Coastal management initiative hearing process explained

The Alaska Coastal Management road show is about to get underway.

A series of ten public hearings on Ballot Measure 2 will be held around the state in July, starting next Monday in Soldotna and ending July 26th in Juneau. The citizen’s initiative would restore the Alaska Coastal Management Program, which state lawmakers failed to reauthorize during the 2011 regular and special sessions.

It’s the first measure to fall under a new state law requiring at least eight public hearings on an initiative up to 30 days before Election Day. Anchorage Republican Representative Charisse Millett sponsored House Bill 36, which Governor Parnell signed in 2010. Millett says the law is meant to provide a more open and transparent initiative process.

“Initiatives are very powerful. They’re more powerful than a law that any legislature can create,” says Millett. “They last for two years, they can’t be vetoed by the governor, and they can be amended but in a very small amount.”

Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell – whose office oversees state elections – says the public hearings will largely follow the format of a legislative meeting. Supporters and opponents of measure two will make official statements and the public will have a chance to testify. Treadwell says all the hearings will be recorded.

“This like any other legislative hearing is a legislative record,” Treadwell says. “When you make a law sometimes there are court challenges later on. Sometimes they’re a long time later on, and people want to know what was the intent of the voter? Well, in this case we will have the hearing record from these ten different hearings, and that would be available say for a court challenge or for people in state government if the initiative passes who may want to figure out what was thought at the time when they get into implementation.”

Treadwell’s office held a press conference today (Monday) in Anchorage, featuring representatives from the pro measure two Alaska Sea Party and the “Vote No on 2” campaign.

Sea party co-chair Terzah Tippin Poe says claims that local communities would have veto power over large development projects under measure two are simply untrue.

“Coastal management does not stop development,” says Tippin Poe. “It is a unifying force that resolves potential issues, making it easier to do business in Alaska.”

But “No on 2” spokesman Rick Rogers says the initiative is much broader and more complex than the coastal management program legislators failed to reauthorize last year. He said if the measure actually cut red tape and made it easier to do develop, regulated businesses would be lining up to support it.

“Ballot Measure 2 a wholly new complex, poorly conceived regulatory framework will hurt Alaska’s economy and cost Alaskans jobs,” Rogers says. “My organization, the Resource Development Council, supports responsible well designed coastal zone management. Ballot Measure 2 is far from that.”

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act allows states that adopt an approved coastal management program to have greater input into development decisions along their coastlines. It also streamlines the regulatory processes of various local, state, and federal agencies. Alaska’s program had been in place for 32 years prior to closing last year.

Measure two will appear on the August 28th primary ballot. A schedule of the public hearings on the initiative can be found at the lieutenant governor’s website, ltgov.alaska.gov.

Recent headlines

  • Rey Soto-Lopez practices his welding techniques at the Ironworkers Union. (Photo by Anne Hillman/Alaska Public Media)

    Changing the way you think to stay out of prison

    Research shows the classes focused on behavior and attitude can be effective and change how people think – and they reduce recidivism by about 25 percent, if they are taught by well-trained teachers. The most effective programs focus on anger management and problem-solving.
  • Airborne Army soldiers practice roll-over drills in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan (Photo by Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

    Amid evolving Afghan mission, Alaska soldiers ready to deploy

    As the United States approaches the 16th anniversary of military operations in Afghanistan, thousands more troops are readying to deploy. One of the units heading there is the airborne infantry brigade based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
  • ‘Vote no’: Left takes to TV and sky to reach Murkowski

    Advocates on the left are cranking up the pressure on U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski to vote against the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • Homer’s canvas board counts absentee ballots in recall election. (Photo by Aaron Bolton/KBBI)

    New ethics complaint filed over Homer recall election

    A new ethics complaint has been filed in relation to Homer’s recent recall election. Three Homer City Council members were up for recall in June, but all three retained their seats. The complaint argues that the council members should have recused themselves from certifying the election results.
X