Legislature(2011 - 2012)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/12/2012 09:00 AM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 302 CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PFD: UNIV/AUDITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 366 DISASTER PLANNING AND SERVICES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HCR 23 ALASKA ARCTIC POLICY COMMISSION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 21 SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL MEMBERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 115 NAMING WALTER J. HICKEL EXPRESSWAY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 360 INTERSTATE MINING COMPACT & COMMISSION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 360                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act  enacting  the Interstate  Mining  Compact  and                                                                   
     relating  to the  compact;  relating  to the  Interstate                                                                   
     Mining  Commission;  and   providing  for  an  effective                                                                   
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:35:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB LYNN,  introduced  HB  360. He  explained                                                                   
that the  legislation would  give Alaska a  full vote  in the                                                                   
Interstate Mining  Compact Commission  (IMCC). He  noted that                                                                   
the state  had been a member of  the compact for 6  years but                                                                   
as an  associate member,  never had  a vote. The  legislation                                                                   
would give Alaska full voting  rights in a formal vote in the                                                                   
state compact  while maintaining state sovereignty  in mining                                                                   
issues. He  furthered that  mining was a  growing for  in the                                                                   
state's  economy,  and  broadened the  state's  revenue  base                                                                   
beyond  oil and  gas. He  shared  that there  were 45  direct                                                                   
mining jobs in  Alaska and 9,000 indirect jobs  attributed to                                                                   
mining. He said  mining generated approximately  $150 million                                                                   
in state  revenue, $17 million  in local government  revenue,                                                                   
and  over  $179   million  in  payments  for   Alaska  Native                                                                   
Corporations. He said  that a voting voice in  the IMCC would                                                                   
give Alaska a stronger voice on the federal level.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:37:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman  noted the  one fiscal  note from  the House                                                                   
Finance  Committee which  eliminated $20  thousand in  travel                                                                   
cost from  the original note  from the Department  of Natural                                                                   
Resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:37:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ED  FOGELS,   DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT   OF  NATURAL                                                                   
RESOURCES,  urged support of  HB 360.  He stated that  mining                                                                   
was an  important aspect  of Alaska's  economy. He  testified                                                                   
that  due  to  the  streamlined   permitting  and  regulatory                                                                   
process of  the state  there were  currently had 7  operating                                                                   
mines  that were  contributing  to the  treasury. He  relayed                                                                   
that  mining  had  become  controversial   in  recent  years,                                                                   
bringing  the   strength  of  the  permitting   process  into                                                                   
question. He said that, under  the direction of the governor,                                                                   
the department  was examining  the permitting  process  in an                                                                   
effort to  better protect the  environment. He  asserted that                                                                   
by joining  the commission the  state would gain  leverage on                                                                   
the federal level.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:40:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas wondered what practical  effect the commission                                                                   
would have on existing mining operations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Fogels replied  that the Environmental  Protection Agency                                                                   
(EPA)  was  currently  considering taking  over  bonding  for                                                                   
hard-rock  mining in the  nation. He  said that every  mining                                                                   
state in the  nation was concerned that once  the bonding was                                                                   
taken  over  the   EPA  could  take  over  the   entire  mine                                                                   
regulatory  process  for  each  state.  He  stated  that  the                                                                   
commission  was  currently  in  discussion with  the  EPA  to                                                                   
educate them  on the bonding  programs already  in existence,                                                                   
with the hope that  it would prompt the EPA  to rethink their                                                                   
initiative.  He  concluded  that  this  was  a  case  of  the                                                                   
commission voicing collective states concerns to the EPA.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:41:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREGORY   CONRAD,  EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,  INTERSTATE   MINING                                                                   
COMPACT  COMMISSION,  WASHINGTON D.C.  (via  teleconference),                                                                   
urged committee support  of HB 360. He explained  the present                                                                   
legislative  and   regulatory  climate  in   Washington  D.C.                                                                   
demanded that state governments  have a strong voice in order                                                                   
to be  heard. He said that  the commission was  recognized on                                                                   
the federal level  for their expertise on mining  issues, and                                                                   
had been  invited to testify  on behalf  of the state  in six                                                                   
congressional hearings  in the house  and senate in  2012. He                                                                   
stressed that it was the active  participation and commitment                                                                   
of  the  full member  state  that  carried  the  organization                                                                   
forward  in terms  of support  and  leadership. He  expounded                                                                   
that upon  the enactment of  the legislation the  state would                                                                   
have a formal  vote in guiding the direction  of the compact,                                                                   
and  the ability  to  chair  committees  of the  compact.  He                                                                   
concluded  that the  passage of  the legislation  was in  the                                                                   
best interest for the state.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:45:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  noted some tension  between the  fisheries and                                                                   
the mining industry  in relation to the Pebble  Mine project.                                                                   
He  queried the  commission's  position  on  the Pebble  mine                                                                   
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Conrad replied  that  the  commission held  no  official                                                                   
position.  He  believed  that   the  commission  could  offer                                                                   
direction in  discussions of the  types of issues  associated                                                                   
with the development of the Pebble Mine.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:46:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Egan  noted that  many of the  member states  were on                                                                   
the East Coast. He wondered if  there was a plan to encourage                                                                   
more Western states to participate.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Conrad replied  that Colorado, Utah, New  Mexico, Wyoming                                                                   
were  associate members  that  were pursuing  legislation  to                                                                   
become full members. He added  that the commission was in the                                                                   
process of working  with Nevada, the newest  associate member                                                                   
state.  He said  that  discussions  were also  underway  with                                                                   
Montana and  Arizona. He explained  that when  the commission                                                                   
was formed in 1970 the focus had  been on Eastern coal mining                                                                   
states  as a  result of  legislation before  congress at  the                                                                   
time.  He shared  that  since that  time  the commission  had                                                                   
expanded   the  scope   of  its   issues,  initiatives,   and                                                                   
priorities beyond coal.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hoffman CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB  360  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee   for  further                                                                   
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB 21- Explanation of Changes.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Letter of Support- Douglas.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 21- Letter of Support- SSPC.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
HB 21 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 21
CSHB 115(TRA) Explanation of Changes.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Google Map.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115
CSHB 115(TRA) Support.pdf SFIN 4/12/2012 9:00:00 AM
HB 115