After sitting in limbo for nearly a year, a controversial permitting bill is on the move again. House Bill 77 has been sent back to the Senate Resources Committee, and it’s scheduled for hearings on Monday and Wednesday.
Gov. Sean Parnell introduced last session, and he pitched it as a way of reducing the permitting backlog. But tribal organizations, fishing groups, and environmental outfits came out strongly against it. They argued it would limit public involvement in land management decisions and give the natural resources commissioner blanket authority to issue general permits. The governor has expressed willingness to remove some of the more contentious provisions to allow the bill to advance.
The bill has already passed the House, and but was unable to get enough votes in the Senate in its current form.
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