Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 2:36 PM on Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Initiative to restore coastal management program certified

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has certified Alaska Sea Party's application to begin collecting signatures for a statewide ballot initiative to restore Alaska's coastal management program.

The initiative establishes a 13-member Alaska Coastal Policy Board to oversee development of the new program. The program's aims include balancing competing demands on coastal resources and uses, providing Alaskans with a strong voice in state and federal coastal activities and establishing a coordinated permit review process.

After working for more than 30 years, Alaska's previous coastal program expired in the summer of 2011, when the Legislature failed to agree to extend the program.

The Alaska Sea Party seeks to ensure Alaskans have a voice in coastal development decisions.

It will soon distribute petition booklets to volunteer and paid signature gatherers from Barrow to Ketchikan, and intends to gather 26,000 signatures by the start of the legislative session on Jan. 17, in order to place the initiative on the 2012 election ballot.

If the Legislature fails to act, the initiative would appear on next year's statewide election ballot.

"A well-crafted coastal program promotes sound and responsible economic development," said Mako Haggerty of Homer, a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and an initiative sponsor.

"By streamlining project authorizations, resolving disputes up front, and reducing litigation, Alaska can have diverse and responsible development in our coastal areas. ... We urge everyone who cares about Alaska's coast to sign a petition and make their voice heard."