Petition For Coastal Management Program Receives More Than Enough Signatures

Photo courtesy of Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho

Organizers of a citizen’s ballot initiative to restore Alaska’s Coastal Management Program have well over the number of signatures required to  put it on the statewide ballot, says Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho.

Volunteers started gathering signatures less than a month ago.  26,000 are required. The signatures must be filed with the state division of elections Tuesday.

Botelho says volunteers will stop the petition drive at 6 p.m. Monday. The question now is whether they have the required district distribution.

Botelho and Kodiak Island Borough Mayor Jerome Selby are among several local officials who formed the Alaska Sea Party to bring back a coastal management program.  The Parnell administration shut down the program last summer, after the legislature and governor’s office failed to reach a compromise to renew it.

Sea Party organizers will hold a news conference tomorrow to update the initiative’s progress.

If the Legislature enacts substantially similar legislation this session, the initiative would not appear on the statewide ballot this fall.

Juneau Representative Beth Kerttula believes the Legislature will take it up. She says collecting more than 26,000 signatures in record time is a powerful message.

Alaska has nearly 40 percent of the entire coastline of the United States, and has no program to coordinate management.

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Rosemarie Alexander is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

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