For eco-extremists, today’s Alaska is what they have been advocating for




According to the latest statistics, 40,000 unemployment cases were opened in a three-week period with the State of Alaska.  The number is sure to grow, perhaps approaching 50,000 within a week or two.

In the last few days, Alaska North Slope oil prices have sunk to below zero per barrel, a staggering drop from $26 last week.

Last week, ConocoPhillips announced it would be pulling back $200 million that it planned to invest in Alaska.  This news came on top of the crushing announcement the previous week that it was demobilizing its entire rig fleet on the North Slope.

Hundreds of Alaska’s direct-producing energy families, along with unknown numbers of support contractors have had their jobs impacted in the past few months.  But they’re not the only ones affected by the economic crash in Alaska.

Last Wednesday, Holland America and Princess canceled their summer’s Gulf of Alaska cruise schedule in its entirety.  For communities such as Seward, Whittier, and Talkeetna, this removes a large portion of their revenue base, and puts small business and entrepreneurial ventures at risk of permanent closure and/or bankruptcy. 

A total of 3,500 jobs will not be hired for the summer, and $375 million in tourism-related spending will not enter the Alaskan economy. 

But all of these goings-on – the curtailed demand for fossil fuels, the seemingly cleaner air across major cities in America, the decreased industrial machine that makes America great, and the inability to proceed with responsible development opportunities because of the near-shutdown of daily and business life – are exactly what eco-extremists have been calling for.

Just look at some quotes from their ilk, with regard to Alaska’s energy future – one they see benefitting from “leave-it-in-the-ground” actions:

“The stakes have never been higher…Scientists have already warned that all of the Arctic’s untapped oil must remain in the ground if we are going to avoid an extremely dangerous climate scenario.” – Erik Grafe, Earthjustice attorney

“Combined with the volatility of oil prices, it is increasingly clear to many across the social and political spectrum: Alaska must aggressively pursue economically and environmentally sustainable options.” – Erica Watson, Northern Alaska Environmental Center and Mary Sweeters, Greenpeace

“Regardless of where you fall in the debate over opening the (ANWR) refuge, oil-and-gas reliance is not the path to making America energy-dominant…As demonstrated by China, Germany, France, the path to energy dominance lies with the clean-energy economy.” – Kate Troll, Juneau, former Executive Director of Alaska Conservation Voters

These radicals are trumpeting the “positive” impacts of what is currently happening across America: a nearly-shut-down society.  The San Francisco Chronicle calls it  “an environmental boon that decades of green activism could not achieve.”  The Wall Street Journal reports that the environmental movement plans to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to affect change, with the hopes of increasing “green” technologies and decreasing fossil fuel use when the pandemic is over.

For decades, the eco-Left has called for Alaskan resource development opportunities to be denied, because Alaska is one of the last great wildernesses on Earth.  You see it in the barrage of attacks by California Congressman Jared Huffman or his former employer, NRDC, on the Pebble Mine. 

You hear cries of “ANWR’s Coastal Plain is a sacred place, except for when we approve of non-Natives going there and then writing a puff-piece story supporting us” and the associated hypocrisy from the Gwich’in Steering Committee. 

You see extremists from all of Alaska’s “just transition” groups testifying against any development opportunities, and even against Hilcorp’s purchase of BP’s assets in Alaska.

Those groups, ideologues and their (mostly) Lower-48-based funding sources are getting their way right now, at the expense of shattered lives across our state.  Alaska is even more scarcely explored than normal. Businesses have shut down. Outside visitors are minimal. The animals are protected, though, right? The fish won’t have as many hooks to dart around, and that’s good, right?  Economic progress is stymied, but wildlife can go to their ‘safe spaces’ without human interference.

 We hope the extremists are happy with the results. 

Power The Future – and the vast majority of Alaskans who reject the “we need to place wildlife above human life” mantra of the extremists – certainly aren’t. 

Alaska needs jobs. Alaska needs opportunities. The vast majority of Alaskans are worried, frustrated, angry and long for good news.

Yet the extremists rejoice.  That is shameful.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national non-profit advocating for energy workers, while fighting back against environmental extremism and the ideologues who fund radicalized efforts to thwart American energy dominance.


  1. Really? That’s your argument? Cause if it is, and you’re the spokesman for oil industry workers , then they ARE in trouble! I think you’re using this crisis as an excuse to crucify environmentalists (extremist or otherwise). Lest you think I’m one of them…I’m from an oil family. My father retired from Standard Oil, Cleveland. He helped develop the “X-ray welding technique” used in the construction of the pipeline. In 1980 I was one of the “River People” of the upper Yukon (“Coming into the Country” by John McPhee, National Geographic, etc, etc.), when it was turned into a ‘park’ by people with the ‘look but don’t touch’ mentality. Have you ever had a small army of NPS rangers try to drag you out of your house? I just want to make sure no one confuses me with an “environmentalist” when I rip this guy and his ‘argument’ up. Ready? The huge hole in your propaganda is that the collapse of oil prices is very bad for “environmentalists” (extremist or otherwise). With oil so cheap NO one is going to invest in alternative energy sources.! Once we get through COVID, the oil workers jobs AND American oil independence is assured for YEARS to come! But, you in an effort to justify your job, just couldn’t leave well enough alone. You need an enemy so you stir up hatred towards people who are no longer a threat and who have no role in the current oil industry problems. You sir, and I use the word “sir” loosely, are a bottom feeding low life, and you make me want to campaign against the oil industry just because they employed you! I just discovered “Must Read Alaska” and I was starting to like what I saw, but I’m a little disappointed that you’d allow such a poorly thought out propaganda piece!

  2. So would someone ‘splain to those “Eco-Leftists” just how in the world are they going to get about in Alaska to monitor their “precious” wildlife? And if the explanation isn’t good enough, then just point to the number of Alaskans who are out of work, right? I’m sure the “out-of-work” Alaskans aren’t rooting for the oil industry to tank. When the Wuhan virus subsides, and we all get back to work, this little “burp” in oil production will be long gone as well.

  3. Trash comment. I’m surprised MRA allowed it. Keep moving Antonio, I don’t think you’ve got a place in Alaska!!

    • When NPS took possession of Yukon-Charley National Preserve in 1981, they were required to do an inventory of the park and report back to congress. That report was attached to the official copies of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act which makes me a part of the official history of Alaska. Maybe you’ve heard of ANLICA?!!! Well, most of that report is the NPS ‘expert” complaining about how easy I have it (because I’m that good at being a REAL Alaskan!). I have a land patent in my name, which make me among the very last of the pioneers. I’m writing from a log cabin I built 35 years ago with a chainsaw and a couple of hand tools. In the mid 80’s I was a social worker for the elders and original pioneers of Eastern Alaska. I was friends with Millie Terwilliger and Ann Purdy of Tisha fame, as well as Andrew Issac and the Northway Brothers. I’ve had legal cases set precedence, including at the State Supreme Court. My name and my influence are all over this State, and no one in their right mind has EVER questioned my Alaskaness. What I think is that you’re a jealous wannabe Alaskan. Someone who’s lived here for years but is still not a real Alaskan. Someone who has never known what it’s like to do something exceptional. Someone who has a public school education and is incapable of having any specific objections to my comments. The “trash comment” was yours…and the original propaganda piece!

  4. First: “Coming into the Country” by John McPhee…” My uncle, Hank Speaker, and my childhood friend, Bobby Littlefield (both from Oregon) are mentioned in this book. They were mining North Fork Harrison and I was mining Bonanza Creek, in the Circle Mining District.
    Second: A great number of environmentalist NGOs appear to be one degree away from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who’s goal is to obstruct and delay America’s mineral and energy independence, to their economic advantage. In other words, the CCP is engaging in economic warfare on America.
    They lobbied for the mining regs (the one’s that they had written) which were impossible for any small operation to comply with. Those regs put my entire extended family out of business.
    Third: I used to have a column in a Native newspaper and I had written about the Pebble prospect as early as 1985/86. I’ve followed it ever since. NRDC, Trout Unlimited, and others came up to Alaska for one purpose only, to make money. They brainwashed some of my people into thinking the Pebble mine was a binary issue with fishing.
    Check the recent archives of MRAK and stocktwits where I post as josephdj, KTUU as joseph darwin james, and 2/5 years ago in ADN as my2cents. Also ACOE Pebble Mine DEIS comments. Then come back with your complaints, with some founded reasoning.

  5. Environmentalists have no interest in the environment. They are self-hating (and narcissists at the same time-to show you how screwed up they are), anti American, anti-human, anti-capitalist, socialists.

    • Watermelons; Green on the outside, Red on the inside.

      When the communists ran out of the Vietnam War and the draft to get stupid children in the street, the Whole Earth Catalog and Earth Day became their substitute.

  6. Antonio,

    I think you are arguing against something the article isn’t doing. It isn’t trying to “crucify” the soon-to-be impotent (we all hope) extremist (not “environmentalist”, extremist) groups, it is pointing out that we are seeing in actual reality the necessary and inevitable effects of the extreme policies they have been pushing. There may be a bit of “I told you so” in it, but seldom are we given the ability to actually see the future consequences of policy.

  7. Rick is not objective and needs to find another job if that’s his idea of promoting responsible oil and gas development that highlights the low impact to the environment and wildlife our industry strives for and largely has accomplished.

    • Re-reacted the above as I was guilty of hate mongering imho by statement above. My apologies Rick.

  8. Rick is not objective if that’s his idea of promoting responsible oil and gas development that highlights the low impact to the environment and wildlife our industry strives for and largely has accomplished.
    Yes it’s an ecoterrorist hey day. Is it realistic for the near future? Should the switch happen at great haste? Or should capital investment continue to be driven by consumer demand and new technology which is gradually changing the environment of how we live and the earth we enjoy? Look at the tiny house movement and less is more for example.

  9. Poor Ricky. Always the hapless victim. Good thing your funders the Kochs will be getting those socialist bailouts from the government while they screw their workers.

    And here’s a thought: if you listen to us “eco-radicals”, we want to detach from big oil because big oil AL:WAYS screws us. ALWAYS.

    Alaska has world class renewables, and if we develop them, our energy costs go to ZERO because we don;t have to pay you and the Kochs to bloviate all your spin.

    So stop whoring for billionaires and stand by your fellow Alaskans.

    • The Koch brothers Americans For Prosperity couldn’t have existed but for the Dems building a power base on public employee unions. Now no doubt there’s another entity waiting in the wings to take down the Koch empire.
      It’s not the Left nor Right who’s at fault for anything. It’s the winner’s tendency to push their advantage beyond what is necessary. Victory brings power. Pride of power brings arrogance. Arrogance brings eventual defeat. Rinse and repeat!

    • Bob,

      Have you noticed how much cleaner the Cook Inlet is after this global partial shutdown? If so how do you explain that after only a few short weeks the sins of man have been washed clean, if not could it possibly be that we have regulated ourselves to the point where others pay for our way of life? In China and India, in fact the world over they are experiencing clean air and water for the first time in generations, animals are roaming through city streets.
      Maybe if we were to manufacture our own goods like rubber gloves and respirators and hospital gowns we wouldn’t need to ship our industry and pollution to other countries where they are finally experiencing what it is that we who live on the Cook Inlet on a daily basis??? Maybe we wouldn’t be relying on the country who started this mess to provide the toxic goods we need to protect ourselves.
      On Earthday 2020 I call on you to demand that we bring back America manufacturing to supply the needs and goods of Americans, instead of farming out out manufacturing to places like China and India. Look to your own backyard and ask yourself in the words of John F Kennedy “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” is polluting the world ok for you Bob as long as you can get yours?
      Cook Inlet looks the same to me as it has for the past decade.

  10. The extreme wackos of the Environmental Left have been advocating the closure of Alaska for at least 5 decades. They wanted a “museum” to show to the world, not a state of productive, independent and spirited frontiersmen. So, who will show up to their museum, now that COVID has destroyed the visitor industry? Are they happy about that too? Would the last Alaskan left standing, please turn off the lights and lock the door.

  11. If anything this worldwide partial shutdown has proven how little impact we humans actually have on our environment. There are stories all over the internets about how animals are roaming streets, how the air is clean, how waterways have cleaned up. According to the environmentalists whackos we have destroyed our environment and it will never recover, but a few short weeks with limited but still ongoing human activity somehow magically in places all over the world the plague of humanty has been lifted.
    Seriously go outside and look around is the air clean, the water, are animals more abundant? In many places around the world this is the case and it has only been a few short weeks since this global partial shutdown. The environmentalist whacko’s have been wrong and are still wrong about their nonsense, and on Earthday 2020 they are celebrating how clean the Earth is after only a few short weeks of a partial human shutdown…it’s sad really for environmentalists just how wrong they are.

    • “If anything this worldwide partial shutdown has proven how little impact we humans actually have on our environment.”

      Now that right there, is one of the most idiotic statements I’ve read today. Of a sudden, jellyfish are seen in the canals of Venice since no one remembers when. Why is that? And:

      “PARIS (Reuters) – Parisians confined to their flats by a lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus can at least now open their windows and breathe in fresh air, listen to the birds and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

      That’s because air pollution and noise have fallen sharply in Paris, where streets are largely deserted, empty of the traffic that normally drowns out birdsong and chokes the air around landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.”

      Imagine that! Better scuttle off to Medred’s empire where you and the village idiot can stroke each other…

      • ……..are you on the bottle again, Monk? Don’t your grandkids get tired of telling you to quit drooling on the sofa…….and turn off your screen before you start slugging another bottle of Crown? Try some Dewers instead. It’ll put you to sleep quicker.

  12. Monk,
    Imagine all of that in gay Paris in just a few short weeks, thanks for helping demonstrate that mankind does not have the impact environmentalist whackos think we do. Obviously we have an impact, nobody is arguing that we don’t. It’s just not anywhere the scale you think it is. If a few short weeks can bring about such never before seen things as jellyfish in Venice, surely you can understand that the destruction isn’t nearly as bad as some claim. Earth Day 2020 will go down in history as the day the environmentalist whackos were proven to be frauds.
    This isn’t grinder and I won’t be accepting your offer to stroke me on another site. Thanks for the invite though. I’m not sure what your deal is with being the village idiot and stroking other commentators, but have fun with that.

  13. No Conner, “cabin fever” is experienced by people who can’t face themselves and need distraction! Neither of those things apply to me. Thanks for your concern. If you were referring to my somewhat over the top response to Mr.Sloane…the guy questioned my ‘Alaskaness’ . I am the iconic Alaskan, and as such we (you know, the club of iconic Alaskans!) don’t put up with being called ‘outsiders’! Since I recently retired I have time to comment, so you ‘guys’ might want to remember that. As for your buddy Rick…the extreme polarization that has taken hold across the nation is dangerous. Not in some hypothetical sense, but in a very real bullets flying type of danger. As there are political issues that are wrapped up in our religious beliefs, we(?) can’t compromise on those issues. So I don’t have an answer. I just know “extremist environmentalists” was extremist in itself and adds to the problem. You guys are in a slap fight with the other side and sooner or later someone is going to pull a gun! I have ONE skill relevant to preventing that from happening; I can wield a pen with surgical precision. So if you, or Rick, or John Sloan want to stand against me in my quest, then you should expect to get ‘neutered’ by that pen!

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