February 22, 2012
Governor Sean Parnell
Alaska State Capital Building
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Commissioner Daniel S. Sullivan
Dept. of Natural Resources
550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 1400
Anchorage, AK 99501
Dear Governor Parnell and Commissioner Sullivan:
The purpose of this letter is to express the objections of the Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition (AQRC) to the changes made by Commissioner Sullivan in the wording of the Department of Natural Resourcesâ€™ (DNR) mission statement.
The previous mission statement sets forth the concept of two different balances among competing interests: first, how to use Alaskaâ€™s natural resources and, secondly, who isÂ to be the beneficiary. The â€œuseâ€ concept incorporates three distinct policy objectives: to develop, to conserve and to enhance while the â€œbenefitsâ€ concept includes two distinct beneficiaries: existing and future Alaskans.
In contrast, the new wording eliminates all concept of balance among â€œusesâ€ or between â€œbeneficiariesâ€. It sets forth a single concept of â€œuseâ€- â€œto develop…for maximum use and benefitâ€. While the phrase â€œconsistent with the public interestâ€ could be interpreted to allow natural resources to be reserved for the use of future Alaskans, that is a matter of interpretation; not a clear mandate.
AQRC believes the change in the wording of the mission statement represents a major policy switch which may well lie beyond the authority of the Executive Branch.
AQRC is a state-wide, non-profit organization with approximately 500 members/supporters which seeks to maintain quiet places for Alaskans and its wildlife on public lands. We object to the changes in DNRâ€™s mission statement for we believe they significantly impact both the very resource values of our public lands which AQRC seeks to maintain and protect and the beneficiaries of those resources.Â AQRCâ€™s vision statement is: â€œAlaska is a place where people appreciate and protect natural quiet and natural soundsâ€. Our mission statement reads: â€œThe mission of AQRC is to maintain and restore natural sounds and natural quiet in Alaska through advocacy and education for the benefit of people and wildlife.â€ We believe the new wording with its singular focus on â€œdevelop nowâ€ is not compatible with the breadth of the resource values embodied in the stateâ€™s public lands.
AQRC requests that you rescind the changes to the wording of DNRâ€™s mission statement.
Susan Olsen, President
Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition
P.O. Box 202592
Anchorage, AK 99520