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HB 77 violates Alaska Constitution

Posted: December 4, 2013 - 4:45pm

Article 8, section 2 of the Alaska Constitution reads: “The Legislature shall provide for the utilization, development, and conservation of all natural resources belonging to the state, including land and waters, for the maximum benefit of its people.”

Article 8, section 1 reads: “It is the policy of the state to encourage the settlement of its land and the development of its resources by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest.”

Maximum benefit and maximum use are often the subject of fierce controversy in Alaska. We are an “owner state,” meaning we the people are the inheritors of state land, water and resources. The burden of development or conservation of said resources is ours to carry. 

I, for one, am fiercely proud to be from and of Alaska and understand that our constitution was written by well intended people who, “wanted the state’s resources developed, not plundered.”

HB77 will erode my right as a citizen, owner and Alaskan to participate in resource management decisions. To me, this legislation is like telling a business owner that the government has taken the reigns and they are no longer able to contribute to future decision making within their business. 

No HB77 for me, thanks.

Bjørn Olson

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