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AK BHA Letter to Senate Resources Committee re: House Bill 77

Dear Senators,

Alaska Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is comprised of hundreds of hunters & anglers across our great state who want to pass down their hunting and fishing traditions to their children and grandchildren. We fear we won't be assured we can pass down these traditions if we water down longstanding Alaska conservation guidelines and disallow Alaskans to be involved in the public processes that determine the future sustainability of our fisheries.

HB 77 is ostensibly about streamlining future development permitting, but if it should pass what it really does is streamline Alaskans out of the public process and give inriver water rights over to corporate entities. This has the real potential to negatively affect declining salmon populations and other fisheries. It is one thing for Alaska to attempt to streamline development permitting, to make it so development projects can be permitted and actually come about faster than they do now. But HB 77 goes too far in that attempt. It takes away too much from individual Alaskans' rights to have a voice in what should always remain an open, public process. It takes away longstanding and necessary protections for our rivers and streams that ensure they have adequate waters to sustain our fisheries.

We respectfully urge you to vote NO on HB 77.