Gov. Sean Parnell's busy summer of bill ceremonies continued Monday when he signed House Bill 47.
While the ceremony may have seemed routine, the law now requires judges to weigh the economic impact of injunctions against development projects.
"It's a requirement that they consider the lost wages, extra costs associated with any kind of an injunction on a properly permitted resource project,” said Rep. Eric Feige (R-Chickaloon).
Feige, who Co-Chairs the House Resources Committee, introduced the legislation at the beginning of 2013. He said the law applies to cases in oil, gas, mining and timber industries.
“It’s basically cutting you out of every point along the way where you can make a positive change, and make folks comply with the law,” said Vicki Clark, Director of Trustees for Alaska.
The nonprofit represents a wide range of environmental clients including the Sierra Club, Cook Inlet Keepers and several Native villages.
"I think it would be detrimental and could ultimately bankrupt a non-profit organization, that has a very small budget or even an individual," Clark said.
She is worried the new law will discourage organizations or individuals from bringing legitimate cases to court. HB47 requires plaintiffs to put up a bond before legal proceedings begin. The money would cover productivity lost during a court injunction against a project.
"Putting those people out of work has impacts on folks, not only in the lost wages to individuals, but lost wages to those families," Feige said.
HB47 takes effect November 2nd and only covers projects on state lands.
The bill is not related to Alaska’s Public Interest Litigant Law, which was passed during the Murkowski Administration.
That law allows a judge to require plaintiffs to pay legal fees in failed litigation against the state.