The Alaska Federation of Natives on Saturday called on the state and federal governments to declare an energy emergency in rural Alaska, and to cap the price of heating oil and gasoline in villages across the state.
Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said the governor will continue appointing Natives to state posts.
Some village residents pay twice as much as city dwellers for heating oil and gasoline, and rural delegates meeting for their annual convention in Anchorage voted to ask the government to pay the difference.
That should last until low-cost, alternative energy projects are up and running in rural Alaska, said Loretta Bullard, president of Kawerak Inc., a Native nonprofit operating in the Bering Strait region.
AFN delegates also demanded that Gov. Sarah Palin appoint more Natives to influential state posts and commissions, saying Natives have “suffered from inattention.”
“It was an extreme struggle to get an Alaska Native on the Board of Game,” Timothy Andrew, chairman of the Native village corporation in Marshall, told the crowd.
At her recorded announcement to the AFN convention on Thursday, Palin announced that she was creating a new sub-cabinet to deal with energy issues, and the related migration of rural dwellers into Alaska’s urban areas. Energy costs in rural areas can be as much as 40% of a family’s household budget, and many family’s are being forced to reluctantly relocate so they can afford to stay warm. Heading up this new sub-cabinet will be Attorney General Talis Colberg. And no, he is not Native.
Talis Colberg, you’ll remember is the Alaska Attorney General who was the subject of a petition submitted to Palin’s office last month, and a whopping giant protest rally – the biggest in state history. More than 1200 “Alaskans for Truth” signed a petition demanding the removal of Colberg from office for advising state employees to ignore legislative subpoenas. What did the governor think of this loud and clear statement from her constituents? Apparently not much, since Colberg just got this shiny new appointment. I’m guessing he’s not fearing for his job. I think Alaskans can confidently say we’ve been roundly ignored.
Back to Native issues. Try to follow this very Palinesque thread of non-logic. Natives say she doesn’t appoint Natives. She says she will continue to appoint Natives. And then she creates a sub-cabinet to deal with Native issues, headed up by a non-Native. I have to believe that Alaskans are catching on to this.
So what will Palin do now? Rural Alaskan families are facing a crisis this winter. According to Senator Lisa Murkowski, fuel is being rationed, and prices are prohibitive. Palin has been asked by her constituents to help. So will she allow families in rural Alaska to go through a life-threatening winter without adequate heat? Or will she be one of those dreaded socialists that she is constantly vilifying on the campaign trail?