Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

03/17/2011 10:15 AM ECON. DEV., TRADE & TOURISM


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10:23:03 AM Start
10:24:02 AM HJR15
10:50:14 AM Presentation: "canada and Alaska: Partnership for Growth"
11:24:38 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HJR 15 SUPPORT ARCTIC CAUCUS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 15(EDT) Out of Committee
+ Presentation: "Canada and Alaska: Partnership for TELECONFERENCED
Growth," by Canadian Consul General Denis Stevens
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HJR 15-SUPPORT ARCTIC CAUCUS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:24:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 15,  Relating to  collaboration with                                                               
the  Yukon  and the  Northwest  Territories  through the  Pacific                                                               
NorthWest  Economic  Region  and  its Arctic  Caucus  to  address                                                               
common issues.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:25:45 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN  ROSE, Director  of Policy  and  Planning, Department  of                                                               
Economic  Development, Government  of Yukon  Territory, said  the                                                               
Government  of Yukon  Territory (YT)  sees the  Pacific NorthWest                                                               
Economic  Region  (PNWER)  and  its Arctic  Caucus  as  important                                                               
mechanisms  for  collaboration  in   pursuing  common  goals  and                                                               
objections for Alaska  and YT; in fact,  YT government's Minister                                                               
of Economic Development is very  supportive of PNWER and has been                                                               
very  active in  PNWER  over  the past  several  years.   The  YT                                                               
government supports  the passing  of HJR 15  in order  to advance                                                               
discussion, networking,  and collaboration within  PNWER's Arctic                                                               
Caucus,  and to  promote a  pan-northern approach  to Alaska  and                                                               
YT's respective federal governments.   Yukon Territory and Alaska                                                               
have  a long  history as  trade  partners and  have an  extremely                                                               
close  relationship  historically,  socially,  and  economically;                                                               
their economies  are interlinked, as Yukoners  and Alaskans cross                                                               
the border  each way for  goods, services, work,  and recreation.                                                               
This  resolution  will  enhance  the  collaboration  between  the                                                               
respective jurisdictions  and create a stronger  alliance through                                                               
which  to  pursue  the  common  goals  of  the  regions.    Yukon                                                               
Territory  forms the  corridor  between Alaska  and  the rest  of                                                               
North   America,   and  therefore   shares   a   number  of   key                                                               
infrastructure  priorities,  including  the development  of  port                                                               
access,   highway  systems,   alternative  energy   sources,  and                                                               
telecommunications  services,  and  PNWER provides  a  forum  for                                                               
addressing  these  shared interests.    The  Arctic Caucus  is  a                                                               
unique approach and  has great potential to  benefit those living                                                               
and  working  in the  North,  and  who  are dealing  with  issues                                                               
surrounding  cold  climate,  remoteness,   and  the  need  for  a                                                               
sustainable  economy  through  investment in  transportation  and                                                               
communication   infrastructure.     Yukon  Territory   government                                                               
projections  indicate  that  its   population  and  economy  will                                                               
continue to grow,  furthering its need to develop  and maintain a                                                               
strong and competitive infrastructure  to meet these projections.                                                               
Yukon  Territory's  all-weather  road   system  is  connected  to                                                               
Alaska,  Alberta,  British  Columbia,   and  NWT,  and  leads  to                                                               
tidewater access through  Alaska, which is a  prerequisite to the                                                               
viability   of  many   resource  development   projects  in   the                                                               
territory.   Yukon Territory government  is participating  in the                                                               
development of the  Yukon Ports Access Strategy  with the Skagway                                                               
Port Development Committee, and believes  this to be an important                                                               
step towards  meeting YT's commitment to  secure tidewater access                                                               
to the  Asian market in  support of  its resource industry.   The                                                               
Alaska  Highway  is  a  fine  example  of  shared  transportation                                                               
infrastructure,  as it  is a  Canada/U.S.  collaboration, and  of                                                               
critical  importance  to  each  of  their  jurisdictions.    This                                                               
highway enables year-round  tourism and commercial transportation                                                               
to  Alaska,   and  provides   critical  logistical   support  for                                                               
construction  and  operation  of   the  proposed  Alaska  Highway                                                               
Natural Gas  Transmission System to transport  Alaska North Slope                                                               
gas to  the mainland United  States.  Yukon  Territory government                                                               
is also  committed to expanding  YT's energy  infrastructure that                                                               
will provide an energy alternative  to Yukoners, and also provide                                                               
mine  sites  with lower-costing  green  energy  that will  reduce                                                               
reliance on  diesel power.   The Alaska Highway  Pipeline Project                                                               
(AHPP) will  provide options for gas-fired  electrical generation                                                               
which would remove current  constraints to electrical generation.                                                               
Expanding its  energy infrastructure  remains a priority  for the                                                               
YT government, and  will lead to the  sustainable development and                                                               
competitiveness  of the  PNWER region.   Access  to reliable  and                                                               
affordable  telecommunication   services  is   another  important                                                               
infrastructure  component for  those  living and  working in  the                                                               
Arctic  regions.    This  access  is  provided  through  a  2,000                                                               
kilometer  fiber  optic  link between  Whitehorse  and  Edmonton,                                                               
Alberta, completed in  August 2009.  Unfortunately  this fiber is                                                               
vulnerable to breach or impairment  by human activity and natural                                                               
events.   The YT government  is looking  to build a  second fiber                                                               
optic link  to the  south that would  enable an  almost immediate                                                               
switch-over of  voice and  data traffic,  with no  degradation in                                                               
service,   thus  improving   the   level   of  availability   and                                                               
reliability to institutions, businesses,  and consumers.  Some of                                                               
the  routes being  considered  for the  second  fiber optic  link                                                               
would pass  through the State  of Alaska.   Telecommunications is                                                               
an area of  interest for PNWER, and YT continues  to move forward                                                               
on improving this  important aspect of infrastructure.   Mr. Rose                                                               
said  he   appreciated  the  opportunity   to  be  part   of  the                                                               
committee's  discussion  on  this   resolution.    Promoting  and                                                               
communicating a harmonized message  detailing the common needs of                                                               
the Arctic Caucus is important to the welfare of Alaska and YT.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:31:22 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HERRON  noted the  many  treaties  and agreements  between                                                               
Canada and the U.S., beginning with  the first in 1873.  He asked                                                               
how the  resolution will help  the two countries move  forward in                                                               
the Arctic region.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:32:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSE opined  agreements that  encourage communication  allow                                                               
for additional focus on common issues.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked whether  education  is  a subject  of                                                               
common interest.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSE  said education has  always been  of interest to  YT; in                                                               
fact, YT  takes part in  Arctic discussions with  the university,                                                               
and would be very supportive of interaction in that area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:33:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN  TODD,  Director  of   Investment  and  Economic  Analysis,                                                               
Government  of   Northwest  Territories  (NWT),  stated   he  was                                                               
representing the  Minister of Industry, Tourism,  and Investment,                                                               
Government of NWT, and expressed  his government's support of HJR
15.   The Arctic  Caucus allows  Alaska, YT,  and NWT  to discuss                                                               
northern  issues and  present a  unified Arctic  voice.   It also                                                               
provides a forum  for the three governments  to share information                                                               
and develop  regional policies related  to the Arctic  and Arctic                                                               
development,  and  for coordination  of  federal  policies.   The                                                               
opportunity  to share  information  and discuss  areas of  mutual                                                               
concern is valuable in the  unique North; furthermore, presenting                                                               
a  unified front  between Alaska  and  NWT allows  them to  raise                                                               
their  collective  profile within  PNWER  and  with both  federal                                                               
governments.   The first  Arctic Caucus forum  held in  Barrow in                                                               
December   2010,  covered   common   issues   such  as   northern                                                               
development,  infrastructure,  search  and  rescue,  and  tourism                                                               
promotion.   As a  result, an Arctic  partnership for  growth has                                                               
been created  between Canada and  Alaska.  Mr. Todd  restated his                                                               
government's  support for  HJR  15, which  he  said will  promote                                                               
greater    regional   collaboration,    enhance   domestic    and                                                               
international markets,  leverage regional influence,  and achieve                                                               
continued economic growth while  maintaining the region's natural                                                               
beauty and environment.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:36:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON understood a second  Arctic Caucus meeting will take                                                               
place in Yellowknife in August.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:38:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked whether  the  government  of NWT  has                                                               
introduced or passed a similar resolution.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TODD said  he was unsure about a  formal resolution; however,                                                               
the  Arctic Caucus  has  been discussed  by  the legislature  and                                                               
there is strong  support from government officials.   In response                                                               
to Chair Herron,  he said the Arctic Caucus meeting  will be held                                                               
around August 19, 2011.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:40:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LESIL MCGUIRE informed the  committee that she and others                                                               
have been working  with PNWER for over a decade  in order to grow                                                               
the partnership  between Canada and  Alaska.  It is  fortunate to                                                               
"live right next  door" to another government  that shares valued                                                               
aspects such as democracy, rights  for women, the equality of all                                                               
people, the  development of resources, and  challenges with their                                                               
respective  federal governments.   She  thanked Chair  Herron for                                                               
his leadership at the first  Arctic Caucus meeting in Barrow, and                                                               
spoke of the  residual effects of that meeting.   Senator McGuire                                                               
stated her  support for HJR  15, and noted  that a copy  has been                                                               
provided to the U.S. Department of  State.  She opined the Arctic                                                               
Council and  the Arctic Caucus  are opportunities to  balance the                                                               
sensitivities  of the  indigenous  population, whale  migrations,                                                               
and development.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:43:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  declared the  Arctic Caucus  came about  because of                                                               
the leadership of Senator McGuire.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:44:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK turned  attention to page 2, line  12, of the                                                               
resolution  and asked  Senator McGuire  whether the  challenge of                                                               
providing  an adequate  education is  missing from  "the list  of                                                               
common problems."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MCGUIRE acknowledged  that many  issues were  brought up                                                               
through PNWER,  including "access  to education."   She suggested                                                               
that the committee  could add access to education to  the list of                                                               
challenges  on  page 2,  lines  12-18,  because the  delivery  of                                                               
distance education is a problem common to both governments.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HERRON  advised  that  a  conceptual  amendment  would  be                                                               
appropriate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:46:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  urged  the  addition  of  "and  workforce                                                               
development,"  to the  conceptual  amendment  because PNWER  also                                                               
recognizes this  as a common problem,  and it is closely  tied to                                                               
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HERRON  surmised  a  conceptual  amendment  could  include                                                               
education and workforce development.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK agreed.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  whether  a  representative of  the                                                               
Canadian  government  would  confirm  that  providing  access  to                                                               
education and workforce development are  issues for YT and NWT as                                                               
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:47:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DENIS  STEVENS,  Consul  General, Consulate  General  of  Canada,                                                               
confirmed that  those are issues  that are very important  to the                                                               
people  in  the  northern   territories  and  their  governments.                                                               
Although  the federal  government of  Canada is  not a  member of                                                               
PNWER,  it takes  a great  interest in  its proceedings,  and Mr.                                                               
Stevens attends PNWER meetings as an observer.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON also  noted that the Northern Waters  Task Force has                                                               
addressed  the issue  of  marine  pilots.   He  suggested that  a                                                               
conceptual amendment  could include "jurisdictional  licensing of                                                               
marine pilots in their respective countries."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:50:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON  moved  to   report  HJR  15,  Version  27-                                                               
LS0477\M,   as  amended,   out  of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being no  objection, CSHJR  15(EDT) was  reported from  the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Economic Development,  International Trade                                                               
and Tourism.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR 15 - Alaska Arctic Caucus - PNWER.pdf HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15
HJR 15 - Arctic Caucus Proceedings.pdf HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15
HJR 15 - LG testimony 2.22.11.docx HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15
HJR 15 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15
Canadian Consul General Denis Stevens Bio.doc HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
EDT - Consul Stevens Presentation - Canada and Alaska Partners for Growth (3.16.11).pdf HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15 - Fiscal Note (Zero).pdf HEDT 3/17/2011 10:15:00 AM
HJR 15