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View Diary: Sen. Murkowski pondering 'hold' on Sally Jewell's nomination over rejection of remote Aleutian road (189 comments)

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  •  I'm torn, for obvious reasons... (26+ / 0-)

    ...not only because of my own indigenous background but because I have an aunt (by marriage) who is Aleut.

    Having read the EIS, it's a tough call. The wetlands that road would cut through is unique.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:14:08 PM PST

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    •  I've read more (14+ / 0-)

      engineering studies than I want to remember, but even a few years ago, there were ways to sink columns into wetlands and have a raised roadway.  We are a nation which has a myriad of electric, natural gas and hybrid vehicles which could reduce the carbon impact.

      My early legal career was founded on saving wetlands -- including prairie potholes which are intermittent.  

      Here we have indigenous people who already get fucked by State and Federal assistance other than basic living.  A one lane dedicated emergency road can be constructed and not destroy the wetland.  How many emergencies are there for 700 plus people who already probably practice ancient healings which are superior?

      I'm not big on appointment holds -- and I don't think Murkowski is an asshole like others - so I think her bringing this one particular issue to the fore -- which otherwise wouldn't be addressed -- is not a bad idea.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:21:03 PM PST

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      •  I'm totally with you on this and actually (4+ / 0-)

        think, that in this case, Sen. Murkowski has a point. We really should be able to build a road using technologies that minimize the ecological impact of such a road and meet the legitimate needs of the people living there.

        If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

        by MikePhoenix on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 03:52:04 PM PST

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      •  Though engineering might mitigate some effects (13+ / 0-)

        for water flow, etc., a road into a roadless area is generally not a good thing.  It's "emergency only" now, but you know that they will start pushing for exceptions to be made.  If it only needed to be used a few times a year, the other alternatives are more practical.  Once it's built, they will say "we've spent so much on construction and upkeep that it just makes sense to put this road to greater use."  

        Also, roads can provide easy access for predators (human and animal) into safe areas for prey species.  They may have been protected on their breeding or feeding grounds by water or vegetation, but now those barriers will be breached.

        Any individual action to decrease wilderness may be no big deal in and of itself, but the cumulative result from chipping away is the destruction of the systems.  At a certain point, they are too fragmented, and all that fragmentation starts with a first step.

        •  Hunting is allowed in the refuge (0+ / 0-)

          Hunting is allowed in the refuge, and most folks in the area depend on waterfowl from the refuge for a substantial part of their diet.  The use of outboard motors is allowed for transportation into the refuge for hunting and fishing.

          Your argument sounds like the racist arguments I've heard far too often that if Native people want to hunt and fish for subsistence when urban hunters are not allowed to hunt in an area, they should be restricted to bows, spears, and other prehistoric methods.  I suppose you think that if they choose to live where they have lived before white people came, they should not expect modern health care or the transportation to reach it?

          This refuge was created without asking the inhabitants of the area whether they wanted to live with ream after ream of burdensome Federal regulations.  These folks have been harvesting fish and wildlife from this wilderness for thousands of years, and have not destroyed the ecosystem.  

          Remember, this is a large area with only a few hundred inhabitants, and the footprint of this road would be quite small.  This road would not be connected to the main road system hundreds of miles to the east, so it won't attract the yahoo Great White Hunters of Anchorage and Mat-Su.

          "Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die" --- Albert King

          by HarpboyAK on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 12:34:58 AM PST

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          •  Actually, my concern was more with animal (0+ / 0-)

            predators - foxes, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons - who could disturb nesting grounds.  I mentioned humans because they are sometimes an issue as well, as has been the case when roads went into various rainforests.  Your last paragraph about not attacting the yahoos is reassuring, but I could have done without the suggestion of racism.  You don't know me very well.

    •  It seems to me that there could be other solutions (15+ / 0-)

      for fast medical egress.

      For example, staffing the clinic with a physician is probably comparable in cost to the road, end of the day. Does that solve the problem?

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 02:23:29 PM PST

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    •  it's a tough call . . . . (5+ / 0-)

      On the one hand, I am an old Greenpeacer and I know what it is to save critical habitat. Especially since if we put a road through this one, everybody and his brother will begin screaming to put roads through all the others too once the precedent is set.

      On the other hand, I have a lot of sympathy for indigenous people who are routinely marginalized and forgotten. They deserve access to medical care just as much as any New York City resident does.

      And there doesn't seem to be any workable way, at least yet, to accomplish both. . . . .

      Someone once said, the most tragic conflicts aren't those between a right and a wrong, it's the ones between two rights.


      •  For the sake of discussion.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DSPS owl, Ginny in CO, LilithGardener

        ... is $400k/yr too much for a contracted GP and LPN to service the 748 members of the Tribe AND eliminate the need to build that "emergency access road?" I 'm just spitballing a figure here. I have no idea what it would take to reasonably expect the post to be sought by at least two competent applicants.

        What would "the right amount" be?

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 05:43:27 PM PST

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        •  Population is close to 1000 now. (0+ / 0-)

          That is a minimum of 2 physicians. As has been pointed out, it isn't just salary. The remote location and weather are likely a big problem in an era of physician shortages. The clinics have other staff for basic care.


          I was able to find a local private health care clinic that has telemedicine.

          I should have known Europe has expanded it to

          save lives in critical care and emergency situations.
          Limits and problems cited are not insurmountable in this situation. While it wouldn't do away with all medivacs, it could provide support long enough for many until the evac route is safe. Some medical cases possibly would not need to be.

          I realize this will sound nuts. (I am the acknowledged nut in our family fudge.) The two cities seem to need a way to get back and forth for a variety of reasons. The road risks use by private vehicles, snow mobiles, etc. Which would increase contact with wildlife, probably poaching.

          If they have to drive support structure into the ground anyway, how about an elevated electric/alternate fuel light train? Access to the preserved land can be very controlled. The area beneath it should not need to be cleared or leveled as much as a road (further discouraging use by private vehicles).  Animals would likely react to it like they do the elevated pipe line. Minimal snow removal problems. Would it need to run more than 5 trips a day M-F? Maybe they could have a special medivac car?

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 08:13:37 PM PST

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