Climate change, Uber and its impacts on Bethel's taxi companies, and co-management of fisheries on the Kuskokwim were among the topics on Friday's call-in talk show with Senator Lyman Hoffman on KYUK.
Senator Hoffman said he would support legislation similar to the House’s bill to create a statewide commission on climate change.
“Yes, I think, depending on how broad it is and depending on how much it might plan to expend, I would support that endeavor,” he told listeners.
The commission proposed by the House would work with the governor to develop a statewide climate strategy, potentially covering anything from relocating villages to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Hoffman noted that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has communities like Newtok facing coastal erosion. He said that the Legislature needs to look at why changes like thawing permafrost are occurring. Future action could mean making companies that are contributing to climate change more responsible.
“Because it is really costly," Sen. Hoffman said.
Hoffman stopped short of saying companies should contribute to relocation costs for eroding communities like Newtok.
Also during the show, Hoffman said he didn’t know how, or if, the bill the Senate recently passed to legalize ride sharing businesses like Uber and Lyft in Alaska would affect Bethel’s taxi industry.
“It all depends on who’s out there in rural Alaska that might want to put up the money and get their own car and go through the process,” he said.
When asked if the Legislature would step in to help create a co-management plan between the feds, the state, and the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission, Hoffman said it was better if the Legislature stayed out of it.
“I think it’s something the region and the people up and down the Kuskokwim should continue to push and try to dissolve any conflicts among themselves,” Hoffman said.
Lastly, Hoffman expressed his commitment to supporting public broadcasting.
“As chairman of the operating budget, I’m going to put a committee substitute in front of the Senate Finance Committee, possibly next week or the following week, that restores all the funds that public broadcasting and that public radio had in the budget that the Governor submitted.”
Representative Zach Fansler will take calls from KYUK's listeners next week about issues and bills surfacing in the Legislature.