The petition books for a ballot measure to restore Alaska’s Coastal Zone Management program have hit the street. The Division of Elections issued the books on Wednesday after reviewing the language since Oct. 7. Supporters, organizing under the banner of the “Sea Party,” say they plan to gather the necessary 26,000 signatures in less than a month, using both paid and volunteer personnel.
Alaska dropped out of the Coastal Zone Management program and is losing 2 million federal dollars a year and some permitting jurisdiction because of it. A few days ago Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell released a fiscal estimate that says the state would have to spend far more than that to restore and administer the program. But the Sea Party says the law would restore a local voice to coastal management that was taken away by the Murkowski administration and that the Legislature has failed to find a compromise on despite a special session.