Mar 18 2014
Please keep up the good work and encourage other small miners, your friends, colleagues, etc. to contact the Senate Resources Committee saying I SUPPORT HB77.
HB77 is getting so much negative press because environmental organizations have claimed it eliminates public input and silences Alaskans, will destroy salmon habitat, and more. The hearings were stacked with people opposed to HB 77 who, in most cases, didn’t bother to read the new version of the bill. As one testifier said Friday night, if the anti-development forces are so adamantly against it, it must be a good bill.
HB77 is especially helpful to small miners - it gives DNR authority to issue general permits, put limitations to appeals that can be filed against projects, and requires that only state agencies can hold water reservations, so that environmental organizations cannot blanket an area around a potential project with their intent to reserve water in streams so that others cannot use it.
I know I have already asked and the turnout by our membership was nothing short of amazing. But I'm asking again, because we have got to keep it up. If you haven't already, PLEASE send the following Committee members an email saying you support HB77 and appreciate their efforts on this bill. You can also make phone calls.
Senator Click Bishop (907-465-2327 or 800-336-7383)
Senator Fred Dyson (907-465-2199 or 800-342-2199)
Senator Anna Fairclough (907-465-3777 or 800-861-5688)
Senator Hollis French (907-465-3892 or 866-465-3892)
Senator Cathy Giessel (907-465-4843 or 800-892-4843)
Senator Lesil McGuire (907-465-2995 or 800-365-2995)
Senator Peter Micciche (907-465-2828 or 800-964-5733)
Again, Committee members are being buried with messages of opposition. If we do not voice our messages of support, this Legislation will not pass!
You can keep your comments short and sweet, and just say, "I support HB77." If you would like some information about the bill, below are talking points we put together after our review of the bill.
Misinformation about HB77
At last week's hearings, Legislative Information Offices around the State and in the committee room in Juneau were packed with anti-development groups that claimed this bill silences Alaskans, violates human rights, and more. NOTHING in HB77 does those things.
We are in receipt of emails that were circulated Friday, March 7 encouraging citizens to testify against this “bad bill,” yet the Committee Substitute was first released to the public on Monday, March 10. How could one know if a bill is good or bad without reading it first? If these groups are willing to assume a ball is bad without reading its true details, what are their intentions? It is no wonder that the vast majority of those who testified against HB77 were misinformed about what is in HB77.
HB77 does NOT cut Alaskans out of public process. In fact, it strengthens the ability for the public to participate.
HB77 does not give the DNR Commissioner excessive authority.
HB77 does NOT put salmon or the environment in jeopardy.
HB77 does NOT harm the traditional way of life.
What DOES HB77 do?
HB77 is simply a permitting efficiency measure. The State of Alaska and its permitting agencies have undergone review since 2011 to examine their regulatory processes and determine ways to make them more efficient. These efforts included outreach to stakeholders across Alaska, and ultimately resulted in Legislation that allowed the agencies to implement changes to make permitting in Alaska more efficient, predictable, and timely while maintaining their mission of protecting the environment.
HB77 implements changes that will provide certainty and timely response to Alaskans that obtain permits, while maintaining efficiently run state agencies. In these times of trimming the state budget, ensuring that state agencies are able to efficiently issue and manage permits, thus keeping down the cost and time expended, is crucial.
Thanks to special appropriations by the Legislature, DNR is making positive progress on a substantial permit application backlog. The funding has helped reduce the extent of the backlog, but efficiency measures in HB77 help address the cause of the backlogs moving forward.
HB77 provides for the issuance of general permits, so that minor projects can be permitted practically. Section 1 of HB77 makes it clear there is a requirement for public notice and provides opportunity for public input on any general permit. General permits would cover activities that are already authorized for permit under existing statute. General permits are not unprecedented; in fact, they are used by Federal agencies currently. HB77 requires that appeals to sales, leases, and land disposals can be done only by those who are directly and negatively impacted by the decision. This brings accountability to the appeals process, ensuring that appeals must be brought only when a directly involved stakeholder is adversely affected by a decision, rather than a special interest attempting to block permits.
HB77 ensures that Alaska’s water resources are managed by those who are best equipped to do so: the science-based expertise of our state resource agencies.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
Alaska Miners Association
(907) 270-9234 direct
(907) 563-9229 main
(907) 317-6323 mobile
121 W. Fireweed Lane, Suite 120
Anchorage, AK 99503
Mar 19 2014
Mar 19 2014