House Opposes Obama’s National Ocean Council (Alaska House of Representatives)
Saddler’s HJR 16 wants Alaska exempt from overreaching federal policy
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today sent a message to President Barack Obama and the federal government, telling them to keep their overreaching, unnecessary new ocean zoning policy to themselves.
Representative Dan Saddler, R-JBER/Eagle River, introduced House Joint Resolution 16 to urge that Alaska be exempted from an imminent comprehensive federal policy aimed at managing and zoning activities in marine and coastal areas.
The National Ocean Council was created in 2010 by Obama’s executive order with broad policy authority to spin a complex new web of regulations to manage activities in the nation’s ocean, coastal and Great Lakes’ ecosystems, and to respond to climate change and ocean acidification.
While the coastal and marine spatial plans that are a key element of the Policy may sound innocuous, they would provide a justification for tangling up and inhibiting activities critical to Alaska’s economic, social and cultural activities, including oil and gas development, subsistence, fishing, timber, tourism and transportation, Saddler said.
“When you dig into the details of ocean zoning plans, it becomes disturbingly clear the feds will use them to decide not only what activities will be allowed, but where and when they’ll be allowed,” Saddler said. “If Alaska’s experience with federal regulators is any guide, these zones will focus more on what will not be allowed; not only in our oceans and shores, but also on wetlands and waterways many miles inland.”
The Council does not have clear statutory authority from Congress and does not include states in its processes at any more than superficial levels, Saddler said. The council released its National Ocean Policy Draft Implementation Plan in January 2012 with a final plan expected a few months later. The final implementation plan is a year overdue, and expected imminently.
“We’ve seen no shortage of legislative measures opposing federal overreach this session, and HJR 16 fits that pattern,” Saddler said. “But I offer no apology. These are appropriate responses to unprecedented expansions of federal authority; Alaska will not stand idly by while more and more control over our resources is taken away by the federal government.”
HJR 16 passed by a vote of 37-2 and now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.
For more information contact Rep. Saddler’s office at 907-465-3783.
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