Letter: Only Outside interests will benefit from voice-silencing House Bill 77

In response, “Effort to Protect Salmon from Chuitna Mine in Court,” on Saturday. This past summer, the Kenai River experienced one of the lowest returns on king salmon in recent memory. We cannot continue to damage and destroy our riparian environment and expect an improvement of returns. 

With this in mind, I find House Bill 77 at odds with the interests of Native Alaskans. All of the benefits of “streamlining the process” will be reaped by outside interests. 

The first location that will probably be affected by the passing of HB 77 will be the Chuitna Coal Project. Salmon streams will be removed and water diverted. For example, Middle Creek has been studied and produces fewer than 10,000 smolt, with 1,200 fish returning. How many streams of this productivity can be removed without impacting local natives? 

Those living on the land and off the land must have a voice. HB 77 silences that voice and places financial hurdles in their way making it almost impossible for them to be heard.

— Matt Moore