SAVE OUR SALMON INITIATIVE
Alaska has an initiative on the ballot this fall that would add new permitting requirements to protect salmon. The following impartial ballot statement describes the effect of the Initiative 1.
“An act providing for the protection of wild salmon and fish and wildlife habitat."
This act would amend Alaska’s fish habitat permitting law. The act would require
the Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to apply new standards to permitting
activities and development projects that have the potential to harm fish habitat. The
act would exempt existing projects, operations, or facilities that have received all
state and federal permits until a new permit is needed. The act would create fish
and wildlife habitat-protection standards. The standards would address water
quality, temperature, streamflow, and more. The act defines “anadromous fish
habitat.” The act would allow ADF&G to apply the law to all habitat in Alaska that
directly or indirectly supports salmon or other anadromous fish. The act would
provide for three types of permits for development in anadromous fish habitat.
ADF&G could issue a general permit—a single permit that applies to many
people—for certain activities. For other activities that require a permit, the act
would establish a two-track permitting system. Minor permits would be issued for
activities that have little impact on fish habitat. Major permits would be issued for
projects that have the potential to cause significant adverse effects on fish habitat.
The act defines “significant adverse effects.” The act would require ADF&G to
avoid or minimize adverse effects through mitigation measures and permit
conditions. It would provide public notice on all permits and a chance to comment
on major permits. The act would create criteria, timeframes, and an appeals
process for the permits by interested persons. The act would allow ADF&G to
respond to specified conduct with tickets, civil fines, or criminal penalties. The act
would repeal two current statutes. One is regarding mitigation from a dam. The
other is regarding criminal penalties that are addressed elsewhere.”