Saturday, March 1, 2014

Alaska government maintains a steady assault on wildlife

The other day news came out that Alaska officials have petitioned the federal government to have humpback whales removed from the endangered species list. This was just the latest in a series of attacks on various wildlife populations, including the state's own scientists. A quick search turned up the following state actions attempting to remove protections for wildlife in the state in order of open more areas to resource exploitation.

Here are just a few of them, beginning with the wild humans:

About three years ago Alaska biologists were removed from at least one federal science committee because the state had instructed employees representing Alaska that they were to only follow state policy, not the science involved. Rightly the federal science panel refused to seat the Alaska representatives which now leaves Alaska out of serious discussions involving wildlife management in a variety of areas that are important to the state.

Just a few days ago the Alaska Dispatch reported state Fish and Game officials wiped out an entire wolf pack in the area of the Yukon-Charlie Rivers National Preserve. This is a continuation of long-running state policy to remove wolves to protect more popular game species, despite the admonition that the Yukon-Charlie preserve was to be maintained as close to its natural environment as possible. Wolves that inhabit Denali National Park, the state's prime tourist attraction, have been killed in the name of management just outside the park perimeter.

Federal and state authorities have identified a significant population decline for Beluga whales in Cook Inlet. That population has been declared a distinct sub-group of Belugas and received some critical habitat protections. The state has continuously fought this distinction to avoid having to meet control standards on economic developments in the Inlet relative to the whales.  However a federal judge has ruled the federal government violated three statutes designed to protect the whales in order to allow oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet. The Cook Inlet population is on the federal endangered species list. As a matter of fact, it was the beluga issue that prompted the state to silence our own biologists, forcing them to follow policy instead of science.

When the federal Interior Department proposed designating areas of Alaska's Arctic coastal plain critical habitat for polar bears, the state objected strenuously and eventually sued, complaining the designation would threaten the oil industry and the general economy. This issue becomes attached to the federal climate-change discussion which the state also continues to deny fearing additional regulation on industry. Polar bears depend on Arctic ice for hunting and survival and as the polar ice cap shrinks, they are losing critical habitat on the ice and moving ashore in greater numbers.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has continually attacked the Environmental Protection Agency in attempts to diminish its regulatory authority.

A game preserve near Anchorage has raised a small herd of wood bison, which are much larger than the plains bison most people are familiar with. The idea has been to release them into their former habitat in western Alaska. But the state continues to hold up the release because there is no provision in the program to allow hunting which one state official warns would allow protective federal regulations that would hinder development in the areas where they are released.

A Delaware company is attempting to strip mine 32 square miles in the Chuitna River drainage on the west side of Cook Inlet south of Anchorage. In addition to the massive strip mine, the project includes destroying 11 miles of a critical salmon spawning stream. Like the potentially disastrous Pebble project which if allowed could destroy major portions of the rich Bristol Bay red salmon run, the state has remained fairly quiet about the project, which usually means quietly working to make it happen. The governor promised in his election campaign there would be no favoring one resource over another, but this comes from a former employee of Conoco Phillips, which for mineral extraction including petroleum makes him immediately suspect.  Any opposition to either project has come from groups of citizens. At least that was until recently when that darned old EPA stepped in.

Granted these are short descriptions of complicated issues and more is to be learned about each one of them, and about other wildlife issues not mentioned. What the list points out is just how dedicated Alaska's state government is to ensuring a healthy future for the wildlife under its jurisdiction. What the list shows is that the state isn't, in fact it is determined to shut down any protection for wildlife it can, to the extreme of actually suing the federal government to prevent controls. It actually did sue the federal government over the polar bear designation.

Taken individually, any one of these can escape notice over time except for those people directly concerned, but when collected in one place they make a convincing argument that the state government is doing anything it can to suppress wildlife populations in favor of monied interests.

Each issue will be decided on its own merits, but the number of issues in all of which the state took a stand against protecting wildlife leaves little doubt where state officials' priorities lie. On the weight of evidence it seems to be a designed attack on wildlife protection, partially hiding an agenda for uninhibited development which often to gain favor and mask the downside is couched in terms of that favorite come-on politicians use to gain support for any issue – "jobs." And with the threat of either losing jobs or the promise of many new jobs, those state officials get the general population to support a position that is very much the opposite of one of the reasons we all came to Alaska, notably our wildlife as part of the grand mystique of the north. Or, and this might be worse: It could be just a knee-jerk reaction to any federal attempt at any regulation at all or to any attempt to protect wildlife whatsoever.

At a time in history when wildlife needs more protection than ever, here on the last frontier we just don't give a damn about no stinking animals, unless it is our precious moose. We will kill wolves and even bears to protect those moose. Anything else is fair game, so to speak.

Just a side note: Do  you think people don't plumb the Internet looking for what is said abut them? This the first post in which I mentioned Conoco Phillips. Within an hour after it was posted, there was the first hit ever from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Coincidence? There are no coincidences.
Listing from Revolver Maps web tracker:
2BartlesvilleMar 1, 2014

1 comment:

  1. Alaskan wildlife does not belong to the state. Their only role should be as protectors. That's it. Thank you for advocating for those who cannot.


Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve