Tag Archives: Gov. Bill Walker

Pebble rising?

Once thought to be on the verge of death, Alaska’s proposed Pebble prospect copper and gold mine seems to be taking on a new life. First came the July announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of President Donald Trump that it planned to lift a proposed ban on the mine ordered by the EPA of President Barrack Obama.,,, The Pebble Limited Partnership sued the Obama administration and the EPA of Trump – taking a page from the playbook of enviromental organizations fond of filing lawsuits to leverage legal settlements – in this case negotiated an agreement allowing Pebble to apply for the necessary permits. click here to read the story 09:37

Walruses adapt to loss of sea ice and are not endangered, feds say

Blubbery, clam-loving Pacific walruses are surprisingly resilient to the dramatic loss of polar sea ice as the planet warms and won’t be listed as an endangered species, the federal government announced early Wednesday. The decision is controversial. A scientist for a group that works to protect endangered animals called it a Trump administration “death sentence for the walrus.” But Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation, Native hunters, Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and the state Department of Fish and Game all said it was the right call. “This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a written statement. click here to read the story 21:11

Processors working with harvesters on budget plan

Fish harvesters and processors might not agree on much, but everyone hates taxes. Commercial fishing stakeholders took turns in 2016 tearing apart a commercial fisheries tax plan from Gov. Bill Walker that the Legislature batted around during the marathon session but eventually dropped. The industry has such diverse needs and complex features that the bill couldn’t hit the revenue target without hurting one industry segment more than another. Stakeholders also objected to a holdup with a range of other industry taxes introduced by Walker. As none of the other taxes moved out of committee, House Fisheries Committee Chair Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, tabled the fishing taxes until she could be sure the industry wouldn’t take a hit none of the other industry’s would face. Months later, Walker bundled the fisheries tax into a bill with mining and fuel taxes. The bill stalled. Fisheries stakeholders might have a fix. At an October meeting of the United Fishermen of Alaska, the state’s largest harvester group, fishermen decided to knock heads together instead of against the legislative wall. Read the story here 17:44

Alaska trawlers furious about Walker’s council nominations

Two months after a heated meeting, trawlers are again accusing Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten of short-changing their industry. Gov. Bill Walker submitted nominations to fill two seats of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on March 9, sending waves of dissatisfaction throughout an industry segment that claims Walker’s administration is forcing it out of the process at the worst time possible. Trawlers claim nominees were chosen based on fealty to a specific vision of Alaska fisheries rather than experience. Read the rest here 08:07

Alaska trawlers furious about Walker’s North Pacific Fishery Management Council nominations

Two months after a heated meeting, trawlers are again accusing Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten of short-changing their industry. Gov. Bill Walker submitted nominations to fill two seats of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on March 9, sending waves of dissatisfaction throughout an industry segment that claims Walker’s administration is forcing it out of the process at the worst time possible. Walker nominated Buck Laukitis of Homer and Theresa Peterson of Kodiak to replace Duncan Fields and David Long among the 11 voting members of the council, one of eight regional councils established by the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act to oversee federal fisheries from three to 200 miles off the coast. Read the rest here 09:28

Alaska pushes back on Arctic plan with Canada

Alaska’s leaders in Juneau and Congress had harsh words for a joint March 10 statement from the White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing plans for new emissions caps on the oil and gas industry and preservation of significant chunks territory in each country’s Arctic. The statement was released as Trudeau made the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister to the White House in nearly two decades. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Gov. Bill Walker all noted the omission of Alaska in drafting the 10-page agreement in formal statements of their own. The sentiment is similar to comments made following the president’s three-day visit to Alaska last summer, which was used as a vehicle to promote his climate change policies. Read the rest here 12:41

Alaska: Proposed measures seek fishing dollars as legislators continue digging into the industry for revenue

Gov. Bill Walker’s commercial fisheries tax bill is stalled in committee, but legislators continue digging into the industry for revenue. Two bills, sponsored by legislators from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, would impose new taxes on either the entire industry or the longliners and trawlers in the federal and state fisheries. HB 358, sponsored by Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake, and Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, would require non-salmon and non-halibut trawlers and longliners to pay a tax on halibut and salmon bycatch. The bill was passed to the House Fisheries Committee on Feb. 24 but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. On the same day, Rep. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, signed as a bill cosponsor. Read the rest here 11:42

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker orders mariculture task force for shellfish and sea plants

Walker’s order responds to both economic and ecological concerns. The release touts the potential economic benefits to coastal communities and the Alaska fishing industry. Further, as ocean acidification continues to impact shellfish, Walker said the stocks need all the help they can get in recovering. “Mariculture represents a tremendous opportunity to diversify our economy, strengthen our coastal communities, and provide healthy food to the world by using sustainable practices that are a foundation of our current fishery resources,” said Walker in a release. “The goal of this task force is to bring key stakeholders together and determine how the state can help this industry prosper with Alaska-grown products.” Read the rest here 17:03

Gov. Walker makes another unorthodox pick for Fish Board, Meanwhile in Montana, former Fish Board appointee charged!

Gov. Bill Walker has made a second try at filling a vacant seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, this time picking Robert Ruffner, the director of a Kenai Peninsula conservation group for a position traditionally held by members sympathetic to sportfishing interests. Read the rest here  Meanwhile, Montana law enforcement officials have charged Gov. Bill Walker’s one-time fish board appointee, Roland Maw,  with seven misdemeanor counts of applying for and buying Montana resident licenses while he was not a resident of the state. Read the rest here 15:54

Walker announces North Pacific council nominations

Blue NPFMC SidebarGov. Bill Walker announced late on March 13 his nominations for two North Pacific Fishery Management Council seats, which expire August 10 of this year. The two seats up for nominations are those of chairman Dan Hull and Ed Dersham. For Dan Hull’s seat, which represents small boat commercial interests, Walker has nominated Dan Hull, Buck Laukitis, and Paul Gronholt. For Ed Dersham’s seat, representing sportfishing interests, Walker has nominated Andrew Mezirow, Richard Yamada, and Arthur Nelson. Read the rest here 10:45

Next round of Walker fishery appointments closely watched

Commercial fishermen who make their living in federal waters off Alaska are watching as Gov. Bill Walker prepares to announce a set of appointments to the board that manages the multibillion-dollar fishing industry in the North Pacific. One of the principal roles of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is overseeing the massive, Seattle-based factory fishing vessels that catch and process lower-value groundfish like pollock, mackerel and sole.  Read the rest here  09:14