State Sovereignty must be Protected, No New Fed. Bureaucracy Needed
June 04, 2004
"We look forward to the coastal states playing a lead role implementing the improvements for ocean management outlined in the report," Murkowski said in his letter to retired Admiral James Watkins, chairman of the commission. "An emphasis on state enforcement mechanisms using risk-based management will strengthen our ability to protect marine ecosystems and assure the federal government that national standards are being met. I urge the commission to consider Alaska's comments carefully and pay special attention to our call for affirmation of the states' sovereign role in management of our oceans."
The preliminary report has been made available for review by governors for six weeks. Murkowski was briefed on the report by Watkins during a trip to Washington, D.C. Governors have been afforded the opportunity to comment on behalf of their state governments, with the expectation that the commission will incorporate their concerns into the final report.
"The final oceans commission report will lay a foundation on which the federal government will build its future ocean policy and management schemes, which will have many direct impacts on Alaska," Murkowski said. "Our shoreline is 2/3 of the total shoreline of the nation. Much of our economy is directly tied to the wise use of the ocean and its resources, whether for the fisheries, transportation of North Slope oil, or the hundreds of thousands of tourists who come to Alaska on a sea cruise.
"We have taken good care of our oceans for just those reasons, and the Environmental Protection Agency finds our waters to be essentially pristine. We welcome a new national standard, which is the goal of the ocean commission, but enforcement mechanisms must be tailored to unique regional and state conditions. And it must recognize and maintain state sovereignty over coastal waters and uplands, along with state control of implementation strategies."
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