Policymakers Push Back On Trump's Repeal Of Climate Change Initiatives

Aug 18, 2017

Sen. Lisa Murkowski addresses a crowd gathered in Bethel to celebrate the upcoming completion of GCI's TERRA project on August 17, 2017.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

President Trump's latest move to scale back Obama administration climate change initiatives is not impressing Alaska policymakers. 

In Bethel for a celebration of the upcoming completion of GCI's statewide terrestrial broadband telecommunications network with the placement of the network's final towers this year, Alaska officials said that the effects of climate change are too imminent to ignore here.

State Senator Lyman Hoffman compared denying climate change to burying one's head in the sand. 

State Representative Zach Fansler, just back from a ribbon cutting ceremony in the eroding community of Newtok where villagers remain uncertain how to fund the completion of an evacuation shelter, said that such realities force the issue of climate change to the state's attention. 

“Although the president may not give credence to climate change," said Rep. Fansler, "when it comes to selecting projects, I think we still think about it on our end.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski said that she's been touring the state this week and has not yet read Trump's order removing requirements to take flood risk and climate change into account while planning federally funded infrastructure projects, but she still had a response to it, saying that it's not the President, but Congress that controls the federal purse strings. 

“Just because the president has made a statement about climate change," said Sen. Murkowski, "does not mean that from the appropriations process that we are going to gut or eradicate those programs that are important to not only us here in Alaska as we see the impacts, but to others across the country."