House Fisheries • CS HB 199
April 12, 2017

Good afternoon. My name is Marleanna Hall, and I am the executive director of the Resource Development Council. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

In brief, RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, fisheries and tourism industries, as well as the 12 ANCs. RDC members are truly the life-blood of Alaska’s economy. We believe the best approach to expand the economy and generate new revenues for the state is to produce more oil, attract more tourists, harvest more fish and timber, and mine more minerals.

With regard to House Bill 199, increasing uncertainty and adding additional, unnecessary regulatory burdens to community and resource development projects across Alaska with little to no added benefit to salmon habitat is not sound policy. This bill will likely delay, or even halt, these projects and increase costs for our communities and private sector and would send Alaska further down on the regulatory-certainty scale.

On Monday, I worked with 17 other Alaskan entities to develop a letter with some initial concerns:

The coalition agreed that concerns with HB 199 start with simple questions: Why is this bill necessary? What is it trying to fix? What is the real fiscal impact?

The letter expressed initial overlying areas of concern that this bill would seriously impact:

  • Community development – including upgrades to infrastructure, such as airports and roads, construction of wastewater treatment plants, natural community growth, and more.
  • Economic development – including fish processing, timber harvests, mineral extraction, and oil and gas development.
  • A future gas pipeline to transport Alaska’s natural gas from the North Slope to markets.

The intent to safeguard Alaska’s salmon fisheries is an objective we share and it is why we support Alaska’s existing rigorous and science-based regulatory system. Shutting down economic and community development is a disproportionate response to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Those are just a few lines from the letter I spoke of. I have a copy of the letter, but it has already been submitted for the record and is on BASIS. It lists all 18 signatories, from RDC to other trade organizations, as well as Native corporations, and others who wanted to join after I submitted it on Monday are not listed.

In conclusion, my members are not asking for less burdensome regulatory processes, but we do request that as the state considers changes, it do no harm to Alaskan communities and responsible resource development projects.

Members of the HFISH committee, I urge you to reject this legislation, as it is fundamentally flawed and poses a grave threat to Alaska’s economy. Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments today.