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HB 453: "An Act relating to best interest findings for oil and gas lease sales for the area onshore and north of the Umiat baseline."

00 HOUSE BILL NO. 453                                                                                                      
01 "An Act relating to best interest findings for oil and gas lease sales for the                                          
02 area onshore and north of the Umiat baseline."                                                                          
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1.  FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.  (a)  The legislature finds that                                                
05   (1)  to enhance the state's competitive position in the international oil and gas                                     
06 marketplace, the state can become more innovative and flexible in the administration of its oil                         
07 and gas leasing program;                                                                                                
08   (2)  the area north of the Umiat baseline in this state is an area of moderate to                                     
09 high oil and gas potential and has an existing production and transportation infrastructure;                            
10   (3)  it is in the best interest of the state to timely develop the oil and gas                                        
11 resources in the area onshore and north of the Umiat baseline while the existing transportation                         
12 infrastructure, including the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, is operational;                                             
13   (4)  the area of the state north of the Umiat baseline has a history of exploration                                   
14 and development that indicates that the current limited acreage leasing program does not                                
01 accommodate the oil and gas industry's leasing strategy because it may unintentionally divide                           
02 oil and gas exploration prospects;                                                                                      
03   (5)  most of the state land north of the Umiat baseline has been subject to best                                      
04 interest findings, and a large portion of it has been or is currently under oil and gas lease; and                      
05   (6)  oil and gas lease sales and best interest findings are not subject to an                                         
06 acreage limitation, and a best interest finding covering the area of the state onshore and north                        
07 of the Umiat baseline will encourage a comprehensive assessment of the state's oil and gas                              
08 resources in this area and provide for maximum flexibility and efficiency in their development.                         
09  (b)  The purposes of this Act are to                                                                                   
10   (1)  provide for the leasing of certain state land that has been subject to a best                                    
11 interest finding within the five years preceding the proposed sale without requiring new best                           
12 interest findings;                                                                                                      
13   (2)  provide that land that has been subject to a best interest finding may be                                        
14 included in the next scheduled oil and gas lease sale as the state receives title to that land;                         
15   (3)  facilitate annual oil and gas lease sales in the area covered by this Act;                                       
16   (4)  facilitate bids on areas in this state that encompass entire oil and gas                                         
17 prospects.                                                                                                              
18    * Sec. 2.  AS 38.05.035(e)(6) is amended to read:                                                                    
19     (6)  before a public hearing, if held, or in any case not less than 21 days                                        
20 before the sale, lease, or other disposal of available land, property, resources, or                                    
21 interests in them other than a sale, lease, or other disposal of available land or an                                   
22 interest in land for oil and gas under (5) of this subsection, the director shall make                                  
23 available to the public a written finding that, in accordance with (1) of this subsection,                              
24 sets out the material facts and applicable statutes and regulations and any other                                       
25 information required by statute or regulation to be considered upon which the                                           
26 determination that the sale, lease, or other disposal will best serve the interests of the                              
27 state was based; however, a written finding is not required before the approval of                                      
28    (A)  a contract for a negotiated sale authorized under                                                             
29 AS 38.05.115;                                                                                                           
30    (B)  a lease of land for a shore fishery site under AS 38.05.082;                                                  
31    (C)  a permit or other authorization revocable by the                                                              
01 commissioner;                                                                                                           
02    (D)  a mineral claim located under AS 38.05.195;                                                                   
03    (E)  a mineral lease issued under AS 38.05.205;                                                                    
04    (F)  a production license issued under AS 38.05.207;                                                               
05    (G)  an exempt oil and gas sale under AS 38.05.180(d) of                                                           
06 acreage offered in a sale that was held within the previous five years if the sale                                      
07 was subject to a written best interest finding, unless the commissioner                                                 
08 determines that new information has become available that justifies a revision                                          
09 of the best interest finding; [OR]                                                                                      
10    (H)  a lease sale under AS 38.05.180(w) of acreage offered in                                                      
11 a sale that was held within the previous five years if the sale was subject to a                                        
12 best interest finding, unless the commissioner determines that new information                                          
13 has become available that justifies a revision of the best interest finding; or                                       
14   (I)  a lease sale under AS 38.05.180(b) of acreage onshore                                                         
15 and north of the Umiat baseline if the acreage was subject to a best                                                    
16 interest finding within the five years preceding the proposed sale, unless                                              
17 the commissioner determines that new information has become available                                                   
18 that justifies a revision of the best interest finding;