APOC Rules State's Predator Management Outreach Effort Appropriate
(Juneau) – In a ruling published late Wednesday (yesterday), the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) rejected a complaint against Governor Sarah Palin, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Commissioner Denby Lloyd, and the Alaska Board of Game (Board), alleging they were trying to influence the outcome of next week’s election. The complaint, filed last week by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance (AWA), claimed state officials had tried to sway voters on Ballot Measure 2, which would place new restrictions on the shooting of wolves, bears and wolverines from the air and on the same day as the shooter has been airborne.
“I’m pleased that APOC’s commissioners understood that the information we prepared was non-partisan, that we never intended to take sides in the debate and acted appropriately in informing the public on the programs addressed in the ballot measure,” said Commissioner Lloyd. “There has been a lot of public discourse on and public interest in predator management, and we knew, as did the Board of Game, that Alaskans would need factual information about these important programs.”
Governor Palin agreed. “It is part of the mission of our state agencies to inform the public and to make sure they have access to the facts. When both sides of a political debate are making claims about an important public policy issue relating to state programs, our experts must be free to explain these programs to the public,” she said. “Alaskans expect me to express an opinion when asked about important issues affecting our state, which is what I do in exercising my First Amendment rights,” Palin said. "I haven't hesitated in giving my personal opinion on predator control and the mining initiative, for instance, because Alaskans know by now I'll take a stand and share my opinion if they ask to hear it."
ADF&G’s Division of Wildlife Conservation last year completed a set of documents explaining predator management in Alaska. This year, the Board has used some of these materials in an outreach effort aimed at educating and informing people all over the state. AWA, in its complaint to APOC, alleged the Board’s effort was intended to influence next week’s election on Ballot Measure 2. In its ruling Wednesday, APOC found this effort was consistent with ADF&G’s and the Board’s ongoing educational outreach program, and ADF&G intended to inform, but not to sway voters.
Informational materials about ADF&G’s intensive management programs are available online at http://www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=control.main
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