SJR 16 - Related to Federal funding of NGOs

Before Senate Resources
Testimony provided by Marleanna Hall
February 8, 2014

Good morning Chairwoman Giessel and members of the committee.

My name is Marleanna Hall. I am a Projects Coordinator for the Resource Development Council.

RDC is a membership funded, statewide business association representing forestry, oil and gas, mining, tourism, and fishing industries.

RDC is concerned the federal government is discouraging investment in Alaska by donating funding, through federal agencies, to nongovernment organizations who oppose development of Alaska’s natural resources. The funding of these groups contradicts and hinders the mission of RDC to Grow Alaska Through Responsible Resource Development.

In recent years, lawsuits by NGOs have caused delays and other issues for projects in Alaska, often with little or no added benefit to the environment. These lawsuits have threatened Alaska jobs, businesses, and communities. An example would be Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) exploration and development. OCS activity has been hindered by NGO lawsuits, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to the State and project proponents. Even when projects are not ultimately stopped, the uncertainty of litigation can effectively stop progress on projects.

Additionally, the NGOs involved in litigation often collect large attorney fees from the federal government in lawsuits aimed at systematically stopping development in oil, mining, timber, and other industries.

It is in our State’s constitution to develop our natural resources for the benefit of all Alaskans, and it is the State’s responsibility to achieve fiscal certainty. We can’t do that if our projects continue to be halted by outside interests.

RDC urges you to pass SJR 16 out of Senate Resources in a timely manner. Thank you for your consideration of these comments.