Gov. Parnell seeks to streamline permitting process

Members of the state of Alaska Resource committees for the House and the Senate will review bills introduced by Gov. Sean Parnell that he says are designed to streamline and give Alaska more control over certain aspects of the permitting process. This legislation has potential impact for the development of the proposed Pebble mine. It could make the permitting process easier for developers, but may also cut out public input requirements under the federal permitting process.

House Bill 77 and Senate Bill 26 address land exchange issues and provide authority to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources commissioner to issue general permits for state land rather than requiring individuals to obtain separate permits.

House Bill 78 and Senate Bill 27 would allow the state of Alaska to assume control of the 404 Wetlands permitting process, thereby bypassing federal NEPA requirements. As stated by the governor in his transmittal letter to the Legislature, “This change will limit federal overreach in Alaska by giving the State authority to make jurisdictional determinations, timely process permits, and allow responsible resource development. Removing a significant amount of wetlands from federal authority also reduces the number of projects requiring an expensive and time-consuming federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, since there would be fewer ‘major federal actions’ associated with these projects.”

The House Resources Committee has scheduled to review HB 78 at 1 p.m, Friday, Feb., 1. Committee members include: Reps. Feige, Saddler, P. Wilson, Hawker, Johnson, Olson, Seaton, Tarr and Tuck.

The Senate Resources Committee will review SB26 and SB27 at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, with testimony by invitation only. Committee members include Sens. Giessel, Dyson, Micciche, Bishop, McGuire, Fairclough and French.


Text of proposed bills:





Documents related to SB27, including:

  • Full text of Senate bills 26 and 27
  • Fiscal reports detailing on how much it would cost the State if bills were enacted. “Fiscal Notes” for SB 27 include estimates that total nearly $1.5 million in costs for new employees, contractor fees, and travel costs related to “State Assumption of 404 Wetlands Permitting.”
  • Presentation slides from the Department of Natural Resources related to permitting reform