HB 77 won’t protect salmon

In 1986 I moved to Homer with three sons and a 32-foot commercial fishing vessel.  

We fished Copper River, Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, Port Dick and Barren Islands. My sons and grandson make their living in the commercial fishing industry. We eat salmon. Fishing gets in your blood and becomes part of you  when you see immense salmon migrations return to their river system.  

Flourishing systems are vital for returning salmon. Properly managed, rivers can support spawning and migrating salmon forever. 

Will we disregard existing regulations that protect fish, clean water and wildlife in trade for fast resource development project permitting? 

HB77 is being considered again in January 2014. How do Alaskans guarantee salmons’ home will remain intact? Pristine water is their home. Alaska is the  last stronghold of wild sockeye salmon in the world. 

Coal is the biggest contributor to climate change. If permits are granted, PacRim coal would be the first project that would directly mine through a salmon spawning stream bed. What are the future effects to Chuitna River? Coal exported to Asian markets would produce more than a trillion pounds of CO2. That CO2 dissolves in sea water reducing its pH. Fish populations are affected. Ocean acidification impacts their key prey, pteropods. 

Do we delegate authority to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to hold the power to issue permits that may result in significant harm and to decide to believe that harm is reparable in the future? Without mandatory notice and public comment period? A critical  process that determines “best interest” for Alaska inhabitants. 

Be informed and discuss the bill with a friend. Welcome and join Sen. Micciche at Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. There will be two minutes  per participant for recorded public testimony. 

Information on HB77 can be found at www.standforsalmon.org or by calling Cook Inletkeeper at 235-4068 or visit Cook Inletkeeper’s web site.

Kindly stand up for fish, clean water, wildlife and clean energy technology. 

Sarah LaQue