Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

01/31/2017 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
10:01:32 AM Start
10:01:44 AM HB14
10:54:46 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 14 LEG. APPROVAL OF BRISTOL BAY SULFIDE MINE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                        January 31, 2017                                                                                        
                           10:01 a.m.                                                                                           
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                     
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                    
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 14                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve; and                                                                      
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 14                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: LEG. APPROVAL OF BRISTOL BAY SULFIDE MINE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
01/18/17       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/17                                                                                
01/18/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/17       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
01/31/17       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDY JOSEPHSON                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the proposed committee substitute                                                              
(CS) for HB 14, as sponsor.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEANTHA CROCKETT, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Miners Association                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 14.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
NELLI WILLIAMS, Alaska Director                                                                                                 
Trout Unlimited                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 14.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ABE WILLIAMS, Fisherman                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with opposition to HB 14.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MIKE HEATWOLE, Representative                                                                                                   
Pebble Partnership                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HB 14.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LISA REIMERS, Member                                                                                                            
Iliamna Village Corporation                                                                                                     
Iliamna, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified with opposition to HB 14.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:01:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries  meeting  to  order  at  10:01  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Stutes, Tarr, Chenault, Fansler, and  Eastman were present at the                                                               
call  to  order.     Representatives  Neuman  and  Kreiss-Tomkins                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
        HB 14-LEG. APPROVAL OF BRISTOL BAY SULFIDE MINE                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:01:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 14, "An Act  relating to the Bristol Bay Fisheries                                                               
Reserve; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:03:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FANSLER moved  to  adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for HB 14, Version  30-LS0161\D, Shutts/Bullard,                                                               
1/27/17, as the working document.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:03:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:03:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   ANDY   JOSEPHSON,  Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
presented the changes contained in the  proposed CS for HB 14, to                                                               
wit:   page 1,  line 11,  inserted " wildlife";  page 2,  line 8,                                                               
inserted   "  modifications";   [page  2],   line  22,   inserted                                                               
"wildlife"; and page 3, line  8 inserted "wildlife".  He referred                                                               
to  the committee  packet  and the  handout  titled, "SUMMARY  OF                                                               
CHANGES,"  to paraphrase  the statement,  which  read as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided with some formatting changes]:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     There are three changes to  the original version of the                                                                    
     House Bill  14 that occur in  the Committee Substitute.                                                                    
     First, the  original version protected  the "fisheries"                                                                    
     of  the  Bristol  Bay  Fisheries  Reserve.    The  term                                                                    
     'fisheries'  was defined  within  the  bill as  meaning                                                                    
     "subsistence,  personal   use,  sport,   or  commercial                                                                    
     fisheries as  (they are defined in  existing statute.)"                                                                    
     This definition read only to  include those species and                                                                    
     habitats as  they relate to  human use.   The Committee                                                                    
     Substitute   has  added   in  the   terms  'fish'   and                                                                    
     'wildlife'  to offer  more  broad  protections to  life                                                                    
     within the  Reserve, not just  those species  and areas                                                                    
     used by  humans.  These  terms are inserted  into other                                                                    
     areas of the bill where appropriate.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Further, the geographic area  described in the original                                                                    
     bill was the  Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve  which is a                                                                    
     distinct area delineated  in statute and administrative                                                                    
     regulations.   The  Committee  Substitute expands  this                                                                    
     area to include the entire  watershed of the Reserve, a                                                                    
     significantly   larger  scope.     The   definition  of                                                                    
         watershed can be found in state and common law                                                                         
     jurisprudence.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
      Finally, the term 'modification' was inserted under                                                                       
       the definition of 'permits and authorizations' to                                                                        
     increase specificity.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  pointed   out  that  wherever  Reserve                                                               
appears it refers to the  Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve (BBFR) as                                                               
established by Governor Jay Hammond, 1972.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:06:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES   removed  her   objection,  and   without  further                                                               
objection Version D was before the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:06:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  said  the  context  of  the  bill  was                                                               
                                                                                                                                
derived from the voter initiative passed  in 2014.  The intent of                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HB 14,  he said, is  to strengthen and  broaden the scope  of the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
initiative  and communicate  a clear  message to  mine developers                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that  the  tough  standards, which  they  themselves  purport  to                                                               
                                                                                                                                
deliver, will be expected by the  state and upheld in statute for                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the  protection   of  fisheries  by  requiring   best  scientific                                                               
                                                                                                                                
practices,  including peer  review.   The proposed  standard does                                                               
                                                                                                                                
not yet exist, and it will  provide the legislature with a degree                                                               
                                                                                                                                
of confidence  beyond what is  currently held, as  the permitting                                                               
                                                                                                                                
process does  not require  a high  level of  scrutiny.   The bill                                                               
                                                                                                                                
requires  that  the commissioners  of  the  three land  agencies,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Department   of   Natural    Resources   (DNR),   Department   of                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Environmental Conservation  (DEC), and  the Alaska  Department of                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Fish  & Game  (ADF&G), must  have independently  reviewed, inter-                                                               
                                                                                                                                
agency, peer  reviewed studies prepared.   The initiative focused                                                               
                                                                                                                                
on having the  legislature be the deciding body whether  or not a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
large-scale,  metallic,   sulfide  mining  operation   should  be                                                               
                                                                                                                                
allowed  to  locate  within  the watershed  of  the  Bristol  Bay                                                               
Fisheries Reserve.  By having  the three department commissioners                                                               
                                                                                                                                
endorse the  science behind the  proposal, the  legislature could                                                               
                                                                                                                                
confidently  approve the  operation.   He  expressed a  definite,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
personal  lack of  confidence  in  the current  process.   As  an                                                               
                                                                                                                                
example, he said, having posed  a question to discover actionable                                                               
                                                                                                                                
outcomes  of permit  approvals and  denials, the  response showed                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that the  Division of Mining,  Land, and Water has  only rejected                                                               
                                                                                                                                
108,  of  7,971 received  and  considered  [during the  ten  year                                                               
                                                                                                                                
period of 2003-2013].  Also,  criticism of the initiative and the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
bill has  focused on a certain  part of the state  being targeted                                                               
                                                                                                                                
for  this legislation.   However,  the Alaska  Supreme Court,  in                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Hughes v.  Treadwell, No.S-15468,  (2015) allows for  the action,                                                             
                                                                                                                                
and  referred to  the case  law opinion  to paraphrase  language,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     According  to a  report prepared  by the  University of                                                                    
     Alaska  Anchorage's Institute  of  Social and  Economic                                                                    
     Research  titled "The  Economic  Importance of  Bristol                                                                    
     Bay Salmon  Industry," the Bristol Bay  sockeye fishery                                                                    
     "is the world's most  valuable wild salmon fishery, and                                                                    
     typically  supplies almost  half  of  the world's  wild                                                                    
     sockeye salmon."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     We conclude  that Bristol Bay's unique  and significant                                                                    
     biological  and economic  characteristics are  of great                                                                    
     interest not just to the  Bristol Bay region but to the                                                                    
     state  as a  whole.   We  also  conclude that  12BBAY's                                                                    
     purpose  -  to protect  "Bristol  Bay  wild salmon  and                                                                    
     waters" - is  legitimate.  And we  conclude that 12BBAY                                                                    
     bears  a  fair  and  substantial  relationship  to  the                                                                    
     initiative's legitimate purpose.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The sponsors  of 12BBAY  certainly could  have proposed                                                                    
     an  initiative of  statewide  application, but  instead                                                                    
     they chose  to focus on  a very important fishery  in a                                                                    
     single  region.   As  we  explained  in Pebble  Limited                                                                    
     Partnership,  however,   "legislatures  routinely  must                                                                    
     draw lines and create classifications."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:12:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON said  the  Supreme  Court has  affirmed                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that targeting the  Bristol Bay area is a  legitimate action, and                                                               
                                                                                                                                
applying the  standard throughout the state  is the legislature's                                                               
                                                                                                                                
prerogative.    The bill  lays  out  that the  interagency,  peer                                                               
                                                                                                                                
reviewed,  reports  will  be  conducted   and  if  there  is  any                                                               
                                                                                                                                
significant change made  to the original plan,  the findings must                                                               
                                                                                                                                
be  revisited  before  the  matter  would  be  presented  to  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
legislature.  He noted that  the standard of reasonable doubt may                                                               
                                                                                                                                
seem  odd,  however,  other  states,  such  as  Washington,  have                                                               
                                                                                                                                
imposed   this  requirement   in  forestry   laws.     Also,  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,  a major mining state  that hosts a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
high level of  fracking, imposes a rigorous  standard through the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
application   of   Pennsylvania   Code   §86.10(12),   which   he                                                               
                                                                                                                                
paraphrased  in order  to stress  the reasonable  doubt standard.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He directed attention  to the committee packet  and the abundance                                                               
                                                                                                                                
of  support letters  for the  bill.   Finally, he  cautioned that                                                               
                                                                                                                                
given  the   focus  of  the   new  federal   administration,  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
protective  onus  for   Alaska  is  on  the   residents  and  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
legislature.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:16:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether Bristol Bay  is singled out                                                               
                                                                                                                                
because it merits  an increased level of scrutiny or  is it being                                                               
                                                                                                                                
used as  the locale for a  pilot project prior to  application to                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the remainder of the state.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON responded that  a culture exists to make                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Alaska a  salmon first  state.  The  Supreme Court  has indicated                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that it  is not  unreasonable for the  state to  consider Bristol                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Bay  as  an  area  that  requires extra  protection.    The  high                                                               
standard  could  certainly  be applied  to  anywhere  in  Alaska.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
However, Bristol  Bay hosts the  greatest sockeye  salmon fishery                                                               
                                                                                                                                
in  the   world  and  imposing   a  high  standard   is  entirely                                                               
                                                                                                                                
appropriate, he stressed                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:18:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  referred to the  bill, page 2,  section 2,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that  stipulates   the  role  of   the  commissioners   prior  to                                                               
                                                                                                                                
legislative recommendations  being made, and said  it may require                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the  promulgation of  a  tremendous number  of  regulations.   He                                                               
                                                                                                                                
asked what the sponsor envisions in this regard.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  responded  that the  bill  requires  a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
number of  findings, and  the department  would need  to consider                                                               
                                                                                                                                
any additional  regulations in order  to comply.  He  opined that                                                               
                                                                                                                                
this  measure  is  the most  important  environmental,  fisheries                                                               
                                                                                                                                
decision in Alaska history, and it may require some effort.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN asked for  clarity regarding the federal v.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
state purview for the area in question.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  explained  that the  area  encompasses                                                               
                                                                                                                                
both   state  and   federal  lands,   and  the   proposed  mining                                                               
                                                                                                                                
developments are located in a mixed use area.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN directed attention to  page 1, line 11, and                                                               
                                                                                                                                
noted the addition  of "fisheries, fish, or  wildlife," and asked                                                               
                                                                                                                                
whether the use of the term  "fish" could be construed to mean an                                                               
                                                                                                                                
individual fish.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  conjectured how  the language  might be                                                               
                                                                                                                                
read by  a lawyer and  the term  could be considered  singular or                                                               
                                                                                                                                
plural.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  said it  would be  helpful to  clarify the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
use of the term in keeping with the intent of the bill.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:23:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON said  the bill  is not  just about  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Pebble Partnership,  and pointed out  that 11 other  claims exist                                                               
                                                                                                                                
in the  region, and pointed out  that the Donlin Gold  mine falls                                                               
                                                                                                                                
outside of the area, along  with other mining threats that effect                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the Bristol Bay area.  The  intent is to mirror a bill addressing                                                               
                                                                                                                                
sulfide mining  with the  law that  prohibits oil  exploration in                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the  same  area.   At  an  April,  2015,  meeting, the  Board  of                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Fisheries (BOF)  wanted to take  a precautionary  approach, under                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Title 5, for managing sustainable  salmon fisheries, and the bill                                                               
                                                                                                                                
safeguards that  concern along  with placing  a burden  on mining                                                               
                                                                                                                                
companies.    The  mining  companies   are  poised  to  effect  a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
permanent change  to the Southwest  culture of Alaska,  and thus,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the  bill   represents  a  reasonable   standard  to   apply,  he                                                               
                                                                                                                                
maintained.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:26:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHENAULT  asked  for  a  walk-through  of  how  a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
proposed change  to a previously approved  permitting requirement                                                               
                                                                                                                                
might be  handled.   He asked:   what  vote requirement  would be                                                               
                                                                                                                                
needed for approval  on the floor of the  legislature; will there                                                               
                                                                                                                                
be  added costs  assumed  by the  legislature, lacking  technical                                                               
                                                                                                                                
staff;  and  whether  any  change   to  a  permit  would  require                                                               
additional  legislative approval  prior to  a project  continuing                                                               
                                                                                                                                
through the permitting process.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON said  changes to  the permit  would not                                                               
                                                                                                                                
create an impedance  to the process, and  interagency peer review                                                               
                                                                                                                                
would  be considered  dispositive;  modifications  as defined  on                                                               
                                                                                                                                
page 2, lines 7-13.  A permit  would be brought to each body only                                                               
                                                                                                                                
once for  a majority  vote, based  on the  facts provided  at the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
time.   Given  the  rigorous standards,  he  maintained that  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
question would be one of trust.   If the test applies, litigation                                                               
                                                                                                                                
would be  dispensed with based  on the standard of  compliance as                                                               
                                                                                                                                
attained by the developers.   He directed attention to the fiscal                                                               
                                                                                                                                
notes contained  in the  committee packet,  several of  which are                                                               
                                                                                                                                
zero, as  some expenses are absorbed  via designated departmental                                                               
                                                                                                                                
funds,  and said  developers  may also  be  responsible for  some                                                               
                                                                                                                                
agency costs.    He referred  to, and paraphrased from,  a report                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[Institute of Social and Economic  Research (ISER) in the College                                                               
                                                                                                                                
of  Business  and Public  Policy  at  the University  of  Alaska,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
titled,  "The  Economic  Importance  of the  Bristol  Bay  Salmon                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Industry,"  prepared   for  the  Bristol  Bay   Regional  Seafood                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Development Association by Gunnar  Knapp, Mouhcine Guetttabi, and                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Scott Goldsmith, Executive Summary, page  1, 4/13], which read as                                                               
                                                                                                                                
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In 2010, harvesting,  processing, and retailing Bristol                                                                    
     Bay  salmon   and  the  multiplier  effects   of  these                                                                    
     activities  created $1.5  billion  in  output or  sales                                                                    
     value across the United States.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  argued   that  given  the  documented,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
economic value  of the  fishery, it would  be cost  effective for                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the legislature  to allocate  a few  hundred thousand  dollars to                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ensure  the  preservation  of an  industry  worth  $1.5  billion.                                                               
Future generations, he predicted,  will certainly be appreciative                                                               
                                                                                                                                
of the effort.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHENAULT said  it  would be  appropriate to  hear                                                               
                                                                                                                                
directly  from the  departments  involved in  issuing permits  to                                                               
                                                                                                                                
confirm that costs  associated with HB 14 can  be absorbed within                                                               
                                                                                                                                
budgetary constraints.   Further, if  funding is being  set aside                                                               
                                                                                                                                
by any agency, it should be disclosed to the legislature.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:32:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN reiterated  interest in  hearing from  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
departments.     He  opined  that  the   existing  standards  are                                                               
                                                                                                                                
considered to  be highly effective,  and perhaps  nothing further                                                               
                                                                                                                                
is necessary.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:33:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:33:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEANTHA CROCKETT,  Executive Director, Alaska  Miners Association                                                               
(AMA),  commented   on  HB  14,  paraphrasing   from  a  prepared                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The   Alaska   Miners    Association   (AMA)   is   the                                                                    
     professional  trade  association for  Alaska's  mineral                                                                    
     industry,  including  small  family run  placer  mines;                                                                    
     large-scale  mines and  projects,  and the  contracting                                                                    
     sector   that   supports   Alaska's   mines.      We're                                                                    
     represented  in eight  statewide branches:   Anchorage,                                                                    
     Denali,     Fairbanks,    Haines,     Juneau,    Kenai,                                                                    
     Ketchikan/Prince of Wales, and Nome.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I'm  here today  to  provide comment  on  HB 14,  which                                                                    
     suggests amendments  to the Bristol Bay  Forever ballot                                                                    
     initiative passed by voters in 2014.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     At  the  time  the   citizen's  initiative  titled  the                                                                    
     Bristol  Bay Fisheries  Reserve was  before voters,  we                                                                    
     heard   from  proponents   that  it   would  strengthen                                                                    
     environmental  protection   and  enhancement   for  the                                                                    
     Bristol Bay region by  requiring the Alaska Legislature                                                                    
     to  take  action  for final  authorization  of  a  mine                                                                    
     within  the watershed.   The  bill is  written so  that                                                                    
     such  action  would  take  place  after  the  mine  had                                                                    
     obtained  the  dozens  of  state,  local,  and  federal                                                                    
     permits   required   to    move   forward   with   mine                                                                    
     development.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     AMA didn't choose  to engage in opposition  to the 2014                                                                    
     Bristol  Bay  Forever  initiative because  the  law  is                                                                    
     clearly unconstitutional.   It violates  the separation                                                                    
     of   powers   doctrine,   which  specifies   that   the                                                                    
     legislature  enacts  laws   and  the  executive  branch                                                                    
     implements  and executes  laws.   It  created laws  via                                                                    
     ballot  box   resource  management,  and   not  through                                                                    
     deliberate, technical  consideration.   The Legislature                                                                    
     must  now review  and approve  permits  after they  are                                                                    
     issued  by   the  executive   branch,  and   after  the                                                                    
     technical   experts   at  our   regulatory   permitting                                                                    
     agencies  have  evaluated  and  approved  them.    This                                                                    
     process  is called  "legislative veto"  and the  Alaska                                                                    
     Supreme Court  has repeatedly  said that  a legislative                                                                    
     veto is  unconstitutional.  Additionally,  as lawmakers                                                                    
     I ask  you:   Does the  legislature have  the technical                                                                    
     staff necessary  to evaluate the  complexities inherent                                                                    
     in permitting  decisions?  Do  you even have  the time,                                                                    
     especially in a 90-day  session, to thoroughly evaluate                                                                    
     this type of decision?                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     To  add to  the flagrant  legal issues,  the initiative                                                                    
     created what is clearly  special and local legislation.                                                                    
     Why single out a resource  project in Bristol Bay?  Why                                                                    
     not have  the same  legislative authority  and approval                                                                    
     for projects  located in the  Cook Inlet  drainage, the                                                                    
     Yukon-Kuskokwim   drainage,   the  North   Slope,   the                                                                    
     Aleutians, and  the Copper River  drainage?   Why would                                                                    
     we guide  permitting decisions in Alaska  by making one                                                                    
     set of  rules for decisions  in the Bristol  Bay region                                                                    
     while  we  have  a  different set  of  rules  governing                                                                    
     permitting requirements in the rest  of the state?  The                                                                    
     bill sponsor  notes that a  legal opinion  expresses no                                                                    
     conflicts,  but  I  caution   you  that  should  HB  14                                                                    
     proceed,   I  would   expect   to   see  formal   legal                                                                    
     challenges.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Amending the initiative  via this bill, HB  14, is only                                                                    
     making  bad  policy  worse, and  we  urge  you  undergo                                                                    
     significant    legal   review    prior   to    adopting                                                                    
     legislation.      It  politicizes   Alaska's   resource                                                                    
     permitting  process by  having  state agency  decisions                                                                    
     subject to  review and  approval by  politicians rather                                                                    
     than  professional  technical  agency  staff  with  the                                                                    
     expertise to truly examine a proposed project.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Some  may  be  surprised  to  learn  that  the  law  is                                                                    
     actually   less  protective   than  existing   statutes                                                                    
     because it  removes judicial scrutiny.   Administrative                                                                    
     actions  by agencies  in the  permitting processes  are                                                                    
     governed by clear legal standards  and subject to legal                                                                    
     review  in  the  court  system.   The  judicial  branch                                                                    
     serves as an important check  and balance to assure all                                                                    
     interested  parties of  a lawful  and careful  process.                                                                    
     In  contrast, this  bill  requires  the legislature  to                                                                    
     make  a  finding  and  pass  a  statute  to  approve  a                                                                    
     project.     But  any  vote   of  the   legislature  is                                                                    
     inherently a political decision,  and such a vote would                                                                    
     typically be immune from legal challenge.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     To   conclude,  I   assure  you   that  this   type  of                                                                    
     legislation  sends an  alarmingly  negative message  to                                                                    
     the investment  community that Alaska is  unstable when                                                                    
     it  comes  to  permitting.    It  could  impact  future                                                                    
     investment and  job opportunities for all  Alaskans, at                                                                    
     a time when we so  desperately need economic diversity.                                                                    
     We urge  you to consider  that Alaska has  a stringent,                                                                    
     robust    environmental   permitting    and   oversight                                                                    
     structure, and  development projects  in the  state, no                                                                    
     matter  where they  are  located,  should be  evaluated                                                                    
     through that process.   HB 14 is bad  policy and should                                                                    
     not be passed from this Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:36:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR asked if the constitutionality of the                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
initiative has been challenged following the public vote.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CROCKETT said  no opposition  campaign  occurred during  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
initiative  process; however,  post vote,  a group  challenge was                                                               
                                                                                                                                
lodged, with an  unsuccessful outcome.  However,  should the bill                                                               
                                                                                                                                
pass, more  legal challenges  may arise, she  anticipated.   To a                                                               
                                                                                                                                
follow-up  question she  agreed  to  provide further  information                                                               
                                                                                                                                
regarding the disposition of the defeated court case.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:39:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
NELLI WILLIAMS, Alaska Director,  Trout Unlimited, stated support                                                               
for HB 14, paraphrasing from  a prepared statement, which read as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I am the  Alaska Director for Trout  Unlimited and here                                                                    
     to testify in  support of HB 14 on behalf  of our 1,000                                                                    
     members and the dozens  of sport fishing businesses who                                                                    
     operate in Bristol Bay.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The threat  of large scale hard-rock  mines like Pebble                                                                    
     is  nothing new.    Alaskans have  been  living in  the                                                                    
     shadow of  Pebble and their  empty promises for  over a                                                                    
     decade.  That is a very  real threat to the 14,000 jobs                                                                    
     and $1.6 billion economy that is currently out there.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Over the past many years  Alaskans, led by local tribes                                                                    
     and fishermen have repeatedly  opposed Pebble and asked                                                                    
     for  protections for  Bristol Bay.   That  concern grew                                                                    
     even more when Alaskans  watched the tailings dam break                                                                    
     at  the  Mt. Polley  mine  [British  Columbia] and  the                                                                    
     subsequent impact  to fishery  jobs and  culture there.                                                                    
     The same company who built  the failed dam designed the                                                                    
     dams in Pebbles plans.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Recently  notable  is  that   65  percent  of  Alaskans                                                                    
     (including a  majority in every precinct  of the state)                                                                    
     voted for  increased protections for Bristol  Bay.  Our                                                                    
     current laws are not enough.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I am  a mother of  two young  kids.  Like  many Alaskan                                                                    
     families some of our happiest  moments are in a boat or                                                                    
     along a river bank.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
       We, all of us, have a responsibility to make sure                                                                        
     Alaskan families now and in the future have clean fish                                                                     
     filled rivers to use and enjoy.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     We cannot afford to sit back and let a foreign mining                                                                      
     company call the shots.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I urge  our state leaders  to listen to [and]  stand up                                                                    
     for Alaskan  families and businesses and  do everything                                                                    
     in  your  power to  protect  Bristol  Bay's salmon  and                                                                    
     jobs.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:41:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ABE WILLIAMS, Fisherman,  stated opposition to HB 14  and said it                                                               
                                                                                                                                
politicizes  an  established   process  for  permitting  projects                                                               
                                                                                                                                
throughout Alaska.   The economics  of the region are  reliant on                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the  stability of  the process  that's in  place.   Separation of                                                               
                                                                                                                                
power issues  are a concern, he  said, as well as  the additional                                                               
                                                                                                                                
layers  of bureaucracy  that the  bill  would institute.   It  is                                                               
                                                                                                                                
important to  protect and support  the fisheries in  a meaningful                                                               
                                                                                                                                
manner, but resource development is also necessary.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:44:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR questioned whether  he supported the original                                                               
                                                                                                                                
initiative.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS replied, "No."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:44:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked if he  plans to continue as a fourth                                                               
                                                                                                                                
generation fisherman.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS  replied, "Yes."   He  said a  large portion  of the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
$1.4 billion fishing industry benefits  outside interests and the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
majority of  the 14,000 reported  jobs are not held  by Alaskans;                                                               
                                                                                                                                
however,  his  three  boys  have,   or  are,  also  entering  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:46:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES asked whether he  is affiliated with the Bristol Bay                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Fisheries Association,  which has  submitted a letter  of support                                                               
                                                                                                                                
for HB 14.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WILLIAMS answered, "No."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:47:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  HEATWOLE,  Representative,  Pebble Partnership,  cited  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
unresolved constitutionality of the  initiative and the questions                                                               
                                                                                                                                
that  remain, as  previously testified  to by  Ms. Crockett.   He                                                               
                                                                                                                                
said HB  14 essentially creates  a legislative veto;  turning law                                                               
                                                                                                                                
on  its head.    The bill  creates a  bureaucratic  level to  the                                                               
                                                                                                                                
entire  permitting  process   by  requiring  legislative  review;                                                               
                                                                                                                                
inclusive of  modifications and extensions.   He  predicted that,                                                               
                                                                                                                                
given the circumstances of the  process, the legislature would be                                                               
                                                                                                                                
required  to   review  project  permits   on  an   annual  basis.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Investors  may  find  it  difficult   to  retain  confidence  for                                                               
                                                                                                                                
supporting  development in  any region,  as the  bill politicizes                                                               
                                                                                                                                
the heretofore stable, predictable permit process.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   FANSLER   noted   that   the   constitutionality                                                               
                                                                                                                                
questions have been taken to the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HEATWOLE  said the issue  of special or  multiple legislation                                                               
                                                                                                                                
was addressed  prior to the  initiative vote, but  the separation                                                               
                                                                                                                                
of powers  was not  ruled upon and  remains ripe  for litigation.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
To  a   follow-up  question,  he   offered  to   provide  further                                                               
                                                                                                                                
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:52:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LISA  REIMERS,   Member,  Iliamna  Village   Corporation,  stated                                                               
                                                                                                                                
opposition to  HB 14, and said  many of the villagers  sold their                                                               
                                                                                                                                
permits when  fishing was on  a downturn,  and now the  jobs that                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Pebble might  provide are needed,  with the families of  the area                                                               
                                                                                                                                
being torn apart,  lacking an economic base.   Politicians should                                                               
                                                                                                                                
not be making the decisions, she stressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:54:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced HB 14 as held.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries meeting  was adjourned  at 10:55                                                               
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB014 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 vers D.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 vers A.PDF HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Summary of Changes A to D.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DFG-DCF-01-27-2017.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DFG-DSF-01-27-2017.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DFG-HAB-01-27-2017.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DFG-SUB-01-27-2017.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Fiscal Note DEC-WQ-01-27-17.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support BBFA.PDF HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Erickson.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Sabo.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Oberlatz.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Weis.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Hohl.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Ekwok.PDF HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Supporting Document EPA.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Form Letter.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Oppose Pease.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Trout Unlimited.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support United Tribes of Bristol Bay Pebble Inspection Summary Report.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support United Tribes of Bristol Bay PEBBLE DRILL HOLE RECLAMATION.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Kviteng.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Sheridan.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 EPA Map of BB Watershed.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Supporting Document Ballot Measure 14 2014.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Support Thompson.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Oppose AMA Testimony 1.31.17.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Oppose AMA BBF Initiative & HB 14 Memo.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14
HB014 Oppose CAP.pdf HFSH 1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM
HB 14