Forum, July 1: Special Interest Land Grab in the Arctic

Saturday, June 30, 2018
Special Interest Land Grab in the Arctic

Thirty senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke asking him to drop plans to allow oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

During the briefing, Udall said special interests should not get away with this land grab, which would carve up the refuge. In addition, indigenous speakers from Alaska and Canada accused the Trump administration of violating their communities’ human rights by proposing to allow drilling on the coastal plain contrary to the 1987 treaty between the U.S. and Canada to preserve the caribou herd there.

The U.S. government has long ignored the native peoples’ food security concerns. Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who blocked oil exploration in the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain during the Obama administration, has said that the federal government has looked at resources for their extractive value, not for their cultural, subsistence or environmental values.

Congress is considering an appropriations bill provision that would give Alaska’s 12 native corporations a chunk of the royalty revenues that the state is due to receive if oil and gas extraction begins in ANWR’s coastal plain.

Under the terms of the tax law that opened the coastal plain to oil and gas development, Alaska is due to receive 50 percent of the royalty money oil companies will pay for drilling in the coastal plain. An amendment to the House appropriations bill for fiscal 2019 would shift 3 percent of the state’s take to the Alaska Native corporations that are for-profit groups created under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Not all Alaskan natives support this development, only those who want to profit from it without thought to preserving their land and wildlife for a sustainable future.

Thank you to Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan and Bernie Sanders for signing on to the letter to preserve the Arctic coastal plain for future generations.

Carol Perera Weingeist


The writer is the New Hampshire guardian for the Alaska Wilderness League.

Free Film Shows Earth as a Garden

The Bradford (Vt.) Conservation Commission invites everyone to join us for our Monday night movie series on Monday, at 6:30 p.m., as we show a new film that explores our relationship with the natural world as seen through a gardener’s lens.

Filmmaker and talented gardener Stefan van Norden, of Hanover, has created a film, Negotiating with Nature, which explores our relationship to nature and what our gardens and wild places mean to us.

He interviews garden designers and park managers who describe how gardens and parks play a critical role as we navigate toward a sustainable future.

As he says in the film, “As someone who has spent 25 years in my garden, I have come to realize the earth itself is a garden, and we need all the help we can get caring for it.”

The film will be shown in the Bradford Academy auditorium on Main Street. The showing is free and open to the public, with donations gladly accepted.

Sandy Price

Bradford Conservation Commission

Let’s Not Forget

It is not illegal to request asylum at the border of the United States.

You must be physically in the United States or at a port of entry to apply for asylum.

The legality of seeking asylum is defined by the 1951 Refugee Convention, a United Nations treaty to which the United States of America is a signatory.

By continuing to treat asylum seekers as criminals who need to be deterred, the American government has inflicted additional suffering on those who have already suffered enough to risk everything.

If I were fleeing violence with my children and a port of entry was closed or otherwise not accessible to me, I would still try to enter and seek safe haven for my children.

The administration is now trying the get around the 1997 Flores settlement, which says children can’t be held for more than 20 days in detention centers, even if they are with their parents. If this court decision is reversed, it will mean that children may be held indefinitely. There are more child detention centers being actively planned.

Let’s not forget that, in what sounded like the tactics of a totalitarian government, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this administration chose the most effective tool, breaking the sacred bond of security between parent and child, to enforce its policy. Tragically, this policy was put into motion for two months without any plan for resolution.

Let’s not forget the thousands of children in detention whose nightmare continues. Where is the plan for reunification with their parents? Who is holding and comforting them? Will the youngest children remember their parents? Concerns grow as there have been disturbing recent reports about medicating children without parental consent.

The unresolved situation for children is heartbreaking and not in keeping with the values to which we aspire in this country and which my immigrant grandparents taught me to love.

Vivian Dolkart


Sound Familiar?

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.

Britt found 14 characteristics common to each: A powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for the recognition of human rights; the identification of enemies or scapegoats as a unifying cause; supremacy of the military; rampant sexism; controlled mass media; an obsession with national security; intertwining of religion and government; corporate power is protected; labor power is suppressed; intellectuals and the arts are disdained; an obsession with crime and punishment; rampant cronyism and corruption; and fraudulent elections.

No further explanation needed.

Nadia and Greg Gorman

Lyme Center