Opponent of the bill say they would like some kind of local input in projects, but that this current proposal just does not work.
Supporters of the extension -- many of them Democrats in the minority -- say Alaska will regret today's decision.
“We have an extremely powerful tool, we have a tool that we’ve used time and again to have a seat at the table to tell the federal government that the state deserves to have its say,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Beth Kerttula, (D - Juneau).
Gov. Sean Parnell said Tuesday he would veto the current Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program extension bill lawmakers are working on in a special session.
“We must let this lapse so that we do not kill projects and jobs,” he told a gathering of the Resource Development Council in Anchorage.
Parnell’s statement echoes earlier concerns that the now “decimated” ACMP department cannot handle the workload of the roughly 100 permits it receives each month.
Most of the 33 employees who staffed the office have moved on to other employment in preparation for a June 30 deadline, when the program was set to end.
He also brought up the point that it would take too long to fill the many vacant positions.
“This is not something that you can just go hire somebody off the street and say, ‘Come on here and process a little paper.’ These are highly competent professional people,” Parnell said.
Parnell said lawmakers knew his concerns going into this week’s special session and should not be surprised by his opposition.
Some of them, however, are – among them, Kerttula.
“We had an agreement, I thought, until this morning when I was told that the governor is now not agreeing and using what I can only say is a really poor argument that he can't bring the program back together,” she said Monday.