I, Michael J. Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24 of the Constitution of the State of Alaska, direct the Commissioners of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, to take the necessary and appropriate steps to streamline their respective permitting processes for broadband facilities deployment projects, as further specified in this Order.
Background and Purpose
Improving our transportation, energy, and technological foundations is a key goal of Alaska’s comprehensive economic development strategy. Those foundations include the deployment of infrastructure that can deliver advanced communications services to Alaska’s residents and businesses. Toward that end, in 2014, Alaska’s Broadband Task Force Plan identified expanding broadband infrastructure as critical to meeting ever-increasing demand for bandwidth needed to support innovations in commerce, education, and health care, among other parts of the economy.
The Broadband Task Force Plan likewise highlighted challenges to deploying broadband networks in Alaska, including difficulties in building and maintaining network facilities in Alaska’s geography and climate. One necessary requirement for deployment is the approval process required for obtaining State authorizations and environmental permits by entities looking to invest in and build broadband networks
This Order supplements and advances the Broadband Task Force Plan, and seeks to improve, as promptly as practicable, the authorization and environmental review process for broadband deployment projects, in order to achieve the purposes described above, by directing the responsible agencies to review and adjust, if appropriate, their internal procedures as needed.
Under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24, Constitution of the State of Alaska, I, Michael J. Dunleavy, Governor of the State of Alaska, order:
- The Commissioners of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to:
- Conduct a review of their respective authorization and environmental permitting and review requirements applicable to the construction of broadband facilities, including the timelines to approval and costs thereof, and provide this information to the Governor or Governor’s designee prior to any implementation;
- Take all necessary steps to streamline, consistent with Alaska Statutes, the authorization and environmental permitting and review processes required for the construction of broadband facilities, to reduce the duration and improve the transparency and consistency thereof;
- By October 1, 2019, and annually by October 1, report to the Governor on the results of implementation of this Administrative Order.
- The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources and the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, along with any other commissioner or agency with relevant jurisdiction, to work with broadband project sponsors on the authorization and environmental permitting requirements, in a manner consistent with Alaska Statutes, to facilitate compliance with applicable federal grant or loan program buildout timeframes while ensuring appropriate consideration of state land resource protection.
Consistent with law and available appropriations, each affected State agency shall use existing personnel and monetary resources to comply with this Order.
This Order takes effect immediately and remains in effect until revoked.
Dated this 29th day of May, 2019
/s/Michael J. Dunleavy