Sullivan Chooses Respect?

While I honor the work around domestic violence and sexual assault done by the women who penned the Oct 13, ADN commentary, “Native Women Vote for a Leader Who Chooses Respect,” I do not think Sen Dan Sullivan respects us.

On one hand, Sullivan voted for the Savannah Act proposed by Senator Lisa Murkowski, and the Power Act. On the other hand, Sullivan has only occasionally wagged his finger at President Trump while Trump and other Republicans blatantly empower white supremacists. We Native women, our mothers, and our daughters have long borne the brutality of this kind of hatred from angry men who compose the vast majority of the white supremist and conspiracy groups.

Sullivan’s silence makes him complicit in the most dangerous assault on minorities in recent times. I cannot be bought; nor can I sell my daughters’ future. Sullivan has to go.

He supports a party who denies climate change while our Native communities fall into the sea. The money he gets to move our villages will not stop climate change from destroying our way of life. Sullivan supports a party whose reckless attitude towards the pandemic is killing our elders. The CARES ACT money will not bring them back. He supports a party who engages in voter suppression and undermines our democracy. And lastly and very importantly, if, Dan Sullivan respects women so much, why won’t he advocate for control over our own bodies? He has to go. I’m voting for Al Gross, because Dr. Gross will stand up for our future.

Selena Joseph Malone

Palmer, Alaska

Brain matter counts

If you had an ounce of viable brain matter you would realize building Pebble would save your project (Donlin Gold) billions in overall infrastructure and operating costs. Considering the history of the plan to bring Pebble mine online, and the permitting process… It would be a shame to have another mine throwing stones at Pebble for going through the same process.

Pebble will be a sister project to Donlin and far bigger than Donlin in size and will only benefit Donlin in the long run.

Give up this ridiculous battle.

Rob Blotnicky

Halifax, Novia Scotia

Statement on Senator Lisa Murkowski calling Pebble “the wrong mine in the wrong place”

SalmonState thanks Senator Lisa Murkowski for today (Oct. 15th, 2020) calling the proposed Pebble Mine “the wrong mine in the wrong place,” pledging to use the appropriations process in Congress to ensure the Bristol Bay region is protected from the proposed mine, and pledging to work on “longer-term protections for the region” during the next Congress.

The organization also calls on Senator Murkowski to restore confidence in the process by supporting an Environmental Protection Agency 404c veto of the proposed mine, which is still in permitting.

“The Pebble Tapes pulled back the veil on the failure of the Army Corps permitting process for this mine, and the degree to which the State of Alaska is working hand in glove with Pebble to move the project forward regardless of what Alaskans have to say about it,” said SalmonState executive director Tim Bristol. “We need the senator to put our fears and distrust to rest by taking the shackles off the EPA and allowing EPA scientists to issue a 404c veto of the toxic Pebble Mine under the Clean Water Act. We thank Senator Murkowski for her comments and commitment to work with Tribes and those who care about Bristol Bay to defend this incredible place, and we look forward to working with her to ensure Bristol Bay remains the greatest sockeye salmon resource on the planet.”

The senator made the comments at the annual convention of the Alaska Federation of Natives.

SalmonState works to ensure Alaska remains a place salmon and the people who depend on them thrive.


Juneau, AK

Economic analysis reveals thousands of lost jobs and billions in economic harm from Ballot Measure 1

Jobs, families, and economic development are the building blocks of our society. As Alaska stares down a global pandemic and uncertain financial footing, now is not the time to once again change our oil tax structure and tear those blocks down.

If passed, Ballot Measure 1’s new tax regime will cost thousands of jobs across the state, lead to billions of dollars in lost investments, and create more uncertainty about the future in our communities. The ANCSA Regional Association (ARA) strongly opposes this ballot measure.

2020 has been a tough year for all Alaskans. Devastated by COVID-19, our economy has stalled, and the future is uncertain. Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) are also experiencing these stresses. Together, the 12 Alaska Native regional corporations serve as an economic engine for the state, providing jobs and opportunities for our 135,000 shareholders and Alaskans statewide.

Due to the unique ways in which ANCs are integrated into our home regions, we have been able to provide social and economic benefits to our communities that have proven to be even more essential during the current downturn. We are proud of the work that we have been able to do, but there are still many challenges ahead, including the latest debate over oil taxes that threatens to undo much of the progress we have made.

Given our charge to improve the lives of all Alaska Native people, our organization takes a keen interest in how various public policy proposals might impact the statewide economy and the jobs we all rely on, and so we decided to closely examine Ballot Measure 1. We wanted to know what impact its passage might have on Alaska’s struggling economy. We quickly discovered that no independent economic analysis had been conducted on Ballot Measure 1, so we decided to do our own.

The results of the study conducted by the American Action Forum are startling. Their analysis reveals that thousands of our friends, family members, and neighbors will lose employment, and oilfield investment in Alaska will sharply decline. These results are unacceptable at any time, but are especially worrisome as the state continues to struggle with the staggering economic losses caused by the worldwide pandemic.

Specifically, the study uncovered the following impacts Ballot Measure 1 would have on the state economy:

•More than 6,300 Alaska jobs would be at risk, including direct oilfield jobs and indirect workers supported by the industry.

Future investment activity in Alaska would decrease by 14%, amounting to nearly $6 billion in lost investment over the period 2021-2029.

•Far less than $1 billion per year would be raised for state government; at current oil prices, the actual amount would be far less than that.

None of these outcomes would be good for Alaska, and now is certainly not the time to hamstring the industry we need to help lift us out of the COVID-19 recession.

For these reasons, the ANCSA Regional Association publicly opposes Ballot Measure 1. This study confirms the grounds for our objection and strengthens our resolve to inform our shareholders about the harm it would cause.

In addition to the economic damage identified in the analysis, there is another major reason for an organization like ours to oppose Ballot Measure 1: its origin. At this time, it is unknown who actually wrote the measure.

Public input has been nonexistent; no legislative hearings or amendments occurred, and no feedback gathered from stakeholders. Making public policy behind closed doors is dangerous. Additionally, this lack of independent review means that serious legal questions have been raised about the measure.

An economic catastrophe developed in secret, Ballot Measure 1 is not the way forward for Alaskan jobs or families. We have no choice but to strongly and publicly oppose it.

Kim Reitmeier, Executive Director

ANCSA Regional Association

Support for Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate

Alaskans should not be surprised that it took Dan Sullivan a decade to say he opposes the Pebble Mine. That came only after the Pebble Tapes revealed mine backers boasting about how Sullivan was hoping to “ride out the election” and that “he’s off in a corner being quiet.”

Remember that it was Dan Sullivan as Commissioner of the AK Dept. of Natural Resources in 2012 who removed the words “conserve,” “enhance,” and “future Alaskans” from the DNR mission statement, sidestepping a state law requiring legislative approval.

Sullivan said the language was pared down “because it is already implied in the state constitution,” and “it doesn’t mean that every one of those concepts needs to be laid out in a mission statement.”

In 2013, in the case of the Chuitna Citizens Coalition vs. DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, the Alaska Superior Court ruled that DNR violated its own rules by denying Alaskans’ their rights to keep water in streams to protect wild salmon runs from a proposed coal mine.

Since he’s moved on to the U.S. Senate, Sullivan has been silent while the Trump Administration has gutted every protection for our waters, lands and air.

He has been lock step as the GOP pooh-poohs climate (and Covid) science. He has voted to overthrow a health care lifeline for thousands of Alaska fishing families (with no replacement) during a pandemic. Sullivan has voted 97% with the Trump agenda.

Dan boasts that his adopted state is the “superpower” of seafood. But his inaction on ongoing trade assaults has been a dereliction of duty.

Seafood is by far Alaska’s most valuable export, and China was Alaska’s biggest buyer. In the more than two years that the Trump Administration slapped an average 38% tax on seafood exports to China, Alaska’s sales have dropped to the lowest level in a decade and counting.

Sullivan now brags about scoring one-time Covid trade relief money for fishermen’s losses – a band-aid solution to unfair trade deals with no end in sight.

In 2014, Russia placed an embargo on food purchases from the U.S. in retaliation for its denouncement of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Newly elected Sullivan exhorted: “If Russia won’t buy seafood from us, we won’t buy from them!”

Six years later, the U.S. has increased its Russian purchases by 70% to $770 million of mostly crab, cod and salmon that competes directly with ours. More recently, millions of pounds of Russian-caught halibut that is processed in China is flooding U.S. markets. The fish comes into the U.S. via Canada to avoid paying any tariffs.

I always “vote fish” because to me that means voting for healthy oceans and thriving coastal communities. And I always vote for the person, not a party and my voting record reflects that. In more than 30 years as a radio/print reporter for Alaska’s seafood industry, I have never publicly endorsed a candidate.

Dan Sullivan has shown time and time again that his own ambition and loyalty to Party and power trumps the voices of Alaskans. He also has shown that he touts the accomplishments of other congressional colleagues as his own.

I believe that Dr. Al Gross’ heart is true to Alaska above all. We need that in our U.S. Senator now more than ever. I urge you to vote for Independent candidate Al Gross on November 3.

Laine Welch

Kodiak, AK

Laine Welch has been reporting on Alaska’s seafood industry for print and broadcast since 1988. Her daily Alaska Fish Radio program airs on 30 stations; her weekly Fish Factor column appears in papers across Alaska, nationally and in the U.K. Laine lives in Kodiak.

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