No Deal To Alaska House - Canadian and Alaskan Natives Lobby Against The Hand That Feeds Them
See Our Editorial Below: "Environmental and Alaska Native Extremists Are Sowing Seeds for Alaska's Economic Destruction"
ADN by Sean Cockerham. The nonprofit, Alaska House New York, opened in September 2008, in a 3,000-square-foot space in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. Until now, it has been privately financed by founder Alice Rogoff, a wealthy advocate of Alaska Native art. She describes it as an effort to promote the state's business and culture as well as sell art. "I did this because I thought it was really important, not just for the state in the big picture but for the sake of village life and subsistence and Native people whose livelihoods are dependent on so much of this state's economy continuing to flourish," Rogoff said in an interview. "Well, I can't afford to keep New York open anymore so we're either going to close it or we're going to find funding for it." She has proposed various amounts of state support in recent months. Rogoff and other representatives of Alaska House met with a special assistant to Gov. Sean Parnell (NGP Photo) on Thursday and presented a request for a $600,000 appropriation for "public relations and economic development marketing." * ADN by AP. Anti-drilling activists visited federal officials this week to lobby against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on offshore sites in Alaska. Sarah James from Arctic Village, on the border of ANWR, and five other activists -- including two from Canada -- were in Washington on a trip organized by the Alaska Wilderness League. The group met with several high-ranking officials from the Obama administration -- including Assistant Interior Secretary Tom Strickland and Larry Echohawk, head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- as well as members of the Alaska delegation and a staffer for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. * Peak Oil Review. Shell said it will decide within months whether to begin drilling for oil and gas off the Alaskan coast despite strong opposition. The Anchorage Daily News said Thursday that environmentalists and Alaska North Slope officials are opposing Arctic drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. (11/6, #14)
Yesterday Brian Tomlinson (NGP Photo) of Anchorage wrote to Governor Parnell after, "having read in today's Anchorage Daily News that Mrs. Alice Rogoff Rubinstein (ADN Photo), is asking for funds from the State of Alaska to support her pet project, the Alaska House, in NYC's trendy Soho District. Last night the Alaska House hosted an event to 'Celebrate the Bounty of the Bering Sea Before It's Too Late', with the Managing Director of the World Wildlife Fund's Bering Sea and Kamchatka Program, citing the devastating effects of climate change and negative impacts to Alaskan Natives. This issue is highly politically charged with inferences to global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions." Tomlinson spoke for many Alaskans when he went on to urge the Governor to oppose public funding (85% from oil revenue) for a venue that supports fundraising strategies aimed at crushing the oil and gas industry. The Governor and Legislature will surely see this request for what it is and politely but firmly tell Ms. Rubinstein that funding a NYC non-profit--even with an Alaska theme--is inappropriate.
The Washington visit by Alaskan and Canadian Native opponents of reasonable and safe oil and gas exploration and development in the state is more troublesome. It adds to Alaska's struggle to survive 'death by a thousand cuts', which we have been illustrating herein. The cumulative effect of onerous, unfair, Federal regulatory activities is being aided and abetted by certain Alaska Native special interests. These interests seem to care not that the state derives nearly all of its operating budget from energy production. They seem unaware of the significant school, social service, medicaid, welfare, power cost equalization and disaster relief funds that flow toward villages because of the oil and gas bounty. Some of these Native special interests are being supported by environmental activist special interests.
Alaska may be facing a crisis it has never before known: spending its legacy wealth without a way to replenish it. For this we can thank the incompetency of some key elected leaders in state and Federal positions, particularly over the last decade. Being on the brink, the Obama Administration is well equipped to push Alaska's economy over the edge in the next few years, returning Alaska to a pre-pipeline wilderness and govenment dependent economy. President Obama can accomplish this feat with a dedicated staff within the White House, Interior Department, Environmental Protection Agency aided and abetted by grass roots constituencies like the World Wildlife Fund, the Alaska Wilderness League, Arctic Village and the North Slope Borough.
Alaska's elected leaders have not since statehood had such ponderous challenges before them. Successful accomplishment of the mission to protect Alaska's economy and citizens will, indeed, be looked back on as a pioneering and leadership accomplishment of historical proportions. -dh