Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-04-25 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1481
SB 186                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 186 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act relating to coordination of the application,                           
review, decision, and appeal process for certain                               
project permits; relating to the Alaska Coastal Policy                         
Council and the Alaska Coastal Management                                      
Program; relocating certain functions of the office of                         
management and budget to a statutorily created                                 
division of project assistance in the Office of the                            
Governor; repealing the Environmental Procedures                               
Coordination Act; and providing for an effective                               
was read the first time and referred to the Community and Regional             
Affairs, Resources and Finance Committees.                                     
Indeterminate fiscal notes published today from Department of                  
Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Game, Department of                  
Environmental Conservation, Office of the Governor.                            
Governors transmittal letter dated April 24:                                   

1997-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1482
SB 186                                                                       
Dear President Miller:                                                         
Government must work to eliminate unnecessary obstacles to                     
development while allowing opportunities for Alaskans to have an               
influence on projects that affect them and their communities.  I am            
introducing this legislation to improve the efficiency of obtaining            
permits for economic development while maintaining protections of              
the environment and making public participation more convenient                
and meaningful.                                                                
Doing resource development right requires decisions be based on                
sound science, prudent management and an open, responsive public               
process.  A healthy environment is not possible without a strong               
economy, nor are good jobs possible without strong environmental               
This initiative acknowledges that permitting has evolved in a                  
piecemeal fashion over time and that efficiencies can be gained if             
requirements are consolidated.  Under current law, permits for a               
single project require separate applications, most of which require            
redundant information.  Each agency reviews the applications                   
separately according to their individual timetables and requirements.          
Public notice and hearings on the applications may be conducted                
separately, under different standards for each permit, resulting in a          
duplication of time and expense for all.  Several permits for one              
project may be appealed to separate agencies and to the Coastal                
Policy Council, even though each of the appeals is based on a                  
common set of facts.                                                           
Current procedures increase time and costs to the applicant, the               
public and state agencies without increasing environmental protection.         
This bill unifies permit procedures by project.  As a result, Alaska           
will become a friendlier place for businesses to operate while making          
the public process more convenient and meaningful.                             

1997-04-25                     Senate Journal                      Page 1483
SB 186                                                                       
The bill provides for the establishment of public information centers          
to assist people who wish to undertake a project in understanding              
which permits may be needed, how they can be obtained, and how                 
long the process may take.  It provides for a single agency to                 
coordinate comments and to be a single point of contact for the                
applicant and the public.  Opportunities for the public to influence           
the project will be enhanced through better public notice and more             
efficient public meeting and comment procedures.                               
A single project decision will be issued which will contain all                
permitting decisions required for the project as well as a coastal zone        
consistency statement, if one is required.  That project decision will         
be subject to one appeal, eliminating the redundancy of appeals to             
multiple agencies.                                                             
To ensure efficiency and accountability, and in recognition of its role        
in the streamlined process, the Division of Governmental                       
Coordination will be renamed the Division of Project Assistance,               
moved from the Office of Management and Budget, and created as                 
a new division in the Governors Office reporting directly to the               
These changes will create a streamlined, efficient atmosphere for the          
public and Alaskans who do business here.  The changes will                    
preserve and enhance the ability of the public to learn about projects         
affecting them, and influence government decisions on those projects.          
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill.                     
						Tony Knowles