Letter: HB 77 would restrict free speech

Free speech is a great thing, but Gov. Sean Parnell is clearly annoyed by it. That’s why he proposed House Bill 77 to obstruct your input into government decisions regarding development of our resources.

Why? Well, when developers want to make money on places like Bristol Bay, the Susitna Valley, the Chuitna River and countless other productive parts of Alaska, public notice and comment slows down development. But the people of Alaska must be allowed to speak out to ensure development happens responsibly. 

HB 77’s purpose is to make it easier for developers to develop our co-owned lands unhassled by the laws put in place to protect them. If you don’t want to see salmon streams and forests destroyed for short-term profits we must make sure HB 77 doesn’t eliminate your ability to comment on development and your opportunity to challenge permits if you feel they are misguided.

This is a free speech issue and that’s why it is so important that Ed Fogels of the Department of Natural Resources makes good on his promise to host public forums this November.

— Linda Brown