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About House Bill 77:
During the 2013 Legislative session, and again in 2014, Alaska House Bill 77 was considered by our Alaska state legislature. HB 77 takes away the rights of the public, tribes and other entities to apply to reserve water within streams in order to maintain sufficient flow. Sufficient flow is necessary for various public interests including transportation, fish and wildlife protections, and water quality. The bill erodes important standards in the state’s regulatory process and changes the law in several ways that limit the public’s ability to meaningfully participate. HB 77 diminishes existing practices in DNR's process and lessens the public’s ability to insure protections for fish and game.
The most concerning provisions of HB 77 include: (1) eliminating individuals’ and organizations’ ability to apply for and secure instream reservations of water ; (2) removing a mandatory notice and comment period for preliminary Best Interest Findings; and (3) limiting who can participate in the administrative process to challenge flawed decisions by government officials.
House Bill 77 Update:
After an overwhelming response for the Alaskan public, both at public forums throughout the summer of 2013 and during testimony during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, HB77 was killed in committee and will not go to a vote in 2014. It is likely that similar legislation will be introduced next year. Please keep checking back for updates.
Media Coverage of House Bill 77: