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Senator questions water reservation provision

Bethel legislator wants a better proposal

Posted: April 5, 2013 - 12:08am

JUNEAU — A Bethel senator says Alaskans deserve better than a proposal to eliminate the ability of individuals or groups to apply for water reservations.

Sen. Lyman Hoffman says that flies in the face of the constitution. His comments came during a Senate hearing Thursday on HB77.

Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill is aimed at improving Alaska’s permitting process.

Critics say it could hurt public participation in permitting decisions.

One of the more controversial provisions would no longer allow individuals or groups to apply for water reservations to maintain or protect water levels for things like fish habitat protection.

Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan said the bill is part of a reform effort to benefit all Alaskans.

Senate Finance Committee co-chair Kevin Meyer is considering appointing a subcommittee to study the issue further.

— The Associated Press

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