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Feds Support New Alaska Coastal Management Program
Public Comments on New ACMP Plan to be Accepted Until Nov. 7


September 26, 2005

The state's plan for an improved coastal zone management program is another step closer to implementation after a draft federal environmental impact statement identified Alaska's amendments as the preferred alternative, Governor Frank H. Murkowski said today.

The decision by the federal Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management on Sept. 19 to embrace Alaska's changes follows the agency's preliminary approval in June, and starts a 45-day public comment period on the new plan. The agency expects to adopt a final environmental impact statement and put the plan into effect by Dec. 31.

"This preliminary decision by OCRM ratifies our long-standing belief that this amended ACMP should meet with federal approval," Murkowski said. "I am gratified with this timely determination, which is an important step in fulfilling the reforms of the state's program that the Legislature and I have worked so hard to achieve."

OCRM's approval is the latest step in the state's efforts to revise its 25-year-old coastal zone management plan into a more logical, streamlined process that both protects the state's shoreline resources and provides for environmentally responsible development.

The state has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent agency for OCRM, on a new program since the Legislature in 2003 ordered changes to reflect Alaska's unique conditions and needs. In January, the governor took a strong stance against OCRM's rejection of the state's plans. OCRM backed down, approved the changes on a preliminary basis, and agreed to finalize the approval process by the end of the year.

Under a bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor in May, the entire coastal zone management program will terminate if OCRM fails to compete its environmental review and approve the amended plan by Dec. 31.

The public has until Nov. 7 to offer their comments specifically on the state plan as identified as the preferred alternative, according to Dr. Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator of NOAA's National Ocean Services, who signed the executive summary of OCRM's draft environmental impact statement.

"I'm confident this is a solid plan that will protect the interests of Alaskans, and I invite anyone with an interest in the issue to share their comments," Murkowski said.


On the Web:

ACMP and OCRM's draft environmental impact statement


Source of News:

Office of the Governor



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Ketchikan, Alaska