Be vocal: State is accepting public comments about Donlin Gold

Our ancestors moved around according to the seasons, we know that and during the summer we know they occupied the banks of our Kuskoqfaq River to fish and put away the abundance of salmon and other species of fish that swim in our river. Not every year was the same, we’ve experienced that but for the most part we are happy that we are able to put away fish.

Everybody has experienced hardship at one point or another in their life. We all did but in those times of hardship our people worked together to ensure that something was done or food was shared or gathered for those in hardship. It was a system of cooperation to fish, hunt and gather to make sure food was available for everybody. For the most part, hunting and fishing was done for the community not for one’s self.

Nothing was wasted. If the fished wasn’t prepared for human consumption it was dried for dog feed.

Many of us still fish and utilize our fishcamps and welcome summer with thoughts of anticipation and prayer for abundance for everybody.

We know the Federal Government already approved all the required permits for the proposed development of Donlin and the State is accepting public comments for the permitting process for Donlin.

The Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council, along with Tribes that oppose Donlin are submitting public comments through Earth Justice and we encourage our tribal members to also be vocal and submit those comments. If any of our tribal members wish to submit comments drop them off to our tribal office and we will bundle them and submit them together. Quyana.

Walter Jim

President, Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council

Bethel, Alaska

New report shows eliminating Medicaid Expansion would prolong recession, cost nearly 3,700 jobs

The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) today (February 11th, 2019) released a new report showing how repealing Medicaid Expansion would prolong the state’s recession, and cost thousands of jobs.

The report, commissioned by ASHNHA and compiled by economist Jonathan King, estimates the effect of removing $420.1 million from the Alaska economy, the amount spent on Medicaid Expansion in State Fiscal Year 2018.

Among the findings, the study identifies that eliminating Medicaid Expansion would result in:

3,700 lost jobs

$267 million loss in annual labor income

$556 million loss in annual total economic output (under State Fiscal Year 2018 conditions)

In addition, the report concludes that eliminating Medicaid Expansion would cost the Alaska economy more jobs than it is expected to grow in 2019.

The federal government’s matching funds are responsible for much of the economic impact. For calendar year 2019, the federal match is 93 percent, which means that for every dollar spent on enrollee benefits, the State of Alaska pays seven cents. “This is powerful leverage of state monies”, said report analyst and author Jonathan King.

King said the data also paints a stark picture of how Alaska would be impacted by the loss of Medicaid Expansion. “Elected officials can debate the politics of this issue, but not the numbers; economic analysis shows how rejecting these federal dollars would hurt Alaska’s economy. Our economy is too fragile absorb this size hit without extending the recession,” said King.

“The case is clear for maintaining Medicaid Expansion,” said Becky Hultberg, ASHNHA president and CEO. “Not only does it preserve health care for 50,000 Alaskans, but it also makes economic sense. Any decisions made on this issue must be grounded in facts, not rhetoric. We believe this report provides compelling evidence that Medicaid Expansion improved our economy and should remain in place.” 

A full copy of the report can be found online at https://www.ashnha.com/resources-and-publications/news/.

The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association represents more than 65 hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations that employ more than 10,000 Alaskans. Its membership spans geographically from Ketchikan to Utqiagvik.

Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association

Anchorage, AK

Gov. Dunleavey’s $1.6 billion budget cut is an attack on Alaska’s communities

It can be bewildering to dig through hundreds of pages of budget books, but there is one constant throughline: Mike Dunleavey is willing to torch Alaska’s future to prop up hollow campaign slogans. This budget touches every Alaskan, every village and town, every school and workplace. Gov. Dunleavey is willing, apparently, to balance his budget on the backs of everyone except large extractive resource companies. It is, fundamentally, an abdication of the governor’s basic responsibility to chart a sustainable course for the state.

Stand for Salmon originated as a response to threats against Alaskan communities and the fisheries that support them. While our organization’s focus is ensuring the health of our salmon resources we do this work because we care about the future of Alaska. The budget proposed this week by Governor Dunleavy is a threat to that future.

Stand for Salmon is monitoring the effects of the budget process on the core components of state government responsible for habitat protection. It is important to remember the budget is a long and dynamic process. We will be there throughout that process, paying close attention to budgets of the Department of Fish and Game, Environmental Conservation and DNR to ensure we have the programs and personnel in place to manage our fisheries.

For now, please know that we stand in solidarity with Alaska’s communities. Salmon, and the habitat they depend on, are the lifeblood of communities across this state. But so are the schools that form the hub of social life. So are the ferries that bring groceries and move people. So, ultimately, is the basic confidence that we as Alaskans will not leave each other out in the cold when times get tough.

Let Gov. Dunleavey know Alaskans demand a sustainable budget.

Stand for Salmon

Anchorage, AK

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