The Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC) in an email (dated 14 December 2006) sent to the Palin ADF&G transition team recommended that “ OHMP has demonstrated remarkable efficiency to an ever increasing workload…. and in reducing the average permit/project review time while still protecting the resources. There is no justification for continued discussion of reestablishing Habitat Division within ADF&G”
For those not familiar with this issue the past administration transferred Title 16 (salmon habitat protection) and other environmental authority from ADF&G to DNR. This action was not supported by 5 previous governors, most of the environmental community and sport, commercial, and subsistence user groups.
Gov. Palin had indicated that she is considering moving the biologist and their authority back to ADF&G. In support of this action the Board of Fish recently passed a resolution supporting this transfer to ADF&G. In addition, Lance Traskey, a retired regional supervisor for ADF&G Habitat Division, pointed out in detail the negative actions that resulted from this transfer. His written comments are available and they make a strong case for the transfer back to ADF&G.
So what is going on with AOC? They did not want to make refuges in major salmon producing areas impacted by the Pebble Mine. This gave support to the Pebble Mine and now they ignore the advice of the Board of Fish, user groups, and experts in the field who pointed out the major lost of habitat authority under this misguided transfer by the past administration.
The one thing that set Alaska apart from other areas of the world was that habitat was protected by an agency that had that as their mandate. Today, in DNR, habitat is just one factor in their mandate.
I think Rod should explain this to the public. Is AOC now a front organization for development, do they care about the resources, are they just interested in predator control and controlling subsistence? They appear to have lost their compass.
Maybe those mining interest in Fairbanks have more influence than most of us thought. No matter what the reason they have not justified the position stated above. Saying there is no justification when a Board of Fish and past habitat regional supervisory point out just the opposite raises serious questions about AOC leadership