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Rep Kawasaki E-News: February Update

This week a major piece of legislation that will have widespread impacts on the state of Alaska passed quickly through the House of Representatives without much public input. HB80 and SB29 were introduced by Governor Parnell to roll back the citizens’ 2006 initiative. The public initiative held the cruise ship industry accountable for the ship discharge in Alaska waters by setting standards for discharge. The industry had from 2006 to 2015 to implement the upgrades to the ships to meet the outflow standard goals.

HB80 removes the requirements and allows cruise ships to discharge wastewater to a much lower standard by allowing wastewater to dilute in Alaska’s pristine waters. The risk is this: “the solution to pollution is NOT dilution.”

Question:  “Why is this a bad thing?”

Answer: It will directly threaten our world-class fisheries.

Copper found in wastewater is proven harmful to particularly the king salmon species. Alaska has already started to experience the detrimental effects of low king salmon runs in the Interior, and allowing sludge and waste in our waters is irresponsible. There is room for both tourism and fishing in our abundant state - with appropriate standards for clean water.

Many organizations have recently come forth with concerns about the bill and the potential impact to the fishing industry, including the United Fishermen of Alaska which represents 34 additional fishing organizations. Responses from the agency on these concerns as well as submitted testimony are online.

What You Can Do: There is still opportunity to provide input to the Senate, which is the final hope for this bill to receive due diligence. TODAY, February 7 at 9:00 a.m., the committee will take public testimony in the Senate Finance Committee Room (532 in the Capitol Building). You can also contact the Senate Finance Committee by writing a letter to express your opinions on this bill:

Sen.Pete.Kelly@akleg.gov – Co-Chair

Sen.Kevin.Meyer@akleg.gov – Co-Chair

Sen.Anna.Fairclough@akleg.gov Sen.Mike.Dunleavy@akleg.gov

Sen.Click.Bishop@akleg.gov

Sen.Donny.Olson@akleg.gov

Sen.Lyman.Hoffman@akleg.gov

PFD and Pick.Click.Give.

It’s that time of year again to file for your PFD. Remember that the deadline for submitting your application is March 31st, 2013.

I want to encourage everyone to consider the “Pick.Click.Give.”program this year, which makes it easy for Alaskans to support charities and non-profits by donating a portion of their PFDs to the organizations of their choice. This program continues to grow and in 2012 Alaskans gave over $2.2 million dollars to more than 400 nonprofits through the program.

I believe we must make this program easier for those small non-profits in our communities to participate and benefit from, which is why I have signed on to HB 75. This bill will repeal some of the expensive audit requirements of the Pick.Click.Give. program to make it easier to donate to a charity of your choice.

Tell Me What You Think: Take a Quick Survey

With the start of a new legislative session I am focused on learning more about your questions, concerns and ideas. I would appreciate your feedback by completing this simple survey on a few of the most-pressing issues we will undertake this session.  

Link to the Survey Here: http://akdemocrats.org/kawasaki/survey.php

Working Hard for Fairbanks Families,

[SIGNED]

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