On his Fox Business show, Eric Bolling advocated for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), stating that he "would sacrifice a few caribou" in exchange for lower gas prices. However, drilling in ANWR would disturb the physical environment and wildlife of the refuge while doing very little to lower gas prices.
Bolling Continues Fox Pattern Of Dismissing Concerns About Drilling In ANWR
Bolling: "I Would Sacrifice A Few Caribou" For Lower Gas Prices. From Fox Business' Follow the Money:
MARC LAMONT HILL: Eric hates bunnies and deer. That's what it really comes down to. There's plenty of offshore locations -
ERIC BOLLING (host): You know what Marc, I would sacrifice a few caribou so that Pam in Kansas, who fills up her flatbed F-150 every -- three times a week, it doesn't cost her 800 bucks a month to do it.
HILL: Yeah, but Karen's going die at 50 if we don't reduce carbon emission, if we continue to poison the water, and if we have massive oil spills every eight years. I'd rather to live to be 80 and actually pay $4 at the pump than live to be 50 paying $2 at the pump.
HILL: If you start drilling, say, in ANWR right now, animals won't graze as much. If you started a major --
ANDREA TANTAROS: Oh come on. This is fear. This is -
HILL: It's not fear. It's an ecological factor. You destroy ecosystems.
BOLLING: ANWR. Have you seen pictures of ANWR?
HILL: I absolutely have.
BOLLING: There aren't many animals walking around in ANWR.
HILL: No, I'm talk about -
BOLLING: It's ice and frozen water -
HILL: Eric, Eric, I'm talking about -
BOLLING: -- and marsh.
TANTAROS: The size of a football field.
HILL: Eric, I'm talking about an ecosystem. You all think that if there's not a direct impact it doesn't impact animals around the globe, water around the globe -
BOLLING: I think we're going to have to leave it there. We've gotta leave it there.
HILL: You all don't care about the environment. That's what it comes down to. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 3/8/11]
Napolitano Suggests Democrats Are "Ideologues" For Not Seeing "The Clear Sighted Wisdom Of Allowing People To Drill In Areas Where No Environment Will Be Harmed." From Fox Business' Freedom Watch:
SEN. BARRASSO: So it's completely irresponsible and what we're doing is spending millions and millions of dollars and sending that money overseas to people who want to blow us up instead of doing what you know we should do. Which is exploring for energy offshore, on federal land, and exploring in Alaska.
NAPOLITANO: Why is it so difficult to do that? I mean, the argument you make, Senator is so logical, so compelling -- it's an argument that everybody can understand. Is the president -- are the Democrats ideologues? Are they utterly and almost like zealots opposed to the idea of drilling? Do they not see the clear sighted wisdom of allowing people to drill in areas where no environment will be harmed? [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 3/8/11]
Palin Criticizes "Extreme Environmentalist Fund-Raiser Posters" That Depict ANWR As "Pristine, Mountainous," And With "Lots Of Wildlife." From Fox News' On The Record:
VAN SUSTEREN: So anyway, we finally did get going. We flew all the way to Prudhoe Bay, to ANWR. About how far is that from Anchorage?
PALIN: Oh, about 800 miles we flew today, up above the Arctic Circle, landed in Prudhoe Bay, and then we took another flight right over ANWR and landed on the border there.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it's interesting. I had expected it to be different. I mean, it was -- it was flat as could be and there was nothing there.
PALIN: Yes, everybody expects it to be different because they believe extreme environmentalist fund-raiser posters and Web sites that want you to believe that it is this pristine, mountainous, flowing with rivers and waterfalls and lots of wildlife up there. When we're talking about the 1002 area that is needed for oil development, it is a tiny little footprint in a very remote are that is pretty much uninhabited, that is flat. And some people refer to it as basically a wasteland. [Fox News, On The Record with Greta Van Susteren, 8/16/10, via Nexis]
Krauthammer Down Plays Risks Of Drilling In Arctic "Where If You Were To Have A Spill It Would Injure Seals And Caribou But Not Humans." From the May 14, 2010, edition of Special Report:
KRAUTHAMMER: I can understand the disapproval of the oil company because it's had no success in stopping the flow. As long as it does, the numbers will get worse and worse. If we had had success early we would haven't had any of this. It's unprecedented, drilling in mild-deep water, which is at the edge of our technology. So, there isn't a big repertoire of success in doing this.
I think Obama has handled -- I think politically it works to get angry and say I don't appreciate what the oil companies are doing, and make them the scapegoat.
But for national policy, we depend on oil, the Gulf is the source of the oil. One reason that the drilling is happening in the Gulf that deep is his allies on the left aren't going to allow it on the intercontinental shelf where it's more safe and in the arctic where we know how to do it and where if you were to have a spill it would injure seals and caribou but not humans as is happening on the Gulf coast of the United States.[Fox News, Special Report, 5/14/10, via Nexis]
O'Reilly On ANWR Drilling: "What, A Caribou Is Going To Be Scared? Come On." From a 2008 interview O'Reilly conducted with presidential candidate Barack Obama:
O'REILLY: Let's start drilling in ANWR. What are you.
OBAMA: Who's arguing with you.
O'REILLY: .are you afraid it's.
OBAMA: ANWR, I think, is a problem.
O'REILLY: What, a caribou is going to be scared? Come on. You're with the folks that can't pay their heating bill and you're worried about a caribou going what's that pipeline doing?
OBAMA: No, but I tell you -- listen.
O'REILLY: What, what?
OBAMA: One of the great things about this country, we've got some beautiful real estate here.
O'REILLY: Oh, come on, nobody goes to ANWR. Nobody runs shuttles up there.
OBAMA: We are lucky to have some of the most beautiful real estate on earth. And we want to make sure that.
O'REILLY: You're making me cry here.
OBAMA: We want to make sure we're passing it on to the next generation. But this notion that I'm opposed to nuclear power, it's just not true.
O'REILLY: I don't want to hear pristine. I don't want to hear caribou. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 9/10/08, via Nexis]
Beck: Mocks Opponents Of Palin's Aerial Wolf Hunting Measure: "Maybe If ... All The Caribou Are Dead, We Will Finally Be Able To Drill For Our Own Oil." From Beck's Fox News show:
In comparison, Ashley Judd's attack on Palin are refreshing. At least, they're about an actual policy this time, "I can't believe that evil Sarah Palin." Ashley Judd says she is killing wolves for absolutely no reason. It's senseless.
Right. Actually, no, not really. For the control of the wolf population, it's actually done in Alaska to save the lives of caribou. It's not oil drilling that is killing the caribou. It's wolves. They eat cute little caribou calves alive. That's what happens.
Why does Ashley Judd support this brutal caribou holocaust? Caribou populations had fallen by as much as 80 percent in some areas before Palin policies were implemented.
Now, surveys of the Alaska Peninsula show that there are 39 times more of the caribou and having their surviving calves as there were in 2006. The policy, in fact, has worked so well, it is estimated to have saved the lives of literally thousands of caribou and moose.
That doesn't matter, because apparently the baseless political attacks for fundraising purposes are far above cute little caribou babies with big sad eyes in this food chain.
What drives Ashley's unquenchable blood lust for caribou death - I don't know. We may never know. Maybe if Ashley gets her way and all the caribou are dead, we will finally be able to drill for our own natural resources before Russia does. Look at me. Always trying to find the bright side. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/6/09, via Nexis]
Drilling In ANWR Won't Substantially Reduce Gas Prices Or Dependence On Imports
EIA: Production from ANWR "Would Be Only A Small Portion Of Total World Oil Production, And Would Likely Be Offset In Part By Somewhat Lower Production Outside The United States." From an analysis conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2008:
Additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR would be only a small portion of total world oil production, and would likely be offset in part by somewhat lower production outside the United States. The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5/08]
U.S. Would Remain Highly Dependent On Oil Imports. From the EIA analysis:
Crude oil imports are projected to decline by about one barrel for every barrel of ANWR oil production. Opening ANWR results in the lowest oil import dependency levels during the 2022 through 2026 time frame, when oil import dependency falls to the minimum values of 46 and 49 percent for the high and low oil resource cases, respectively. During that timeframe, the mean resource case and AEO2008 reference case project an average oil import dependency of 48 and 51 percent, respectively. Because ANWR oil production is declining after 2028, U.S. oil dependency rises to 51 percent in 2030 in the mean resource case, compared to 54 percent in the AEO2008 reference case. The high and low resource cases project a 2030 oil import dependency of 48 percent and 52 percent, respectively. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5/08]
Joint Economic Committee: ANWR Production Would Only Lower Gas Prices By 1-4 Cents Per Gallon In 2018. From a 2008 analysis conducted by the Joint Economic Committee
Crude oil production from ANWR would have a limited effect on the prices of crude oil and refined products. The additional crude oil produced in ANWR will have an effect on prices only insofar as it affects the global market for crude oil. According to EIA's forecast, ANWR production will comprise a relatively small share of world oil consumption- between 0.4 and 1.2 percent -- just 0.7 percent in the mean case scenario. (See Snapshot) They estimate that the additional crude oil supply from ANWR could decrease the relevant price of crude oil by between $0.41 (0.6 percent) and $1.44 (2.2 percent) per barrel in the years when it would have its largest effect. The effect on gasoline prices is smaller. Because crude oil makes up approximately two-thirds of the price of gasoline, pump prices will fall anywhere from 0.4 percent to 1.5 percent - or between $0.01 and $0.04 per gallon. Furthermore, this effect may be further muted if OPEC responds, as it has in the past, by cutting its own output by an equal amount. [Joint Economic Committee, 6/16/08]
WSJ: At Current Prices, High-End ANWR Production Estimate "Would Trim Just About 1% From The Cost Of A Barrel Of Oil" And Not For Decades. From a Wall Street Journal blog post:
Today President Bush pressed proposals for increased domestic production for oil amid record prices, but according to a recent report one of the most contentious ideas, drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, might not have any profound effect on prices even over the long term.
Last month the Department of Energy produced a report titled, " Analysis of Crude Oil Production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge." (Hat tip, Menzie Chinn) The report makes two points that indicate that drilling in ANWR won't do much to decrease energy prices any time soon. First, the report states that drilling wouldn't add to domestic production for at least 10 years, and peak production can't be expected until the 2020s. Meanwhile, under the middle-of-the-road estimate for output oil prices would be expected to decline by only 75 cents per barrel in 2025. If there's less oil than expected in ANWR the reduction in prices would be 41 cents per barrel in 2026, and if there's more than expected the drop in prices is seen around $1.44 per barrel in 2027. That would translate into a reduction in gas prices between just one cent and four cents, according to an analysis prepared by Congress's Joint Economic Committee.
At current prices even the high-end estimate would trim just about 1% from the cost of a barrel of oil, and even that reduction can't be expected for almost 20 years. [WSJ.com, Real Time Economics, 6/18/08]
EIA: There Remain Significant Uncertainties About ANWR Production. From the 2008 EIA analysis:
There is much uncertainty regarding the impact of opening ANWR on U.S. oil production and imports, due to several factors:
- The size of the underlying resource base. There is little direct knowledge regarding the petroleum geology of the ANWR region. The USGS oil resource estimates are based largely on the oil productivity of geologic formations that exist in the neighboring State lands and which continue into ANWR. Consequently, there is considerable uncertainty regarding both the size and quality of the oil resources that exist in ANWR. Thus, the potential ultimate oil recovery and potential yearly production are highly uncertain.
- Oil field sizes. The size of the oil fields found in ANWR is one factor that will determine the rate at which ANWR oil resources are developed and produced. If the reservoirs are larger than expected, then production would be greater in the 2018 through 2025 timeframe. Similarly, if the reservoirs are smaller than expected, then production would be less.
- The quality of the oil and the characteristics of the oil reservoirs. Oil field production rates are also determined by the quality of oil found, e.g., viscosity and paraffin content, and the field's reservoir characteristics, i.e., its depth, permeability, faulting, and water saturation. This analysis assumes oil quality and reservoir characteristics similar to those associated with the Prudhoe Bay field. If, for example, the oil discovered in ANWR has a considerably higher viscosity than the Prudhoe Bay field oil, e.g., over 10,000 centipoise, then oil production rates would be lower than projected in this analysis.
- Environmental considerations. Environmental restrictions could affect access for exploration and development. Also, legal challenges to the BLM's leasing program and to its approval of seismic data collection and of specific oil field projects could significantly delay ANWR oil development and production. [U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5/08]
Drilling Poses Significant Risks To Environment And Wildlife Of ANWR
CRS: "It Is Undisputed That Exploration And Development Activities Will Alter The Existing Physical Environment." According to a March 2003 Congressional Research Service background report on issues related to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
Much of the attention and controversy over exploration and development of the 1002 area have focused on potential impacts on biological resources in the area. However, if development occurs, there also will be impacts on the physical environment and resources of the area - land, air, and water - as a result of construction, operations, and human habitation. Currently, because the area is largely uninhabited, the condition of the physical environment is almost pristine (although rugged and challenging for man's use) and essentially unaffected by human activity. Especially in terms of land and water, the dominant physical characteristic is permafrost, the permanently frozen layer which starts between 1 and 2 feet below the surface and has been found at a depth of 2,000 feet, that impedes drainage and creates saturated soil conditions in most areas of the entire North Slope. Permafrost and the surface layer on top of it are fragile, and special construction techniques (such as ice roads and structures built on pilings) have been devised to protect them.
It is undisputed that exploration and development activities will alter the existing physical environment. Oil field operations will result in air pollution emissions. There will be a need for large amounts of water for drilling and ancillary activities, including construction of roads, drill pads, and airstrips. Some amount of gravel will be mined as part of some of these activities, and there likely will be impacts from both the mining and use of gravel. Exploration and development activities will result in the generation of several types of waste streams, both wastes from industrial operations and domestic wastes, requiring disposal technologies. At issue are the individual and cumulative effects of such alterations and the ability of the natural environment to recover and be reclaimed when oil-related activities have ceased. [CRS, "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Background And Issues," 5/15/03]
Fish & Wildlife Service: Despite Technological Advances, "Oil And Gas Development Remains An Intrusive Industrial Process." According to a 2001 report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
Although technological advances in oil and gas exploration and development have reduced some of the harmful environmental effects associated with those activities, oil and gas development remains an intrusive industrial process. The physical "footprint" of the existing North Slope oil facilities and roads covers about 10,000 acres, but the current industrial complex extends across an 800 square mile region, nearly 100 miles from east to west. It continues to grow as new oil fields are developed.
The 100-mile wide 1002 Area is located more than 30 miles from the end of the nearest pipeline and more than 50 miles from the nearest gravel road and oil support facilities. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, possible oil reserves may be located in many small accumulations in complex geological formations, rather than in one giant field as was discovered at Prudhoe Bay. Consequently, development in the 1002 Area could likely require a large number of small production sites spread across the Refuge landscape, connected by an infrastructure of roads, pipelines, power plants, processing facilities, loading docks, dormitories, airstrips, gravel pits, utility lines and landfills.
A substantial amount of water is needed for oil drilling, development, and construction of ice roads. Water needed for oil development ranges from eight to 15 million gallons over a 5-month period, according to the Bureau of Land Management. If water is not available to build ice roads, gravel is generally used. Water resources are limited in the 1002 Area. In winter, only about nine million gallons of liquid water may be available in the entire 1002 Area, which is enough to freeze into and maintain only 10 miles of ice roads. Therefore, full development may likely require a network of permanent gravel pads and roads.
Cumulative biological consequences of oil field development that may be expected in the Arctic Refuge include:
- blocking, deflecting or disturbing wildlife
- loss of subsistence hunting opportunities
- increased predation by arctic fox, gulls and ravens on nesting birds due to introduction of garbage as a consistent food source
- alteration of natural drainage patterns, causing changes in vegetation
- deposition of alkaline dust on tundra along roads, altering vegetation over a much larger area than the actual width of the road
- local pollutant haze and acid rain from nitrogen oxides, methane and particulate matter emissions
- contamination of soil and water from fuel and oil spills [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "Potential Impacts of Proposed Oil And Gas Development on the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain: Historical Overview and Issues of Concern," 1/17/01]
National Research Council Report: Drilling Along Alaska's North Slope Caused Lasting Harmful Effects. From a March 2003 New York Times article about a report produced by the National Research Council:
Even though oil companies have greatly improved practices in the Arctic, three decades of drilling along Alaska's North Slope have produced a steady accumulation of harmful environmental and social effects that will probably grow as exploration expands, a panel of experts has concluded.
Some of the problems could last for centuries, the experts said in a report yesterday, both because environmental damage does not heal easily in the area's harsh climate and because it is uneconomical to remove structures or restore damaged areas once drilling is over.
The panel made no judgment on whether the environmental costs of Arctic oil development outweighed the economic benefits of wells that have, on average, supplied about 20 percent of America's domestic production since 1977 and provided cash to poor native communities.
The North Slope is a windswept, Minnesota-size region -- bereft of trees but brimming with wildlife -- that runs from the peaks of the Brooks Range north to the Arctic Ocean. In 1968, huge oil reserves were discovered in Prudhoe Bay, about dead center on the coastline, and a web of pipelines, roads, power lines, and faint trails left by ground-thumping seismic survey teams has spread outward ever since.
The report said some of the environmental problems result from lack of money to restore damaged ecosystems, from ill-defined layers of local and federal regulations and from the fact that the area is home to rare wildlife. [New York Times, 3/5/03]
PolitiFact: Survey Concludes Oil In ANWR "Is Not Concentrated In A Single Area But Is Instead Spread Throughout The Refuge." From a September 2008 fact check of the claim that drilling in ANWR would only cover "2,000 out of 20-million acres":
Facing determined opposition to drilling for oil in the ecologically sensitive area, Republicans tried to make the idea more palatable by limiting the surface area of oil company operations in the refuge and offering to share federal lease revenue with a heating oil assistance program for low-income people. Specifically, the Republicans would have put a 2,000-acre limit on surface that could be covered by "production and support facilities, including airstrips and any acres covered by gravel berms or piers for support of pipeline."
Palin and other pro-drilling lawmakers now say new technologies, including directional drilling, would probably make viable energy development possible on a footprint even smaller than 2,000 acres.
But the reality of tapping the oil reserves in ANWR isn't that simple and debates over economic benefits and environmental costs rely on plenty of conjecture. An authoritative estimate of what ANWR might hold for oil production comes from a three-year study by the U.S. Geological Survey that was released in 1998, which estimates that between 5.7-billion and 16-billion barrels of recoverable oil might be found in ANWR. But the report concludes that the oil is not concentrated in a single area but is instead spread throughout the refuge, meaning the 2,000-acre cap could only be viable if those acres weren't contiguous. And, between those acres would have to be a network of roads and pipelines connecting them.
In fact, the GOP proposal that would have set the 2,000-acre cap acknowledges this fact without stating it outright. For example, the legislation specified that the acres would be used on production equipment, airstrips and berms and structural supports for pipeplines. But it wouldn't include roads, and the legislation also says the acreage toward that limit only would count equipment that touches the ground so that miles of pipeline wouldn't count, only the stanchions holding it up. [PolitiFact, 9/1/08]
Environmental Review Found That ANWR "Is The Only Conservation System Unit" That Protects "A Complete Spectrum Of The Arctic Ecosystems." According to a 2003 Congressional Research Service on controversies surrounding drilling in ANWR:
The FLEIS [Final Legislative Environmental Impact Statement] rated the Refuge's biological resources highly: "The Arctic Refuge is the only conservation system unit that protects, in an undisturbed condition, a complete spectrum of the arctic ecosystems in North America" (p. 46). It also said "The 1002 area is the most biologically productive part of the Arctic Refuge for wildlife and is the center of wildlife activity" (p. 46). The biological value of the 1002 area rests on the intense productivity in the short arctic summer; many species arrive or awake from dormancy to take advantage of this richness, and leave or become dormant during the remainder of the year. Caribou have long been the center of the debate over the biological impacts of Refuge development, but other species have also been at issue. Among the other species most frequently mentioned are polar bears, musk oxen, and the 135 species of migratory birds that breed or feed there.
The Porcupine Caribou Herd (PCH) calves in or near the 1002 area in most years, and winters south of the Brooks Range in Alaska or Canada [for maps, see http://www.r7.fws.gov/nwr/arctic/pchmaps.html]; it is the subject of a 1987 executive Agreement Between the United States and Canada on the Conservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. The herd is currently estimated at 130,000, but caribou population numbers fluctuate markedly. In both countries, it is an important food source to Native people and others -- especially since other meat is either expensive or unavailable. [CRS, "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): Controversies for the 108th Congress," 8/19/03]
CRS: ANWR Has "The Highest Density" Of Polar Bear Dens Along Alaskan Coast. According to a CRS report:
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) probably rank right after caribou in generating attention in the ANWR debate. The Beaufort Sea population is estimated at about 2000-2500 bears and ranges along the Alaskan and northwestern Canadian coasts. Bears spend most of their adult lives at sea on the ice, feeding primarily on seals. Female bears give birth about once every three years (or less, if previous cubs died young) as they hibernate. While some females den on the ice pack, other adult females come ashore. In either case, they give birth to one to three cubs. In the spring, the females and cubs leave the dens; those with onshore dens return to join the rest of the population on the ice pack. As a result of this pattern, only a small part of the population is on shore at any one time. The Refuge has the highest density of onshore dens of any area along the Alaskan coast. Researchers have shown that female polar bears are very sensitive to disturbance and will abandon their dens and young cubs if sufficiently disturbed (FLEIS, p. 129-130). [CRS, "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Background And Issues," 5/15/03]
Indigenous Tribes Argue That Oil And Gas Development In ANWR Would Affect The Reproductive Potential Of Caribou And "As A Result Threaten Their Way Of Life." According to a study by the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology and the Polar Research Board:
The Gwich'in Indians are traditionally a nomadic people who follow the migration of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. For thousands of years, their ancestors have relied on caribou to meet their nutritional, cultural, and spiritual needs (Gqich'in Niintsyaa 1988). The Gwich'in nation consists of 15 villages in northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada (Arctic Village, Christian, Venetie, Beaver, Birch Creek, Fort Yukon, Stevens Villaage, Circle, Eagle Village, Chalkyitsik, Old Crow, Fort McPherson, Arctic Red River, Aklavik, and Inuvik), all of which are outside the North Slope. However, the coastal plain of the North Slope, primarily the 1002 Area of the Arctic national Wildlife Refuge, is he traditional calving ground for the Porcupine Caribou Herd. The Gwich'in believe that oil- and gas-related activities there would affect the reproductive potential and migration patterns of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and as a result threaten their way of life. As with the Inupiaq concerns about offshore development, the beliefs are intense and widespread and themselves constitute a continuing effect that is exacerbated by the past and current political debate over development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. [The National Academies Press, "Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska's North Slope," 3/03]
FWS: Exploration Leaves A Lasting Impact On Arctic Vegetation. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
Seismic exploration involves sending sound waves into the ground, recording how the sound reflects back, and interpreting the results to construct an image of subsurface geology to determine if oil may be present. A seismic exploration program on Alaska's North Slope is typically a large operation with many people and vehicles driving across the tundra in a grid pattern. Although such exploration is conducted only in winter, snow cover on the 1002 Area is often shallow and uneven, providing little protection for sensitive tundra vegetation and soils. The impact from seismic vehicles and lines depends on the type of vegetation, texture and ice content of the soil, the surface shape, snow depth, and type of vehicle.
Two-dimensional (2-D) exploration was authorized by Congress in the 1002 Area in the winters of 1984 and 1985. Monitoring of more than 100 permanent plots along the 1,400 miles of seismic lines has documented that while many areas recovered, some trails had still not recovered by 1999. Some of the trails have become troughs visible from the air. Others show changes in the amount and types of tundra plants. In some areas, permafrost (permanently frozen soil) melted and the trails are wetter than they were previously. [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "Potential Impacts of Proposed Oil And Gas Development on the Arctic Refuge's Coastal Plain: Historical Overview and Issues of Concern,"1/17/01]