SHE’LL LEAD THE CHARGE OPPOSING ALASKA: Sen. Maria Cantwell, a leading opponent of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, has friends in high places.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and former Sen. “The Honorable” Mark Begich are hosting a fundraiser for the Washington senator, whose largest donor is the League of Conservation Voters.
Other hosts of the event include environmental activist-litigator Peter Van Tuyn, Native American Rights Fund lawyers Heather Kendall-Miller and Lloyd Miller, and Raina Thiele, former Obama official and lead organizer of the Obama trip to Alaska.
NORTH KOREA HAS GUAM IN SIGHT: North Korea has announced its plan to launch missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to a major U.S. military installation and dozens of strategic aircraft. The threat includes four Hwasong-12 missiles that would be pointed over Japan and into the waters near Guam, where 7,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed. The island has a population of 160,000. The missiles would be aimed to hit between 19 and 25 miles from the island and may be launched within a week, according to the regime in Pyongyang.
In an interview with Politico, Gov. Bill Walker expressed concern: “No one’s hiding under the desk that I know of at this point,” he said. “But we do have to make sure we have the technology and awareness of what could happen.”
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz told writer Julia O’Malley last month that he was “worried about moose, not missiles, bears, not bombs.”
Sen. Dan Sullivan has been warning for a year about the growing threat from North Korea.
In January of 2016, he said on his Facebook page: “North Korea’s purported test of yet another nuclear device is a reminder of the menace and lingering threats that exist in the Asia-Pacific. Concurrently, the Obama Administration is planning to remove America’s only Airborne Brigade Combat Team in the Asia-Pacific, Alaska’s 4-25. Crippling our force capability is particularly dangerous given Russia’s massive Arctic military build-up and North Korea’s consistent provocations. In December at a confirmation hearing, I received the commitment of Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy to support the development of a rigorous Arctic Operations Plan before a single troop is removed from Alaska. Weakness is provocative. Bolstering our forces in the North would send a strong message that the United States is serious about upholding our promises, reaffirming our alliances, and deterring aggression from our adversaries.”
Sullivan recognized the threat years ago; Mayor Berkowitz doesn’t seem to recognize the threat today.
OTHER STUFF THAT COMES FROM ACROSS THE PACIFIC: A “Save Our Seas” bill sponsored by Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan has passed the U.S. Senate. Will plastic waste in the ocean actually be reduced as a a result of it?
“What is particularly troubling about the marine debris challenge and crisis … is that the majority of marine debris in the world’s oceans come from five countries in Asia: China, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea,” Sullivan said.
In other words, missiles from North Korea, plastic from everywhere else in the Pacific Rim.
The bill calls on the State Department to engage other countries to find solutions. It would also reauthorize the Marine Debris Program for another five years, with up to $10 million a year.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Balton described the waste deluge as a casualty of rapid growth in the countries most responsible.
“Their pace of economic development is just moving ahead so much more rapidly than their waste-management capabilities,” Balton said at a Senate hearing on the bill last month. “To get a handle on this we really need to help them improve waste management processes.”
Sullivan’s 21 co-sponsors range from from conservative Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, to far-left Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
DON YOUNG FUNDRAISER: One of the top political events of the summer is the annual fundraiser for Congressman Don Young, to be held at the home of former Gov. Bill Sheffield on Aug. 16, 5:30-7 pm.
Hosts include a who’s who: Carl Brady, Ron Duncan, and cohosts Hugh Ashlock, Rick Boyles, Judy Brady, Sheri Buretta, Steve Colligan, Adam Crum, Bob Gillam, Richard Glenn, David Gottstein, Perry Green, Jim Jansen, Pete Leathard, Joey Merrick, Mark D. Nelson, Gloria O’Neill, Gail Schubert, and Aves Thompson.
CHRIS BIRCH MAKES IT ‘OFFICIAL’: On Facebook, Rep. Chris Birch of South Anchorage said he’d filed for office with APOC and will either run for House or for the Senate seat, should that become vacated by Sen. Kevin Meyer, who is mulling a run for lieutenant governor. Birch wrote:
“It is my intent to campaign for reelection to the State House or Senate if this office becomes open. Last year, with the support of many friends and neighbors we prevailed in the general election for House District 26 with a 28 percent margin. As a new member of one of the largest classes of freshman legislators since statehood – 15 of 60 House and Senate offices transitioned – I am committed to advancing an efficiency agenda that reduces spending, restores accountability, limits regulation and encourages private sector investment and employment.”
Chances are he’ll have a primary opponent in Rep. Charisse Millett should he run for the Senate seat, but that all depends on Sen. Meyer, who has expressed some recent interest in running for Lite Guv.
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