Salmon-only ballot initiative hearing comes to Anchorage - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Salmon-only ballot initiative hearing comes to Anchorage

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By statute, the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative (Ballot Measure 1) hearing process is making its way through Alaska’s judicial districts, where two hearings will be held in each.

Anchorage residents have their first hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 2 pm at the Legislative Information Offices, which are in the Wells Fargo Building at 1500 W. Benson Blvd, on the corner of Minnesota Blvd.

Testimony is limited to two minutes, and you don’t have to be a fisheries biologist to participate; those testifying will not be quizzed by hearing officers. You can get tips for your testimony here.

The ballot initiative, if passed, would change Alaska’s permitting laws and give the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner not just the authority but a mandate to stop much development in all habitat in Alaska that directly or indirectly supports salmon or other fish with a similar life cycle.

The act would create three types of permits for development: Fish and Game could issue a general permit for certain small activities. For other activities, Fish and Game would have a two-track permitting system. Minor permits would be issued for activities that have little impact on fish habitat, and major permits would be for those that have what are deemed to be significant adverse effects.

That would things like houses, driveways, roads, airports, hospitals, and sewage systems.

The act would allow Fish and Game to give tickets and levy fines or criminal penalties.

Hundreds of business entities and Native Corporations have come forward to oppose the initiative, which is being pushed by organizations such as the Stand for Salmon group, the Alaska Center, and even gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich.

It’s not clear what testimony accomplishes since the issue has already been approved for the ballot and the ballot for the General Election has been printed, but opponents and proponents of the initiative are pushing their people to make a good showing to help influence voters. And public hearings are required by state statute.

In Juneau, the hearing was not well attended last 10 days ago due to the short public notice timeframe. Few testified at the hearings in Nome and Kotzebue last week.

All testimony will be documented and published by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. The public may also submit written testimony and comment on the initiative through links on this page.

Written comments may also be addressed to:

Office of Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott
P.O. Box 110015
Juneau, Alaska 99811

Learn more about the issue at Stand for Alaska, the group opposing Ballot Measure 1.

Watch the hearing on legislative television at this link.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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