Support for SB 68 to Update Public Notice Procedures for Water Rights

March 12, 2023

Submitted electronically via: [email protected]

Co-Chairs Senator Bishop and Senator Giessel
Senate Resources Committee
Alaska State Legislature
Juneau, Alaska 99801


Dear Co-Chairs Senator Bishop and Senator Giessel and Members of the Senate Resources Committee:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska (RDC) writes in support SB 68, relating to public notice for a sale, appropriation, or removal of water, or for filing a declaration of a right of water; and providing for an effective date, as the bill is currently proposed.

RDC is a statewide, non-profit trade association founded in 1975. RDC membership is comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, tourism forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries and includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

SB 68 seeks to streamline the current process of public notice procedures for water rights to an online publication process. Current notice requirements require publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area. In the digital age, printed newspapers are becoming less and less common. This move is overdue and consistent with other processes that have moved to an online public notice procedure. The efficient processing of state water rights is essential for many of our industries, including the mining industry. While this is mostly an administrative measure, RDC appreciates efforts to build efficiencies into governmental permitting processes which will help lower overall costs of implementation for permitting water rights.

RDC supports the bill as currently written, importantly because it does not alter current substantive water rights other than processing public notices. Should anything change in the bill in this regard, RDC may not be able to continue this statement of support and would reserve the right to reassess any future amendments.

Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this matter.