Anti-environmentalism in Alaska is at a fever pitch, and it’s affecting the shape of nearly every political campaign in the final weeks before voters go to the polls. Incumbent state Rep. Harry Crawford (D), for example, has gone out of his way to try to convince his constituency that he’s pro-development, not eco-friendly. “I believe I’ve had to explain it 100 times at the door,” said the first-term Democrat, who insists that he’s pushed hard to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Crawford is one of many Alaskan Dems — gubernatorial candidate Fran Ulmer among them — who have been slammed for having environmentalists’ support. Tom Atkinson, executive director of Alaska Conservation Voters, says he has never seen so much anti-green election talk in his 31 years in Alaska. Much of the talk stems from concerns about the state’s gloomy economic future, which is largely influenced by federal spending and oil activity. “People of course say they love the environment,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “But very few people come here for the environment. They come here for a job.”
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