Wanderings and Suggestions

Stolen from Ingrid Taylar
The editorial and pseudo-journalism staff over at AKCenozo, is a totally unprofessional wreck of beer drinking bullshitters. A lot has happend in the news lately and we’ve been wading through a thick morass of aimless research trying to understand multi-syllabic words like “fugacious” and “pusillanimous.” (Be sure you google those)
Beyond that, we’ve been getting lost in ridiculous ventures that involve red squirrels and contrarian scientist that make an interesting argument that Co2 is not so much a problem as water vapor in contributing factors to climate change. And, in a way, they are right. However, there are also caveats to this argument that were laid out way back in 2008 by Brendan Koerner.
But, we’re getting beyond ourselves here, spinning our run down four-wheeler in Jakolof Bay mud, as it were. What we really want to talk about is Bob. Bob Shavelson. Way back on Jan. 16th 2014 Shaverlson wrote a short commentary piece in the Alaska Journal of Commerce that AKCenozo thinks deserves some attention.
Aside from the fact that Bob highlights that the Georgia based Morris Communications (which owns the Juneau Empire, Peninsula Clarion, Homer News,  and the Alaska Journal of Commerce) almost entirely avoided discussion about the destruction of king salmon habit in their 10-part series about the decline of King salmon runs in alaska, Bob says this in relation to salmon habit concerns:
In the Little Susitna drainage, for example, hydrocarbon pollution in summer months violates basic standards to protect salmon, but it’s too controversial for our state agencies to ban two-stroke engines, and the problem persists.
When we read Bob’s commentary an idea instantly came to mind – ultimately not one that will solve the problem, but perhaps could have a mitigating affect that potentially is uncontroversial for most stakeholders.
Why don’t the Cook Inlet Keepers, Alaskan and national environmental groups and the branch of the Alaskan state government designated to protect and manage our environment and resources stick more money where their mouthes are and talk about pushing the market towards cleaner running out-board engines?
I grew up around the Kenai Peninsula and the thing about two strokes is that they are easier to work on, run forever and can be found all over the place. Banning two-strokes is never going to happen. Won’t happen. Will not happen. Partially because politicians have no spines and partially because people rely on them to subsist, sport and commercial fish – it’s a reinforcing relationship.
Why not have some of these Alaskan and national environmental groups that are already putting money towards habitat protection and the Alaskan government already putting funds towards administrative and regulatory efforts into hydrocarbon pollution create a fund that serves as a rebate or subsidy for purchasers of out-board engines?
Why, when we know that two-strokes emit higher levels of hydrocarbon pollution that effect ocean acidity effecting beluga whales, to salmon, to who knows what on more extreme levels, are we not creative in our approaches in mitigating and ultimately resolving hydrocarbon pollution in our Alaskan waters? Just a question. Why don’t we take some more baby steps it tackling the issue?
Well, let us know how insane we are and if you’re feeling extra-special activist why don’t you shoot and emil to Bob over at Cook Inlet Keeper: bob@inletkeeper.org
If you’re interested here is the delirious email we sent to Bob (We got no response, probably because he thinks we’re insane):
I just want to roll with calling you Bob because it sounds so natural to me (my uncle is Bob Ward of Award Charters out of Homer, Alaska). I hope that doesn’t bother you.
I just got done reading your commentary piece  in the Alaska Journal of Commerce dated January 19, 2014. I almost, or actually, I did, leap from my couch shouting “hot damn!” Your thoughtful combing of what was missing from Morris Co.’s, though admirable King Salmon series, is spot on.
Other than wanting to high five you and buy you a six pack of beer, I am wondering if you can point me in the right direction to actually address aspects of the habitat problem. Something small and direct – or rather smaller and more direct than trying to get DNR and ADFG to stop touting their permit success rates that negatively impact salmon habitat.
You’ll have to excuse me as I’ve not really fully formulated my thoughts here, but when you mentioned two-stroke engines contributing to elevated hydro-carbon pollution during the summer months, I was instantly brought back to heading out in my dad’s 70s looking flimsy fiberglass boat with the Evinrude screaming away at its single piston. I grew up in Port Graham and Seldovia (now in Juneau) where heading out in jalopies with light weight, cheap and reliable two-strokes is pretty much the norm – still sorta is.
So, what if a partnership between federal, state, environmental foundations and groups, and even fishing industry groups was formed to create a fund to subsidize the sale of cleaner more efficient outboard engines? Then banging away at policy that actually tightens up the belt on these pollutants might be a bit easier.
It’s not going to fix the problem instantly or ultimately – but its a step in the right direction, right?
Let’s say you get the buy in of CIRI or another Native Alaskan corporation (I am a holder of CIRI shares, just to be clear, but I have absolutely no clout what-so-ever) and they administer a program (say the “Healthy Salmon Fund”) that administers the funds where local outboard dealers throughout the state or particular region can submit their invoices and receipts showing the sale of a high efficient four-stroke engine. After all is verified the seller gets a little kick back subsidy each fiscal quarter.
This sounds a bit insane to me and I just wrote it, but maybe you’ve got thoughts? Just to clarify, I am a recent entrant into the blogger online ghetto at akcenozo.blogspot.com, you can find out a little about what I am trying to do on the about page.
At this point, I’m just trying to get my feet underneath me. I have a very crass and crude way of writing most of the time because I’ve found its an effective way to get at least some folks not normally engaged in the topics I discuss to at least reading a little about important issues of our time – I hope you can forgive me for that.
Anyway, I know you are probably a busy guy but I’d love to at least start a conversation about the small things that can be hacked away at or at least shoot me down and point me in the right direction.
Forest Kvasnikoff
Alaskan Cenozo Blog 

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