Legislature(2005 - 2006)

05/07/2005 06:12 PM FIN

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CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 102(FIN) am                                                                                            
     An Act repealing the Alaska  coastal management program;                                                                   
     relating  to an  extension  for review  and approval  of                                                                   
     revisions  to  the Alaska  coastal  management  program;                                                                   
     relating to reviews and modifications  by the Department                                                                   
     of  Natural  Resources;  relating  to  coastal  resource                                                                   
     district  policies; providing for  an effective  date by                                                                   
     amending  the effective  date of  sec. 45,  ch. 24,  SLA                                                                   
     2003; and providing for an effective date.                                                                                 
MELANIE  LESH, STAFF,  SENATOR GARY STEVENS,  noted that  the                                                                   
Alaska  Coastal Management  Program (ACMP)  is a  partnership                                                                   
between  federal, state,  and local  governments providing  a                                                                   
voice  in  federal decision-making.    Alaska  is one  of  34                                                                   
coastal  states  that  utilize the  program,  which  annually                                                                   
channels millions  of dollars in  federal grant money.   ACMP                                                                   
has helped guide  coastal development in Alaska  since it was                                                                   
enacted  in 1977  and without  the program,  State and  local                                                                   
governments  lose their  ability  to control  development  on                                                                   
federal land and  the outer continental shelf.   In addition,                                                                   
the State  will lose millions  in federal coastal  management                                                                   
planning money.                                                                                                                 
In  2003, HB  191  substantially  revised the  State  coastal                                                                   
program.   The federal Office  of Ocean and Coastal  Resource                                                                   
Management  (OCRM) must  approve  the revised  program.   The                                                                   
2003   legislation  included   state-imposed  deadlines   for                                                                   
revisions to local  coastal programs.  Coastal  districts are                                                                   
attempting  to  follow  the  statutory  directive  to  revise                                                                   
programs to  meet the new  requirements, but have  repeatedly                                                                   
said that they need more time to complete that process.                                                                         
Ms. Lesh noted that the version  before the Committee extends                                                                   
the existing statutory deadline  for district coastal program                                                                   
submissions by eight months and  a correlative delay in dates                                                                   
annulling  existing  standards  and program  until  March  1,                                                                   
2007.  The  extensions would ensure an orderly  and efficient                                                                   
transition to the new program.                                                                                                  
Ms. Lesh advised  that the House Resources  Committee amended                                                                   
the  bill  setting a  "kill  date"  ending the  Coastal  Zone                                                                   
Program entirely  if OCRM approval does not  occur by January                                                                   
1, 2006.  That  date is the deadline in which  the Department                                                                   
has  assured the  Legislature,  OCRM will  have approved  the                                                                   
(NEPA)   National  Environmental   Protection   Act  or   the                                                                   
Environmental  Impact  Statement  (EIS)  process of  the  new                                                                   
State  coastal  program.   That  section  puts in  place  the                                                                   
repealing  and sunset  clauses.   An amendment  in the  House                                                                   
Resources Committee  allowed those provisions to  take effect                                                                   
after  May 10,  2006, which  leaves the  Legislature time  to                                                                   
act, if  necessary,  to extend  the sunset  dates of the  old                                                                   
coastal management program.                                                                                                     
6:46:46 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE BALASH, STAFF, SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, pointed out that                                                                   
the House Resources Committee substitute made five changes:                                                                     
   ·    Extends the deadline in accordance with what the                                                                        
        Governor indicated he would support;                                                                                    
   ·    Provides for a sunset and audit four years after the                                                                    
        full implementation of the changes;                                                                                     
   ·    Adds language regarding the adoption by reference of                                                                    
        State statute regulations as well as federal                                                                            
   ·    Changed the old district programs; and                                                                                  
   ·    Provides a specific deadline for the Department to                                                                      
        update their "ABC" list.                                                                                                
6:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Croft  questioned a provision  indicating that                                                                   
the  entire  program  would  be  eliminated  if  the  federal                                                                   
government  did not approve  it.   Mr. Balash explained  that                                                                   
the  July  1   deadline  was   "keyed"  from  what  the  feds                                                                   
indicated they intended to.  It  takes approximately 14-weeks                                                                   
to complete an EIS.  Given the  January 1  date, there should                                                                   
be  enough time  for  Office of  Ocean  and Coastal  Resource                                                                   
Management (OCRM)  to engage in the commitments  they made to                                                                   
the State of Alaska.  The date  that the sunset and/or appeal                                                                   
takes  affect   is  May   10.      That  date   provides  the                                                                   
Legislature an entire session  to deal with the ramifications                                                                   
if OCRM fails to  approve the program.  He indicated  that it                                                                   
resulted  from  Section 22,  crafted  in the  House  Resource                                                                   
6:51:47 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Croft understood  that the January 1  date was                                                                   
not problematic.   He asked  why the  State would want  to be                                                                   
placed in  that consequence,  given that  the program  is the                                                                   
only  way  which  the  State   can  have  impact  on  federal                                                                   
decision-making.   Mr.  Balash explained  that date had  been                                                                   
chosen because  other dates in  earlier sections of  the bill                                                                   
returned  to March  1   either 2006  or 2007.    In order  to                                                                   
satisfy the  Governor's requirement for the  6-months, grants                                                                   
additional time for districts  to revise plans for review and                                                                   
6:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDY BATES, DEPUTY DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT                                                                   
& PERMITTING,  DEPARTMENT  OF NATURAL  RESOURCES, offered  to                                                                   
answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Meyer  asked about  the  fiscal  note.   Mr.  Bates                                                                   
explained that by extending the  coastal district submissions                                                                   
deadline, it  would extend the  time frame that it  takes the                                                                   
Department  to review and  approve plans.   The revision  was                                                                   
supposed to occur  June 30  2006.  There are  currently funds                                                                   
to  accommodate staff  review  coastal district  plans.   The                                                                   
remaining money runs out June  6,  2006.  In order to be able                                                                   
to  accommodate  and  review those  decisions,  the  Division                                                                   
needs three staff for eight months  as requested in the note.                                                                   
6:55:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer  noted  an  amendment  included  in  member's                                                                   
packets, which  would extend the  program.  He asked  if that                                                                   
would increase  costs.  Mr.  Bates replied that  Amendment #1                                                                   
would not impact the fiscal note.                                                                                               
6:56:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Chenault  questioned if the employees  are currently                                                                   
on staff.                                                                                                                       
6:56:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Bates corrected previous comments,  noting that Amendment                                                                   
#1 significantly impacts the note.                                                                                              
6:57:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Holm asked if the  employees were currently on                                                                   
staff.  Mr. Bates stated they  are currently on staff and the                                                                   
request keeps them there for an additional eight months.                                                                        
JUDY   BRADY,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  ALASKA   OIL  AND   GAS                                                                   
ASSOCIATION (AOGA),  ANCHORAGE, stated that "they  could live                                                                   
with the version  of the bill" adopted by the  House Resource                                                                   
Committee.    She  noted  that   AOGA  had  opposed  possible                                                                   
extensions for a  number of reasons and that  they would like                                                                   
to see HB 191  implemented.  Ms. Brady added  that AOGO would                                                                   
support the bill but could not support any other extension.                                                                     
6:59:29 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer  inquired  why  they would  not  support  any                                                                   
further extensions.   Ms. Brady advised that  AOGA would like                                                                   
to  see OCRM  finish their  work.   The  initial program  was                                                                   
voluntary.     The  needs   of  the   program  have   changed                                                                   
dramatically  in the past  thirty years.   Passage of  HB 191                                                                   
recognizes the  differences and  refocuses the program.   She                                                                   
noted delays on  the State side.  OCRM has not  supported any                                                                   
of the changes and has deliberately  "dragged their feet" for                                                                   
Representative  Croft  inquired about  the  current need  for                                                                   
coastal zone management plans.   Ms. Brady explained that the                                                                   
State  was interested  in  that  program during  the  1970's;                                                                   
however, today, those needs have  changed and HB 191 reflects                                                                   
that.   Some of the enforceable  policies are now  enacted in                                                                   
State,   federal   and/or   municipal   law.      There   are                                                                   
implementation  questions; AOGA does  not want to  go another                                                                   
three years before anything happens.   She emphasized that it                                                                   
should not be a federal program.                                                                                                
7:04:34 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Croft   inquired  how  did   "threatening  to                                                                   
withdraw from  the program" affect the relationship  with the                                                                   
federal government.   He  thought that  would be illegal  and                                                                   
problematic.   Ms. Brady  commented that  their attorney  had                                                                   
evaluated  OCRM's  arguments,  finding  them wrong  in  every                                                                   
instance.  No other  state in the Union has been  held to the                                                                   
standard that Alaska has.  The  Alaska program is a "jewel in                                                                   
the crown" of the federal agency  and coastal management is a                                                                   
big deal.   She believed  the federal government  would never                                                                   
let  the program  go and  that a  long implementation  period                                                                   
would negatively affect and jeopardize the program.                                                                             
7:07:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer  summarized  that  AOGA  supports  the  House                                                                   
Resources Committee date and does  not support the amendment.                                                                   
Representative   Weyhrauch  MOVED   to   ADOPT  a   corrected                                                                   
Amendment  #1, Line  3 and  Line 7,  deleting "February"  and                                                                   
inserting  "March"   and  Line   11,  deleting   "March"  and                                                                   
inserting "April".  Vice Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch requested  that the record  reflect                                                                   
the true and accurate costs.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON addressed Amendment  #1.  He  spoke in                                                                   
support of  SB 102,  which allows the  State to impose  their                                                                   
standards on  federal land.   Current dates indicated  in the                                                                   
bill  allow the  Legislature  time to  act.   If  it ends  on                                                                   
January 1, the Legislature is removed from the loop.                                                                            
Representative  Seaton spoke to  the fiscal note,  clarifying                                                                   
that  the way  in which  the program  works  is in  six-month                                                                   
intervals.  Beginning  July 1,  the money could  only be used                                                                   
for implementation  of the preliminary approved  plan.  There                                                                   
is nothing  in regulation that  prevents the local  districts                                                                   
from continuing  to use funds  for developing  local district                                                                   
plans.  He highlighted  the process of review  and asked when                                                                   
it "goes away".                                                                                                                 
7:15:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Seaton   observed  it  would   leave  without                                                                   
approval. The  federal money would  remain and then  could be                                                                   
used for other activities for  local costal district plans to                                                                   
be written.   The federal money  cannot be used  for approval                                                                   
implementation after the initial six months.                                                                                    
7:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Bates  added that  the  Amendment  could result  in  the                                                                   
fiscal note  being increased by  $467 thousand dollars.   The                                                                   
program received $2.8 million  federal dollars.  Amendment #1                                                                   
would provide  a two-month  extension.   He provided  a brief                                                                   
history.    OCRA has  been  preparing  for the  past  several                                                                   
months  for  the  preliminary  approval  of  July  1,   2006.                                                                   
Preliminary approval  only extends  the time for  six months.                                                                   
January  1  would  be the date  deadline in  which the  State                                                                   
could no  longer spend  monies on  the implementation  of the                                                                   
coastal program.   By extending the deadlines  as proposed in                                                                   
Amendment #1, the State agency  could access those funds.  In                                                                   
order to supplement  the money to guarantee  that the program                                                                   
works toward  change, the fiscal  note represents  the amount                                                                   
needed by the Division to keep employees working.                                                                               
7:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Croft questioned  why the federal  government                                                                   
would want to "shut off" the money.                                                                                             
7:22:52 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Bates  responded it is a  federal law, which  only allows                                                                   
for federal approval  for the six months; there is  no way to                                                                   
bend that extension past the six  months.  He reiterated that                                                                   
the State could no longer expend the federal funds.                                                                             
In response to  further queries by Representative  Croft, Mr.                                                                   
Bates pointed out  that HB 191 change coastal  management and                                                                   
requires  implementation  of the  regulations.   The  coastal                                                                   
management program  is codified in HB 191.   The State cannot                                                                   
choose  to  alternatively  implement   another  program  that                                                                   
either the  Legislature has not  embraced or acted upon.   If                                                                   
OCRM does  not finish their work  by January 1,   2006, there                                                                   
are  no  more federal  funds  to  continue  implementing  the                                                                   
Mr. Bates added, the Administration opposes the amendment.                                                                      
7:26:07 PM                                                                                                                    
In response to a question by Representative  Croft, Mr. Bates                                                                   
noted  that  on  April  14,   2005,  a  letter  was  received                                                                   
detailing  the  final  changes  needed for  approval  of  the                                                                   
coastal program.   The Division  is in the process  of making                                                                   
those regulatory changes.  He  provided information regarding                                                                   
timelines needed  for preliminary  approval.  Presently,  the                                                                   
program is basically approvable.                                                                                                
7:28:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Bates commented on why the  Administration objects to the                                                                   
time  extensions.    The  Governor  has  committed  to  three                                                                   
timeline extensions for coastal management:                                                                                     
   ·    Extending the State standards                                                                                           
   ·    Extending the revised coastal plan deadline by six                                                                      
   ·    Extending the district plan sunset deadline by six                                                                      
The extensions were tiered off  in HB 191 and included in the                                                                   
House Resources Committee version,  the one the supports.  He                                                                   
advised  that  the Division  and  the Administration  do  not                                                                   
support Amendment #1.                                                                                                           
   ·    OCRM has  been preparing  for eight  months and  when                                                                   
        preliminary approval is  offered, it would  be within                                                                   
        that time frame.  On April 14  and  18,  an agreement                                                                   
        was made regarding  the need for additional  steps to                                                                   
        get e ACMP into a form under federal law.                                                                               
   ·    It is  expected  that  preliminary approval  will  be                                                                   
        made by July 1, 2005.                                                                                                   
   ·    OCRM has  confirmed that  they can  and will  approve                                                                   
        NEPA within the six-month time frame.                                                                                   
   ·    Without a  deadline,  it  is  an invitation  for  the                                                                   
        federal government  to  delay approval  and hold  the                                                                   
        agency hostage.                                                                                                         
   ·    Extending  the  deadline   will  cost  the   State  a                                                                   
        significant amount of money.                                                                                            
   ·    The amendment forces  the Legislature  into emergency                                                                   
        action next year.  It is important  to recognize that                                                                   
        the structure  of  the committee  substitute  without                                                                   
        Amendment  #1,  provides  the  Legislature  authority                                                                   
        needed for approval of the coastal program.                                                                             
   ·    The Legislature  would have  the session to  evaluate                                                                   
        the position.                                                                                                           
7:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
IN FAVOR:      Hawker, Holm, Kelly, Moses, Stoltze, Foster,                                                                     
               Meyer, Chenault                                                                                                  
OPPOSED:       Joule, Croft                                                                                                     
Representative Weyhrauch was not present for the vote.                                                                          
The MOTION FAILED (2-8).                                                                                                        
7:35:42 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Croft    stated   for   the    record   that                                                                   
Administration's  the  position would  hurt  all the  coastal                                                                   
communities.   He commented on  the risk damage and  hoped it                                                                   
would survive without too much trouble for the State.                                                                           
7:36:56 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Foster MOVED to  REPORT HCS  CS SB  102 (RES)                                                                   
out  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and  with                                                                   
the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being NO OBJECTION, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
HCS CS SB 102 (RES) was reported  out of Committee with a "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with  zero note #2 by the Department                                                                   
of Commerce, Community  & Economic Development,  zero note #3                                                                   
by  the Department  of Administration,  zero note  #4 by  the                                                                   
Department of  Environmental Conservation and fiscal  note #5                                                                   
by the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                         
7:37:22 PM                                                                                                                    

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