Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

04/09/2019 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:31:04 PM Start
01:31:30 PM SJR11
01:49:27 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SJR 11 U.S.-CANADA RAILROAD PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSJR 11(TRA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
        SJR 11-U.S.-CANADA RAILROAD PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES   announced  the  consideration  of   SENATE  JOINT                                                               
RESOLUTION NO.  11, Urging the  United States Secretary  of State                                                               
to issue  a Presidential permit  authorizing a  railroad crossing                                                               
of the Alaska-Canada  border from state land  into Yukon, Canada;                                                               
and supporting  cooperation between the United  States and Canada                                                               
to establish a public- private  partnership for construction of a                                                               
railroad from  Alberta, Canada, to  the state that  would connect                                                               
the Alaska Railroad to the North American railroad system.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
She  stated  her   intention  to  hear  the   bill,  take  public                                                               
testimony, and  report it from  committee if  it was the  will of                                                               
the committee.  She noted that  this committee is the  sponsor of                                                               
the resolution.  She asked  the committee  aide to  introduce the                                                               
resolution.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
AIMEE  BUSHNELL,  Staff,  Senator Shelley  Hughes,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, introduced SJR  11 speaking to the following                                                               
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Presidential Permits  are issued  by the  United States                                                                    
     Secretary of  State for international crossings  of any                                                                    
     kind. Whether  cross-border liquid pipelines  for water                                                                    
     and petroleum products  or cross-border infrastructure,                                                                    
     such  as   land-border  crossings,   bridges,  tunnels,                                                                    
     conveyor  belts, tramways,  and railroads,  they are  a                                                                    
     standard  part of  a project  development process  as a                                                                    
     determination  of national  interest including  but not                                                                    
     limited   to:  foreign   policy;   energy  and   border                                                                    
     security;   safety;    environmental,   cultural,   and                                                                    
     economic  impacts; and  compliance with  applicable law                                                                    
     and  policy. The  Senate  Transportation Committee  has                                                                    
     been updated  on current interest and  work on building                                                                    
     a railroad  that crosses the  border between  the State                                                                    
     of Alaska  and the Yukon Territory.  This railroad link                                                                    
     would connect Alaska  to both Canada and  the Lower 48,                                                                    
     opening  tremendous   commerce  opportunities   to  our                                                                    
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Senate  Joint  Resolution  11 urges  the  Secretary  of                                                                    
     State  to  issue a  Presidential  permit  for a  cross-                                                                    
     border rail  link which  would connect  Alberta, Canada                                                                    
     and Alaska. In 1914,  the United States Congress passed                                                                    
     legislation  approving  construction  of  up  to  1,000                                                                    
     miles  of  railroad  in the  Territory  of  Alaska,  to                                                                    
     connect  coastal   and  interior  regions   to  support                                                                    
     development,  rail  service, and  military  operations.                                                                    
     Little more than 500 miles  of the Alaska Railroad have                                                                    
     been built thus far.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In 2004,  the 23rd Alaska State  Legislature authorized                                                                    
     the   Alaska  Railroad   Corporation  to   delineate  a                                                                    
     corridor   between   the  existing   railroad   utility                                                                    
     corridor  and  the  Canadian  border   as  well  as  to                                                                    
     investigate an  extension of  the Alaska  Railroad from                                                                    
     the border  of Alaska  and Canada  to connect  with the                                                                    
     North  American  railroad  system. This  connection  to                                                                    
     Canada and the  Lower 48 starts with  a border crossing                                                                    
     permit into Canada.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Please  join  the  Senate Transportation  Committee  in                                                                    
     supporting  this  Joint  Resolution to  urge  the  U.S.                                                                    
     Secretary to  take action that will  allow new economic                                                                    
     opportunities for Alaska.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked if there were questions.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON  suggested the committee consider  identifying the                                                               
office where  a copy of the  resolution would be sent  instead of                                                               
the individual who holds the  particular office because there has                                                               
been quite a bit of turnover recently.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES said  some of the members were  discussing that just                                                               
before  the committee  convened because  there have  been changes                                                               
since  the   resolution  was  drafted.  For   example,  the  U.S.                                                               
Secretary of  Homeland Security resigned and  an acting secretary                                                               
took her  place. She noted  that there was also  discussion about                                                               
giving  Legislative Legal  Services the  authority to  adjust the                                                               
names that have changed. She said  she believes it's okay as long                                                               
as the names are accurate when the resolution passes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
She solicited a motion from Senator Kiehl.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:34:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  made a motion  to adopt Conceptual Amendment  1 to                                                               
SJR 11.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                     CONCEPTUAL AMENDMENT 1                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     On  page 4,  line  7, replace  "the Honorable  Kirstjen                                                                    
     Nielsen,   United   States    Secretary   of   Homeland                                                                    
     Security;"  with  "[the   Honorable]  Acting  Secretary                                                                    
     Kevin McAleenan;".                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES found  no objection  and Conceptual  Amendment 1was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She described this  is an exciting venture for the  state that is                                                               
coming closer  to becoming more a  reality. The next step  is the                                                               
issuance  of  a  Presidential  permit  so  it's  timely  for  the                                                               
legislature to make the request.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:36:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  opened public testimony  for SJR 11 and  noted that                                                               
Tim Sullivan  was available to answer  questions. She highlighted                                                               
that  the resolution  states that  a railroad  project connecting                                                               
Alberta, Canada  to Alaska would  not require state  general fund                                                               
support.                                                                                                                        
on page 2, line 11, and in the resolve on page 3, line 21.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked if there were questions for Mr. Sullivan.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:37:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER asked  if this would be a  viable secondary method                                                               
of moving  heavy freight into  the state that could  be regularly                                                               
scheduled and  available as  a backup plan  if there  were issues                                                               
with Alaska ports and airports and they were out of commission.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:39:21 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  SULLIVAN,  Alaska  Railroad, Anchorage,  confirmed  that  it                                                               
would absolutely be  a second route if the ports  and airports go                                                               
out and the rails remain in good shape.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SHOWER  asked how long  it would  take a train  to travel                                                               
from the closest depot in the lower 48 to the MatSu.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SULLIVAN replied it would take  3-4 days after the freight is                                                               
delivered to the train depot in the lower 48.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES asked Mr. Treadwell to provide testimony.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:41:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MEAD  TREADWELL,  Principal, Treadwell  Development;  Consultant,                                                               
Albert to  Alaska Railway, Anchorage,  thanked the  committee for                                                               
introducing  the resolution.  He updated  the committee  that the                                                               
White House  was scheduled to  issue an executive  order tomorrow                                                               
that may  affect Presidential permits. He  suggested changing the                                                               
language  in the  resolution  by dropping  the  reference to  the                                                               
United States  Secretary of State  on page  [3], line 6,  and the                                                               
following  paragraph  in  anticipation  of this  sort  of  action                                                               
moving to the White House.  He also stated agreement with Senator                                                               
Kiehl's conceptual amendment.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. TREADWELL concluded  his comments saying that  one reason for                                                               
the  request  for  the  Presidential permit  ahead  of  the  full                                                               
environmental  impact statement  (EIS)  effort  with the  Surface                                                               
Transportation Board  is to  de-risk the project  in the  eyes of                                                               
Asian  investors. They  see the  services  of the  railroad as  a                                                               
risky permit.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:43:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if his suggestion  on page 3, lines 6-7 was to                                                               
urge  "the President  of  the  United States  and  or the  United                                                               
States Secretary of State."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TREADWELL suggested  more generally urging the  approval of a                                                               
Presidential permit.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:44:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  found no further  questions or comments  and closed                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:44:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER made  a motion to adopt Conceptual  Amendment 2 to                                                               
change the language  on page 3, line 6 by  striking "Secretary of                                                               
State." Some discussion ensued regarding the exact language.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SHOWER  clarified that  the first  resolve would  read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     BE IT RESOLVED that  the Alaska State Legislature urges                                                                  
     the  United  States  to  issue  a  Presidential  permit                                                                    
     allowing  a  railroad  crossing  of  the  Alaska-Canada                                                                    
     border from state land into Yukon, Canada; and be it                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES objected  for  discussion  purposes and  recognized                                                               
Senator Wilson.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:46:31 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES reconvened  the meeting and asked  Senator Shower to                                                               
further  clarify  Conceptual  Amendment  2 to  also  include  the                                                               
change  in  the  second  resolve. She  asked  Senator  Shower  to                                                               
restate the motion with the additional language.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                     CONCEPTUAL AMENDMENT 2                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Strike  the reference  to the  Secretary of  State from                                                                    
     the resolves on  page 3, line [6] through  page 3, line                                                                    
     [11]. The paragraphs would read as follows:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     BE IT RESOLVED that  the Alaska State Legislature urges                                                                  
     the  United  States  to  issue  a  Presidential  permit                                                                    
     allowing  a  railroad  crossing  of  the  Alaska-Canada                                                                    
     border from state land into Yukon, Canada; and be it                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                  
     urges  the United  States to  10  issue a  Presidential                                                                    
     permit allowing a  railroad connecting Alberta, Canada,                                                                    
      to the state as soon 11 as practicable to reduce any                                                                      
     regulatory risk for the project; and be it                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  found no objection  and Conceptual Amendment  2 was                                                               
adopted. She asked the will of the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:48:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER moved to report  SJR 11, work order 31-LS0784\M as                                                               
amended,  from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and                                                               
attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGHES  found no  objection and  stated that  CSSJR 11(TRA)                                                               
passes  from the  Senate Transportation  Standing Committee  with                                                               
authorization for  Legislative Legal  Services to  make necessary                                                               
conforming and  technical corrections, including  any corrections                                                               
and   the  reordering   of  names   according  to   protocol  for                                                               
dignitaries.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
STRA Agenda 4.9.19.pdf STRA 4/9/2019 1:30:00 PM
SJR11 Sponsor Statement.pdf STRA 4/9/2019 1:30:00 PM
SJR 11
SJR11 Version M.PDF STRA 4/9/2019 1:30:00 PM
SJR 11
SJR11 Fiscal Note.pdf STRA 4/9/2019 1:30:00 PM
SJR 11