Redmond man on a mission to preserve Alaska habitat

Not long ago, Patrick Kelley didn’t think he could make much of a difference. Now the Redmond resident is on a mission.

  • Monday, April 14, 2008 5:31pm
  • News

Not long ago, Patrick Kelley didn’t think he could make much of a difference. Now the Redmond resident is on a mission.

Last month, Kelley traveled to Washington, D.C. as citizen lobbyist for the Alaska Wilderness League (AWL), an organization that works to preserve Alaska’s wild land and waters.

AWL is the only Washington D.C.-based environmental group devoted full-time to protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other wilderness-quality lands in Alaska, according to its Web site.

Kelley was one of 60 conservation-minded activists from all across the country, including several Alaska Natives, who made the trip to D.C. to voice their opposition to the oil drilling operations in Alaska’s North Slope. The group met with Washington state congressman Jay Inslee, who focuses on environmental policies. Kelley said he was inspired by Inslee’s work and is now very passionate about preserving what he calls “the last great wilderness.”

“Investing money in fossil fuels is not good for the future,” said Kelley, who has visited Alaska twice, once in 1988 and another in 2000. “The best way is to invest in renewables and green jobs. We can support growth, but we can also improve the open spaces we have.

“We need open space to remind us of who we are. We need a connection to the Earth. There’s something wrong with drilling for oil in the wilderness.”

Kelley said the testimonies from the native Alaskans from the Inupiaq and Gwich’in tribes really hit an emotional chord.

Kelley said the most “heart-wrenching” story was told by an Inupiaq woman named Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, a public health official from a small village just west of Prudoe Bay. She said she has had to Medevac out almost 20 infants for acute asthma, caused by the gas flares and other air pollution from drilling. One of the babies is so sick he can’t return to the village, she said.

“Those kind of stories cause emotional reaction,” Kelley said.

Now Kelley wants to bring this message back home.

Kelley plans to give presentations and spread the word to various community groups. He is already signed up to give a presentation to the Eastside Audubon Society, an environmental conservation organization, on May 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Northlake Unitarian Universalist Chruch in Kirkland.

“The main thing I learned on my trip was that citizen involvement does make a difference,” he said. “I went there a cynic, but I have a different view now. I want to get more people to realize that they can make a difference too.”

Kelley is a former technical writer at Microsoft who started his own contract writing business, specializing in environmental science and conservation called PK Communications, LLC. in Bellevue.

Kelley admits he was never that politically active before his trip to D.C.

“I came back from this trip with a whole new attitude about government, and a much greater willingness to act locally,” Kelley said. “Our visit to Congressman Inslee’s office was a big part of that.”

More in News

Vader served the Redmond Police Department for more than seven years and enjoyed a four-year retirement as the Hovenden family pet. Photos courtesy of RPD
Former Redmond police K-9 Vader, dies at 13

Vader served the department for more than 7 years and spent his retirement as a full-time family pet.

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
                                Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
Naylor leads Eastside judicial race

Results are preliminary.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

From left: Samantha Areliz (VALA curator), Marisa Mouton Provo (VALA Communication Director) and Zachary Burns (artist) look upon the Gatesville exhibit at the new VALA Eastside in Kirkland. Madison Miller/staff photo.
VALA Arts moves to Kirkland; changes name to VALA Eastside

VALA Eastside makes Kirkland its permanent home.

Upcoming shelter for women and families offers hope to Eastside

The city of Kirkland anticipates the shelter for families and women to be completed in 2020.

PSE natural gas bills will be lower this winter

This is the lowest rates the utility has provided since 2004.