Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/13/2003 08:10 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                                                                            
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                          May 13, 2003                                                                                          
                           8:10 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Carl Morgan, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Kelly Wolf, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Ralph Samuels                                                                                                    
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                     
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 288                                                                                                              
"An Act changing the name of the Department of Community and                                                                    
Economic Development."                                                                                                          
     - MOVED CSHB 288(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 155(RES)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to predator control programs; and providing for                                                                
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 288                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:CHANGING NAME OF DEPT OF COMM & ECON DEV.                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)KOHRING                                                                                            
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
04/28/03     1156       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
04/28/03     1156       (H)        STA, L&C                                                                                     
05/06/03                (H)        STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                   
05/06/03                (H)        Moved CSHB 288(STA) Out of                                                                   
                                   Committee -- Recessed to 5:30                                                                
                                   PM --                                                                                        
05/08/03     1475       (H)        STA RPT CS(STA) NT 3DP 1DNP                                                                  
05/08/03     1475       (H)        DP: DAHLSTROM, LYNN, HOLM;                                                                   
05/08/03     1475       (H)        DNP: BERKOWITZ; NR: SEATON,                                                                  
05/08/03     1475       (H)        WEYHRAUCH                                                                                    
05/08/03     1475       (H)        FN1: ZERO(CED)                                                                               
05/08/03     1478       (H)        CRA REFERRAL ADDED AFTER L&C                                                                 
05/09/03                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
05/09/03                (H)        Moved CSHB 288(STA) Out of                                                                   
05/10/03     1534       (H)        L&C RPT CS(STA) NT 3DP 1NR                                                                   
05/10/03     1534       (H)        DP: GATTO, DAHLSTROM, LYNN;                                                                  
05/10/03     1534       (H)        NR: ROKEBERG; AM: CRAWFORD,                                                                  
05/10/03     1535       (H)        FN1: ZERO(CED)                                                                               
05/13/03     1591       (H)        CRA RPT CS(STA) NT 2DP 3NR                                                                   
05/13/03     1591       (H)        DP: WOLF, KOTT; NR: SAMUELS,                                                                 
05/13/03     1591       (H)        MORGAN                                                                                       
05/13/03     1591       (H)        FN1: ZERO(CED)                                                                               
05/13/03                (H)        CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
BILL: SB 155                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:PREDATOR CONTROL/AIRBORNE SHOOTING                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/20/03     0551       (S)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/20/03     0551       (S)        JUD, RES                                                                                     
03/31/03                (S)        JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                     
03/31/03                (S)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/31/03                (S)        MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                  
04/04/03                (S)        JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                     
04/04/03                (S)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/04/03                (S)        MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                  
04/16/03                (S)        JUD AT 1:00 PM BELTZ 211                                                                     
04/16/03                (S)        Moved CSSB 155(JUD) Out of                                                                   
                                   Committee -- Permanent Time                                                                  
                                   Change --                                                                                    
04/16/03                (S)        MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                  
04/17/03     0892       (S)        JUD RPT CS 2DP 2DNP 1NR NEW                                                                  
04/17/03     0892       (S)        DP: SEEKINS, THERRIAULT;                                                                     
04/17/03     0892       (S)        DNP: FRENCH, ELLIS; NR: OGAN                                                                 
04/17/03     0892       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DFG)                                                                               
04/30/03                (S)        RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                 
04/30/03                (S)        Moved CSSB 155(RES) Out of                                                                   
04/30/03                (S)        MINUTE(RES)                                                                                  
05/01/03     1073       (S)        RES RPT CS 5DP 1DNP NEW TITLE                                                                
05/01/03     1074       (S)        DP: WAGONER, DYSON, LINCOLN,                                                                 
                                   STEVENS B,                                                                                   
05/01/03     1074       (S)        SEEKINS; DNP: ELTON                                                                          
05/01/03     1074       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DFG)                                                                               
05/02/03     1105       (S)        RULES TO CALENDAR 5/2/2003                                                                   
05/02/03     1105       (S)        READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                         
05/02/03     1105       (S)        RES CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                  
05/02/03     1106       (S)        ADVANCED TO THIRD READING 5/3                                                                
05/02/03     1106       (S)        COSPONSOR(S): LINCOLN, OGAN,                                                                 
05/02/03     1106       (S)        GREEN, DYSON, WAGONER,                                                                       
                                   STEVENS B,                                                                                   
05/02/03     1106       (S)        THERRIAULT                                                                                   
05/03/03     1133       (S)        READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB                                                                     
05/03/03     1133       (S)        COSPONSOR(S): HOFFMAN,                                                                       
                                   WILKEN, TAYLOR                                                                               
05/03/03     1133       (S)        PASSED Y14 N1 E5                                                                             
05/03/03     1133       (S)        EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS                                                                    
05/03/03     1133       (S)        ELTON NOTICE OF                                                                              
05/04/03     1147       (S)        RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                                                                 
05/04/03     1148       (S)        TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                           
05/04/03     1148       (S)        VERSION: CSSB 155(RES)                                                                       
05/05/03     1306       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
05/05/03     1306       (H)        RES, CRA                                                                                     
05/08/03     1481       (H)        CROSS SPONSOR(S): MORGAN                                                                     
05/09/03                (H)        RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
05/09/03                (H)        Moved Out of Committee --                                                                    
                                   Recessed to 1:00 pm --                                                                       
05/10/03     1537       (H)        RES RPT 6DP 3AM                                                                              
05/10/03     1537       (H)        DP: MASEK, GATTO, MORGAN,                                                                    
                                   WOLF, LYNN,                                                                                  
05/10/03     1537       (H)        FATE; AM: GUTTENBERG, CISSNA,                                                                
05/10/03     1538       (H)        FN1: ZERO(DFG)                                                                               
05/13/03     1619       (H)        CROSS SPONSOR(S): WOLF                                                                       
05/13/03                (H)        CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke as the sponsor of HB 288.                                                                            
EDGAR BLATCHFORD, Commissioner                                                                                                  
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 288.                                                                                       
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS                                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke as the sponsor of SB 155.                                                                            
GREG ROCZICKA                                                                                                                   
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as a former member of the BOG.                                                                   
JOEL BENNETT                                                                                                                    
Defenders of Wildlife                                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that [CSSB 155(RES)] is a large                                                                  
scale overturn of the public votes.                                                                                             
MATT ROBUS, Acting Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,                                                                 
Alaska Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to CSSB 155(RES).                                                                  
RON SOMERVILLE, Appointee                                                                                                       
to the Board of Game                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing on SB 155, testified that                                                                   
BOG has no intention of initiating a large aerial hunting                                                                       
program by the public.                                                                                                          
CLIFF JUDKINS, Appointee                                                                                                        
to the Board of Game                                                                                                            
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  in support  of moving  the [CSSB                                                               
155(RES)] forward.                                                                                                              
PAUL JOSTLIN, Wildlife Biologist                                                                                                
Alaska Wildlife Alliance                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Expressed  his hope  that  the  committee                                                               
wouldn't pass CSSB 155(RES) from committee.                                                                                     
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-18, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  CARL  MORGAN  called  the  House  Community  and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting   to  order  at  8:10  a.m.                                                               
Representatives Morgan,  Wolf, Samuels,  and Cissna  were present                                                               
at  the  call to  order.    Representative  Kott arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
HB 288-CHANGING NAME OF DEPT OF COMM & ECON DEV.                                                                              
CHAIR MORGAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  288, "An Act changing the name  of the Department                                                               
of Community  and Economic Development."   [Before  the committee                                                               
is CSHB 288(STA).]                                                                                                              
CHAIR MORGAN announced  his intent to move HB  288 from committee                                                               
Number 0116                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE VIC  KOHRING, Alaska  State Legislature,  spoke as                                                               
the sponsor  of HB  288.   Representative Kohring  explained that                                                               
CSHB  288(STA)  simply changes  the  name  of the  Department  of                                                               
Community  & Economic  Development  (DCED) to  the Department  of                                                               
Commerce & Economic Development.  He  said that there seems to be                                                               
some confusion with regard to  the mission of DCED, and therefore                                                               
the name change  would clarify that the department's  focus is to                                                               
promote  commerce  and  emphasize  economic  development  in  the                                                               
state.   Representative Kohring  reminded committee  members that                                                               
Governor  Murkowski's  address  in the  fall  discussed  economic                                                               
development and  indicated his desire  to make this  name change.                                                               
Representative Kohring  emphasized that the name  change wouldn't                                                               
erode  the integrity  of the  department, but  would simply  make                                                               
it's role clear  and eliminate confusion.   Furthermore, the name                                                               
change would promote the fact that Alaska is open for business.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING  acknowledged  that  previous  committees                                                               
have  had concern  with regard  to  the impact  this name  change                                                               
would have  on rural  programs.  He  indicated that  this concern                                                               
stems  from the  1999  merger  of the  Department  of Commerce  &                                                               
Economic Development with the Department  of Community & Regional                                                               
Affairs to  form the present  Department of Community  & Economic                                                               
Development.   At  that time  there  was concern  with regard  to                                                               
whether the integrity  of the Department of  Community & Regional                                                               
Affairs  would be  maintained  once the  merger  occurred.   Four                                                               
years later, the  answer is yes and the  [community and regional]                                                               
programs have remained in tact.   As a result of the 1999 merger,                                                               
the  Division  of Community  Advocacy  was  created.   Therefore,                                                               
Representative Kohring  said he  didn't believe this  name change                                                               
would impact rural  programs.  In fact, the  emphasis on commerce                                                               
is good for rural and urban Alaska.                                                                                             
Number 0505                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  asked  if  the  Department  of  Commerce  &                                                               
Economic Development was the original name.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING replied yes.                                                                                             
Number 0556                                                                                                                     
EDGAR  BLATCHFORD,   Commissioner,  Department  of   Community  &                                                               
Economic  Development,  echoed  the reasoning  of  Representative                                                               
Kohring.  Over  the years, there has  been considerable confusion                                                               
with  regard to  the  mission of  the  department.   Commissioner                                                               
Blatchford opined  that there is  further confusion  because some                                                               
people  still  refer  to  the department  as  the  Department  of                                                               
Commerce.  The  desire is to send a clear  message that Alaska is                                                               
open  for  business.   He  related  his belief  that  communities                                                               
recognize the  importance of economic development.   Furthermore,                                                               
the [name change] wouldn't dilute  the mission of the department.                                                               
He  informed the  committee that  the Division  of Community  and                                                               
Business Development was reorganized and  the name changed to the                                                               
Division  of   Community  Advocacy   in  order  to   reflect  the                                                               
constitutional intent  for the department  to be an  advocate for                                                               
municipalities.   Commissioner Blatchford  said that  there needs                                                               
to be a common calling card for  all who want to do business with                                                               
Number 0794                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  recalled the  department's name  change to                                                               
the  Department  of  Community &  Economic  Development  and  the                                                               
concern that the department had  been a rural department in which                                                               
people  were  comfortable.   Representative  Cissna  agreed  that                                                               
changing  "Community"   to  "Commerce"  would  look   better  and                                                               
although such a change would make  it a little less confusing for                                                               
some,  it could  be  confusing  for others.    She  asked if  the                                                               
aforementioned has been addressed.                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER BLATCHFORD  said that "we" recognized  that the name                                                               
change  was coming.   In  order to  strengthen the  commitment to                                                               
rural   Alaska   the   Division   of   Community   and   Business                                                               
Development's  name  was changed  to  the  Division of  Community                                                               
Advocacy.   This division  housed most of  the activities  of the                                                               
former  Department of  Community &  Regional Affairs.   He  noted                                                               
that no cost was attached to the division name change.                                                                          
CHAIR MORGAN,  upon determining  no one  else wished  to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
Number 1122                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  moved  to   report  CSHB  288(STA)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSHB  288(STA) was                                                               
reported from  the House Community and  Regional Affairs Standing                                                               
The committee took an at-ease from 8:26 a.m. to 8:28 a.m.                                                                       
SB 155-PREDATOR CONTROL/AIRBORNE SHOOTING                                                                                     
[Not on  tape, but reconstructed  from the  committee secretary's                                                               
log notes, was the following two minutes worth of testimony.]                                                                   
CHAIR MORGAN announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
CS FOR  SENATE BILL  NO. 155(RES), "An  Act relating  to predator                                                               
control programs; and providing for an effective date."                                                                         
Number 1208                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  RALPH SEEKINS,  Alaska State  Legislature, spoke  as the                                                               
sponsor of SB  155.  He explained that SB  155 provides tools for                                                               
the  management of  game populations.   Under  AS 16.05.783,  the                                                               
Board  of Game  (BOG) can  authorize a  predator control  program                                                               
from  the air  if the  commissioner of  the Alaska  Department of                                                               
Fish & Game  (ADF&G) has a written report regarding  the need for                                                               
prey populations to be under intensive management.                                                                              
[Recording resumes.]                                                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS  related that an intensive  management area means                                                               
that the area  is identified as important  for human consumption.                                                               
[Once   an  intensive   management   area   is  identified]   the                                                               
commissioner  would  have  to  return  to  BOG  and  certify  the                                                               
information  that his  paid and  degreed scientists  have already                                                               
presented to the BOG, the same  information that led the board to                                                               
reach the conclusion that there  is a problem with predation that                                                               
a  reduction   in  predators  would  solve.     This  legislation                                                               
specifies  that  it's  BOG's  responsibility  to  listen  to  the                                                               
scientists  from ADF&G  and have  the  commissioner, through  his                                                               
scientific   experts,  say   that   there  is   a  problem   that                                                               
necessitates  review  of  the   prey  population  objective,  the                                                               
harvest  objective,  the  predator objective,  and  the  predator                                                               
population  objective.     Therefore,  the  greatest   number  of                                                               
scientific  facts  could  be  brought  into  play.    "There's  a                                                               
collapse in  the prey population ...  part of that is  a function                                                               
of predation and  that a reduction in predation  would help solve                                                               
problem.   What we're  doing is we're  frontloading in  [SB] 155,                                                               
the input from the department  - the paid professional scientists                                                               
of the  department - that  this is a problem  and that this  is a                                                               
way  to solve  it."   This legislation  specifies that  BOG makes                                                               
this decision  and has the  prerogative to determine  the methods                                                               
and means such  as how many [predators] should be  taken, who can                                                               
participate,  and under  what  conditions  these individuals  can                                                               
participate.  The  board already has this ability  in other parts                                                               
of  the statute.   This  legislation  specifically combines  them                                                               
[under  this  statute]  to  specify   that  the  board  has  this                                                               
authority with  predator control programs.   The legislation does                                                               
eliminate the  commissioner's ability to pocket  veto the board's                                                               
SENATOR  SEEKINS turned  to  McGrath and  Unit  13, an  intensive                                                               
management area,  as an example.   Unit 13 has been  a productive                                                               
area in  the past  and has  had as  many as  27,000 moose  in the                                                               
reproductive  base;  however,  that  is   down  to  8,000.    The                                                               
commissioner  chose never  to write  the  letter authorizing  the                                                               
[predator control]  program and  thus pocket vetoed  the program.                                                               
Therefore,  [this legislation]  specifies  that  the decision  is                                                               
left to the BOG, based on  the best science available.  The input                                                               
from  the department  comes upfront.   Currently,  BOG's findings                                                               
have to  [be drawn]  from input  from ADF&G  that predation  is a                                                               
problem  and the  reduction  in  predation is  an  answer.   This                                                               
legislation creates the  proper order to make a  decision so that                                                               
the  board can  proceed a-politically  with a  predator reduction                                                               
program based  on science rather  than politics.  All  options to                                                               
carry out a predator reduction  program are available -- whatever                                                               
is the most  humane, efficient, and effective manner  in which to                                                               
reduce the  predators.  Senator  Seekins said, "What it  [SB 155]                                                               
does  is says  that  protein on  the family  table  in Alaska  is                                                               
important.  Important enough that  sometimes we have to carry out                                                               
unpleasant things in terms of predator control."                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  that [the proposal in SB 155]  is how every                                                               
other  ADF&G statutes  is  carried out.   In  fact,  in 1995  the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court, on a  matter involving fish, specified that                                                               
the ADF&G commissioner doesn't have  the authority to effectively                                                               
veto a  decision of the Board  of Fish.  This  legislation simply                                                               
allows the  BOG to have the  same prerogative.  Only  with regard                                                               
to  predator  control  has  the   department  had  veto  ability.                                                               
Senator Seekins  mentioned that Governor Murkowski  is his friend                                                               
and he supports him; however,  Senator Seekins said that he can't                                                               
trust that  the next  governor will have  the same  discretion as                                                               
Governor  Murkowski.    Therefore, Senator  Seekins  related  his                                                               
desire to  have these  decisions made on  the best,  current, and                                                               
most sound science and SB 155 provides that pathway.                                                                            
Number 1775                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA pointed  out that  the title  specified on                                                               
the fiscal  note, which refers  to same day airborne  hunting, is                                                               
different from that specified on CSSB 155(RES).                                                                                 
SENATE SEEKINS explained that the  title had been changed because                                                               
he wanted to be clear that  the legislation wasn't about same day                                                               
airborne  hunting but  rather about  predator  control.   Senator                                                               
Seekins emphasized  that as  a general  rule he  doesn't advocate                                                               
same day airborne hunting or  airborne shooting.  The fiscal note                                                               
can be changed to reflect the  correct title.  The legislation is                                                               
meant  to address  predator [control]  programs  not hunting,  he                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  directed attention  to Section  1(a) which                                                               
inserts  language referring  to  airborne shooting  and same  day                                                               
airborne shooting as part of a management plan.                                                                                 
SENATOR SEEKINS highlighted that  the language refers to shooting                                                               
not hunting.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA related that  her constituency was strongly                                                               
in opposition to same day airborne.                                                                                             
SENATOR  SEEKINS  remarked  that  he appreciated  that  those  in                                                               
Anchorage don't want  to narrow the urban-rural  split.  However,                                                               
this is  an urban-rural issue  that can't  be avoided.   He said,                                                               
"If the folks  in your area of Anchorage feel  strongly about not                                                               
being able  to put moose and  caribou on the table  of the people                                                               
in  the rural  regions, that's  their prerogative;  I don't  feel                                                               
that way."  In fact, when one  reviews Unit 13 [one sees] that it                                                               
could be  one of the most  productive areas for moose  hunting in                                                               
the   state,  if   the   predators   were  properly   controlled.                                                               
Furthermore, if  folks in Anchorage  and Fairbanks are  given the                                                               
opportunity  to harvest  reasonably  close to  home, those  folks                                                               
aren't going  to venture to  remote areas of Alaska.   Therefore,                                                               
he characterized  SB 155 as  an opportunity to narrow  the urban-                                                               
rural gap.   He expressed his desire for those  in urban areas to                                                               
be  able to  hunt reasonably  close to  home so  that they  don't                                                               
intrude in the  rural areas of the state.   "And quite frankly, I                                                               
believe that  if the people  in your  district were to  find that                                                               
out and understand that and not  listen to the media campaigns by                                                               
outside,  highly influential  anti-hunting groups  and understood                                                               
that this  was the most  effective, efficient, and humane  way to                                                               
be able to  solve that problem, I think that  they probably would                                                               
vote for  that," he  said.   Senator Seekins  stated that  he was                                                               
willing to use effective predator control  in order to be able to                                                               
put protein on the table of those in rural Alaska.                                                                              
Number 2019                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  noted his  appreciation for  Senator Seekins                                                               
introducing this legislation.  Representative  Wolf agreed that a                                                               
lot   of   outside   [interests]  influence   Alaska's   resource                                                               
management  policies.    He  said that  his  biggest  concern  is                                                               
turning  this into  an emotional  issue from  which large,  well-                                                               
funded organizations  would make  millions.   Representative Wolf                                                               
related his wholehearted support of  this and his belief that the                                                               
ADF&G commissioner shouldn't have veto authority over BOG.                                                                      
Number 2114                                                                                                                     
SENATOR SEEKINS informed the committee  that for about one week a                                                               
year  he  is  a  hunter.    Senator  Seekins  also  informed  the                                                               
committee that he  is a pilot and  he likes to fly  low enough to                                                               
view  wildlife.    Senator  Seekins  related  his  philosophy  as                                                               
     I think that God created  us as man, his most marvelous                                                                    
     creation,  and   when  he  did   that  he  gave   us  a                                                                    
     stewardship responsibility.   That stewardship  says we                                                                    
     must   have  wise   use  of   our  resources   ...  and                                                                    
     stewardship,  to me,  implies management.   We  have to                                                                    
     prioritize some of  the things that we do.   And one of                                                                    
     the highest priorities for me,  in terms of management,                                                                    
     is not to eradicate but to bring within a balance.                                                                         
SENATOR SEEKINS  told the committee  that his research  has shown                                                               
that less  than 2  percent of the  harvestable surplus  of moose,                                                               
caribou, and Dahl sheep production in  Alaska goes to humans.  In                                                               
areas such as Unit 13, the  harvestable surplus is much less than                                                               
2 percent because of the fall  of moose calf survival rates which                                                               
he indicated is  due to predation.   A moose calf in  Unit 13 has                                                               
about an 80  percent chance of being killed by  a predator before                                                               
it's four-weeks-old.   Senator Seekins  drew attention  to charts                                                               
in  the committee  packet referring  to the  moose calf  survival                                                               
rates,  the  bear population,  and  the  moose population  trend.                                                               
This  data is  from  ADF&G  and it  points  to  predation as  the                                                               
problem, he said.   If one-third of the high  productivity of the                                                               
moose population  was allocated  to humans,  the number  of moose                                                               
harvested  in the  state would  almost quadruple.   He  said that                                                               
it's a  matter of allocation  and without intervention  the moose                                                               
population will  collapse and  in that  case he  questioned where                                                               
the stewardship and management responsibility would be.                                                                         
Number 2353                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  informed the  committee that  she attended                                                               
the  [House]   Resources  Standing  Committee  meeting   on  this                                                               
legislation.   She said she  has heard  two sides of  this issue.                                                               
Many  of  the   biologists  aren't  certain  why   [some  of  the                                                               
populations  are  decreasing].   She  recalled  that one  of  the                                                               
issues was  with the  target population and  the need  to realize                                                               
that  these  are  wild  populations where  there  are  swings  in                                                               
population.  Representative Cissna  related her hope that Senator                                                               
Seekins realized that  there is more than one side  to this issue                                                               
and  that   just  because   some  people   look  at   this  issue                                                               
differently, those people aren't necessarily wrong.                                                                             
SENATOR SEEKINS  said he  understood that  and is  sympathetic to                                                               
those biologists who lean more  toward predator preservation than                                                               
production.    However, sometimes  it's  necessary  to have  some                                                               
[hunting] areas  close to home  that can be [harvested]  and thus                                                               
that means  sometimes "we" have to  be managers.  With  regard to                                                               
the argument that a balance  will come, Senator Seekins predicted                                                               
that  the  balance would  result  in  nothing.   Senator  Seekins                                                               
remarked that  in the last  administration the creation  of study                                                               
groups  and stakeholder  groups delayed  the issue  indefinitely.                                                               
He pointed to  the population charts in the  committee packet and                                                               
specified that  the result  was poor.   Although  Senator Seekins                                                               
acknowledged that  there are seasonal aspects  to populations, he                                                               
emphasized that predators continue [to  be present].  "What we've                                                               
done  is manage  humans not  predators," he  said.   He suggested                                                               
that having [hunting]  areas close to home can solve  some of the                                                               
regional pressures throughout the state.                                                                                        
Number 2583                                                                                                                     
GREG ROCZICKA began by informing  the committee that he served on                                                               
the BOG  under the  prior administration.   He also  informed the                                                               
committee that the committee packet  should include a copy of his                                                               
comments on this  issue.  Mr. Roczicka recalled  concern that the                                                               
intensive  game   management  objectives   were  set   too  high.                                                               
However, he  assured those concerned  that those  objectives were                                                               
carefully considered by  the board.  He explained  that the board                                                               
at  the time  wasn't  pursuing the  historical high  [population]                                                               
levels  rather the  habitat  capability and  the  criteria for  a                                                               
long-term  sustained yield  was  taken into  consideration.   For                                                               
instance, in  Unit 13 the  historical high was 28,000  moose, but                                                               
the board's range was 18,000-22,000.   Therefore, anyone who says                                                               
those  population objectives  are unrealistic  hasn't done  their                                                               
homework.   With  regard  to those  who  criticize good  science,                                                               
those  people  almost  always  have   an  emotional  or  monetary                                                               
connection to the issue.   He requested that the committee review                                                               
this issue in an objective manner.                                                                                              
MR. ROCZICKA  turned to  the comments that  the people  of Alaska                                                               
have  spoken on  this  matter  during the  1996  and 2000  ballot                                                               
initiatives and referendums.   He recalled that in  2000 the vote                                                               
was  52.5  percent,  which  he  didn't view  as  a  wide  margin.                                                               
Furthermore, in 1996  the initiative language was  couched in the                                                               
negative  which  he  indicated  lead to  confused  voters.    Mr.                                                               
Roczicka  announced  that  he  is   strongly  in  favor  of  this                                                               
legislation because  the state needs  it.   He noted that  he was                                                               
saddened with the lack of  administrative will to allow effective                                                               
and humane methods to be used.   Mr. Roczicka asked the committee                                                               
members to  use this opportunity  to educate  their constituents.                                                               
He mentioned  that the Alaska  Tourism Marketing Group  should be                                                               
behind this  legislation and educate  the public who  he believes                                                               
isn't receiving the entire picture.                                                                                             
Number 2971                                                                                                                     
JOEL BENNETT, Defenders of Wildlife,  informed the committee that                                                               
he, too, is a  former member of the BOG.   With regard to Senator                                                               
Seekins' earlier statement that  the two ballot propositions were                                                               
largely  the effort  of  outdoor groups,  Mr.  Bennett said  that                                                               
isn't accurate.   The  ballot propositions  were sponsored  by an                                                               
in-state  organization called  Alaskans for  Wildlife, which  was                                                               
composed of  former members  of BOG,  former officials  of ADF&G,                                                               
and others.                                                                                                                     
TAPE 03-18, SIDE B                                                                                                            
MR. BENNETT went  on to say that the  ballot propositions clearly                                                               
illustrate  that Alaskans  support  predator  control.   Predator                                                               
control was  clearly authorized in  the 1996  ballot proposition.                                                               
However,  the public  doesn't support  predator control  programs                                                               
that  aren't  strictly monitored  or  enforced  or programs  that                                                               
involve the  general public, which  he believes to be  true today                                                               
as  well.    This  legislation,  CSSB  155(RES),  authorizes  the                                                               
involvement  of the  public, which  he believes  to be  a serious                                                               
defect.   He related  his belief that  public involvement  is bad                                                               
public policy  and won't  be supported by  the general  public in                                                               
Alaska because  the general  public isn't  as accountable  to the                                                               
program  as  department employees  would  be.   Furthermore,  the                                                               
general   public  is   inefficient   and   efficiency  has   been                                                               
highlighted as  important to  this concept.   Moreover,  land and                                                               
shoot  and   airborne  methods  are   inhumane  because   of  the                                                               
significant  amounts  of  wounding   and  inability  to  retrieve                                                               
animals that are wounded.   Those animals that can't be retrieved                                                               
hurt the department's research capabilities.                                                                                    
MR. BENNETT  related that  the other  major problem  Defenders of                                                               
Wildlife  have  with  this  legislation is  the  removal  of  the                                                               
commissioner  from a  key role  in  the decision-making  process.                                                               
Most people understand that predator  control programs are highly                                                               
controversial and volatile in Alaska.   Mr. Bennett said that the                                                               
commissioner  is and  should be  properly involved  in the  final                                                               
implementation  decision  of  a  predator  control  program  that                                                               
impacts  the  welfare of  so  many  Alaskans.   The  commissioner                                                               
should also be involved because  [of the commissioner's knowledge                                                               
with  regard] to  how  a predator  control  program would  impact                                                               
other programs, personnel matters, and fiscal matters.                                                                          
MR. BENNETT concluded by relating  that the Defenders of Wildlife                                                               
believes that this  legislation is a large scale  overturn of the                                                               
public votes.   Furthermore, the  Defenders of  Wildlife believes                                                               
that the  public won't support  this.  This legislation  goes too                                                               
far and is too loose, he said.                                                                                                  
Number 2783                                                                                                                     
MATT ROBUS,  Acting Director, Division of  Wildlife Conservation,                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish &  Game, informed the committee that SB                                                               
155  and  HB  208  were originally  intended  to  make  technical                                                               
changes  to   allow  the  McGrath   predator  program   that  was                                                               
recommended  by the  BOG at  the March  2003 meeting  to proceed.                                                               
Originally,  the bills  would have  made  a small  change to  the                                                               
existing  statute that  would've broadened  the reasons  that the                                                               
commissioner could've used to make  his/her findings to approve a                                                               
program by the  board.  However, as SB 155  has moved through the                                                               
committee process, it  has experienced a number of  changes.  The                                                               
department worked  with Senator Seekins  on a number  of language                                                               
changes, which the department appreciated.   However, the current                                                               
version, CSSB  155(RES), that removes  the statutory role  of the                                                               
commissioner  from  the  process  of  finalizing  a  BOG  created                                                               
predator control  program isn't supported by  the administration.                                                               
The department has provided the  committee with language that the                                                               
department would  like to  see incorporated in  Section 1  of the                                                               
MR.  ROBUS  explained  that  Section 1  of  CSSB  155(RES)  makes                                                               
changes  to the  process  used to  implement  a predator  control                                                               
program using airborne or same  day airborne methods.  Currently,                                                               
statute specifies a three-criteria  process that the commissioner                                                               
must go  through in  order to determine  that aerial  methods are                                                               
appropriate  to  implement  a  board-sponsored  predator  control                                                               
program.    The   original  SB  155  and  HB   208  retained  the                                                               
aforementioned   process.     The   current  statutory   language                                                               
originated  in legislation  sponsored  by Senator  Pete Kelly  in                                                               
1999.  The current version,  CSSB 155(RES), transfers the finding                                                               
process from  the commissioner  to the board  and retains  two of                                                               
the three criteria that the  commissioner currently has to use in                                                               
a finding.  Mr. Robus explained  that when the board puts forward                                                               
a predator  control program involving  aerial methods  under CSSB                                                               
155(RES), after  the board hears  technical information  from the                                                               
department  it would  have to  find that  an ungulate  population                                                               
that has  been identified under  the intensive management  law is                                                               
either   declining  or   is  depressed   below  the   established                                                               
population  objective.    Secondly,   the  board  would  have  to                                                               
determine  that   a  reduction  in  predator   populations  would                                                               
probably  reverse that  problem and  allow the  ungulate herd  to                                                               
improve.   However,  CSSB  155(RES) would  not  require that  the                                                               
finding include the finding that  aerial methods are necessary in                                                               
order to accomplish  a reduction in predation,  which is required                                                               
under current statute.                                                                                                          
MR. ROBUS specified  that the main debate probably  lays with the                                                               
commissioner being  able to receive  BOG's request for  a finding                                                               
and sit  on it  indefinitely, the  pocket veto.   He  agreed that                                                               
under current  statute there is  no limit  to the amount  of time                                                               
the commissioner  can sit on a  request by the board.   Mr. Robus                                                               
said that the department believes  the amendment it has suggested                                                               
would address  concerns with regard  to the pocket veto  while at                                                               
the  same time  retain the  role of  the commissioner  in working                                                               
with the  BOG in moving forward  with well-justified, sustainable                                                               
predator  control  programs   involving  airborne  methods  where                                                               
deemed necessary.  In conclusion,  Mr. Robus highlighted that the                                                               
administration isn't  opposed to predator control  programs.  The                                                               
focus  of   the  comments  and  the   department's  position  are                                                               
regarding  the  change to  the  current  statutory process.    He                                                               
explained  that  the  department  believes  the  amendment  would                                                               
retain  the  commissioner's  role  in deciding  to  proceed  with                                                               
predator control  programs while  eliminating the ability  of the                                                               
commissioner  to   not  do  anything  forever.     The  amendment                                                               
basically provides  the commissioner  seven days within  which to                                                               
justify a negative finding otherwise the program would proceed.                                                                 
CHAIR  MORGAN  pointed  out that  the  department's  fiscal  note                                                               
referred to  the incorrect title  and thus he requested  a fiscal                                                               
note referring to the correct title.                                                                                            
MR. ROBUS agreed to do so.                                                                                                      
Number 2392                                                                                                                     
RON SOMERVILLE,  Appointee to the  Board of Game,  indicated that                                                               
he  was  testifying  on  behalf  of  the  BOG.    Mr.  Somerville                                                               
highlighted  that the  board had  requested a  minor change  that                                                               
would allow the board to use  other than just prey populations as                                                               
the  total  objective in  which  the  standard  would be  set  to                                                               
initiate a predator  control program.  For example,  if the board                                                               
can't  consider  harvest  objectives,   there  could  be  a  very                                                               
nonproductive  population consisting  of largely  males or  young                                                               
animals which  wouldn't meet the  harvest objective,  although it                                                               
would meet  the prey population  objective.  He pointed  out that                                                               
BOG  has  no  intention  of initiating  a  large  aerial  hunting                                                               
program  by  the public.    He  informed  the committee  that  60                                                               
percent  of Alaska  is  federal land  and  initiating a  predator                                                               
control program  on federal land is  unimaginable.  Additionally,                                                               
Mr. Somerville estimated that on  20-30 percent of state lands it                                                               
isn't  possible to  initiate a  predator control  program without                                                               
using  poisons.   Therefore, less  than  3 percent  of the  total                                                               
state would  be where the  board, due to statute,  could consider                                                               
implementing an  intensive management program that  might include                                                               
a predator  control program.   The board and previous  board have                                                               
recognized that  predator control  doesn't just  involve shooting                                                               
wolves.   The  board recognizes  that  bears can  be the  largest                                                               
predator in  a particular area,  he related.  Although  there are                                                               
scientific  differences  of  opinion  with  regard  to  the  best                                                               
course, three separate boards have  declared McGrath a biological                                                               
emergency  and by  all indications  a social  emergency as  well.                                                               
Mr. Somerville pointed  out that the National  Academy of Science                                                               
has  done an  extensive review  of the  predator control  program                                                               
issue and concluded  that there are instances in  which a variety                                                               
of predators can  keep a prey population at  extremely low levels                                                               
for an  extended period of  time.  Therefore,  the aforementioned                                                               
can   exacerbate   the   occurrence   of   [natural]   population                                                               
fluctuations.  Mr.  Somerville related his belief  that the board                                                               
is being proactive with management  and saying that it needs some                                                               
of  the  previously  mentioned  tools to  perform  the  job  it's                                                               
assigned  by  the legislature.    In  conclusion, Mr.  Somerville                                                               
highlighted that  everyone on the  board believes the wolf  to be                                                               
an important resource in Alaska.                                                                                                
Number 2147                                                                                                                     
CLIFF  JUDKINS, Appointee  to  the Board  of  Game, informed  the                                                               
committee  that he  is a  40-year resident  of the  state who  is                                                               
usually  a  consumptive  of  wildlife.    He  also  informed  the                                                               
committee that  for more  than 15  years he  has served  on local                                                               
fish and  game advisory committees.   He mentioned that he  has a                                                               
degree in  wildlife biology.  Mr.  Judkins said that SB  155 is a                                                               
move in  the correct  direction.   The legislation  requires that                                                               
predator  control factions  of wildlife  management  be based  on                                                               
science rather  than on emotions and  political pressures applied                                                               
by anti-hunter  groups.   Echoing earlier  sentiment, he  said he                                                               
knew  of no  one on  the BOG  who wanted  to kill  all predators.                                                               
However,  the board  wants to  be able  to reduce  the number  of                                                               
predators in areas where moose,  in particular, have been reduced                                                               
to such low levels that the  moose can't reproduce fast enough to                                                               
feed the  predators and grow the  herd.  Where there  are healthy                                                               
predator  populations, there  can  be  healthy prey  populations.                                                               
However, a bad winter or  two that decreases the moose population                                                               
may leave  the predator  population high,  which would  mean that                                                               
the moose  can't recover.  He  concluded by saying that  he hoped                                                               
the committee moved the legislation forward.                                                                                    
Number 1932                                                                                                                     
PAUL  JOSTLIN,  Wildlife  Biologist,  Alaska  Wildlife  Alliance,                                                               
highlighted  that  predator  control is  a  highly  controversial                                                               
issue.   He informed the  committee that the National  Academy of                                                               
Science has put forward three  principles that are important when                                                               
dealing  with highly  controversial  programs.   First, one  must                                                               
ensure that  the science being used  is sound and is  carried out                                                               
in-depth  before advancing  [a program].   Second,  the [program]                                                               
must be  cost-effective.  Third,  broad public support  should be                                                               
MR. JOSTLIN said  that SB 155 would bring back  same day airborne                                                               
hunting of  wolves.  However,  twice Alaskans have voted  on this                                                               
matter and clearly stated that  they don't like same day airborne                                                               
hunting of  wolves as a  [predator control] method.   He recalled                                                               
that Senator Seekins  has said that the  legislation isn't really                                                               
about same  day airborne hunting  of wolves because  it's carried                                                               
out  by ADF&G.   Mr.  Jostlin explained  that the  general public                                                               
would be  permitted, which amounts  to the public  being involved                                                               
[in same  day airborne shooting.]   If  the killing of  wolves in                                                               
Alaska is reviewed as a whole,  one would see that the killing of                                                               
wolves in  Alaska has steadily  increased.  The  suggestions that                                                               
[same day  airborne shooting]  is necessary seems  to fly  in the                                                               
face of  the truth that more  wolves than ever have  been killed.                                                               
He  attributed the  huge increase  in  the killing  of wolves  to                                                               
efficiencies  that  have  occurred.     Furthermore,  Alaska  has                                                               
experienced a 50 percent increase  in population.  There has also                                                               
been the introduction of more snow machines.                                                                                    
Number 1633                                                                                                                     
MR. JOSTLIN turned  to the McGrath area and posed  a situation in                                                               
which the initial sense of  science, the perception that there is                                                               
a  substantial  decline in  the  moose  population, was  used  to                                                               
support  predator  control  in  the form  of  same  day  airborne                                                               
hunting of wolves.   However, ADF&G has only carried  out two in-                                                               
depth counts of moose in the McGrath  area in 1996 and 2001.  The                                                               
department found  that the moose  population hadn't  declined but                                                               
rather may  have slightly  increased.   Although there  should be                                                               
another  moose count,  at present  there  is an  increase in  the                                                               
birth  rate and  weight  of  the moose  calves.    He noted  that                                                               
although there  have been mild  winters [in recent  years], there                                                               
was a 100,000 acre fire a year  ago.  The fire has surely brought                                                               
in  more  "brows"  (ph)  and  gets to  the  root  cause  of  what                                                               
manipulates prey populations.  Still,  the wolf is blamed.  "It's                                                               
simply running  high on attitude  and not enough on  science," he                                                               
charged.   Therefore, he  asked the  committee to  recognize that                                                               
true, sound science is necessary  before pushing ahead with these                                                               
programs.  He related his  belief that predator control shouldn't                                                               
be  done  when   the  science  shows  flat   to  increasing  prey                                                               
populations [as is the case in McGrath].                                                                                        
Number 1485                                                                                                                     
MR. JOSTLIN  turned to the  issue dealing with  the commissioner.                                                               
He emphasized  the importance of  ensuring that  decisions aren't                                                               
just driven by the BOG.   Mr. Jostlin opined that the current BOG                                                               
is  one of  the  most  extreme BOG  because  every  member has  a                                                               
history  of  having been  a  trapper  at  some point,  which  may                                                               
represent  a very  narrow viewpoint.   However,  the commissioner                                                               
has to  answer to  the governor  who has  to answer  to Alaskans.                                                               
Mr. Jostlin  concluded with the  following example.  In  1976 the                                                               
BOG  had  decided  that  the  Western  Arctic  Caribou  herd  was                                                               
crashing due  to the wolf.   There  were about 75,000  caribou in                                                               
that herd  in 1976.   It  turned out that  in this  situation the                                                               
problem  was  over-harvesting.    The wolf  control  program  was                                                               
brought to a halt by court  action and the caribou population has                                                               
increased to  close to 500,000 in  spite of the existence  of the                                                               
wolves.   Mr. Jostlin reiterated that  often the wolf is  said to                                                               
be the  answer when  its not  and in  fact, many  scientists have                                                               
gone before the  BOG and the McGrath Adaptive  Committee and said                                                               
the  wolf isn't  the  answer.   He expressed  his  hope that  the                                                               
committee wouldn't pass CSSB 155(RES) from committee.                                                                           
[SB 155 was held over.]                                                                                                         
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Community  and Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee meeting  was                                                               
recessed to Thursday, May 15, 2003, at 8:00 a.m.                                                                                

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