Candidate for Senate Dr. Al Gross talks ANWR and climate change during a forum

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 8:33 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Get Out The Native Vote, a nonpartisan group aimed at increasing the community engagement of Alaska Native and American Indian voters, is holding a series of question and answer forums with candidates for both the Senate and House of Representatives here in the last frontier.

Dr. Al Gross is the democratic nominee running as an independent against incumbent Dan Sullivan for the Senate. Gross was the first to sit down and answer questions for GOTNV over Zoom.

On the topic of ANWR, Nikki Graham, the Director at Alaska’s People, asked Gross “What is your philosophy on proper resource development? Specifically, what is your stance on responsible resource development including the opening of ANWR?”

Gross responded by saying: “Well I think we need to pursue resource development on a case by case basis here in Alaska. In an environmentally sustainable way and in consultation with the impacted communities, in particular, the Alaska Native community. It’s possible for Alaska to achieve natural resource development in a safe and sensitive way with consideration to the Porcupine Caribou herd up in ANWR. Food security for the Gwich’in and the use of expert industry support services by the Alaska Native corporations. We should be able to achieve an advanced approach to resource development up in ANWR and other parts of the state so long as we are always mindful of the first peoples there.”

Gross was also asked about climate change, Nikki Graham again with the question saying “Alaska is on the front lines of climate change, wildfires, storms, warmer temperatures, and more are slowly threatening the viability of Alaska’s rural native villages. How will you support efforts for emergency preparedness to address the immediate and long term impacts on our changing climate? And secondly what are your thoughts on the Paris Agreement?”

In response to the climate change question, Gross had this to say: “Well I believe the United States needs to get back into the Paris accords immediately in the new 117th senate. Unlike President Trump, I have no doubts that greenhouse gas emissions risk causing dangerous levels of global warming and our villages are paying the price for this willful ignorance by President Trump and Senator Dan Sullivan who’s called people climate change alarmists. I believe that the multi-state and federal agency efforts to help move villages like Newtok to Mertarvik is a good case study in mitigation effects but I know we can’t move all the villages and communities we need to prevent further environmental damage that necessitates such costly and drastic measures.”

With just about two weeks until election day Gross is in a race that’s drawing national attention.

His opponent, incumbent Sullivan will have his own opportunity to sit down with the Get Out The Native Vote group on Thursday from 3 pm to 4 pm Alaska Standard Time.

You can find the full Gross interview here, and you can find the link to the upcoming interview with Sullivan here.

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