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Sullivan: No Respect for Alaskans’ Land and Water Rights

Tries to Hide Efforts to Silence Alaskans

CONTACT: Max Croes907-570-2065

ANCHORAGE- Dan Sullivan continues to avoid his role in the “Silencing Alaskans Act,” legislation that would have restricted Alaskans’ access to public lands. Sullivan aggressively pushed the bill which would have cut Alaska Natives, sport fishermen and local voices out of decisions about land usage.

The controversial legislation would have allowed the State to issue development permits without requiring any public input, cutting Alaskans out of the process entirely. The bill ran into a “buzzsaw” of opposition which made clear Alaskans oppose the bill.

“Dan Sullivan proved he’s only interested in benefiting himself when he pushed the Silencing Alaskans Act. The bill would have cut Alaska voices out of making decisions about their own lands, giving all the power to the DNR commissioner. From suing Katie John to pursuing the Pebble Mine to HB 77 Dan Sullivan has proven he doesn’t care about the voices of Alaska Natives or local communities when it comes to land and water rights, only his own,” said Max Croes, Communications Director for Alaskans for Begich.

Sullivan Trying To Eliminate Ability Of Private Individuals Or Groups To Make Water Reservations To Protect Water. “The citizens group filed three applications for what’s called ‘instream flow reservations,’ a type of water right that assures water remains in the streambed for a public purpose. The Parnell administration has been trying to eliminate the ability of private individuals and groups to make water reservations.” [Anchorage Daily News, 10/17/13]

“An Important — And Controversial — Part Of HB 77 Is A Provision That Eliminates The Ability Of Individuals And Non-Governmental Organizations To File For And Receive In-Stream Flows Of Water In Streams.” In March 2013, The Alaska Journal of Commerce stated, “An important — and controversial — part of HB 77 is a provision that eliminates the ability of individuals and non-governmental organizations to file for and receive in-stream flows of water in streams. A number of those applications, aimed mainly at the large Pebble mine project, have been filed with the state Department of natural resources, and are pending.” [Alaska Journal of Commerce, 3/21/13]

Editorial: “Don’t Permit This Bill… HB 77 Cuts Alaskans Out Of Land And Water Decisions.” In April 2013, The Anchorage Daily News editorialized, “Don’t permit this bill […] HB 77 cuts Alaskans out of land and water decisions […] House Bill 77 is his proposal to accomplish that. But HB 77 does a lot more than smooth the way. The bill, as passed by the House and under consideration by the Senate: 1) Restricts Alaskans’ right to object to and challenge development permit decisions; 2) Strengthens the authority of the commissioner of the Department of natural resources to grant permits at his discretion, and to grant temporary permits for water use and other activity; 3) Prohibits Alaskans from petitioning to reserve water rights unless the petition is made through a state, local or federal agency. This particularly affects Native and tribal groups trying to reserve water for subsistence and other traditional uses that might hamper or interfere with developments like mining.” [Editorial, Anchorage Daily News, 4/13/13]

HB 77 “Ran Into A Buzz-Saw Of Opposition.” Reported the Alaska Journal of Commerce in April 2013, “However, one key bill sought by Gov. Sean Parnell, to expedite general land permits, ran into a buzz-saw of opposition over allocation of in-stream flow reservations. . . . Concerns focused mostly on the bill’s elimination of the ability of individuals and non-governmental organizations, like environmental and tribal groups, to apply for reservations of water flow in streams.” [Alaska Journal of Commerce, 4/18/13]