"We the people" seems to have been replaced by "We the corporations," and many of our policy makers appear to be onboard to do their bidding.
Gershon Cohen was removed from a Department of Environmental Conservation science advisory panel because he was an "advocate" for environmental regulations. It's true, he is an advocate, and for the majority of Alaskans who support the Clean Water Act. I guess cruise line science and real science don't mix.
DEC was also filling a seat on the panel, but after repeated statements in the Empire fully supporting the cruise lines in their scaled-back version for wastewater treatment, it smells like the same old thing: Corporations rule.
Don Larson, a highly respected Department of Fish and Game manager, was demoted because of his science-based and balanced approach to managing game. Mr. Rossi replaced him because his views were more progressive, as in "Hunt, baby, hunt." Mr. Rossi has no formal credential in wildlife management, but he does support maximum hunting effort and is in line with the governor's stance on endangered species, which is, there's no such thing because it might conflict with oil and mineral extraction.
On another note, Sen. Murkowski has made recent public statements in support of those devastated by the gulf oil spill. She goes on to say she hopes those affected by the gulf spill won't have to go through what Exxon claimants had to endure. That's interesting in that no politician from Alaska did anything really meaningful in the 20 years of litigation to put any kind of pressure on Exxon. The oil giant ultimately was the big winner.
Sen. Murkowski, whom I might add has received thousands of dollars in big oil campaign donations, did make a big deal over inserting a small carrot for claimants in an omnibus bill that would allow contributions of up to $100,000 in a specified retirement account with tax breaks. The fact of the matter is, after 20 years of stalling by Exxon and claims being reduced by one-tenth the original award, very few individuals were able to put a single dollar into a retirement account.
We need a governor and policy makers who support "We the people" first. A better understanding and respect for real science, instead of just how and when we can get that next corporate dollar, might ultimately be a better thing for our children and grandchildren.
Roy M. Smith
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