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State Objects to Federal Ocean Zoning Policy

February 17, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Citing concerns about impacts on Alaska and a lack of engagement with stakeholders, Governor Parnell called on senior Obama administration officials to meet with Alaskans before proceeding with further development of federal marine spatial planning efforts.

"I remain concerned that federal proposed changes to current ocean policy would supersede existing state and federal laws," Governor Parnell said. "I am also concerned that the ocean zoning proposal, in its current form, may well be unable to strike a balance between ocean protection and the use of the oceans for commercial purposes, such as Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas development and commercial fishing."

The governor's comments were in response to the Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning released by President Obama's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force.

Governor Parnell objected to the proposal for increased federal control over Alaska's resources, development and economy, and noted that the framework for marine spatial planning would supersede existing programs that involve local stakeholders. The framework ignores the state's sovereign authority and jurisdiction to manage its own lands and waters, and creates a new bureaucratic process that will require significant resources and distract from addressing more immediate needs.

To date, there has been no substantial consultation or involvement with the State of Alaska, Alaska residents, or users of the resources in Alaska in the development of the interim framework. The governor urged the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to meet with senior administration officials from Alaska to discuss the state's concerns.

A copy of the state's comments on the Ocean Policy Task Force's Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning is available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/gov_letters/02122010_Sutley.pdf

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