August 22nd, 2012

Think About It …………..                                                                                 August 22, 2012

The Coastal Zone Management Initiative that will appear on the Primary Ballot next Tuesday as Proposition 2 is very different from the Bill that passed 40 – 0 in the 2011 session of the Legislature.

As proof – only 7 out of 60 Alaska Legislators supported Proposition 2 when it was proposed as legislation in the 2012 session of the Legislature.  Remember –

* There had been debate on Coastal Zone for two years so all legislators were fully aware of the differing

       proposals;

* The vote in the 2011 session showed that all 40 House members and many from industry were willing

      support reasonable coastal zone legislation;

* Yet, only 7  Legislators supported what was to become Proposition 2 in the form of legislation –  

     6  Democrats and one just  1  lone Republican, Paul Seaton, of Homer.

 

Believe me when I say that if 53 Republicans and Democrats can agree on something then we should all step back and really consider what the Initiative will and will not do.

The specific reforms initiated by former Governor Frank Murkowski in 2003 to streamline the Coastal Zone Management Program the following changes were adopted:

  • to consolidate permitting in DNR for ALL state permits. DNR already had the most permitting authority under Title 38 and had the in-house expertise to represent the State’s best interest;
  • with all permitting moved to DNR, the Division of Governmental Coordination was no longer necessary so it was dissolved.
  • enforceable policies were required to meet a uniform set of State standards as determined by DNR in order to achieve uniformity of the Coastal Zone rules throughout the state;
  •  Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permits approved by the State were deemed approved

               under the Coastal Zone Management Plan to reduce government red tape.

  • No third party appeals were allowed.

The Initiative that will be on the Ballot, next Tuesday, as Proposition 2 repeals all these excellent 2003 reforms. This means that DEC permits must be obtained twice – once at the state level and then again at the coastal district level with the possibility of even more restrictions.

Because it does not allow for amendments and corrections as legislation does, the Initiative process is not the right vehicle for passing legislation such as the 15 page Proposition 2. The Attorney General pointed this out in a 2011 letter to Lt. Governor Treadwell.  Proposition 2 is long and complex. In places the initiative is not clearly defined and contains a number of typographical errors, inconsistencies, and ambiguities. Also some provisions raise constitutional issues or give rise to constitutional concerns that would be court bound for years.

Support for Proposition 2 comes mostly from people involved in local government entities who for some reason want another level of beauracracy. This demand for more government stands in stark contrast to Alaskans who are saying we already have too much government in our lives.

Next Tuesday Vote No 2.

Think About It!       JCD    8-22-2012

 

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