by Carl Gatto and Bruce Weyhrauch
May 02, 2005
Like most Americans and Alaskans we strongly support opening ANWR to oil and gas exploration and development. The Alaska State House recently voted to give a lobbying group, Arctic Power, an additional $1.3 million. This brings their total state funding over the years to over $10 million.
What did we get for $10 million in public funding? The answer is, we just don't know. Arctic Power has yet to present evidence of their accomplishments to any legislative committee that we are aware of. What we do know is that Arctic Power pays $31,000 a month in salaries for three Anchorage-based staff and for leasing their office space. We also know that part of that figure is $7500 a month for the salary of Kevin Hand, the Anchorage-based Executive Director who is essentially invisible as far as doing anything towards opening ANWR.
We have yet to figure out what benefit Arctic Power provides from their Anchorage office. After all, who is there to convince in Alaska? Our congressional delegation already supports opening ANWR. The credit for getting ANWR as far as it has gone this year is due to Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski, and Representative Don Young.
In addition to the expensive Anchorage office and staff, Arctic Power also maintains a D.C. office and supports its lobbyist, former Teamster head, Jerry Hood. We understand that Mr. Hood has facilitated the coordination between our congressional delegation and other Senators and Representatives. If this helps our delegation in its attempt to open ANWR, then support for his work is important. But Stephanie Victory, another D.C. lobbyist makes $9350 a month. We question these expenditures when what we really know about Arctic Power is that it spends quite a lot of money on salaries.
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