What do you think?

Posted: Sunday, February 09, 2003

Habitat is the foundation of our economy. The governor's adolescent insistence to use the state to carry out his personal vendettas will erode our economy.

The Habitat Division has been out of control for years. It is about time someone reined them in.

ADF&G can't provide Alaskans with fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities if it can't credibly maintain and protect the habitat that produces fish and wildlife.

Transferring ADF&G's habitat permitting authority to DNR may create further delays to developers since the only alternative left for concerned citizens will be in the courts.

Under the current arrangement, Habitat could object to a permit and the applicant waited for the agencies to resolve. This added weeks and months to the time it takes to obtain a permit. Having all permitting under one agency will eliminate the gridlock that frequently occurs. DNR is the logical agency to deal with permits.

With the Habitat Division's oversight developers must work in an environmentally friendly way and time and again they have found a way to do this. If the governor gets rid of the Habitat Division he puts our rivers, fish and watersheds in danger.

The DNR does not have qualified professional scientists to provide the information needed to determine whether a proposed development will greatly damage or destroy our most valuable resources.

As we move toward more aggressive resource development, habitat protection becomes all the more important.

Habitat personnel long ago abandoned balance and sound science in favor of an anti-private sector bias. Moreover, all personnel save the director chose not to join the professional service, thereby avoiding the checks and balances that periodic elections are supposed to bring in a democracy. Alaskans deserve a more professional approach than the dogmatic environmentalism practiced at the Division of Habitat and Restoration.

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