Habitat Division stays with DNR... for now
Habitat Division should stay put, Palin says
BUREAUCRATIC SHIFT: The governor dismisses request to return group to Fish and Game.
By ELIZABETH BLUEMINK
Anchorage Daily News
Published: February 10, 2007
Last Modified: February 10, 2007 at 01:58 AM
Gov. Sarah Palin has rejected a request from the state Fisheries Board to put the Habitat Division back in the Department of Fish and Game.
The board voted unanimously in December to ask Palin to move the division, which manages fish and wildlife habitat. It was transferred from Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources in 2003.
Removing Habitat Division biologists from Fish and Game was one of former Gov. Frank Murkowski's more controversial executive orders.
When he announced the switch, Murkowski accused division employees of delaying resource development in Alaska on projects ranging from a proposed golf course in Juneau to a hydroelectric project near the Taku River.
Palin said in a Thursday letter to Board of Fisheries chairman Mel Morris that she had "carefully evaluated the track record" of DNR's Office of Habitat Management and Permitting and concluded that DNR is doing a satisfactory job.
"My commissioners of (Fish and Game) and DNR both concur with my assessment," Palin wrote in the letter.
Some people said they were surprised by her decision. "We were under the impression that she was inclined to (move) Habitat and would at least take a long, considered look at it," said Kate Troll, executive director of the Alaska Conservation Alliance.
Others still are pushing to restore the Habitat Division to Fish and Game. They include two Anchorage Democrats, Reps. Les Gara and Harry Crawford, who have filed a bill requiring the transfer of fish and wildlife permitting duties to Fish and Game.
"By placing these biologists back in Fish and Game, we can protect our fishing streams like we have since statehood," Gara said Friday.
House Bill 41 is scheduled for public testimony on Monday.
Reporter Elizabeth Bluemink can be reached at email@example.com
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
this is a shame
I guess Irwin won. He was strongly pushing for this to stay in DNR for obvious reasons. So much for Palin promise to move it back.