New sustainability report presented at energy conference

Inaugural sustainability report presented at energy conference
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:19 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference released its inaugural sustainability report on Wednesday.

The document, titled The Alaska Standard, looks at the state’s history of what the governor’s office calls “responsible resource development.”

In a statement, Gov. Mike Dunleavy made allusions to Alaska’s self-determination.

“For far too long we’ve allowed our story to be told by others, often to the detriment of our ability to develop those resources. This report allows us to tell our story to the world…”

A consulting firm from Chicago created the report with contributions from state agencies and other sources.

Jeff Gibbons, an environmental, social and corporate governance business advisor with Bridge House Advisors read from the report at the conference today, saying “The state of Alaska is committed to bringing affordable energy and safe clean water to every Alaskan.”

Gibbons delivered the report and said when mistakes were made, they were acknowledged and addressed.

“There’s no owner’s manual for a state the size of Alaska, really for any state for that matter. But this guiding principle and your state constitution can most definitely provide the necessary steer to get this right, over time,” Gibbons said.

He also discussed the societal impact of resource development in Alaska.

“The fact that there’s, again, a recognition of the value of a subsistence and Indigenous lifestyle. And the fact that everybody can get around the table and talk about how do we do the development, but how do we also acknowledge and respect the voices of Indigenous peoples and allow them to live the life that they want to live in Alaska,” Gibbons said.

But others, including the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition, say the report feels like greenwashing.

“It’s using a lot of buzzwords from the environmental community that have been co-opted. I’m seeing like “clean LNG” in there. Clean LNG doesn’t exist. Liquid natural gas is a fossil fuel. You can’t make it clean,” FCAC organizer Arleigh Hitchcock said.

“I think that the sustainability report that was released is pretty disingenuous with the real climate solutions that are happening and that are needed in the state of Alaska,” FCAC’s energy justice organizer Kenzley Defler said.