Letter to the Editor of OI member Carla Wulfsberg.
DECEMBER 21, 2017 03:05 PM
In a letter to the editor on Nov. 30, an Alaskan resident wrote that it is “laughable and hypocritical” for people in Seattle, New York and D.C. “whose ancestors have long since pillaged the land and resources” to tell Alaskans to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. What he does not appear to understand is that Alaskans don’t own the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We, the citizens of the United States, own the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and millions of us want to protect it for future generations.
He conveniently does not reveal that he, like every citizen in Alaska, benefits from the oil wealth trust fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. In 2015, the payment to each citizen of Alaska was $2,000, but fell to $1,022 in 2016.
Alaska is in a financial crisis. Why? Oil prices have dropped and oil dependence is in decline. One-third of all jobs in Alaska are dependent on the oil industry, as well as 90 percent of Alaska’s revenue to run its state government.
On Dec. 1, Senate Republicans in Congress voted to open up for development one of our nation’s most pristine wilderness ecosystems. This clearly won’t resolve Alaska’s financial problems, and it certainly won’t give Alaska the “thriving economy” the author believes exists for “everyone else in the country.” But it most certainly will destroy our irreplaceable national wilderness in the Arctic. Much appreciation goes to Senator Cantwell for her 10-year fight to protect the Arctic Refuge.