From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, April 27, 2010:
Willie Hensley said this morning that Alaska, particularly its energy-starved rural communities, should think about bracing for tough times.
Oil development and federal financial aid have left Alaska with great per capita wealth. They’ve declined in recent years, and Hensley, an icon in modern Alaska Native history, told an energy conference that Alaskans should “reconfigure our value system” to escape from dependence on aid and major development projects.
Such federal support, Hensley told roughly 400 people at the downtown Westmark Fairbanks Hotel, once meant major subsidies for power plants so villages could electrify their homes and public buildings. But Hensley said he expects Alaska may need to rely more on ingenuity and resourcefulness if it expects future improvements to the quality of life here.
“It has been nothing short of phenomenal to see the kinds of programs and services and facilities and infrastructure that we now enjoy,” Hensley said. “The big question is, is it sustainable?”
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