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Appeal a DEC Decision

Right to Administrative Appeal

Many of the decisions made by DEC staff can be appealed to a higher authority within the department. These are called "administrative appeals." Examples of the types of agency decisions that may be administratively appealed include a decision to issue or deny a permit, to approve or disapprove a plan, to charge a fee, or to assess a penalty. If you are directly and adversely affected by that decision, you may have a right to appeal.

As a general rule, final decisions of an agency can be appealed to the courts. Typically a person must exhaust their administrative appeal rights before filing an appeal with the courts. This helps first assure that the agency decision is fully considered all the way up through the commissioner and is the "final" statement by the department before it goes to the courts for their review.

DEC regulations establish three administrative appeal procedures:

  1. informal reviews,
  2. fee reviews, and the more formal
  3. adjudicatory hearing process.

There are requirements with deadlines for requesting a review. If these and other regulatory requirements are not followed your appeal could be denied or dismissed. The purpose of this document is to help you understand these procedures and use them to exercise your rights to appeal a decision.


The information presented here is of a general nature and is intended to help you become familiar with and navigate DEC's administrative appeals processes. This document does not contain the specific policies and procedures which govern appeals. The governing regulations are in Chapter 15, Administrative Procedures, of Title 18 of the Alaska Administrative Code (18 AAC 15). Those regulations can also be found in the following document:

18 AAC 15 (PDF)

The 18 AAC 15 regulations provide more detail and should be considered and consulted as they are the definitive rules for filing and processing appeals of DEC decisions. In the event of any conflict between this informational document and the regulations, the regulations govern.

It is possible that you have other appeal rights under more general state statutes that are not covered here. This document describes the three DEC administrative appeal procedures described above and is not intended as a full discourse on all potential avenues of appeal.

Finally, this document is not a substitute for legal advice. Decisions by DEC and appeals of those decisions could affect your legal rights. To fully understand your legal rights and the appeal processes you are encouraged to consult with your attorney.

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