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In its own emission of greenhouse gases, the remnant of Alaska’s once dominant daily newspaper bannered an editorial last week: “Seattle Has Gone Nuclear About Alaska: Declaring War.”

Voice of the Times accused the media down here in our Emerald City your scribe included of having “declared nuclear war” on Sen. , R Alaska, oil drilling in the and “just about everything about the 49th State.”

“Project Chariot” was stopped by an alliance of then impoverished Alaska native villages, and a few eloquent and fact equipped critics. Years later, I came to know two of them, and , the pilot naturalists who founded the wonderful Camp Denali outdoor center that looks out on the north face of Mount McKinley.

“The handful of Alaskans who rallied together and spoke out against Project Chariot achieved the first successful opposition to the American nuclear establishment,” of the wrote in a later paper.

Of course, toxic and radioactive waste was left around the site of the proposed blasts.

The Project Chariot battle shows that some mind sets never change.

Recall what Atwood wrote about the place that Teller wanted to nuke. Go forward, 45 years, to a Senate hearing and hear Interior Secretary describe the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge.

“Flat white nothingness,” she called it. An oil industry flack went Norton one better, describing the coast as “a flat crummy place.” The redoubtable Stevens displayed a blank piece of cardboard on the Senate floor, explaining to colleagues that this is what the Arctic Refuge is like.

Liars! As Seattle based shooter demonstrated with his wonderful photography, and I witnessed on a raft trip, the land marked for oil drilling is home to an incredible array of wildlife.

We watched as caribou appeared out of, and disappeared into, a fog bank. A fox tried to approach the ground nest of a golden plover, which squawked and tried to divert the predator. An Arctic tern registered its displeasure by relieving itself on the top of a tent. Two musk oxen trundled between the tents and the cooking area.

A surprising number of Alaskans do not share the drill it, mine it, cut it down mentality of their 1950s style rulers.

A Vietnam veteran named has made a livelihood taking parties down remote rivers of the Refuge. The raft trips assemble in Arctic Village, a Gwich’in settlement whose residents depend on the Porcupine Caribou Herd. They oppose oil drilling.

In Western Washington, the ranks of “self admitted conservationists” (a famous Anchorage Times phrase) have grown, particularly as more and more of us see wonders of The Great Land. People in Seattle are concerned about Alaska because so much of it remains unspoiled. Visits by such bloviating Alaska politicians as Rep. leave us appalled.

How will Alaska’s ruling politicians ever convince us they will do an environmentally sensitive job of development when they hold up places and their defenders to ridicule?

The pooh poohing of warnings of a major oil spill in Prince William Sound, by Stevens and the Anchorage Times, stands as Exhibit A.

The boomers have a new scheme: Alaska legislators are eager to hire a Portland public relations firm, , under a $3 million state grant to campaign for oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

“Why no bid? Why no public selection process? Why no Alaska outfit leading the way?” the Anchorage Daily News, a sensible editorial voice, asked last week.

Of course, Pac/West has had its successes, defeating an anti trapping initiative in Oregon and an Alaska ballot initiative that would have banned bear baiting.
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