Oil and Wilderness in Alaska

Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and National Policy Dynamics

George J. Busenberg

"You can tell from the content that the author put his heart and soul into a careful analysis of land usage and resource allocation . . . an outstanding job of putting together the whole picture."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Colliding environmental and development interests have shaped national policy reforms supporting both oil development and environmental protection in Alaska. Oil and Wilderness in Alaska examines three significant national policy reform efforts that came out of these conflicts: the development of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, the establishment of a vast system of protected natural areas through the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the reform of the environmental management of the marine oil trade in Alaska to reduce the risk of oil pollution after the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Illuminating the delicate balance and give-and-take between environmental and commercial interests, as well as larger issues shaping policy reforms, Busenberg applies a theoretical framework to examine the processes and consequences of these reforms at the state, national, and international levels. The author examines the enduring institutional legacies and policy consequences of each reform period, their consequences for environmental protection, and the national and international repercussions of reform efforts. The author concludes by describing the continuing policy conflicts concerning oil development and nature conservation in Alaska left unresolved by these reforms. Rich case descriptions illustrate the author’s points and make this book an essential resource for professors and students interested in policies concerning Alaska, the Arctic, oil development, nature conservation, marine oil spills, the policy process, and policy theory.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

3. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act

4. The Exxon Valdez Disaster and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990

5. Oil, Wilderness, and Alaska: The Enduring Conflict

6. Conclusion





"Busenberg’s well-researched documentation of how and why environmental policy was shared makes the theoretical framework bearable and broadly applicable to many areas. His interviews and graphical representations broaden the appeal of his book and may even attract casual readers."—Choice

"You can tell from the content that the author put his heart and soul into a careful analysis of land usage and resource allocation . . . an outstanding job of putting together the whole picture."—San Francisco Book Review

"Provides useful information and analysis, and it could provide reading for a case study on the Alaska pipeline in an environmental or energy policy class. Its short length, limited scope, and clear explanations make it ideal for such uses."—Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences

"This book presents the results of years of archival research supplemented with interviews to present a well-informed and empirically rich history of several substantial policy developments: the construction and steady operations of the Trans-Alaska pipeline; the decision in the late 1970s to put aside a huge amount of land in the largest single extension of wilderness protection in US history; the impact of the Exxon Valdez catastrophe on subsequent policymaking regarding maritime shipment of oil; the politics of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and efforts to protect polar bears on the north slope of Alaska in the face of climate change through an innovative use of the Endangered Species Act. It will be seen for years as the most comprehensive treatment of environmental politics in Alaska and as an excellent study of the nature of policy change more generally."—Frank Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"The conjunction of oil, wilderness, and politics has defined civic, economic, and political life in Alaska since the late 1960s. George Busenberg draws on the rich history of oil production in Alaska to better understand the political dynamics of oil and of natural resource policy in a state regarded as our nation's 'last frontier' and as a land ripe for development. These dynamics include energy policy, environmental issues, the rights of Native peoples, and the challenges inherent in a relatively new, sparsely settled state twice as large as Texas. Many historians have explained what happened in Alaska during its Oil Age; Busenberg's insightful and carefully researched book tells us why it happened, and how."—Thomas Birkland, William T. Kretzer Professor of Public Policy and associate dean for Research, Extension, Engagement and Economic Development, North Carolina State University


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

George J. Busenberg is an associate professor of environmental management and policy at Soka University of America.

184 pp., 6 x 9
4 maps, 8 figures
Oct 2013

184 pp., 6 x 9
4 maps, 8 figures
ISBN: 978-1-58901-662-0
Oct 2013

184 pp.
4 maps, 8 figures
ISBN: 978-1-58901-663-7
Oct 2013

American Governance and Public Policy series
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors

Related Titles