HJR 7: Opposing the proposed designation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
00 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7 01 Opposing the proposed designation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS, in June 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 04 reestablished the process by which communities may submit applications to have the National 05 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration consider nominations of areas of the marine and 06 Great Lakes environments as national marine sanctuaries; and 07 WHEREAS the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated that 08 "every nomination starts at the community level"; and 09 WHEREAS, while the Sanctuary Nomination Process Guide published by the 10 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for "community-based support for 11 the nomination," it also includes a definition of "communities" that is so broad it is essentially 12 meaningless; and 13 WHEREAS a collection of predominantly non-Alaska organizations led by the 14 Washington, D.C., based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has nominated 15 an area of approximately 554,000 square nautical miles--nearly equal to the entire landmass 16 of the state--to be designated as the Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary; and
01 WHEREAS the designation of the proposed Aleutian Islands National Marine 02 Sanctuary would make permanent all current restrictions on fishing and other commerce and 03 would potentially authorize additional permanent restrictions that would prove burdensome to 04 present and future economic activity in the region; and 05 WHEREAS concerns noted in the nomination have been and are currently being 06 vigorously addressed through a variety of institutions and measures; and 07 WHEREAS 277,100 square nautical miles of the Aleutian Islands are already 08 designated as a habitat conservation area; and 09 WHEREAS fishing in the region has long been under the conscientious, effective 10 stewardship of local residents, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Alaska 11 Board of Fisheries, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Alaska Department of Fish 12 and Game; and 13 WHEREAS the Aleutian Islands are subject to the North Pacific Fishery Management 14 Council's Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan, which provides for heightened scientific 15 scrutiny to assess and enrich the health of the ecosystem, the sustainability of fisheries, and 16 the well-being of communities in the region; and 17 WHEREAS risks associated with shipping are being addressed through the ongoing 18 Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment, which includes the development of the Optimal Response 19 System to increase towing, salvage, and spill response capabilities in the region; and 20 WHEREAS, in December 2014, President Obama withdrew the 32,500,000-acre 21 North Aleutian Basin Planning Area from oil and gas leasing, and, in any case, oil and gas 22 development in the region is not feasible in the foreseeable future; and 23 WHEREAS strong Environmental Protection Agency regulations are already in place 24 to address potential issues involving invasive species; and 25 WHEREAS, at this time, the legislature is unaware of any support from local 26 communities, local tribes, or other local groups for this nomination; and 27 WHEREAS, in the wake of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility 28 nomination, the Aleutians East Borough Assembly, the federally recognized Agdaagux Tribe 29 of King Cove, and the Akutan Traditional Council have published official declarations of 30 their strong opposition to the creation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary; 31 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature is vehemently opposed to the
01 nomination by the Washington, D.C., based Public Employees for Environmental 02 Responsibility for the creation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary. 03 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Penny Pritzker, United 04 States Secretary of Commerce; the Honorable Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., Under Secretary of 05 Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric 06 Administration Administrator; and the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Dan 07 Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the 08 Alaska delegation in Congress.