Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/03/1995 08:45 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATE BILL 93 (RES)                                                         
       "An Act  relating to the  disposal of state  land along                 
       the Dalton  Highway;  and providing  for  an  effective                 
  SENATOR MIKE MILLER testified in support of SB 93 (RES).  He                 
  pointed out that in the last  session the Legislature passed                 
  SB 210 which  provided for  the reauthorization of  existing                 
  leases in three  development nodes along the  Dalton Highway                 
  including  Deadhorse,  Yukon  River  Crossing and  Coldfoot.                 
  Future  non-residential  land  disposal  at  Deadhorse   was                 
  allowed in that legislation.                                                 
  He continued that with the recent  opening of the highway to                 
  public  traffic,  the  need  for   additional  services  has                 
  expanded.    SB 93  would allow  the  State to  proceed with                 
  future non-residential  disposal  in each  of the  remaining                 
  four nodes along the route for development of various public                 
  facilities.  The legislation is structured to allow disposal                 
  only within the identified nodes which have existing pads so                 
  that  orderly development is maintained at regular intervals                 
  along the highway.   He concluded,  as  with any state  land                 
  disposal, all proposed sales  or leases will require a  Land                 
  Use  Plan, subject  to  procedures set  forth  in law  which                 
  provide for thorough public review.                                          
  Representative Brown asked how close Stephens Village was to                 
  the  development  areas.    Senator  Miller  did  not  know.                 
  Representative Brown asked if any of the village areas  were                 
  in opposition to the legislation.   Senator Miller responded                 
  that the  only village which  testified was the  North Slope                 
  Borough and that their concerns have been addressed.                         
  Representative Martin  asked  if the  current lessee's  were                 
  being protected.  Senator Miller  understood that they would                 
  continue to be protected.   He stated that the  Tanana Chief                 
  Conference supported the  legislation.  Representative Brown                 
  asked  about  the  litigation  proceedings  filed  over  the                 
  opening of the Haul  Road.  Senator Miller replied  that the                 
  Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the State.                               
  Representative Brown  inquired  if  public  maintenance  and                 
  safety for the  road use had  been addressed in the  budget.                 
  Senator Miller replied that in opening the road, eligibility                 
  for federal funds would increase.                                            
  TERESA SAGER,  STAFF, SENATOR  MILLER, explained that  since                 
  the decision was made to coordinate efforts, the Departments                 
  of Natural  Resources, Transportation and  Public Facilities                 
  and Public Safety  have been working cooperatively  in order                 
  that  all  public needs  will  be  met.   The  Department of                 
  Transportation and  Public Facilities (DOTPF)  has indicated                 
  that  they  do not  anticipate  more than  an  additional 50                 
  vehicles on the road  per day during the peak  summer months                 
  and  that  they  do  not  intend  to  change  their  current                 
  maintenance plan.                                                            
  Representative Brown asked  the total  expected cost to  the                 
  State.  Ms. Sager pointed out  that the proposed legislation                 
  has zero fiscal notes.   Representative Therriault commented                 
  that the cost of opening the road should not be tied  to the                 
  legislation as the  road is currently open.   Representative                 
  Brown emphasized that  there will be a  cost associated with                 
  developing the area  in order to  make it possible for  more                 
  people to travel the road.                                                   
  ALASKA    ENVIRONMENTAL     CENTER,    FAIRBANKS,     echoed                 
  Representative  Brown's   concern  and  spoke   against  the                 
  proposed  legislation.    He  pointed   out  that  there  is                 
  currently insufficient funding for law enforcement and  that                 
  there have been  long standing objections to  the opening of                 
  the Dalton Highway.  He  projected that SB 93 was  a portion                 
  of  the  adjournment  package.    Representative  Therriault                 
  reiterated that the road  is currently open, which had  been                 
  approved by the court.                                                       
  Representative Navarre asserted that  statewide services are                 
  currently inadequate.  Road maintenance has been underfunded                 
  for many years.  He stressed  that the Legislature should be                 
  prepared to cover future costs  associated with the proposed                 
  legislation.  He  stressed that these  will be new costs  to                 
  the State.    Representative  Navarre  urged  the  Committee                 
  members to recognize that there will  be great fiscal impact                 
  to DOTPF in passage of the bill.                                             
  Representative   Brown   agreed   with   the   comments   of                 
  Representative Navarre  and noted  that there  also had  not                 
  been  a fiscal note  attached for  the Department  of Public                 
  Safety.  She noted that Department  is currently not able to                 
  deal   with   addressing  adequate   service  needs.     The                 
  legislation will  add increased pressure on that Department.                 
  Representative  Brown asked if  not opening the  road was an                 
  option at  this time.   Representative  Therriault explained                 
  that  the court ruled that  if public money  is spent on the                 
  road, it must be open to the public.                                         
  Representative  Navarre  asked  if a  fiscal  note  had been                 
  solicited from DOTPF.   Ms. Sager  advised that one had  not                 
  been requested, noting that there had  been a position paper                 
  provided  by  that  agency  indicating   that  they  do  not                 
  anticipate  fiscal  impact.     She  added  that   when  DNR                 
  recommended  the  legislation,  they  requested to  see  the                 
  development  occur  in   nodes  in  order  to   avoid  strip                 
  development.   DNR  noted that  the  nodes had  been  evenly                 
  spaced along the highway in order to avoid the problems that                 
  come with strip development.                                                 
  Representative   Navarre   reiterated   that   DOTPF   would                 
  experience costs associated with passage  of the legislation                 
  and urged Committee members to consider adequate funding for                 
  that Department.                                                             
  Representative Mulder MOVED to report HCS CS SB 93 (RES) out                 
  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.   There  being NO OBJECTIONS,  it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
  HCS CS SB  93 (RES) was reported out of Committee with a "do                 
  pass"  recommendations  and with  zero  fiscal notes  by the                 
  Department of Fish  and Game and  the Department of  Natural                 
  Resources dated 2/28/95.                                                     

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