Nation: Ah, Wilderness! Ah, Development!

The Alaska land battle ends in a compromise

President Carter has called the issue "the conservation decision of the century." At stake were more than 100 million acres of virgin forest, magnificent mountains and prospective oilfields in the country's largest state. The future of Alaskan lands was also one of the most contentious environmental questions of the day. Conservationists maintained that Alaska's timbered coastline and tundra needed strong federal protection. Developers and businessmen, supported by Alaska's top elected officials, argued that the Federal Government should not lock up virgin land before its soil and mineral wealth could be assessed. After almost...

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