The Terrifying Tales Against Yes for Salmon

Each summer while gillnetting sockeye one inevitably catches a few fish that have been dead for a number of days - they are called Ghost Fish in the colloquialism of the back deck - and you can usually smell them before they come over the roller. The smell of a ghost fish can put one over the edge if they are prone to seasickness - and if they hit the deck and explode into pale rotten splatters of goop, everyone collectively moans in despair as the stench grows significantly.

The arguments from those opposed to Ballot Measure 1 are like ghost fish. When I approach my mailbox, I do so with fear, as it has been possessed by flyers that reek of dishonest distortion, and fear-mongering around Ballot Measure 1. The argument that Ballot Measure 1 will kill jobs is one of those zombie arguments. It has been unleashed by the oil industry to counter every measure they deem offensive - tax increases, Coastal Zone Management, and now Ballot Measure 1 - Yes for Salmon. These old, long dead, and suddenly revived arguments haunt the periphery of political debates where one industry or the other seeks to gain public trust by creating fear.

The Jobs-killing argument is a trick. Here is the treat: Ballot Measure 1 will not take away jobs, it will require construction projects to hire more people to ensure projects are designed and constructed to modern standards that protect our salmon habitat. The largest oil and mining companies on earth operate in Alaska and can afford to craft projects that protect fish habitat. It might cost money - and cause them to hire more Alaskans, but they can afford it, and they should hire more Alaskans.

The argument that Ballot Measure 1 will prohibit outdoor access is a trick. Ballot Measure 1 will allow access across streams under a general permit - same as occurs today over the numerous salmon streams identified in Alaska.

The argument that we are doing fine under the current statutes is a trick. When the Donlin Mine can completely destroy salmon streams for its tailings facility without public notice and public comment, when any mine, construction project, or oil and gas project, can, under the statute requiring “proper protection of fish” completely destroy salmon habitat, there is something wrong with the statute.

The argument that Ballot Measure 1 will somehow impact the whole economy of Alaska negatively is a trick as well. Northern Air Cargo, Alyeska Pipeline, and a consortium of Alaska Native Corporations have inveighed against Ballot Measure 1, sanctimoniously implying that a vote to protect salmon habitat is some kind of referendum on these economic sectors. This is deeply unfair, and it is baloney. Ballot Measure 1 is a grassroots effort to hold all of us accountable in the protection of our common salmon resource.

The opposition has grown desperate….and are resorting to strange tactics and wild distortions. Recently I have noticed the No on 1 team has recruited a Beer Brewer from Fairbanks to tell us that protecting salmon will somehow impact his business. The odors of a final meltdown are in the air, Folks. When you have to bring the threat that even Beer will be negatively impacted….you know things are getting dire.

When you go to the ballot box, on or before November 6 - remember, the zombie arguments, and bogeymen and Ghost Fish that are being thrown at you today are just well funded political tactics. Don’t let them fool you.

Stay strong, it's getting scary out there but together we can win this.

Louie Flora
Government Affairs Director

Paid for and approved by The Alaska Center, 921 W 6th Avenue, Suite 200, Anchorage, Alaska 99501. Susan Klein, Chair. The top contributors to The Alaska Center (Anchorage, AK) are Sally Randich (Girdwood, AK), Rick Shaw (Anchorage, AK), and Robin Smith (Anchorage, AK). This notice to voters is required by Alaska law: We certify that this literature is not authorized, paid for, or approved by the campaign.

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