State rejects teen climate change petition

Seb Kurland sits right of DEC Commissioner, Larry Hartig. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Center)

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation denied a climate change petition on Thursday submitted by a group of teens. The petition asked the state to reduce carbon emissions, monitor greenhouse gasses and come up with a long term climate change strategy.

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In late August, the teens hand-delivered the petition to DEC commissioner Larry Hartig. In his rejection letter, Hartig said the request posed “significant consequences for employment and resource development” in the state.

Seb Kurland, a member of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, the group that submitted the proposal, was initially disappointed by the decision. But the 17-year-old from Juneau isn’t giving up.

“I’m hopeful the governor and the Lt. governor will take action on this subject,” Kurland said. “And that their newly appointed members will do something about it.”

The governor’s office has made some strides to address climate change since the teens voiced their concern. The administration created a new position, appointing a climate change adviser.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott said a climate plan is forthcoming.

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