On July 1st the Alaska State Government will shut its doors if the Alaska Legislature does not reach a compromise on how to close the state’s budget gap. Although both the Governor and House have offered real plans, the Senate has sat on its hands and rejected all attempts to come up with new revenue sources. With no budget agreed to by this past Friday, Governor Walker was forced to open a second special session. With less than two weeks left, it’s time for the Senate and Senate President Pete Kelly, who leads the Senate Majority, to step up, do their job and pass a budget. Failure to do so would have a resounding impact on all sectors of the Alaskan economy and way of life.Read more
March 30, 2017, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the transfer of Alaskan lands from Russian and the corporate interests of the Russian American Trading Company to the American republic. Nearly sixty years ago, the people of Alaska achieved statehood after wresting control from corporate interests like the salmon canneries based in the Lower 48, so we could manage this state’s amazing natural resources to protect our livelihoods and way of life for the long term.Read more
We are incredibly lucky here in Alaska. Over 99% of our water is of exceptional quality, providing for world class salmon runs and a thriving tourism industry.
Critical to keeping our water clean are the policies designed to protect it. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is required to have an antidegradation policy and implementation plan to assure the continued health of our waters. Included in this is the process for designating Outstanding National Resource Waters (ONRW), also known as Tier 3 waters. Designating a body of water as a Tier 3 water means that it is of such exceptional quality that it must be permanently protected, unlike a Tier 2 designation, which allows for a certain amount of degradation.Read more
On January 30th Rep Dan Ortiz introduced House Joint Resolution 9 (H.J.R. 9) – Canadian mines on Transboundary Rivers – to the Alaska State Legislature. This is a much-needed step in protecting our waters in Alaska from outside interests.
The resolution calls on the U.S. federal government to work with the Canadian federal government to investigate the long-term impacts that proposed mines could cause to our productive river systems: the Alsek, Taku, Stikine and Unuk. Although a Memorandum of Understanding is in place between Alaska and British Columbia, it is not enforceable and cannot require financial compensation to Alaska if a mining company goes bankrupt and fails to continue water treatment, as in the case of the Tulsequah Chief Mine.Read more
In 2017, Alaska and the nation face an onslaught of new legislation from a Congress seeking to promote short-term economic gain for a few at the expense of the larger public good.
A bill of particular concern is H.R. 232, the State National Forest Management Act of 2017, introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young. H.R. 232 would allow states to acquire up to 2 million acres of National Forest System lands, including all roads, campgrounds, and public-use cabins - including from the Tongass.Read more
Today, during the early hours of a beautiful, wintry Alaskan morning here in Juneau, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
After two months spent living, wrestling, and engaging with this stark new reality, it still felt surreal as I drove to work that on such a beautiful morning, our country could take this dramatic turn towards the unpredictable. And yet, here we are.
During the inauguration speech, Trump observed that “the time for empty talk is over," and that “now arrives the hour for action.” We couldn’t agree more.Read more
This month has been a busy time for the Tongass – below please find updates on the Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment, new information about the Forest Service’s public comment period for planned projects on Prince of Wales (POW), and information on public input meetings taking place next week in Thorne Bay, Naukati, and Craig regarding the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project (POWLLAP). We’d particularly like to make sure our members see and have the opportunity to attend and weigh in at the POW Landscape Level Analysis meeting next week: let us know if you decide to go or need more information!Read more
Over the past week there have been an number of excellent letters urging Governor Walker to kill the Juneau Road extension, including this one from the Juneau Empire Reader's Council.
On Halloween weekend, please urge Governor Walker to finally kill this zombie project!
The half-billion dollar plus road extension continues to come back from the dead to haunt Southeast Alaska. Consider the gruesome details:Read more
Over the past year, Friends of Admiralty Island has led the effort to take a close look at the sediments, shellfish, fish, and wildlife in Hawk Inlet, where Greens Creek Mine has its waste tailings pile and ore-loading facilities. As you may recall, the results have been disturbing (more on that below.)Read more