Resources Management Plan for Coast A Go
Resources Management for Alaskas coast gets one step closer. On January 17, 2012, the representatives of the Alaska Sea Party presented themselves to the Alaska Division of Elections office to deliver more than 33,500 signatures needed to urge the state to conduct a statewide ballot initiative to restore Alaska’s coastal management program. The lack of coastal management program in Alaska, after the expiration of the previous one last year, started the grassroots organization of the Alaska Sea Party, which petitioned to collect 26,000 signatures before the start of the legislative session this year. The act is considered an unprecedented effort in the history of the state’s citizen activism.
“We lost an important tool with the sunset of the program,” Representative Beth Kerttula, a long-time program supporter, said. “If the question goes to the voters, Alaskans will be able to reclaim their voices, regain their seats at the table, and restore coastal management. We’ll get that tool back.”
“Clearly, Alaskans recognize a well-crafted coastal program promotes economic development,” Mako Haggerty, a Kenai Peninsula Borough assemblyman and an initiative sponsor, said. “By streamlining project authorizations, resolving disputes up front, and reducing litigation, we can have diverse and responsible development in Alaska’s coastal areas.”
Included amongst the party’s propaganda was stressing the importance of having our own coastal management program. Alaska’s coasts have been one of the state’s treasures in terms of resources and with a coastal management program, Alaskans are ensured that their voices will continually be heard before any changes are made to Alaska’s coasts. As a new addition, the initiative would establish a 13-member Alaska Coastal Policy Board to oversee development of the new program.
“Alaskans have told us in overwhelming terms they want their voices heard,” Bruce Botelho, a lead sponsor of the initiative, said. “It is deeply heartening to see such strong, widespread support for bringing back an important program that gives the state and local communities a meaningful say in decisions that affect coastal development and resources.”
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