Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage & Lorien Nettleton, KTNA – Talkeetna
A Talkeetna group is suing the state Department of Natural Resources over the Susitna – Matanuska Area Plan. The non-profit, Alaska Survival, filed suit in Superior Court in Palmer earlier this month, complaining that the plan interferes with access to and use of fish , wildlife and waters in violation of the Alaska Constitution. Attorney Paul Bratton of Talkeetna represents plaintiff Alaska Survival. DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan is named as defendant.
Alaska Survival’s Becky Long says the Susitna-Matanuska Area Plan, adopted in August, not only violates Alaska law but opens the door for increased pressure from development, which would alter rural life and livelihoods.
The lawsuit claims the land uses as defined by the Chase, Talkeetna and Susitna comprehensive plans were not fully considered and incorporated into the final Susitna Matanuska Plan as required by state law.
DNR’s Marty Parsons oversaw the group that worked on the Susitna Matanauska Plan for the last two and a half years. He maintains that DNR upheld applicable statues and constitutional law.
Parsons says 16 meetings were held area-wide, and one-hundred-ninety-six people attended those meetings. Long says the process should have included more opportunity for public input. Unless an out-of-court settlement can be reached, the appeal process is expected the take about 6 months before a judgment can be issued.
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