Silencing Alaskans Act (HB 77)
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Silencing Alaskans Act (HB 77)

The wild areas of Alaska support large and diverse ecosystems. They are the source of the majority of America’s salmon harvest and the backbone of Alaska’s tourist economy.  Most importantly, Alaska’s environment has value that defies measurement in economic terms.

Alaskans know this on a deep level, and so do people all across America. Federal law and the laws of our state, including the Alaska Constitution, have laid out a framework of protections so that we can be good stewards of our resources and learn from past mistakes, keeping Alaska special — and wild — for the long term.

So what do you do if you want to push huge projects through against the will of the people and the spirit of the law?  You cut the public out of the process.  Enter the “Silencing Alaskans Act,” also known as House Bill 77.

This “regulatory reform” legislation, proposed by Governor Parnell, steamrolls the public by: 1) eliminating public comment periods; 2) narrowing who can challenge government-issued permits; 3) giving the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner carte blanche to declare that certain activities are “unlikely to result in significant and irreparable harm to state land or resources” and issue toothless general permits; and 4) remove process that allows individuals and organizations to stand up for salmon streams by asking DNR to keep water in rivers for salmon.


The Silencing Alaskans Act was on the Senate Floor schedule during the final week of the 2013 session in April, but no vote occurred because of the outpouring of public opposition. The Senate returned the legislation to the Rules Committee, where it has sat waiting for the new session to start.

The Silencing Alaskans Act is a priority for the Parnell Administration and, when the session starts in January, it is likely that the Governor and DNR will do their best to get this legislation through quickly. If you believe in public participation, Alaska needs you now, more than ever!