Enrolled HJR 7: Opposing the proposed designation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
00Enrolled HJR 7 01 Opposing the proposed designation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary. 02 _______________ 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS, in June of 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 05 reestablished the process by which communities may submit applications to have the National 06 Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration consider nominations of areas of the marine and 07 Great Lakes environments as national marine sanctuaries; and 08 WHEREAS the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated that 09 "every nomination starts at the community level"; and 10 WHEREAS, while the Sanctuary Nomination Process Guide published by the 11 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls for "community-based support for 12 the nomination," it also includes a definition of "communities" that is so broad it is essentially 13 meaningless; and 14 WHEREAS, in December of 2014, a collection of predominantly non-Alaska 15 organizations led by the Washington, D.C., based Public Employees for Environmental 16 Responsibility nominated an area of approximately 554,000 square nautical miles--nearly 17 equal to the entire landmass of the state--to be designated as the Aleutian Islands National
01 Marine Sanctuary; and 02 WHEREAS the designation of the proposed Aleutian Islands National Marine 03 Sanctuary would make permanent all current restrictions on fishing and other commerce and 04 would potentially authorize additional permanent restrictions that would prove burdensome to 05 present and future economic activity in the region; and 06 WHEREAS concerns noted in the nomination have been and are currently being 07 vigorously addressed through a variety of institutions and measures; and 08 WHEREAS 277,100 square nautical miles of the Aleutian Islands are already 09 designated as a habitat conservation area; and 10 WHEREAS fishing in the region has long been under the conscientious, effective 11 stewardship of local residents, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the Alaska 12 Board of Fisheries, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Alaska Department of Fish 13 and Game; and 14 WHEREAS the Aleutian Islands are subject to the North Pacific Fishery Management 15 Council's Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan, which provides for heightened scientific 16 scrutiny to assess and enrich the health of the ecosystem, the sustainability of fisheries, and 17 the well-being of communities in the region; and 18 WHEREAS risks associated with shipping are being addressed through the ongoing 19 Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment, which includes the development of the Optimal Response 20 System to increase towing, salvage, and spill response capabilities in the region; and 21 WHEREAS, in December 2014, President Obama withdrew the 32,500,000-acre 22 North Aleutian Basin Planning Area from oil and gas leasing, and, in any case, oil and gas 23 development in the region is not feasible in the foreseeable future; and 24 WHEREAS strong Environmental Protection Agency regulations are already in place 25 to address potential issues involving invasive species; and 26 WHEREAS, at this time, the legislature is unaware of any support from local 27 communities, local tribes, or other local groups for the creation of an Aleutian Islands 28 National Marine Sanctuary; and 29 WHEREAS, in the wake of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility 30 nomination, the Aleutians East Borough Assembly, the City of Sand Point, the City of Adak, 31 the federally recognized Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove, the Akutan Traditional Council, the
01 King Cove Corporation, and the Akutan Corporation published official declarations of their 02 strong opposition to the creation of an Aleutian Islands National Marine Sanctuary; and 03 WHEREAS, on January 23, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 04 Administration informed Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility that the 05 nomination was not sufficient to warrant further consideration; however, the National Oceanic 06 and Atmospheric Administration also invited Public Employees for Environmental 07 Responsibility to revise and resubmit a nomination; 08 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature is vehemently opposed to the 09 nomination by the Washington, D.C., based Public Employees for Environmental 10 Responsibility, or any similar nomination, for the creation of an Aleutian Islands National 11 Marine Sanctuary. 12 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Penny Pritzker, United 13 States Secretary of Commerce; the Honorable Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., Under Secretary of 14 Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric 15 Administration Administrator; and the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Dan 16 Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the 17 Alaska delegation in Congress.