Legislature(2013 - 2014)

2013-01-18 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2013-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 0061
SB 28                                                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 28 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
            "An Act relating to the sale of timber on state land;                                                              
             establishing the Susitna State Forest; and providing                                                              
          for an effective date."                                                                                               
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance                                                               
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Natural Resources                                                                       
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 17:                                                                                 

2013-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 0062
Dear President Huggins,                                                                                                         
Under Article III, Section 18 of the Alaska Constitution, I am                                                                  
transmitting a bill relating to creating the Susitna State Forest and                                                           
relating to negotiated timber sales to meet local needs. The creation of                                                        
the Susitna State Forest will aid in development and increased access                                                           
to lands, and in turn, increase timber sales for small mills and                                                                
commercial firewood businesses. This legislation ensures the long-                                                              
term availability of timber supply to support commercial and personal                                                           
use, creating economic growth and job opportunities for Alaskan                                                                 
The Governor's Administrative Order 258 established the Alaska                                                                  
Timber Jobs Task Force with federal, State, private industry, and                                                               
community members. The Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force was                                                                        
charged with reviewing and recommending actions related to                                                                      
management of State-owned forest land, establishment and expansion                                                              
of legislatively-designated State Forests, and State timber harvesting                                                          
statutes and regulations. In its report to the Governor, the Task Force                                                         
recommended the creation of the Susitna State Forest.                                                                           
This bill establishes the Susitna State Forest in the Matanuska and                                                             
Susitna Valleys from suitable State land classified for forestry or                                                             
general use management by the State land use plans for the region -                                                             
the Susitna Matanuska Area Plan, the Southeast Susitna Area Plan,                                                               
and the Fish Creek Management Plan. These lands are currently                                                                   
managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for timber                                                                 
harvest and other multiple uses. The proposed Susitna State Forest                                                              
includes 33 parcels totaling approximately 763,200 acres in 14 large                                                            
management blocks, and would join the Haines State Forest (est.                                                                 
1982), the Tanana Valley State Forest (est. 1983), and the Southeast                                                            
State Forest (est. 2010) as part of the State Forest system established                                                         
under the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA,                                                                      
AS 41.17).                                                                                                                      
This legislation will also support the growing interest in biomass wood                                                         
energy projects in local communities, which require a long-term,                                                                
sustainable wood supply. Wood biomass can provide cheaper, locally                                                              
produced, and renewable energy. Additionally, the economic activity                                                             
associated with the biomass production will stimulate local economies                                                           

2013-01-18                     Senate Journal                      Page 0063
in communities throughout Alaska. This legislation expands                                                                      
conditions under which the State can offer negotiated timber sales to                                                           
encourage the use of these local energy sources.                                                                                
This bill also addresses the Task Force's recommendation to expand                                                              
the conditions and increase the flexibility under which the State could                                                         
offer negotiated timber sales to meet local manufacturing needs. Under                                                          
the existing statutes, DNR may not offer negotiated timber sales larger                                                         
than 500,000 board feet unless the sale area has high unemployment,                                                             
underutilized manufacturing capacity, and an underutilized timber                                                               
supply that will lose value due to insects, disease, fire, or conversion                                                        
to non-forest uses. These criteria prohibit larger negotiated timber                                                            
sales in many areas of the state that are actively managed for forestry,                                                        
and where there is high demand for wood for timber products and                                                                 
biomass energy. This bill authorizes DNR to offer negotiated timber                                                             
sales statewide within the limits of the sustained yield supply, and                                                            
subject to a best interest finding.                                                                                             
This legislation will make a meaningful difference to Alaska's                                                                  
economy. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this bill.                                                                  
Sean Parnell