Coastal Zone Management Causes Controversial Discussion
ANCHORAGE - Is next month's Ballot Measure Number 2 an attempt to give residents of coastal zones a voice in development projects that need federal permits? Or is it a massive new bureaucracy that will kill jobs in Alaska?
Those questions were debated in two forums in Anchorage today.
When Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell held a hearing on the citizen’s initiative to revive the coastal management program, the business community came out in force to oppose it.
"There is absolutely no way that you can add the levels of government that you're talking about adding, and with the uncertainty about the authority that the board has, and about how regulations will be written and implemented – without having delay and delay kills jobs," said Rebecca Logan of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance.
"Ballot Measure 2 is not clear, it is not concise,” said Kara Moriarty of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. “It creates more questions than answers, and we view this measure as a huge step backwards for permitting projects and one our industry opposes."
"I'm particularly sensitive to how significant a few simple phrases were in the coastal zone decade of 2011, let alone 15 un-vetted pages dictated by one extreme side of the issue," said Representative Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage).
The coastal zone program died in 2011 when Governor Parnell and the Legislature could not agree on the terms for its extension.
Supporters of the measure on the primary election ballot said business has nothing to fear.
"It's a win-win, not an either-or,” said Terzah Tippin Poe of Yes On 2 told the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce at its Make It Monday forum. "All North Slope development for the last 34 years has happened under coastal zone management. The Kensington Mine has happened under coastal zone management." "The Red Dog Mine has happened under coastal zone management."
But opponents said the ballot measure is confusing.
"If you don't understand it and are uncertain of the consequences, don't risk the future. Vote no,” said Judy Brady of No On 2.
On August 28, Alaskans will decide.