Bill Walker on Environment
A: Walker is a "no" on Ballot Measure 1. He said he was a "no" before the Alaska Supreme Court ruled the initiative could go on the November ballot with some adjustments. He said he has been cautioned that, as governor, he needed to be careful about wading into the debate. But, to be clear, he said, he's still a "no."
"It concerns me a great deal as an Alaskan, as what I'm trying to do as governor on bringing companies here, doing development in Alaska," he said. "An initiative is a blunt instrument and it's one that doesn't have the kind of back and forth that you normally would have in this kind of legislation, what would happen in Juneau on a piece of legislation such as this."
"I have to have a pretty strong reason to not support something and so I'm still looking at that, but what I know of it I'm comfortable with," Walker said.
The Donlin mine will require large treatment facilities for mercury and cyanide coming from the mine's operations. The Y-K Delta would have to be monitored forever, once it ceases operations.
Gov. Walker says he doesn't see the state relaxing monitoring enforcement, even with the budget crunch the last couple of years. He's confident the state can adequately regulate the mine. "We certainly we have laws in place," Walker said. "I believe if we need to strengthen those laws, then let's strengthen those laws."
I will consult with the fishing industry and other stakeholders when making appointments to policy and leadership positions in fisheries in my administration. I recognize that all users have a stake in the State's fisheries management system. I will engage with citizens and stakeholders with the intent of exploring solutions to conservation issues.
As governor, I will work with stakeholders to strike a balance between competing interests. This is a tough task.
[To accomplish that], the State needs a highly qualified, scientific management agency led by professional, experienced, and engaged individuals in leadership positions in the Department of Fish and Game.