Comments on proposal allowing jet skis in Kachemak Bay not published more than a month after comment deadline

Kachemak Bay_MaryEllen Fritz May 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - More than a month after the deadline of an extended comment period for a proposal to lift a ban on personal watercraft in Kachemak Bay, opponents of the move are urging the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to make the comments available for the public to view.

Rick Green, Special Assistant to the Commissioner for the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for handling the comments. He says the department received around 2,000 comments.

Bob Shavelson, Advocacy Director for Cook Inletkeeper, has been asking the department to publish the comments for weeks.

On January 29, ADF&G Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang responded to an email from Shavelson asking when ADF&G would make the comments available online. Vincent-Lang stated at that time, "We are working on it. Probably next week. We are not going to make a decision until I review the record."

Weeks later, the department still has not made the comments available.

"Fish and game continues to play games saying they’re going to be looking at the science, but they’ve never put out a rationale why they’re doing this. They’ve never put any facts or science on the table," Shavelson said. "So we want to be able to see, what are the arguments out there, lets have a transparent discussion instead of all this closed door behind the scenes nonsense that they persist in."

Green says that there are two ADF&G staff people who are working to compile the approximately 2,000 comments into one document.

"You can imagine since they come in all forms, they came in emails directly to me, they came in public comments through the portal, they were faxed in, they were hand delivered and they were mailed in. It’s quite a process to put them all together and our staff is getting really close to getting them all into one document and organized, and once we do that we will publish them online," Green said. "For an estimated timeline, I would hope within the next week or two we would have them up."

The decision whether to lift the jet ski ban rests solely with the commissioner.

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