Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:23 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Measure 2 won't empower citizens

Throughout this political season I have been discouraged by the quality of debate surrounding Proposition 2. While public debate is healthy and necessary for a thriving democracy, the current debate is being argued with rhetoric and misinformation rather than fact.

Proponents claim that Proposition 2 will give local communities an increased voice on coastal projects in their region. This is the position articulated by House candidates Liz Diament and Paul Seaton. Passing the plan, says Diament, "would allow coastal communities to have input into decisions by the federal government."

Such a position ignores the facts. Proposition 2 clearly states that "an enforceable policy of the district coastal management plan is preempted by federal statutes or regulations." The plan gives local communities no additional powers to override federal law — it simply adds another layer onto it.

The misinformed opinions of Diament and Seaton have led many to believe Proposition 2 increases local autonomy. For example, Seaton has pointed out that "A huge concern for Alaska is the Offshore Aquaculture Act which will establish federal fish farms in the 3 to 200 miles federal zone." This imagined "concern" is solely rhetoric, seeking to justify the existence of Proposition 2. The Offshore Aquaculture Act clearly states that, "The Secretary shall not authorize permits for new offshore aquaculture facilities within 12 miles of the coastline ... if that State has submitted a written notice ... that the coastal State opposes such activities." The next 188 miles of water is federal territory, and no part of the management plan would supersede federal law, contrary to what Mr. Seaton would have voters believe. Aquaculture is being used as a scare tactic to justify vastly expanded levels of government.

I encourage every Alaskan to read Proposition 2 in full to foster accurate and beneficial debate. Although prudent coastal management is good and necessary, I am confident you will find that Proposition 2 does more to give additional power to government than to actually empower local communities.

Jason Lupatkin

New York, N.Y.

(I spent time fishing and visiting friends on the Kenai Peninsula last month, during which the election season caught my interest and I've been following it as closely as I can.)