These Corporations Have Rigged the Salmon Protection System
By Bob Shavelson, Advocacy Director

I’ve been working on water quality and salmon habitat issues in Alaska for over 20 years. And over all this time, I’ve learned a few painful but obvious lessons.

First, our governments have stopped trying to protect our fish habitat. Yes, we hear all the talk about the “rigorous permitting system,” but we now know it’s called a permitting system for one simple reason: it’s designed to issue permits.

In fact, after reviewing hundreds and hundreds of permits over the past two decades, I have NEVER — let me repeat, NEVER — seen a state or federal agency deny a development permit in order to protect water quality or salmon habitat in Alaska.

The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership held its 10th annual Salmon Science and Conservation Symposium this month in Palmer. Cook Inletkeeper’s Science Director had the honor of offering welcoming remarks to the crowd of salmon enthusiasts from local government, business, federally recognized tribes, scientists, nonprofits, subsistence fishery users, commercial fishing industry, sportfish groups and concerned individuals. Below is Sue’s take on the power of sharing stories and building trust:

“Welcome to the 10th annual MatSu Science and Conservation Symposium!

My name is Sue Mauger. I am on the Science and Data Committee for the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, and work for Cook Inletkeeper — a proud card-carrying partner organization of the partnership — and I sit on the Steering Committee for the Kenai Partnership Fish Habitat Partnership. But perhaps the most important thing to know about me is that I have been to all 10 symposiums! I was surprised when I realized this considering all of the end of the field season tasks to do, reports to write, travel to be done — that I had prioritized attending this symposium every year. As I thought about why, I realized that although I come because of its focus on salmon habitat, I come to the symposium for a vision of Alaskans living on a salmon landscape and that this partnership gives me hope that we are attempting do something different here in the Mat Su. As we strategize priorities, implement projects and share our successes, it is in a sincere effort to find a different outcome than most everywhere else where salmon have once thrived. …

Scott Pruitt is Donald Trump’s Administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. And he’s the worst embodiment of “environmental protection” we’ve ever seen.

Yet despite an Administration hell-bent on dismantling our government, and Pruitt’s strong support from the fossil fuel industry, a rising question is this: why is Scott Pruitt so afraid?

Scott Pruitt has spent his professional life fighting EPA and common sense safeguards about climate change and water pollution and human health protection.

As the Oklahoma Attorney General, he has worked openly and aggressively to install the corporate agenda of the most powerful mining, oil and gas corporations (he was even caught cutting and pasting a letter from oil corporations onto his official Oklahoma Attorney General letterhead to press these corporate interests). …


Cook Inletkeeper

We combine advocacy, education and science toward our mission to protect Alaska’s Cook Inlet watershed.