Letters to the Editor December 2, 2001

PHOTO/Courtesy John Immel
Where do tax dollars really go?

Dear Editor:

Laine Welch made some grave errors in her recent Nov. 12 article, "Reporter Finds Taxpayers Are Paying For Environmentalists’ Work." Ms. Welch took an unwarranted stab at environmental groups, by claiming that the federal government is funding the plaintiffs of the Steller sea lion litigation. This is incorrect.

Welch correctly stated that both the Sierra Club and Greenpeace do not receive any federal funds. Both of these groups are plaintiffs in the Steller sea lion lawsuit. The third plaintiff, American Oceans Campaign, has not acquired one federal penny since 1997. The simple fact is that none of the plaintiffs is receiving federal money.

More to the point, Greenpeace and the other plaintiffs in the Steller sea lion case are not "government adversaries," as Ms. Welch alleges. Rather, Greenpeace encourages the government to adhere to its own laws, and, in the case of the Steller sea lion, those laws include the National Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. If the government does not abide by its own laws, Stellers, the North Pacific ecosystem and Alaskans are denied their basic protections.

Now that you have looked at the funding for environmental groups, the Alaska Journal of Commerce should investigate the millions of taxpayer dollars that go to subsidize the large scale industrialized trawl fleet that is threatening Alaska’s marine ecosystem for short term gains. Taxpayer money also funds the enormous bureaucracy that has proven to mismanage the North Pacific groundfish fishery, which is being compromised under its watch. That is the real story.

John Passacantando
Executive Director

Mail subsidy can be eliminated

Dear Editor:

Let me see if I’ve got this straight.

The U.S. Postal Service is paid $8.98 to not handle a shipment and claims they are losing $10 million monthly in Alaska alone?

Without Bypass Mail, these folks would not be paying USPS any money at all. They would rely on private shippers, who can track their shipments and deliver on time!

Evelyn P. Clark
Coffman Engineers Inc.

12/02/2001 - 8:00pm