“Destroying a wild salmon stream to sell coal to China is about the worst idea in Alaska’s proud history of salmon protection. We’ve always promoted responsible mines. But this one is irresponsible,” said Representative Les Gara, of state plans allowing dredging of eleven miles of the Chuitna River’s tributaries to keep moving forward.
House Democrats welcome the signs of progress and new exploration
Today, Alaska House Democrats released a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that indicates the agency may be prepared to approve ConocoPhillips Alaska’s plans to expand the Alpine unit into the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A).
“We know there is more work to be done, but we take this as a very positive indication that this important development for Alaska could be moving forward soon,” said Rep. Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks).
The Alaska District believed it had all of the necessary documentation by the middle of September 2011, to revise the Record Of Decision (ROD) and prepare an initial permit decision. However, after recent meetings between Conoco Phillips Alaska, Incorporated (CPAI) and other agencies, CPAI informed the Alaska District that it would submit project design changes. These changes were received on October 19, 2011, and must be assessed as part of the final ROD decision. I have asked my staff to continue to monitor the progress of this action and report to me.
Giving oil revenue away for nothing didn’t work before and won’t work now
Today, Representative Les Gara articulated why giving away billions of dollars of Alaska’s oil revenue as the governor proposes will not increase development on the North Slope but will instead wipe out the $15 billion in savings Alaska has achieved under the current law, putting Alaska’s economy, now and into the future, at great risk. Rep. Gara made his case in a debate on the governor’s proposed multi-billion dollar oil giveaway hosted by the Union of Students (USUAA) student government at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Press conference highlights divergence between corporate and Alaskan interests
Today, Senator Bill Wielechowski and Representative Les Gara (both D-Anchorage) urged Alaskans to be mindful of the difference between what’s good for large, Outside corporations and what’s good for Alaskans and Alaskan businesses. They also denounced the sometimes heavy-handed tactics used by Outside corporations to influence policy in the Alaska Legislature.
This morning, Rep. Beth Kerttula was on Native America Calling on public radio. She discussed Alaska’s need for a strong coastal zone management plan so that Alaskans have a voice in how our coastal resources get developed. You can listen to the program on Native America Calling’s website: http://www.nativeamericacalling.com/
PDF of the letter to Dan Fauske from Senator Johnny Ellis and Representative Les Gara
Today, Democratic Representatives Les Gara (Anchorage) and Bob Miller (Fairbanks) released the following statements welcoming comments by the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of new leases in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) and of allowing ConocoPhillips to move forward with its plans to build a bridge across the Colville River to access the area.
“I’m encouraged to have a federal agency supporting our efforts to push development in NPR-A, and I hope to see Conoco’s bridge move forward soon,” said Rep. Gara. “We need the oil development and Conoco has said they’re ready to go.”