Let's Talk About Proposition 1: Wild Salmon & Wildlife Habitat [Yes or No?] - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Let's Talk About Proposition 1: Wild Salmon & Wildlife Habitat [Yes or No?]


An act providing for the protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat.


This proposition break down is my opinion, if you would like to simply read the entire proposition and make up your own mind scroll all the way to the bottom. Because these things affect all of Alaska, I'm going to break down this proposition by sections and discuss it from my perspective. 

Definitions:Anadromous Fish” means a fish or fish species that spends portions of its life cycle in both fresh and salt waters, entering fresh water from the sea to spawn and includes the anadromous forms of pacific trout and salmon of the genus Oncorhynchus (rainbow and cutthroat trout and chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink salmon)
This act would amend Alaska’s fish habitat permitting law. The act would require the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to apply new standards to permitting activities and development projects that have the potential to harm fish habitat

Let's make one thing very clear, this proposition is all about creating more red-tape and bureaucratic work for the mining industry and will also impact the logging industry. The "Vote YES" crowd say that this will "protect the fish." Yes. Yes it will. It will protect the fish and make mining and logging very, very difficult going into the future. In other words this is a ballot of Fish vs People's careers.

The act would exempt existing projects, operations, or facilities that have received all state and federal permits until a new permit is needed. The act would create fish and wildlife habitat-protection standards. The standards would address water quality, temperature, streamflow, and more. The act defines “anadromous fish habitat.” The act would allow ADF&G to apply the law to all habitat in Alaska that directly or indirectly supports salmon or other anadromous fish.

This ballot right off the bat was so controversial that it was taken to court and sections of it were struck down because it was deemed illegal and vague:

In its decision, the court removed sections that would have effectively blocked large-scale mining projects, including bans on storage and disposal of mine tailings, diversion of streams and a prohibition against activities causing “substantial” or permanent damage to streams.

What remains, however, is a new permit procedure replacing the current Title VI habitat permits for projects built along rivers, streams and adjacent wetlands. A presumption that most waterbodies in the state are anadromous, or supporting migrating fish, is also approved.

Currently the state Dept. of Fish and Game conducts surveys of rivers and streams and compiles a list of anadromous streams.

The new “major anadromous fish habitat permit” would replace the current stream-crossing permits issued by the state Dept. of Fish and Game with a new system of “major” and “minor” permits for crossings or activities that affect streams or water bodies. [...]

What constitutes a major permit, however, is unclear in the ballot language and would have to be spelled out in regulation, but a key concern for development groups is that the permits would require an analysis of alternatives, a kind of mini-Environmental Impact Statement, and that Commissioner of Fish and Game’s decision in approving a major permit would be subject to appeals.




The act would provide for three types of permits for development in anadromous fish habitat. ADF&G could issue a general permit—a single permit that applies to many people—for certain activities. For other activities that require a permit, the act would establish a two-track permitting system. Minor permits would be issued for activities that have little impact on fish habitat. Major permits would be issued for projects that have the potential to cause significant adverse effects on fish habitat. The act defines “significant adverse effects.” The act would require ADF&G to avoid or minimize adverse effects through mitigation measures and permit conditions. It would provide public notice on all permits and a chance to comment on major permits. The act would create criteria, timeframes, and an appeals process for the permits by interested persons. The act would allow ADF&G to respond to specified conduct with tickets, civil fines, or criminal penalties. The act would repeal two current statutes. One is regarding mitigation from a dam. The other is regarding criminal penalties that are addressed elsewhere. August 16, 2018 – Post Supreme Court Decision

Again, this entire last section of the proposition is all about creating red-tape and fines to prevent mining and will have the unintended consequences of affecting logging as well. Prince of Wales averages an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent. That is very high! There are 3 mines that will be operational here in the next 10-15 years (the first one is already in Hollis), by passing this proposition you are intentionally keeping Prince of Wales economically sunk at 9.8% unemployment.

The reason being that this Proposition is intended to keep Alaska fish safe in the rivers and industries from hiring locals and creating jobs. And the reason why it was taken to court already (and will continue going to court if passed) is because it's so damn vague. All these notices, permits, fines, penalties, and definitions will be handled by the State of Alaska. Therefore, depending on who is in office we will continuously have changes in this stupid law and industries will be afraid to come in and propose any kind of work development because they will be afraid that 4 years down the road some other Governor will be elected and strike down their business propositions. Vote No.

Full Text:

An act providing for the protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat.



This act would amend Alaska’s fish habitat permitting law. The act would require the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to apply new standards to permitting activities and development projects that have the potential to harm fish habitat. The act would exempt existing projects, operations, or facilities that have received all state and federal permits until a new permit is needed. The act would create fish and wildlife habitat-protection standards. The standards would address water quality, temperature, streamflow, and more. The act defines “anadromous fish habitat.” The act would allow ADF&G to apply the law to all habitat in Alaska that directly or indirectly supports salmon or other anadromous fish.

The act would provide for three types of permits for development in anadromous fish habitat. ADF&G could issue a general permit—a single permit that applies to many people—for certain activities. For other activities that require a permit, the act would establish a two-track permitting system. Minor permits would be issued for activities that have little impact on fish habitat. Major permits would be issued for projects that have the potential to cause significant adverse effects on fish habitat. The act defines “significant adverse effects.” The act would require ADF&G to avoid or minimize adverse effects through mitigation measures and permit conditions. It would provide public notice on all permits and a chance to comment on major permits. The act would create criteria, timeframes, and an appeals process for the permits by interested persons. The act would allow ADF&G to respond to specified conduct with tickets, civil fines, or criminal penalties. The act would repeal two current statutes. One is regarding mitigation from a dam. The other is regarding criminal penalties that are addressed elsewhere. August 16, 2018 – Post Supreme Court Decision [Source]


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