Bob Shavelson

Cook Inletkeeper celebrates 20 years of accomplishments

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wenty years ago, a group of concerned Alaskans decided enough was enough. They were fed-up with toxic pollution in Cook Inlet, so they brought Clean Water Act claims against the oil and gas corporations for more than 4,200 illegal dumping violations. And they won. 

Then, they formed Cook Inletkeeper as part of the settlement. Today, Inletkeeper celebrates our 20th anniversary, and we’re proud and humbled by the countless members and supporters who have made our work possible.  

Trade pact will give corporations more power

An obscure and controversial trade bill negotiated by the Obama Administration and pending in Congress poses a direct threat to our democracy and to Alaska’s sovereignty.

Unfortunately, our two senators — Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan — recently voted to “fast track” the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) before anyone knows what’s in it. 

New administration can make government better

A recent study out of Princeton University found we no longer live in a democracy. According to the authors, “[t]he central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” And an important component of this transformation is the rising incidence of secrecy.

State needs to be cautious when extending its ‘open for business’ invitiation to anyone

In Alaska, and more recently, in Homer, we frequently here the mantra we’re “open for business.”  The intent of course is to present a business-friendly face to potential investors so our community can reap the promised benefits of jobs and contracts such businesses might bring.  

But “open for business” has to mean something more than simply open to any business, because if not, we’ll attract corporations to Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay with low standards and a profit-at-any-cost mentality. And local residents ultimately will bear the cost.

Morris series strangely silent on habitat issues

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orris Communications is the Georgia-based media group that owns the Peninsula Clarion, Homer News, Juneau Empire, Alaska Journal of Commerce and numerous other media holdings in Alaska. In November, company chairman William Morris III announced a special 10-part series to help Alaskans “find the facts” about declining king salmon runs.

Alaskans should be rewarded for fighting government waste

Recent challenges to the new railroad to Port MacKenzie in Knik Arm have prompted calls to punish the public interest groups who challenged this short-sighted project. As the chief advocate for one of those groups, I think citizens should be rewarded for trying to save Alaskan tax dollars while protecting our dwindling salmon populations in Upper Cook Inlet.

Will new travel brochures show drilling rigs in Kachemak Bay?

Bob Shavelson

Anyone coming over Baycrest Hill these days encounters a stark new addition to the Kachemak Bay skyline: Buccaneer Oil's jack-up drilling rig "Endeavour."

For some, the image harkens back to the days of Jay Hammond and the fight to put fish and the families they support before heavy industry.

For others, the rig looks like jobs and money.

Each side, of course, is right.  The question then becomes what type of economic development do we want for Kachemak Bay?

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