SUPPORTING STAND FOR ALASKA: VOTING “NO” ON THE SALMON BALLOT INITIATIVE

RESOLUTION 2018 - 02

WHEREAS, The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Inc. (“KCCVC”) is a non-profit corporation duly organized under the laws of the State of Alaska; and

WHEREAS, On July 14, 2017, Ballot Initiative sponsors, known as Stand for Salmon, filed amended petition 17FSH2, “An Act providing for the protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat”, and on October 18, 2017 Stand for Alaska was formed to oppose the ballot initiative;

WHEREAS: The proposed ballot initiative would have a negative impact in our community and KCCVC remains supportive of our stated priorities for responsible development in our various communities;

WHEREAS:  KCCVC supports the protection of Wild Salmon, and all fish and wildlife in the State of Alaska;

WHEREAS: The ballot initiative places unattainable protection standards on community and village development, both large and small. Under the proposed permitting process, road projects, water projects, wastewater treatment projects in our communities would require a major permit as described by the initiative language;

WHEREAS: Communities and villages would bear the costs of obtaining those permits under the ballot initiative language, resulting in a severe impact on community and economic development;  

WHEREAS: The ballot initiative would also have costly impacts on other projects in the state, including the proposed AKLNG gasline or other projects that would permanently impact fish populations. Enhancements, such as hatcheries and moist air incubation, would not qualify for permits under the proposed language; 

WHEREAS: Alaska Statute 16.05.871 is repealed under the bill initiative as of the effective date of the bill, and no regulatory regime will be in place until new regulations are adopted, leading to an uncertain process for an unspecified period of time;

WHEREAS: The time and cost for permitting and re-permitting processes will increase and create a negative effect for communities, and the uncertainty of what is being proposed under the initiative is problematic for anyone or any company seeking future permits or permit renewals; 

WHEREAS: The State of Alaska currently has a robust permitting process for all development projects across the state, and there is no stated need to repeal the current process. Any fish and wildlife habitat reform should take place in an open and transparent legislative process;

WHEREAS: The proposed initiative limits the ability of ADFG to make science-based decisions to reverse or deny permits; the proposed initiative limits the ability of ADFG to issue blanket permits for a specific use in a geographic area.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Inc endorses the protections to Alaska’s fish as provided by the current regulatory regime;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Inc supports the Stand for Alaska group and its assertion that community and natural resource projects and activities in Alaska can be and are done responsibly; with a strong focus on protecting the environment, cultural activities and protecting fish and wildlife; while providing good-paying jobs, quality of life, and opportunities for people to remain in their communities;

FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Inc does not support the proposed 17FSH2 ballot initiative and encourages everyone to vote “No” on the ballot initiative.

Lizzie Rosen