I’m writing to set the record straight on Sen. Peter Micciche’s role in the defeat of House Bill 77 during the last legislative session. Simply put, without his efforts — including calling for a series of critically important listening sessions in Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula communities — we would likely be suffering the first impacts of a bill that would have stripped away safeguards for waters and salmon, while also effectively eliminating public oversight of what happens to our lands and waters.
Unfortunately, recent articles and comments reflect a profound misunderstanding of the Senator’s role in preventing passage of HB 77. First of all, Sen. Micciche did not vote for HB77. Second, he brought the issue out of the fog of Juneau and into the public consciousness with his series of public meetings; dramatically improving the quality and quantity of information available about the bill and giving the public a much needed chance to make their opinions known.
While my organization simply preferred to see the bill go away, political reality called for leadership and someone willing to work for a tough compromise since the bill had already sailed to passage in the State House. Sen. Micciche attempted to forge an agreement for what, most would agree, a better bill. But the Parnell administration refused to budge. Clearly, the light the Senator helped shine on this issue and the heat applied by concerned citizens are big reasons why HB 77 is not yet the law of land.