Statement of Solidarity on Protecting the Arctic

 

The Alaska Center focuses on statewide conservation and democracy issues and state and local decision makers. We believe that solution-based policy change at the state level is critical if we want to chart a vibrant future for Alaska.

As an organization, we are committed to being an ally to Alaska Native communities, and support decisions that will advance Indigenous values and sustain Indigenous cultures. This commitment includes the sustainable management of Alaska’s lands and waters, and respect for the people that rely upon them for their way of life.

We are writing to express our solidarity with the Indigenous communities that have voiced their opposition to drilling in the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, because the food security of these communities is threatened by oil development in the birthing and calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. These include the Gwich’in Nation and communities most directly impacted by this activity including Arctic Village, Beaver, Birch Creek, Chalkyitsik, Circle, Eagle Village, Fort Yukon and Venetie.

The move to include this provision in federal tax legislation undermines basic democracy.

Alaska is in a time of transition as we deal with a state fiscal crisis due to over-reliance upon one nonrenewable resource. We should be questioning the continuation of this model and pushing for a transition from an economy solely reliant upon extractive resources to a more renewable energy based economy. We support development of Alaska’s economy to one that is broader based and less dependent on nonrenewable resources. The protection of this area offers a significant opportunity for the state to positively address the climate change that is eroding our coastlines and riverbanks; threatening homes and the very existence of too many Alaska Native villages. We cannot advance this transition if the leaders elected to represent Alaskans are pushing policy decisions that move our state in the opposite direction.

While we continue to focus our work on state and local policy, we support those Alaskan communities, organizations, and Tribes working to protect their culture, food security, and way of life that will be negatively impacted by this proposed federal policy. Alaska can do better than this.

Polly Carr
Executive Director
On behalf of the Board and Staff of The Alaska Center

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