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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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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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Guest Post: The Who, What, Where, Why and How of Alaskan Forest Carbon Offsets

The Who, What, Where, Why and How of Alaskan Forest Carbon Offsets

By Denise Farrell and Debbie Atuk

Who can earn carbon offsets?

Alaskan landowners, regional and village corporations, tribes, and private landowners, located in a specific region of the State (see map below), who actively preserve forest lands and improve forest management practices are eligible to participate in the California cap and trade program. The generation of carbon offsets and the subsequent sale in the cap and trade market can generate substantial profits for landowners. Undertaking a forest carbon offset project preserves culturally important lands, in pristine condition, for future generations.

What is a carbon offset?

Forests are potent tools in mitigating climate change due to their capacity to sequester and store carbon. The stored carbon can then be sold as offsets in carbon markets which seek to incentivize forest carbon sequestration by putting a price on carbon emissions. One such market, the California carbon market, came into existence in 2013 after Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solution Act of 2006. Under state law in California, carbon-emitting entities must either pay the State of California for allowances to cover their emissions or buy carbon offsets from forest owners to meet compliance obligations. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made to compensate for an emission made elsewhere.

Where does the project have to be located?

In designing the cap and trade program the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) designated certain areas in Alaska as eligible for forestry projects. ARB primarily selected the assessment area in regions where there was accurate US Forest Service inventory data. Accurate inventory data is a prerequisite for determining the “baseline,” for the geographic region. Only carbon sequestration above such baseline can generate carbon offsets. Currently, to be eligible for the ARB cap and trade program, forest projects must be located in the highlighted regions on the map below.

AK Forestry

Why are landowners provided the financial incentive to preserve forests?

A carbon offset is designed to provide incentive to take actions that are “additional,” to business as usual or above a baseline of activities. In undertaking a forest carbon project in the assessment area, landowners are making a 100-year commitment to continuing to maintain the carbon sequestered in the project area above the baseline. By sequestering the additional carbon they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of the cap and trade program is to have emitters purchase allowances or offsets (for only a small portion of their requirement). The offsets can only be generated by projects or activities that CARB want to encourage, such as forest preservation. The financial return for generating these offsets intends to provide the financial encouragement as well as the moral imperative, to do such desired actions.

How does the California Cap and Trade Program work?

Depending on the local topography and tree species composition, certain parcels of land could be developed as a carbon project which generates offsets. The development team of Environmental Attribute Advisors and Encourage Capital works with forest owners to evaluate and then if feasible, develop forest carbon projects. Our development team can undertake a desktop assessment of the lands at no cost, if certain information is provided. If the assessment yields a positive finding, then our team will propose terms to develop the project. The project development is expected to take 18-24 months and could generate a windfall of cash, potentially worth millions, for the landowner at the end of the development period. Our team will hire inventory crews, biometricians, carbon quantification experts, and verifiers to develop this project ensuring that the project meets all the requirements of the California forest carbon protocol. Our team will typically invest all up-front capital in the project to cover any related carbon development expenses in return for a minority portion of the carbon offsets generated by the project.

How to get started?

In order for our development team to assess project feasibility, propose terms and estimate the potential revenue generated from a carbon project for the landowner, we will request the following information:

  1. Latest forest inventory; and the inventory methodology which was used to collect the inventory
  2. Location of inventory plots, GPS coordinates and shapefiles
  3. Maps of the property
  4. Harvesting plan (if any)
  5. Ownership documents, and record of easement (if any)
  6. If inventory data does not exist, then any other related information such as a recent property appraisal
  7. Profits realized from the carbon project will be taxed as any other commercial activity. The landowner should review tax considerations with a tax advisor as they may vary for individuals and may differ from one state to another.

Major Considerations in Developing a Forest Carbon Project

  • No risk or upfront costs for landowner, our team will cover all costs and develop the project
  • If carbon project is successful, then a minimum 100-year stewardship commitment to monitor the project
  • Windfall of cash in the next 18-24 months, potentially worth millions along with the potential for annual accretion of carbon offsets
  • Penalties in case of intentional reduction in carbon stocks (no penalties in case of unintentional reversals e.g. forest fires)
  • Annual recurring expenses to sustain forestry management, maintain the carbon project and hire foresters
  • After initial project set up, foresters must enter the property and verify the project once every 6 years which will entail expenses to be paid by the landowner
  • An opportunity to be a pioneer in the fight against climate change and global warming
  • Culturally important lands are preserved for future generation in pristine condition


For Additional Information Contact

Denise Farrell


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UAF Interior-Aleutians Campus to Host Alaska Native Fish and Game Co-Management Seminar November 19th & 20th, 2015 in Fairbanks, Alaska

Co-Management Symposium

Weaving Together Two Worlds

Purpose: A forum to build understanding, relationships, and knowledge for advancing the co-management of Alaskan fish and wildlife resources.

Progressive focus: Shared value of healthy ecosystems, healthy populations, and resource abundance.

Co-Management is the term that defines systems and opportunities that provide an adequate and meaningful role for Alaska Natives in management of traditional resources. Alaska Natives and their Tribal governments, Tribal consortiums, nonprofits, and corporations have served as stewards of their traditional lands and resources for thousands of years maintaining healthy and productive ecosystems, they have proven knowledge, skills, and abilities to adequately manage Alaska’s fish and wildlife resources. Co-Management refers to a system where those relying upon the resources have a substantial role in making decisions about the management for healthy, productive ecosystems and populations.

Who is this symposium for?
This event will bring together University of Alaska researchers and staff, Alaska Native Tribal and ANCSA corporation leaders and staff, state and federal fish and game managers, and those with the vested interest in seeing successful co-management in Alaska.

Co-Management Symposium – Day 1 & 2
Building on a historical perspective of fish and wildlife management in Alaska, speakers will focus on the contemporary challenges and opportunities for co-management in Alaska today. Successful examples of co-management in action will be highlighted, one-to-one sharing and dialogue will be incorporated,  and collaborative solutions will be identified.

Co-Production of Knowledge – Day 3
In conjunction with the Co-Management Symposium there will be an optional third day for Tribal leaders/staff, university researchers, and agency researchers  that are interested in developing collaborative research partnerships. This interactive workshop will be particularly useful for Tribal leaders who are seeking partners for identified research priorities.

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