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By Bill Thomas Sr.


July 06, 2005

Dear Sitnews:

This is merely an opinion comparison to Mr. Coghill who expressed frustration and disagreement with the Public Law known as Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Thus ANILCA. I see more political motivation in his expression than anything else. I have some knowledge of that particular law. I see it as good legislation that insists on access to to public lands and use with responsibility. Prior to ANILCA responsibility for the surroundings were not a consideration whenever it came to harvesting natural resources. Many users would like to see the responsibility component go away and do things like we did in the old days when we were "more sovereign".

Take a look at the data that show the eras of harvesting during the twenty years Mr. Coghill referred to. To name a few; King crab abundance, fisheries statewide, wild game. The guide industry was nearly 100% waste of fish and game. There is big money in guiding and I don't have issue with that. Populations of fish and game are at an all time low. Harvesting fish before they have the opportunity to spawn and sell the roe and discard the fish to me, is not a responsible use of a resource. If it can't spawn, it is not renewable and a sustained yield is not possible.

I've had the pleasure of observing Mr. Coghill's father when he was in the legislature and I remember him as a fine gentleman deserving of the respect he received. I'm sure his son, the incumbent legislator, has the same fine qualities.

The issues Mr. Coghill eluded to were one part of ANILCA which is Title VIII and refers specifically to subsistence access and use. It is a very responsible part of the law compared to anything else the State of Alaska now or ever had on its books of legislation and management. The term, "reasonable access" is a favorite State of Alaska expression, but nobody can agree on exactly how to define that term. Not to linger this, Mr. Coghill must remember that Jimmy Carter no longer has any legislative powers. Congress presented the legislation and Jimmy Carter just signed it.

It is up to incumbent legislators to address any existing legislation. Again, this is only an opinion comparison.


Bill Thomas Sr.
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

letter Twenty-five Years of ANILCA by John Coghill - AK - USA



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