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May 14, 2021

Alaska Mining Project Threatens Salmon, Water, and Native Communities

Trump Administration officials have fast-tracked permits for the largest open-pit mine in North America. The proposed Pebble Mine had previously seemed paralyzed, after more than a decade of relentless opposition by Alaska Native elders and youth. Now, plans for the mine are being rushed forward. The final public comment period for the proposed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permits ends on June 29, 2019. Under the Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote that it would result in a “complete loss of fish habitat” (PDF) in a proposed determination to block Pebble Mine. The mine is planned to…

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Alaska House Republicans are Off the Rails

TALL TALES from Juneau Eyes on the Dunleavy/Babcock Administration The House Minority goes off the rails *Quick refresher: The House Majority is made up of a coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who came together because they shared the desire to get something accomplished, and together they represent the majority of legislators who couldn’t abide the thought of the far-right types running the show. The House Minority is made up of the leftovers (all Republicans) who think Dunleavy’s budget is super great (or doesn’t go far enough), that moderate Republicans are “traitors,” and Democrats are all socialists who are out…

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Voters Duped by Pot Initiative Says GOP Senator

Monday, the Alaska House of Representatives voted to legalize the farming of industrial hemp (the kind that doesn’t get you high). The Senate passed the vote unanimously but only after Sen. Johnny Ellis, the Democrat at the helm retired and gave the bill to a Republican to carry. Because anyone knows that good ideas can NEVER EVER come from Democrats. And by gum, we’d rather stop entrepreneurs from launching new businesses, and stonewall local farmers, let great legislation wither and die in committee, and fold our arms in the corner than give credit where credit is due. Things I learned in…

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Why Alaskans Hate the Government

You know that old song from the 70s, “If you can’t report on the governmental body you know, report on the governmental body you’re with.” Or something like that. Anyway, I’m here, so… DATELINE: DELTA JUNCTION, ALASKA – Somewhere south of the Granite Mountains, somewhere east of Fairbanks, west of the Canadian border, and squarely in the middle of what most Americans would call “nowhere.” The current temperature is about -20F with the wind chill factor. I don’t even know what it is without the wind chill factor because frankly, here, it doesn’t matter. Wind chill factor is everything. The…

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Mudflats Goes Militia in Talkeetna

Friday 13:00, Tesoro Station Mini-Mart, Talkeetna, Alaska The Tesoro gas station mini-mart in Wasilla does not carry potatoes. As a matter of fact, they do not carry produce of any kind. I am supposed provide dinner tonight for my little corner of the militia encampment. Yes, I’m going back again this year to the Alaska Prepper/Survivalist/Militia Rendezvous, and instead of PB&J like last time, I’ve got steak, and asparagus – but I left the potatoes sitting on the counter at home. After a couple laps up and down the tiny aisles, I have to make a call. The closest thing…

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Court Sees Value in Protecting Bristol Bay

Before the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative was ever printed on statewide ballots, it had to defend a legal challenge from an individual named Richard Hughes, the Alaska Miners Association, and the Council of Alaska Producers. The Alaska Supreme Court issued an oral decision allowing that initiative to go to the ballot. Today, the Court issued a written order justifying its decision, Hughes v. Treadwell, Slip Op. No. 6981 (Alaska Supreme Court, Jan. 30, 2015). In order for a citizen ballot initiative to be valid in Alaska, it must avoid certain prohibited topics.  Under Article XI, section 7, it may not engage in an appropriation…

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John Oliver on The Salmon Cannon – ‘We Can Do Great Things’

John Oliver on his always excellent HBO show, Last Week Tonight discovered a thing called ‘the salmon cannon.’ For those not in the salmon transportation industry it’s a “series of tubes” if you will, created by Whooshh (yes, whooshh) that allows salmon to be propelled over or around a dam. The system is currently being used in the Northwest where communities are trying to repopulate the blocked rivers that once held plentiful salmon runs. John Oliver creates his own and decides to shoot salmon across the TV world with some amazing cameos by actors, TV News broadcasters and one famous animated Dad. Mmmmm, salmon.

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Mudflats Chats: Gov. Gary Johnson on Marijuana

I sat down recently with Gary Johnson, two-term Republican governor of New Mexico (1995-2003), and Libertarian Party nominee for President in 2012. Johnson is also the founder of the SuperPAC, Our America Initiative, which promotes Libertarian-minded causes, and is the CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. He came to Anchorage to speak at a fundraiser for the Yes on 2 campaign which supports ballot initiative 2, to regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state of Alaska. The proposition will be put before the voters on the November 4 ballot. This isn’t Johnson’s first trip to Alaska. In his quest to summit…

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The Naked Baker Must Go

If you are a Mudflats reader, you know him as The Naked Baker. Bill Stoltze may have earned his moniker by his unfortunate hobby of baking cookies for charity auctions in the nude, but sadly this is not the most horrifying thing about this Alaska legislator. Stoltze figured heavily into the book I co-authored, “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin” (with Frank Bailey and Ken Morris, Simon & Schuster, 2011), for something worse. He was the force behind the coordination of the 2006 Sarah Palin for Governor campaign, and the Republican Governor’s Association then headed by Mitt Romney. Sounds important, like…

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Bristol Bay Debate Wednesday!

Wednesday night is the last in the four part series of moderated debates on the ballot issues of the day. It will focus on Ballot Measure 4: An Act Providing for Protection of Bristol Bay Wild Salmon and Waters Within or Flowing into the Existing 1972 Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve. Thanks to Alaska Common ground for providing a forum for discussion about the SB21 oil tax, the minimum wage, the legalization of marijuana, and the protection of Bristol Bay. A Forum on Bristol Bay Forever Wednesday, August 13, 7 – 9 pm Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library You can click…

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