A multi-agency effort to make the state's permitting process more efficient, timely and certain.
More than any other state, Alaska depends on natural resources for its economic well-being. To ensure responsible resource development, Alaska needs to maintain a strong permitting system that protects our environment, enables public input and provides a timely, predictable process for project applicants.
In 2012, the Alaska Legislature passed HB 361/SB 219, which will help DNR process certain leases, material sales and other authorizations on a more timely, cost-effective basis. With funding support from the Legislature in 2011 and 2012, DNR is taking major steps to eliminate its backlog of land and water-use permit applications. In the first six months of fiscal year 2012, DNR reduced the backlog by 20 percent.
The state resource agencies also are working together to prepare for new phases of resource development in Alaska -- such as renewable energy, underground coal gasification and unconventional oil projects. Further statutory and regulatory changes may be considered in the future.
Areas for public input
Large Projects: The state has developed a process for coordinating the permitting of large projects, especially mines, and we believe this process works well. How can it be improved?
Small Projects: Under the former Alaska Coastal Management Program, permitting for smaller projects within coastal zones was coordinated by DNR's Division of Coastal Management. Now that the program and the division do not exist, what role should the state play in the coordination of smaller project permits?
Federal Permitting: Many project delays are the result of the federal permitting process. What can the state do to help the federal agencies be more timely and predictable?
Legal Challenges: Almost every large project in Alaska is challenged in court or administratively. What should the state do to streamline the process and schedule to avoid project delays while ensuring full access to the appeals process?
Permit backlog: DNR is taking action to eliminate its backlog of permits and authorizations for smaller projects. We welcome additional ideas on how to reduce this backlog and prevent new ones from developing in the future.