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Threatened Alaska coastal village agrees to relocate school

Alex DeMarban
Alaska Dispatch photo

Residents in the storm-imperiled coastal village of Kivalina have voted overwhelmingly to build a school on safe ground seven miles to the northeast, a decision that could jumpstart efforts to move the entire community, the Associated Press reports.

The vote in favor of relocating the school was 107-11, but a feasibility study must still be conducted to see if the proposed location is a good one.

A lawsuit that resulted in more state funding for rural school construction will help pay for the new school, according to the article.

The Inupiat Eskimo community in Northwest Alaska has been the subject of much publicity.  They've sued major players in the energy and oil industry, such as ExxonMobil, claiming that their emissions contribute disproportionately to climate change and that the companies are engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the effects of those emissions on rising global temperatures. A decision in that case is pending from a three-judge panel with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California.  

A book about the village's plight and attack against the energy Goliaths recently received a good review in the Huffington Post. The village of 400 residents more than 600 miles northwest of Anchorage was also the subject of a recent award-winning documentary.