House passes Parnell permitting bill

Mar 05, 2013 -- 10:05am

 

- JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska House has passed a measure that critics say could hurt the public's ability to participate in permitting decisions. Monday night's 23-14 vote followed debate on water rights and whether Native entities should be allowed to apply for water reservations, along with federal or state agencies and political subdivisions. HB77, from Governor Sean Parnell, is aimed at improving the permitting process in Alaska. The measure is extensive, dealing with issues such as land exchanges and permitting procedures. The more controversial provisions include limiting administrative appeals to those "substantially and adversely affected" by a decision, who "meaningfully participated" in the public comment process. It would remove the ability of individuals or groups to apply for water reservations, to maintain or protect certain water levels for purposes like fish habitat protection.

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