SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Unbalanced Climate Team Will Cost Alaskans; Review requested



December 19, 2017
Tuesday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - During a time when Alaska should be cutting back on unnecessary spending and encouraging resource industry input and development, Governor Walker is doing the exact opposite in the eyes of Representative Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) who points to the Governor’s Climate Change Team. Recent revelations about the salaries and the obvious left leaning foundation should draw concern said Chenault.

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Last week, Governor Bill Walker appointed 15 public members and five ex-officio members of the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team, established in October by Administrative Order 289. According to a news release, Governor Walker announced the team following an extensive internal review of nearly 100 applications. The team will focus on mitigation, adaptation, research, and response for Alaska.

“This team is going to cost Alaskans in more ways than one. Limited input from resource industries and large expenses from travel, per diem and salary for the state employees on the commission, all add up to bad news for Alaska,” said Rep. Chenault. 

One member of the team, the climate advisor, is reportedly making $145,000 a year in salary alone - the same as the governor. Cayenne “Nikoosh” Carlo is based out of Seattle, requiring air travel commute, receives per diem and associated costs.  She filled the newly-created position of “senior climate adviser" on Walker’s executive team in September 2017 to advise the governor on climate change. Carlo is an exempt employee and the Administration can get salary overrides to increase her compensation.

"We don't need to import and pay environmentalists from Seattle to tell us how to kill our economy. I'm really disappointed with Governor Walker's priorities," said Representative Chenault.

“Although there is concern over climate change, as a resource state there should be representation from not only the oil industry, but the mining, timber and business community as well.  This commission is sorely lacking from the fact that it does not represent equally all the different factions that play a key role in our state," said Rep Chenault. "There needs to be a more balanced approach if the commission is going to make recommendations to the administration.”

Chenault says Alaskans should be aware of this unbalanced working group and its unnecessary cost and Chenault would like to see reconsideration of the currently selected positions.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott was appointed by the governor to chair the leadership team. “This dynamic group has the experience, ideas and enthusiasm to develop actionable policy recommendations in response to our changing climate,” Mallott said. “Their collective advice and recommendations for climate priorities, actions, and goals will provide invaluable guidance to the Governor and Alaskans as we work together to address the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change.”

About the team Governor Walker said, “Naming our team is another critical step in advancing meaningful climate policy.” He said. “I am proud to present a motivated group of leaders, each of whom brings a range of expertise and interests to the table. Our team members not only represent a breadth of experience across the state from the North Slope to the Southeast, but also have strong networks and resources spanning from Alaska to the rest of the world, giving us a voice in the global dialogue on climate change.”

Governor Walker said every team member is directly involved in Alaska’s collective response to climate change, with professional backgrounds in science, industry and entrepreneurship, community wellbeing and planning, natural resources, environmental advocacy and policy making. The expertise of leadership team members includes renewable energy and energy efficiency, coastal resilience, indigenous knowledge and culture, science communication, technological innovation, and transportation systems.

To build upon past climate policy initiatives while also encouraging new ideas, Walker said the team includes six members who were involved with the former Sub-Cabinet on Climate Change. In addition to current and former leaders from local and tribal governments, the group has two emerging leaders who are passionate about climate solutions that will protect and empower future generations.

The first meeting of the team took place on December 18, 2017, in Anchorage.


On the Web:

Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team Members
Download the team list (PDF)


Reporting and Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews





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Ketchikan, Alaska

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