Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/27/1995 03:36 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SRES - 2/27/95                                                                
         SB  93 DISPOSAL OF LAND ALONG THE DALTON HWY                        
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought up SB 93 as the next order of business                 
 before the Senate Resources Committee.  The chairman called the               
 first witness.                                                                
 Number 545                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER, prime sponsor of SB 93, read the sponsor statement            
 for the bill.  Senator Miller noted the existence of a proposed               
 committee substitute, which would add the proper legal descriptions           
 to the bill.                                                                  
 Number 529                                                                    
 SENATOR HALFORD moved the adoption of the committee substitute for            
 SB 93.                                                                        
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, stated that the committee               
 substitute had been adopted.                                                  
 Number 527                                                                    
 SENATOR HALFORD asked Senator Miller where people who work in these           
 places would live, if the land will be non-residential.  Would a              
 person have to commute from Fairbanks?                                        
 SENATOR MILLER does not believe that would be the case; however,              
 Mr. Swanson could give a better answer to that question.                      
 Number 521                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR suggested amending SB 93 by taking out the word                
 "non."  Anyone who wanted to live out there could just buy a piece            
 of land from the state.                                                       
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked Senator Miller how much land SB 93 would                
 SENATOR MILLER responded Mr. Swanson would be better prepared to              
 answer that question.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN confirmed with Senator Miller that the changes in              
 the committee substitute were just legal description corrections.             
 Number 510                                                                    
 RON SWANSON, Director, Division of Land, Department of Natural                
 Resources (DNR), stated about 30,000 acres have been identified               
 within the development nodes; the state does not own all those                
 lands.  Before any activity could occur on those lands, we would              
 have to go through a land-use planning process.  At this point, the           
 main concern is being able to provide essential traveler services             
 along the Haul Road.                                                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Swanson what is meant by the term "non-              
 MR. SWANSON replied the intent is that the state not create a                 
 subdivision; then we would have to create the schools and the                 
 infrastructure.  Certainly people could live within that existing             
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked what the responsibility of the State of Alaska           
 would be if there were eight or more children living in an area.              
 Number 492                                                                    
 SENATOR FRANK stated the idea is not to sponsor a state land                  
 disposal for residential purposes.  Senator Frank asked Mr.                   
 Swanson's position on SB 93.                                                  
 MR. SWANSON answered, "Mr. Chairman, Senator Frank, it is, to                 
 provide those essential services."                                            
 Number 482                                                                    
 JOE LEVESQUE, Attorney North Slope Borough (NSB), testifying from             
 Barrow, commented the bill is moving forward very fast.  He stated            
 the Dalton Highway Coordinating Committee is proceeding in a                  
 prudent manner on the same subject.  NSB thinks SB 93 would be best           
 served if action on the bill was suspended until the findings of              
 the Dalton Highway Coordinating Committee are complete.  Mr.                  
 Levesque contends the state is unable to protect the resources and            
 the citizens along the Haul Road corridor.                                    
 Number 450                                                                    
 STANLEY NED, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), testifying from                  
 Fairbanks, stated TCC is opposed to the Dalton Highway... because             
 of the affect on subsistence lifestyles.  (Teleconference                     
 transmission is very difficult to understand).  Mr. Ned stated TCC            
 is opposed to SB 93.                                                          
 Number 435                                                                    
 DAVE LACEY, Yukon River Tours, testifying from Fairbanks, does not            
 see a need for SB 93.  He is also concerned that there has been no            
 input from local residents.  He asked why the bill is being                   
 sponsored by a legislator who is not from the affected area, and              
 thinks SB 93 is another unfunded mandate.  Mr. Lacey believes the             
 state needs another large wilderness attraction, and perhaps the              
 Haul Road could be turned into something like that.  He thinks SB
 93 would cause strip development and therefore harm the tourism               
 potential of the area.                                                        
 Number 405                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Lacey if he believes his business will be            
 adversely affected by SB 93.                                                  
 MR. LACEY responded his business will be affected.                            
 Number 390                                                                    
 BILL ROBERTSON, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, testifying from                
 Fairbanks, stated he is speaking in favor of SB 93.  Mr. Robertson            
 asserted that development planning for the area affected by SB 93             
 has been occurring for many years, and that the type of development           
 being planned is node development, not strip development.                     
 Number 347                                                                    
 SARA HANNAN, Alaska Environmental Lobby, stated the lobby is                  
 opposed to SB 93.  Ms. Hannan submitted written testimony to the              
 committee.  Ms. Hannan asserted that if the state allows for                  
 private ownership of lands, there is an obligation to protect that            
 property: additional troopers, fish & wildlife protection officers,           
 and additional schools will be needed.  She also believes the more            
 private property there is in that area, the more difficult it will            
 be for the Trans-Alaska Gasline Corporation to build their gasline.           
 Number 319                                                                    
 SENATOR FRANK emphasized his belief that there is a big distinction           
 between opening land for general residential purposes, which                  
 carries great fiscal ramifications, and opening nodes for provision           
 of essential services, which he does not think would have great               
 fiscal ramifications.                                                         
 Surprise is expressed by several committee members that the Alaska            
 Environmental Lobby is advising the legislature on budgetary                  
 matters, health & safety concerns, and gas-line development.                  
 MS. HANNAN responded that the lobby does spend a lot of time in               
 coordination with resource developers.  She does not think anyone             
 could find anything saying the Alaska Environmental Lobby is                  
 opposed to development of Alaska resources.  The lobby urges                  
 cautious, responsible development.  Ms. Hannan also believes the              
 State of Alaska has an obligation to educate Alaska's children; if            
 there are eight or more children, the state has an obligation to              
 provide a school and education services to those children.                    
 Number 294                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Ms. Hannan if the Alaska Environmental Lobby is           
 opposed to the transfer of state land to private ownership.                   
 MS. HANNAN states the lobby is opposed to it in this instance,                
 largely because member groups of the lobby from that area are                 
 already working on the issue through the Dalton Highway Study, and            
 don't feel they have had a say in this process.  Opposition is                
 often mitigated by bringing people together to talk about the                 
 Number 278                                                                    
 SENATOR FRANK confirmed with Ms. Hannan that the Alaska                       
 Environmental Lobby is not opposed to SB 93 for environmental                 
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to discharge SB 93 from the Senate Resources            
 Committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SENATOR HOFFMAN objected to the motion.                                       
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN called for a vote on the motion.                               
 The motion passed.  Voting in favor of the motion were Senators               
 Leman, Frank, Halford, and Taylor.  Voting in opposition to the               
 motion was Senator Hoffman.  Senators Pearce and Lincoln were not             

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