In the 1990’s I served for five years on the state’s Coastal Management Council under both the Hickel and Knowles administrations. I was the co-chair of the council for four of those five years. It is from this experience that I have decided to vote NO on Ballot Measure 2. The problem with the coastal zone management program 15 to 20 years ago and the one proposed in Measure 2 is that local communities are mislead into believing that they can trump state or federal law. This only leads to delays in the permitting process and frustration for the local citizens who eventually find out that they cannot trump state or federal laws.
The Alaska Constitution and the statutes that flow out of it reserve the management of our natural resources and lands for the state government. The resource agencies such as ADF&G, DEC and DNR have been given the authority by the legislature to utilize, develop and conserve all of our natural resources including those in our coastal zones. When these agencies create their regulations they hold public hearings and are required to follow the Alaska Administrative Procedures Act to insure a fair and equitable public process.
A new coastal management program will not change how these agencies do business, but only give local communities a false hope that they can somehow override the decisions these state agencies make. During my five years on the council we held many petition hearings filed by local citizens and local governments claiming that the state resource agencies made permitting decisions that were not consistent with the desires of the local community. These hearings covered topics from hunting cabins on the YK Delta, tramways in Juneau and oil spill response plans in Prince William Sound. I cannot recall an instance when the costal management council did not uphold the state agencies decision.
We do not need more government and more frustration. Please vote no on measure 2.