Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/27/1995 03:36 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 encompass. 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- residential." 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 facility. 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 issue. Number 278 SENATOR FRANK confirmed with Ms. Hannan that the Alaska Environmental Lobby is not opposed to SB 93 for environmental reasons. 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 present.