Leg with Louie: Tell the House to Trust Alaskans

This is a blog, and it is an action alert. Your help is needed ASAP, so please click the action link.

The House Resources Committee will take up amendments to HB 138 on Monday. This legislation, sponsored by Representative Chuck Kopp, will make it impossible for Alaskans to protect waters of high ecological value as Tier III waters under the Clean Water Act. Right now, federal law requires states to craft a process for citizens to nominate pristine high value (fish spawning, culturally critical, etc.) top Tier or Tier III waters for protection from pollution. The Alaska State legislature is conducting a sleight of hand in response that may leave you with nothing.

The House Resources Committee is hearing, and could likely pass a version of HB 138 which proposes that all nominations of high-value water be submitted to a politically appointed advisory board, then to the Governor, then from the Governor to the Legislature in the form of a bill, through the chutes and ladders of numerous committees and past mining industry lobbyists, then from the Legislature back to the Governor who can then veto the bill. Good luck getting your high-value fishing stream protected in that scenario, buddy. It is as though the House does not trust Alaskans to make the right decisions regarding water protections, and is setting as many traps as they can to stop them from doing so.

The attorneys paid to provide advice to the Legislature have told them directly that the Department of Environmental Conservation can make these protections, to which the Legislature has already delegated broad authority to protect and manage Alaska Waters. A simple and clear process for Alaskans to use to defend exceptional waters can be created in regulation – without the legislative process.

The House Resources Committee could as soon as Monday roll over to the mining industry lobby and create a process so absurdly onerous that it is a process in appearance only, and not even really in appearance. HB 138 needs to be shelved. It is not well-intentioned.

Montana and Idaho, two states with similarities to Alaska, both created Tier III processes in the 1990s almost exactly like what is proposed under HB 138 – nominations go to a board, the board recommends and sends on to the Legislature. Guess how many citizen nominated waters have been protected in Montana and Idaho – zero.

Alaska has a chance to get it right. We can create a process that will satisfy the Clean Water Act requirement allowing citizens to nominate water for protection, and we can make it simple, science-based, and achievable. Tell the House to reject the HB 138 approach, which has been proven time and again to leave high-value water without means of adequate protection.

It is wise to jealously guard your ability as a citizen to protect the water of Alaska. If you don’t guard it, you may lose it. Use it or lose it! Take action today >>

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Hearings to watch

Monday, February 24th

9:00 a.m. (S)RAILBELT ELECTRIC SYSTEM Special Committee*
SB 123 ELECTRIC RELIABILITY ORGANIZATIONS
— Public Testimony —

1:00 p.m. (H)RESOURCES
HB 138 NATIONAL RESOURCE WATER DESIGNATION
— Testimony <Invitation Only> –

3:30 p.m. (S)RESOURCES
SB 171 INDUSTRIAL HEMP PROGRAM; MANUFACTURING

SB 150 INTENSIVE MGMT SURCHARGE/REPEAL TERM DATE
— Public Testimony —

SB 145REGISTRATION OF BOATS: EXEMPTION
— Public Testimony —

SB 161 GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES
— Public Testimony —

Tuesday, February 25th

8:00 a.m. (H)COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
Presentation: “The Community Services Fund; A Concept” by Nils Andraessen, Exec. Dir., Alaska Municipal League

8:00 a.m. (H)TRIBAL AFFAIRS Special Committee*
Presentation: Indian Self Determination Act
— Testimony <Invitation Only> –

9:00 a.m. (H)LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL Joint Committee*
— Teleconference <Listen Only> —

Oil & Gas Initiative Hearing per AS 24.05.186 by Cori Mills, Dept. of Law, Megan Wallace & Emily Nauman, Legislative Legal, Dept. of Revenue

10:15 a.m. (H)ENERGY Special Committee*
HB 151 ELECTRIC RELIABILITY ORGANIZATIONS
— Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> —

11:00 a.m. (H)FISHERIES Special Committee*
HB 199 FISHERIES REHABILITATION PERMITS
— Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> —

Consideration of Governor’s Appointees:
– Board of Fisheries
– Fishermen’s Fund Advisory & Appeals Council
— Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> —

12:00 p.m. (H)MISCELLANEOUS MEETING
Lunch & Learn: “To Keep as One,” A film screening of one family’s story of the Newtok relocation followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers & representatives of the Newtok Village Council. Sponsored by Rep. Zulkosky

1:00 p.m. (H)TRANSPORTATION HB 253 SALE, TRANSFER, OR DISPOSAL OF FERRIES
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

3:00 p.m. (H)STATE AFFAIRS
HB 239 ESTABLISH STATE LOTTERY BOARD/LOTTERIES
— Public Testimony —

HB 190 PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCES
SB 80 INITIATIVE SEVERABILITY

3:30 p.m. (S)STATE AFFAIRS SJR 14 CONST. AM: VOTES NEEDED FOR VETO OVERRIDE
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

HB 56 ESTABLISH HMONG-AMERICAN VETERANS DAY
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-

SB 101 MARCH 12: ASHLEY JOHNSON-BARR DAY
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-

HB 109 MILITARY CHILDREN SCHOOL RESIDENCY WAIVER
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-

SJR 18 WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony

5:30 p.m. (S)ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION Finance SubCommittee*
Department of Environmental Conservation Budget Overview
— Testimony <Invitation Only> –

Wednesday, February 26
9:00 a.m. (S)RAILBELT ELECTRIC SYSTEM Special Committee*

SB 123 ELECTRIC RELIABILITY ORGANIZATIONS
— Public Testimony –

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn:Overview of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center’s research & its impact on the lives of Alaskans over the past 20 years by Bruno C. Grunau, President, Jack Hebert, CEO Sponsored by Rep. Edgmon & Sen. Bishop

1:00 p.m. (H)RESOURCES

Presentation: Analysis of “Fair Share Act” Initiative by Rich & Christina Ruggiero, IN3NERGY

3:15 p.m. (H)LABOR & COMMERCE

HB 27 REGULATION OF FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

HB 84 WORKERS’ COMP: POLICE, FIRE, EMT, PARAMED
— Public Testimony —

HB 232 MUNICIPAL TAX CREDITS
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

HB 166 TELEPHONE COOPERATIVES;TELECOMMUNICATIONS
— Public Testimony —

5:00 p.m. (H)RESOURCES

Joint with Senate RES
Overview: BP/Hilcorp Transaction

Thursday, February 27th

8:00 a.m. (H)COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

HB 221 STATE RECOGNITION OF TRIBES

HB 193 SECOND VERSE OF ALASKA’S STATE SONG

8:00 a.m. (H)TRIBAL AFFAIRS Special Committee*

Presentation: Equity in Rural Alaska– Testimony <Invitation Only> —

10:15 a.m. (H)ENERGY Special Committee*

Presentation: Petroleum Fiscal Regime Planning Scenarios by Rich & Christina Ruggiero, IN3NERGY

3:00 p.m. (S)NATURAL RESOURCES Finance SubCommittee*

FY21 Agency Budget: “Wildfires”
– 2019 Wildfire Season
– 2020 Wildfire Cost Estimate
– How to Prevent Future Costs Associated with Wildfires
– How Firefighting Efforts are Funded
– Fire Suppression Preparedness vs Fire Suppression Activity

Friday, February 28

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Learn: “The History & Operations of Gavel Alaska, How they Provide Coverage of State Government – A Discussion of Funding, Partnerships & Music” by

Bill Legere & Jeremy Hsieh of KTOO

Presentation Will be Followed by a Q&A Session
Sponsored by Representative Story

1:00 p.m. (H)RESOURCES

Presentation: Analysis of “Fair Share Act” Initiative by Rich & Christina Ruggiero, IN3NERGY
— Testimony <Invitation Only> —

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