Stephens Explains Opposition to Borough Sea Party Contribution


Jay Barrett/KMXT

When the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly held a public hearing last week on whether to make a $1,000 contribution to the Alaska Sea Party, which is seeking to reinstate a coastal management program in Alaska, nobody in the public had any comments. When it came time for the assembly to comment, there was only one, from Assemblyman Mel Stephens.

The borough’s ordinance to donate $1,000 passed 5-to-1, with Stephens dissenting.

— (Sea Party 1 22 sec "I am philosophically opposed to … might be to Kodiak.")

Stephens also called out his fellow assembly members, all of whom voted in favor of the contribution, for not donating their own money:

— (Sea Party 2 16 sec "If I feel strongly enough … according to the APOC reports.")

Of the $67,359 contributed to the Alaska Sea Party through the end of 2011, Stephens pointed out that only $800 came from individuals. The rest came from local governments or non-governmental organizations. Almost all of the money – $50,000 – went to pay Scott Kohlhaas of Anchorage for consulting on the petition signature-gathering process.

Stephens said that even if a coastal management program is created by the legislature this session, or if voters compel the state to create one by ballot initiative in October, it may take years for the federal government to recognize it:

— (Sea Party 3 47 sec "Let me say, however, that … back here to begin with.")

Stephens is correct that the coastal management plan promoted by the Alaska Sea Party would not be the same as the one that expired in July. Instead, it would more closely resemble the coastal management program from pre-2004, before then-Governor Frank Murkowski removed the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from the review process.


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