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No New Roads in the Tongass

Tongass ©Andrew Thoms

Tongass ©Andrew Thoms

On March 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by the State of Alaska, challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s “roadless rule” for the Tongass National Forest. The State has been trying to get an exemption to the 2001 rule, which barred building new roads— typically used for logging—in protected forest areas. This is a big win for Alaska’s wild lands and wildlife and for the cultures and livelihoods that rely on them remaining healthy. Read the Alaska Dispatch News article here.

Announcing FY2015 Annual Report

FY2015 Annual Report

FY2015 Annual Report

ACF is pleased to share our FY2015 annual report. In this special 35th Anniversary edition, we pause to recognize leadership—past, present and future—on behalf of Alaska’s unparalleled natural environment and the diverse cultures and ways of life it sustains. From ACF’s Achievement Award recipients and conservation interns to our grantees and supporters—together we are a movement that continues to realize remarkable gains for Alaska conservation! Click here to view the report.

Independent report concludes EPA unbiased in Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

EPA hearing in Anchorage ©Lucas Veldhuis

EPA hearing in Anchorage ©Lucas Veldhuis

Back in November 2014, a federal judge ruled to temporarily halt any U.S. EPA decisions regarding whether or not to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine until a lawsuit brought against them by the Pebble Ltd. Partnership is resolved. The lawsuit alleged EPA’s watershed assessment process was biased towards mine opponents and that it predetermined the outcome. This has delayed the EPA’s final decision, which was originally expected by February 2015. A report released on January 13, 2016 by an independent Inspector General concluded the EPA conducted the assessment without bias. Read the Washington Post article here.

While a decision is still pending in the federal lawsuit, this announcement validates the EPA’s case. ACF and our partners see this as important progress and we will continue to keep you updated on any other major developments.

David prevails over Goliath again!

Bristol Bay ©Michael Melford

Bristol Bay ©Michael Melford

ACF is relieved to report that on November 18, 2015 an Alaska Federal District Court Judge announced a decision quashing third-party subpoenas issued by Pebble Limited Partnership (Pebble) against ACF and our former Bristol Bay Program Officer Sam Snyder. The subpoenas are related to a lawsuit Pebble filed last year against the Environmental Protection Agency. We’re thrilled this issue is resolved so we can focus on the important work at hand. Read the Alaska Dispatch article here.

Arctic Ocean is safe from drilling…for now

ACF celebrates the recent announcement by the federal government cancelling two impending offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas and denying two lease extensions. America’s Arctic Ocean is safe from drilling…for now. Read the NPR story from October 16, 2015.

Celebrating Achievements in Conservation

Award recipient Marilyn Heiman with Michael Barber

Award recipient Marilyn Heiman with Michael Barber

On September 24, 2015, over 100 guests joined ACF to honor this year’s outstanding Conservation Achievement Award recipients. Thank you Helen Nienhueser, Becky Long, Marilyn Heiman, Griffin Plush, Florian Schulz, Laurel Devaney and United Tribes of Bristol Bay for your tireless efforts to protect what makes Alaska so special to us all. Learn more about their remarkable contributions.

ACF announces new Executive Director

Michael Barber

Michael Barber

ACF is pleased to announce that Michael Barber has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective August 10, 2015. Barber will replace Ann Rothe who announced her planned retirement earlier this year.

Click here to read the full announcement.

 

$250,000 Awarded for Indigenous Conservation Efforts

Now entering its fourth year of grantmaking to support indigenous conservation efforts, in June 2015 the Alaska Native Fund awarded $249,965 in grants to support the efforts of 13 Alaska Native organizations and 1 Alaska Native individual working across the state to address the critical conservation issues affecting their cultures, communities and economic opportunities. Click here for the press release and here for a complete list of 2015 ANF grants awarded.

President Proposes Wilderness Designation for Arctic Refuge

Arctic Refuge ©Steve Chase USFWS

On January 25, 2015, the Obama Administration made a major announcement that it is proposing additional wilderness designations for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its Coastal Plain as part of the newly released Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Refuge. Click here to see the official White House message.

What the Latest Court Decision means for Bristol Bay

A federal judge ruled on November 24, 2014 to temporarily halt any U.S. EPA decisions regarding whether or not to protect Bristol Bay from the proposed Pebble Mine until a recent lawsuit brought against them by the Pebble Ltd. Partnership is resolved. This will likely delay the EPA’s final decision, which was expected by February 4, 2015. Read the Alaska Dispatch article here.

Fortunately, the judge’s ruling doesn’t negate the science the EPA is using to demonstrate the impact this mine would have on the watershed, or take away from the public process the EPA utilized to engage those who would be most impacted by it. ACF and our partners remain cautiously optimistic the EPA will succeed in overcoming this latest hurdle and exercise its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. We will continue to keep you updated on any major developments.