Governor’s permitting bills cause injustice There has never been such a raid on the rights of the citizens in the State of Alaska as there is before you. Gov. Sean Parnell’s permitting initiative bills will take away any oversight by the citizens who have made this a great state. It will take away public comment [...]
Not only is exporting potentially toxic electronic waste to developing countries morally and environmentally unsound, it also works against our desire to encourage the creation of domestic green jobs.
It is no secret that Americans’ love affair with all things electronic is resulting in a glut of e-waste as items are upgraded, replaced, broken and discarded.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the amount of discarded electronics is growing two to three times faster than any other part of the waste stream. In 2011, 4.8 billion pounds of e-waste was generated in the US, but only about 25 percent of that amount was recycled domestically.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the commissioner may authorize an activity on state land by the issuance of a general permit if the commissioner finds that the activity is unlikely to result in significant and irreparable harm to state land or resources.”
The language above is the lead statement of a bill introduced by the Governor and Natural Resources Commissioner to “streamline” Alaska’s permitting process. That Bill is HB 77. It passed the House and in a feat of cleaver political chicanery it passed out of Senate Finance despite overwhelming public testimony from around the state opposing it.
Though the bill didn’t pass this year, it can come up next year and constituents need to be ready.
It shows our Legislature is poised to turn over control of Alaska’s natural wealth to the virtually unfettered discretion of one man who is free to act “notwithstanding” any law the legislature may have enacted in the past to protect our natural resources.
For the past three years, March has been the month for Alaskans to march.
We march together to end the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual assault that has plagued our state for decades. We march for safe homes and strong communities.
This year, we marched again because we will not rest until all Alaskans are freed from fear of harm.
On March 28, Alaskans showed victims and survivors that we stand for them. In more than 140 communities, we pulled on our boots, zipped up our parkas, and took up banners to add voices to the cause of safe homes, strong families, and respectful communities.
How to make web-based commerce equal to other transactions is a conundrum that evades solution in many industries. Book stores – paying property taxes and what-not – go out of business while Internet giants like Amazon.com prosper. Online publications aren’t the only businesses who have yet to crack the code for making the service equal [...]
Start conversations with emerging leaders People all over Alaska are talking about the brain drain and how to pass the torch to the next generation. Emerging young leaders are furthering their education, establishing careers, opening businesses and starting families. We’re busy, but we care about your community and want to have a role in shaping [...]
Wednesday evening, the Alaska State Senate took historical action in rewriting the oil production tax structure to incentivize increased production while ensuring the interests of Alaskans are protected. Over the last couple of weeks I heard from many of you on this important issue. As in most key issues facing our state, messages were both in support and in opposition to changing the existing ACES tax structure. Several of you offered meaningful suggestions, which I considered carefully. Almost every comment conveyed a heartfelt concern about the impact of this momentous action. I greatly appreciate all of your input, as it demonstrates that you care about our state’s future. Again, I’ll cover the details about Senate Bill 21 in the next newsletter; however I’ve included a few key items below for your consideration:
For some Homer residents, seeing the back side of the jack-up rig Endeavour will be a welcome sight. For others, it will be regretfully stopped revenue that added to the local economy. Either way, it has spent a long visit at our dock, longer than anyone thought when it arrived. We’ve fielded an inordinate amount [...]
Seward’s Day commemorates the signing of the proposed Alaska purchase treaty by American Secretary of State William Seward and Russian diplomatic minister Edouard de Stoeckl. Coinciding as it does this year with Easter, the commemoration likely will get lost in public consciousness, despite David Strathairn’s effective portrayal of Seward in the blockbuster film “Lincoln.”
That’s unfortunate. Seward is not significant just for Alaska; he was one of the most important political figures in 19th century America.
Strathairn’s rendering of Seward in Spielberg’s film was a bit too good. As Lincoln’s right hand and political lieutenant, Spielberg’s Seward orchestrates the disbursement of money and favors needed to secure the votes to pass the 13th Amendment through Congress, to guarantee the abolition of slavery.
Strathairn is fully convincing as the consummate political apparatchik, directing unsavory operatives and providing deniability. But it’s an incomplete portrait, prejudicial to Seward’s true character and achievement.
Senate passage of Senate Bill 21, Gov. Parnell’s oil tax giveaway, was sealed last summer through the apparent strategy of a Republican-controlled realignment of legislative districts. Kenai Peninsula Republican John Torgerson, who heads up the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Economic Development District, led the state’s Republican-dominated reapportionment effort.
Despite the defeat of similar legislation last year, SB 21 required only a few oil-friendly seats to assure passage. Senate District O was a chief target. Senate District O was realigned to extend from oil-friendly Kenai and Soldotna on the north to decidedly less oil-friendly Homer to the south. The incumbent was Republican Tom Wagoner. Wagoner was pro-oil but might be described as pro-little oil, favoring Cook Inlet development by the Apaches and Buccaneers. These are multimillion-dollar companies, to be sure, but a drop in the oil barrel compared to giants like ConocoPhillips, BP or mega-giant ExxonMobil, one of the largest corporations in the world.