#Consumer Affairs
Governor Murkowski
United States of America

Overview: Governor Murkowski and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) have proposed new rules to increase pollution in Alaska's wild salmon streams. Currently, state law rightly prohibits "mixing zones" in salmon spawning areas. The Governor's proposal will rollback these safeguards, and allow mining, sewage, oil and gas and other pollution to be dumped into our fish streams. The deadline for comments is September 10, 2004.

The Problem: A "mixing zone" is an area in a waterbody where pollution levels exceed water quality standards designed to protect people and fish. Normally, a pollution discharge must meet water quality standards at the end of the discharge pipe. When the discharge is too polluted to meet such standards, regulators often employ mixing zones - which are simply loopholes that allow compliance to be measured downstream, after the polluted discharge has dispersed in the receiving water. Mixing zones adopt the long-discounted notion that dilution is the solution to pollution, and in practice, they create sacrifice zones where water and habitat quality fail to meet the fish protection goals of the Clean Water Act.

The Solution: Speak Out! Let the Governor and ADEC know you oppose increased pollution in Alaska's renowned salmon streams (see talking points below):

Ernesta Ballard, Commissioner
Alaska Dept. of Env. Conservation
410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 303
Juneau, AK 99801-1795
Email: ernesta_ballard@dec.state.ak.us
ph: (907) 465-5066; fx: (907) 465-5070

Governor Frank Murkowski
State of Alaska
Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811
Email: frank_murkowski@gov.state.ak.us
ph: 907.465.3500 fx: 465.3532

Attend a Public Hearing!!! ADEC will hold public hearings (see schedule below) and we need people to come out in force to reject this short-sighted proposal:

Fairbanks , August 24 from 4-6 p.m. - 119 N Cushman Street, Suite 101 .
Anchorage , August 25 from 4-6 p.m. - 716 W. 4 th Ave, Suite 200 .
Juneau , August 26 from 4-6 p.m.- Terry Miller Building , Suite 111

Send a Letter to the Editor!

Letters to the Editor
Anchorage Daily News
P.O. Box 149001
Anchorage, AK 99514

For more information, contact:
Cook Inlet Keeper (Anchorage Office): 907.929.9371
Alaska Center for the Environment: 907.274.3621



· Alaska Law Rightly Prohibits Mixing Zones in Salmon Streams. Alaska law currently prohibits mixing zones in salmon streams because mixing zones allow pollution at levels above state standards designed to protect fish. The state says it is simply conducting "housekeeping" to make permit decisions easier for industry and agencies; the fact is that the new rule will allow toxic pollution discharges in Alaska salmon streams where none occur now. Polluting industries have lobbied for years for this loophole, and now, the Murkowski Administration is set to reward them with yet another way to foist pollution treatment costs onto everyday Alaskans.

· Polluting Salmon Streams Will Hurt Fish Marketing Efforts. In response to the global glut of farmed salmon, the Alaska salmon industry is successfully branding and marketing wild, fresh and clean Alaska salmon to consumers who demand quality seafood. If the Administration adopts the proposed rules, farmed fish vendors will have a powerful to undermine Alaska salmon sales. Furthermore, salmon marketing and certification entities - such as the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Kenai Wild, Copper River Red Salmon and the Marine Stewardship Council - may be forced to amend their salmon quality specifications and grades to reflect fish taken from waters with heightened pollution from mixing zones.

· The Murkowski Administration Is Gutting Fish Habitat Protections. The Murkowski Administration has embraced an extreme anti-salmon agenda since taking office. At the start of his term, the Governor effectively silenced the biologists in the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's Habitat Division, by moving them to the resource development agency - the Department of Natural Resources. Soon after, he and his supporters gutted the primary state law which protects salmon habitat in coastal watersheds - the Alaska Coastal Management Program - by effectively removing citizens and local governments from decisions affecting coastal salmon habitat. The Murkowski Administration has also pressed hard to allow pesticide and herbicide spraying around salmon streams. Together, these sweeping changes herald disturbing rollbacks to common sense protections for our wild salmon and the people and communities they support.

· More Pollution Threatens Fisheries Health & Consumer Safety. The State of Alaska does not regularly sample and test salmon for toxic pollution. Research from the Exxon Valdex oil spills has proved that low levels of hydrocarbons - as low as one part per billion - can harm fish eggs and smolt. Furthermore, many Native and subsistence consumers eat large quantities of salmon, and toxins in the fish can bioaccumulate in human fat cells, leading to health concerns (especially for vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and children). As a result, the current proposal to allow more pollution in salmon streams adopts a "head in the sand" approach to fisheries health and consumer safety.

· The Comment Period Falls During Prime Fishing Season. The Murkowski Administration chose to wait until the middle of the fishing and subsistence seasons to open a 45 day comment period - when those people who would be most affected by the proposed rule are unavailable. As a result, the comment period should be extended until October 31, to allow stakeholders a realistic opportunity to weigh-in on this important proposal.

For more information, contact:

Cook Inlet Keeper (Anchorage Office): 907.929.9371
Alaska Center for the Environment: 907.274.3621


WHEREAS, Alaska wild salmon are renowned worldwide for their wild, clean, fresh and healthy attributes;

WHEREAS, Alaska salmon require clean water and healthy habitats to thrive and reproduce;

WHEREAS, Healthy and fresh Alaska salmon support countless families and communities throughout the state - through jobs, dollars and subsistence - and they form part of the cultural fabric which makes Alaska unique.

WHEREAS, the Murkowski Administration has proposed rule changes which will increase pollution (using "mixing zones") in salmon streams;

WHEREAS, salmon health, salmon habitat, consumer safety and salmon marketing will suffer under the Murkowski Administration's proposal.

NOW, THEREFORE, the undersigned do hereby oppose Governor Murkowski's proposal to allow increased pollution - through the use of mixing zones - in salmon streams.

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The Stop Alaska Salmon Stream Pollution! petition to Governor Murkowski was written by Bob Shavelson and is in the category Consumer Affairs at GoPetition.