BLM has mandate to protect NPR-A subsistence resources

As noted in ADN's Feb. 21 story by Alex DeMarban and Annie Zak about ConocoPhillips' oil project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the reserve does indeed have an unfortunate name.

Under the false impression the NPR-A exists exclusively as a source of fossil fuels, many Alaskans are unaware the Bureau of Land Management is required by Congress to protect designated "Special Areas" of the reserve for their wildlife habitat, wilderness values and subsistence resources.

The BLM's mandate is to manage the reserve in a way that balances conservation with demands for domestic oil production. It is worth noting the agency is working with industry, Native groups, conservationists and other stakeholders to develop a regional mitigation strategy to offset the negative effects of oil production by protecting subsistence resources and important habitat.

When completed, the mitigation strategy will provide clearer guidelines and more certainty to companies operating in the reserve, while protecting some of the Arctic's wildest landscapes and the interests of local communities.

— Nicole Whittington-Evans

Alaska regional director, The Wilderness Society

Anchorage

Who's watching the baby?

Haiku dedicated to the couple in the next booth:

How can your baby

See your eyes when you're looking

Down at your damn phone.

— Gordon Wanamaker

Anchorage

Thanks to families of linemen who rescued us from the dark

I would like to thank the lineman for their service and dedication. Our power went out on the evening of Feb. 21. As we lit candles, grabbed flashlights and instinctively switched light switch after light switch to no avail, there was one noticeable change, the temperature in the house started to drop. The chill steadily grew into the morning hours. Then as suddenly as the power had left, at 2:12 a.m. the lights came on and the sound of the heater flooded the home with warm air.

I thought about those men out in the cold, dark wintry night, fixing the damage and then restoring our power. I imagined them grabbing their tools, loading up their trucks and heading to the next outage. It brought back memories for me as a young boy when my father, now a retired lineman, was gone on many cold, dark winter nights even though we wished he was home safe with us. I now know the feeling those families felt from his dedication and service as he braved the elements to get power and heat back on. You guys are a godsend and the work you do is much appreciated. I would like to thank your families for letting us have you for the night. God bless and safe travels.

— Dennis Traylor

Anchorage

Small business carries burden

A news item in the Feb. 22 ADN said a small-business owner was miffed that Facebook pays one-seventh what he does in taxes. It was a good read and explains what's happening here in the U.S., too. When a small business pays $45,200 and a multinational company like Facebook pays $6,274, the system is rigged. (Thank you Bernie Sanders for educating Americans on this issue.) The article explains that companies operating around the world "employ complex, aggressive and sometimes creative financial techniques to hold taxes to a minimum. …" One solution offered is a five-star system rating for companies that pay appropriate taxes and make it public. Hmm, transparency. I like that.

The article can be found by Googling the title "Welsh town leads a British revolt against tax system, corporations."

— Carole Shay

Wasilla

Cut-the-budget zealots cling to dogma that hurts real people

I see Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-ConocoPhillips) is again trying to convince us that the total inaction on the part of himself and his caucus toward developing a revenue plan is for our own good. Nothing to do with his employer or the Koch Brothers of course.

I was standing next to him at a constituent picnic last summer when he conceded to another attendee that it is impossible to balance the state budget with cuts, yet he piddled away one year and now apparently plans to piddle away another with this "right-sizing." It's so aggravating he and his posse cling desperately to the party dogma in the face of all the contrary evidence and then try to claim it's for our benefit.

The cut-the-budget zealots should at least have the integrity to state their goals in human terms. Instead of dollars, they should be required to express cuts in numbers of people. Government isn't a money disposal, it's hardworking people who support families, buy homes, shop, and contribute to our communities. Shouldn't be hard to figure out how many jobs each cut costs, and the resulting multiplier losses to local businesses.

— Terry Johnson

Anchorage

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