UAF students spend summer discussing energy issues

By Jeremia Schrock

Sun Star Reporter

As UAF’s MAYmester came to a close, a group of self-proclaimed concerned citizens met at the College Coffee House to discuss energy issues facing residents of Alaska’s interior. Those in attendance were primarily UAF students already involved in the environmental movement in one way or another. The coalition that grew out of that meeting has since come to be known as Interior Energy Issues (IEI).

Karlan Bachmann, a non-degree seeking student who also works for REDOIL, a Cordova-based grassroots initiative whose primary aim is halting environmental destruction on native lands, is also an organizer for the IEI. Bachmann, who worked with Google Rio Tinto founder Nanae Ito during this past spring semester, is also a member of the local activist band Good Daze, and stressed during the organization’s first meeting that the group is not just one of protest, but also of education. “Not just, ‘Oh, we hate BP.’ Even though most of you probably do,” Bachmann added jokingly.

Since the organization’s first meeting last month, they have held a street-corner information rally, a showing of the documentary “The True Cost of Oil,” and they have operated educational booths at both the Fairbanks Folk Festival and the Midnight Sun Festival.  The group is also currently holding a “Styrofoam drive” to encourage local restaurants to switch to a biodegradable product instead.

The organization also held a “Letter to the Editor Writing Party” on June 28th, which was directed at GVEA in order to show demand for cheaper, cleaner power for their homes.  Co-hosting the event with the IEI was UAF Beyond Coal president Christiana Wright and two community organizers of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Amy Snider and Siri Simons.

Snider is also the IEI’s unofficial public relations officer and a UAF senior majoring in environmental policy and natural resource management. When asked about the number of environmental groups involved with the IEI, Snider wrote that, “there are many groups and volunteers involved. Working together. That is how we get things done.”

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