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Thread: "Streamlining"... got to watch for that term alright...

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default "Streamlining"... got to watch for that term alright...

    From Trout Unlimited: "HB 77 Undermines Fishing & Hunting".

    Sounded worth checking out. Reading through the language in the house bill (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/g...ber=H&jrn=0072), I take it the term "streamlining" refers to a new way to exclude individuals who might have a vested interest or concern which differs from the State's interest?
    That seems to be what Rep Seaton is alluding to (http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-...ing-in-Juneau/) in this excerpt:
    • Gives the commissioner authority to issue more than one water-use permit for a project and more flexibility in issuing the permits.
    • Reserves the rights to apply for in-stream water flow reservations to agencies and municipalities, and eliminates the ability of private or non-government entities to apply for the water reservations.
    • Reserves the right to file appeals of state Best Interest Findings to those who have an interest or will be harmed by a proposed action, and to file other types of appeals.
    The water reservation exclusion of private parties has caused the most criticism of the bills to date. One of the two successful amendments in the House Resources Committee, offered by Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, gives 35 people with pending water reservation applications one year from the bill’s passage to pick a qualified entity to continue their request. Several of the pending applications could impact plans for development of the Pebble mine project.
    Seaton warned that bill could also prompt new “extended jurisdiction” claims by federal agencies in response to Native tribes seeking protection of subsistence resources.
    Seaton said not allowing Native organizations to apply for water reservations to protect subsistence fisheries could force them to seek the same protection under more favorable federal laws.
    “The State of Alaska would almost be requesting federal overreach in areas where we currently manage waters for the state,” Seaton warned.

    Read more: http://www.alaskajournal.com/Alaska-...#ixzz2PM4TEE17

    Thanks.

    Public comment on HB 77: Opportunity for Anchorage public comment tomorrow, Wed, April 3rd from 9AM

    (907) 269-0111
    716 W 4th Avenue, Suite 200
    Fax: (907) 269-0229
    Anchorage, AK 99501-2133
    TDD: (907) 269-0260

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    From Nelli Williams/TU: "...The Senate Finance Committee has changed the time for public testimony to 1:30 pm (with possibly additional testimony taken at 6pm). Thanks to those of you who have already weighed in".

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    AK BHA has been opposing this bill. The recent AK Supreme Court decision as it relates to state Best Interest Findings...we thought that may impact the outcome of this, but the state is saying it won't. This is possibly the worst I've ever seen our legislature as far as pushing through things that could well have vast long term negative consequences for habitat. Very sad to see.

    HB 77/SB 26 deals mostly with permit streamlining and water rights/reservations issues; it would remove public notice requirements and comment periods, greatly limit appeals, as well as essentially hand over all inriver water reservations to corporate interests.

    We don’t oppose it because we oppose development per se; we strongly oppose it because we firmly believe that development projects need to be properly vetted and considered, under existing guidelines, which have already been watered down over the last few administrations.

    Thanks for posting on this Leech.

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    Seems like it would offer less opportunity for environmentalists to obstruct development as usual. How 'bout building a road? New pipeline? A dam? Too much red tape and far too many approvals needs to get a project off the ground. Streamlining permitting might get an infrastructure project build for the first time in nearly 40 years! However Rep. Seaton's quote is scary considering dual management and all: (from 6x's article)
    "Seaton warned that bill could also prompt new “extended jurisdiction” claims by federal agencies in response to Native tribes seeking protection of subsistence resources."

    Tim

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    Default Sobering...

    Just offering feedback from the session today. I attended as an interested private citizen, recreational fisherman and hunter who appreciates Alaska's habitat and understands the critical role of a pristine water supply. I also attended as a private citizen in an effort to learn more, figuring that to some degree, I probably had misunderstood what the bill appears to say, and also appears to ignore. What I learned was sobering for me.

    First what happened: I was there from near 2:00 to about 3:30. At today's public commentary, voices from Anchorage, MatSu, Kenai, Homer, Bethel, Dillingham and Cordova were heard. One individual, spokesperson for the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, agreed with some, but not all provisions of HB77. Every single other public comment opposed HB 77. Many spoke as commercial or subsistence fishermen, there were a few small business owners, guides or lodge owners for instance. There was at least one scientist. Among the comments they made were references to their years of experience making a living on Alaskan waters. Several expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the bill and the legislature’s abrogation of their obligation to protect the State’s natural resources. Several citizens felt the need to inform the Senate Finance Committee that salmon actually require clean water. For me, the discussion is broader because all the animals in our ecosystems rely on pristine habitat, which depends on clean, plentiful water. Anyway, the things that surprised me:

    1. HB 77 really does aim to limit the input of private citizens in the process. Last night, I thought that the bill couldn’t really mean that, but it does as the Alaskans that I heard speak to the Senate Finance Committee today made very clear in their well-prepared, polite but firm and repeated statements.
    2. The opportunity to hear public concerns was limited: this session was on a Wednesday afternoon. Yet public commentary was chock full of voices… lives really with years invested on the state’s waters. I couldn’t help but wonder what the session would have been like if more outdoorsmen and women had more time, more notice about the session and better opportunities to attend in-person; like several days for public comments including some weekend days. From what I heard today, HB 77 would also undermine a 5-year process of collecting data required before certain small groups or individuals can apply for in-stream flow reservations, a 5-year process which was required by the state when those groups/individuals initially wanted to apply.
    3. Simply put, part of me wondered when I left, if these guys know what they’re dealing with? This was my first contact with the legislature, but it was a unnerving in a way. You don’t want to be too blunt in a first encounter with so formal a group and no doubt there’s plenty I don’t know, but as protectors of the public good and our state’s resources, I figured people behind this bill would know what they are doing, at least some of them. That the complexity and enormous scale of Alaska’s pristine habitat and the wildlife it supports, would be part of all their backgrounds. Maybe it is, but with Citizens United not too far in the back of my mind, and as the public comments accumulated, most of the concerns were similar and it wasn’t like anybody should be surprised what commercial or subsistence fishermen might be concerned about in this bill. By and by, I began to wonder if some or most of the “professionals” in our state government who let a bill get this far knew what they were doing. I think there are states elsewhere trying to build a fishery and habitat as sustainable as what we have. We’re positioned to be experts to some degree, but I sure didn’t leave with any confidence these guys appreciate what we have here.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    It looks to me that if section 40 is not thrown out it will have little Chance to pass,fingers crossed. I hate that some elected members want to wreck the state Constitution.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Default HB77… Are you kidding me?

    When you first read this bill, which has now passed the Senate Finance Committee, it seems to say Alaskan voices would be excluded future decisions regarding water rights. I figured that couldn't be right, but at last week's Senate Finance Committee hearing, at which no voice (NONE), wholeheartedly supported the bill, I learned that actually… this bill seeks to do exactly that; to exclude the voices of individual and small private groups of Alaskans from applying for water rights in the State. One private citizen asked specifically what would be the status of a pending private application if HB77 passes. The response from our legislators was that private application from a small group of Alaskans would need to find a participating agency to sponsor their application in order to have a voice.

    I hope that you will at least read the language of the bill: (http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/g...ber=H&jrn=0072). All of us who enjoy the outdoors in this great state, and particularly those who depend on the healthy streams and the healthy habitat that supports our wildlife, have an opportunity to inform ourselves and maybe have one (last?) say in what happens.

    HB77 has passed the committee. Update from Trout Unlimited:

    Forty-one Alaskans spoke up and told the Senate Finance committee last Wednesday to stop legislation that ends critical fish protections and streamlines Alaskans out of the public process. Unfortunately, the committee chose to approve the bill.
    Now the Senate is the only thing stopping this bill from becoming law. A hearing is scheduled for today! Many Senators are saying they have major concerns but they need to hear from you. Lawmakers listen closely to their constituents and telling your Senator that you oppose HB 77 can make the difference.
    Send an email to your Senator asking them to vote NO on HB 77. Find your senator's email address here: http://senate.legis.state.ak.us/
    Sample email language
    Sen. __________:
    Last week over 40 Alaskans testified against HB 77 saying it stops Alaskans from protecting fish habitat and streamlines regular citizens out of the public process. I agree and urge you to vote ‘No’ on HB 77. Alaskans who are willing to use their time and money to protect salmon habitat, often when the government agencies don’t protect the resources, should be supported and encouraged rather blocked. Thanks for your consideration.
    What does HB 77 do?
    · Stops Alaskans’ from applying to keep enough water in creeks, rivers and streams to keep our salmon healthy
    · Makes it more difficult for Alaskans to speak out and work with state officials to decide how our shared resources on public lands are used
    · Attacks Alaskans’ right to have a day in court by playing games with who is and isn’t allowed to challenge flawed agency decisions

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    Default Voices for Alaskans... speak... privately, I guess.

    Amazing news and "The People's Business", Sunday ADN. I am not making this stuff up guys...

    The amazing story of Pat Farrell and Caroline Van Hemert ("Extreme Trekkers") in Sunday's AND was continued on page B4 (4/14/2013). What a trip; four thousand miles from Bellingham to Kotzebue. Just the logistics were fascinating, but making the trip in 6 months... amazing.

    After finishing the story, something else caught my eye in the text just above "Trekkers" .. in a section I seldom notice, Alaska Ear. It was about HB77. Here's what it said:

    "THE PEOPLE'S BUSINESS...Comment overheard in a Capitol hall during a conversation between two legislators about a flood of emails and phone calls opposing HB 77, which rolls back protection for fish streams: 'None of that stuff bothers me,' one said. 'I actually laugh at it'".

    Verbatim. Maybe I ... we all are just misunderstanding this. And foolish of course to believe all we read in the papers. Probably Alaskans, the land they treasure and the habitat which produces so much quality in our lives, a gift as I've heard said from our ancestors to our grandchildren... are all in good hands. . "...None of that stuff bothers me. I actually laugh at it'".

    Just give the bill a read... soon. Tell me, post it here, that it does not say this: Alaskans, private citizens and groups of private citizens, who now have a voice in the allocation of state water resources, will in the future (under HB77 if passed) only have a voice through some state-approved agency or corporation.

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    Default HB 77 did not pass this session

    http://www.newsminer.com/news/politi...a4bcf6878.html

    From the end of the article: "HB77 won't die; it will simply hold over until next year."

    Uh-huh. And I sure hope the opposition to it is even stronger. Thank you to those who called or wrote our legislators and opposed this.


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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Yep............. Will holding it over make it premeditated rape if it goes through
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Default Worth a read...

    HB77 still alive sounds like. These excerpts from today's ADN. The article and HB77 are worth reading.

    Bill easing permitting, water rules stalled but may return
    Published: May 6, 2013
    By RICHARD MAUER — rmauer@adn.com

    A bill that critics say would grant unprecedented power to the administration to approve development projects on state land and curtail public involvement made it nearly all the way through a Legislature distracted by oil taxes and other big issues.

    Then it hit a wall on the eve of a vote in the Senate.

    Over the final four days of the session, House Bill 77 was held, delayed, and moved to the next day's calendar at least twice as Senate leaders who counted votes kept coming up short for passage.

    Finally, on April 14, the last day of the Legislature, the bill was dumped in the Rules Committee, the committee of last resort for legislation with intractable problems. It will spend the summer and fall in that limbo, a major setback for an administration determined to promote development on state land "to provide the economic means for Alaskans to sustain themselves," as Gov. Sean Parnell said when he sent the bill to the Legislature in January.

    Administration officials said last month they expect to revive the measure when the Legislature returns in January...

    ...In the last few weeks of the session, former Republican Senate president Rick Halford emerged as a force against the bill. Wielechowski said it was Halford who pointed out the section of the bill that gave broad powers to the DNR commissioner to issue so-called "general" permits -- which don't require either application or public notice to use.

    "It is a very extensive pice of legislation, both in drafting style and in substantive sections," Halford said last week in a phone interview from his home near Dillingham, where he is now a guide -- and an opponent of the Pebble project. "It deals with open court cases and it has the potential to change the balance of a lot of compromises and issues that have gone back and forth over the last 20 or 30 years. Anytime you're reducing notice, reducing opportunity to be heard, reducing the rights to appeal, people are concerned."

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    Default House Bill 77: from Anchorage Daily News Editorial, 13Dec13...

    Along with kudos to Kenai Penninsula Sen. Peter Micciche, today's ADN "Our View" editorial, "House Bill 77" closes with the excerpt below:

    "This isn't streamlining. This is an invitation to abuse, and a legal means to first keep Alaskans in the dark, then sharply curtail their right to appeal decisions if and when they learn about them. This is not how a representative democracy works. Nor is this wise management of Alaska's natural resources.

    A more efficient, fair permitting system serves everybody. But that permitting system should operate in the open where Alaskans can see what's proposed and what's at risk -- and have a say in the decision-making process.

    As Sen. Micciche said, he ran for office backing speedier, streamlined permitting for development projects. He's no obstructionist. But as he also said, he did not run for office with the intent of cutting his constituents out of natural resources decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods.

    That's what House Bill 77 does. This is bad law that guts the democratic process.

    Take redundancy and waste out of the permitting process? That's good government. Take Alaskans out of the permitting process? That's special-interest government. Unless there's a major overhaul, HB 77 should never see the Senate floor. Just the shredder.

    BOTTOM LINE: Sen. Micciche listens to his constituents, and they're right about House Bill 77".

    That’s the quote. Read the full piece here: http://www.adn.com/2013/12/12/322745...#storylink=cpy. Today’s print version is simply titled: “House Bill 77. Without a major overhaul, deep-six this measure”

    Whose lives depend on clean water anyway? Or the healthy fish and the biosystems that thrive around them? This seems a separate topic/discussion really, but at the public comment forums, two things were striking to me: 1). how wide the swath of Alaskans; private recreational, sportsmen-women, subsistence and small business Alaskans was who expressed their concerns about the potential harms of this bill to the habitat they value and depend on and 2). Hunters? Underrepresented maybe; none at the session I attended. Do hunters have a dog in this hunt? Yes and many agree (http://www.nssf.org/hunting/orgs.cfm, http://www.rmef.org/Conservation/Hun...servation.aspx, http://biggame.org/who-we-are/our-mission/, http://www.fws.gov/hunting/, http://www.conservationforce.org/role.html, http://www.huntexpo.com/). Whatever the fate of HB77, the interests/issues will remain.

    HB77: takers versus caretakers? Where I grew up and/or fished/hunted before Alaska, the problem with drinking the water usually boiled down (or filtered out?) to concern about activities (known/unknown) that occurred upstream. I still cannot imagine the circumstances that would make drinking Neuse River (North Carolina) water seem like a good idea! In the years since, I notice what’s happening in the Lower-48 as population swell and often dwindling outdoor resources collide. But outdoorsmen sometimes too divided by differences to find a common voice, seemed to come together in public comments against HB77. At a time where we in Alaska enjoy so much unspoiled habitat, the discussion over HB77 seemed to divide between the takers versus the caretakers, with most public comments reflecting concerns about the future health of those biosystems. Who can say... maybe there's hope for a better outcome here?

  14. #14

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    The bill deals with allowing only governmental agencies the power to make reserved water rights? News Flash folks, they are the only ones that can now, and the only ones with any reason to. Removing in law the ability for any small group of people can loosely organize and control use of the public land via "water rights". Give the authority to the government or to a choir of "Friends of XXX" groups? Sorry, going with the government on this one. No one is losing anything they have now.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    The bill deals with allowing only governmental agencies the power to make reserved water rights? News Flash folks, they are the only ones that can now, and the only ones with any reason to. Removing in law the ability for any small group of people can loosely organize and control use of the public land via "water rights". Give the authority to the government or to a choir of "Friends of XXX" groups? Sorry, going with the government on this one. No one is losing anything they have now.
    Mike
    As i understand it, HB77 gives the Commisioner of DNR aurthority (which i think can be delegated) to unilaterally issue water rights. The public is losing the liberty to comment on how they may be affected by this kind of decision-A liberty that they have now.

    In my mind the commisioner of DNR is a state employee and an adminstrator. They are not necessarily a public trustee of state resources, and shouldn't necessarily have this power. There are a lot of good reasons why a person would want comment on water rights issues, especially people who realy on the habitat as pointed out in this thread. i'm not sure if its addressed in the Bill, but water rights on navigable rivers need to be particularly vetted becasue they play an important role in this state.

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    Correct. Water is always considered a public resource. As such, government agencies have the authority to decide who gets how much and when. That authority is granted to them by the State legislature, usually under specific terms and limitations. However, since water is a public resource, the public also has the right to know how that resource is being allocated, and they normally have the right to provide comments on the decisions being made, before those decisions are final. I won't comment on the pending legislation since the fate of the bill will be decided by the good people of the State of Alaska (of which I am not), but the right to know how public resources are being allocated seems to be a very important concept, regardless of where you live.

    In my view, the public's right to know, and comment on, how their government is operating is a founding principle of democracy. And it's particularly important when a government agency is deciding how to allocate public resources that belong to everyone in the State.



    .

  17. #17

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    The bill doesn't remove public input either, in fact - it is to be improved. Their notification process should be improved!
    Mike
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    Default "No one is losing anything they have now... the only ones with any reason to"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    The bill deals with allowing only governmental agencies the power to make reserved water rights? News Flash folks, they are the only ones that can now, and the only ones with any reason to. Removing in law the ability for any small group of people can loosely organize and control use of the public land via "water rights". Give the authority to the government or to a choir of "Friends of XXX" groups? Sorry, going with the government on this one. No one is losing anything they have now.
    Mike
    Hey, MIke. Saw your comment. Thanks for posting. Could you explain? "... the only ones with any reason to"?... "No one is losing anything they have now"?

    Are you saying that we misunderstand the purposes of this bill? You could be right, but what do you think the bill is intended to do?What do you think is meant by the term "streamlining" as it applies to this bill? Also, when you say, "...and the only ones with any reason to" - are you saying there's no point for anyone except authorized agencies to claim in-stream reservations, that applications by Alaskan individuals/groups don't matter? Lot of questions, man.

    As I understand it, Alaskans, the commercial fishermen, lodge owners, recreational/sport fishermen and the conservation-minded showing up at public hearings, express concern especially about Sec. 40, which limits in-stream water reservations to specific entities: the State, an agency or a political subdivision of the state, or appointed agencies "... to reserve sufficient water to maintain a specified instream flow or level of water at a specified point on a stream or body of water, or an a specified part of a stream, throughout a year or for specified times, for
    (1) protection of fish and wildlife habitat, migration, and propogation;
    (2) recreation and park purposes;
    (3) navigation and transportation purposes; and
    (4) sanitary and water quality purposes.

    Alaskans; either individuals or groups, who can apply for in-stream water reservation now, would under HB77 have to apply through a sponsor, one of those authorized agencies. Individual applications would no longer be allowed. Pending applications from individuals or groups would no longer be processed. DNR would have clear authority to issue General Permits for upstream projects without a requirement for public hearings or comments.

    One source I ran across summarized the most concerning provisions of HB 77:
    (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
    (3) limiting who can participate in the administrative process to challenge flawed decisions by government officials.

    A lot of folks seem to disagree that, "No one is losing anything they have now".
    I searched for a different perspective, maybe who was supporting HB77 and why, but it looks like Alaskans are not overwhelmingly behind HB77 . I didn't find any reference to support by Alaskans. I did find a bunch of references (below) to folks stirred up
    and maybe wouldn't agree with what-me-worry (""No one is losing anything they have now"). What do you think? Thanks.

    http://kdlg.org/post/house-bill-77-s...session-juneau
    http://kdlg.org/post/city-dillingham...-rights-debate
    http://www.alaskapublic.org/2013/12/...hb77-concerns/
    http://ktna.org/2013/11/21/dnr-cance...house-bill-77/
    http://juneauempire.com/letters/2013...s#.UrbsuVpvzcs
    http://peninsulaclarion.com/opinion/...ment-overreach
    http://seacc.org/strong-communities/...he-legislature
    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/articl...local-alaskans
    http://homertribune.com/2013/04/deat...ative-session/
    http://homernews.com/homer-opinion/p...g-alaskans-act
    http://fishanddemocracy.com/billslis...ng-initiative/
    http://www.standforsalmon.org/
    http://www.renewableresourcescoaliti...on-center/hb77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    The bill doesn't remove public input either, in fact - it is to be improved. Their notification process should be improved!
    Mike
    OK. You could be right. The issue is bigger than that though. Whether we agree isn't the point as much as trying to help each other understand the facts fully - then make up our own minds. So, if you can shed some light on this, where in HB77 is the language that makes you think these two things?

    Thanks.

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    HB 77 version H is back and almost as bad as ever. The new language came out from DNR on Monday, and then today was being heard in committee. I never even could find the actual thing to read it. I had to go on a Dispatch article, a small handout at the testimony, memory of the prior versions, and not much else. A two minute intro from the Honorable chairperson on what the alterations were, and then moved into testimony. There was a whopping 90 minutes of public testimony from various hubs around the state while the senators were in Juneau.

    Almost all testimony was against HB77, with one company (a goldmining company from fairbanks area) being for. I'd guess there was time for about 40 total public statements of two minutes each (maximum time not everyone took that long, but most did and were cut off.). In Anchorage there were about 45 people. I'd say there were some who were for it, and that was about 10 people. They all seemed to know each other.

    Everyone else was against this Bill. In Cordova, Fairbanks, Homer, Kenai, Mat/Su, Kodiak, and a couple other hubs.....everyone was against it. It is overwhelmingly not wanted. However, I got the idea the committee could care less.

    If you care about this I'd get a hold of your senator. This could be voted in really soon. We had to stop public testimony at 5, and I have no idea what is going on as far as it coming out of committee. Parnell is easily the worst governor this state has ever seen.......I'm not sure how or to who he'll sell us out to next. If the senate goes along with this it will be a disgrace.

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