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Alaska Natives on witness list for hearing on drilling in Arctic refuge

By Acee Agoyo

Alaska Natives who are on opposite sides of a controversial issue will be testifying before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Tuesday.

At issue is H.R.1146, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, The bill bars energy development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, also known as ANWR, in Alaska.

Representatives of the Gwich'in people and the Inupiat people are among the witnesses. The Gwich'in oppose oil and gas drilling out of fear it will damage the caribou herd at the center of their way of life, while the Inupiat support development of the land and resources they own in ANWR.

Thanks to authorization from Congress, the Department of the Interior is moving forward with an oil and gas leasing program in ANWR. Notably, no one from the Trump administration, which supports development, is testifying at the hearing.

The hearing takes place at 2pm on Tuesday in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building. The witness list follows:
Panel 1:
Ms. Bernadette Demientieff
Executive Director
Gwich’in Steering Committee
Fairbanks, AK

The Honorable Galen Gilbert
Chief, Arctic Village Council
Arctic Village, AK

Mr. Sam Alexander
Board Member
Gwich’in Council International
Fairbanks, AK

The Honorable Dana Tizya-Tramm
Chief, Vunit Gwitchin First Nation
Fairbanks, AK

The Honorable Victor Joseph
Chief/Chairman, Tanana Chiefs Conference
Fairbanks, AK

Mr. Fenton Rexford (minority witness)
Advisor to the Mayor of North Slope Borough
Tribal Member, Native Village of Kaktovik
Kaktovik, AK

Panel 2:
Rt. Rev. Mark A. Lattime
Bishop of Alaska, The Episcopal Church
Fairbanks, AK

Mr. Chad Brown
Founder, Soul River, Inc.
Portland, OR

Dr. Steven C. Amstrup
Chief Scientist, Polar Bears International
Bozeman, MT

Mr. Richard Glenn (minority witness)
Executive Vice President, External Affairs Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
Barrow, AK

Mr. Matthew Rexford (minority witness)
Tribal Administrator
Native Village of Kaktovik
Kaktovik, AK

House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Notice
The Need to Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain (March 26, 2019)

Note: Thumbnail image from Welcome to Gwichyaa Zhee, a film co-directed by Dr. Len Necefer that premiered online in March 2019. Necefer, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is the founder and owner of NativesOutdoors.

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