Since all the social ills of Alaska have been cured, Juneau has declared war on the polar bear.
Yep, “Mission Accomplished!” You didn’t hear? In the last three weeks, the state legislature has “tackled and trophied” poverty, rape statistics, fisheries issues, and oil & gas. It’s time to take on the polar bear! You Betcha! Just like ol’ times.
On May 15, 2008, the federal government put polar bears on the endangered species list. I figured if George W. Bush said they’re endangered, there were probably 11 of them left and we should put them in zoos. It took exactly one week for half-governor Palin to respond with a threat to sue.
At the time, the ADN reported:
She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state’s northern and northwestern coasts.
Palin argued there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.
Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable, Palin said.
Good Lord, I thought we had moved on.
This week the Legislative Council allocated $1.5 million for a conference and public relations campaign to sully the Endangered Species Act. Six members of this council are appointed by Senate President Gary Stevens (R) and six by Speaker of the House, John Harris (R).
|MEMBER:||Representative Chenault||MEMBER:||Senator Ellis|
|MEMBER:||Representative Dahlstrom||MEMBER:||Senator Hoffman|
|MEMBER:||Representative Gatto||MEMBER:||Senator Olson|
|MEMBER:||Representative Stoltze||MEMBER:||Senator Stedman|
|MEMBER:||Representative P.Wilson||MEMBER:||Senator Stevens|
|MEMBER:||Representative Guttenberg||MEMBER:||Senator Egan|
It was reported in the ADN:
The effort was conceived as a national public relations campaign aimed at creating a “grass-roots” call for limits on the Endangered Species Act. The Legislative Council has solicited bids from public relations firms willing to organize a conference in Anchorage on the act, with the findings to be used in the public relations effort.
“Grass-Roots”?! More like astroturfing!
Eddie Grasser, a legislative staffer for the Outdoor Heritage Caucus which is chaired by John Harris (R) and Charlie Huggins (R), organized the quest for public relations solicitation. A quick google of Mr. Grasser shows he packs quite an agenda.
Mr. Grasser is the President of the Hunter Heritage Foundation. A 501(c)3 organization “formed to promote conservation of Alaska’s fish, wildlife and wild places…” Their website offers no membership or donation button. No data base came up with any verification of a 501(c)3 status-it was only listed on their site. They do list their corporate sponsors: Alaska Chapter Safari Club International, Alaska Friends of NRA, Northern Dynasty/Pebble Project, BP, Conoco Phillips, Agrium, Tesoro , Anadarko, Shell , Alyeska Pipeline Company, Alaska Tanker Company, and the City of Wasilla, to name a few.
Mr. Grasser has one up on Obama. He’s the President twice! Not just of the Hunter Heritage Foundation, but he is also the President of the Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska. Another 501(c)3 that has a remarkably similar mission statement about fish, wildlife, etc. The last event listed was in 2007 and was the launch of the website. Their business license is active. They have no site link to join their organization or donate to their cause. Mr. Grasser has his home listed as the address for the organization. They too have a list of sponsors: The Alaska Outdoor Council, Safari Club International-Alaska Chapter, Alaska Friends of the NRA, SCI Kenai Chapter, BP, Conoco Phillips, Pebble Partnership/Northern Dynasty, The NRA, PacWest, Shell, Pioneer Natural Resources, Clay Cartridge Company, ACS, Udelhoven Oilfield Services, Anadarko, Tesoro Alaska…you get the idea.
I’m curious if PacWest has an interest in the $1.5 million dollar job. They sponsor Mr. Grasser’s organization and have offices around the country. In February 2007, Pac/West announced that former U.S. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo was joining the firm as a “senior partner.” Previous Pac/West campaigns had backed Pombo’s “attempts to rework the Endangered Species Act and open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling.” Rolling Stone magazine listed Pombo at number seven in their article The Ten Worst Congressman. “No member of Congress has worked harder to savage America’s natural resources than Pombo.”
Grasser has been in his position as the “Outdoor Heritage Caucus” staffer since June of 2006. Soon after, the ballot initiative process had begun to ban aerial wolf hunting. I wrote about this extensively in September of 2008. Prior to that, the half-governor allocated over $400,00 of state funds to “educate” Alaskans on the benefits of shooting wolves and bears from planes. Not to be outdone, Lt. Governor Sean Parnell, who was in charge of the state Division of Elections, ensured the ballot language would be as confusing as possible-A YES vote on aerial wolf hunting would ban the practice. A NO vote would maintain the status quo! The aerial wolf hunting ballot proposition was defeated in the August election.
The Safari Club Press release RE: Prop 2 2008 – SCI’s Alaska Chapter president, Eddie Grasser added, “The misinformation spread by the proponents of this ballot initiative was amazing, but not surprising considering these individuals are not Alaskans and do not understand Alaska’s wildlife and ecology. Many organizations rallied together to ensure that Alaskan wildlife management remained the prerogative of the state Department of Fish and Game – not out-of-state extremist groups.”
Wow. That meme is just wrong. There are many “Real Alaskans” who worked hard on the ballot initiative and voted for it. Mr. Grasser seems to consider anyone not agreeing with his ideology to be part of “out-of-state extremist groups”.
While running the NRA booth at the Alaska State Fair in 2008, Time Magazine caught up with him for a story they were writing about VP candidate Sarah Palin:
Across the row from the State Fair livestock pavilion — with its champion pigs, giant cabbage and 900-lb. pumpkins — Eddie Grasser mans an NRA booth. Palin is a lifetime NRA member — a demographic that has not been particularly high on John McCain — and Grasser couldn’t be more excited about the governor he calls Sarah. Like Grasser, everyone here seems to be on a first name basis with their politicians. “It’s just one of those things about Alaska politics,” says Grasser.
From Mother Jones – And the day before the Republican primary, in an August 26, 2002 email to Eddie Grasser, a leader of the Alaska Outdoor Council, a lobby for hunters and firearms owners, Palin expressed her disappointment at not receiving the AOC endorsement. She pointed out that she was a “lifetime member of the NRA” and a recipient of its “Defender of the 2nd Amendment Award.” In the email–which promoted her campaign positions–she objected to the process used by the AOC in endorsing one of her opponents in the Republican primary contest: “The AOC stated the endorsement was based on candidates’ answers to the AOC’s ‘extensive questionnaire’…but in reality there was no questionnaire sent to Lt. Gov. candidates.” She asked if she could “use the AOC’s email address book to remind our members of my positions.” And she encouraged Grasser to visit her campaign website. This email–also sent via her official Wasilla city account–was addressed to over 300 people in addition to Grasser.
In 1988, he was listed as an occasional lobbyist and Vice President of the Alaska Professional Hunters Association. The article, written by Craig Medred, points out the conflict of interest Grasser found himself in when he would host, guide and list as an “assistant guide” the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection officer Sgt. Robert Boutang.
Eddie Grasser is not an elected official. He’s a back-door lobbyist. Not many “Grasser-roots” here, but a whole crop of astro-turf.
Please contact the legislators on the committee listed above. Their address links are provided. Alaska has a hard enough time growing grass without the astro-turfing effects of corporate back-door lobbyists.