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Legislature Stands Up for Alaska Economy with HJR 40

Millett’s HJR 40 heads to Governor’s desk Thursday, April 15, 2010,

Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State Senate today unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 40, legislation clearly stating opposition to a proposed critical habitat designation in Cook Inlet. Representative Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, sponsored the bill.

“A critical habitat designation could harm, shipping, port operations, commercial and sport fishing, oil and gas development, mining, military operations, tourism, and construction,” Millett said.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering a critical habitat designation that would encompass up to 3,000 square miles of Cook Inlet in an effort to increase the population of beluga whales. “The only thing a critical habitat designation will accomplish is to drive up the cost of doing business in Cook Inlet - or just drive companies and economic development projects out of business,” Millett said.

“We have seen a continued increase in the beluga population since 2005.” In 2000, a cooperative management plan was enacted for Cook Inlet belugas. That management plan is succeeding, with an annual beluga count showing an increase of four percent per year since 2005. HJR 40 is now awaiting transmittal to the governor.

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