Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
Personal tools
You are here: Home ›› Alaskans Condemn Trump’s Revocation of Ocean Protections

Alaskans Condemn Trump’s Revocation of Ocean Protections

Posted by Northern Center at Apr 27, 2017 05:04 PM |

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA--A broad coalition of Alaskans reacted with outrage to President Donald J. Trump’s impending Executive Order released Thursday, revoking oil and gas protections in vast swaths of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The arctic waters were withdrawn from future oil and gas sales last year by the outgoing Obama administration after a five-year grassroots campaign by concerned Alaskans. The coalition, including Alaska Natives from front-line communities and their allies in climate and environmental justice advocacy, promised fierce resistance against Trump plans for offshore drilling in Alaska’s arctic.

Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2017

 

For more information, contact:

Jessica Girard, (508) 864-1421, girard@northern.org    

Princess Johnson, (907)687-0440, princesslucaj@gmail.com



Alaskans Condemn Trump’s Revocation of  Ocean Protections
Indigenous leaders and climate justice advocates vow to fight industry giveaway


FAIRBANKS, ALASKA--A broad coalition of Alaskans reacted with outrage to President Donald J. Trump’s impending Executive Order released Thursday, revoking oil and gas protections in vast swaths of Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The arctic waters were withdrawn from future oil and gas sales last year by the outgoing Obama administration after a five-year grassroots campaign by concerned Alaskans. The coalition, including Alaska Natives from front-line communities and their allies in climate and environmental justice advocacy, promised fierce resistance against Trump plans for offshore drilling in Alaska’s arctic.

“I’m concerned about future generations--my future children--not being able to live on Shishmaref because of the impacts of climate change,” said Inupiaq youth leader Esau Sinnok, referring to his home village which is threatened by climate-related erosion. Dozens of other communities are similarly vulnerable to disruptions by extreme weather and changing landscapes, as Alaska’s climate is warming twice as fast as that of the lower-48. Many of these predominantly Alaska Native communities depend heavily on marine mammals, fish and other wild foods that are already being affected by climate change and would potentially face extreme disruption from offshore oil and gas activity.

Jessica Girard of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center--one of several conservation groups that will challenge the revoking of the withdrawals--pointed out the disconnect between the announcement and the flurry of grassroots organizing demanding action on climate change. “Right after millions marched to protect science and millions are expected to march to protect the fate of our species and our planet tomorrow, President Trump goes against all of these constituents and ignores the science of climate change by re-opening offshore leases to oil and gas exploration. This enables the continued development of fossil fuels when instead we should be focusing on a just transition off fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy economy.”

“We cannot let corporations come into Alaska and privatize what we all hold in common,” wrote Princess Daazhrai Johnson (see story on Medium), a member of the Gwich’in nation and a climate justice  and indigenous rights organizer. Johnson, who has is also an advocate to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil development, connected the fight for the Arctic Ocean with similar struggles to guard “places that do not belong to any human being but that provide us with the sources of life we all need to survive and ensure the rights of salmon, caribou, and a myriad of wildlife to continue to thrive.”

While consistent with Trump’s pattern of denying the sound science around climate change, railroading pipelines such as the Dakota Access and Keystone XL that violate human rights, and working to deregulate the fossil fuel industry,  These administrative decisions are out of sync with public opinion on climate change. Millions had called on the Obama administration to deliver on its promises to make climate action a priority, demanding that it withdraw plans for oil and gas lease sales in all federal waters. After more than five years of direct action, public testimony, and advocacy  organizers claimed a significant victory last December when President Obama announced plans to end the offshore oil and gas leasing program in the federal waters in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

Despite the unwelcome news, Johnson finds hope in a growing network of citizens that are allying together to address common threats to the cultures and living beings of the North: “These Alaskans understand that we are on the front lines of negative climate change impacts and that if we don’t work towards a just transition off fossil fuels we are threatening the ability for our children and all future generations to enjoy the splendors we have been blessed with in our Arctic home.”

 

###

 
Document Actions
powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy