THE GREAT LAND GRAB-PART 1 of 2
By Jon Christian Ryter
May 25, 2011
The first wildcat well drilled in Alaska was sunk just south of present-day Anchorage on the shores of Cook Inlet in 1896. The discovery well was a dry hole. It produced a modest amount of oil, but at levels insufficient to justify development. Six years later a gusher was drilled at Katalla on the Gulf of Alaska by a British businessman. The well came in on Sept. 18, 1902 with a gusher that shot 200 feet into the air. A refinery was built in the Katalla Oil Field by the Amalgamated Development Company which bought out the Brit’s interests. In 1920 with the passage of the Minerals Leasing Act, the St. Elias Oil Co., which now owned the oil field, sold out to the Chilkat Oil Company. The sale of Alaskan Territory oil to to US oil refiners dwindled to almost nothing during the Roaring 20s with the discovery of vast new oil fields in Oklahoma and Texas. On Christmas Day, 1933 a gas leak reportedly caused an explosion that destroyed not only the Chilkat oil refinery but the power plant that fueled electricity to the Katalla settlement. In the 30 years the Katalla oil field existed, it produced a total of 154,000 barrels of oil—eequal to about 16% of one day’s production from the North Slope oilfields today. Oil. Natural gas. Coal. Gold. Silver. Copper. Uranium. And scores of lesser known minerals that play a key role in the development of the electronic age. Mineral wealth. Right under our feet.
On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, The Washington Times reported receiving a secret 21-page Obama Administration memo that revealed plans by the federal government to seize several million acres of land in several Western States. Since that memo was issued last year, the amount of land being targeted for seizure by the Obama Administration quickly escalated from 10 million to 220 million acres. The document, marked “Internal Draft—Not For Release” named 14 different lands Obama coould close to any form of development by unilaterally designating them as “national monuments” under the much abused Antiquities Act of 1906 (Public Law 16 USC 431-433) which was legislated to protect prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts in the American West.