Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/17/2001 01:20 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 244-RIGHT-OF-WAY TO DENALI BOR. FOR RR/UTIL. CHAIR KOHRING announced the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 244, "An Act relating to a grant of state land to the Denali Borough for a railroad and utility corridor and a railroad development project; repealing provisions relating to a grant of a right-of-way of land for a railroad and utility corridor to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority; and providing for an effective date." Number 0658 An at-ease was called at 1:28 p.m. The meeting was called back to order at 1:31 p.m. Number 0674 RICHARD SCHMITZ, Staff to Representative Jeannette James, sponsor of HB 244, provided background on the bill. He stated that in 1998, HB 386 was signed into law. This authorized AIDEA [Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority] to engage in a number of activities. One was to allow AIDEA to establish a transportation corridor on the north end of Denali [National Park]. He referred to the maps given to committee members, and said it shows the proposed corridor going from Healy to the border of [Denali] park. This project was approved and non- controversial, he said. MR. SCHMITZ stated that under HB 386, Kantishna Holdings was authorized to finance and complete the project. However, HB 386 did not require AIDEA to act on these provisions, so no land was transferred for access. He said the intent of HB 244 is for the Denali Borough to replace the AIDEA part of HB 386, to survey and develop the [transportation] corridor. Number 0836 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH asked why AIDEA did not follow through with the provisions in HB 366. Number 0861 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, sponsor of HB 244, remarked that AIDEA was authorized to do the bonding for this project. She suggested that AIDEA never followed through because no one asked them to. She also said that Kantishna Holdings, Inc., were not interested in "obligating themselves to the bonding to do this because they have other funds available ... that wouldn't be bonding funds." Although AIDEA is authorized to do this in the bill, it didn't necessarily say "you must do this." As far as she is concerned, the land had never been given to them. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH wondered if the Denali Borough intends to bond for this project. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES replied that the applicant, such as Kantishna Holdings, Inc., who wants to put in the railroad would use private funds. Number 0982 JOSEPH FIELDS, Kantishna Holdings, Inc., testified via teleconference that they are proponents for a northern access railroad into Wonder Lake. He noted that Kantishna Holdings, Inc. has been involved in this for a while and has been supported by the legislature as well as cities and boroughs along projected rail development areas. He mentioned that the committee packets contain copies of resolutions that say this northern access would help provide long-term resource protection in Denali National Park and better access for Alaska citizens. He sated that he was pleased that Representative James put forth this concept that would enable economic development to take place in the Denali Borough. He pointed out that since this part of the state is not involved in the gas line, national missile defense, fisheries, or timber harvest, this project is a "vital piece" of economic development. He referred to a letter from the Denali Borough [April 12, 2001] and indicated that the fully borough support this bill. Number 1064 CHAIR KOHRING asked how this bill would be a "good enhancement of economic development." MR. FIELDS said, "Infrastructure in the visitor industry." He went on to say that Alaska has many natural wonders but it is short on infrastructure, especially north of the range. "Our" particular niche is looking at the independent traveler, "folks that can come into the bottom part of the state or the middle part of the state up here and travel on the railroad corridor independently to the various sites, from Girdwood, Seward, Hatcher Pass, Big Lake, ... Willow and Nenana." So, "we" are looking into land tours around this piece of infrastructure that would go into Denali National Park. He said, "Private capital ... builds the public infrastructure." He mentioned that this project would provide 350-900 jobs, a very important factor in Alaska, especially because there are not many projects. It would also result in private development due to private capital being placed on public lands. Number 1167 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH asked for information on Kantishna Holdings, Inc. MR. FIELDS explained that Kantishna Holdings, Inc., is a private corporation established in Alaska, made up of stockholders that live in the Fairbanks and Anchorage areas. It is a holding company designed to develop this project. He said "our" intention is to place between $230-$260 million during the development of this project. This would be a long-term investment in the infrastructure of Alaska. He said that was all the information he could provide since he is talking about private corporate information. However, he noted that "we" are a local corporation of Alaskans, with no outside interest. Number 1218 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH remarked that he appreciates Kantishna Holdings, Inc., being a private corporation, but "you're here asking for some state land," he said. MR. FIELD clarified that Kantishna Holdings, Inc., is asking that state land be transferred to the Denali Borough; Kantishna Holdings, Inc., would not receive ownership of the land. However, they would be able to utilize the land for proposals, including from the North Denali Access Study of 1995, and the Denali Task Force of 1994. He alluded that the project would take place along the Parks Highway. "That's a 300 foot right- of-way," he said. And "that's what this would end up going off the edge of the park in actual land," he added. It would not be that whole area [of the map in the committee packet]. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH wondered what effect [HB 244] would have on the [Denali] Borough's entitlement for organization of its landholdings under the state. MR. FIELD commented that there is a "long, complex history on the different elements," like in any borough. However, in this situation, a separate piece of land is being proposed for a specific purpose, and not a generalized borough. And his understanding is that it wouldn't be part of "their selection rights for the borough." However, he noted that he didn't know their standards or how much land they have to select, if any. He also noted that it has a "drop dead" date of 2006. Number 1344 REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked how this bill would impact wildlife and park activities such as recreating, hunting, and trapping. MR. FIELDS replied that this bill deals with state land, not Denali [National] Park. However, "we" talked to a lot of folks here and they "aren't sure that people would say that they don't want to see a train going through their hunting area." He remarked that there is limited wildlife in that area as well as in [Denali National] Park: it's not what "they" call the "Serengeti of the North." He wondered if a 300 foot right of way would have a tremendous impact. He stated that bridges would be used to cross streams, and they would have to be constructed in the proper fashions. He noted that there is wildlife "up and down the north and south on the river system." MR. FIELDS said there would be opportunities to see wildlife while on the trains, but he does not know how [the railroad] would impact hunting. He believes there is a very low number of hunters and trappers in the Denali National Park property. Furthermore, this location is too far west and south for connecting with areas that people trap out of such as [Lake] Minchumina or McGrath Therefore, he does not think there would be any major impact on dogmushers, skiers, or snowmachiners in that area. He also said that these people would probably be using the Stampede trail, the majority of which is north of where this land is described. He noted that the description [of this project] was changed to move a mile away from the park border on the north side. Number 1433 CHAIR KOHRING inquired about the environmental impacts of this project. He mentioned that after talking to the sponsor of HB 244, his impression was that this project would be a benefit to the environment because it would take pressure away from the existing access and all the people that are "flooding into the park" via the road. Number 1452 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES pointed out the existing road on the map that goes through [Denali National] Park and goes to Kantishna. Most of the year, only buses and inholders, who have permission to use the road, use it. She said it is a very narrow and dangerous road. She also noted that the road is "near capacity," and that one-third of the people that come to Denali [National] Park are not allowed on that road because a limited number of people can be on it. She remarked that her belief is that anyone who wants to come to a national park like Denali, which is absolutely beautiful, should be able to. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that she was in favor of a railroad, not a road. She noted that this bill would be competing with others who would rather have a road. There have been problems in this area with people camping out and leaving "junk," and thus there have been conflicts with bears and so forth. Furthermore, there have been problems with those who work in the tourist industry here. These people don't seem to make enough money to pay for a place to live, so they "live in the bushes" in the summertime. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES pointed out that a road [allows] continual access for everyone, including trailers, trucks, and cars camping along the way, leaving "their junk and stuff around, which I think is embarrassing and very expensive to maintain." Therefore, a train that has controlled access would enable all people, "whether disabled or not, old or young" to view the park, which would be a great experience. She mentioned that someday she would like to see train access in and out of the park by making a complete circle (not where the current road is). She said having a train is the environmentally friendly way to do it. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that one of the ways to control the "love the park to death" is to put in a train. A train would enable more people to come in and out of the park. Furthermore, a train would also be "environmentally more friendly and not so devastating to the park area, which is one of our prize areas," she added. Representative James noted that she is enthused and passionate about this project after working on it for nine years. Number 1622 MR. FIELDS referred to the issue of environmental impact on the park and said that the park is restricted to 10,512 vehicles a year. He stated that a 1994 study estimated that up to 1,300 park administrative vehicles could be removed if there was new northern access [to the park]. This could translate into 1300 or more buses or people being able to get into the park as opposed to administrative vehicles. He noted that Alfred Runte, author, Our National Parks, and one of the preeminent environmentalists in the nation, is very enthusiastic about this project, and even toured [Denali National] Park with "us." He said he spoke to David Brower, Sierra Club [Executive Director 1952-1969], a couple of years before his death, and although he wouldn't give an "outright endorsement of a railroad anywhere," he did mention that the failure of Yosemite was because the railroad was taken out in 1941. So, there are a good number of "solid, rational, environmentalists" who are going to be supportive of rail access. He also said, "We think we can accommodate the desires of the visiting public and the need to protect the environment as well. " REPRESENTATIVE WILSON described a trip she took to Denali National Park about seven years before. She said she was "totally amazed" that there was only one way in and out of the park. She remarked that this [railroad] would be wonderful, and would give people a "better advantage to be able to see what they need to see," and more people could do it. So, it's "something we need to do," she said. Number 1737 JOAN FRANKEVICH, Regional Staff, Alaska Regional Office, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), testified via teleconference: We are a non-profit dedicated to protecting and enhancing U.S. National Park System for present and future generations. We have over 450,000 members of which 1,000 live in Alaska. NPCA has opposed the North Denali route since it was first opposed. And specifically we oppose this bill, HB 244, for the following reasons. Allowing the Denali Borough to select state land for railroad right-of-way development projects seems extremely inappropriate. The Denali Borough was incorporated in 1990 and authorized with the following powers. They're authorized with taxation, education, planning and zoning. They do not have ... the legal authority to acquire, construct, or maintain public roads. Officially, the Denali Borough (indisc.) itself that it provides few government services and does virtually no (indisc.) planning or zoning. A borough with no road powers and minimal planning seems a highly unusual choice to be receiving such a (indisc.) of state land. And all the more so unusual in that this land has previously been off-limits to the boroughs down in their selection. It's unclear as to why its (indisc.) to a local government, and we also think that the borough should ... before they get this grant, if they do get it, ... develop a land use plan and a economic feasibility study on demonstrating the (indisc.) of this project before the state releases the land to the borough. My second point is that even more unusual in this is the borough is simply a shell and HB 244 is (indisc.) allowing a private business to select state land. This bill provides (indisc.) through private business. There's no competition. There's no public process. To us, this really feels like favoritism and poor public policy. ... [It seems like] the most unusual way for a land selection to be conducted. It raises legal and ethical questions. Furthermore, this will be the third opportunity Kantishna Holdings has had to establish a railroad right of way. ... Eight years of time and yet they have failed to do so. In 1993, they were granted a five-year conditional use permit from DNR [Department of Natural Resources] to allow to make a right-of-way recognizant for this railroad. They never followed up. They never did so. In 1998, HB 386, again, gave Kantishna Holdings the opportunity to establish a right-of-way. This time in association with AIDEA, and again no action was taken. And so (indisc.) what has changed to let the state think that now they will follow through on this and that they now have the capability to do it. A third point is that we feel this is very premature. Granting land to develop a railroad project at this time, things could (indisc.) [U.S.] Senator Murkowski's appropriation study, [and] the North Denali Access, ... a railroad for a road, seems like they should be considered together or ...it needs to be decided which project before we go forward with this particular project as its written here in this bill. Also, this project is completely dependent on extending this railroad through the National Park and at this point, that seems highly unlikely. The National Park Service opposes it. ...[And] there's much controversy against this project. .... If this bill does pass, we would suggest a amendment, ... we would suggest that if a railroad project does not go forward by a specified date, than [the] 3,500 acres be returned back to the state and it does not remain that borough land. It's a return from all the land that they used not to select a 300 foot right-of- way and (indisc.) development, with a 300 foot right- of-way and (indisc.) and relate development land remain in the borough the way I read.... It was mentioned earlier that this will relieve pressure on [the] current park road. NPCA agrees that there needs to be work done ... to relive pressure on that road. But we don't feel this is the answer. This railroad will begin just 17 miles north of the existing park road, and ends in the same place. There seems little sense in that when other alternatives such as Fast Denali are being worked on as well. Contrary to what was said earlier, we believe this will actually put more pressure on the road. The primary attraction for visitors to come to Denali is viewing wildlife. And the wildlife viewing opportunities from a road or railroad in a north access are very limited. There is not as much wildlife there in the summer. It's an important winter area for caribou. ... Plus a lot of the area is trees so visibility is not the same as the park road. So getting people out to Kantishna Wonder Lake, I think, would just put more pressure on the existing park road to come back to [the] current park road to view wildlife, because they will not be satisfied in that respect on the railroad journey. To conclude, we just think it's important the legislature realize that the northern route in the Denali National Park is a highly controversial project. It will be closely scrutinized. The major national group, (indisc.) for common sense [is] currently listed as one of the ten worst highway projects in America. This project entails major development within one of the most famous national parks in the world. It would be the largest proposed capital development project in the entire U.S. National Parks System. Getting state land to a local government that has no road power it has the (indisc.) planning and zoning and to a single source contract to a private business seems preposterous. We are (indisc.) HB 244. Thank you very much. Number 2021 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI asked for clarification that Ms. Frankevich disagrees with Representative James' contention that a railroad would be a more efficient way of transporting more people into the park, in a "sound and clean matter" rather than expanding the highway. MS. FRANKEVICH inquired as to what highway he was talking about. REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI said the road that currently goes to Wonder Lake. MS. FRANKEVICH remarked that [NPCA] does not propose expanding this road either, since it has not reached capacity at this point. She said that very few people are turned away, although someday that will probably happen. She said, "getting people to the same place by a less attractive means, we see no benefit for that." REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI wondered if she had a solution for a better means for the elder population, [and] people who want to visit the park, or if she thought more people should not come. MS. FRANKEVICH replied, "Of course more people should be there." And as far as the elderly population, they are well-served by a bus system that currently goes to a variety of locations, she said. She also mentioned that there are handicapped accessible buses that travel the road everyday. She noted that most of the park's visitors are elderly. MS. FRANKEVICH pointed out that additional facilities such as a learning center and visitor center are in the planning process to be built at the park entrance. More trails and campgrounds are also being built to increase capacity and provide more options to use other areas of the park. She also stated that there have been ideas to build an area south of Denali, up Petersville Road and along the Parks Highway as well. National Parks Conservation Association supports all of these developments, she noted. REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI reiterated his question of whether she saw any benefit to getting more people into the park in a sound matter. He also asked if her alternative was to get other areas in the park utilized. MS. FRANKEVICH said yes, "We think it makes much more sense to expand on the south side of Denali where more of the population lives and where the population comes from than an area that's already served by the Park Road." Number 2117 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES referred to Ms. Frankevich's earlier comments. Regarding Denali Borough powers, the borough only needs planning and zoning powers to transfer this land, which would then be available for lease. So, even though Denali Borough does not have road power, it does not make a difference. She stated that in regard to animals, there are animals, just different kinds. She suggested that the railroad be open for winter tourism, when there are a lot of animals in the area. Skiers could also be taken in. She went on to say, "There's just lots of things that this train could do on a year round basis to be able to have access to the park that is better than the access we have for people today." She remarked that she understands the concerns on this issue since she has been listening to it for a long time. Number 2182 MR. FIELDS commented that that the Denali Task Force 1994 came up with the South Side Denali Plan, which takes place outside of the park. However, "it was in the process." He also said that the National Park System Advisory Board put a resolution forward calling for the creation of a northern railroad route to Wonder Lake, which is what is being proposed in this bill. He mentioned that this project is not park service development. He referred to budgetary concerns and said that although private capital going into the park, the overall control of the (indisc.) would be retained by the park. MR. FIELDS stated that the biggest issue is how to offset the 500,000 people who come to the park entrance. He indicated that "we" see ways of helping the park this time of year by taking equipment to the far end [of the park] and letting them [park employees] come back via the road. He mentioned that the railroad might enable the park to open a few days earlier. He went on to say: But for management of the park, and access of NPS [National Park Service] employees and access for the inholders, we don't propose that there should be no other access for the inholders. In fact, I've told both of them that we would support their position of having a right to use the road as well as the rail. But I think from a business standpoint, they'd all benefit from a rail in there. Number 2253 MS. FRANKEVICH referred to Representative James' comments and said she did not mean to say because Denali Borough did not have road powers that they would not be able to do this, since it would fall under their planning and zoning authorities. However, it seems appropriate and "hard to believe that with so little experience" in roads that they could accomplish such a large project successfully. MR. FIELDS commented that "they" have a group comprised of former DOT&PF [Department of Transportation & Public Facilities] employees of the highest "range" working on this project. So, he thinks that "they" [Denali Borough] are going to be in "good hands and have a good critical view of everything that goes on before they allow anything to happen. They're not going to take any chances with their hometown." Number 2299 CHAIR KOHRING noted that there was written testimony in the committee packets from Linda Pagenelli (ph) of Healy. Number 2313 DICK MYLIUS, Resource Assessment & Development, Division of Mining, Land and Water, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), testified via teleconference: This bill requires DNR to transfer by September 1 of this year approximately 46,000 acres of state land to the Denali Borough for a future railroad towards Kantishna. In order to reach Kantishna, the railroad will need [to] continue west across National Park land. The borough and private Kantishna holdings would then work to identify and survey a railroad route across this land and then in 2006, the borough conveys the excess land back to the state, estimated to be about 42,500 acres and the borough would keep 3,500 acres. DNR recommends that a more efficient and equally approach would be for the borough and Kantishna Holdings corporation to first identify the corridor, then ask DNR to transfer the land or even to simply apply for a right-of-way. The current proposal requires DNR to convey to the borough a large block of land only to have the borough convey most of it back in five years. This results in unnecessary work at the expense of both the sate and the borough. In addition, because the railroad route is unknown, the route could include land outside of the area in the bill. For example, portions of the existing Stampede Trail which is probably built along one of the easiest ways to get to this chunk of land is not included in the land that closed for transfer to the borough. In addition, the National Park Service has invited the state to participate in a comprehensive study as noticed by access issues and alternatives, because much the route of this railroad crosses Park Service land. This railroad can't be built until there's Park Service concurrence with the (indisc.). Until the efforts to study north side access is completed ... (indisc.) designate and transfer a railroad corridor to the borough and Kantishna holdings. DNR has four specific concerns regarding this bill. Some of these could be dealt with through amendments. The first one is that the bill causes confusion regarding how DNR should treat existing municipal selections (indisc.) by the borough under its municipal entitlement under Alaska Statute 29.65. The legislation actually could preclude the borough from receiving some of this land under its entitlement because the bill limits the borough's eventual ownership from this 3,000-3,500 acres, where the borough has under its previous selections, has selected more than 3,500 acres. We do not believe that this is the legislature's intent or the sponsor's intent. But it is not clear in the bill. Further, it is unclear whether or not the 3,500 acres ultimately conveyed to the borough is supposed to be charged against the borough's remaining existing entitlement. My second concern is that since DNR assumes that since the bill directs DNR to take action and gives us only two months to transfer the land, I believe that it isn't the intent of the sponsor that DNR would be excluded or exempted from the state's (indisc.) finding requirement. However, we'd like to be able to make this clear so that DNR is[n't] explicitly excluded from the requirements of AS [38.05.035] and [38.04.065] simply because ... we've got two months ... to transfer the land. We can't (indisc.) public decision-making process. ... We'd like the legislature to make that clear in the bill. It is also unclear what property rights the bill or the borough would grant against it being a holding corporation. ... Once the corridor is identified, the implication in the bill is that Kantishna Holdings, Incorporated, would have the right to build a railroad within the corridor. DNR believes that the legislation must ensure that the citizens of the state receive some compensation for granting a private exclusive (indisc.) thousands of acres of state land. Finally, our fourth concern is that the bill needs to clarify how DNR should deal with the existing hours, (indisc.) which follows the Stampede Trial. Is the intent that this will be conveyed to the borough or excluded? Current Alaska Statute [does] not allow DNR to transport RS (indisc.) to the borough. We can only transfer them to DOT. Finally, DNR has submitted a fiscal note on this bill. We would need funding in order to identify and reserve existing rights that are on the (indisc.). We would need to do public notice. We would need to do title check (indisc.). In addition, you'll notice on our fiscal note that we have funding requested in 2006, which is when the land would be returned to the state. And at that point we would also (indisc.) to do ... research to make sure the borough hasn't created any third party interest and that we could take them back. We'd also need to do an environmental audit to make sure the land was still in the condition it was when we gave it to the borough. The state isn't receiving any liability (indisc.) along with the land. ... That concludes my testimony and I'm available for any questions. TAPE 01-28 SIDE B Number 2506 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that since "we" have to start somewhere, "we thought it best to start with state land as opposed to park land." She mentioned U.S. Senator Murkowski's interest in this issue, and that he has been working with the National Park Service on it. She noted that the markings on the map are not necessarily where the railroad would go, and that in order for it to be built, many "things" would have to be done. The federal government has appropriated $1.2 million to do a study for this project. She referred to Mr. Field's testimony and said he talked about Don Lowell (ph), a former DOT&PF engineer, who has been hired by the Denali Borough to be an advisor on this project. She said SB 3 includes a $300,000 appropriation that the state will match, "on that money that's been sitting" there for about four years. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES remarked that most of the pictures of Mt. Denali [Mt. McKinley] that one sees, such as a Sydney Lawrence painting, shows the mountain from Wonder Lake. She noted that areas such as Talkeetna and Ferry also have beautiful views of Mt. Denali. She said, "we would expect that they would have a pretty controlled access to that area." She went on to say that a hotel and visitor's center would probably be built along with the railroad, as a way of getting customers there. She concurred with earlier testimony that much work would need to be done in order for this project to be complete. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES declared that she is still opposed to putting more roads into the parks, even though many people would rather have one, "because they like to drive their cars." She believes that there should be some controlled access into the parks, which the railroad would do. She reiterated that she has been working on these ideas for nine years, and nothing has happened. She noted that people in the Denali Borough would hire people who can do the job. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES referred to Mr. Mylius' testimony and expressed agreement with the suggestion that if a railroad is never built after land is set aside for one, there should be a date in which the land goes back to the state. However, she disagrees with DNR that money needs to be given to the state for the disposition of land. She remarked that people having money and jobs is what benefits Alaskans. She went on to say that Alaska's long-term plan would probably include statewide income taxes in which the state would get money from jobs created from this issue to create services for everyone. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that the train would run on natural liquid gas, which is a very clean fuel. She also noted that the train would not be a speed train, it would be a tourist train. She mentioned that there are many types of excursion trains and that British Columbia has ones that go through "all the beautiful areas in short periods of time, charging lots of money for riding on this train," and having the train trip be the destination. This bill provides the opportunity to put a facility like this in Denali National Park, which is the "pride of all of Alaska and all of North America." She said that a park like this has to be accessible to everyone who wants to see it. And this project opens this "door" in a "clean and environmentally sound way." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that last year while working on a re-write for the 250,000 acres for the university, which the governor vetoed last year, one of the prime parcels included in that list of land was a 90,000 acre parcel, named "Wolf Township." This would "kill" the access or railroad going into the park. She said this is "on hold." She remarked that she isn't aware of what the disposition of the township would be once we take this out there, since there are mixed feelings in the Denali Borough about this issue. She mentioned that many people have cabins out there and that it's a hunting and recreation area. She said, "If you live by any state land, you hear people say they don't want anybody else to have it, they want to have it for their own and that's what the people feel like about this Wolf Township. She said, Alaska needs development and "sometimes it just takes local people grabbing the bull by the horn." Number 2131 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH commented that he is uncomfortable with taking 46,000 acres when only 3,500 acres are needed for the actual right-of-way. He asked if the [Denali] Borough was initially entitled to 3,500 acres, how a 46,000 entitlement is justified. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that she would like [the entitlement] to be done by DNR, but they won't be involved. However, Denali Borough has agreed to do it, along with a $20,000 fiscal note, which is reasonable. She noted that if DNR did it, the fiscal note would have been much larger. She asked Mr. Mylius how many of the entitlements Denali Borough has received. MR. MYLIUS replied that the Denali Borough received an entitlement of more than 49,000 acres based on the formula in state statute. To date, 20,000 acres have been transferred to Denali Borough, and the remaining 29,000 acres is still pending. It requires DNR to go through an amendment of its (indisc.) in order to get those lands to the borough. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that in this particular case, a "large parcel" is temporarily going back to Denali Borough until 2006. All but 3,500 acres will be transferred back. She indicated that she did not know the details of this, and that the Denali Borough would have to answer. Number 1965 CHAIR KOHRING asked if it was still Representative James' intent to provide a sponsor statement for this bill. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that she does not think one is needed, however she wants to include a date that land would be transferred back to the state if the project is not completed by the deadline. She indicated that she also wanted to find out more information on the 3,500 acres that the Denali Borough would receive. She noted that she could provide this information in a sponsor statement at the next meeting. Number 1895 CHAIR KOHRING announced that HB 244 would be held over until Thursday.