Trustees for Alaska harm Native villages

Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Successful tribal communities recognize that each member who claims to speak on behalf of that community do nothing but harm that community.

Trustees for Alaska claimed to speak on behalf of Alaska Native cultures when on Jan. 15 they appealed Red Dog Mine's water discharge permit. They did not claim that there was any environmental harm, only that certain regulatory provisions were not precisely followed and therefore the mine should stop.

As a result of their appeal, virtually every Alaska Native community they claim to speak for will be irrevocably and irreparably harmed. While they and their clients enjoy the benefits of another successful undisclosed out-of-court settlement, more than 200 Alaska Native villages and more than 100,000 Alaska Natives will lose nearly $100 million in federally mandated ANCSA revenue sharing.

These funds literally mean the difference in survival to dozens of Alaskan village economies and thousands of homes. Their appeal could last five years. Their next undisclosed out-of-court settlement could cost Alaska Natives and Alaska's economy more than $500 million.

Tom Harris


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