Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

05/02/2006 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


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01:33:33 PM Start
01:41:51 PM SB85
03:08:49 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 85 OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE ON DALTON HIGHWAY TELECONFERENCED
Failed To Move Out Of Committee
SB  85-OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE ON DALTON HIGHWAY                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be SENATE BILL  NO. 85, "An Act  repealing the ban on  the use of                                                               
certain off-road  vehicles within five miles  of the right-of-way                                                               
of  the James  Dalton  Highway; and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  asked  the  sponsor  of  SB  85  if  his                                                               
dealership sells off-road vehicles (ORV).                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR RALPH  SEEKINS, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of SB
85, said yes, but not under  the definition of the Bureau of Land                                                               
Management (BLM), which  means vehicles that are  1,500 pounds or                                                               
less.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:34:49 p.m. to 1:41:49 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  only one  road exists  north of  the Yukon                                                               
River-the  James Dalton  Highway, and  current law  prohibits the                                                               
use of ORVs within five miles  of the highway starting at mile 57                                                               
all the way to the Arctic Ocean.   He said that distance is equal                                                               
to  the road  between  Anchorage and  Fairbanks.   Therefore,  he                                                               
opined, the average  Alaskan can't recreate "on  tens of millions                                                               
of acres  of public lands that  would otherwise be open  to their                                                               
use."   He said SB 85  will remove the prohibition  on that five-                                                               
mile  right-of-way.   Landowners can  then develop  and implement                                                               
land  use plans,  he stated.    Campgrounds and  cabins could  be                                                               
built while protecting sensitive  areas, and multiple user-groups                                                               
could  coexist, he  said.   The Bureau  of Land  Management (BLM)                                                               
already  has   turnouts,  restrooms,   and  visitor   centers  to                                                               
accommodate  increased public  interest in  this part  of Alaska.                                                               
He said BLM  has already prepared a management  plan "waiting for                                                               
the state to  remove the outdated ban on off-road  vehicles."  He                                                               
added that  by dropping  the ban,  state agencies  could continue                                                               
doing valuable research without violating  the law.  "Current law                                                               
essentially requires that you be  either wealthy enough to fly or                                                               
healthy enough to walk into the  vast areas of public lands north                                                               
of the Yukon River."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:45:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GATTO said  it is  important to  identify that  Senator                                                               
Seekins owns an automobile dealership.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he has no conflict of  interest because the                                                               
definition of  an ORV is  a snow machine  or a four-wheeler.   He                                                               
said he sells cars and trucks.   "We don't sell off-road vehicles                                                               
if you  define them as snow  machines or four-wheelers or  any of                                                               
those others."  He has taken in an occasional ORV trade-in.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:47:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said the Dalton Highway  was built in 1974  as a                                                               
pipeline construction and service road,  and was called "the haul                                                               
road".   The  road starts  at  Livengood and  ends at  Deadhorse,                                                               
measuring just  over 400 miles  in length.  The  distance between                                                               
the  Yukon River  and  Deadhorse  is about  360  miles, and  that                                                               
portion is  closed, by  state law,  to all  recreational off-road                                                               
vehicle use  within 5 miles of  the road right-of-way.   The road                                                               
became a  public highway  in 1991,  he stated,  and it  was named                                                               
after an oil engineer.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:50:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  almost all  the  land along  the route  is                                                               
public  land.   There are  two different  land managers,  and BLM                                                               
manages 2.1 million acres along the  corridor.  He noted that the                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources (DNR) manages  "tens of millions                                                               
of acres of  lands north of Atigun Pass.   The Yukon River Bridge                                                               
is at  milepost 56, and the  span is 2,290 feet--the  only bridge                                                               
crossing  the  Yukon  River.   The  visitor  contact  station  is                                                               
located within a few dozen feet  of the north side of the bridge,                                                               
he  noted,  where  visitors  can   pick  up  BLM  Dalton  Highway                                                               
information   and   see    the   Trans-Alaska   Pipeline   System                                                               
interpretive station.   He  spoke of  lodging and  many airstrips                                                               
along the  highway.   There are many  pull-outs along  the Dalton                                                               
Highway, and at 42 mile there is an all-weather outhouse.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:53:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said there  are many  access gates  crossing the                                                               
pipeline right-of-way.  The Arctic  Interagency Visitor Center is                                                               
in  Coldfoot and  jointly  operated  by BLM,  the  U.S. Fish  and                                                               
Wildlife Service, and  the National Park Service.   He showed the                                                               
Brooks Range foothills.  The  pipeline is easily accessible along                                                               
its 800-mile  length, he said.   If someone wanted to  damage the                                                               
pipeline, he/she doesn't  have to use a snow  machine, he stated.                                                               
The Marion  Creek Campground  is 180 miles  north of  the bridge.                                                               
The Chandalar Camp  is located four miles inside  the North Slope                                                               
Borough, he  noted, and not many  people are going to  drive that                                                               
far to recreate.  Atigun Pass  summit is the highest highway pass                                                               
in  Alaska.   The Institute  of Arctic  Biology field  station is                                                               
located 40 miles  north of Atigun Pass.  He  said caribou seem to                                                               
co-exist with the pipeline "fairly well."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:57:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  he considered  science and  research, fish                                                               
and game,  safety and security when  creating SB 85.   The Toolik                                                               
Field Station is  located on the north side of  the Brooks Range,                                                               
370 miles  from Fairbanks,  and BLM has  expressed its  intent to                                                               
close the areas  surrounding the field station  from any off-road                                                               
vehicle use.   "No one wants to  intrude on that," he  said.  The                                                               
Boards of Fish and Game  will address methods, means, seasons and                                                               
bag limits to  conserve the fish and game  populations from over-                                                               
harvest - just as  they do in all other areas of  the state.  Bow                                                               
hunting within  the corridor is  not threatened because  the time                                                               
that ORVs  will arrive north  of Atigun Pass, the  hunting season                                                               
will  be  closed.    Safety and  security  services  will  expand                                                               
proportional to demand,  just as in other areas of  the state, he                                                               
stated.  There is no greater  threat to the pipeline north of the                                                               
Yukon River than  there is south of  it.  "More eyes  on the pipe                                                               
is better  security," he opined.   The public should  have access                                                               
to public  lands, he stated,  but not  unfettered access.   It is                                                               
not true that SB 85 will  allow "hummers to go tearing across the                                                               
tundra."  He said SB 85 has  a delayed effective date so that BLM                                                               
and DNR will be  prepared.  He said DNR will not  open any of the                                                               
state land north of Atigun Pass  to wheeled vehicles, but only to                                                               
snow machines after adequate snow cover.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  one of  the dangers  about having  a four-                                                               
wheeler  truck instead  of a  two-wheeler and  going off  road is                                                               
that "you just  need a longer cable  to pull you out."   He said,                                                               
"BLM  has said  that wheeled  vehicles  will be  used where  it's                                                               
appropriate-on hardened trails, on  areas where they're not going                                                               
to  do  environmental  damage."    Summer use  of  ORVs  will  be                                                               
restricted to  designated trails.   Half of Alaska lies  north of                                                               
the Yukon River, and there are  millions of acres of public lands                                                               
on  both sides  of the  Dalton Highway.   SB  85 takes  effect 12                                                               
months after  it is signed  into law, and  both BLM and  DNR have                                                               
indicated the 12-month  delay is enough to  develop and implement                                                               
land  use plans.   SB  85 will  repeal AS  19.40.210.      He has                                                               
toured the highway with BLM,  Alyeska and state officials, and he                                                               
consulted with  DNR, Alaska  Department of Fish  & Game,  and the                                                               
University of  Alaska at Fairbanks,  and he heard  no substantive                                                               
arguments against allowing public access to public lands.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked  if he said he  heard no substantive                                                               
reasons to keep it closed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  the key  word is  "substantive".   He said                                                               
there is no great  threat that he can see.  He  said he has heard                                                               
lots of reasons why people shouldn't be allowed to go there.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked him to define substantive.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said he  means  "nothing  that  I think  is  so                                                               
compelling  that  we  should not  allow  reasonable  recreational                                                               
access to public lands."  He  said the protections are there, but                                                               
he hears people say, "we don't  want anybody else coming up here;                                                               
this is our part of Alaska; we  don't want other folks to be able                                                               
to do  what we do up  here."  He  read in the newspaper  that [SB
85] would destroy hunting, but he  checked with the Board of Game                                                               
and the dire  predictions don't exist.  "They're  still not going                                                               
to allow people  to drive out there with off-road  vehicles to be                                                               
able  to  harvest or  transport  those  animals."   He  spoke  of                                                               
various management  strategies in  the state.   He said  he heard                                                               
people  say  that [SB  85]  will  threaten  the caribou  that  go                                                               
through Anaktuvuk  Pass, but  the caribou  along the  highway are                                                               
among the Central Arctic Herd.   "The management systems that are                                                               
in place  in other parts of  the state...are adequate to  be able                                                               
to protect  those values,  at the  same time  making recreational                                                               
use available."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:09:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN   asked  how  management  plans   will  be                                                               
developed for the area.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said it will  be a standard public  process with                                                               
hearings and  public comments.   The DNR process won't  take long                                                               
"because they're just going to  say no wheeled vehicles, and snow                                                               
machines will  be allowed  when we have  adequate snow  cover and                                                               
adequate  freeze  levels."   He  noted  that  BLM has  a  regular                                                               
process that  will take four to  six months, as long  as it works                                                               
within budget allocations.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:12:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO turned to public testimony.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:13:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EDWARD ITTA, Mayor, North Slope  Borough, testified in opposition                                                               
of SB  85.   Opening up  the corridor to  anyone and  everyone is                                                               
wrong "in  terms of history  and subsistence protection  and land                                                               
management practices and  security and public safety."   The road                                                               
was built  as an industrial supply  road.  It was  the first road                                                               
to the North Slope, "and  our people were naturally very nervous"                                                               
about  its impact  on subsistence  traditions.   In response  the                                                               
state committed  itself to  manage the  road in  partnership with                                                               
the North Slope Borough, he said.   "The spirit of that agreement                                                               
was very  important to us.   It was the state's  promise to limit                                                               
use and limit impacts."   His people have a lot  to lose and they                                                               
expect the  state to honor  the partnership formed when  the haul                                                               
road was built.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO asked him to finish in 15 seconds.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR ITTA said, "I think the  half hour that you gave the bill's                                                               
sponsor  is very  unfair ...  I urge  you not  to pass  this bill                                                               
because  it's just  not right."   He  said his  borough has  been                                                               
partners  with  the state  and  the  industry, "and  for  certain                                                               
sponsors of  these bills  that kindly forget  this, I  think they                                                               
need to be reminded that partnerships are a two-way street."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:17:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GLENN VILLENEUVE  said he lives  part of  the year in  the Brooks                                                               
Range  with a  subsistence  life  style.   He  said  SB 85  would                                                               
devastate his  way of  life there.   He said  the fish  limit has                                                               
declined because of  so much pressure on the fish.   Thousands of                                                               
people visit  the region  every year, by  foot, plane,  dog team,                                                               
snow machine and  boat.  The lake trout can't  be taken along the                                                               
road any more.   Under SB 85 people will be able  to take a short                                                               
four-wheeler  ride and  get up  to many  lakes where  people have                                                               
been fishing  for food  for thousands  of years,  "and in  a very                                                               
short time all you're  going to be able to do  there is play with                                                               
the fish."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  asked  if Alaska's  resources  belong  to                                                               
everybody equally.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. VILLENEUVE replied  yes, but pointed out that  people use and                                                               
access the resources differently.   Fish grow much more slowly up                                                               
north, and there needs to be less pressure on them.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  interjected that  is why the  bag limit  has been                                                               
reduced and catch-and-release has be instituted.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:21:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE RAYMOND  YAKOUBIAN said  she hopes  that the  committee has                                                               
seen the transcripts  from hearings on this issue  that were held                                                               
in Fairbanks, where people were  overwhelmingly opposed to SB 85.                                                               
She  said  she   has  worked  and  recreated  in   the  area  and                                                               
appreciates  the  lack of  motorized  vehicles.   With  only  one                                                               
officer to enforce  rules, it will be impossible  to monitor off-                                                               
road activity  in the corridor.   It has  the potential to  be an                                                               
impact to tourism  and an environmental disaster.   The tundra is                                                               
too fragile  to handle  ORVs.   She said  cultural sites  will be                                                               
exposed to harm.  There are  no provisions in the bill to address                                                               
any of  these concerns  and the costs  associated with  them, she                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:23:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RANDY MAYO, First Chief, Stevens  Village Tribal Council, said he                                                               
is also the President of  the Dinyee Native Corporation, which is                                                               
a  major  landowner  of  adjacent  property.    He  testified  in                                                               
opposition  to  SB 85.    His  community  is  20 miles  from  the                                                               
highway, and  the impacts  of the highway  continue.   "Rules and                                                               
regs  are fine,  but if  there's  no enforcement  out here,  then                                                               
they're meaningless."  He said there  is hardly a presence of any                                                               
state enforcement in the area.   He said the entire year can pass                                                               
when only one  or two rangers are  seen to drive up  and down the                                                               
road.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO  surmised that Mr.  Mayo's most  important concern                                                               
is the presence of public safety officials.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO  said there is no  mention of a fiscal  note attached to                                                               
this bill, so how  can there be patrols "of this  huge area?"  He                                                               
said  there might  be  pullouts, "but  you're  basically on  your                                                               
own."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO asked if cell phones work.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAYO replied  no; the last communication contact  is about 30                                                               
miles from Fox.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:26:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROD ARNO, Director,  Alaska Outdoor Council, said  he supports SB
85 and the  common use clause of Alaska's  constitution.  Earlier                                                               
restrictions  on  access  to protect  industrial  development  no                                                               
longer seem  necessary, he  said.   The extended  planning period                                                               
will ensure  appropriate regulations, and the  council would like                                                               
to be involved in the planning, he said.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:28:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO requested his written statement.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM PEARSON said  he was born and raised in  Fairbanks and he                                                               
is a sheep  hunter.  He noted  that SB 85 "is a  naked opening to                                                               
the  Dalton Highway  without any  legislative scheme."   He  said                                                               
there is no knowledge of the implementation of the bill.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KATE  PEARSON said  she is  not a  hunter but  believes there  is                                                               
value  to non-motorized  areas.   Currently, the  corridor allows                                                               
for hiking  and camping  in a place  free from  motorized noises,                                                               
where  wildlife has  not been  spooked, and  where the  landscape                                                               
remains unscarred by  rutted ORV trails.   That experience cannot                                                               
be replaced, she concluded.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:29:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN   PERSON,  Wildlife   Biologist,  Department   of  Wildlife                                                               
Management,  North  Slope Borough,  said  the  sponsor of  SB  85                                                               
purports to  offer responsible public  access while  in actuality                                                               
this  legislation  will  remove  the benefit  that  Alaskans  are                                                               
provided by  the existing five-mile corridor.   Allowing off-road                                                               
vehicle use will  disrupt hunting opportunities to  bow and sport                                                               
hunters  who desire  the challenge  of a  hunt under  the current                                                               
regulations.  He said people can  access the land in the corridor                                                               
by foot,  ski, dogsled, aircraft, and  boat.  The result  of off-                                                               
road vehicle  use is  likely going to  result in  shorter hunting                                                               
seasons and  bag limits for all  user groups.  He  noted that the                                                               
opposition to SB 85 has fallen on  deaf ears.  He urged a stop to                                                               
this  legislation, which  will  increase  conflicts between  user                                                               
groups including  subsistence users.  He  said low-income hunters                                                               
can hunt without competing with those who can afford ORVs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:32:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EARL  FINKLER, Planner,  North  Slope Borough,  said  he was  the                                                               
planner in  the 1970s  when the  legislature was  struggling with                                                               
this  issue as  it opened  the  road over  local objections  from                                                               
indigenous  people   from  up  and   down  the  corridor.     The                                                               
restrictions were put in with  wisdom and there are no compelling                                                               
arguments for overturning  them.  Opening up the  corridor with a                                                               
zero-dollar  fiscal note  is poor  planning and  poor management.                                                               
He said  he is the northern  Vice President of Alaska  Chapter of                                                               
the  American  Planning  Association,  which  has  opposed  this,                                                               
citing the borough's long planning  efforts.  He said local plans                                                               
and policies should be respected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRAN MAUER  said he worked and  hiked off the Dalton  Highway for                                                               
many years.   When the  highway was completed, there were already                                                               
solid reasons for limiting ORVs,  which cause significant impacts                                                               
to soil, water, and vegetation.   That body of evidence has grown                                                               
substantially,  he  said.    He  said  BLM  lands  in  the  White                                                               
Mountains  National Recreation  area are  currently under  an ATV                                                               
management plan that has failed.   He noted that BLM is trying to                                                               
deal  with the  damage.   Even lands  managed under  the National                                                               
Park  Service have  seen significant  damage  done by  ORVs.   He                                                               
explained  that SB  85 is  inappropriate because  it ignores  the                                                               
historic  record of  damage,  and  it is  at  odds with  Alaska's                                                               
constitution requiring sustainable resource use.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:36:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA BAILEY,  Tour Guide, urged  the committee to  think about                                                               
this issue  from a larger  perspective.  She  said she is  a tour                                                               
guide along  the highway, and she  has been telling the  story of                                                               
pipeline development for four years  and watching how visitors to                                                               
Alaska  change  their  perception   of  resource  development  in                                                               
Alaska.  She said Alaska  residents will benefit from responsible                                                               
resource  development  of  oil  and  gas  more  if  visitors  see                                                               
responsible development.   If Alaska lifts the ban,  it will send                                                               
the message that it can't be responsible.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:39:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAARLE  STRAILEY said  he  hikes and  bikes  along the  corridor.                                                               
There is plenty of access now  and the bill is irresponsible.  He                                                               
said  there  are 240  miles  of  no  facilities, only  one  state                                                               
trooper, and he encouraged the committee to vote against SB 85.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:40:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY SHIELDS said hearings on this  bill had 44 in opposition and                                                               
only  one person  in  favor.   She  said  Senator Seekins  should                                                               
remember that his constituents have  given him clear direction on                                                               
the bill.  She remembers when  the haul road was approved and the                                                               
five-mile buffer zone was implemented.   Global climate change is                                                               
profoundly affecting  Alaska and  Senator Lisa Murkowski  said to                                                               
take  action against  it.   The  research station  at Toolik  has                                                               
climate change  data, and  there will be  no enforcement  to make                                                               
sure  ORVs don't  cause  a  problem there.    Deep  ORV ruts  are                                                               
destroying trails in Fairbanks.   She wondered if Senator Seekins                                                               
showed images  of the deep  ORV ruts on  the sides of  the trail.                                                               
Visitors seeing that would be very disappointed, she opined.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:43:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAQULIK HEPA, Director, Department  of Wildlife Management, North                                                               
Slope Borough, said she is concerned  about the impact SB 85 will                                                               
have  on  subsistence uses,  especially  for  the communities  of                                                               
Anaktuvuk Pass,  Nuiqsut, and  Kaktovik.  The  bill will  cause a                                                               
dramatic increase in hunters and  "recreationists."  Increases in                                                               
hunting and  motorized traffic  to the west  of the  highway will                                                               
have  a  devastating  impact  on   fall  migration  harvests  for                                                               
Anaktuvuk Pass.   "These  are the last  nomadic people  of Alaska                                                               
and  have   a  lifestyle  that   is  heavily  dependent   on  the                                                               
subsistence  harvest of  the  terrestrial  mammals, with  caribou                                                               
being the most  important," she highlighted.  If  the caribou are                                                               
unavailable and other  mammals such as moose, sheep,  and musk ox                                                               
are  heavily  regulated, the  community  will  be very  impacted.                                                               
"How are the residents of  the North Slope supposed to adequately                                                               
express  their concerns  and report  conflicts  when they  occur?                                                               
The  state's local  fish  and game  advisory  committee has  been                                                               
inactive  since  1990,  "and  we've   urged  the  fish  and  game                                                               
officials  to reactivate  the two  advisory councils."   She  was                                                               
told it is  unlikely due to budget constraints.   It is important                                                               
to remember  the original intent  of the Dalton Highway,  and she                                                               
noted the long history of these types of promises being broken.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:46:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHNNY  L.  AIKEN,  Director, Planning  Department,  North  Slope                                                               
Borough, said he  strongly opposes SB 85, which  does not benefit                                                               
local, state, or federal interests.   He said he had seven points                                                               
to present, but the Co-Chair told him to mail his testimony.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:48:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SEPP HERRMANN,  Trapper, said  he traps  with a  dog team  in the                                                               
Brooks Range and Alaska  Range.  He has seen what  ORVs can do to                                                               
the trails:   three-foot-deep mud  ditches.  Furthermore,  in the                                                               
last  25  years  the  game   populations  have  declined  due  to                                                               
commercial  trophy hunting  and  allowing ORVs  would be  totally                                                               
inappropriate, he concluded.  He stated  that he is opposed to SB
85.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:51:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR  ITTA related  that it's  not just  increased harvest  that                                                               
worries subsistence  users.  He mentioned  that one inexperienced                                                               
hunter can scare  the migration away and place  an entire village                                                               
at risk.   He then  related that a well-enforced  management plan                                                               
can  make a  big difference  in  protecting the  animals and  the                                                               
subsistence hunters, but  any talk of a management  plan under SB
85 is  "a lot of  hot air."   He opined  that one can't  plan for                                                               
impacts or enforce  a legitimate plan without  spending money and                                                               
thus the  zero fiscal notes from  all agencies seems to  relate a                                                               
clear message from the sponsor.   He suggested that the sponsor's                                                               
message  is   that  planning  and   management  issues   by  this                                                               
legislation  aren't worth  any  funding.   Although  the old  BLM                                                               
management plan  that has been  promoted as  a solution may  be a                                                               
good start, it's only  the outline of a plan.   Much more work is                                                               
necessary,  and moreover  without enforcement  no management  can                                                               
occur.  He  pointed out that the state will  continue to have one                                                               
state trooper for the entire length  of the highway and one ADF&G                                                               
officer  for   the  entire  North  Slope.     The  aforementioned                                                               
enforcement won't  be able to  handle the increased  traffic from                                                               
SB 85.  Mayor  Itta opined that the result of SB  85 will be more                                                               
hunting, more violations, damaged  habitat, and less enforcement.                                                               
He further opined that this  legislation isn't responsible public                                                               
policy.   He then  mentioned the pipeline  security.   Mayor Itta                                                               
emphasized  that  he  is  merely   asking  for  respect  for  the                                                               
subsistence heritage  and protection of the  wildlife and habitat                                                               
upon which subsistence depends.   Therefore, Mayor Itta expressed                                                               
hope that  this committee  will honor  the partnership  the state                                                               
made with  the North Slope  almost 30  years ago and  continue to                                                               
work   on  developing   the   resources   while  protecting   the                                                               
subsistence traditions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARIN  MARKWARTT informed  the  committee that  he  was born  and                                                               
raised  in Alaska  and has  hiked and  hunted extensively  in the                                                               
Talkeetna  and Chugach  range.   He  said that  he  has seen  the                                                               
damage  created  by  ORVs first-hand.    Furthermore,  ORVs  have                                                               
turned  the  Talkeetna Mountains  into  an  elitist hunting  area                                                               
where one can only take a sheep  if she/he has a plane to spot it                                                               
and  an ORV  to  go back  into  the mountains.    With regard  to                                                               
Representative  Neuman's   earlier  question   regarding  whether                                                               
resources belong  to all Alaskans,  Mr. Markwartt  emphasized his                                                               
belief that the answer is yes  and added that they also belong to                                                               
future generations.  He opined that  the Brooks Range is the last                                                               
place in  Alaska where one can  hunt in the old  Alaska style, on                                                               
foot.  In  conclusion, Mr. Markwartt reminded  the committee that                                                               
former  governor  Jay  Hammond  would ask  the  following  before                                                               
implementing  any resource  policy:   does  the  project pay  for                                                               
itself; is the public for  it; and is the project environmentally                                                               
sound.  On all three aspects, this project fails, he opined.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:58:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOR STACEY  informed the committee  that he makes his  living in                                                               
Wiseman,  Alaska,  as  a registered  hunting  guide,  subsistence                                                               
hunter and  trapper.   Mr. Stacey opined  that the  existing land                                                               
management  plan  is  effective  in  its  exclusion  of  off-road                                                               
vehicle use.   He highlighted  that all caribou  herds accessible                                                               
by  road with  off-road  vehicles are  currently under  intensive                                                               
management.   Furthermore, passage  of SB  85 would  allocate the                                                               
resource  and  its  use  to  a  dominant  user  group,  excluding                                                               
traditional access methods.  Under  the current plan, orderly and                                                               
sustainable growth  is occurring and  is improving the  access to                                                               
the  general  public.    This particular  access  via  ORVs  goes                                                               
against the  aforementioned goals because  the land north  of the                                                               
Yukon  River is  different  in that  it's  low productive,  cold,                                                               
sparse animal  populations, and sensitive  natural terrain.   Mr.                                                               
Stacey specified  his opposition to SB  85, which he said  is the                                                               
sentiment of most Alaskans.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:00:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI SCHOPPENHORST testified  in opposition of SB  85, and noted                                                               
that she has submitted written testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:01:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LUPITA HENRY  testified in  opposition to SB  85, adding  that it                                                               
will impact the caribou migration.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO announced the closure of public testimony.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:02:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SALMON  highlighted that  of the  approximately 20                                                               
testifiers, all  but one testified in  opposition to SB 85.   The                                                               
aforementioned speaks for itself, he opined.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  related that  it's becoming more  and more                                                               
difficult  to find  places  to recreate  in  Alaska, although  he                                                               
suggested that certain  areas should be protected.   He indicated                                                               
the need to balance both sides of this issue.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:05:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  acknowledged that  the  use  of ORVs  is                                                               
working  in the  Mat-Su  Valley,  but she  pointed  out that  the                                                               
terrain is very different above the Arctic Circle.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:06:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  HOVE,  Staff  to  Senator   Ralph  Seekins,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking on  behalf  of  the sponsor,  acknowledged                                                               
that  there has  been a  lot of  opposition to  this legislation.                                                               
However,  he said  that the  sponsor  hasn't rounded  up all  the                                                               
supporters that  could come in and  testify in support of  SB 65.                                                               
Furthermore,  this legislation  doesn't merely  allow the  use of                                                               
ORVs  but rather  it allows  the land  use managers  charged with                                                               
ensuring the  land resource is  managed responsibly  to implement                                                               
plans.  Mr. Hove said that  the sponsor isn't advocating that the                                                               
area be opened up "willy-nilly" for ORVs.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:07:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ELKINS moved  to report  SB  85 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
notes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER objected.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Neuman  and Gatto                                                               
voted   in  favor   of  reporting   SB  85   out  of   committee.                                                               
Representatives  Kapsner, Salmon,  and Elkins  voted against  it.                                                               
Therefore, SB  85 failed  to be  reported out  of committee  by a                                                               
vote of 2-3.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects