On Primary Ballot, Coastal Zone Management Proposition is a Battleground
Ballot Measure 2 is most controversial proposition on the August 28 ballot
ANCHORAGE - You've probably seen and heard all the ads.
In the debate over Ballot Measure 2, one side so far has drowned out the other – “Vote No on 2” has been running commercials against the implementation of a new coastal zone management program, though the ads leave some ambiguity for voters wondering exactly why they should vote against it.
So Monday the proponents of Ballot Measure 2 – calling themselves the Alaska Sea Party – held a news conference to counter those urging a no vote. (The Sea Party hasn't been as visible on television, but has a collection of pro-Prop 2 videos here.)
It’s hard to tell from the vote no on 2 ads, but this is about whether to resurrect a coastal zone management program.
The no side says it's a threat to development, and at the minimum its implementation would delay development, and at its worst it would damage any development project where there’s opposition. During the lag time before it could be implemented, Brady would foresee frivolous lawuits. "So what everybody on the business side is assuming that if someone doesn't like your project, they are going to file a suit saying there was no consistency determination and until there is you cannot get that permit," said Judy Brady, representing the Vote No on 2 group. "And there would be an argument for that… at a minimum, there would be delays."
The Sea Party says it worked well for 25 years. Alaska’s first coastal zone management program was implemented in 1977 under Governor Jay Hammond. It was severely weakened in 2003 by Governor Frank Murkowski, and the last legislature went into special session to address implementing a new program, but came away with hands empty.
The coastal zone management program as proposed would create – its supporters say “reinstate” – local say in development projects onshore and offshore, from building a dock to allowing offshore oil drilling.
Former Governor Tony Knowles says it's a shame that Alaska became the only coastal state without a coastal management program.
"This is to my knowledge the only national program that requires federal agencies to be consistent with the state program. And we gave it away. During my administration, the over-arching accomplishment of coastal management was to replace litigation and confrontation with communication and negotiation."
Knowles, North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower and Senator Donny Olson held a news conference to tout Ballot Measure 2 as a pro-business measure for streamlining the permitting process while ensuring local input into actions of federal agencies.
Brower responded to the notion of a local veto power. "We are not in a position to stop offshore development or onshore development. It's there. We just need to make sure we have a seat [at] the table and talk about this issue that is going to impact our residents."