After reading HB 77 and other material regarding HB 77, I believe that this bill is a severe infringement on our democracy, the democratic process, and the due process of law for the people of Alaska.
Members of the armed forces are serving in Afghanistan today, and thousands of men and women have served our country in past wars and given their lives fighting for our freedom and democratic way of life. HB 77 is a contradiction to their sacrifice. It deprives individual citizens of their right to question the actions of the government by limiting public meetings and public input, and by placing decision-making into the hands of one person — the Commissioner of Natural Resources.
Yes, there should be resource development, but not without the input and safeguards that the people of Alaska can bring to the table for discussion. Many times, individuals at the local level are more attuned to their environments and the needs of their surroundings than administrators sitting in Anchorage or Juneau.
I strongly encourage all legislators and administrators to look very seriously at HB 77 and to either veto or make drastic amends to HB 77 whereby the people of Alaska have more voice in the decision-making process; safeguards are put in place to protect the environment and the fisheries; the power of decision-making is not in the hands of just one person; and the laws currently on the books should stay on the books and not be overridden by HB 77.