Coastal Management Program in Danger of Disappearing

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Legislators are coming to the conclusion that they do not have time this year to convince the Governor of the importance of the state’s Coastal Management Program.  That’s the program designed to coordinate developers with local, state and federal entities to avoid delay and litigation over details of project plans.

The program will go away this year if the legislature does not extend it – and Governor Parnell has threatened to veto any changes to the program that would give local residents more input on the terms of government permits.  Parnell has said he sees the coastal management program as a barrier that gives local governments and residents veto power.   However, coastal and rural legislators want a more active local voice.

Bethel’s Lyman Hoffman told reporters Tuesday morning that he has decided to support a simple, unaltered one-year extension of the program – although the governor wants the program to operate unchanged for six more years.

But the House Resources Committee is continuing to work on changing it this year. Wednesday, the committee will consider amending the governor’s six-year simple extension.

Hoffman, though, defends the time needed to completely re-write it – and to show the governor the advantages of a stronger program.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Resources committee will hear possible amendments, but will not move it on to the next committee.

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