RDC NEWS DIGEST
AlaskaACT visits Juneau, SeaTrade Convention in Miami
The Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel (AlaskaACT) has been hard at work distributing the message that reduced cruise ship passengers to Alaska stands to devastate the tourism industry in the state.
In early February, statewide AlaskaACT members met with over 20 legislators and the Governor in Juneau. Discussed at length was the cruise ship head tax instituted by a ballot initiative in 2006, which has caused cruise lines to reroute some of their vessels away from Alaska. AlaskaACT members pleaded to the Governor and legislators to find a solution to attract business back to Alaska. Follow up visits and committee presentations to the Legislature are forthcoming.
AlaskaACT will also join the State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, the Alaska Travel Industry Association, and several statewide Convention & Visitor Bureaus at SeaTrade, an international cruise industry convention in Miami. AlaskaACT is leading the efforts to promote Alaska as a top cruise destination to the 10,000 cruise line executives, industry suppliers, and others that attend this convention.
RDC is playing a major role in this organization, comprised of businesses and individuals that directly benefit from cruise passengers in Alaska. To learn more and become a member of AlaskaACT, please visit alaskaact.com.
18th Annual Coal Classic Golf Tournament
Save the date! The 18th Annual Coal Classic will be held Wednesday, June 16th in Anchorage to benefit Alaska Resource Education (formerly AMEREF). Please visit akresource.org for updates.
Pebble Foes to pay for violation
The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) has approved a $100,000 settlement with high-profile opponents of the Pebble copper and gold prospect who promoted a 2008 ballot initiative that Alaskans ultimately rejected.
Despite having to make the largest payment ever to the State resulting from an APOC investigation, the consent decree between APOC and Bob Gillam, the Renewable Resources Coalition, and Alaskans for Clean Water resulted in no admission of wrong doing, but rather a commitment by these parties not to repeat the behavior again. APOC spent $198,610 in pursuing the investigation.
“The evidence clearly pointed to wrong doing and indeed, the original APOC staff report called for very stiff penalties and referral to the state Attorney General for criminal investigation,” said RDC Executive Director Jason Brune. “Unfortunately, nothing in this agreement will deter similar actions in the future. If this type of slap on the wrist is what APOC will consent to or settle for given the facts in this case, it makes me start to wonder why we even have the commission in the first place. With this ruling, it sets the precedent for future campaigns to simply budget 1-2% into their races for postelection fines as a cost of doing business. We are very disappointed with the actions of the APOC commissioners.”
The original complaints in the case were filed by RDC and the Pebble Partnership. The original APOC staff report supported 17 of 18 complaints. See the APOC report and updates on the issue at akrdc.org/issues/other/apoc.html.
Framework for federal coastal and marine spatial planning
The Council on Environmental Quality’s Ocean Policy Task Force recently sought comments on a proposed framework for effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) for the U.S. With more coastline than all other states in the nation combined, Alaska may be significantly impacted by the proposed planning.
The proposed framework did not clarify the role of existing management procedures, nor did it address valuable science-based practices Alaska already adheres to. RDC encouraged the Task Force to consider how the framework may impact existing regulations, and if the impact will have any added benefit to the goals of the CMSP.
RDC urged the Task Force to involve stakeholders, from fisheries and processing to transportation and oil and gas leaseholders. RDC’s comments can be found at akrdc.org/alerts/2010/cmspframeworkcomments.html
RDC supports Point Thomson Project at Anchorage hearing
RDC expressed its support for the advancement of the Point Thomson project at a public hearing in Anchorage last month, urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to recognize the economic benefits of the project, as well as its importance to a successful Alaska gas pipeline project. As the federal agency compiles an environmental impact statement for the further development of the oil and gas field on the Beaufort Sea coast, it should also acknowledge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s findings that the oil industry in Alaska has minimal impact on polar bears, does not pose a threat to the survival or recovery of the species, and is strictly regulated under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. See akrdc.org/alerts/2010/archive.html
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