JUNEAU, Alaska - The Senate has delayed debate on a bill critics fear will hurt the public's ability to participate in permitting decisions.
Senate Minority Leader Johnny Ellis called it an "epic showdown" over state resource policy.
HB77, from Gov. Sean Parnell, is aimed at improving the permitting process. But it has controversial provisions. It would limit administrative appeals to people "substantially and adversely affected" by a decision, who "meaningfully participated" in the public comment process. It also would strip individuals or groups of the ability to apply for water reservations, to maintain or protect certain water levels for things like protecting fish habitat.
The Senate Finance Committee added language to allow a feasibility study for a hydroelectric project within a southwest Alaska state park.
A vote scheduled for Wednesday was pushed back.