Bering Sea-Western Interior Tribal Commission meets

Members of the Bering Sea Western Interior Tribal Commission during their December 4th, 2019 meeting in Anchorage.

The Bering Sea-Western Interior Tribal Commission met in Anchorage on December 4th and were disappointed the Director of BLM refused our third invitation to meet with us.

In our free and fair country in response to dramatic change of the Bureau of Land Management’s land use planning for the Bering Sea and Western Interior, a commission of over 23 tribal organizations from the region was formed called the Bering Sea Western Interior Tribal Commission.

The commission was formed because members realized that the public process was flawed and that tribal consultation was not occurring in a meaningful way. We wanted to put forward our communities’ comments on the plan in a unified voice.

When BLM directed its gaze to the Bering Sea and Western Interior it saw resource development as the overriding principle. A large gang of BLM experts promoting their brand of information ignored scoping comments from tribes in our region and used the extraordinary power of their offices to develop a plan that has not taken into account the multi-year scoping process.

Despite tribe’s best efforts to understand and respond to the three thousand plus page document and provide information that the land in its pristine state has great value and provides for our subsistence uses and economic endeavors, BLM determined a massive change to allowable land uses was needed.

We the people of the region desire peace and sustainability to the highly productive and pristine area.

We are aware that BLM must take into consideration multiple use aspects but BLM’s plan is multiple use gone awry and they have turned their management plan for our region into a resource extraction how-to.

We would like the land and ocean to remain the same. There is an alternative and way to reach a compromise within BLM’s existing planning process and communicating and taking into serious consideration the voices and concerns of the people who live in the region, is the best way to accommodate those concerns.

We recognize that the Director of BLM has much to say and much to offer the process. Unfortunately a meeting with the Director has not occurred after our multiple requests and invitations. We believe such a meeting would benefit those tribes whom are cooperating agencies and the long-term sustainable use of the land.