Alaska Center Caught in a “Pinocchio” Moment

Alaska Center Caught in a “Pinocchio” Moment

January 31, 2024

When it comes to eco-activism, there tends to be a whole lot of talk and scurrying around, with little actual productivity coming from all their activity.

But, every once in a while, the style-over-substance crowd takes it one step too far, as is the case with a recent posting from Alaska’s leading extremist organization, the Alaska Center.

In their “Hot Takes from a Cold Place” blog, the Center took issue with how the owners of the Eklutna Hydro project chose to roll out their draft of their reauthorization of the project’s fish and wildlife agreement, originally authorized in 1991.  Julian Ramirez, the Center’s Salmon and Clean Water Organizer, railed on for over 600 words about supposed injustices done to the Native Village of Eklutna and the other proponents of demolishing the existing dam – which provides 90% of Anchorage’s drinking water and approximately 6% of Southcentral Alaska’s power supply – during the owners’ four-year process of studying the best alternatives to meet the 1991 agreement’s goals.

Ramirez – who Power The Future’s Alaska State Director, Rick Whitbeck, met and spoke with during the Anchorage’s public meetings earlier this month – outright fabricated a key point in his blog post about how the owners failed to let Native Village of Eklutna representatives speak during the meeting, as Eklutna Tribal President and Council Chair Aaron Leggett spoke for almost 10 minutes during the second Anchorage meeting that both Whitbeck and Ramirez attended.

Another gross misrepresentation was that the Eklutna people weren’t involved in the process before those meetings.  In fact, even though there was no legal requirement to do so, the Eklutna Council – as well as at least two ENGOs the Council requested be allowed to join the conversation – had been intimately involved in the process for years, and even gave preferred alternatives that were considered, and clearly presented during the public meetings as part of the slide deck discussed by the owners!

In the case of Eklutna, the science, public opinion and rational thought clearly show that the owners have studied, considered and evaluated – with Native Village of Eklutna and others’ involvement throughout the process – all of the potential choices to mitigate and enhance the fishery.

Groups like the Alaska Center shouldn’t need to manufacture facts to try to make their points with the public.  They did here and got caught.  That doesn’t bode well for establishing credibility for their activism in the future.  Do better, Alaska Center.