Testimony before House Resources • February 14, 2020

Testimony on HB 138: An Act related to national resource water designation

Good afternoon, my name is Marleanna Hall and I am the Executive Director for the Resource Development Council for Alaska, commonly referred to as RDC.

In short, RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism industries, as well as Alaska’s 12 land owning Alaska Native corporations. 

Thank you co-chair Tarr and members of the committee for the opportunity to comment on working draft HB138 version k, related to national resource water designation, commonly referred to Tier 3 Water Designation.

RDC is concerned Tier 3 nominations are viewed as obstruction opportunities by groups opposed to development in Alaska, and that without a proper designation process, unnecessary nominations will continue to be made to target projects across Alaska. These projects, whether they be community or resource development, may be subject to spending unnecessary dollars on questionable, unwarranted nominations and resulting litigation.

Unnecessary Tier 3 designations would replace our existing water quality protections with total prohibition of new or expanded discharges, severely limiting activities. Whereas, much of this bill will help protect land and access for our communities, for Alaska Native corporations, and for rural development projects. 

This legislation should satisfy those opposing further development in Alaska, by putting into law a proper mechanism for water nomination and designation, while protecting Alaska’s resources through requiring proper vetting of all nominations. Only the legislature should have the authority to designate Tier 3 waters, consistent with Alaska’s Constitution. Further, only water designated as Tier 3 should be managed as that through statute. RDC will continue to monitor and evaluate this legislation and share our feedback.

In closing, I encourage you to pass Draft CS HB 138 V. K out of your committee. Thank you.