Last week the Senate Resources Committee heard testimony from Alaskans all over the State overwhelmingly against passage of Governor Parnell’s HB77. This bill purports to “streamline” the permitting process by giving the DNR commissioner, a political appointee who serves the whims of the governor, almost unilateral power to approve permits impacting our waterways, fisheries, etc. There were a few who spoke in favor of this bill, many from the Resource Development Council, a group funded largely by corporations based outside Alaska, or even the U.S.
Senator Giessel seemed most appreciative of comments directed at specific lines of the bill. This presumes however that this bill can be “tweaked” into something Alaskans would want. To the contrary, the entire premise of the bill is an affront to Alaskans…that a political appointee with no educational background in hydrology, fisheries management, wildlife management, etc…should have the power to parcel out our water/land resources with minimal notice or involvement by Alaskans.
Senator Micciche heard almost unilateral opposition to this bill during his meetings on the Peninsula, yet now feels “inclined to support it.” The legislative body took an oath to serve Alaskans, yet still they advance this bill. It is a sad commentary on the integrity of our elected officials when Alaskans speak out to this extent…and are marginalized. HB77 simply needs to be tabled indefinitely.