US Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) Labels Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) a “Radical” for Supporting Tribal Sovereignty Over Crude Oil Pipelines

On Friday, February 5, 2021, The Hill newspaper reported that the office of US Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) is seeking to block the nomination of Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM) for Interior Secretary. Sen. Daines was further quoted by The Hill: “I’m not convinced the Congresswoman can divorce her radical views and represent what’s best for Montana and all stakeholders in the West. Unless my concerns are addressed, I will block her confirmation.” Let’s take a look at the backstory for each member of US Congress.

Steve Daines was first elected to the US Senate in 2014. According to, the top contributors to his campaigns have been: pension funds, politically conservative election committees, real estate professionals and organizations, and securities and investment firms, aka hedge funds. The top Political Action Committee (PAC) contributors have been: Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, Votesane, Susan B. Anthony List (anti-abortion interests), and Langlas and Associates (a general contractor). Steve Daines is an owner and principal of a business services consultancy Genesis Partners based in Bozeman, MT. Daines and his business have long-standing business ties to current Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, who previously served as the sole congressman for MT (2017-2021).

The Club for Growth PAC has a singular purpose quoted as: “The Club for Growth is a national network of over 250,000 pro-growth, limited government Americans who share in the belief that prosperity and opportunity come from economic freedomThe leading free-enterprise advocacy group in the nation, we win tough battles and we have an enormous influence on economic policy.  The Club for Growth is the only organization that is willing and able to take on any Member of Congress on policy who fails to uphold basic economic conservative principles.”

It can be fairly simple to surmise that Sen. Daines has business in mind as the focal point of his representation of the State of Montana while in Washington, DC. His personal net worth according to Federal Elections Commission filings is anywhere between $13.4 million and $52.2 million.

We now turn to Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-NM). During the 2018 election cycle, Congresswoman Haaland was one of the first two Native American women elected to US Congress in history, along with Congresswoman Sharice Davids (D-KS). For the 2020 election cycle after 46th US President Joe Biden assumed office, he nominated Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the first Native American in history to the Secretary of Interior office, and again another first as the only woman ever nominated for the same position. Deb Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo federally recognized tribal government. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law, and former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. She is a single mother of one adult child.

In 2016, Deb Haaland participated in a majority Native American protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL was rushed through the mandated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, and also rushed through the mandated US Army Corps of Engineers Record of Decision (ROD) permitting process. The protest coalesced around the then proposed right-of-way that ran through a parcel of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in South Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe was not noticed of the proposed right-of-way, and when tribal officials learned of the crossing, protested the EIS and permitting process, to no avail.

Thousands of Native Americans and Alaska Natives from around the country and likely other Indigenous Peoples from around the world converged upon Sacred Stone Camp adjacent to the parcel in question for most of 2016 and early 2017. National Guard troops and other local law enforcement agencies were directed to “protect” the proposed pipeline right-of-way, and regularly clashed with Sacred Stone Camp protestors, to the point of using water cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas often in the middle of the night, during sub-freezing temperatures against the unarmed, unprotected, and exposed protestors.

At the time, non-Native congressional members, governors, and state legislatures from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Illinois, and many other middle US and western states abhorred the Sacred Stone Camp protest as illegal, unnecessary, and “standing in the way of development.” Each state sent National Guard troops and local law enforcement agencies to the protest site, eventually costing tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars, of which the US Army Corps is still needing to pay in part to this day in early 2021.

So, the question stands: is Native American Congresswoman and US Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland really a radical for supporting tribal sovereignty over crude oil pipeline development? Who in all honesty needs a reality check: a non-Native US Senator worth tens of millions of dollars, or the single mother, first-elected Native American woman to Congress, and first-nominated Native American woman to the Department of Interior Secretary office? Who would the general US public be more proud of? How many non-Native, wealthy members of Congress are there compared to single mother Native American women in Congress?


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National Science Foundation/University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology Research Fellowship Award 2020-2021

Thank you for your time in reviewing my statement for the NSF fellowship regarding climate, economic, energy, cultural, food security, political, or environmental characteristics related to traditional harvest practices in rural Alaska, further augmented by advancing knowledge on how rural communities are enhancing local research capacity and self-governance, and are adapting to reduce vulnerability to stressors.

I have spent the last two years exploring the field of land use planning, and finding that most if not all ANCSA corporations do not have comprehensive land use plans for collectively over 46 million acres of land in Alaska.  This is compared to comprehensive land use planning requirements for state and federal lands management agencies and respective managed land types (BLM, USFWS refuges, wilderness, NPS parks, AK DNR 20+ area use plans, etc).  

While there are no comprehensive land use plans in place for most if not all ANCSA corporations, there are at least several lands management practices and standards:

  1. Exclusive shareholder use for hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering;
  2. Shareholder surface land lease options for recreational/subsistence cabins and/or miscellaneous commercial use;
  3. Permitted and limited access requirements for non-shareholders under hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering;
  4. Surface land lease options open to non-shareholders for recreational/subsistence cabins and/or miscellaneous commercial use;
  5. Opening known surface and subsurface material sites and mineral deposits to leased private development – sand, gravel, mining, oil and gas;
  6. ANCSA 14(c)(3) Municipal Land Trust – requires surface lands management cooperation on behalf of ANCSA village corporations with any functioning State of Alaska chartered municipal government, and any potential future municipal government if one is not currently formed and functioning;
  7. ANCSA 14(h)(1) Historical Sites – essentially conserved/preserved surface and subsurface lands of historical interest like prehistoric village sites, cemeteries, abandoned villages prior to the passage of ANCSA, and any known prehistoric art.  There are over 2,200 14(h)(1) sites owned and managed by the 12 ANCSA regional corporations in Alaska;
  8. ANCSA 17(b) Easements – state and federal surface public access easements are reserved across ANCSA lands

As is apparent without any broad, comprehensive land use plan, the several lands management practices and standards listed above are all administered on a case by case basis, contrary to best lands management practices nationwide and internationally for the past century.  When comprehensive land use planning became a standard lawful practice in the late 1910s in New York City, it spread across the Lower ’48 and is now the standard lands management practice for comprehensive land use planning.  While ANCSA corporations are not legally required to conduct comprehensive land use planning like a governing entity, that does not hide the fact that current ANCSA lands management practices are not best practices, and that these low bars and standards are not serving the best interests of the corporations and most importantly the shareholders.  

Computationally, if 220+ ANCSA corporations are following the 8 listed practices above for let’s say 100 uses each as a simple exercise, there are over 176,000 cases without any underlying comprehensive land use plans.  Climate change already does and will continue to have a further exponential and emergency effect to these practices and further stress the need for comprehensive land use planning.         

From the inception of ANCSA in 1971 through the mid-1980s, there was a state chartered non-profit advocacy organization made up of ANCSA corporations called the Alaska Native Land Managers Association, which was formed to collectively strategize lands selections processes during the implementation of ANCSA and later ANILCA.  ANMLA fell into disuse and was dissolved after most lands selections were made and officially filed.  

Last part here, I would like to mention that:

  1. I have previously work for my ANCSA regional corporation under a subsidiary;
  2. I have previously worked for an ANCSA village corporation I have familial ties to as a salaried employee and have first-hand experience with ANCSA lands management practices;
  3. I have unsuccessfully run as a candidate for my ANCSA regional corporation board of directors with improving lands management as part of my campaign platform;
  4. I have worked for an ANCSA regional corporation in the Lands department of which I am not a shareholder, and advocated reviving ANLMA (to no success);
  5. I have had initial discussions over the summer with my ANCSA regional corporation to enter into an academic research agreement about lands management, but the discussions were discontinued and no agreement was entered;
  6. I have recently contacted each the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association, and the ANCSA Regional Association (all of which I have long personal, professional, and acquaintance ties to) about reviving ANMLA (to no success);
  7. I have even attempted to form an informal, ad hoc “ANCSA Climate Change Planning Work Group” – despite strong and diverse interest, few people actually participated in scheduled virtual meetings;
  8. In the last month I have contacted UAF NRM Professor Susan Todd, whose research has primarily been land use planning in Alaska, to find out she retired over the summer.

I hope that I have shown that I have done my due diligence in pursuing this topic of interest, and that I can continue adding incremental value and hopefully practiced use in the near future, whether academically, personally, or professionally.  

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The Year is 2020: Climate Change is Real and has Changed Alaska Almost Irreversibly

Hello to all of the old blog followers – this blog began in 2009 as an independent and individual project as a venue for opening up critical dialogue on the state of “being” Alaska Native in Alaska.  The title of the blog was deliberately chosen so as to be inclusive of all involved topics incorporated into what it might mean to be Alaska Native.  The early to late 2010s saw a co-author add a new stream of thought, particularly comparing and contrasting life in Alaska and life in Canada as an indigenous person/people in North America.  The 2010s are over and the authors are older and maybe a little wiser.

Hello to all of the new blog followers – the year is 2020, the blog is over a decade old and will be given a new lease of life as content begins to investigate Alaska climate change and Alaska adaptation practices to climate change as a field of knowledge.  Alaska Native peoples are greatly affected by climate change in regards to subsistence harvesting as a millennia-old livelihood.  Alaska Native villages are greatly affected by coastal and river erosion, and permafrost thaw: several villages have been working for decades on relocation to a safer location from the impacts of erosion and permafrost thaw, and new recent erosion and thaw events in countless other Alaska Native villages are beginning to irreversibly change the face of each village.

The politics of climate change is not a factor in these discussions, because the climate has changed in Alaska, precluding local, state, federal and international political disputes over the issue.  If two individuals somewhere in Alaska are standing on a silty river bank, arguing the particulars of climate change politics, while the warming silty river bank is falling into the quickening river current at the tips of the individuals’ feet, what good is the argument to anyone at all?  Welcome to 2020 and welcome to a counter-impact movement addressing climate change impacts in Alaska.

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1:30PM July 20, 2018: Alaska State Senate – Committee on State Affairs Holds Hearing on 17FSH2 – Ballot Measure 1: Stand for Salmon

“How will ballot measure 1 (Initiative Petition 17FSH2) impact the State of Alaska?  What will be required of departments to implement this new policy and how would this impact the state budget?” for live feed; for video archive.

2017-2018 Alaska Senate Majority press site

SSTA Agenda 7.20.2018.pdf

17FSH2 Bill Initiative.pdf

17FSH2 Title and Ballot Language.pdf

LAA Legal Services Memo 7.11.2018 RE 17FSH2 Initiative.pdf

ADFG Presentation 7.20.2018.pdf

DOT Presentation 7.20.18.pdf

DNR Presentation 7.20.18.pdf

DEC Presentation 7.20.18.pdf

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State of Alaska Climate Action Leadership Team – Draft Climate Change Policy

The State of Alaska – Climate Action Leadership Team (CALT) recently released a draft strategy and policy statement entitled “Climate Change Policy,” in regards to Alaska.

Public comments are open until June 4th, 2018.  Teleconference meetings regarding the draft policy sections will be held Monday-Friday, the week of May 21, 2018:

CALT will also be holding a listening session for public testimony about climate change in Alaska and the work of CALT, in Sitka, Alaska on May 30, 2018:

State of Alaska Climate Action Leadership Team – Draft Strategy and Policy Analysis

The draft strategy and policy issued by the CALT can be categorized into five broad terms:

  1. Improving current processes for adapting and mitigating against climate change
  2. Updating currentpolicies for adapting and mitigating against climate change
  3. Updating current planning for adapting and mitigating against climate change
  4. Renewable and sustainable energy systems as a current and future business need
  5. Oil and gas industry focused improvements, adaptations, and mitigation tax

Process Improvement

Goals  1.1



Policy Updates

Goals   1.4




Planning Updates

Goals   1.2



Business Need

Goal    2.1



Oil and Gas Industry Focus

Goals   3.3


Process Improvement

Goal 1.1 – Improve current processes for interfacing with local, municipal, and tribal governments to address climate change impacts.

Goal 4.1 – Improve current processes for land, natural resources, and wildlife management, specific to Alaska climate adaptation and mitigation needs.

Goal 4.2 – Improve current processes for technical, scientific, and social science research, specific to Alaska climate adaptation and mitigation needs.

Policy Updates

Goal 1.4 – Update current policies and policy-making bodies relevant to local, state, tribal, and federal needs to address climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Goal 3.1 – Update current policies and policy-making bodies relevant to greenhouse gas emissions and reduction regimes.

Goal 5.1 – Update current policies and policy-making bodies relevant to public and private funding of energy transitions from oil and gas to renewable and sustainable bases.

Goal 5.2 – Update current policies and policy-making bodies relevant to public and private funding of community climate adaptation and mitigation activities.

Planning Updates

Goal 1.2 – Updating current planning programs in place relevant to baseline research, data collection, and decision-making rubrics on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Goal 1.3 – Updating current planning programs in place relevant to local, state, tribal, and federal interfacing and coordination for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Goal 3.2 – Updating current planning programs in place for constructing and/or renovating and deferred maintenance of State of Alaska property and assets.

Business Need

Goal 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 – Characterizing a current and future business need for renewable and sustainable energy resources and systems.

Oil and Gas Industry Focus

Goal 3.3 – Industry plays an integral part in Alaska climate change adaptation and mitigation, and has opportunities to assist systemic changes.

Goal 5.3 – Industry royalties and tax revenue can include a “sin tax” on oil and gas consumer use, potentially augmenting State of Alaska public financing of climate and community adaptation and mitigation activities.


Goal 1.1 – switch 1.1A with 1.1B, prioritizing local self-determination over inter-governmental coordination.

Goal 1.4 – Include a subsection “1.4D” requesting all State of Alaska agencies incorporate the previous reported and published work, analysis, and recommendations of the 2007-2009 Sub-Cabinet on Climate Change.

Goal 5.1B – add “Alaska Permanent Fund” at end of sentence, suggesting an exploration of the Alaska Permanent Fund potentially providing a revenue stream for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.


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Mallott v Stand For Salmon – Brief and Amici Analysis

Stand for Salmon 2018 Voter Initiative



Stand for Salmon Title
Michael Wood Chair
Paula DeLaiarro Treasurer
Gayla Hoseth Co-Chair
Ryan Schryver Deputy Treasurer
2018 Expend.  $               19,711.48







Stand for Alaska Title
Marleanna Hall Chair
Cheryl Fasca Treasurer
Aaron Schutt Co-Chair
Joey Merrick Co-Chair
Kati Capozzi Deputy Treasurer
April Cooley Deputy Treasurer
Deantha Crockett Deputy Treasurer
Kara Moriarty Deputy Treasurer
Portia Babcock Deputy Treasurer
Kim Reitmeier Deputy Treasurer
Karen Matthias Deputy Treasurer
Jaeleen Kookesh Deputy Treasurer
2018 Expend.  $             222,632.70


Stand for Salmon voter initiative ballot backers are relying on the 2007 Clean Water Initiative language which passed a 2008 Alaska Supreme Court ruling stating that the 2007 initiative was not in violation of the multiple-use or Alaska State Legislature plenary powers clauses in the Alaska State Constitution.  The multiple-use clause allows for all manner of public land use and management – i.e. mining, oil and gas, sport hunting and fishing, commercial fishing, and subsistence. Each natural resource extraction project applies for a permit under the jurisdiction of both Alaska Department of Natural Resources an Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  Permitting takes into account currently existing laws, rules, and regulations disallowing wonton destruction, removal, or damage to fish and game habitat – if a development plan involves any of the above damages, the permit will not be issued by DNR and F&G.  Exceptions do exist allowing some damage, but it involves a direct trade off for reclamation of any nearby fish and game habitat relative to the proposed project.

The Stand for Salmon voter initiative ballot language proposes stricter laws, rules, and regulations surrounding any type of damage to fish and game habitat, and directly mirrors the 2007 Clean Water Initiative ballot language to skirt the multiple use clause and the clause involving the plenary power of the Alaska State Legislature to promulgate laws as the authorized branch of government to do so.  The plenary clause cannot be pre-empted by any voter initiative ballot language or measure, otherwise the proposed initiative would be disallowed, hence the utilization or mirroring of the 2007 Clean Water Initiative.

The State of Alaska Department of Law, representing the head of the Division of Elections, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, argues in its brief before the Alaska Supreme Court, that the proposed ballot language may superficially pass multiple-use and plenary clauses, but the whole intent of the proposal does indeed pre-empt both clauses, and should therefore be ruled unconstitutional.  The Trustees for Alaska attorneys, representing Stand For Salmon, argue that because the proposed ballot language mirrors the 2007 Clean Water Initiative, the ballot initiative should be allowed to proceed, and if partial sections of the whole initiative are found to pre-empt the clauses, those partial sections should be severed from the text and an edited version should be allowed to proceed to the 2018 General Election ballot.  A theoretical edited version of the ballot would add laws, rules, and regulations to the existing protections of fish and game habitat already existing in the state body of law.

Amicus Curiae parties to the Alaska Supreme Court case S-16862 Mallott v Stand For Salmon include:

Bristol Bay Fishermen’s Association and Ekwok Tribal Council(for Stand for Alaska)

Alaska Oil and Gas Association(for Stand for Alaska)

Council of Alaska Producers(for Stand for Alaska)

ANCSA Regional CEOs Association(for Stand for Alaska)

Oral arguments are scheduled for 1:30PM, Thursday, April 26th, fifth floor of the Boney Courthouse, 303 K St, Anchorage, AK 99501. Parties have 30 minutes to argue before the court, with options to yield time for responses.

The Alaska Supreme Court Justices are mostly non-partisan, and often issue rulings based on intent and readings of the law, rather than based on pre-determined political disposition.  This century there have been anywhere between 3 and 6 proposed ballot initiatives, depending on accreted versions, similar to the current pending Stand For Salmon initiative, which all failed on multiple-use clause grounds in state Superior or Supreme Courts, and did not arrive to a General Election ballot.  The Appellees Stand For Salmon/Trustees for Alaska in my opinion hold the weaker argument compared to the Appellants State Department of Law/Lt Gov Mallott, and I do not anticipate the Stand For Salmon ballot language to pass constitutional muster. The Supreme Court will expedite a written ruling by June 2018 to allow time for any potential 2018 General Election ballot requirement fulfillments.

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Mallott v Stand For Salmon – Alaska Supreme Court Oral Arguments Thursday, April 26, 1:30PM

Justices Presiding:

Craig Stowers, Chief Justice



Daniel Winfree, Peter Maassen, Joel Bolger, Susan Carney


State of Alaska Assistant Attorney General

Joanne Greene, representing Alaska Division of Elections


Trustees For Alaska/Stand For Salmon Attorneys

Valerie Brown, Trustees for Alaska


Time convened: 1:30PM


Notes paraphrased with argument highlights only, not including direct quotes.  Please refer to for complete video archive of oral argument footage and accurate record.


State of Alaska Opening Arguments

The central provisions of ballot initiative 17FHS2 are appropriations of public assets in nature, and are inseverable.  Amici Briefs are essentially affidavits proving large development projects in the state would not be allowable under the proposed laws of 17FHS2.  Also, the plain – and essential – language of 17FSH2 cannot be struck by the Court without significantly altering the essence of the initiative, therefore mooting the constitutionality of preparing a ballot vote.


Chief Justice Stowers– Qualify the language “adversely affected”


“Adversely affected” is included in 17FHS2, but following the term, legislative discretion and authority is effectively bypassed with permanent, barring language resulting in potential permitting denial of large development projects throughout the state.


e.g. “substantial damage” in Section 7 – permanently barring language which legislature, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Fish and Game cannot exercise constitutional and legislative authority to allow and enforce the constitutional multiple-use clause


Chief Justice Stowers– Suggesting Appellant arguments will be followed, it is the Court’s duty to construe ballot initiative language in favor of the sponsors


Granted the constitution has a process to protect and allow sponsored ballots, there has been a three-prong test established by this Court:


Prong One: Unconstitutional language can be severed

Prong Two: Severability cannot result in substantially changing the spirit of the measure

Prong Three: …


Chief Justice Stowers interrupting:What if the Court does sever certain sections of 17FHS2?


The three-prong test still stands as the rubric, and 17FSH2 by interpretation cannot pass the test.


Appellee continuing presented argument without dialogue:

The entire permitting scheme described by the proposed sections of 17FHS2 involves “adversely affected,” “substantially damaged,” and permanent, barring language – if the Court does sever provisions involving appropriations and public assets, and if the Court does sever any permanent, barring language disallowing legislative discretion and constitutional authority of the Department of Fish and Game, the sections are so interwoven that severing one part or two parts from the whole will substantially change the essence of 17FHS2, effectively ruling the initiative unconstitutional.


Justice Winfree:In Kolhaus(?) [which case?] the Court issued a ruling for that particular ballot initiative to be redrafted due to being incomplete in nature.  Can 17FSH2 be redrafted, or is it too far along in the process?


17FSH2 has received all required certifications and successfully fulfilled all requirements leading up to Division of Elections certification, so it cannot be redrafted for the current election cycle.


Justice Bolger:  When do parties need a decision from the Court if 17FH2 or a severed version of it were to go out on the 2018 General Election ballot?


Division of Elections has a September 5, 2018 deadline for printing ballot materials, so “a few days before that.”


Yields time with approximately 5:45 minutes remaining.


Stand For Salmon Opening Arguments

The Superior Court correctly ruled 17FHS2 as constitutional, therefore the Court should follow. “Permanent damage” arguments are misconstrued by the Appellees – a tiered permit scheme proposed by 17FHS2 provisions does in fact allow “damage” to result against anadromous streams, and does not qualify as a permanent bar against any development projects around the state.  Also, any possible permit denial under 17FSH2 provisions does in fact not preclude legislative discretion and constitutional authority of the Department of Fish and Game.


Chief Justice Stowers: Arguments have been made by the Appellee and Amici that the language and provisions of 17FSH2 would in fact permanently ban any potential large project anywhere in the state.


The permitting tier scheme of the 17FSH2 provisions comprehensively encompass levels of damage from minor to major, and therefore is not permanently barring or banning projects forthwith; there are allowable thresholds of damage, and only very certain damages are disallowed and unlawful per 17FSH2 provisions.


Justice Bolger: Referring to the Alaska Fisheriescase (?), would 17FSH2 ban currently permitted projects?


There is a grandfather clause, which provides currently permitted projects to continue operations, even if unlawful in the case of 17FHS2 passing in the majority.


Chief Justice Stowers: Does 17FSH preclude legislative discretion, or merely narrow legislative discretion?


17FSH2 mirrors the language of 07WTR3, which did pass constitutional muster and was presented on the 2008 General Election ballot.  17FSH2 is a comprehensive vetting process for permitting development activities involving anadromous fish waters, and deals with varied levels of “potential harm,” and considering vagueness of vetting process and varied levels as described of potential harm, there is in fact a constitutional framework for legislative discretion to finalize determination of “adversely affected,” “potential harm,” and “substantially damaged.”


Chief Justice Stowers: Going back to the grandfather clause – what if there is an approved exploration permit, but not a final project permit? Would the work of an exploration permit go to waste if 17FSH2 passes and a final project permit is unlawful?


A conjectural question with no facts – no firm answer readily available.


Justice: expand on “harm,” or “resulting harm,” and what about the provisions barring any future off-site mitigation, reclamation, and/or rehabilitation?


Mitigation, reclamation, and rehabilitation are essentially “enabling statutes” and is a proponent of destructive development practices


Justice: What if a “major permit” and “substantial damage” provisions are found to be unconstitutional?  Are those provisions severable?


Yes, they are severable, but the Stand For Salmon group would like the whole initiative to be ruled constitutional and presented on the 2018 General Election ballot.


Appellee continuing argument without dialogue:

17FSH2 also includes new public process and participation in the permitting process of development, adds enforcement mechanisms against wonton and unlawful damage, and further expands Department of Fish and Game permitting jurisdiction, particularly adding an assumption that most waterways and stream are anadromous, which is currently not in statute.  All of these additional provisions do not fall under appropriations of public assets interpretation and are therefore severable and able to stand on a ballot question.


Justice Winfree: Let’s refer to Section 2, B(1-8), involving habitat elements and term definitions which are important to fish. How is the Department of Fish and Game to consider these proposed sections?  Mandatory considerations?  Advisory considerations?  Guidelines? What type of standards are [these]? What about “proper protection”? Is that prescriptive guidance?


“Proper protection” can be considered as a “trigger” under the tiered permitting system, indicating a higher tiered permitting regime to better protect anadromous water ways.


Justice Winfree:What about the term “maintain”?  Is “maintain” prescriptive or mandatory?


“Maintain” is a carry-over from current statute.


Chief Justice Stowers: What about the language referring to the Commissioner of Fish and Game – “shall ensure” by “maintaining”?


“Shall ensure” and “maintaining” properly fall under Commissioner discretion and is deliberately kept vague to allow for that constitutional discretion to stand.


Chief Justice Stowers: What about “permit conditions and measures” under Section 8?  What about the particular line “notwithstanding [subsection] B, a permit may not be granted.”


The language is concrete in that a permit may or may not be granted under the proposed tiered permitting system, and this is in fact not a public assets appropriation test.


Chief Justice Stowers continued: What if the Court finds permanently barring language in the initiative proposals, as to what will and what will not be allowable development activites?


The Department of Fish and Game will continue to hold discretionary authority under the proposed tiered permitting system, and therefore passes the constitutionality test.


Chief Justice Stowers continued: What about the following terms and barring language: “Substantial damage,” “adversely affected,” “recover and restore,” and “reasonable period”?


The terms are kept vague in the 17FSH2 language provisions, correctly allowing for Department of Fish and Game discretionary authority to make rules and regulations determining allowable and disallowed development activities based on the above terms.


Appellee sum:

We respectfully request the Court hold interpretations of public appropriations and constitutionality questions to a narrow focus, and affirm the Superior Court ruling.


Appellant Rebuttal (allowed 7 minutes to rebut by the Chief Justice):

The Department of Fish and Game cannot get around “significantly damaged” habitat language, therefore precluding legislative discretion and constitutional authority, ruling 17FSH2 moot and inseverable.  We respectfully request the Court to reverse the Superior Court ruling and find 17FSH2 unconstitutional.



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Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team – Alaska Governor’s Office Update March 2018

From C. Nikoosh Carlo, Senior Advisor, Climate and Arctic Policy, Office of the Governor, State of Alaska

Thank you for your interest in this Administration’s efforts in support of our Alaska Climate Change Strategy, including development of a climate action plan. This policy initiative is an exciting opportunity for Alaskans to develop a range of solutions in response to climate change that help make wise use of our resources, provide for the health and welfare of Alaskans today, and meet our responsibilities to future generations of Alaskans. Input from Alaskans like you will help assess impacts of potential climate actions and ensure that our climate solutions reflect the diverse needs, interests, and expertise around the state.

I am pleased to share an update on the collective work of the Administration’s Cabinet Climate Team (CCT) and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team (CALT).

Governor’s Climate Change Webpage

The new climate change webpage, part of the Governor’s website, is accessible at The page provides links and summaries of state agency, University of Alaska, and AEA efforts on climate change, as well as information about the CALT, including CALT meeting summaries, draft future work plans and schedule of upcoming meetings. The Institute of the North serves as the Secretariat for the CALT and information is also posted to

Climate Leadership Team

The Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team held its inaugural meeting on December 18, 2017, in Anchorage. Team members identified near-team and long-term (2030 and 2050) goals and visions for Alaska’s climate policy, and developed an initial work plan for 2018. As stated in the Administrative Order, the leadership team has a September 2018 deadline to present its recommended climate action plan to the Governor.

CALT members will participate in one or both working groups on mitigation and adaptation. The Mitigation Working Group will focus on growing renewable energy, energy efficiency, and community and commercial emissions reductions. The Adaptation Working Group will focus on strengthening social, environmental, and economic resilience in the context of climate change. As they develop policy recommendations, both groups will meet regularly, engage with stakeholder groups and pursue partnerships, identity gaps and potential research.

Both working groups met via teleconference – and in-person for those members who are based in Anchorage and Juneau – on Tuesday, January 30 (Adaptation) and Wednesday, January 31 (Mitigation) and will continue to meet approximately the fourth week of each month. The agenda for both meetings was to finalize the scope and operations of each working group and to continue discussions of recommended climate actions. Past and future meetings will continue to be open to the public as observers; details of upcoming meetings will be posted via the public notice system.

Agency Highlights

Recently both the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released reports that support agencies’ and the climate team’s work to identify climate change impacts of concern and prioritize mitigation and adaptation actions.

On January 8, the DHSS Section of Epidemiology released the “Assessment of the Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change in Alaska”, which outlines how the health of Alaskans could be affected by climate change. The report highlights physical and mental health challenges that Alaskans are currently experiencing, as well as those that could be expected in the future due to warming temperatures and changing weather patterns related to climate change. The report also includes specific adaptation strategies, including support for community mental health programs and developing community response plans for wildfires. The report can be found at

On January 30, DEC release an updated Alaska Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report, which describes and quantified human-caused sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occurring between 1990 and 2015 from Alaska operations and facilities. The updated inventory builds on earlier reports issued by DEC (2007, 2010) and focuses primarily on GHG emissions from seven economic sectors in Alaska: industrial, transportation, residential and commercial, electrical generation, industrial processes, waste, and agriculture. The report also includes data on emissions from wildfires and emissions reservoirs, also known as emission sinks, which in most years covered by the report have trapped and stored carbon from the atmosphere. The report can be found at

2018 is off to a productive start. Throughout the year, we will strive to provide updates via e-mail on the work of the leadership team and highlight any upcoming opportunities for public input. There is a public comment form available at Thank you again for your interest in this Administration’s efforts on climate change. Please feel free to reach out directly to me ( or to the CALT Secretariat ( with questions or comments.

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