DEC commissioner denies teen climate change petition
The Department of Environmental Conservation denied a petition from a group of teens, which asked the state to do more to fight climate change.
The group, Alaska Youth for Environmental Action (AYEA), met with DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig in August. The petition asked the state to monitor and curb greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by the year 2050.
Hartig denied the petition on Wednesday for a number of reasons, citing practical and fiscal constraints. Some of the requests would also have needed legislative action. In a letter to the group, he said even though he was denying the petition, “addressing the climate change needs of Alaska is a priority for this Administration”.
AYEA member 18-year-old Brian Conwell said he was disappointed but not surprised by the rejection. He lives in Unalaska and is concerned about the impacts of climate change on his community.
“I just, like, had some hope in our decision-makers, that they might listen to us on this one, because, we being the ones affected by it,” said Conwell. “We're the youth, we're the next generation who are going to feel the effects of climate change.”
He said the group is not going to stop fighting to slow the effect of climate change in Alaska.
“I've met so many from around the state that really care and are really passionate, and I think we're going to be the ones that figure this out just because no other generation has figured it out yet, so we're going to have to figure it out,” said Conwell.
AYEA has been invited to take part in a climate change roundtable next month, discussing immediate actions and long-term solutions.