Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1995-05-09 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1995-05-09                     Senate Journal                      Page 1679
SB 180                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 180 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
"An Act authorizing the commissioner of the                                   
Department of Natural Resources to negotiate and                               
enter into timber sale contracts that provide for local                        
manufacture of high value-added wood products;                                 
and establishing an Alaska Forest Products Research                            
and Marketing Program within the Department of                                 
Commerce and Economic Development."                                            
was read the first time and referred to the Resources Committee.               
Fiscal note published today from Department of Natural Resources.              
Zero fiscal notes published today from Department of Commerce and              
Economic Development, Department of Community and Regional                     
Affairs, University of Alaska.                                                 
Governor's transmittal letter dated May 9:                                     

1995-05-09                     Senate Journal                      Page 1680
SB 180                                                                       
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution,          
I am transmitting a bill that establishes a new negotiated timber sales        
program for state land managed by the Department of Natural                    
Resources.  This bill addresses the need to stimulate local, small             
scale value-added processing of Alaska's forest resources and to               
foster creation of Alaskan  jobs.  With the introduction of this bill,         
we seek to provide a new focus on how timber should be managed                 
in Alaska by providing more jobs from timber cut on state lands by             
encouraging industries that process high-value finished wood                   
products.  At the same time, this legislation provides direction on            
management of our forests to preserve fish and wildlife habitat and            
other uses of the forest including tourism, fisheries, personal and            
family uses including hunting and fishing.                                     
The goal of my Administration in proposing this bill is to develop             
sound long-term strategies for managing Alaska's forest resources so           
as to provide the highest and best economic uses in local                      
communities that are dependent on timber resources while                       
maintaining other Alaskan uses through the constitutionally mandated           
sustained yield principles.  The attached bill maximizes the                   
opportunity for employment while minimizing the impact on other                
uses of our state forests.                                                     
I am introducing this legislation in the final days of the session             
because it is my understanding that the legislature will be holding            
hearings on timber over the interim and I think  it is critical that the       
new directions embodied in this bill are considered in the discussions         
of the legislature.                                                            
The bill has two main components:                                              
provisions for incentives for local manufacture of high                       
value-added wood products and other value-added wood                           
products from timber on state lands and authorizing use of                     
such incentives in awarding special negotiated timber sale                     
contracts (sec. 2 of the bill)                                                 

1995-05-09                     Senate Journal                      Page 1681
SB 180                                                                       
creation of an Alaska Forest Products Research and                            
Marketing Program within the Department of Commerce and                        
Economic Development to coordinate research and marketing                      
efforts related to value-added manufacturing of Alaska wood                    
products (sec. 3 of the bill).                                                 
An uncertain supply of timber is one of the primary factors limiting           
the development of high value-added wood products manufacturing                
facilities in the state.  To address this problem, sec. 2 of the bill          
proposes a new special negotiated timber sale program for timber               
destined for local manufacture of high value-added wood products.              
Contracts negotiated under this section may be for the harvest of up           
to five million board feet of timber each year for up to 10 years.             
Stumpage rates would not be less than the base price established               
under regulations.  Planning for this program by the Department of             
Natural Resources also will take into account sustained yield                  
principles of timber harvest, the need for protection of fish and              
wildlife populations and habitat and maximizing opportunities for              
public uses of the state's forests.  The same public comment will              
apply to the planning process as it is does with sales conducted               
presently.  Existing forest planning requirements would apply to               
these new negotiated sales and other timber sales programs would               
not be affected.                                                               
To participate in a negotiated timber sale authorized in sec.2 of the          
bill, the prospective purchaser must agree to use at least 50 percent          
of the timber from the sale for the local manufacture of high value-           
added wood products.  In determining whether it is in the state's              
best interest to enter into a sale contract under sec. 2, the                  
commissioner is to consider the economic benefits to the region from           
the local manufacture of the high value-added wood products as well            
as from the local manufacture of other value-added wood products;              
the commissioner also must ensure the sustainability of fish and               
wildlife populations and habitat and other uses of the forest.  My             
Administration will be working with the Alaska Congressional                   
delegation to ensure that appropriate related changes are made to              
federal law.                                                                   

1995-05-09                     Senate Journal                      Page 1682
SB 180                                                                       
Section 3 of the bill establishes an Alaska Forest Products Research           
and Marketing Program to encourage in-state processing of Alaska               
timber into value-added wood products.  The program coordinator is             
to gather and disseminate existing information related to the                  
manufacture of value-added wood products and to identify unfilled              
needs and problems, conduct analyses and propose solutions to assist           
local manufacturers.  This program will be accomplished through an             
existing position in the Department of Commerce.                               
The provisions proposed in this bill will provide a mechanism for              
encouraging the development of Alaskan businesses and Alaskan                  
jobs, and will establish a new timber sales program as a means of              
encouraging local processing.  It should help address the crisis that          
faces Alaskan communities that are largely dependent on the jobs the           
forest products industry provides.  I urge your favorable action on            
this bill.                                                                     
						Tony Knowles