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July 30, 2014

Park Service Gets it Wrong on Drone Law

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When I worked as a canoe guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) about 20 years ago, I came to realize that the concept of “wilderness” was a subjective one. Everyone experiences wilderness and wildness in different ways, and their perspective of what constitutes wilderness is often connected to noise level. For example, certain border lakes in the BWCAW allow for the operation of 25 hp or less motors (while almost all of the 2,000 or so lakes prohibit any motorized craft). For some people, even that was too much; but for others, 25hp or less meant no…

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My Militia Weekend

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Friday, June 20, 2014 17:00 hours Anchorage, Alaska The Holiday Station Superstore Paper towels! I knew I forgot something. The sales clerk tried to talk me into the “Buy Two, Get 50 Cents Off” Duck Dynasty lighters at the checkout, but I already had my ice breaker – a 1918 German Luger from World War I that my dad brought home from the war that followed. My strategy reminded me of when I went to France as a teenager and my host family kept wanting to barbecue everything all the time. Americans like barbecues, so we barbecue! You want to…

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Judge Confirms Lt. Gov’s Incompetence

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The job of Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor really has only two duties to speak of. 1) Care and maintenance of the state seal. Not the animal – that would be hard, and require lots of work. I’m talking about the little round metal disc that turns stuff official. I don’t really know what care and maintenance that seal requires, but I’m guessing there might be buffing involved, or maybe some kind of chemical paste and a soft lint-free cloth. Perhaps it’s nestled in a velvet-lined wooden box, and needs to be checked on from time to time, to make sure nobody’s…

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“Silencing Alaskans Act” Likely to Return

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House Bill 77 Sought to Deny Citizens a Voice in Resource Development Alaska is defined by our natural resources – spectacular wildlife, abundant fisheries, vast reserves of oil, gas and other minerals, and endless acres of forests, wetlands and water.  Under our constitution, these resources belong to all Alaskans for our “common use.” They are protected through a sensible set of laws that protect the public’s interest and ensure our resources are developed prudently and sustainably for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans. Because of the tremendous value we put on these resources, Alaskans were outraged when Governor Parnell and…

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Walking With the Ghosts of Exxon

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It’s 5 a.m. on the 4th of July, and the alarm goes off. I open one eye and think surely I must have set it for the wrong time, but then I remember. Today I’m heading to Prince William Sound with Shannyn Moore and Zach Roberts. Our goal is to document the lingering effects of oil, still present in the Sound after the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in the spring of 1989. It’s 2010, and a child born then would be 21 years old now. It’s hard to believe. I was not in Alaska back then. I,…

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Exxon Valdez – Lessons Learned & Lost

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 15 Years Later

In recognition of today’s 25-year anniversary of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska (March 24), this seems a good time to reflect on lessons learned, and lessons lost. 1. Oil spill “cleanup” is a myth: Once oil has spilled, the battle is lost — it is impossible to effectively contain, recover, and cleanup. Exxon spent more than $2 billion trying to clean up its Alaska spill, but recovered less than 7 percent. BP spent $14 billiontrying to clean up its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and although they collected some at the wellhead, burned and dispersed some (with toxic chemicals), it recovered only 3 percent from the sea…

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Day of Resistance

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(This is Part one of our Day of Resistance coverage. You can read Part Two here.) The date 2/23 was originally chosen for “Day of Resistance” rallies across the US because the .223 is the ammunition used in the popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Alaska organized events in both Fairbanks and Wasilla this year, protesting the federal government’s attempts to regulate firearms and showing support for the 2nd Amendment. The Fairbanks rally at Veterans Memorial Park was organized by The Oath Keepers, a pro-second amendment group made up mostly of veterans and headed up by David Luntz and Donny Meeks. Luntz maintained a Facebook page promoting the…

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Shell Suspends Arctic Drilling, Begich Responds.

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This morning Shell announced that it will not drill offshore in the Alaskan Arctic this year. The announcement comes after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal agency in charge of issuing permits for offshore drilling in the U.S. intentionally downplayed the risks and impacts associated with drilling in the remote and vulnerable Chukchi Sea ecosystem off the northern coast of Alaska. The court ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) failed to conduct adequate impact assessments before issuing permission to drill. According to the findings of the court, the BOEM “based its decision on inadequate…

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Brinkley Urges Obama to Stop Pebble Mine

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Presidential historian and author Douglas Brinkley urged President Obama to take decisive and swift executive action on preventing the massive Pebble Mine project in Alaska on NOW with Alex Wagner, Monday. Brinkley noted that many decisive presidential actions could be taken immediately as the Obama Whitehouse seeks to establish a legacy as the President’s second term marches on with Republicans in Congress showing no signs of letting up on blocking legislation. Historically, President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any President since Grover Cleveland, and has been comparatively reluctant to exert Presidential authority. Brinkley was clear in his suggestion to the President…

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Parnell, Murkowski & West Virginia

AP photo by Michael Switzer

Pop Moore was born and raised in West Virginia. I’m proud of our family heritage in a state that includes the original Rednecks in the Battle for Blair Mountain. That’s where my grandfather fought to unionize the coal mines after getting buried in a slide. When I was growing up, we’d go visit my grandmother in a tiny town in Boone County. It was humid and friendly. Tomatoes from the garden tasted delicious, and the people talked funny. The center of town was the yellow line that ran through it. I loved sitting on the porch swing listening to stories….

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