Foreign Interests Attack Alaskan Initiative
August 09, 2012
“We are shocked and disturbed,” Alaska Sea Party co-chair Terzah Tippin Poe said. “We assumed all along big Outside money would oppose our local voices, but we didn’t expect such a huge flood of non-Alaska funding. These mostly foreign companies are opposing Alaskans having a say in how our coastal lands are managed. They are trying to buy this election any way they can.”
According to a July 30, 2012 APOC report, Outside entities have so far contributed nearly 70% of the $767,000.00 in the opposition’s campaign war chest. More than half a million dollars has come from companies headquartered outside Alaska or even outside the U.S. Funding apparently from Alaska can be traced to non-Alaska sources. For example, fourteen of the fifteen member companies of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association are based outside of Alaska.
Opponents of the citizens’ initiative received a total of $767,700 in cash and in-kind contributions prior to APOC’s reporting period deadline – more than ten times the amount raised by the grassroots Alaska Sea Party. Shell Oil Company of the Netherlands gave $150,000. Four Canadian-owned mining companies gave a total $135,000 (International Tower Hill Mines, Ltd., owners of the Livengood prospect; Kinross Gold Corporation, which owns the Fort Knox mine near Fairbanks; and Barrick Gold Corporation and NovaGold Resources, Inc., owners of the Donlin gold mine). An Idaho-based mining company contributed $75,000.
Even though these numbers are staggering, they’re likely to increase. State election rules require all campaign donations be revealed 30 days prior to Election Day, and again seven days ahead. The next report will be issued August 21, 2012.
“If this pattern holds, the next APOC report will be even more unsettling,” Poe said. “Alaskans need to recognize this is unprecedented. If Outsiders succeed in defeating our proposal, this will be the first time corporations have just walked in, written a few big checks, bought an election, and driven the policy decisions of an entire state. It’s stunningly blatant, arrogant, and aggressive.”
Support for the grassroots effort to bring coastal management back to Alaska is far more widespread and locally based. More than 200 Alaskans from around the state have given coastal management initiative supporters 99.7% of their funds, amounting to just over $64,000 by the July reporting period deadline.
Alaska Sea Party money has come from Alaska communities, Native corporations, and individual Alaskans. That local, individual support--mostly in amounts less than $100.00--indicates widespread popularity for the measure among Alaska voters.
“We’re lucky so many individual Alaskans support coastal management, not only with their dollars but especially with their voices” Alaska Sea Party co-chair Bruce Botelho said. “Over 30,000 Alaskans signed the petition to get the initiative on the ballot, it has 280 co-sponsors, and is supported by the majority of Alaska's mayors and hundreds of Alaska organizations. Our opponents may throw all kinds of big Outside money at us, but Alaskans know what’s right and what’s best for the state in the long term. Big business can try to buy this election, but we trust Alaska voters to see through their scheme. They have three individual donors; we have 200. David can defeat Goliath one more time. Our message is Alaska is not for sale.”
To read written testimony in support of and opposed to Alaska Coastal Zone Management visit this link: http://ltgov.alaska.gov/treadwell/initiatives/coastal-management-initiative.html
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