Legislature(2021 - 2022)

2021-02-12 Senate Journal

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2021-02-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0214
SB 85                                                                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 85 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                                
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
            "An Act relating to forest land use plans; relating to                                                             
             forest land use plan appeals; relating to negotiated                                                              
          timber sales; 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 February 11:                                                                                
Dear President Micciche:                                                                                                        
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to timber sales and                                                             
Under current law, negotiated timber sales are authorized by three                                                              
different statutes. This bill creates one comprehensive negotiated                                                              
timber sale statute to provide the Commissioner of the Department of                                                            
Natural Resources with the flexibility to negotiate timber sales to                                                             
balance the evolving economics of the timber industry with the Alaska                                                           
Constitution’s mandate for resource development in the public                                                                   
The bill also amends statutes on forest land use plans. Under current                                                           
law, such plans can be appealed or reconsidered under                                                                           
AS 44.37.011(b) and 11 AAC 02, and a timber sale contract entered                                                               
into based on the commissioner’s best interest finding (BIF) may be                                                             
appealed in the process outlined in AS 38.05.035(i). This leaves a                                                              
timber sale subject to appeals at multiple stages, creating the risk of                                                         
delays in timber harvests, and raising uncertainty among timber                                                                 
purchasers, processors, and investors. The bill remedies this situation                                                         
by making forest land use plans non-appealable or subject to                                                                    
reconsideration under AS 44.37.011(b), while leaving intact other                                                               
significant public process protections, including: the right to appeal a                                                        
commissioner’s best interest finding concerning a timber sale under                                                             

2021-02-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0215
AS 44.37.011(b); the public notice and written best interest finding                                                            
requirements in AS 38.05.035(e)(6)(A); public notice requirements for                                                           
negotiated sales of 500,000 board feet of timber or less in 38.05.945;                                                          
and the requirement for public notice of disposal of state interests in                                                         
Article VIII, Section 10, of the Alaska Constitution.                                                                           
The bill allows the department to negotiate more than one sale each                                                             
year with a single purchaser of more than 500,000 board feet of timber                                                          
under AS 35.05.118 and preserves the exemption of negotiated sales                                                              
of more than 500,000 board feet of timber from the written best                                                                 
interest finding requirement under AS 38.05.035(e)(6)(A).                                                                       
This bill will result in more efficient land use planning and more                                                              
predictable timber harvests, while retaining robust public and agency                                                           
participation in the process.                                                                                                   
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Mike Dunleavy