Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/26/1995 08:10 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 212 - TIMBER MANAGEMENT Number 076 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, PRIME SPONSOR, said HB 212 was introduced at the request of constituents from the timber industry in Fairbanks. These people are operators of small lumber businesses in the local communities. She stated their livelihoods have been impacted by the overly complicated procedures they must endure to secure timber from the state. It is not the lack of the resource that has impacted them. Rather, it is the inability of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to allow the harvesting of this resource. She pointed out current statutes are such that the five-year planning and three-year planning updates required by Title 38 are totally impracticable for the continuation of an ongoing industry. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES told committee members for a number of years, the Fairbanks Industrial Development Corporation has worked with and recruited timber companies to come to the Fairbanks area and set up shop. Thus far, they have not been successful because of the over restrictive policies mandated by Title 38. She stressed without the ability to be guaranteed a supply of timber over the long term, no one will make the capital investment necessary to develop this industry. She said this long-standing irritation has deprived her community and other communities across the state from developing the basic timber industries necessary for jobs and a healthy economic environment. She felt HB 212 addresses the minimum changes necessary to ensure the survival of the timber industry in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES passed out copies of a letter from the Interior Alaska Forest Association. She stated the most important part of HB 212 is the reestablishment of the original purposes in the original Forest Practices Act (FPA) which were then deleted at a later date. She said when the changes were made to the FPA, there was no input made from the Interior foresters. The people on the committees were not picked by the Governor or state agencies but were picked by public groups. She pointed out the steering committee was supposed to be a compromise of representation for those affected by the FPA. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said there were five representatives of forest owners and operators, i.e. those regulated by the forest practices, on the steering committee including three representatives of private timber landowners, one municipality with timber ownership, and a representative from the Alaska Loggers Association. She stated the members were Sealaska Corporation from Juneau, Klukwan Forest Products from Skagway, Koncor Forest Products near Kodiak, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and George Woodbury from Ketchikan for the Alaska Loggers Association. She stressed none of the groups were from the Interior. She pointed out the forest industry representatives were the private forest landowners along the coast and none of the forest industry representatives were from companies who depend on state forest land. She reiterated there was no representation at all from the Interior. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES felt it was important to have input from the Interior. She stressed she is not here to rape the environment. She said there is a need to be cautious of the environment and protect what the state has for all of the people, for all of the uses. She stated it is also important to make a living and the way to make a living is with the state's resources. She added it is important when making a living off the resources of the state, to do it in an environmentally sound way. She observed that the contents of HB 212 accomplishes that goal. Not making a living off the resources is not the way to protect the environment. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated HB 212 does what needs to be done at the very minimum. She felt there is also a need to build a better working relationship with the environmental community. She noted the Interior is fortunate to have the Northern Environmental Center which is more understanding on the issues than environmental agencies in other parts of the state are. However, there is a need to work more to ensure there is an ability to do some economic activity, including timber, which is a resource that can be developed. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said in talking with people all over the state, the one thing which distresses people more than anything is the fact the state cuts trees and ships them round to the outside. There is no way to avoid shipping trees round outside until a sufficient amount of timber can be harvested to establish an in- state value-added processor. She stressed that is where the problem lies. She stated if a sufficient amount of the resource is not allowed to provide the ability to financially and feasibly establish value-added processing in the state, trees will continue to be shipped outside in the round. She noted she has taken it upon herself to determine how she might be able to stop shipping trees to the outside. She pointed out if she were to stop that, she would stop existing industry in the state because the outside is their only market. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated in the upper Tanana Valley, there is a group of people trying to put together a milling of white spruce and birch hardwood into lumber, and all of their feasibility studies are completed. She stated the process can only happen if there is timber available. She felt if some of the state's economic woes are going to be solved, there is a need to establish industry in an environmentally sound way. CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted there is a plan to work on timber issues during the interim and have committee hearings in the Fairbanks area. HB 261 - STATE/PRIVATE/MUNI TIMBER OPERATIONS/SALES Number 231 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY, PRIME SPONSOR, stated HB 212 is a bill to foster and nurture the local, small timber using consumption industry in Alaska. He explained HB 261 is intended to encourage and nurture a large industrial use of the state's timber base. The premise of HB 261 is to establish a point where harvesting timber is the highest and best use of the state's forests. He said what needs to be looked at when utilizing the state's resources is the fact that about $700 million more is being spent on state services than what is being brought in through reoccurring revenues. He stressed the state has to build its tax base if it is going to continue funding education and other quality services which the people of the state enjoy, appreciate, and want. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said it was important to note there are three areas in the state that do not have trouble funding local services, including schools. Those areas include the North Slope Borough due to the industrial tax base created by Prudhoe Bay; the Unalaska area due to the large per capita industrial base at Dutch Harbor; and Valdez, due to the large per capita industrial tax base in the Valdez area. He stated other areas of the state having good industrial tax bases are able to raise a tax base and provide essential government services. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated those areas in the state not having a tax base, create a tremendous problem for the rest of the state to finance basic government services. He said the purpose of HB 261 is to encourage industry to look at Alaska's timber resources, to tell the industry that the state is a reliable supplier of timber resources, to encourage industry to come to Alaska and invest in the state, and to let industry know the state will work with them to harvest the resources to the benefit of everyone. Number 311 BONNIE WILLIAMS, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated when driving to the teleconference, she drove past a refuge that is used daily by Fairbanks citizens and tourists year round. The refuge provides recreation, sports facilities, education, and wildlife enhancement. She said the only reason the refuge exists is because of a clear cut on a large amount of land. She stated in regard to the FPA, multiple use has turned out to mean that everything listed is expected to take place simultaneously and continuously, except for logging. Logging is allowed only if it does not interfere with any of the other uses. MS. WILLIAMS felt there is a need to address and rephrase how the state handles and deals with multiple use. She state HB 212 and HB 261 attempt to accomplish that. She said there has been an enormous growth over the past two years, within state and federal government, in creating and embracing a decision making process which assures there will never be a decision. How logging is treated fits right into that mode. She noted not making a decision is making a decision. In case of logging, it is a decision (indiscernible) of irresponsibility to carry it too far. MS. WILLIAMS said the state has the responsibility to properly manage its natural resources for the benefit of all Alaskans for the maximum sustained yield as provided by the State Constitution. She stated with the paralysis on logging, management is also paralyzed. She noted the state does not manage logging, (indiscernible) are not benefitted, and there is no effort at sustained yield because there is no yield. The state has the responsibility to provide a healthy economy, including good paying jobs and to the extent possible, import substitutions for all those goods being imported to the state from somewhere else. MS. WILLIAMS said the state has the responsibility to produce, not just consume. She urged the committee and the House to carefully consider HB 212 and HB 261 and approve them both. Number 377 TYLER CONKLE, REPRESENTATIVE, INTERIOR ALASKA FOREST ASSOCIATION, testified via teleconference and stated Representative Williams' bill, HB 121, and recent proposed amendments to HB 268 concerning funding for timber salvage sales are an excellent attempt to ensure a supply of timber and utilize an otherwise wasted resource. He stressed the Interior timber industry is very concerned with the slow response to HB 212. He noted HB 212 is crucial to ongoing small operators, as well as any future development. He said without a primary use statement included in the statutes, specifically defining the state forests as a timber base for industry, the industry will continue to be dependent on salvage bills and increased funding to clean up a dying and bug infested forest. MR. CONKLE said the state forests are the only land classification not protected by a primary use. He felt there is more concern with parks and recreation than with jobs, families, and homes. He quoted from HB 261, "The prime object of a management plan shall be the highest and best use of the forest by timber production under the principles of sustained yield. The management plan must consider and allow the uses described in (g)..." He stated those guaranteed uses within the state forests were once lifted in the statutes. The 14 uses were deleted, without representation from the Interior, during the revisions made to the FPA in 1990. MR. CONKLE stated sustained yield and multiple use management are the guidelines to sound management. He said timber harvesting will not exclude any other use but it is important to not allow timber harvesting to be excluded from the state forests original intent. He urged the committee to support HB 212 and keep it moving through the current session. He urged the committee to consider HB 261 and keep it moving also. Number 422 JIM DREW, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and said state forest land is a resource that can provide both economic and social benefits in Alaska. Currently, the sales of state-owned timber that create new wealth and jobs in Alaska are bogged down in excessive, time consuming, and costly procedures. He stated HB 212 or HB 261 will remedy this deficiency. He urged passage of the legislation. MR. DREW told committee members that modifications presented in Sec. 2., AS 38.05.112(b) in HB 212 on page 1 are important because they simplify procedures and reduce the time and cost for preparing site-specific forest land use plans for individual timber sales. At the same time, the preparation of required, regional forest land use plans will provide determinations of immediate and long-term effects of individual and collective activities on the timber base and on other resources and uses now designated in AS 38.05.112(b). MR. DREW said in Sec. 4., Sec. 38.05.113 in HB 212, new text is as follows: "The timber sale schedule must provide a timeline that identifies timber sales, their amounts, and their locations, and must be sufficient to provide the public and the forest products industry with a basis to comment on future sale offerings." He recommended deletion of the words, "and must be sufficient." In the absence of a clear definition of "sufficient," endless debate on what is sufficient could lead to continuing delays and increased costs to the state to administer timber sales. MR. DREW stated Sec. 7., AS 41.17.200 of HB 212 on page 4 clearly defines the purpose of the state forests in Alaska, i.e., multiple use management. He said with 11 million acres of state land classified for parks and recreation, it is entirely reasonable to designate less than 2 million acres in the Tanana Valley State Forest for multiple use management emphasizing the production, utilization, and replenishment of timber resources while perpetuating personal, commercial, and other beneficial uses of the resources. MR. DREW told committee members in his view, HB 212 could be improved by adding to it Section 1., AS 38.05.115(a) as prepared for reenactment in HB 261 on page 1. In addition, he felt HB 212 could be further improved by adding Section 6., AS 41.17.200 as amended in HB 261 on page 3. He stated that addition would bring private sector experience and judgement to forest management. If private sector businesses are to produce the quantity and quality of wood products necessary to operate in a competitive market, they must have access to sufficient timber to make their enterprises cost effective. MR. DREW stated he strongly urges passage of HB 212 with the modifications suggested, or the passage of HB 261. He said if renewable timber resources are harvested on a sustained yield basis, as proposed in the legislation, then values desired by nonconsumptive users will be maintained. Number 487 JOHNNY GONZALES, MAYOR, DENALI BOROUGH, testified via teleconference and stated HB 212 and HB 261 are important to the future of Alaska. He agreed with Representative Vezey's sponsor statement. He said allowing forest timber to rot or burn and then harvest it for human consumption is a horrible waste. Those who harvest the timber cannot make a living because (indiscernible). He expressed support for HB 212 and HB 261. MR. GONZALES applauded Representatives Vezey and James initiative in trying to do something with this product in Alaska. He thought the state could produce timber in an environmentally sound manner. He said the Denali Borough (indiscernible) and has been working on this for approximately two years and hopes to receive the land soon. The only tax base the Denali Borough has is the (indiscernible) tax. He noted with the land to be received soon, it is hoped there will be an opportunity to harvest the trees and make money in order to support those things the borough is supposed to support, particularly schools. Number 547 DR. WILLIAM WOOD, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and thanked the committee for hearing HB 212 and HB 261, which will bring the FPA in the right direction and reestablish the intent (indiscernible) of the State Constitution. He said after carefully reviewing HB 212 and HB 261, he endorses the statements made earlier, especially comments made by Ms. Williams and Mr. Drew. He is confident the state can make a wise use of the great resource available. He stated when the accent is just on keeping what the state has, there is a need to keep adding to the base. Otherwise, the base will ultimately disappear. He urged passage of HB 212 and HB 261. Number 570 BOB ZACHEL, OWNER, ALASKA BIRCH WORKS, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and read a list of people who have requested a negotiated timber sale due to the lack of logs for their business. According to the Department of Forestry's records, there were twelve negotiated sales in 1990, eight in 1991, three in 1992, four in 1993, and three in 1994. The prediction for 1995 is three. He said the list of names read contained 13, which means 10 people will not have a timber sale. MR. ZACHEL stated the FPA of 1990 took a system which did work and changed it to a system that does not work. He pointed out that in a public meeting on March 25, 1995, the DNR's Deputy Director of Forestry, Marty Welbourn, was asked if it was possible, under existing law, for people such as him to get timber sales on less than a two years notice. The short answer was no. There are no provisions in the FPA of 1990 for people like him. He felt the reason there is no provision for him in the FPA of 1990 is because he had no representation. He thought if he had been represented, he would not be fighting for his economic survival. MR. ZACHEL stressed if someone would show him who represented him on the steering committee, he would publicly apologize and shut up. He did not feel it was asking too much to have representation on a piece of legislation that made major administrative changes in the way he makes a living. He said HB 212 gives him back some of what was taken away. He pointed out if any one person was given veto power over timber sales, there would be no timber sales as there will always be someone who wants to go for a walk, pick berries, use the trails, etc., in the state forests. He stated he considers all those uses to be legitimate uses. However, there must be some place where the small operators have priority. At some point, there is no compromise because he cannot cut down one-half of a tree. MR. ZACHEL stated currently the large companies export everything they cut and the environmental groups want to save the rest for large condominiums for spruce beetles. He felt local needs should be first in line for the resource, yet they are not even being considered. He said the Tanana Valley State Forest needs to be managed to provide a wide range of timber sizes. He noted it is not possible to get tree sized six inch logs from a spruce tree 20 inches in diameter or 2 by 12s out of a 10 inch tree. The trees used today (indiscernible) make terrible dog sleds and vice versa. MR. ZACHEL pointed out the salvage timber bill recently passed will likely provide some short-term relief. However, what he does and other small operators do is not all salvage. There is a need for a steady, flexible supply of good quality logs. What they do can and should stand on its own merits and have its own place in the Tanana Valley State Forest. He said he considers what he does to be economically, socially, and environmentally responsible. He stated he is sending a list of names of most of his customers over the past three years. The list contains the names of 105 individuals and 20 businesses. MR. ZACHEL stated he needs logs. He said (indiscernible) but denies access to the Tanana Valley State Forest to those who use his products. He expressed support for HB 212 but has not taken a good look at HB 261, so he will refrain from endorsing that bill at this time. He commented the Tanana Valley State Forest is not being seen as a means to balance the state budget for the next twenty years. The development which needs to take place, needs to be taken with an eye for sustainability and the advantage of the local community and the general population of the state. Number 630 PETE SHEPHERD, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated he supports the basic intent of HB 212 and HB 261. He said the bills contain significant changes in language essential to management of timber resources in the Tanana Valley State Forest. The intent is to elevate the sustainable harvest as the best and most beneficial use, while assuring other uses are properly prioritized. He pointed out the reasons for the changes are obvious and have arisen from industries and resource management's frustration with unsatisfactory law. MR. SHEPHERD stated Interior forests are a product of disturbance. The lack of catastrophic events in past decades, mainly wildfire, has led to increasing decadence in forest stands and other habitats. Consequently, the biotic potential of the Tanana Valley State Forest has declined. He said professionally managed forest harvests can substitute for the absence of wildfire regimes and would result in earlier successional growth favorable to wildlife diversity and abundance, along with regrowth and replenishment of forests for the future. MR. SHEPHERD said as a professional wildlife biologist, he is concerned with the current lack of wildfire. Interior forests are losing the capacity to sustain viable populations of many fauna. Forest practices can be utilized to emulate natural successional sequences which provide shelter and food for these species. He stressed sound forest harvest practices should benefit many uses of the Tanana Valley State Forest for perpetuity. Number 654 ART GRISWOLD, NORTH POLE, testified via teleconference and stated he was not present to speak as an expert on timber harvesting, etc., but as a father of eight children. He said he is trying to determine whether or not his children have a future living in the state. He asked if the state does not develop some of its renewable natural resources and get something going, he did not know what is going to be left for his children to make a living with. If these resources are not developed, the children will be forced to leave the state to earn a living. He felt if the state's natural resources are not developed and the industries that can support Alaska's economy are not developed, the state will go down the tube. ED PACKEE, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated he strongly supports HB 212 and the concepts in HB 261. He thought the two bills should be brought together as one bill. He felt there should also be an attempt to bring together all of the forestry related legislation into one place. At the timber meeting recently held in Fairbanks, he thought everyone was at a bingo parlor because the state forester kept talking about certain regulations, using their numbers. He noted no one can keep track of those numbers unless they are a politician or an administrator. MR. PACKEE said he supports HB 212 because it has the original intent Senator Bettye Fahrenkamp had when she created the Tanana Valley State Forest legislation. He stated somewhere along the line, an idea has developed that humans have no place in the forest except to walk around and comment on its beauty. He noted a famed ecologist and forester once stated that in an ecosystem management approach, man has to be considered a part of nature. MR. PACKEE pointed out in the beetle kill area on the Kenai Peninsula, fire breaks are being put in. The fire breaks cost $1,100 at a minimum to the public. He said if the timber would have been logged, the only costs would have been the reforestation effort. TAPE 95-56, SIDE B Number 000 MR. PACKEE said his idea of the Tanana Valley State Forest is not a Fairbanks forest but the entire valley's forest. He objects to outsiders trying to tell the state how to manage its land. He stated there are many good environmentalists but when he hears an organization publicly state one-half of their membership is from outside the state and they are trying to dictate the management style, he has a problem. Number 017 BILL ROBERTSON, REPRESENTATIVE, GREATER FAIRBANKS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, testified via teleconference and expressed support for HB 212 and HB 261. He said the two bills provide minimal steps toward creating a timber industry in Alaska. He reminded everyone the state has over (indiscernible) million acres of land in Alaska. He felt there should be a way to use a small part of the land to benefit man. He pointed out man and woman are part of the ecosystem, as well as all of the rest of the critters living on the land. Important to the ecosystem is having means to sustain lives and provide jobs. He stated the only means of sustaining the job base is to develop the state's natural resources, including timber. MR. ROBERTSON recalled Ms. Williams had commented on the stagnation in government through planning, planning, planning and doing nothing. He said in his former employment with the federal government, he can attest that is true. He noted there was a joke in his agency at one time that the way to stop action on any particular project was to plan it to death with studies, public meetings, etc. He urged committee members to pass HB 212 and HB 261. Number 055 JOSH MOORE, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated he has twenty years of experience of gazing thoughtfully at mechanisms (indiscernible). He said present regulations governing timber sales in Alaska (indiscernible) and only the legislature can be the mechanic to fix it. He suggested starting with AS 38.05.112 and AS 38.05.115. He stated he views the status quo as the seven P's...perpetual public planning process postpones production permanently. LYNN LEVENGOOD, REPRESENTATIVE, ALASKA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (AWCA), testified via teleconference and stated Alaska's Constitution requires management of the state's renewable resources for maximum sustained yield. He stated that is an affirmative requirement which not only allows harvest but requires harvest for sustained yield. He said this mandate does not allow the curtailment of logging based upon a perceived conflict with other users. The Constitution calls for sustained yield, not a perpetual argument and demagoguery. MR. LEVENGOOD said the word conservation is defined as a wise use of the state's resources. The preservationists desire is to preserve everything and harvest nothing. They claim their opposition is based upon a perceived risk for which they demand guarantees that no harm will occur if harvest is allowed. He wondered if those people do not send their children to school because there is no guarantee of a safe arrival. MR. LEVENGOOD stated the AWCA applauds HB 212 and HB 261 and the efforts promoted in the bills. He said timber harvest benefits wildlife. The large clear cutting of the past decade in the Delta area has benefitted bison, moose, and waterfowl to great degrees and the human resident population of Interior Alaska. He felt the two bills need to be passed and move forward. Number 129 SYLVIA WARD, REPRESENTATIVE, NORTHERN ALASKA ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER (NAEC), testified via teleconference and expressed opposition to HB 212 and HB 261. Founded in 1971, NAEC represents 1,300 members and remains committed to the sustainable multiple use of forests on state lands and the perpetuation of those uses and values. She said NAEC supports logging as one of the legitimate uses of the forest, but believes that of the many potential and actual uses of multiple use state lands, large-scale logging remains one of the few which has the potential to destroy other interests, values, and uses. MS. WARD said HB 212 and HB 261 will only help Alaska repeat the past mistakes of other communities. She felt the community is not prepared to suffer from the consequences of ill-considered decisions leading into the maw of large-scale export logging. She stated the land and the outdoor lifestyles are treasured and there is an intention to raise families there. For those reasons, NAEC knows the committee will carefully consider the consequences of allowing HB 212 and HB 261 to be enacted into law. MS. WARD stated HB 212 is touted as a small loggers bill by its sponsors, and although NAEC agrees that sections of the bill may help small operations, the overall effect of the legislation will be to open up forest land throughout the entire state to destructive large-scale logging. NAEC objects to the provisions in HB 212, Section 7, which change the primary purpose of the state forests from one of multiple use, where all interests have equal consideration in the planning, to timber production, where logging interests will have primary say in the management of the forest. MS. WARD told committee members the NAEC opposes Section 2 and the last sentence of Section 9 of HB 212 which eliminate an important requirement that the state use the best available data to evaluate the cumulative effects of forestry activity on both trees and non- timber resources. These sections prevent concerns over impacts to salmon habitat from being addressed without complete scientific analysis. She stressed without adequate funding for the Habitat Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), and time to complete the research, this information will not be available. She said it seems the legislature is unwilling to ensure that this necessary funding is available. Number 190 MS. WARD stated NAEC's greatest concerns are contained in Sections 4 and 5 which expand the DNR's ability to offer timber sales of any size without the requirement the sale be listed twice in the annual 5-year schedule of sales, thus reducing awareness of the sale and limiting public participation in the decision process. She said if the true intent of HB 212 is to help small logging operations acquire wood to be used in local high value-added products, the NAEC believes this can be accomplished, without legislation, under the existing statutes with a few minor changes in the regulations. With that in mind, NAEC proposed the Community Woodlot Program at the March 25 meeting in Fairbanks. The purpose of the proposal is to explore alternatives to the present system of timber sales in the Tanana Valley State Forest. Number 217 MS. WARD said HB 261 makes sweeping changes to Titles 38 and 41. The NAEC strongly opposes HB 261. NAEC objects to the language in Section 1 which mandates consumptive use. She stressed non- consumptive uses are equally important to the economy and character of the state of Alaska. She said language in this section, which limits public review and comment on timber sales, is unacceptable. MS. WARD stated Section 6 of HB 261 adds new language to Title 41 which essentially requires the DNR to privatize the management of state land. She pointed out state land belongs to each and every individual in the state, and turning over the management to a few individuals, with a profit motive in mind, is not sound, sustainable resource management. She noted subsistence, sport hunters, and fishermen all depend on and appreciate public lands. MS. WARD said NAEC strongly opposes Section 7 which changes the purpose of the state forests from one of multiple use to timber management. She stated Sections 8, 9, and 10, when taken as a package, set state land management back to the dark ages. These sections gut any public involvement in forest planning and turn the state forests over to a few, who would remove all of the trees for profit with little or no return to the people of Alaska. She noted tourism and fishing are economically more important to the state and also mentioned their importance to the quality of life to the people in the state. She stressed to remove any protection provided to these other values in the planning process is nothing short of foolish. MS. WARD suggested the committee ask the DNR and the ADF&G to prepare fiscal notes to reflect the costs of HB 212 and HB 261. She said the amendments proposed on HB 212 by the DNR in the House State Affairs Committee should be carefully considered. She noted at the present time, there is broad opposition to large-scale logging operations in the state's forests, including commercial and subsistence fishers, small logging operators, Native interests, local residents, and conservation groups. She stated it is important to remember that both Titles 38 and 41 were products of a long-term consensus process, and to gut those statutes with special interest legislation is unacceptable to the people of Alaska. MS. WARD said NAEC believes the answer to any problems with the management of the state forest land does not lie in special interest legislation but in broad-based community planning efforts. NAEC urges the committee to take a close look at the particulars of the forest debate, support an expanded planning process with meaningful public involvement, and oppose special interest timber legislation. Number 295 ED DAVIS, BOARD MEMBER, ALASKA WILDERNESS RECREATION AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (AWRTA), testified via teleconference and stated the House Resources Committee should take a step back and use fresh eyes to re-evaluate the assumptions on which HB 212 and HB 261 are based. He said both bills view the timber industry as the only public forest user with the ability to expand Alaska's economy and create economic opportunity. He stressed the reality is the timber industry is neither the only or the largest forest dependent industry in Alaska. MR. DAVIS said Alaska's tourism industry is larger than the forest products industry in terms of jobs created (15,200 jobs versus 3,185 jobs), industry payroll ($275 million versus $140 million), and economic value ($600 million in-state visitor spending and $900 million spent on travel to, from, and within Alaska versus $565 million in sales of forest product exports). He noted these statistics are from the Department of Commerce and Economic Development. He added that the sport/commercial salmon fishing industry also creates a forest dependent industry which collectively is larger than timber. MR. DAVIS commented on whether or not the 1990 amendments to the FPA was a consensus act. He said in some respects, Interior Alaska's forest products industry had a more influential role over the final language than did the original consensus team. He pointed out Senator Bettye Fahrenkamp presented the amendments which weakened the riparian zone requirements for forests north of the Alaska Range. He noted he quizzed the DNR in regard to what they remembered about the situation and they said the amendments came from a very prominent member of the Interior logging community who now works for the Tanana Chiefs. He felt that person did a poor job of representing the small Interior loggers. MR. DAVIS said HB 212 and HB 261 propose to unilaterally repeal the consensus agreement which provides a statutory balance between competing users of Alaska's public forests. Given the fact that the small timber operators were not represented, AWRTA does support reconvening a consensus type of agreement if any of the provisions are going to be rewritten. MR. DAVIS stated given Representative Vezey's record as a trickster, he was shocked when Representative Vezey failed to inform the press that HB 261 was this year's April Fool's joke. He thought perhaps Representative Vezey was setting everyone up for next year when timber issues will start heating up and come April, Representative Vezey plans to inform everyone that they are suckers. He will scold the environmentalists and tell the timber industry they cannot have their cake and eat it too. He said if all goes as planned, the comic relief will provide political cover so the other timber bills slip through. He thought Representative Vezey probably hopes nobody will notice that the fox is still guarding the henhouse, even though HB 261 is dead. MR. DAVIS said since HB 261 may not be a joke, it needs to be recognized as a misguided attempt to give the timber industry exclusive access to Alaska's public forests. The bill prohibits managing forests to sustain nonconsumptive forest industries such as tourism and fishing, even though these industries are larger than the timber industry, they provide Alaska with a more diverse and sustainable economic base, they are as forest dependent as the timber industry, they have equal rights for equal access to Alaska's public forests, and they would be seriously hurt by HB 261. Number 379 MR. DAVIS stated only two provisions in HB 212 open major roadblocks that inhibit small state timber sales for local timber operators, i.e. exempting ten acre sales from the Forest Land Use Plans and the five year plan. AWRTA concurs that the lack of small state timber sales is a problem and that solutions should be on the table for serious discussion and implementation. He pointed out that most of the other major provisions in HB 212 are unnecessary for expanding small timber sales. Rather, they weaken the public planning process and multiple use criteria on which tourism depends. MR. DAVIS said HB 212 guts the statutory criteria granting all state forest users equal access. He stated HB 212 requires expensive scientific studies to protect state forests when logging is incompatible with tourism. He felt that was inappropriate, and places the burden of proof on the wrong forest users. He pointed out scientific studies cannot identify conflicts between clear cutting and tourism. Logging generates commercial rather than biological/scientific conflicts with tourism. Scientific studies cannot identify conflicts between clear cutting and recreation. Logging generates aesthetic rather than biological/scientific conflicts with recreational forest users. MR. DAVIS stated if any group is to be assigned the burden of proof regarding land use compatibility, it should be the consumptive forest users, i.e. the timber industry. He said clear cutting consumes forest resources and irreversibly displaces nonconsumptive forest users, i.e. tourism, for several generations. By contrast, multiple use can be abandoned at any time in forests managed for tourism, recreation, and habitat to allow logging. Number 404 BIRCH PAVELSKY, REPRESENTATIVE, ALASKA BOREAL FOREST COUNCIL (ABFC), testified via teleconference and stated he is a log house builder and carpenter and has made his living in those trades in Alaska since 1971. He said ABFC opposes HB 212 and HB 261. MR. PAVELSKY stated in regard to HB 212, pages 1 and 2, lines 13-2, this deletion closes the eyes of forest management to the damage one forest use may do to the others. Monitoring of forest use cannot be discarded without risking the loss of biological diversity and the diversity of forest uses. He urged the committee to reinstate that deletion. He said regarding page 2, lines 13-16, there is no proof that commercial timber harvest or related activities, whatever they may be, maintain or enhance wildlife habitat. ABFC asks that these lines be deleted. MR. PAVELSKY noted in regard to HB 212, page 3, lines 3-8, ABFC dislikes the erosion of the economic and environmental analysis. The local loggers he buys logs and lumber from need to know the DNR's long term plans, and the public needs information on which to base its comments on those plans. ABFC wants those lines to be kept in the statute. He said in regard to page 4, lines 9-12, the assumption in these lines is the state will gain increased benefits if timber production is emphasized over the many other uses of the forest. He pointed out that has not been shown in the state or elsewhere. He observed perhaps a neutral cost benefit analysis would support the assumption, perhaps not. In the meantime, he encouraged the equal use forest be kept. MR. PAVELSKY said HB 212, page 5, line 15, is a killing blow to the principle of multiple use forestry. He stated AS 38.05.112(d) is there to promote and protect all forest uses, and ABFC wants it retained. He stressed HB 212 needs a great deal of work as it is based on assumptions, not facts. MR. PAVELSKY stated in regard to HB 261, page 1, line 5 to page 2, line 1, this version places too much power in the office of the commissioner and assumes that human consumption is a priority and will most highly benefit the state. He said that is not proven for the current generation and puts at great risk the needs and desires of future generations. He pointed out that AS 41.17.060 of the FPA reads, "...forest land shall be administered for the multiple use of the renewable and nonrenewable resources...in the manner that best provides for the present needs and preserves the future options of the people of the state." He stressed this paragraph of HB 261 gives nonconsumptive uses, like tourism and recreation, a back seat and effectively subsidizes consumptive industries. He thought it may well be foreclosing on the opportunities and benefits of nonconsumptive industries and uses. MR. PAVELSKY said in regard to HB 261, pages 3 and 4, lines 29-1, the call for sealed bids again takes power away from the public and puts it in the commissioner's hands. He pointed out that public oversight is healthy and essential to community forestry. Sealed bidding attracts large corporations. He asked why has this course of action been chosen? Where have sealed bids been shown preferable to supporting smaller, local operators? What research is there proving that sealed bids will benefit the state? Seeing none, the ABFC requests those lines be deleted. MR. PAVELSKY stated HB 261, page 4, Section 7, seems to call for a more general, less detailed management plan. ABFC believes the original language and intent should be retained. The proposed language calling for timber production as the highest and best use of a management plan wounds the multiple use principle of the FPA and should be removed. He said pages 4 and 5, lines 31-1, asserts that commercial timber harvest and "related activities" maintain and enhance wildlife habitat. He noted that has not been proven and in fact, the opposite may be true. He urged committee members to delete those lines. MR. PAVELSKY said in regard to HB 261, page 5, Section 10, ABFC hopes the sections mentioned will be retained until good reason for their repeal comes forth. Number 466 DOUG BOWERS, FAIRBANKS, testified via teleconference and stated he is a commercial/subsistence fisherman who lives four miles down river from Nenana. He said his family also operates a modest lodge operation at Tolovana, guiding fishing clients in the summer and dogsled trips in the winter. He stressed his family's entire existence is provided by the Tanana River basin and the surrounding country. His family depends heavily on the subsistence resources of the Tanana Valley. MR. BOWERS stated the chum runs of the Yukon/Tanana River drainages have been declining for the past 15 years. The fishermen of those rivers, particularly the Tanana, have voluntarily given up fishing time in an effort to build the stocks. He said the damage to fish runs in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, and south coastal Alaska is well documented. There is a lot of information published on the effects of clear cutting on salmon streams in other areas but nothing on the rivers in the Interior of Alaska. He stressed the forest practices of the Tongass National Forest are not sufficient to protect the Southeast Alaska salmon habitat. That was stated in a U.S. Forest Service report presented to Congress. MR. BOWERS pointed out the Tanana and upper Yukon rivers systems are the spawning grounds for the salmon stocks for all of Western Alaska. Some stocks are close to being endangered, particularly in the Toklat River. He asked if the state can afford any damage to the spawning and rearing habitat of the stocks already in trouble. He said the Tanana/Yukon River system supports 1,500 fishermen-- multiply that times 3.8 (multiplier for wife and kids) and you come up with 5,700 people directly connected to fishing from the border to the coast. He noted that figure does not include processors, waitresses in the cafe, the guy who sells boats, outboard motors and gasoline, etc. He asked the committee if they want to be responsible for an impact on a group of people extending all the way to the mouth of the Yukon. He stated it says in the management plan to have public input to the forest plans "proximate to the sale area." He wondered about the neighbors down river from the sale area. MR. BOWERS stated the stands of forests shade the winter snowpack and allows for a controlled run-off in the spring, as well as an absorptive cushion for heavy rainfall in the summer. He asked what will become of homes, businesses, and the fish runs as they are washed down river by uncontrolled run-off? Will the logging companies be responsible for those costs? He noted a friend of his lives in coastal Washington near the Nooksack River. In years past, the Nooksack flowed at a steady rate year round. He said with clear cut logging going on near the headwaters, the river floods with every rainfall and the salmon that previously came there to spawn are there no more. MR. BOWERS said 90 percent of the food chain of the river system occurs within a couple of hundred feet of the river, as well as controlling the water temperature for emerging fish hatchlings. He noted the head forester from the Tanana Chiefs, Chris Maisch, told him in a personal conversation that buffer strips mean nothing along the river corridors because the river will take it anyway. Mr. Maisch said they have tried leaving buffer strips and it seems to make no difference. He asked how long have they tried this. Over what periods of time? He stated they have only been documenting these effects along the river and not in the spawning areas for a short time and on a very small scale. He wondered what effect it will have on everyone else two, five, and ten years from now. MR. BOWERS asked with all the new roads and previously unaccessed lands which HB 212 and HB 261 would provide for, who will pay for fish and game protection to patrol the increased hunting and fishing pressure on lands that have been traditionally hunted by a few local residents. He wondered what pressure will be brought to bear on indigenous wildlife and fish stocks. He said there are examples of these effects just outside Fairbanks which are well documented. The ADF&G's Division of Habitat will be required to look at the long term effects of logging on the habitat at a time when their budget is being cut to the bone. He pointed out it is not something that can be summarized in one report, one time. It will take years of monitoring to do a proper evaluation. MR. BOWERS said he has been told that a chipping plant requires green logs for operation year round. He wondered if the Department of Transportation will be asked to upgrade logging roads to year round access. He was also told that it takes 500 to 600 truckloads per day to supply one of these plants. He urged committee members to remember the pipeline. At the peak of construction, there were 350 trucks a day leaving for the Slope and there was a lot of road damage. He asked who will pay these subsidies to the timber industry. He stated the Department of Environmental Conservation will be required to monitor the water run-off, Clean Water Act, and other environmental concerns. He questioned if the timber companies will be subsidizing that cost. MR. BOWERS told committee members the highly skilled loggers of today will come from other parts of the country. Local residents will be competing for unskilled labor in chipboard and plywood plants. He said the self-esteem of people that once provided for themselves will be reduced dramatically, requiring increased social services which are already stretched to the limit. He asked if the timber companies will pick up that tab. He wondered if the local Native corporations want to compete with outsiders for jobs and resources. He also wondered if the state wants to sell its natural resources for less than market value. MR. BOWERS asked if the logging corporations will be required to be bonded. He hoped so. He said even used car salesmen and fish processors in Alaska are required to be significantly bonded. His dad always told him that when a man speaks of his honor, make him pay cash. He stated bonding is a good business practice and if companies are serious and sincere about doing business in Alaska with Alaskan resources, then a bond will not be a deterrent to their operation. MR. BOWERS felt with HB 212 and HB 261, the legislature is setting itself up for more subsidized industry. He encouraged committee members to remember Delta Barley, Point McKenzie, and the Valdez Grain Terminal. He wondered how many times it takes for the legislature to realize that private industry will invest when the time is right. He told committee members to keep in mind that private industry needs to play by the state's rules, and they will, if they want to play in the state's game. Number 556 SARA HANNAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY (AEL), stated AEL opposes passage of HB 212 and HB 261. She said the Alaska Constitution provides for a sustained yield provision. She believed the legal and judicial reviews have interpreted that the state's multiple use definitions for public lands help balance the sustained yield mandate the Alaska Constitution requires. She pointed out when definitions in the Constitution are adjusted through statute, and judicial review accepts those definitions for multiple use, there is a ripple effect. If multiple use is changed, many laws and users are affected. Unless there is an understanding of the long range implications of those ripple effects, the legislature is not doing its job. MS. HANNAN stated HB 212 and HB 261 are cumbersome bills. They are complex, and unless all the specific citations are known point by point, it is difficult to determine what is going on. She said in 1979, the state of Alaska adopted its first FPA. By the mid-1980s, it was clear the 1979 FPA had vastly underserved the citizens of Alaska. She noted there had been a huge boom in the timber industry. A lot of private land, mostly held by Native corporations in Southeast Alaska, had suddenly increased in value and outside interests, as well as the owners of that land, used it to its fullest economic value. She pointed out at that time, the state had no rights and no laws to require riparian protection. Therefore, the standard practice was bank to bank clear cuts. MS. HANNAN said by the mid 1980s it was clear that the fishing industry in Southeast Alaska was being dramatically impacted by timber harvest practices. She stated when Governor Cowper, who was from Fairbanks and was elected as a Democrat even though he would never say he was an environmentalist and the environmentalists would claim him, said there was a need to look at the state's FPA and put some time, energy and good minds behind it to resolve the concerns about riparian protections, private land use and development. She pointed out from the mid-1980s until 1991, Senator Bettye Fahrenkamp chaired the Senate Resources Committee. Every piece of the FPA had to go through the Senate Resources Committee. She stressed Senator Fahrenkamp would turn over in her grave if she heard constituents accusing her of letting their concerns be left out of the process. MS. HANNAN stated the Fairbanks citizens' concerns were helped by the leadership of the legislature and the Governor at that time. She stressed Fairbanks was not left out of the discussion, although they may not have had a specific representative on the FPA steering committee which was made up of 13 delegates. She said that committee worked with extensive community group input. They had hearings in every community affected by forest products, they had hundreds of people serving on advisory committees, and their work and work product was entailed. MS. HANNAN pointed out no one ruled the process. Everyone agreed over the five month push that an extensive compromise would be reached. The members of the steering committee took what they considered the consensus agreement and stood by that agreement in total. She noted there were many pieces the committee did not reach consensus on and the FPA did not proceed with. She stressed the FPA passed in 1990 as a result of an extensive consensus process and the agreement was if a plank was pulled out, the boat sank, and there was a need to go back and look at it. Number 618 MS. HANNAN said the concerns from the legislators from the Fairbanks area are being wrapped together with a major rewrite of a statewide piece of legislation. She stated the FPA does not just affect how the two state forests in Alaska are managed. Rather, the FPA affects how every acre of state forest land is managed. She pointed out on the map, that all of the areas in blue are state lands. The majority of those state lands are forested. Within the blue area, there are two small areas which are state forests--the Tanana Valley State Forest and the Haines State Forest. She pointed out the majority of the Division of Forestry's sales are not in the state forests but are on state forested lands. MS. HANNAN stated in order for the committee to adequately discuss the concerns coming from legislators from Fairbanks and HB 212 and HB 261, there is a need to separate those two. She pointed out how state forested lands and what is done with the two state forests are different issues. The state forested lands are there to provide for a multiple use directive of many economies. The state's fishing, tourism, mining, dog mushing, etc., economies are dependent on the state's forests. The AEL and most environmental groups across the state are not opposed to timber harvesting. The AEL wants healthy resources and wants them there for a long time. She said those are assured by adequate public input. MS. HANNAN told committee members the Tanana Valley State Forest and the Haines State Forest were in the backyards of communities that said above and beyond what the state requires for public access notice and development, they were concerned about what was happening in their intensely used backyard. The Tanana Valley State Forest is an area which has heavy use, easy access and year round tourism. If adequate public input is not provided for all of the users of the Tanana Valley State Forest, a disservice is being done to the future economic growth of the state. MS. HANNAN said the problems small loggers in Fairbanks are finding are real. They do not get sales which adequately fit the kind of thing they would like. She noted the Division of Forestry spends the same amount of staff time to lay out a ten acre sale, a one hundred acre sale, a one million acre sale, or a ten million acre sale. Each sale takes the same kind of procedural review. She pointed out it does not say in the FPA, and there is nothing in statute that restricts the Division of Forestry from putting out smaller sales. However, the economies of scale have been that there is a need to do big sales because those are the ones which are the most responded to and have the highest profit margin. MS. HANNAN stated if the legislature is interested in supporting Alaskan small scale development, there is a need to give the money to the Division of Forestry and provide intent language which tells them the desire to encourage small scale sales. She stressed there is no need to rewrite the FPA and there is no need to tie up the industry with a multiple year, litigated rewrite and entanglement which HB 212 and HB 261 would result in. If the intent is to look at the forest products industry as a long range economic tool for the growth of Alaska, there needs to be a good inventory of the state forests. Every time the state wants to sell trees, there is a need to determine what kind of trees there are and what they are worth. MS. HANNAN told committee members they would not dream of selling a piece of land without appraising it, without looking at the reason why someone is so anxious to buy it, and without knowing what is under the ground. She said if there is not an adequate state forest inventory and good science about how that forest ecosystem affects the anadromous fish and the other economies dependent on it, the right asking price cannot be received. She stated that is all the citizens opposing HB 212 and HB 261 are asking for. She urged committee members to keep the current review in place and give the public a say in how trees are managed, which is not to say something can be done to encourage a diversified forest products industry in the Interior. She noted it is not going to happen overnight and it is not going to happen with a statutorily mandated directive. It has to happen with citizen involvement. MS. HANNAN said most of the people heard from are from Fairbanks. The community of Fairbanks is very concerned about their ecosystem and the Tanana Valley State Forest. She stated a disservice to many other areas of Alaska will occur by rewriting the state's forest laws because the citizens of Fairbanks have some concerns. She noted she is not dismissing their concerns but contends that the Division of Forestry needs some direction and leadership to bridge the ill feelings the people in Fairbanks have and go forward. She felt interim work will lead to that and the meeting held on March 25 is the first step in a slow, and steady walk forward to make sure that the twenty-first century is not a boom and bust economy. MS. HANNAN told committee members if the state is going to sell trees because they have a good price, that is a shortsighted decision which has a profit for the state. If there is a desire to make a profit for three generations from the forest products industry, there is a need to make sure that good science is in place and the right price is being asked. TAPE 95-57, SIDE A Number 000 DICK HOFMANN, PRESIDENT, ALASKA TROLLERS ASSOCIATION (ATA), expressed opposition to HB 212 and HB 261. He said trollers are allowed to fish within the area confined by the Canadian border and Cape Suckling, which is all of Southeast Alaska. The FPA is very important to fishermen because it protects the rearing areas for future stocks. The stocks are a replenishable and reusable resource on a three to five year basis. Timber harvests are 60 to 100 years. He stated the fish return is much more regular and there is a desire to see that protected. MR. HOFMANN said fishing has always been an important part of the Alaskan economy and should be in the future if the health of the stocks can be maintained. He stated the FPA was a result of long and intense negotiations by the logging, fishing, and environmental industries as well as others. He noted perhaps there was an oversight, as stated earlier, by those in support of HB 212 and HB 261 in that the Interior was not adequately represented. MR. HOFMANN stated ATA's major concerns with HB 212 and HB 261 is the exclusion of riparian protection. Both bills specifically exclude any consideration of the damage which might occur through harvesting practices and the resulting damage to the fishing industry. Both bills place a tremendous amount of discretionary power within the hands of the DNR commissioner. He said ATA does not see where the DNR in the past has taken the concerns of the fishing industry to heart. The DNR has been more interested in pleasing the timber industry and making sure they can cut their trees, even if it is to the detriment of the fishing industry. MR. HOFMANN noted there has been a lot of talk by those in support of the bills about the jobs HB 261 and HB 212 would create. He said he supports more jobs and would like to see the value-added processing occur within the state. However, he wondered if it was right to trade jobs for jobs. If HB 212 and HB 261 are passed, they will lead to the end of the fishing industry. He recalled an earlier testifier said there are 13 businesses trying to get access to timber cuts in Fairbanks. He pointed out there are 2,500 troll permit holders in Southeast Alaska and that figure does not include the gillnetters, the seiners, and other users of the resource. MR. HOFMANN stated he has been fishing for approximately 18 years and most of his time has been spent in the Icy Straights area. He noted when he first began, the area was complete wilderness. Now the eastern half of the straights are clear cut on both the north and south sides. Last week, he was in Hoonah and there was a ship there loading logs which had been cut on the northern side of Icy Straights, and barged across six miles. He said the ships come in and load logs up throughout the day. Number 093 MR. HOFMANN said there are concerns being voiced by people in the Interior in the timber industry who say they want a long term commitment. He stated he can understand that desire as he would like to have that commitment as a fisherman. However, it says on his permit that there is no guarantee he will fish in any given year. If there is a season, he will be allowed to fish. Currently, there is a serious possibility that in the next few years he will not be allowed to fish, not because of problems with the fish stocks in the state but because of the problems which have occurred in the Lower 48 where timber practices, such as what would be enacted by HB 212 and HB 261, have occurred to the detriment of those fish stocks. MR. HOFMANN stated Representative James had some good comments when she talked about the intent of HB 212. He felt Alaska needs to process its resources and the small businesses are where it is at for the country's economy. There is a need for small businesses and those small businesses have to have access. However, he urged committee members to not eliminate his small business in favor of someone else's small business. CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted the testimony heard was by invitation only. He said 45 minutes were allotted for those in support of HB 212 and HB 261 and 45 minutes for those in opposition to the two bills. He stated the issues will be worked on during the interim and a committee meeting will be held, possibly in Fairbanks in the latter part of September, probably using the invitation only format again. He added a full public hearing will be held some time next year. Number 150 REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA expressed appreciation for the meeting and the format used. She said there are many questions unanswered. She stated having time to work on the two bills is helpful as it will give her time to share the bills with her constituents and get input on changes needed. CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted for the record that teleconference sites included Anchorage, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Glennallen, Nenana Ketchikan, Seward, Cordova, Homer, Mat-Su, Kenai/Soldotna, Tok, Tanana, and Valdez.