Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

03/09/2011 01:00 PM RESOURCES


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:30 pm Today --
+ HB 60 GEODUCK AQUATIC FARMING/SEED TRANSFER TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= HB 105 SOUTHEAST STATE FOREST TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 HB 105-SOUTHEAST STATE FOREST                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:50:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FEIGE announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 105, "An  Act relating to the  Southeast State                                                               
Forest; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:51:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK  ROGERS, Forest  Resource Program  Manager, Central  Office,                                                               
Division of  Forestry, Department of Natural  Resources, recalled                                                               
that  at the  last hearing  there was  concern regarding  whether                                                               
logs from  the Southeast  State Forest would  go overseas  in the                                                               
round without any processing in  the local sawmills.  Upon review                                                               
of the past six  years, it was found that 87  percent of the logs                                                               
from state timber  sales remained in the  state for manufacturing                                                               
in Alaska while 13 percent were  exported.  Of that 13 percent, 3                                                               
percent  were exported  by sawmills  because  that percentage  of                                                               
logs had more  value as exported in the round  than if processed.                                                               
To achieve the aforementioned, sawmills  request a variance under                                                               
their  contract requirements  to  export a  small percentage  for                                                               
their  logs.   In balance,  the  data demonstrates  the state  is                                                               
doing a  good job  of encouraging  instate manufacture  of timber                                                               
off state  lands.  Upon  review of  this statewide, it  was found                                                               
that only  5 percent of  the logs are going  out of state  in the                                                               
round.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:55:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  inquired as  to the level  of processing                                                               
sawmills perform  on the 87  percent of  logs that remain  in the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS answered that it varies  by mill.  Under the long-term                                                               
forest contracts, the past practice  was the production of cants,                                                               
which was crude processing in  which 8-12 inch cuttings were made                                                               
and large  cants were sent  overseas for  secondary manufacturing                                                               
at mills.  However,  that has changed quite a bit.   In fact, the                                                               
Viking  Sawmill,  the  state's   largest  sawmill,  is  producing                                                               
finished  products.    He  noted that  some  mills  also  provide                                                               
secondary manufacturing  such that they perform  planing and have                                                               
kilns.   In the northern part  of Alaska, much of  the [logs] are                                                               
being used for fuel in which  case processing may be as simple as                                                               
cutting and splitting firewood.   Most importantly, for the state                                                               
to see  additional investment in  manufacturing, there must  be a                                                               
reliable supply of  timber.  In Southeast,  particularly with the                                                               
dominance of  federal land, there  hasn't been new  investment in                                                               
manufacturing because  there's too much risk  involved when there                                                               
isn't enough of a reliable supply to amortize the investment.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:57:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  reminded the committee that  his community                                                               
is primarily situated in the tundra.   He then asked if there are                                                               
different  harvest practices  on state  lands as  opposed to  the                                                               
clear cuts in the Tongass National Forest in the past.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS related  that the Alaska Forest  Resources & Practices                                                               
Act  guides timber  harvest on  both state  and private  lands in                                                               
Alaska.   State land  has a higher  standard for  riparian buffer                                                               
retention.   In Southeast Alaska, in  particular, anadromous fish                                                               
and  salmon are  another extremely  valuable resource  to Alaska.                                                               
Timber harvest in or outside of  the state forest requires a 100-                                                               
foot no-cut  buffer on each side  of salmon bearing waters.   The                                                               
aforementioned includes a  small Coho rearing stream  that may be                                                               
only a  couple of feet  wide.   Additionally, there is  a 100-300                                                               
foot  zone  beyond  the aforementioned  buffer  where  additional                                                               
consideration is  given to the  water quality and impacts  to the                                                               
stream.  Also,  the land management plans for  state land provide                                                               
additional  guidance.   The  land  to which  he  is referring  is                                                               
guided under both  the Prince of Wales Area Plan  and the Central                                                               
Southeast Area Plan, both of which  generally have a 500 foot no-                                                               
cut  zone  along  the  coast.   The  aforementioned  no-cut  zone                                                               
provides for habitat  as well as visual appeal  and protection of                                                               
eagle nests.   Typically, there  is a 330-foot radius  around any                                                               
known eagle  tree.   Mr. Rogers  opined that  the state  has some                                                               
very good  protections and a  credible program that  balances the                                                               
state's interest in managing timber along with other resources.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:00:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  recalled that  at the  last meeting  it was                                                               
related that the target amount  of allowable harvest in the state                                                               
forest is 8.3 million board feet.   She inquired as to the actual                                                               
demand  from  the  existing  sawmills  in  terms  of  the  target                                                               
allowable harvest.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS explained  that per the Alaska  State Constitution the                                                               
division  is  required to  manage  the  timber in  a  sustainable                                                               
fashion, and therefore  the 8.3 million board feet  is the result                                                               
of  the  state's inventory  and  the  calculation of  growth  and                                                               
yield.  Essentially, the 8.3  million board feet is a sustainable                                                               
output of  timber from  the land  base that  can be  harvested in                                                               
perpetuity.   However, that  is nowhere  near meeting  the demand                                                               
for Alaska's existing mills and  certainly wouldn't allow for any                                                               
growth and  investment in  new mills.   Mr. Rogers  said, "What's                                                               
somewhat frustrating  about this  situation is given  the state's                                                               
land base, I  think this bill represents the state  doing what it                                                               
can to  help the situation on  timber supply.  And  yet, it's not                                                               
enough to really overcome the  supply issues that industry faces,                                                               
but that's really a function of  what the land entitlement is for                                                               
the State of Alaska."  He  reiterated that [HB 105] offers a good                                                               
balance and package to support the industry.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:03:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DICK said  he understands  the idea  of a  no-cut                                                               
zone along salmon  streams, but in the Interior  that's about the                                                               
only  location of  trees.   Therefore, that  regulation basically                                                               
means  there would  be no  logging at  all in  the Interior.   He                                                               
opined that the provision would encourage poaching.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROGERS clarified  that the  riparian standards  he mentioned                                                               
earlier are for coastal Alaska  and there are different standards                                                               
in the Interior as they are  somewhat more permissive.  Again, he                                                               
stated  that it's  a balance  between protecting  important water                                                               
quality and fisheries  and managing the timber.  In  spite of the                                                               
riparian   protections,  there   is  a   significant  amount   of                                                               
underutilized  allowable  cut in  Interior  Alaska.   In  further                                                               
response to Representative  Dick, Mr. Rogers agreed  to talk with                                                               
him further regarding this matter.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:04:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SEATON   related  his  understanding  that   the  lands                                                               
specified  in   HB  105  are   already  available   for  cutting.                                                               
Therefore,  the  purpose  of  HB  105  is  to  provide  for  pre-                                                               
management of the lands on  a rotation cycle, and the legislation                                                               
doesn't  place lands  unavailable  for cutting  in an  [allowable                                                               
harvest zone].                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROGERS said  that's correct.   He  explained that  under the                                                               
area  plan  designation,  these  lands are  in  the  category  of                                                               
general  use, which  allows for  timber harvest.   These  are the                                                               
lands  for  which  the allowable  harvest  has  been  calculated.                                                               
Furthermore,  these  are lands  on  which  the state  is  already                                                               
actively  managing timber  sales.   However, one  exception is  a                                                               
small parcel that is in selection  status and is currently in the                                                               
adjudication  process with  the U.S.  Bureau of  Land Management.                                                               
This land, though, has already been  planned for in the Prince of                                                               
Wales area plan and has a general use designation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:05:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  asked whether  that 87 percent  in state                                                               
use will continue  if the timber supply is increased  or will the                                                               
increase merely result in export.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS  remarked that is  doesn't really make  any difference                                                               
because  these lands  are already  part  of the  timber base  the                                                               
state is  managing.  What could  make a difference in  the future                                                               
is whether the  state can maintain its existing  sawmills to have                                                               
the  processing capacity  to  process  the timber.    One of  the                                                               
purposes  of HB  105 is  to  provide certainty  in the  long-term                                                               
tenure  of  the  lands  in   order  to  perform  more  aggressive                                                               
management.   In  fact,  the state  could  actually increase  the                                                               
allowable  harvest if  the trees  can be  grown faster.   If  the                                                               
lands will be  managed as a state forest, it  makes more sense to                                                               
consider practices  such as pre-commercial thinning,  whereby the                                                               
allowable  cut of  these  lands could  conceivably  be more  than                                                               
doubled over the long term.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROGERS, in  response  to  Representative Gardner,  explained                                                               
that if lands  are designated general use under an  area plan, as                                                               
is the case today,  the state in the future can  sell the land or                                                               
subdivide it or  move into some other use.   Therefore, HB 105 is                                                               
deciding  whether the  state is  committing to  growing trees  on                                                               
these designated  lands, subject  to all  the other  multiple use                                                               
considerations.    This  legislation provides  a  commitment  and                                                               
doesn't  include lands  that the  Division of  Mining, Lands  and                                                               
Water felt were better suited for subdivision or other purposes.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  CLAUS, Southeast  Alaska Conservation  Council, began  by                                                               
relating that  SEACC supports small  mills, micro sales,  and the                                                               
ability  of folks  to  make  a living  from  the state's  forests                                                               
through a  value-added processing  of timber products.   However,                                                               
SEACC believe  that the public  lands should remain  multiple use                                                               
lands and not be [managed] for  timber as a first priority, as is                                                               
the case in the  state forest.  Most of the  parcels in the state                                                               
forest aren't  areas that SEACC  finds controversial and  they do                                                               
support small mills, particularly in  Thorne Bay.  However, SEACC                                                               
does object  to the Rowan Bay  parcel and Hook Arm  parcel, which                                                               
is on the west coast of Dall Island.   As a resident of Prince of                                                               
Wales Island,  he related  that he  uses the  west coast  of Dall                                                               
Island and all the outer islands  of Prince of Wales for hunting,                                                               
fishing,  and recreation.   Moreover,  tourism businesses  in the                                                               
small town of  Craig use the Hook Arm parcel  for their business.                                                               
Therefore,  Mr. Claus  opined that  Hook Arm  wouldn't be  a good                                                               
addition to the  state forest rather it should  remain a multiple                                                               
use parcel and not be logged.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:11:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FEIGE, upon  determining no one else  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[HB 105 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1.HB 60 Hearing Request.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 60
2.HB0060A.PDF HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 60
3.HB0060-2-2-021611-DNR-N.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 60
4.HB060-DFG-CFD-02-10-11.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 60
5.Sponsor Statment HB 60.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 60
6.Article 02 Aquatic Farming.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
7.Interesting Geoduck Facts.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
8.Home page for three minute trailer for "3 feet under - Digging Deep for the Geoduck".pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM
9.Alutiiq Pride Hatchery Geoduck Letter.pdf HRES 3/9/2011 1:00:00 PM