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OPPOSING VIEWS – Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski stands with Yukon MP Larry Bagnell this week in Ottawa. Bagnell was hosting an international meeting of parliamentarians representing the Arctic region. With the change in the U.S. presidency looming on Jan. 20, 2017, Murkowski is promising to introduce legislation to open up Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration. Bagnell is promising to do what he can to ensure continued protection of the refuge.

Save-ANWR effort heats up as Trump era looms

The Alaska Wilderness League is trying to shore up a legislative defence to ensure continued protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), says its executive director.

By Chuck Tobin on November 18, 2016

The Alaska Wilderness League is trying to shore up a legislative defence to ensure continued protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), says its executive director.

Cindy Shogan said from her office in Washington, D.C., this morning they have 37 U.S. senators willing to support a wilderness protection bill for the refuge.

With four more, or 41 of the 100 senators, they can filibuster any bill brought forward by the Republicans to open up ANWR for oil and gas exploration, she said.

Shogan explained the Republican majority in the Senate requires 60 senators of any stripe to stop a filibuster – the act of holding up legislation by talking it to death.

The wilderness league, she said, wants to secure the support from at least four more before the Senate breaks next month so that it can send a message to the next Congress that they’re ready to defend ANWR.

“We want to start the next Congress saying it is going to be tough to roll us,” she said. “We want to start the next Congress in a position of strength.”

Shogan said she’s guardedly optimistic they’ll reach the 41 senators they need.

With last week’s U.S. election, the Republicans gained control of the White House, and retained majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives that make up the U.S. Congress.

Having control of all three, Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski promised after her re-election last week that she will introduce legislation to open up the wildlife refuge.

The debate over ANWR has been on the sidelines since Democratic President Barack Obama took over the White House in January 2009.

In the wake of last week’s election, Vuntut Gwitchin Chief Bruce Charlie sent Lorraine Netro to Washington to lobby for protection alongside four other Gwitchin representatives from Alaska.

There is great fear that oil and gas exploration in the wildlife refuge and drilling on Alaska’s coastal plain would have a devastating impact on the Porcupine caribou herd. The coast plain serves as the caribou’s primary calving grounds. The debate over ANWR has been going on for decades.

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell said in an interview this morning he’s called on Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. and the Canadian embassy to do what they can.

It would be ideal if Obama were to designate the refuge as a national monument before leaving office in January, but it’s not likely a sitting-duck president would undertake such a bold step, he said.

As vice-chair of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, Bagnell hosted a meeting this week of elected representatives from across the circumpolar North, including Murkowski, who also chairs the U.S. Senate Energy Committee. (See separate story, p. 9.)

He said during a brief discussion with Murkowski, the senator did confirm she would be bringing forward legislation to open up the refuge at the earliest opportunity.

It’s likely the best chance to shut down any attempt to open up the refuge rests with the Senate and not the House of Representatives, Bagnell said.

He pointed out that in the U.S., senators don’t always vote along party lines, that you’ll have Republicans opposed to oil and gas exploration in the refuge and Democrats in favour.

The last time the debate over ANWR came to a vote in the mid-2000s before Obama was elected, the legislation was defeated in the Senate by just one or two votes, Bagnell recalled.

He said he’s also had a go-around over ANWR with Murkowski’s Republican father, Frank Murkowski, who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1981 to 2002 before leaving office to serve as the state’s governor. The senior Murkowski was also very much in favour of opening up the refuge, Bagnell said.

As is their right, U.S. senators who depart midway through their six-year terms can appoint a successor to take over until the next election.

Frank Murkowski appointed his daughter, who was sitting in the House of Representatives at the time. She was re-elected as senator in 2004, 2010 and again last week.

Following last week’s election, there are 54 Republicans in the Senate, 44 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.

There are now 239 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 193 Democrats.

Comments (13)

Up 2 Down 2

gringobrains on Nov 23, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Climate change is not the problem, it's the solution, bye, bye Miss America eat the whole pie.

Up 5 Down 1

Bill Williams on Nov 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Getting a funny pic of Rumpled Larry (Columbo) face to face with Trump about ANWR would be epic as we would see Larry literally being eaten alive.

Up 5 Down 5

Stu Winter on Nov 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Josey please don't go. I often disagree with you and would like some slight moderation in your posts and of course I challenge your thinking- but whatever, you are not likely to change,

If your leaving because it's expensive to live in Dan's town you can rent our trailer. It's a little crude but we plan to move it to the Walmark Parking lot. Pretty convenient location and there is a mini MacD's there.

A so, so trail across the street by the river to walk your dog or dogs.

Life is good when your on the edge.

Up 9 Down 4

Yukoner on Nov 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

Jc, in your comment "Both Canada and the USA are so far in debt, future generations will never pay it off unless we take the money from under the ground", you are proposing then that Canada (and the US since you mentioned them) nationalise the resource extraction industries so that all revenues from said extraction returns solely to the coffers of the country, as the Norwegians did with Statoil? Because otherwise, we don't see much of these "great riches" you allude to.

Up 5 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Nov 22, 2016 at 8:59 am

It sucks, but we have this silly section 2 thing in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We won't be free of hurt feelings and offensive opinions until we can get rid of the whole stupid Charter. Then we will finally be able to feel safe from all those nasty people out there.

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

Up 6 Down 4

June Jackson on Nov 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Josey.. I am sorry to see this creative poster go, really, I don't like to see any poster quit..weather a person agrees or not, it's one of the few rights a person has left..an opinion. In many ways, censorship drives politically incorrect opinions underground...They are still there..but now they are hiding in the dark..

Many super smart people post here, the Star allows quite a stretch of opinion to be expressed...some just vent..some have a passion..but all are valid.. I believe everyone takes the time to post because they believe they are helping in some way to make their world, life, community a better place.. .as the guy said..I may not agree with what you say..but I will defend to my death your right to say it.

A reminder to the Star as well...I'm sure you recognize this.."don't let the bastards get you down".

Up 9 Down 10

Arn Anderson on Nov 21, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Bye Ezra, or I mean Josey. lol

Up 11 Down 7

Josey Wales on Nov 21, 2016 at 6:14 am

Hello June, yes I most certainly do...at least what moderation will tolerate.
I understand I have been keeping moderation working more than ya'll, as beyond fed up I am! That said, I got a libel warning from the crew...hence?

A change up, since snowflakes seem to melt with my words, insulated from the real world folks think hurt feelings are like severed arteries, and maaaaabye some or one of my targets called to whine...dunno?
So I will go back to my regular tasks in person, as I've done for years moderator sans.
Since June you have been a fair objective reader of Josey and a defender of free expression...I give you the readers digest version of my sign off sent to moderation.
Did this scare me into silence? No quite contrary, decided to RAMP UP...my on street presence, in office, in the face of hypocrites, zealot antidote, and cultural Marxist opposition for a start.

Comes spring I feel I will have my own channel, a bit of capital behind me as folks here with deeper pockets than mine...wish me never quiet.
The scumbags in town loathe me, as do many of my regular targets but that is OK as clearly they cannot remove this thorn stuck in their eye.

So June, after I hit submit...OJW rides off to another front and any OJW, Josey, or Josey Wales...will be an imposter.
In fairness to the star, it took heaps of edits, trashed posts, potty mouth run on, and too many high value targets I suppose before "the warning".
So I truly do not have an axe grind against the star, they too are just people, they too are conditioned to accept the decay in our media...despite being part of it.

Besides have you folks not been illustrated the issues I feel are effecting this dysfunctional, very very dangerous slippery slope of the PC Crusaders and SJW's, race baiting, elitist nonsense time we are told to march in?
...OK maybe not so "reader digest" like.
Thanks June for the support, and never let anyone tell you how to think...even me.
As one must form their own views based on the information collected and distributed...hence the medias complicit role in said dysfunction.

Should be edit free this one, unless dissent is "outta terms"
OJW ...holstered...here!

Up 11 Down 13

Arthur Mitchell on Nov 20, 2016 at 11:16 am

One correction: US senators do not have the right to appoint their successors after leaving before the end of their terms. The governor of a state makes that appointment. Former Senator Frank Murkowski was able to appoint his daughter, Lisa Murkowski, to complete his senate term because he was then serving as Alaska's Governor. He was eventually defeated by Sarah Palin.

I had the privilege in September 2005 of accompanying the Gwitchin delegation to Washington, DC, to assist in their lobbying effort to oppose opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. I paid my own way, as I was then the Yukon Liberal leader, but did not yet have a seat in the YLA. We primarily were lobbying Republican senators and members of Congress, as the Democrats were largely on side. To be clear, this was not an anti carbon fuel issue, but was solely about protecting the Porcupine Caribou Herd's calving grounds, which are on the coastal plains of the North Slope.
Some of the Republcan senators whose support was earned included Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, both representing Maine. Then Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton addressed the northern (Alaskan and Yukon) delegation in front of the Capitol building. I remain hopeful that there may be sufficient senators from both political parties willing to prevent drilling in ANWR. Yukon MP Larry Bagnell played a huge role back then, and no doubt will again. Former MLA Lorraine Netro, Darius Elias, and former Chief Joe Linklater were among the Gwitchin leaders who led the Yukon delegation. This issue is about the preservation of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and should cross all Yukon and American political party lines. It is about our responsibility to the herd and to future generations.

Up 25 Down 6

June Jackson on Nov 19, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Well Josey, you call it like it is. Already the world is placing blame for all their woes on Trump. Some of them are right to be worried, Trump has indicated that the US sends a trillion taxpayer dollars in foreign aid to countries that are trying to kill "us" that's going to stop. I wish Jr. Trudeau would say that.

Donald Trump..what you see is what you get. He isn't a man hiding his thoughts, no second agenda's there. Personally, I am taking a wait and see stance..he hasn't even taken the oath yet and Obama is still President. ANWR is getting their panties in a knot over nothing.. yet.

If I had anything to be concerned about regarding the Trump presidency, it would be talk of breaking trade agreements with China. Although I can not find any Trump speeches that indicate this, just generally speaking, I feel China is not to be trifled with.

Up 16 Down 24

ProScience Greenie on Nov 19, 2016 at 9:35 am

Murkowski is actually a decent and reasonable conservative but there are lots of other places to drill for oil besides ANWR as we start to move away from hydrocarbons.

Up 22 Down 15

Josey Wales on Nov 19, 2016 at 3:10 am

Soon the zealots will weave into their tapestry, that "climate change" is the Donald's fault too. Beached whales...Trump caused. Prevailing winds shifted...Trump did it. Murder in Pelly...result of anger over the interruption to Hillary's coronation and Trump's victory.
Why everything is his fault, but of course...I would expect no less from...zealots.
I think we should reclaim nature and rip up the highway, remove all airstrips and paved runways ban all use of every aspect of oil production and gas reserves.
...and go back to the Disney fantasy of peaceful harmony among all folks pre-contact ridding ourselves of all evil the 21st century brings.
Wonder how the crew got to Washington without oil, dog team?

Up 34 Down 13

jc on Nov 18, 2016 at 6:13 pm

There are great riches under the ground and have to be mined out. I'ts like a bank, what good is the money if it can't be spent. Both Canada and the USA are so far in debt, future generations will never pay it off unless we take the money from under the ground. FN and environmentalists are always the first to demand money from the government but are always the last to contribute and are always the first to oppose development. They have this weird sense of faith in their heads that the money will come from somewhere. I think all government funding for them should be terminated until they come to their senses and contribute to the economy. It won't take long before they understand that the land is what supports the nation not hope.
Canada always claims to be a rich country, yet can't raise and maintain a decent Armed Forces to protect itself. I believe someday soon, Canada will lose our northern Arctic. And Trump may be the one to take it away from us. If we can't defend it we will lose it. So, we have to take the money out of the ground and put it in securities not welfare and social programs. To the FN, I ask, would you like to live in a free country of Canada, or under heel of Russia or China. If you like your freedom, then help support it. And stop your whining. For the professional environmentalists, get off the public and government dole and get real jobs.

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