Governor misses mark

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, March 04, 2005

Frank Murkowski came into office and immediately set out to remove Alaskans from decisions affecting coastal communities. Now, after bungling the process to revise the Alaska Coastal Management Program, he's blaming the federal government and claiming he's defending "states' rights." But once again, Frank misses the mark.

The federal coastal zone management law actually grants states more rights than they otherwise have without it. How? First, it provides money to state and local communities to implement their own local standards. By attacking this program, Frank is attacking decisions made by Alaskans, for Alaskans, not decisions made by faceless bureaucrats in D.C. or Juneau.

Second, the federal law provides a powerful appeal process in which states can challenge federal decisions affecting state and local interests. California used these very provisions last year to protect its coastal communities from federal intrusion.

Why is this relevant for Alaska? Among other reasons, there are efforts under way in Congress to allow fish farming in waters three to 200 miles offshore. But if Frank has his way, the state won't have a meaningful say in how the federal government manages our offshore waters. If you care about states' rights and local decision-making, let the governor and the Legislature know now. It's not too late to demand local control over coastal decision-making in Alaska.

Bob Shavelson,

Cook Inlet Keeper


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