Which Native voices? On Arctic Refuge, lawmakers practice selective listening
Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media, March 26, 2019
A bill in Congress would reverse the 2017 decision to open the northernmost part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. A hearing about it in the U.S. House Tuesday became a debate, sometimes an angry one, over which Alaska Native people should have the ear of Congress.
From the testimony of Fenton Rexford, Kaktovik
“Your legislation doesn’t mention the human rights of the Kaktovikmiut. Your legislation doesn’t mention the Kaktovikmiut at all. It doesn’t mention the Iñupiat people. What about our rights? What about our land, which has been our home since time immemorial? What about our resources? What about our interest in the Porcupine caribou herd, on which we rely as well? What about our voice? Do you intend for us to disappear? We do not exist in your legislation.
Since the Federal Government showed up 152 years ago, outside groups have used the Federal Government as a tool to assert their own interest in our land. One of the few outside groups that has not claimed an interest in our land is the oil and gas companies. Instead, we have invited them to our land, and we have formed a powerful government — the North Slope Borough — to make sure that their activities return benefit to our people and our communities.
As Iñupiat, we maintain our traditional values, while our culture continues to evolve and adapt to the changing world around us. We are not an exhibit in a museum. Nor should the lands that we have survived and thrived from for centuries be locked away for the peace of mind of those from faraway places. This school of thought amounts to nothing more than green colonialism – a political occupation of our lands in the name of the environment while others exploit the idea of Wilderness for economic gain”
From the Washington Examiner Daily on Energy:
MURKOWSKI GOES NUCLEAR WHEN IT COMES TO CLIMATE CHANGE: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairwoman Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is expected to drop a bill as soon as this afternoon focused on spurring the development of advanced nuclear reactors to address greenhouse gas emissions and resiliency, John has learned.
The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act will make use of the federal government to create a market for new, smaller, advanced reactors. The bill would also address making the U.S. more competitive with nuclear technology rivals Russia and China.