Trump Administration’s Rushed and Overreaching Efforts in Alaska Attract Legal and Media Attention

Three recent major news stories out of Alaska underscore how determined the Trump Administration is to advance development projects that will destroy our nation’s public lands and waters.  The Administration’s rushed and overreaching efforts in Alaska are now getting the press attention and legal review that they deserve.

Most notably, the New York Times published a blockbuster story last week exposing the results of the only test well in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drilled more than thirty years ago. A closely kept secret for decades, the journalists found several players with knowledge of the test well results who confirmed it was actually “worthless.” This story will have a long-term impact on the fight to protect the Refuge, calling into question years of promises and statements by Alaska officials who may have known about these results, including Department of Interior officials in the Trump Administration who have been pushing to open the Refuge to drilling. Read more here.

In a U.S. District Court in late March, the court ruled that the Trump Administration broke the law by approving the development of a road through the heart of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation advocates oppose this road because of the dangerous precedent it would set for wildlife refuges across the nation. The court ruled that the Trump Administration violated administrative law when they arbitrarily reversed former Secretary Sally Jewell’s earlier, science-based decision to not allow the road. Read more in the Anchorage Daily News here

On the same day, a second District Court decision overruled the Trump Administration’s efforts to open up oil drilling off the coasts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  President Trump signed an executive order that tried to lift protections from 128 million acres of federal waters. However, the court found that presidents have the power to put protections in place, but only Congress can revoke the protections. Read more in the Washington Post here.

All three stories provide excellent examples of how President Trump and the Department of the Interior are engaged in a breathless effort to approve massive, landscape altering development projects as quickly as possible.

David Hayes, former Deputy Secretary at Interior under President Obama, authored an op-ed in The Hill about how this dynamic is playing out in the Arctic Refuge. He notes that in its rush to offer oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump Administration is ignoring environmental safeguards and wildlife regulations. Hayes writes:

Most notably, the New York Times published a blockbuster story this week exposing the results of the only test well in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drilled more than thirty years ago. A closely kept secret for decades, the journalists found several players with knowledge of the test well results who confirmed it was actually “worthless.” This story will have a long-term impact on the fight to protect the Refuge, calling into question years of promises and statements by Alaska officials who may have known about these results, including Department of Interior officials in the Trump Administration who have been pushing to open the Refuge to drilling. Read more here.

In a U.S. District Court last Friday, the court ruled that the Trump Administration broke the law by approving the development a road through the heart of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation advocates oppose this road because of the dangerous precedent it would set for wildlife refuges across the nation.  The court ruled that the Trump Administration violated administrative law when they arbitrarily reversed former Secretary Sally Jewell’s earlier, science-based decision to not to allow the road.  Read more in the Anchorage Daily News here

Also last Friday, a second District Court decision overruled the Trump Administration’s efforts to open up oil drilling off the coasts of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.  President Trump signed an executive order that tried to lift protections from 128 million acres of federal waters. However, the court found that presidents have the power to put protections in place, but only Congress can revoke the protections. Read more in the Washington Post here.

All three stories provide excellent examples of how President Trump and the Department of the Interior are engaged in a breathless effort to approve massive, landscape altering development projects as quickly as possible.

David Hayes, former Deputy Secretary at Interior under President Obama, authored an op-ed in The Hill about how this dynamic is playing out in the Arctic Refuge. He notes that in its rush to offer oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Trump Administration is ignoring environmental safeguards and wildlife regulations. Hayes writes:

In a thinly-veiled rush to auction off large blocks of the Arctic Refuge to the oil and gas industry before the next presidential election, however, Interior has made a political decision to issue leases first and address “on-the-ground” oil and gas development issues later. It does not want to miss the opportunity to privatize the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and turn it into a giant oil field while it can. Neither the tax law, nor the National Environmental Policy Act, allow this. 

If the Trump Administration continues to rush forward with its reckless process to offer leases in the Arctic Refuge, court challenges are a certainty. The decisions handed down in the past week give us hope that the judicial branch will continue to put a check on the Trump Administration’s race to develop wild, irreplaceable places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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Campion Reaffirms Commitment to Regional Approach to End Homelessness

Campion Reaffirms Commitment to Regional Approach to End Homelessness

This week, our trustee Sonya Campion joined a coalition of business and nonprofit leaders from across the region to mark the progress that is being made in addressing homelessness in Seattle and King County. In an open letter to the community, Sonya and others acknowledged the significant challenges that remain while also reaffirming their commitment to a unified approach that brings together government, business, philanthropy, and nonprofits to develop a comprehensive system for addressing homelessness. The Mayor of Seattle and the King County Executive are providing bold leadership and we’re proud to support their efforts to make our communities stronger.

Read the letter here and coverage of it on MyNorthwest.com here

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Campion Advocacy Fund Names Neil Kornze as New CEO

Campion Advocacy Fund Names Neil Kornze as New CEO

Kornze Served as Director of Bureau of Land Management for President Obama

SEATTLE – Tom and Sonya Campion, founding trustees of the Campion Advocacy Fund and the Campion Foundation, announced today the selection of Neil Kornze as the new Chief Executive Officer of both organizations, which work to protect public lands, end homelessness, and build nonprofit capacity.

“We could not be more thrilled to welcome Neil to Seattle and the Campion team,” said trustees Tom and Sonya Campion. “Our nation’s public lands and our most vulnerable communities are facing unprecedented threats. We’re up for the fight and we’re excited to have Neil’s leadership take our work to a new level of impact and leverage. Together, we will execute a bold vision into the future for wild places, people experiencing homelessness in our communities, and advocacy in the nonprofit sector.”

The Campion Foundation and Campion Advocacy Fund were established to preserve the last remaining wild places across the West. Through this work, Campion has directed substantial support to the protection of vital landscapes like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness in Idaho, and numerous other wild places throughout the western United States and Canada.

A second major focus for the Foundation and Fund is working to end homelessness in Washington state and across the country. Campion has supported critical efforts including the establishment of the Washington State Office of Homeless Youth and the creation of innovative public-private partnerships to end youth homelessness like A Way Home America and A Way Home Washington.

Kornze, who started as CEO at the beginning of January, brings extensive experience in public administration to these important programs. From 2014 to 2017, he served in the Obama Administration as the Senate-confirmed Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the nation’s largest public lands agency. The BLM has more than 10,000 employees and responsibility for more than ten percent of land in the United States. Prior to his time at the BLM, Kornze spent nearly a decade working as a policy advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. After leaving the Obama Administration, he founded his own strategy firm to help clients protect land and wildlife, and focused on expanding the outdoor economy.

“I am proud to join the stellar team at the Campion Advocacy Fund and the Campion Foundation. The majestic land, water and wildlife that define us as a nation are under assault. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Americans lack a safe place to sleep, and the problem is getting worse in many communities. We will be working tirelessly to bring attention to these urgent issues and to support those who are fighting for change,” said Neil Kornze.

Under Kornze’s leadership at the BLM, protections were added to an unprecedented fifty-five million acres of public land to support the recovery of umbrella species like the Greater Sage Grouse and to preserve treasures like the ancient Native American sites found in Bears Ears National Monument. Kornze also led major reforms of our nation’s energy programs, including halting massive federal coal sales, dramatically reducing emissions from oil and gas operations on public lands, and authorizing the largest wind and solar projects in North America.

The Campion Foundation was founded in 2005 by Tom and Sonya Campion following Tom’s success in co-founding and leading Zumiez, a Washington-based company that is the world’s largest action-sports retailer with 700 stores on three continents. Tom and Sonya took their efforts a step further in 2013 when they established the Campion Advocacy Fund, a separate but affiliated 501(c)(4) nonprofit that works on similar issues to the original 501(c)3 foundation.

Raised in Elko, Nevada, Kornze earned his undergraduate degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

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A Way Home Washington, First Lady Trudi Inslee, and Pearl Jam Announce Anchor Community Initiative

Photo Credit: Jim Bennett

Last week, Campion Foundation grantee A Way Home Washington (AWHWA) joined with Washington First Lady Trudi Inslee and Pearl Jam to launch a major statewide campaign to end youth and young adult homelessness in four communities by 2022. The campaign, called the Anchor Community Initiative, will be a key part of creating a statewide system to ensure that every young person in Washington has a safe place to sleep.

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Read Sonya Campion’s Guest Editorial in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Read Sonya Campion’s Guest Editorial in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Dear Colleagues,

With daily negative headlines and community dialogue about the lack of progress to prevent and end homelessness in the Seattle area, I’ve been dismayed that no one is talking about the major steps forward in Washington’s 2018 legislative session. Thanks to the work of our amazing grantees and the leadership of Washington’s elected officials, this year’s session had the most substantive policy victories to end homelessness in the past decade. So we at the Campion Advocacy Fund decided to collect the recent successes in a guest editorial published this week by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Please share it far and wide to increase the discussion of positive solutions and the leadership needed to move forward!

Read and share our Guest Editorial in the Puget Sound Business Journal here!

In these dog days of summer, when your legislators and candidates are in your community, I hope that you will show up and speak up to let them know that we expect this caliber of leadership and momentum to continue until we finally end homelessness both in Washington and across the country.

Thanks for your leadership — we can do this.

Sonya Campion

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