I was appalled at the criticism leveled by some legislators of university faculty and students for being "anti-development." More shameful is the response by Chancellor Mark Hamilton calling them "conservative" and just needing to "mature over time."
This is all too reminiscent of a time several decades ago when Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, proposed using nuclear explosions to bomb a year-round port at Point Hope. State leaders, development boosters and even the president of the university, William Wood, were all enthusiastic about this innovative use of nuclear science to help develop the state's resources. University professors whose research found this project harmful to the people and wildlife of the area were scorned, fired and blacklisted. How many of our current legislators now wish that development project had come to fruition?
I would like to suggest that these legislators and others who need a lesson in Alaska development history read "The Firecracker Boys" by Dan O'Neill. Then let's allow our learning institutions to question conventional wisdom without fear of reprisal. We won't always have professors willing to risk jobs to tell the truth. We may not find out until it is too late that there is another Edward Teller in our midst.
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