Alaska Coastal Management Question, Ballot Measure 2 (August 2012)

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Ballot Measure 2
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Type:indirect initiated state statute
Topic:Environment
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
The Alaska Coastal Management Question, or Ballot Measure 2, was on the August 28, 2012 ballot in the state of Alaska as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was defeated.Defeatedd The measure would have established a new coastal management program in the state. It was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor's office during the week of October 5, 2011 by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and other supporters of the initiative. Specifically, the management program that would have been established would have been formally called the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.[1]

Alaska is the only coastal state in the country without a federal coastal management plan, according to reports. Coastal programs are established to guarantee state and local participation in federal decisions on coastal issues that could potentially surface.[2]

Aftermath

A measure was introduced during the 2013 state legislative session that would re-establish the coastal management program for the state. The legislation was introduced by State Representative Alan Austerman.[3]

Election results

The following are official election results:

Ballot Measure 2
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No7644062.09%
Yes 46678 37.91%

4368 out of 438 precincts reporting via the Alaska Elections Division

Election results last updated 22 July, 2014 13:23 UTC. Click here for Alaskan Standard Time conversions.


Text of measure

The language of the measure that appeared on the ballot read as follows:[4]

Establishment of an Alaska Coastal Management Program

This bill would create the Alaska Coastal Management Program in the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (“the Department”). The program would develop new state and local standards to review projects in coastal areas of the State. These standards and new permitting procedures would be in addition to existing state and federal permitting requirements. Projects requiring state or federal permits would be reviewed under the program. The program would not become entirely effective until approval of these new state and local standards by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.

The bill creates a Coastal Policy Board. The board would have 13 members appointed by the governor. Nine would be members of the public from coastal areas. 4 would be state commissioners. The board would coordinate agencies for coastal and ocean planning. The board would work with agencies to develop and implement the program. The board would also review, approve, and evaluate coastal district management plans (“district plans”). The board would direct the Department to apply for funding. The board would review and approve regulations. Board members could receive per diem and travel expenses.

The bill sets out 9 coastal districts. Each district would adopt a district plan. District plans would need board approval. To be approved, the district plan must comply with the bill’s provisions and regulations approved by the board. Each district plan would set boundaries for the coastal area subject to the district plan. District plans would define the land and water uses subject to the district plan’s requirements. District plans would also set special management areas and enforceable policies. The bill sets standards for district enforceable policies. The bill defines when an enforceable policy is pre-empted by existing state or federal law.

The bill would restore coastal districts, boundaries, and district plans that were in effect on June 30, 2011 under the prior coastal management program. Coastal districts would have to review their prior district plans and submit any needed changes for board approval. Coastal districts with zoning or land use authority would use those powers to apply their district plans. Otherwise, state agencies would put the district plan into effect. Local and state agencies would regulate uses to conform to the district plans. The superior court could enforce board or department orders.

The bill would also create the Division of Ocean and Coastal Management in the Department. This division would issue state consistency determinations and respond to federal consistency determinations and certifications. It would adopt board-approved regulations. It would also give planning and management information to coastal districts. The division would create a financial aid program to help coastal districts create and effect their district plans.

The bill sets goals for the program. These goals include (1) management goals for coastal uses and resources; (2) the coordination of coastal planning among government and citizens; (3) public and government participation in the program; and (4) require state agencies to comply with the program.

The bill requires that regulations be adopted. The regulations would be approved by the board and then issued by the division. They would set state coastal standards, district plan requirements, and consistency review procedures.

The bill would allow regional education attendance areas (“REAAs”) in the unorganized borough to be used as Coastal Resource Service Areas (“CRSAs”). CRSAs would act through a board and function like coastal districts. The Department could combine or divide REAAs into CRSAs under set conditions. A coastal city could also be included in a CRSA under set conditions. CRSAs could also be created by voters or by a voter-approved city or village council decision. Service areas would elect boards with seven members. The State would run and fund CRSA board elections. Under some circumstances, board members could be appointed. Board members could be recalled. They could receive per diem and travel expenses. If voters fail to create a needed service area, the Department could create a district plan for the area to submit to the legislature. Under set conditions, the Department could complete a district plan for a CRSA. The bill creates a development, approval and implementation process for district plans in service areas.

The bill sets out rules of construction and defines 16 terms.

Should this initiative become law?[5]

Support

Supporters

The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • The main campaign in favor of the measure was "Yes on 2!"
  • The Alaska Federation of Natives came out in support of the measure.
  • Former Alaska Governor Tony Knowles was supporting the initiative.[6]
  • State Senator Lyman Hoffman supported the measure, who stated, "Currently, Alaska is the only coastal state without a coastal management program. Our state has more than 38 percent of the entire U.S. coastline and is the only state that borders two oceans. A state coastal program gives Alaskans a powerful voice in balancing potentially competing uses and activities along our coasts."[7]
  • The Juneau League of Women Voters

Arguments

  • According to Bruce Botelho about the purpose behind his proposal: “When the old program expired, Alaskans lost their say in how we manage our coastal resources. We introduced this initiative because Alaskans deserve a voice in what happens in our waters and industry deserves a predictable, streamlined process for developing Alaska’s coastal resources."[8]
    • Botelho also argued: "By allowing the program to expire Alaska has lost one very effective tool in helping to shape what happens on federal land and offshore under federal management. The Coastal Zone Management Act is actually the only federal law that requires the federal government to submit to local review and state review of land activities."[9]
  • North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta stated: “Coastal management never stopped a project in the past. It just gave communities a stake in the project. What’s not to like about that?”[2]
  • According to House Democratic Leader Beth Kerttula: "Alaska is the only coastal state without a coastal zone program, and to have a state with the largest coastal zone in the nation not have a program was just really disheartening to me."
  • In a letter to the editor of Homer News, Mako Haggerty, District 9 Kenai Peninsula Assemblyman, stated about opponents of Measure 2: "Fear is their message, the goal is to silence those of us that live on the coast and insist on responsible development."[10]
    • Haggerty later wrote in a column in the same publication, "Opponents of the ACMP will tell you it is costly. They have been spewing inflated numbers in an effort to scare you, the voter. Don’t be manipulated by their misinformation. Gov. Parnell’s own commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Community Development, Susan Bell, has said the proposed ACMP in Ballot Measure No. 2 will have an annual cost of $2.9 million; not the $5.4 million that opponents are claiming.It’s a small price to pay for having a voice over what happens in our front yard."[11]
  • In a letter to the editor of the Homer News, Alaska resident Mike McCarthy wrote, "Recall the Alaska Department of Tourism ad some years ago: Alaska is twice the size of Texas and at low tide 2 1/2 times as big? Well, Texas has a coastal management program as do all of the other coastal states except Alaska. A coastal management program is the only way local communities and the state can force federal agencies to consider local concerns."[12]
  • In a letter to the editor of Sit News, a group of Ketchikan, Alaska residents stated, "When we work together to find locally acceptable courses of action, we can settle disputes before they become huge legal problems. Let's restore Alaska's coastal management program. Let's not be the only coastal state without such a program. Let's reclaim a local voice in resource management decisions. Vote yes on ballot measure 2."[13]

Tactics and strategies

  • Reports out of the state said that those behind the initiative, the Alaska Sea Party, at the time aimed to collect about 26,000 signatures in order for the measure to be considered by the state legislature. According to Mako Haggerty, sponsor of the initiative, "We have more coastline than any other state, yet now Alaska is the only state whose citizens don’t have a say in how their coastal resources are managed. That has to change. We’re making every effort to restore Alaskans' voice as soon as possible.”[14]
  • Bruce Botelho, chairperson of the supporting Alaska Sea Party group, used the newspapers in the state to send his group's message out. In a column published by the Alaska Dispatch, Botelho stated:[15]
"The ability to affect federal actions such as offshore oil and gas leasing and activities on federal land was a major reason Alaska established a coastal program over 30 years ago. Today, the federal government retains ownership of about 60 percent of Alaska lands, much of it along the coast. Considerable offshore activity permitted by federal agencies occurs beyond the state’s three-mile limit. The state coastal program needs to be revived because it provides the means for the state and local coastal communities to substantively influence federal actions that are otherwise out of state and local government jurisdiction. With a new, improved coastal management program, Alaskans can regain their voices and once again have control over our coastal lands, waters, and resources."
  • It was reported on June 28, 2012 that Botelho disputed the estimated first-year $5.4 million cost that the ballot initiative would have on the state if enacted. The estimated cost was given by the Office of Management and Budget. Botelho stated that the state Commerce commissioner gave a first-year estimate of $2.9 million in March 2012.[16]

Opposition

The following is information obtained from the opposing side of the measure:

Opponents

  • The campaign against the measure was called No on Ballot Measure 2.
    • According to reports, the group was formed by organizations including the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Alaska Miners Association and Resource Development Council for Alaska.[17]

Arguments

  • Willis Lyford, spokesman for the "Vote No on Ballot Measure 2" coalition, stated, "Our group is not opposed to all coastal zone management, we think there is a place for responsible and effective management of our coastal resources." However, Lyford added that the measure is "a real step backwards."[18]
  • Alaska Governor Sean Parnell was reported to have been "lukewarm" to renewing the coastal management program. Parnell stated that some proposed versions of the coastal program in the Alaska Legislature would have been detrimental to development by giving too much power to local communities. According to later reports, however, Parnell stated that the measure should be decided by voters.[9][19]
  • Alaska Miners Association director Deantha Crockett stated that the measure would have a negative impact on the mining industry in the state. Crockett elaborated by saying that the measure would have allowed appointed officials to negatively influence certain state permits that would ultimately stunt major developments in the mining industry.[17]
  • Kurt Fredriksson, chairman of the Vote No on Ballot Measure 2 committee, "Clearly, Alaska needs a stronger voice in federal decision making. Unfortunately, with this initiative and the Coastal Policy Board that is going to be created, the governor is nowhere to be seen. He gets to select from names provided by the regions, but he doesn’t sit on the board."[20]
  • Rick Rogers of the Vote No on 2 committee, described the initiative as “deceptive and defective." Rogers commented, "It was written behind closed doors with no hearings or independent analysis."[21]
  • According to Lorna Shaw, external affairs manager for Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo LLC and the co-chair of Vote No on 2, stated: "(Oil and gas) exploration slowed to a crawl last year. Now, in the midst of a mini-boom, a new program will put the brakes on investment and projects, because it adds more red tape."[22]
  • In a column by Frank Murkowski, the former Governor of Alaska, he argued, "The initiative is being promoted by government people who want to add more government and more conditions to projects that have been approved by state and federal agencies. More government stands in stark contrast to Alaskans who are saying we already have too much government in our lives. For all these reasons I urge the defeat of Ballot Proposition 2."[23]
  • Mike Satre, a Juneau-based executive director of the Council of Alaska Producers, stated about the measure, "This initiative is not pro-development, and can’t be pro-Alaskan because Alaska depends on resource development for its very survival."[24]
    • Satre, later stated, "We had some long conversations about where we sat on this program and ultimately decided that because of the uncertainty that this initiative would bring out, the new bureaucracy it would bring about that we simply couldn’t support this initiative."[25]

Campaign finance

Support

The following are the top 5 contributions that were made toward the effort in favor of Ballot Measure 2:[26]

Donor Amount
North Slope Borough $15,137.97
Bristol Bay Native Corp $10,000
Robert Gillam, CEO, McKinley Capital Management $10,000
ASEA/AFSCME Local 52pac, Union PAC $5,000
Municipal of Skagway $2,000

Opposition

The following are the top 5 contributions that were made in opposition of Ballot Measure 2:[27]

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $63,688.86
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $767,995.31
Donor Amount
Alaska Miners Association $158,145.96
Shell $150,000
Alaska Oil and Gas Association $100,266.34
Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc. and Donlin Gold $75,000 (each)
Resource Development Council $57,790

Media endorsements

Endorsements of Alaska ballot measures, 2012

Legislative approval endorsement

  • The Juneau Empire editorial board advocated for the Alaska Legislature to pass the measure instead of letting it go to voters in November 2012. The editorial board stated: "Dark prospects for legislation have been lightened unexpectedly before, and we’re hoping this is one of those occasions. We ask the Legislature to find a way in the limited time remaining to spare Alaska a divisive, distorted campaign and come together on a plan for the waters surrounding Alaska."[28]

Ballot endorsements

Support

  • The Homer News wrote, "When it comes to coastal management, Alaska should be leading the rest of the nation in showing how best to do it. It's a travesty that it's come down to voters having to re-establish a program that once did its job well. Citizens now must step up and do what elected officials failed to do and approve a program."[29]
  • The Kodiak Daily Mirror wrote an editorial titled, "Yes is the right vote for Ballot Measure 2."[30]

Opposition

  • The Juneau Empire stated, "Coastal Management is important… too important to decide in this fashion. Vote no on Measure 2 and send it back to the Legislature to restore. We’re confident the Legislature can turn out a program that is thoughtful and will have appropriately considered all sides. We urge a NO vote on Ballot Measure 2."[31]
  • The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner said, ."..fine print clearly states that the coastal zone plans could not preempt state and federal laws and regulations. Neither could the plans “arbitrarily or unreasonably restrict a use of state concern.” Those uses are defined to include most major development projects. So the measure promises not only red tape but vague false hope. Neither is needed. Alaskans should reject Ballot Measure 2."[32]

Controversies and events

Campaign financing

  • On January 20, 2012, Rep. Kyle Johansen requested that organizers of the petition effort, The Alaska Sea Party, release their contribution list earlier than what the state mandates. According to Johansen, the group was indeed following the law, but also claimed the importance of state legislators knowing who is funding the initiative effort. Johansen was sponsoring a bill in 2012 state legislative session that would have changed disclosure laws in the state.[33]

Petition circulation

  • During the month of April 2012, Deborah A. Carroll, from Fairbanks, was charged with three felonies and two misdemeanors regarding fraudulent petition signatures. According to reports, Carroll admitted to state troopers that she filled out petitions by looking up names in a phone book. The Alaska Sea Party, who was the organization leading the initiative, brought the fraud to the attention of the state Department of Law when they noticed the signatures. No signatures were counted in the verification process, therefore still making the initiative valid.[34]

Governor's veto of funding

During the week of May 17, 2012, it was reported that Alaska Governor Sean Parnell vetoed funding for a new Coastal Management program, if the initiative was approved by voters. According to reports, that meant that if the initiative had been enacted, it would have taken about a year to start the program up.

However, on the other hand, according to Gov. Parnell, “In our state’s history, to our knowledge, we have never pre-funded an initiative."[35] According to State Representative Beth Kerttula, who supporters the measure, "You need to have money there to get that program up and running. To cut that seems spiteful to me."

Campaign finance violation accusations

Both the groups behind the ballot drive, the Alaska Sea Party, and the one opposing the measure, "Vote No on 2," have filed lawsuits accusing each other of violating Alaska campaign law. The law in dispute is the state's requirement that campaigns are required to list the current top three largest financial contributors, both in text and audio, during ads. "Vote No on 2" is being accused of not displaying both text and audio identification and the Alaska Sea Party is accused of not providing any identification of their donors.[36]

Reports and Analysis

The following are reports and analysis done on the measure:

  • According to Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, the measure could have cost the state $5.4 million each year. The estimate was part of Treadwell's duties as Lieutenant Governor of the state. According to Treadwell: "We feel fairly confident that the cost estimate we had of about $5.4 million a year. I’m required by law to do this. I’m not taking a position on the initiative. I’m an impartial election official."[37]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Alaska

The Lieutenant Governor had until December 6, 2011 to either approve or reject the petition. After approval for signature gathering, supporters must have then collected 25,875 signatures by the January 17, 2012 petition drive deadline.[38]

The Alaska Elections Division, along with the Department of Law, took 60 days to review and approve the initiative for signature gathering, leaving a small window for supporters to collect the required 25,875 signatures for ballot access.[39]

According to Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Bakalar, when commenting on the lengthy review of the initiative: “The full 60 days allowed by law was required to give the bill the due diligence necessary."

Despite approval for signature collection, supporters did not receive pamphlets needed to begin collecting signatures immediately. According to reports, the Division of Elections was waiting on cost estimates from the Lieutenant Governor’s office before pamphlets were given to initiative sponsors.[40]

On December 21, 2011, the pamphlets were issued by the Division of Elections.[41]

Signature gathering

See also: Collecting signatures in Alaska

Supporters, at the time before the petition drive deadline, told media outlets in the state that they had signatures gatherers across the state circulating petitions. According to Bruce Botelho, sponsor of the initiative, "We’re of course trying to collect the required signatures before the legislature convenes, so that we have a chance to have the 2012 legislature deal with the issue. And absent that be able to have it on the ballot in August."[42]

On January 17, 2012, the day of the deadline, supporters turned in 33,500 signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections office. The signatures then went under verification. According to reports, the Division of Elections had 60 days to verify signatures before sending it legislature.[43]

State law mandated that a hearing be held within 30 days after the start of a state legislative session in a statewide election year where potential initiatives would appear on the ballot. The House and Senate judiciary committees held a hearing on the measure, according to reports on January 23, 2012.[44]

Verification process

On January 31, 2012, it was reported that a computer analysis on the initiative efforts collected signatures found that 20,200 signatures were valid, below the required number. However, the Alaska Division of Elections office stated that the process of verifying the signatures was not over yet. According to the analysis, 11,500 signatures were unqualified. However, the state did more research on those signatures. Signatures were approved in early February.[45]

House

On February 17, 2012, a bill similar to the initiative was introduced to the Alaska House of Representatives. According to reports, the action indicated that lawmakers were keen on enacting legislation rather than having the proposal sent to voters. Reports also said at the time that at least eight House lawmakers signed on to the bill.[46]

Ballot

Despite advances of similar legislation, the measure failed to be enacted during 2012 legislative session, sending it to the August 2012 ballot.[47]

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Alaska Dispatch, "Will Alaska voters establish a new coastal management program?," October 10, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alaska Dispatch, "Alaska Coastal Zone Management initiative gains momentum," November 4, 2011
  3. Fort Mills Times, "Coastal zone re-emerges within AK Legislature," February 1, 2013
  4. Alaska Elections, "Ballot Measures Appearing on the Primary Election Ballot," accessed August 23, 2012
  5. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. News-Miner, "Former Alaska Gov. Knowles supports coastal zone," August 13, 2012
  7. The Seward Phoenix Log, "Vote yes on Ballot Measure 2 to give Alaskans a voice on coastal management," August 23, 2012
  8. Sitenews.us, "Initiative gives Alaskans a say in federal coastal development decisions," October 12, 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 Sacramento Bee, "Alaska's beluga whales case hurt by loss of coast zone program," October 31, 2011
  10. Homer News, "Ballot Measure 2 opponents spreading message of fear," July 11, 2012
  11. Homer Tribune, "Don't be misled on Ballot Prop. 2," accessed August 13, 2012
  12. Homer News, "Vote yes on Ballot Measure 2," August 8, 2012
  13. Sit News, "Coastal Zone Management: Yes on Ballot Measure 2," August 20, 2012
  14. Alaska Dispatch, "Coastal zone initiative sponsors attempting record campaign," December 23, 2011
  15. Alaska Dispatch, "Alaska needs a Coastal Management program," January 5, 2012
  16. Anchorage Daily News, "Initiative leader disputes coastal zone estimate," June 28, 2012
  17. 17.0 17.1 Anchorage Daily News, "Business groups join to fight coastal zone ballot measure," June 6, 2012
  18. Juneau Empire, "Coastal Management ballot measure gets a foe," June 10, 2012
  19. The Republic, "Parnell: The people should decide whether Alaska has a coastal management program," February 14, 2012
  20. Juneau Empire, "Coastal Management debate produces agreement," June 15, 2012
  21. Juneau Empire, "Lt. Gov. previews ballot initiatives," June 26, 2012
  22. Homer News, "Coastal management initiative panned, praised in first hearing," July 4, 2012
  23. Alaska Dispatch, "Why coastal zone initiative, Prop 2, should be defeated," July 24, 2012
  24. Juneau Empire, "Coastal management backers, foes present well-honed arguments," July 27, 2012
  25. Alaska Public, "Opponents Of Coastal Zone Measure Pick Up Advertising Pace," August 2, 2012
  26. Alaska Public Offices Commission, "Campaign Disclosure reports," accessed August 10, 2012
  27. Alaska Public Offices Commission, "Campaign Disclosure reports," accessed August 10, 2012
  28. Juneau Empire, "Empire editorial: There's still time for the Legislature to act on Coastal Management," April 1, 2012
  29. Homer News, "Say 'No' to Measure 1; 'Yes' to Measure 2," August 22, 2012
  30. Kodiak Daily Mirror, "Yes is the right vote for Ballot Measure 2," August 24, 2012
  31. Juneau Empire, "Empire editorial: Ballot Measure 2 an Alaskan-sized blunder," August 26, 2012
  32. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "Crimson tide: Coastal policy measure offers delays, false hope," August 26, 2012
  33. Juneau Empire, "Rep. wants release of coastal zone donors," January 22, 2012
  34. Juneau Empire, "Sea Party gatherer charged with signature fraud," April 3, 2012
  35. Peninsula Clarion, "Veto may delay Coastal Management startup," May 17, 2012
  36. Alaska Dispatch, "Alaska Sea Party and 'Vote No on 2' groups file election complaints against each other," August 17, 2012
  37. KTUU.com, "Coastal Management Could Cost State $5.4 Million Per Year," December 19, 2011
  38. Juneau Empire, "Coastal Management gets AFN endorsement," October 26, 2011
  39. Juneau Empire, "Coastal Management faces tight deadline to make 2012 ballot," December 8, 2012
  40. Alaska Public, "ACMP Initiative Sponsors Frustrated By Delays," December 15, 2011
  41. Alaska Public, "Petition To Restore Coastal Zone Management Hits Streets," December 22, 2011
  42. Alaska Public, "ACMP Initiative Backers Scramble To Get Signature," January 3, 2012
  43. The Alaska News, "Resources Management Plan for Coast A Go," accessed January 23, 2012
  44. The Republic, "Joint legislative hearing to be held on proposed coastal management initiative," January 23, 2012
  45. The Republic, "Computer analysis done on coastal zone signatures but director says process far from over," January 31, 2012
  46. Homer News, "Bill shows interest by lawmakers for coastal program," February 22, 2012
  47. Anchorage Daily News, "Coastal zone initiative to be on primary ballot," April 18, 2012