- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - TITLE: “Never Forget”

LENGTH: 30 seconds

KEY IMAGES: This ad sponsored by Put Alaska First, an independent expenditure group that supports Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, features a man identified as Adam Peterson of Anchorage, who says being able to hunt in places like where he shot his first moose is what Alaska is all about. But Peterson says that could change if Sullivan gets his way. He says Sullivan came up with a plan to “give the government more power to take these public lands away with no input from you and me. I’ve hunted these lands, I’m gonna hunt these lands with my boys and I’m not gonna give it up without a fight.”

The ad ends with the tag: “Dan Sullivan He’s not one of us”

ANALYSIS: The ad focuses on HB77, a bill introduced by Gov. Sean Parnell last year as a way to make the state permitting process more efficient. Sullivan, one of three prominent GOP hopefuls vying to take on Begich later this year, was a public face for the bill during the 2013 session, when he was Natural Resources commissioner.



Critics of the bill said it gave the commissioner too much power and limited public input in permitting decisions. The bill died this past session after failed attempts to rewrite it.

Sullivan’s campaign on Tuesday called the ad misleading for suggesting hunting access could have been restricted by the bill. Jim Lottsfeldt, Put Alaska First’s treasurer, defended the ad, saying by email that the “hugely controversial sections” of the bill were Sullivan’s “babies. He was the originator.” He said the ad was based on a section of the bill dealing with general permits that would have given the commissioner “almost unlimited power over state land.”

The bill, as introduced, said “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” the Natural Resources commissioner could authorize an activity on state land by issuing a general permit if he or she found the activity unlikely to result in “significant and irreparable” harm to state land or resources. That provision was one of the most contentious.

The Senate Resources Committee, in trying to salvage the bill earlier this year, proposed striking the “notwithstanding” clause and further clarifying that section. But the bill remained divisive, and Parnell asked that it be held - allowed to die, essentially - “because of widespread misinformation” over several sections of it, his spokeswoman has said.

Wyn Menefee, chief of operations for the state Division of Mining, Land and Water within the Department of Natural Resources, said he didn’t see a connection between hunting access and the general permits provision. “Unless they’re taking it to the extreme,” he said, referencing a concern that had been raised during debate on the bill that the general-permit section would allow the department to do whatever it wanted, wherever it wanted. But he said that’s not how it works.

HB77 also did not create a new encumbrance on land that the department couldn’t already have done, he said. For example, Menefee said the department now could allow for a facility to be built on state land that would mean someone could not hunt at that very spot. There are often exclusions on state lands when the department authorizes something, he said.

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Online:

Link to ad: https://bit.ly/SfQAkz

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