Salmon, water, and the Alaskans who depend on them need your help!
[dropcap]Background:[/dropcap] Right now, the Alaska State Senate is debating whether or not they should make it more difficult for Alaskans to protect the water in their backyards for salmon habitat. HB77, the In-Stream Water Reservations Bill, would convolute an already convoluted public process, eliminating the requirement for public comment periods. It would also give the Department of Natural Resources Commissioner the authority to issue General Permits for industrial operations if the commissioner determines the project will not cause "significant or irreparable harm" to Alaskans and issue permits that would directly and negatively impact salmon habitat if the commissioner determines it is in the "best interest of Alaska."
As a reminder, the Department of Natural Resources no longer values future generations—they eliminated "future generations" from their mission statement last year.
Additionally, HB77 intends to revoke certain rights from Alaskan individuals, organizations, and tribes, and gives the government of Alaska authority on whether or not salmon and water are as important as industrial development. In other words, this bill protects Outside interests at the expense of local Alaskans. For an example of DNR siding against Alaskans in favor of Outside interests, and why this bill is relevant to all Alaskans, click here.
- Alaskans need more opportunities to preserve salmon and our unique way of life, not fewer
- HB77 protects the right for Outside interests to take water out of salmon streams while making it more difficult for Alaskans to keep water in salmon streams
- The bill gives DNR discretion to negatively impact salmon habitat if it is in the "Best Interest" of the State of Alaska
- It eliminates the requirement for DNR to open public comment periods on "Best Interest Findings"
- 95% of public testimony opposed HB77, including fishing organizations, Alaska Native Tribal councils, city councils, fishermen, hunters, and every day residents
Alaska's fish and water need you to stand up and take action immediately. There are two ways you can help: You can write a My Turn in the Juneau Empire, or you can contact the Alaska State Senate Coastal Caucus and let them know you oppose HB77, a bill that revokes certain rights from Alaskans, eliminates the requirement for public comment periods at DNR, and gives DNR discretion to impact salmon habitat for the benefit of Outside companies.