N. Aleutian Basin lease areas for oil/gas exploration Credit: pewtrusts.org

N. Aleutian Basin lease areas for oil/gas exploration
Credit: pewtrusts.org

Fish Radio
October 7, 2014                      

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. US Senate candidate Dan Sullivan answers fish questions …sort of. More after this–

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Dan Sullivan took on a wide range of fisheries issues in a faceoff with Senator Mark Begich at last week’s Kodiak fish debate. Here’s a sampler:

 On the Pebble Mine, Sullivan said he supports a fair process –  

I have never supported the project in my entire career. Never. What I have supported is the process that I would support for the fishing industry or any other industry. That is important to have Alaskans making these kind of decision and not have the EPA pre-empt what is an Alaska focused process.

 Senator Begich:  I still don’t know if Dan is for the mine or against the mine. Here is the simple answer and I have given the answer just like Senator Ted Stevens did. This mine is the wrong mine in the wrong place. It will have long term impact to our fisheries there is no question about it. I know my opponent likes to bring up the EPA – it is the citizens of that community because they did not feel the state was giving them a fair hearing, so they went to the EPA to ask for help.

 Sullivan on mines in Canada that threaten Southeast Alaska waters –

I have a lot of connections still, not just in the State Dept., but I worked very closely with the Canadians. Flying to Ottawa, meeting with senior people, getting on a plane and representing our state. That is what I would do. Letters don’t work. Face to face contact and diplomacy, that’s what you make an impact on and that’s what I would do as your senator.

 On oil and gas exploration in waters off Bristol Bay, dubbed that nation’s “fish basket.” Leases could again be available in 2017. Sullivan said he would ‘look at the science.’

Senator Begich, who is opposed, bit back –

 What I heard you say was you wanted more science or research there. Do you support oil and gas development in that basin. Yes or no?

 Sullivan –  So when you undertake these comprehensive plans at the federal gove there is a lot of back ground research that goes into it. So I would make sure we did that in a very rigorous manner and when I saw what the science and the recommendations from the federal agencies were with regard to moving forward I would make the decision. 15

 Sullivan also said the “science is still out” on what is causing climate change. On his support of HB77, the “Silence Alaskans Act,” that would streamline permitting and pull the public from the process, Sullivan called it “mischaracterized.”

 So over the course of three years we had numerous bills that got through the legislature with bipartisan support with regards to helping our small business, helping all Alaskans refine and streamline our permitting system. It went through a couple iterations, it went through the public process, it did not pass – that’s democracy in action. 14


 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities for 104 years. On the web at www.oceanbeauty.com .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.