Support for State Primacy of RCRA and 404 Authority to the Senate Finance Committee

March 28, 2022

Submitted electronically to: [email protected]

Senate Finance Committee
State of Alaska Legislature

Re: Support for State Primacy of RCRA and CWA 404 Permitting Authority

Dear Senate Finance Co-Chairs Senators Bishop, Stedman and Members of the Committee:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) writes in support of taking all necessary steps to give effect to the statutory authority for the State of Alaska, including funding authorization, to implement primacy of the federal Resource Conversation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the management of solid and hazardous waste, and Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), which regulates the discharge of dredged or fill materials into waters and wetlands.

RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, tourism, forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

RDC supports and encourages our elected officials to promote an effective, efficient and rigorous permitting and regulatory process. A stable permitting process promotes a robust private sector to build a diverse economy. Ensuring state control over these important permitting decisions will lead to more timely and less costly permit issuance. In particular, 404 primacy will give the State more control over permitting of projects – small and large – that involve dredging or filling, site improvement for residential, commercial as well as recreational developments. Such permits are required for most development projects in Alaska and currently require review by the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA, the State DEC and State DNR. To consolidate review to the State will streamline permitting and reduce costs without sacrificing Alaska’s stringent environmental standards. The State has a proven record of doing so in current primacy programs, including the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and the CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (now the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES)). Supporting full implementation of state primacy over these additional programs will also ensure Alaska is well positioned to handle the projects we hope to see supported with funding from the federal Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

At a time when uncertainty in federal environmental permitting is the only thing that seems certain, implementation of state primacy over RCRA and CWA sec. 404 permitting is more critical than ever. Thank you for your attention in this matter.