HB 77 a danger to fisheries

Protecting Alaska’s and the world’s greatest salmon and trout streams binds Alaskans together, whether we commercial, sport or subsistence fish. The Governor’s bill to allow millions of gallons of water to be taken out of our best fishing waters, HB 77, is finally getting deserved attention.

The bill leaves the Governor’s Natural Resources Commissioner to decide to take unsustainable amounts of water out of fishing streams in favor of a new class of dangerous mines like the Pebble strip mine, and the Canadian Chuitna Mine which would dredge 11 miles of salmon stream they say they’ll “replace” in 30 years.

I, my Democratic Caucus, and a handful of Republicans like Paul Seaton and Alan Austerman voted against the bill, but were outnumbered by the Governor’s allies.

We proposed rules requiring needed amounts of water to be left in our fishing waters. Other measures are also needed before the Senate acts. The Governor’s allies have already allowed more cruise ship waste to be dumped in fishing waters. HB 77 adds more damage to our fisheries and economy.

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