Permitting should be thorough, fair, transparent

I supported Peter Micciche when he ran for Soldotna mayor in 2008 and when he ran for state senate. When Senator Micciche ran for mayor he said one of the reasons he was running was because of a controversial permitting issue. After some apartments in Soldotna were built without public input, then-Mayor Micciche voiced his concern that the permitting process was not thorough enough.

Now, we face a similar issue with House Bill 77, a bill that makes the permitting process for various “activities” less thorough. It allows the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to issue Water Use Permits for “significant” amounts of water without providing public notice or comment periods. And it gives the state complete discretion whether or not to process water reservations that would keep water in our salmon streams. Senator Micciche was right to be concerned about the apartment complex six years ago, and he’s right to be pushing back on HB77. Our permitting process should be thorough, fair, and inclusive with public input. If HB77 does not achieve those ends, let’s make a bill that does.

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