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Obama Renames North America’s Tallest Peak, Angering Ohioans

Posted August 31st, 2015 at 3:11 pm (UTC-4)
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At Long Last, Denali Restored

The Editors – Alaska News-Miner

After spending nearly a century bearing the name of a president who never saw the mountain or even visited Alaska, Denali has been restored….

It took 40 years’ effort on the part of many Alaskans and a president in a position to never need Ohio’s electoral votes again, but Denali’s right name will finally be reapplied to the mountain. In choosing to restore the name, President Obama has finally found one of the rarest political commodities: An executive action popular with Alaska residents.

While there are surely some who would have liked to see the mountain’s name restored through the legislative process, it’s hard to argue that route would have been fruitful at any point in the near future since Ohio’s congressional delegation had proved so apt at gaming the system.

Watch: President Obama on climate change ahead of Alaska trip:

My Turn: Climate Change Impacts Alaskan Life

Patrick Marshall – The Juneau Empire

For the past several summers, I’ve worked for a seafood processor here in Craig…. I regularly talk to the local fishermen that come to sell their fish to us, and learn about how their seasons are going….

This photo taken July 4, 2013, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, shows a brown bear walking to a sandbar to eat a salmon it had just caught at Brooks Falls. (AP)

This photo taken July 4, 2013, in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, shows a brown bear walking to a sandbar to eat a salmon it had just caught at Brooks Falls. (AP)

When I first started talking to these fishermen, I expected to hear about the price per pound for fish, the cost of fuel and the news about local openers. What I didn’t expect was that climate change would become the main topic of our conversations. They are experiencing climate change first hand and, like many Alaskans across the state, are worried this is just the beginning.

It’s time for us to address this issue of climate change and what it means for Alaska. Last spring, I joined with other teens from Alaska Youth for Environmental Action in asking Governor Walker to take action on climate change. Specifically we asked that the Walker Administration reconvene a task force to address climate impacts and solutions for Alaska. But we want more than recommendations on what to do about this problem – we need to actually act now. We need a plan for how our communities, like my town of Craig, will adapt to, mitigate and prevent future climate impacts – and we need our Alaskan government to lead the way.

Obama Is a Climate Hypocrite. His Trip to Alaska Proves It.

Eric Holthaus – Slate

On Monday morning President Obama headed to Alaska—the front lines of climate change—for a trip the White House is calling “a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.”

Problem is, those words fall flat when compared with Obama’s mixed record on climate. The widely publicized trip comes at a delicate moment for the president. Barely two weeks ago, his administration gave Royal Dutch Shell final approval to drill for oil offshore Alaska’s northwest Arctic coast—not exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from someone who professes to be “leading by example.” ….

Climate activists vociferously opposed the approval of Shell’s permit: Last month a group of protesters in kayaks briefly blockaded an Arctic-bound Shell support ship while it was in a Portland, Oregon, port. In recent days Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, has also voiced her opposition.

Quotes by dissenting Ohio Republicans on Denali:

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States in this undated file photo. (AP)

William McKinley, 25th President of the United States in this undated file photo. (AP)

“There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement issued Sunday night.

“I’m deeply disappointed in this decision,” Boehner said, after noting that McKinley served in the Army during the Civil War before representing Ohio in Congress and as governor.

“This decision by the administration is yet another example of the President going around Congress,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said, adding that Congress had been debating the name for years.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, said Obama “overstepped his bounds.”

Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio,  called the move an example of Obama’s “constitutional overreach.”




The Alaska-Ohio Throwdown: Mt. McKinley or Dinali?

Scott Martelle – Los Angeles Times

An earlier effort to rename Mt. Whitney after Winston Churchill could have let us now say that Mt. Churchill is our finest tower. But a setup for a pun isn’t sufficient to rename a mountain (unfortunately).

While Whitney at least had a connection to the mountain that bears his name, Churchill had no more connection to it than did McKinley to Denali. According to the Sequoia Parks Foundation, the local Native American name for Mt. Whitney was Too-man-i-goo-yah, or “guardian spirit.” That doesn’t have the same ring as Denali. But more significantly, hardly anyone knows Whitney by the indigenous name, so there’s really no reason to resurrect it.

But in Alaska, Congress ought to defer to a strong local tradition, and the state’s official position, and rename the mountain Denali. Then the folks in Ohio can start looking around for a local hill they can rename McKinley.

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