not quite as damning as it might sound. capitalism has no soul and no conscience. the goal is to minimize cost and maximize revenue. it will always do that because that is in its dna. wonderful tool for increasing economic efficiency, but it comes with a
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whole set of risks. and we have seen the consequences in the gulf of mexico and in prince william sound. so what society must never do is forget that it is up to society to set the rules under which capitalism operates. because as i say, capitalism in and of itself has no soul and no morality. it will do what it has to to make money, and it is up to society to never let up, because con exxon we got a valdez. [film clip] narrator: when a man has his first day of spring, working in the hold down at the docks. the ship brings fresh vegetables to valdez, the first they have seen since winter set in.
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and for the kids, it is always a little like christmas, knowing that the arrival were greet them with food and candy. at 5:36, a dozen miles deep into the mountains of prince william sound, the earth shifts. suddenly, the harbor begins to empty. [applause] ♪ a subterranean chasm opens beneath the ship. soon, only its masthead can be seen from the dock. ♪ out in the gulf of alaska, the ocean bottom plunges and then heaves upward 50 feet, and a wave starts breaking to shore.
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♪ valdezon the dock at will survive, the longshoremen, their kids or their dogs. onit happened at 5:30 six march 27, 1964. it was good friday worried a lot of city offices were closed that day, so a lot of people were at home preparing meals and not out at work. it was at the center of prince william sound southeast of here. it was a little closer to valdez than anchorage, and it was a 9.2 which is pretty substantial. it is the largest ever on the north american continent and the second-largest that has happened in the world. of this was substantial. of services in a somewhat remote section of the united states.
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ae federal government had presence here, certainly, but this was a challenge in so many ways. the black and white photographs who from an air force pilot was flying around the city for the federal government, getting photographs of the damage so they could get a sense of the scale of what was going on. there was a new subdivision that there areone in, but no houses there anymore because a bluff just kind of collapsed and ran on down the bank, so it destroyed a number of homes in this area and i believe there were a few fatalities in this area as well, as you might expect looking at the damage and the fact that the people were at home when it happened. this is probably a better known
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image. it is a jcpenney building which was fairly new. a huge amount of of damage. there was one individual killed because of the collapse of side panels on the building. slid down.lly corvette,e that poor it is partly crushed by the side coming down. the building was a total loss. people felt the quake as far south as washington. they felt that in fairbanks, an 8 hour drive straight north. felt inre some effects louisiana and mississippi, where the water in small ponds could be seen to be moving. a substantial quake.
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they were people killed on the oregon and california coasts because of the tsunami that was created. a social worker, because of her work in that role, she did a lot with civil defense. so she kept a lot of documents and one thing she cap was this bulletin issued on sunday from the city of seward to the city of seward saying, this is what you need to do. they talk about boiling water, what you need to do about outgoing mail, where the clinics are, all water must be considered contaminated. all the water lines were taken up by this. you know, and bleach to it to make it drinkable. you can use toilets so they set up honey buckets, the alaska term. gasoline was in limited supply. there was also concern for the potential for disease from an
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earthquake like this, between not having potable water and not having toilets that flush or working sewer system. you have to be worried about disease. and there is a requirement in here that typhoid shot would be outpatient clinic, monday, march 30, 9:00 a.m. to noon. you must get yours, no matter when you had your last shot, orders. this last line i find amazing. this is from edith lindsay to her daughter in willingham. the quake was a friday and she wrote on monday evening, and she notes on the top that they have electricity back. they were in downtown anchorage andn apartment building, she says we are getting along fine, much better than many. i still have on the same close i had on at 7:00 a.m. friday morning.
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i slept in my work socks and long underwear. ped into his pjs but not me. there were still having aftershocks at that time. interesting, for such a widespread and dramatic event, it is still very much a local story. anchorage people, sections of anchorage felt it one way and other people may have had it differently in different neighborhoods that weren't affected as badly. naturedez, a changed the of the town. for seward, a changed the nature of the town. same for kodiak. many projectsn so on gathering information from quake survivors and their experiences, some of that was done immediately. it was done to figure out what we would do in the future if something similar happened.
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there were a lot of psychological studies done of the people involved. .ut it really is a local thing for people in seward, it is their quake. for people in anchorage, it is their quake. for people in valdez, it is their quake. because they experienced different things. seward almost lost their entire economy for a while over this area -- over this. valdez, it was primarily fishing at the time and there boats were pushed inland because of the synonymy -- because of the tsunami. so there are too many factors to say this is an alaska response, even though it affected all of alaska. people are constantly sharing memories, even now.
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we periodically get a call from i have myho says, dads photos, would you be interested? -- i have my dad if somebody lived through it, they will tell you. it is permanently engraved in their memory. >> for seven years, we travel to u.s. cities, bringing the books ers. our feelers -- view group, angressive
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annual conference this week in new orleans. some of the speakers from today's event followed by our interview with larry come up. -- cudlow. -- kudlow. the communicators, a look at european efforts to protect personal wealth. gather and highlight issues important to the progressive agenda. some of the speakers on the event on friday, starting with cynthia nixon. her remarks are followed by elizabeth warren and kamala harris. [applause]


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