By Anne Lucas
August 13, 2012
A coastal management program gives locals a strong local voice about what the federal government is doing on our coast. We gave up that right when we lost our program in 2011. We need to get it back.
I want my community of Ketchikan to have a say about what happens in this wonderful place we live. Coastal management gives us that opportunity through standards we develop and by community representation on the coastal policy board. I have heard people say it gives communities veto power, but that’s not correct. There’s nothing in the initiative that gives a veto option.
I want development in Ketchikan – we need a sound economy. A coastal management program helps development by bringing the people together at the beginning of projects rather than later, to resolve issues and get help in navigating the state and federal permit system. Everything from the North Slope oil to the Ketchikan cruise ship docks was developed under Alaska’s Coastal Management Program. It seems to me like it’s worked pretty well for the last 30 years.
I’ve been to the Chamber debate, a candidate forum, and a ballot initiative meeting where coastal management was discussed. Everyone agrees we need a program, but some say “not this one”. I say, “Let’s get a program out there.” If it’s not working right, make corrections. There’s nothing that says our Legislature can’t do that.
I’ve also heard some people say that the initiative is too long, and then criticize it because it’s not specific enough. It was purposely written to be a framework. Just like any great business plan or lesson plan, we start with our goals and objectives – then we add the content. Initiative No. 2 follows this same pattern. As for regulations being written in secret by bureaucrats, that’s just silly. There’s a public process for regulations. I know because I’ve commented in the past and those comments were taken into consideration before the final regulations went out.
I worry when big oil and mining companies pour enormous amounts of money into an election. Current reports show that since April, they have contributed more $767,000. Keep in mind these are mostly by outside and international companies. The supporters have raised $64,000 - all but $200 from Alaskans. That’s why you see those slick ads on TV telling us to vote “no” and why you won’t see countering ads. It makes me think that their campaign is all about doing what they want in Alaska without our say.
If we don’t support coastal management now, our state could be without a program for years. In the meetings that I attended, no one said they had an alternative plan. The Legislature could not do it before, which is why the citizens of Alaska need to get it back.
There’s a reason every other coastal state has this program. It’s because it elevates states’ rights. This is the only law that requires the federal government to respond to the concerns of coastal states and their citizens. I will be voting “yes” on August 28th and encourage people who care about a community voice to do the same.
About: "Born in Anchorage, she has been a Ketchikan resident since 1954 when her family moved down from Juneau. She has been an educator of elementary students in the Ketchikan Schools for over 35 years."
Received August 11, 2012 - Published August 13, 2012
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