Subsistence rights may be a problem for Unity ticket

This is from an eagle-eyed reader, who sees the potential for trouble for the Unity ticket regarding subsistence rights.

The Central Council of Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska — a Juneau-based organization known locally as Tlingit-Haida Central Council or, simply, Tlingit-Haida — has endorsed Bill Walker and Byron Mallott. (Read the press release here.)

This comes on the heels of Gov. Sean Parnell signing a Memorandum of Understanding last month with Tlingit-Haida Central Council on jobs, education, and job training. See the governor’s August 25, 2014, press release announcing the MOU here. Also see the KTOO and Juneau Empire stories about the event here and here.

The endorsement may be seen as a slap in the face to Parnell.

It also may not seem surprising because the organization was likely to support a fellow Tlingit, Byron Mallott. But how might this look to the Alaska Outdoor Council, Tea Party, Joe Miller supporters, Fairbanks residents, or other groups that vie with Native organizations on hot issues like a rural subsistence priority?

How might this help Bill Walker in one place but hurt him elsewhere?

That’s what is fascinating about the Bill Walker-Byron Mallott alliance: Support from one group may alienate another.

How does one build a constituency for a new entity like the Unity ticket?

What a tricky calculus.


12 thoughts on “Subsistence rights may be a problem for Unity ticket

  1. Lynn Willis

    You are correct; a 64-Line State Energy Plan does exist. From that plan the bureaucrats apparently have all the guidance they need given “a ton of funding”.
    For example, we have electricity on the brain from damns to gas fired power plants to coal fired power plants to diesel generators, to wind farms to geothermal to tidal to God knows what and studies to support every new idea for electrical generation and that is important; however, in South Central Alaska and Fairbanks electricity provides very little energy for space heating and even less as a source of energy for mobility. Why haven’t we directed that the Alaska Railroad and the long distance truck fleet will strive to us LNG/CNG as a source of energy as a mobility fuel? What if the state energy plan stated that at this time the primary source of electrical energy in South Central Alaska will be from natural gas and South East Alaska from Hydro. Wouldn’t that clarify the purpose of state expenditures regarding energy?
    Despite the spin, at this point in the process, Walker has a plan for North Slope gas probably as viable as Parnell’s when the hard questions remain unanswered. As you know I haven’t been impressed that any Alaska plan is viable because of the distances involved. How about the recent proposal to send Alberta Oil North to the Arctic for loading – is that the solution for our Gas? Also why do you demand a fiscal rescue plan immediately from Walker yet seem to care little about the last few years under Parnell’s management? At this time with this voter Walker gets a pass on fiscal matters because Parnell tore his pass to shreds.

  2. Jon K


    So now we need comprehensive legislation to set out a “plan”? I thought this was the responsibility of the executive branch? Lots of legislation deals with energy issues. In any event, you still aren’t explaining why the energy plans issues by AEA, which explain in detail how every community can access cheaper energy, isn’t a plan. Not only has AEA issued a plan, but it has provided a ton of funding for projects across the state. To be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement. There is. But it is simply inaccurate to say no plan exists. For someone who is so interested in seeing detailed plans I’m surprised that you seem indifferent to the fact that Walker has no plan to get gas off the North Slope. Nor does he have a plan to deal with the deficits. Why does he get a free pass?

  3. Lynn Willis

    You think we have a comprehensive state energy plan enshrined in legislation? We do not Jon. The policy is contained in HB306 “An Act declaring a state energy policy.” passed in 2010. If I counted correctly the entire bill is 64 lines of text, mostly platitudes and “feels good” boiler plate. That is all we have in law. What individual agencies come up with for solutions is not guided by law and that is why we “wander and squander” in the field of affordable energy for Alaskans.

  4. Garand Fellow

    Whenever I see Tlingit-Haida quoted in the newspaper on the topic of subsistence they are promoting Native preference, not rural preference.

  5. CCTHITA Tribal member

    CCTHITA does not represent all of its members point of view! Second, most of CCTHITA members do not live in Alaska.

  6. Jon K


    The state, through AEA, has issued a comprehensive energy plan explaining the energy options available for each region. It has also financed new energy generation and helped communities across the state get cheaper energy. More needs to be done, but to say there is no plan is just wrong.

    Re AGIA, you really should get a better handle on the facts and how much of the work completr by Exxon and TC paved the way for the FERC filing and for the ability of the project to begin pre-feed. As to the dates, the final investment decision is slated for 2018-2019, assuming we continue to make progress. Everything is headed in the right direction and there is a ton of momentum in large part because of Parnell.

    TC will not have a 40 percent interest in the project. It will have a 40 percent interest in our 25 percent interest in the gas treatment plant and the pipeline. It will not have an interest in the LNG facility – which is the biggest and most valuable component of the project.

  7. Lynn Willis

    Your 2018 time line is the best possible scenario. The time line presented to the Legislature by DNR shows Pre-Feed (where we are now) taking 12-18 months, next is the “Feed” stage taking 2 to 3 years. Only then is the Final Investment Decision (FID) made. So I could suggest that AKLNG will not be sanctioned until well into 2019. Your estimate is no more valid than mine. Remember also that the Kitimat B.C. gas export project is now in the “Feed” stage.
    Until just before the end, AGIA was going to go South to Livengood and then East to Alberta. Also, the original AGIA line was a larger diameter. So much of your “valuable” AGIA data is now irrelevant (but God knows we paid dearly for it). AGDC did some preliminary work along the rail belt that is probably now helpful.
    After five years of Parnell the State still has no comprehensive energy plan identifying the principal source of energy that would best serve each region of the state for electrical generation, space heating, mobility, industrial use and export for revenue. That is why we can’t find our ass with both hands at any given time and pay for study after study after study. I find it very difficult to navigate without a map and we don’t have an energy map for this state.
    I too want to hear how Bill Walker is going to have any more success than Parnell. That said, and while I am very leery of the State being an actual business partner with anybody, I can appreciate Walker’s 51% ownership over the maximum possible 40% of TC’s (Trans Canda) 25% that we would own in the AKLNG project. I will tell you that as a very minority partner in the AKLNG project we will have little control after making our payments.
    Are you wrong? I don’t know; however, I am open to other ideas.

  8. Jon K

    Lynn –

    First of all, the progress that we made under AGIA is a major reason for why we are in a position to go to the FERC and to potentially be in a position to sanction a project by 2018. Walker may say “study hall” is over, but you simply cannot get all of the necessary federal and state authorizations without doing the necessary leg work. You need baseline data on air, subsistence, wetlands etc. etc. You cannot make it through NEPA without a credible project and you do not have a credible project unless you have a ton of data and resource reports.

    You also need do the necessary engineering to get a credible cost estimate. How do you get a real cost estimate without doing the engineering studies? What kind of customers are going to sign up for a gas sales contract without knowing what the project will cost and whether the project is viable – i.e., whether it can even be permitted? Walker knows this but he continues to lie to Alaskans. It’s contemptible. How can it not bother you that he misleading us on his most fundamental campaign promise?

    Second, what does a comprehensive state energy plan mean to you?

    Third, and most importantly, all I am asking is for Walker or his supporters to explain how all of this adds up. How is he going to get cheaper energy to all Alaskans? How will he get us a gas pipeline — what’s the process? How will he balance the budget. These issues are the foundation of Walker’s campaign and the best I can tell is that he has no plan. Just slogans. Am I wrong?

  9. Lynn Willis

    Eagle Eyed Reader,
    Forget the “groups”. Parnell has it no easier than Walker when balancing this issue with other issues before the majority of individual Alaskans and to describe (dare I say spin) it as if Parnell does not face a similar problem is disingenuous. In any event, what could Walker/Mallot possibly do to win the support of those groups you mention who might very well be upset with this particular endorsement? Subsistence and rural priority will be no more of a divisive issue to some than will be abortion, same-sex marriage, school vouchers, federal overreach or other issue.

  10. Lynn Willis

    Parnell had the financial reserves, political support and five years to stop pouring money into AGIA, develop a comprehensive state energy plan to even understand what we might do to provide affordable energy to Alaskans, and certainly not create the largest budgets in State history leading to deficit spending. If this was baseball Parnell wouldn’t get another three strikes. We can do better…..

  11. Jon K

    I’m waiting to see if the press and Alaskans scrutinize Walker’s promises. He is running ads on the ADN website promising to stop ‘studying’ and build a gas line, get cheap energy to all of Alaskans, and balance the budget. Walker has also said he will fully fund eduction and expand Medicaid. Putting aside his promises on the gas line / LNG project – which is just a lie – these are all admirable goals. But they don’t add up. Our operating budget went from $2.5 billion to about $6.5 billion in ten years lagely because of pensions, health care, inflation, and population growth. If he wants to fully fund education, expand Medicaid, and start building a $50 billion (or so) pipeline where they state is responsible for 51 percent of the costs, I just don’t see where the money comes from.

  12. Griffen

    This reader’s insights and commentary is very relevant. The foundation of the Unity Ticket is based on a crumbling foundation in a bed of quick sand. It isn’t based on any mutual philosophy, principles or ideals. In fact, the only appearnce of commonality is based on a desire to obtain power without principles or purpose. It is for punitive reasons to reach less than admirable goals. Furthermore, I feel bad for all the Democrats who took the time to participate in the primary election, only to see their votes thrown in the trash can. Furthermore, the Democrats were at first inspiired by Mallott’s candidacy. Later, after they got to know him, learned how lazy he was and tempermental they were sorry that Hollis French stepped down. However, in the negotiations, Mallott threw a temper tantrum (as he often does) and the better Democrat, Hollis French, was forced off the ticket. The Unity Ticket is a two headed ugly monster that will ultimately disappoint anyone who votes for it. Nice job Mr. Begich. Again, you’ve demonstrated that you’ll do anything, manipulate whatever, lie, and more to win. I’m changing my party regidtration to an “I”.

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