Sophia Linklater Flather, from left, Lorraine Netro and Dana Tizya-Tramm travelled from Old Crow to Washington D.C. in 2017 to speak out on the potential drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

U.S. senator proposes retaliation over Canada’s ANWR lobbying effort

‘It was outrageous. They were going to every office in the Senate’

Frustrations over Canada’s lobbying to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) have pushed an Alaskan senator to propose changes to the way Alberta oil sands are taxed, according to news reports.

But a councillor with the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation says the threat won’t stop the push to protect the reserve which contains the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd.

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan has said he will introduce legislation to end a loophole which allows oil from Alberta’s oil sands to be exempt from paying into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which helps pay to cleanup spills.

Forcing Alberta oil companies to pay the nine-cent-per-barrel tax would mean an extra $47 million for the American government, according to a 2016 report quoted by Bloomberg.

According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Sullivan said the change was under consideration before Canada opposed American efforts to open ANWR to drilling.

But, he added, “Let’s just put it — we were thinking about it. We hadn’t made a final decision. And their actions certainly helped us make the final decision.”

In the Bloomberg story Sullivan is quoted as saying of the Canadian lobbying efforts: “It was outrageous. They were going to every office in the Senate.”

A request to Sullivan’s office for comment was not returned in time for today’s deadline.

Changes to the American Tax Act in 2017 say the U.S. government must offer one oil and gas land lease sale in four years.

Officials have said the first sale could happen as early as next year.

The Canadian government, the Yukon government and the Gwich’in Nation, including the Vuntut Gwitchin, are among those who have spoken out against drilling saying it could have a dramatic affect on the herd which the First Nation considers sacred.

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation councillor Dana Tizya-Tramm said the senator’s move is “absolutely not” going to change the Gwich’in’s efforts to lobby for ANWR protection.

“For a senator to threaten us with $47 million is nothing compared to a … multi-million-year-old caribou herd,” he said.

“As well I find it disingenuous to be threatening us with such a taxation loophole when that is something that their political body would be responsible for closing regardless of any activity on behalf of Canada and the Yukon.”

Tizya-Tramm said he’s equally unconcerned that the move by the senator could influence the Canadian federal government’s position.

“Canada and the Yukon Territory have been incredible partners and it’s just too bad that Mr. Senator Sullivan does not enjoy the same kind of comprehensive consultation under negotiations and legal frameworks that ensure strong partnerships.”

In a one-line statement emailed to the News by Yukon Liberal cabinet officials, Premier Sandy Silver is quoted as saying, “We remain committed to the conservation of the Porcupine Caribou herd and we stand with its First Nation and Inuvialuit partners to call for protecting this vital resource.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

ANWRoil and gasU.S. politics

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read