Bill no help to Alaska

Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In 2009, many Alaskans and, especially Alaska fishermen and marine conservationists, worry about another Exxon-type oil spill. At the same time, the Alaska Legislature is contemplating over-riding the people's law, passed in 2007, to limit the cruise ship industry's waste water and heavy metal (compounds of copper, et al) treated sewage disposal in Alaska's coastal waters.

The bill to allow this legalized pollution is HB134, sponsored by Rep. John Harris of Valdez. Mr. Harris, and the bill's co-sponsors, cannot be so uninformed as to believe our coastal waters and marine life are immune to the effects of this pollution. Harris' apparent "dilution is the solution to pollution" concept is to treat Alaska's coastal waters as one gigantic Frank Murkowski pollution "mixing zone."

For those of you with a short memory (or convenient amnesia), former Gov. Frank Murkowski changed the Alaska code to allow the mining industry to pollute legally salmon spawning streams via "mixing zones." Mixing zones are where clean water is allowed to dilute the intentional pollution to an acceptable standard.

Murkowski apparently gave no thought to this legalized pollution's long-term impacts on Alaska's wild fisheries or to the people who the fisheries support. And Rep. Harris is simply extending this absurd legalized pollution concept to Alaska's coastal waters to benefit the cruise ship industry.

I would ask: Is this proposed HB134 just demonstrated overt ignorance and apathy, or is there a quid pro quo?

The moral of this story is: "Stop intentional pollution of Alaska's ecosystems and vote out of office anyone who advocates such ridiculousness, just to benefit the profits of any developer or business." These people are no friend to any Alaskan and are certainly not interested in Alaska's posterity.

Richard Hahn


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