Voices

This winter as Shell Oil readied for the first-ever drilling season in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, we in the north have been holding our breaths. While politicians and pundits have been blaming the price at the pump for all that ails our nation, the Arctic winter has raged on heedless of the plans for the future of the Arctic Ocean. Having spent my adult life studying, exploring, and sharing the natural wonders of Arctic Alaska, I fear that policy makers neither care about the vitality of the region, nor have they honestly and accurately assessed the risks involved with offshore oil production in these storm battered seas...

Michael Wald

I am always amused by people who support America's mission to establish democracies around the world, yet who are determined to subvert democracy here at home. I am likewise amused by people who protest against government coercion, yet who revel in tyrannizing anyone who doesn’t see the world their way.

According to our state Constitution, the Board of Game is supposed to represent the interests of all Alaskans. Its members should include representatives from all major "interest" groups. It should not be monolithic. Each member should strive to find ways to meet the needs of all interest groups, instead of trying to hog all the wildlife for just one interest -- harvest...

Stephen F. Stringham, Ph.D.
TO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service SUBJECT: Like pigeons

Dear National Bird Protectors,

Usually when we hear about stories involving Alaska coastal towns, bald eagles and federal authorities, we expect the urge to remind people that eagles just aren't rare in Alaska and are downright numerous in some spots. Because of eagles' large populations in the state, laws intended to protect the nation's symbol elsewhere can seem, well, excessive when applied to Alaska. We imagine it can be hard for some bureaucrats to imagine massive, carnivorous, scavenging birds hanging around, as numerous as pigeons in Central Park or the National Mall.

Luckily that doesn't seem to be the case in Unalaska this week...

Scott Woodham

As Alaska's capitol settles from Gov. Sean Parnell’s decision to pull his oil tax reform legislation -- just days after his Revenue Department committed hara-kari in front of the Senate Resources Committee -- the question becomes what is the road back for the Parnell administration?

Consider my rant a roadmap.

First, let's get some damn data. The administration’s roadshow can be summed up in two slides: the North Slope decline curve and a comparative chart showing North Dakota and Texas passing Alaska’s oil production. When someone says Alaskans are moving south, I think that’s a few less people to wait behind at Costco...

Andrew Halcro

Throughout history, women have played an integral role in developing communities across Alaska and the entire United States. From doctors to mothers, we work in every corner of the job market. We are contributing members of society, and for that we deserve same level of respect given to our male counterparts. For nearly half a century, our country has made great strides to protect the rights of women. Sadly our nation’s political rhetoric has shifted dramatically in recent years, taking a giant step backwards in the pursuit for gender equality. This war on women is detrimental to our communities and it’s time to tell lawmakers “enough is enough.”...

Rachael Higgins Lalki

Editor's Note: Mike Doogan is an Alaska State House Representative, author and former newspaper columnist. The following commentary appeared in his legislative e-newsletter on April 27.

Well, That Was Interesting

We watched the death of Sean Parnell’s latest attempt to hand $2 billion a year to his pals at British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips and Exxon this week. Or maybe it was just badly wounded. Various lawyers have said different things about what happened – yeah, I know. But what can you do? They’re lawyers—but the smart bet is that Parnell killed his own bill. After calling us into special session just 10 days ago to get us to pass it.

All I can say is, gloriosky. I’ve been to two goat ropings and a county fair and I’ve never seen anything like this before...

Craig Medred

The evidence mounts that under Gov. Sean Parnell’s watch, Alaska’s wildlife-management system is both broken and increasingly corrupt.

Of course one might legitimately ask whether Parnell is in fact watching or gives a damn. Our governor has remained remarkably mum despite the rot that seems to be spreading among our state’s wildlife officials and which, it might be argued, threatens the integrity of his own administration. And his judgment...

Bill Sherwonit

Let's be clear about one thing: Westchester Lagoon disc golf course wasn't closed down for the summer because of drugs, alcohol, noise, fights, or “a few bad apples.” Those were just the symptoms. The disease was congestion, ridiculous congestion. Officials could've relieved that overcrowding by helping create alternatives, but for whatever reason, they never did. Now, they've taken the easiest route -- closure...

Scott Woodham

On Monday, April 16, a deputy Chinese foreign minister, Song Tao, announced that Sweden, the current chair of the Arctic Council, supported his country's bid for permanent observer status in the multilateral organization.

He stated, "China applauds Swedish support for China to be an observer to the Arctic Council." Tao was speaking at a briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming eight-day trip to Iceland, Sweden, Germany and Poland...

Mia Bennett