FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot held a public hearing Monday on ballot measure 1, the citizen initiative commonly known as 'Stand for Salmon.' The public hearing in Fairbanks had a large turn-out from both those supporting and opposing the initiative. Even some larger organizations had representatives speak on their behalf including the Tanana Chiefs Conference.
Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Dr. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, said, "The Tanana Chiefs full board of directors passed a resolution at our March 2018 convention to support the stand for salmon initiative now known as ballot measure one, which will improve the chance for stronger salmon returns for future generations. In interior Alaska, the burden of protecting and rebuilding the king salmon runs should not lie solely on families who year after year have less kings to put away. We need developers to be our partners in protecting this resource and the habitat that supports this essential resource. "
The Alaska Oil and Gas Association came out in opposition of the initiative.
President and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Kara Moriarty, said, "This initiative has many unintended consequences, for example, there is no grandfathering provision. So the forty year Trans-Alaska Pipeline would fall under this initiative and their President and CEO has said if the fish habitat initiative were to become law, it would be all but impossible for TAPS to renew several projects and authorizations that are crucial to its continued function. "
Some residents spoke on whether these changes have to be made as a ballot initiative.
One resident testifying, Joy Huntington, said, "I feel that when decisions are kind of put into this place where it's a yes or no, I feel like that in and of itself manipulates the process and manipulates the people that then have to say, I'm either with salmon or against salmon, and I think there are so many other paths we could take as a state. That doesn't produce this divisive scenario."
This initiative will be on the ballot on November 6.
For more information on the public hearings for Ballot Measure 1 and the handouts they gave out at the hearing visit https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=189769. You can find the bill, ballot summary and answers from state agencies, as well as, more information on public hearings.