Erik Lie-Nielsen's attack in Monday's Empire on Juneau Chamber of Commerce members who bravely decried Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's membership in a pro-development organization is a clear example of a tyrannical minority in action.
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SEACC members may be our neighbors, but they are not neighborly. They get 80 percent of their revenue, more than half-a-million dollars annually, from large foundations outside Alaska. These are not regular people living and working in Southeast Alaska.
The Moore Foundation's $607,000 grant to SEACC explicitly stated its goal "to stop all development in the Tongass region." This eliminates all doubt about SEACC's intentions. The group's lawsuits have stopped nearly all development in Southeast Alaska ranging from responsible timber sales to mining projects, all the while SEACC claims to support development with a straight face.
SEACC may support development of seasonal service sectors or ecotourism. Yet it has successfully fought all sorts of land uses for small business, housing and recreation that it disapproves of, resulting in artificial land shortages that drive up the cost of living for everyone.
SEACC is like that stereotypical bad neighbor who derives enjoyment by making his or her neighbors' lives a living hell. Just as the bad neighbor will call the cops during a dinner party that's a little too loud or check on his or her neighbor's garbage to assure it meets city code, SEACC says its just being a good citizen filing lawsuit after lawsuit.
SEACC's actions - which hurt our jobs, schools and local economies - speak louder than its disingenuous support for development.
The organization's overly zealous and often unnecessary defense of environmental legalese comes at the expense of many innocent neighbors. This is eco-fascism from a minority funded by Outside, anti-development foundations created by billionaires.
Kudos to those few courageous chamber members for exposing SEACC's hypocrisy. For 35 years' SEACC has enjoyed the benefit of the doubt from Juneau, but the free ride is over.
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