We live in a place where protecting coastal uses and resources should be one of the most important goals for all Alaskans. Alaska has approximately 33,000 square miles of coastline. We cannot afford to allow this natural resource to fall victim to interests that do not have our livelihood in the forefront of their agenda.
The Alaska Coastal Management Program was created in the late 1970s as part of a Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The act's and the program's goals were to protect coastal uses and resources for all people. The program allowed Alaskans to have a say in coastal development and protection. The program was refined many times over the years and fostered many great partnerships that all had coastal uses and resources in mind.
The program was further refined into a program that sounded like it had good intentions, but unfortunately it was streamlined into a paper tiger. Every time we develop our coastline in a manner that is consistent with the wrong goals, we only seem to further the waste of our greatest natural resource. Alaska is a place that needs to be open to development, but not development that has a race to the bottom mentality. We are only as rich as the resources we use responsibly.
The prolonged starvation and disassembly of the program is truly a step in the wrong direction if we are going to continue to enjoy our coastal uses and resources.
South Royalton, Vt.