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Local government is out of control on habitat protection

Posted: August 14, 2012 - 8:47am

I firmly believe we all should be good stewards of resources and lands. This is an act that I have demonstrated with my actions for the past 16 years. However, in recent months the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly chose to the pass Anadromous Streams Habitat Protection Ordinance, which is designed and authored to protect streams, lakes and watersheds of the Kenai Peninsula. On face value it sounds outstanding, right? Nothing could be further from the truth in my mind! It was back in the mid 90s when the Kenai Peninsula Borough passed the same ordinance for the world famous Kenai River.

Since then the Kenai River has been classified as class five contaminated river, in-river impacts have continued to elevate, and commercialization in-river has gone unchecked. Businesses heavily handled by government oversight are fleeced by fines, when a personal-use fishery that has created health contamination concerns at both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers goes ignored by agencies afraid to take action because of politics. 

Elected public officials and bureaucrats do nothing. Taxpaying residents and businesses are displaced, and impacted all because of special interests and short termed economic gain of sales tax revenue. The Kenai River Center authored this ordinance for the rest of the Kenai Peninsula’s anadromous streams. They do not have the manpower to enforce or protect the Kenai River and its public lands which we the people require them to protect. So why is the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly approving ordinances when the bureaucracies of our local governments cannot protect our lands we the people entrust them to protect? Simple: bigger government and more government control desired by bureaucracy.    

To me this is nothing more than “do as I say, not as I do” authored by bureaucracy and put in to force of law by some weak politicians. Our government is enforcing a law on individual residents and property owners when our government is not enforcing protection on the public lands we allow them to be the stewards of. 

Our government is supposed to be by the people, for the people. It’s time we take back control of government and tell entrenched bureaucracy they work for us. 

Let’s be clear! The Anadromous Streams Habitat Protection Ordinance needs to be pounded back into the hole from where it came, along with the special interest that is pushing it. 

I have spent the past 16 years working on habitat protection projects on public lands and working through some pretty great people, engaging hundreds of our youth in stewardship efforts that teach leadership, work ethic, and job skills and God willing, I’ll continue. So I think I can clearly state for myself this is an ill conceived ordinance. 

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