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Tony Knowles on Environment

Democratic Challenger for Senate (AK; previously served as Governor)


Appropriate to levy reasonable fees to upkeep public lands

Q. Should individuals pay fees to use public lands for recreation?

KNOWLES: Public lands should be accessible to all but it is appropriate to levy reasonable user fees to pay for upkeep, improvements and maintenance for certain high-use areas.

MURKOWSKI: Individuals should not have to pay a fee to enjoy public lands as long as their actions do not place other users in harm's way. Public lands are there for the public good and public enjoyment - not just for those who can afford to enjoy them.

Source: AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Oct 10, 2004

Pro-Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Knowles supports responsible development of oil in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Responsible development requires what Knowles calls a "doing it right" approach that includes necessary protections for air, land and water. Knowles will work with other Senators from both parties to open a small portion of the coastal plain of ANWR to create jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign oil that is often produced under less strict environmental regulations.
Source: Campaign website, TonyKnowles.com Jun 30, 2004

Support "doing it right" approach to development

Knowles is an active fisherman and outdoorsman. He knows that Alaskans who enjoy the priceless environment of Alaska are nearly unanimous in their determination to protect it. As a supporter of responsible resource development, Knowles applied the principles of sound science, conservation-minded management, & an open, public process, what he called a "doing it right" approach to development, insisting that oil, gas, mining and other activities include necessary protections for air, land and water.
Source: Campaign website, TonyKnowles.com Jun 30, 2004

Habitat protection along with sustained yield

Blessed by this abundance and diversity, Alaskans gladly accept the moral obligation and constitutional responsibility of wildlife and habitat protection and sustained yield. This guarantees the use and enjoyment of these resources by this and future generations of Alaskans.
    A successful Alaska wildlife management policy for the future must be based on three basic principles.
  1. It ensures the long-term conservation of all wildlife species and habitats.
  2. It provides for the broadest range of human uses and values.
  3. It is based on sound science and an accessible and responsive public process.
    [Our priorities should be in this order]:
  1. Resource protection to ensure future generations’ use and enjoyment.
  2. Basic subsistence needs must come next.
  3. Lifestyle and recreational hunting demands, and wildlife viewing needs.
  4. Tourism needs.
Source: Governor’s web site Feb 3, 2001

Establish wolf and bear protection areas

    In conjunction with the principles of wildlife management, relevant scientific findings, and a priority of human uses the Board of Game should proceed in the following direction:
  1. The time to establish significant and appropriate areas of complete protection for wolves is long overdue. The current request for the Toklat pack is an excellent opportunity to begin this effort.
  2. Alaska needs additional areas where bear populations are protected and where bear viewing is the priority use.
  3. There is overwhelming evidence that any type of lethal bear management beyond normal hunting harvest and protecting public safety is both a threat to the resource and is publicly unacceptable.
  4. The current intensive management law is unbalanced and takes Alaska in the wrong direction. It is a one-sided approach that places undue emphasis on the consumptive use of moose & caribou. It forces predator control without adequate consideration of these broader public values and management alternatives.
Source: Governor’s web site Feb 3, 2001

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Knowles adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Knowles adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

Focus on prevention and states for Endangered Species.

Knowles signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Preventative conservation on both public and private lands is essential. Western states are actively developing conservation plans to restore declining species before they need the protections of the Endangered Species Act [ESA]. Most declining species can be restored to health only through a federal-state partnership that involves private landowners and interested parties.
  2. The purposes of the ESA are undermined if the Act must be so narrowly interpreted that, in order to defend its application against legal challenge, the very species the Act was enacted to protect are disadvantaged. [For example], the decision in Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Daley, holds that the requirement under the ESA for federal agencies to consider state conservation plans means almost nothing. If decisions like the one in Oregon stands, the Western Governors believe there is a problem with the Act itself requiring amendment or regulatory clarification.
  3. In addition, the Governors have long supported the reauthorization of the ESA based on three goals: to increase the role of states, to streamline the ESA, and to increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users. And the governors call for the ESA to have the recovery of species as its central focus.
  4. The Western Governors believe that the courts, and the Congress, when writing the reauthorization of the ESA, should reaffirm the Secretary’s ability to defer the listing of a species when the actions of a state conservation agreement eliminates the need to list a species. The courts and Congress should also clarify that voluntary actions that the Secretary finds will help restore a declining species and which have performance standards, implementation plans, and monitoring and reporting provisions, and are properly financed, are valid conservation tools.
Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 11: Endangered Species Act 01-WGA11 on Aug 14, 2001

Collaborative, incentive driven, locally-based solutions.

Knowles signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Water quality restoration is essential for economic and environmental sustainability of forestry, agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, recreation and public water supply.
  2. The Western Governors favor collaborative, incentive driven, locally based solutions to environmental and natural resource problems such as water quality restoration.
  3. Implementing these water management principles can be expensive and beyond the ability of some states to fund. However, the benefits of managing the resource in this manner are significant. Therefore, the Western Governors encourage federal agencies to look for opportunities to use existing authority to provide funding, flexibility in funding, and/or shared or loaned personnel to states to help them address specific watershed problems.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 12: Watershed Partnerships 01-WGA12 on Aug 14, 2001

    Apply "Good Samaritan" rules to abandoned mine cleanup.

    Knowles signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

      Good Samaritan
    1. The Western Governors believe that there is a need to eliminate disincentives, and establish incentives, to voluntary, cooperative efforts aimed at improving and protecting water quality impacted by abandoned or inactive mines.
    2. The Western Governors believe the Clean Water Act should be amended to protect a remediating agency from becoming legally responsible for any continuing discharges from the abandoned mine site after completion of a cleanup project, provided that the remediating agency -- or "Good Samaritan"-- does not otherwise have liability for that abandoned or inactive mine site and attempts to improve the conditions at the site.
    3. The Western Governors believe that Congress, as a priority, should amend the Clean Water Act in a manner that accomplishes the goals embodied in the WGA legislative package on Good Samaritan cleanups. S.1787 from the 106 th Congress is a good starting point for future congressional deliberations.

      Cleanup and Funding
    4. The Governors encourage federal land management agencies to coordinate their abandoned mine efforts with state efforts to avoid redundancy and unnecessary duplication.
    5. Reliable sources of funds that do not divert from other important Clean Water programs should be identified and made available for the cleanup of hardrock abandoned mines in the West.
    6. The Western Governors continue to urge the Administration and Congress to promptly distribute to states abandoned coal mine land funds in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund , including accumulated interest, collected under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (see WGA Policy Resolution 00-012).
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 15: Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines 01-WGA15 on Aug 14, 2001

    State primacy over water quantity & quality issues.

    Knowles signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

    1. The states should retain primary jurisdiction over water quantity issues -- specifically water resource allocation and the determination of beneficial uses.
    2. Control of pollutants from stormwater needs to be addressed with application of Best Management Practices. The Clean Water Act (CWA) should allow flexibility in both water quality criteria and beneficial use designations for receiving waters. Stormwater discharges to dry streams in arid regions pose substantially lower environmental risks than do the same discharges to perennial surface waters.
    3. CWA reauthorization must take into account the environment in the arid West. Specifically, the CWA should recognize and Congress should provide adequate resources for the development of water quality criteria for non-perennial and effluent dependent streams.
    4. The CWA reauthorization should include two new statements of purpose:
      (A) To recognize the need to establish water quality criteria for the wide variety of ecosystems that exist in the U.S.
      (B) To allow states to encourage the reuse of treated wastewater, as a component of water quality control.
    5. The CWA should allow states flexibility in the designation of beneficial uses and establishment of criteria for certain waters, such as non-perennial and effluent dependent streams and man made water transportation canals.
    6. Non-point source funding should enable states to balance program elements and focus, as needed, on technology development and transfer, monitoring, assessment, etc. Federal agency activities should also be required to comply with state non-point source management plans.
    7. The Governors endorse the authorization of a regional water quality research project to design and develop water quality standards appropriate to unique conditions in the western states.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 16: Clean Water Act 01-WGA16 on Aug 14, 2001

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    Other candidates on Environment: Tony Knowles on other issues:
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    Frank Vondersaar
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