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September 22, 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…

Pebble is Back

When I was 19 years old I was in a boat accident. I spent about 18 minutes in the ocean. I have never recovered from that cold exposure. Oh, I know people have been half frozen and made it back all in good order. I, however, get to experience it over and over again. It’s like my body thermometer has PTSD and the moment I start getting a little chilly it thinks we’re floating in the Gulf of Alaska again surrounded by kelp eels. We all have triggers that suck us back into situations scattered about our lives. A friend…

I’m Not Buying Rapture Insurance

I don’t know how old I was when the rapture insurance salesman came to my church. He was pretty slick. For not a particularly tall man, he had a big voice that sounded more like the booming guy who does movie trailers. He had charts with newspaper clippings that had red threads connecting to passages of the book of Revelation. I’m not sure why he was even allowed to speak, but he was a sweet talker and had made his way to the front of our little congregation of free-range Christians. A woman named Rita was the one who called…

​EPA Should Stand its Ground and Protect the World’s Greatest Salmon Runs

Whenever I give presentations outside of Alaska, I always ask the audience, “How many of you like salmon?” Most hands in the room go up. Then I ask, “How many of you have heard of Copper River Reds?” Many of the hands still remain up. But when I ask, “How many of you have heard of Bristol Bay salmon?” almost all hands go down. And then I tell them the odds are 2:1 that they have eaten some. Nearly half of the commercially-caught Sockeye salmon in the world comes from the Bristol Bay region. The science explaining why Bristol Bay is the…

EPA, Pebble and The West Wing

I’m sorry to report that watching box sets of “The West Wing” isn’t enough distraction from our real politics. I am tired. I can confirm a fresh batch of baby sea otters, riding on their mama’s bellies, blown in by the latest storm can provide some relief. Their cuteness is enough to make anyone ovulate – I don’t care who you are. Their squeaks and mewing are impossible to ignore. I learned about something called “embryonic diapause.” It’s really fascinating and a little science-y. See, lady sea otters can get pregnant and put a pause on implanting the embryos for…

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Alaska NewsMiner.com – Legendary Alaska sprint musher George Attla dies George Attla Jr., unmatched sprint racing champion and one of Alaska’s most decorated mushers, died Sunday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage at the age of 81. Washington Post – In EPA’s expected ‘veto’ of Pebble Mine in Alaska, foes see a vein of overreach Just north of Iliamna Lake in southwestern Alaska is an empty expanse of marsh and shrub that conceals one of the world’s great buried fortunes: A mile-thick layer of virgin ore said to contain at least 6.7 million pounds — or $120 billion worth —…

Click Bishop Takes a Page from Palin – Reads Dr. Seuss

Republican Senator Click Bishop, whose district covers land from Fairbanks to Valdez took a page from Sarah Palin and read a story by Dr. Seuss to the Alaska State Senate. Well, it wasn’t quite a Dr. Seuss original – more of a revision of Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham seen through the filter of government overreach. Unlike Half-Term Palin’s teleprompter read at CPAC last year (when she held the book as a prop), Click seems to have actually written the words down in a copy of Green Eggs and Ham. I’m hoping that he bought a new copy and didn’t ruin one of from his grandkids….

The Weekend Off – News You Missed

Alaska Juneau Empire – EPA extends decision-making on mining proposal The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will take more time to review comments on a proposal that would restrict large-scale mining near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery. Vice.com – We Spoke to the Alaskan Reporter Who Quit Her Job On Live TV to Run a Weed Dispensary Last night, after hosting a segment on the effort to legalize weed in Alaska, local KTVA news anchor Charlo Greene quit her job in true “f**k you, f**k you, you’re cool” fashion. Charlo went off script and told her Alaskan audience, on live TV, that she…

Debates on Prop 4: Bristol Bay Forever

Debates on Prop 4: Bristol Bay Forever, are taking place across the state in preparation for the election on November 4th. Now is your chance to learn more and show your support for Bristol Bay. If you are unable to attend in person, call in with questions and statements of support. You can listen in live at  http://akl.tv, call in toll-free to testify at (855) 463-5009, or submit comments by email to bbaycomments@alaska.gov. We hope to see you there! Thursday, Sept. 18 — Ketchikan Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly Chambers, Whitecliff Building 1900 1st Avenue, Suite 144 4-6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22 — Kodiak Kodiak Island Borough Assembly Chambers 710 Mill Bay…

The Weekend Off – The News You Missed

Alaska The New York Times – Past Road’s End, Democrats Dig for Native Votes “NAPASKIAK, Alaska — No roads go this deep into the tundra, especially not for Democrats. Not that politics weigh too heavily on the mind when people are consumed with more basic needs, like catching enough fish to eat or scraping together the $6 a gallon it costs to fill up their boat with gas.” Alaska Dispatch –  For Senate candidates, no escape from “trackers” on the trail “The Chamber of Commerce, and other groups involved in Alaska politics, are on the alert for “trackers” — the entry-level political…