Representative Louise Stutes Introduces Bill to Modernize Alaska’s Fish Habitat Protection and Permitting Law
HB 199 Protects Interests of Subsistence, Commercial, Sport, and Personal Use Fishermen While Creating Efficiency and Predictability in Permitting and Enforcement
Juneau – On Monday, Representative Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) introduced House Bill 199, the “Wild Salmon Legacy Act.” The bill updates Alaska’s fish habitat protection and permitting law to create a balanced and efficient permitting system that protects Alaska’s wild salmon runs, promotes responsible development, and gives Alaskans a greater voice in major permitting decisions that impact wild salmon streams.
“Wild salmon are a major part of our culture, economy, and identity in Alaska,” said Rep. Stutes. “Alaska is the last state with healthy populations of wild salmon and I’m proud to have authored this bill that protects the interests of Alaskans who rely on wild salmon for food, income, and recreation.”
The “Wild Salmon Legacy Act” modernizes Alaska’s fish habitat protection and permitting law. This law guides how the State of Alaska permits activities and development projects that may impact wild salmon; however the law has not been updated since Statehood. HB 199 provides regulatory certainty for companies while ensuring protection of salmon habitat.
The introduction of the bill comes after the Alaska Board of Fisheries sent a letter to the Alaska State Legislature in January recommending it modernize Alaska’s fish habitat law. The Board of Fisheries’ action came at the request of a group of Alaskans comprised of commercial, sport, subsistence, and personal use fishermen concerned about the future of the salmon they depend on.
“Given the importance of Alaska’s salmon fisheries, the state must ensure that our law is balanced, predictable, and fair to protect salmon habitat and encourage responsible resource development,” said Rep. Stutes. “Modernizing our fish habitat permitting law to create enforceable standards, provide for public input, and expand the Department of Fish and Game’s authority to protect fish habitat will safeguard Alaska’s salmon fisheries into the future.”
HB 199 was introduced on Monday and referred to the House Fisheries and Resources Committees.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.