Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/18/1994 08:15 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE March 18, 1994 8:15 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Bill Williams, Chairman Representative Bill Hudson, Vice Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative David Finkelstein Representative Joe Green Representative Jeannette James Representative Eldon Mulder MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Pat Carney Representative John Davies OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT Representative Gene Therriault COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 462 "An Act repealing certain provisions of the laws, other than those in the Alaska Land Act, relating to recording requirements, labor and improvement requirements, and size requirements for mining claims and providing for the suspension or waiver of state annual mining labor requirements when the federal government has suspended or waived federal annual mining labor requirements administratively or by statute; and providing for an effective date." MOVED HB 462 OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS HB 446: "An Act relating to community agreements for environmental conservation purposes; and providing for an effective date." MOVED HB 446 OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS HB 352: "An Act relating to the approval of subdivision plats in areas outside organized boroughs, in the unorganized borough outside of cities, and in the third class boroughs; and relating to the definitions of `street' and `subdivision'." ADOPTED AND MOVED CSSSHB 352(RES) OUT COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 421 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-4797 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor HB 462 JERRY GALLAGHER, Director Division of Mining Department of Natural Resources P.O. Box 107016 Anchorage, Alaska 99510-7016 Phone: 762-2165 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 462 MARY NORDALE, President Alaska Miners Association P.O. Box 21211 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: 586-3340 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 462 MEAD TREADWELL, Deputy Commissioner Department of Environmental Conservation 410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 105 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 465-5065 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 446 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 501 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-3743 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor HB 352 RON SWANSON, Director Division of Land Department of Natural Resources P.O. Box 107005 Anchorage, Alaska 99510-7005 Phone: 762-2692 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 352 RICK HARRIS, Vice President Resource Planning and Administration Sealaska Corporation One Sealaska Plaza, Suite 400 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 586-1512 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 352 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 462 SHORT TITLE: MINING REQUIREMENTS:RECORDING/LABOR/SIZE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT,Kott JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/11/94 2345 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/11/94 2345 (H) RESOURCES 02/14/94 2389 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT 03/18/94 (H) RES AT 08:15 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 446 SHORT TITLE: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AGREEMENTS SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/04/94 2264 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/04/94 2264 (H) COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS, RESOURCES 02/04/94 2264 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DEC) 2/4/94 02/04/94 2265 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 03/01/94 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/01/94 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 03/02/94 2575 (H) CRA RPT 7DP 03/02/94 2575 (H) DP: SANDERS, DAVIES, WILLIS, TOOHEY 03/02/94 2575 (H) DP: OLBERG, BUNDE, WILLIAMS 03/02/94 2575 (H) -PREVIOUS ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DEC) 2/4/94 03/18/94 (H) RES AT 08:15 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: HB 352 SHORT TITLE: SUBDIVISION PLAT APPROVAL:UNORGANIZED BOR SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/07/94 2020 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/10/94 2020 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/10/94 2020 (H) CRA, RESOURCES, FINANCE 01/21/94 2124 (H) SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS 01/21/94 2124 (H) CRA, RESOURCES, FINANCE 02/10/94 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/10/94 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 02/15/94 2403 (H) CRA RPT CS(CRA) NEW TITLE 4DP 2NR 02/15/94 2404 (H) DP: SANDERS, BUNDE, TOOHEY, OLBERG 02/15/94 2404 (H) NR: WILLIS, WILLIAMS 02/15/94 2404 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DNR) 2/15/94 03/18/94 (H) RES AT 08:15 AM CAPITOL 124 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-35, SIDE A Number 000 The House Resources Committee was called to order by Chairman Bill Williams at 8:22 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Williams, Hudson, Bunde, Finkelstein and James. Members absent were Representatives Carney, Davies, Green, and Mulder. CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS announced there is a quorum present. (CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted for the record that REPRESENTATIVE GREEN joined the committee at 8:25 a.m.) HB 462 - Mining Requirements: Recording/Labor/Size REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, PRIME SPONSOR, stated HB 462 is a clean-up of provisions in Title 27. Title 27 dates back to territorial days when it was crafted to match federal requirements in place at the time. He said over time, these federal requirements have changed and state statutes have not kept pace, and in many instances no longer conform. This lack of conformity is currently causing confusion and must be updated. He told committee members that a letter of support from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) which identifies the specific problem each section of HB 462 is designed to correct is contained in their folders. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT explained current state statutes direct miners to do one thing and federal statutes tell them to do something else. In Section 1, existing language allows for recording of a location after 90 days, but before the ground is staked by another locator. He pointed out federal laws no longer allow such late recording under any circumstances, so HB 462 brings that provision current with federal requirements. In Section 2, there is a clarification that if federal requirements are changed through administrative action, the requirements of AS 27.10.060 are likewise affected. He said there has been action on the federal level with statutes and the statutes have been changed not so much by law, but through administrative action. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said Section 3 deletes an out of date requirement for recording of an annual labor affidavit within six months after the close of an annual labor year. The federal law requires such affidavits to be recorded 90 days after the close of the labor year. Section 4 repeals the limitation on the size of associated placer claims. He stated this limitation is inconsistent with federal law currently. Section 5 is necessary to ensure that changes made in Section 2 take place at the same time the federal law was changed so there is not a window where there were two laws and a question about which set of laws the miners should have been following. Number 043 (CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted for the record that REPRESENTATIVE MULDER joined the committee at 8:27 a.m.) REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON asked Representative Therriault to explain Section 4 again. He clarified at the present time no placer mining claim may be located in excess of 40 acres, and have a greater length than 2640 feet and that is repealed to comply with federal law. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT thought that question should be directed to Jerry Gallagher. REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked what is being discussed - federal claims on federal land or federal claims on state land. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded claims on federal land. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if HB 462 will eliminate inconsistencies on land which the state does not have patent to, but has selection or tentative approval. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said Representative Kott has a bill which allows the transfer from federal regulations to state regulations simultaneously when the land transfers hands. Number 065 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked when a federal change is made, does the federal government notify the miner or does the state. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT responded the federal government notifies people who have claims on their property. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said conformance is not the concern. He thought if the state has laws which are different and the federal law is changed, the federal government is in charge of making that change known to the miner, with the state not responsible for any violation. He wondered if the state accepts the federal law and are party to it, is the state subjected to liability because a miner did not conform according to federal law. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT did not feel it is an issue. He said the federal law is supreme. Number 093 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked if HB 462 only applied to mining claims on federal land. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT said that is correct as that is what Title 27 addresses. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked where that could be seen in the law. He wondered if Section 2 addresses changes made in federal law or federal requirements being waived in a specific case. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT gave an example. He said in the past year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by administrative action, allowed federal miners to waive annual labor if an annual grant payment was made. He stated this section in present statute caused confusion because it says if federal laws are suspended and the question becomes is a waiver a suspension. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if the federal government changed regulations or did they use an administrative action for an exemption. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated it was administrative action. Number 122 JERRY GALLAGHER, DIRECTOR OF MINING, DNR, stated the department supports HB 462. He said states have traditionally adopted laws which support and give certain specificity to the federal mining law, that law which allows miners to stake federal mining claims on federal land. He pointed out there are certain overriding requirements nationally but there are specificity issues to recording documents which varies by state. There are certain business relationships which vary by state. He added that states have generally in state law provided specificity of those aspects of the law. He stressed that is what Title 27 has done. MR. GALLAGHER stated the present law goes back to 1949. No one has paid much attention to Title 27 because federal law controls. He said as the federal law has changed, inconsistencies and conflicts of law have developed and HB 462 addresses some of those inconsistencies and fixes them. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked why the state does not just use the federal law. MR. GALLAGHER responded the state may have to revisit Title 27 to keep it current, but there are specific provisions in Title 27 which are important such as the specificity about recording. He said there is specificity about how location notices are posted. Those issues are important to the state for the state's recording of them. There are a number of old provisions in Title 27 which have become out of date and need to be cleaned up. He does not advocate eliminating the provisions in Title 27 in their entirety because some of the public records and factual statements in the law about discovery are important. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the mining industry agrees with that opinion. MR. GALLAGHER said yes, but mentioned a representative from the mining industry is present to testify. Number 174 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked Mr. Gallagher to explain the change in Section 4. MR. GALLAGHER responded there was a section of federal law which applied to placer claims and association placer claims dating back 60-80 years. There was an effort by the federal government to make sure that any individual or group of individuals could not control huge amounts of land in placer districts. He said Section 4 repeals all of AS 27.10.110 which is the limit on size and he believed those limitations have been removed from federal law. This is an archaic limitation which is contained in state law and is an unnecessary piece of the statute. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER asked if the state will need to revisit Title 27 over and over again based on potential changes made to the federal mining law. MR. GALLAGHER responded if the federal government changes the mining law of 1872 substantively, the answer is yes. He stated Section 2 says if the law is changed administratively, likewise the state law is changed. He said the federal mining law says you have to do annual labor. Last year, the Administration by administrative action said no, you have to pay a fee and if you do not want to do the annual labor, you do not have to. He stated the miners pointed out the state law says they do, unless the federal law has changed. Then the question became, is administrative action a change in the federal law or not. He pointed out that Secretary Babbitt is considering changing the federal mining law through administrative action. If those federal changes are made administratively, Section 2 incorporates those changes. Section 2 also says that if the federal mining law changes, those sections also change. He felt there is a need to revisit Title 27 occasionally to ensure it stays current. REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES said in discussing revisiting Title 27 in the future, there may be a point when it will have to be said that mining claims are not allowed on federal land in the state of Alaska. MR. GALLAGHER responded only the federal government will make that statement. Number 248 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked what the state's vested interest is in requiring affidavits and wondered if the state is requiring duplicate reports. MR. GALLAGHER replied the federal law says miners have to record an affidavit, but the state law says certain things have to be included in the affidavit such as the name, location, number of days work which was done, etc. Those specifics are important to the state because it provides consistency with some of the state's recording requirements, and added it is also important to the miners in the state because there is a framework of what is required in the affidavit. That affidavit tells the miners whether that claim is properly located and properly maintained and whether or not they can stake it. He did not feel there is any duplication. The federal law says the miner will record and the state law says what specifics need to be in the document. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON wondered if the federal government, in laying out the requirements, assumes the state will accomplish them. MR. GALLAGHER said that is correct. He did not feel the requirements are onerous or unnecessary. He added the specific recording requirements are in federal law but each state has different recording requirement and what needs to be there. Number 292 MARY NORDALE, PRESIDENT, ALASKA MINERS ASSOCIATION (AMA), stated AMA supports HB 462. She said the problem the state and the territory attempted to resolve is confusion of records. It is important for every state to have comprehensive, complete and accurate land records. In the mining industry, title, whether it is the title which arises from a mining claim or from purchase, etc., is important. There are certain things one can do and must do under federal law in order to establish a title. One of those is to record, but it is important that the state be able to require certain elements of information to be included in the document so the state builds up a comprehensive record on land ownership. She pointed out if HB 462 is reviewed, it really addresses recorded notice. The repeal on association claims is due to the federal law not allowing association claims anymore so why retain an archaic requirement in the statute which has no application. She said HB 462 is needed, it will be more efficient, and will reduce paperwork, as well as confusion on the part of the mining industry. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the Division of Mining is more akin to the Alaska Oil and Conservation Commission in operating wells which are on federal land or more akin to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's operating game back when they operated game on federal management. MR. GALLAGHER stated the Division of Mining is more akin to the Division of Oil and Gas. The Division of Mining has authority on state land for state mining claims. He said as part of the division's broader interest, they watch what happens on federal land and reiterated the section being discussed applies to federal land. MS. NORDALE stated federal law requires the location notices and affidavits of annual labor be recorded and it makes sense to have them conform to state standards. Number 352 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to MOVE HB 462 with a zero fiscal note out of committee with INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. HB 446 - Environmental Conservation Agreements MEAD TREADWELL, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (DEC), stated HB 446 which was presented by the governor relates to partnerships. He said DEC has over 500,000 people who live in the state who care for its environment. DEC has approximately 500 employees who cannot do the job unless it is done together with others in partnership. He said HB 446 strengthens the law to ensure it is clear that DEC has the authority to enter into partnerships with communities and other entities, to work on delegating state or federal programs where possible, to set up indicators to track progress on environmental concerns and set priorities on those concerns. MR. TREADWELL pointed out that most federal and state environmental laws might be decried as the stove pipe approach. There are air laws which do not take into account water problems; water laws which do not take into account hazardous waste problems. In trying to find compliance with the laws, there is a need to set priorities in a community because there may be a situation, for example, where people may be catching a disease from poor drinking water in a community, but an air requirement might require lots of money to be spent on monitoring the only power plant within a 3-4 mile radius. He stressed that DEC feels it is important to sit down with a community and know its environmental priorities through the partnership process. Number 402 MR. TREADWELL stated in regard to prioritization, there are 1500 contaminated sites around the state and what may be on a high action list for state action may not represent a community's priorities. This process of community agreements allows DEC to sit down with a city council, talk about those sites in their area, and encourage local action. He advised committee members that the last committee which heard HB 446 had all Do Pass recommendations. He stressed HB 446 strengthens and builds upon the partnerships DEC already has in existence. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked how the number of contaminated sites in Alaska compares with the state of Washington. MR. TREADWELL said he could not answer that question, but being discussed in regard to the indicators program is to be able to make those kinds of comparisons. He stated of the contaminated sites the state has, there are a number which are major threats to drinking water, but DEC is making a good effort. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said he was trying to get an idea on the relative value in terms of the threat the state has compared to other states, past stewardship, where the state is, and where it is going. He asked if this partnership process is like what the Department of Transportation does in the six year planning of their capital improvement program, they work through communities to develop priorities and as funding is available, the priorities are put into the Governor's capital budget. Number 456 MR. TREADWELL responded DEC has a similar process currently for capital appropriations and gave an example. He said solid waste is a major problem in Southeast Alaska and as federal regulations have increased, having this kind of agreement has enabled DEC to sit down in various areas of Southeast to try and prioritize regional landfills. He said the partnership agreement is basically a problem solving approach. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the community agreements are contractual agreements giving communities the authority to take legal action in the event of noncompliance. MR. TREADWELL responded that DEC has delegated some state programs to communities. Fairbanks and Anchorage do health inspections, for example. He said DEC would like to delegate more and added that under the law, DEC has certain oversight responsibilities when they do delegate. The community agreements do not give DEC additional power to delegate but makes it clear that it is the intent of the legislature to work toward the areas where delegation is applicable under other laws. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified the community agreement is more of a policy statement. Number 495 MR. TREADWELL said that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON reiterated the agreement does not relieve DEC of any current responsibilities and does not eliminate DEC's authority to take legal action in the event of an illegal action. MR. TREADWELL replied that is correct and added the agreement also does not mandate that DEC pass certain things on to communities. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated the partnership agreement is more of an arms length policy mechanism. Number 530 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said unfunded mandates tend to come from the top down, federal to state, state to local community, and clarified that the community agreements do not evolve into an unfunded mandate, coming from the community up to the state. MR. TREADWELL stated legislators continually hear from municipalities about their needs to fulfill their responsibilities and the community agreements will not change that. He said the agreements allow DEC to sit down with a city council once a year and discuss present and future activities and priorities. For example, if a town plans to build a sewer facility, DEC should be aware of that. He gave other examples. He explained the agreements will not create entitlement for communities, but will allow DEC to be better educated about what the needs are. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER noted there is a zero fiscal note attached to HB 446 and felt that in five years, the cost could be substantial because the passage of HB 446 will give justification for the existence of another branch of DEC. MR. TREADWELL disagreed. He pointed out there is a regional organization currently in place and a community lead person within DEC has been identified to work with each community. He added that embedded in DEC's budget is a large amount for data acquisition and stated DEC is data rich and information poor. The community agreements will help DEC determine what information they have on a community by community basis. He felt the agreements will help DEC's work to be more effective and does not see HB 446 creating a new entitlement for DEC. He said on the indicators project, DEC has received federal funds to develop a set of indicators which are consistent with other states and has received a grant for comparative risk. Once that project is set up, DEC will be able to report the information collected to communities. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if anything is going to stop if HB 446 is not passed. MR. TREADWELL said no. He stated the commissioner and the Governor have asked for this legislation to have the legislature, as a policy body, reaffirm the program which is ongoing. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked if the lead person mentioned earlier is funded out of general funds. MR. TREADWELL responded DEC has a regional administrator for each of the four regions of the state: Southeast, Southcentral, Northern and Pipeline Corridor. There are approximately 200 communities in the state. Through the community agreement program, DEC has told the mayor of a given community that this lead person should be involved on day to day issues. That lead person knows it is their responsibility to process permits, etc., but also to sit down once a year with the mayor and city council to develop an agreement so DEC and the community have common priorities. He explained the lead person is in reality many people making up the regional staff and they are funded through federal funds, general funds and response funds, but added that part of their job is touching base with each community. Number 671 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed concern in regard to oil operations. He said there are local emergency planning committees (LEPCs), regional citizens' advisory councils (RCAC), etc., and they receive considerable contributions from a fund. He thought entering into an agreement with a community sounds like an advisory position and has more strength than indicated. He wondered with going to communities to discuss issues and the travel, time, etc., involved, why there is a zero fiscal note. He did not see how DEC can do more without costing more and asked about funding sources. MR. TREADWELL responded DEC has not funded, except for one time, any RCAC's. TAPE 94-35, SIDE B Number 000 MR. TREADWELL gave an example where the federal government writes rules which require communities to test their drinking water once a month for bacteriological things, twice a year for certain heavy minerals, once every three years for radiation, etc., which is a tremendous unfunded mandate upon each community. He said certain regions in the state have the lowest compliance rate in the country. DEC has gone as far as possible with direct command, control and enforcement to get the problems addressed. To go above and beyond that is to sit down with the mayor and city council and discuss why the requirements are important and what needs to be done. He stressed the community agreement program is not going to cost more money. MR. TREADWELL said for example, the person who runs the field office in Nome is responsible for 40 villages. When he goes to a village, he is there to visit the water system, check on contaminated sites, check on the school district, check the dump, etc., but in each of these cases, he is dealing with one city official and part of his job now is to spend time with the mayor and city council to address problems together. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed confusion. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated a community agreement will get a community to focus on particular problems before they become serious problems. For example, in Ketchikan there is a problem with the waste water discharge in the borough which previously was unknown. Now the community is upset about what is happening in regard to regulations, etc. Had the community been prepared, it would have been able to plan for the problem. MR. TREADWELL said that is accurate. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if having a community agreement in that example would have precluded the situation. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said a community agreement would have helped make the community and DEC work together to focus on the problem. MR. TREADWELL stressed the community agreement program is a voluntary program. He said DEC has had communities turn down the agreement offer while other communities have been grateful. DEC has had attorneys look at the agreements to ensure they do not create entitlement or advocate other laws. He said 90 percent of what DEC does is working with communities. Number 093 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated the agreement program is a formalized cooperative methodology of compliance with federal and state requirements. He asked on page 2, line 2 where it indicates through delegation or cooperative management, if that implies delegation of legal authority to the local level. MR. TREADWELL responded in the same way the federal government retains oversight on the state when programs are delegated to DEC, DEC retains oversight over municipal programs when they are delegated there and gave several examples where DEC hoped they could get delegation. He said DEC still writes the regulations, they still have to be consistent with state law, but DEC has gone as far as possible with delegation to make sure the decisions are made by communities. Number 145 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked who will be allowed to enter into the agreements. MR. TREADWELL responded it will be cities and boroughs. He said the broad definition of local governing body for an incorporated community can meet any of the Title 29 depredations. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN wondered if there will be a constitutional problem when an entity such as a Native regional corporation which represents a portion of people within an area and is a for-profit corporation, applies for permits. MR. TREADWELL said currently if a Native regional corporation owns both fuel tanks in 20 places along a river to support a fueling operation, DEC can enter into a compliance order by consent which says as well as paying a fine, getting a court order, etc., it is appropriate for DEC to sit down with the group ahead of time and say in order to avoid long-term compliance problems, let us deal with the problem comprehensively ahead of time. He gave an example. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to MOVE HB 446 with a zero fiscal note out of committee, with INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. CSSSHB 352: "An Act relating to the approval, change, or vacation of subdivision plats in areas outside organized boroughs, in the unorganized borough outside of cities, and in the third class boroughs; and relating to the definitions of `street' and `subdivision'." REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES stated HB 352 came to her attention because she had a university subdivision being created in her district in an area where there was no platting or planning authority. She said there was a problem with legal access to the subdivision. She explained that all subdivisions filed within an unorganized borough or a borough which does have platting authority are filed with DNR, but DNR has no authority to determine whether or not the subdivision was in compliance with state law. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she has been working with the Division of Land and the Native corporations on the issue, and the sponsor substitute before the committee addresses their interests. She explained HB 352 will provide some oversight by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) when subdivisions are filed within an area where there is no platting authority to ensure that in the future, there will not be clouds on the title, access problems and other problems created by improperly filing plats. She pointed out on page 3, line 17, where it says "organized under P.L. 92-203, by the creation of public access", it has been suggested that it say, "by the creation of public or common carrier access." Number 234 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON wondered if the proposed amendments from Sealaska are incorporated into the work draft. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said they are included. She explained their needs have been met, but the language may not be word for word. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a MOTION to ADOPT CSSSHB 352(RES). CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. Number 265 RON SWANSON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF LAND, DNR, stated Section 1 defines subdivisions. Currently there are two or three definitions of subdivisions. The change made in that section provides for one definition for subdivision which will apply to all platting authorities. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said he noticed on page 3, lines 14- 18, subdivision is defined and asked if that is what Sealaska has an interest in. MR. SWANSON thought that was correct. He said Sealaska's main concern is that when conveyance is received from the federal government, a big block of land is received which has roads, access, utility lines, etc., through it, and Sealaska does not want that to create the original subdivision. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN thought lines 14-18, on page 3 meant the exception for those corporations is only in the creation of public access. MR. SWANSON said what DNR is attempting to do is if a RS2477 happens to fall across land conveyed to a Native corporation, that would not create the subdivision. It is the subsequent action to create lots which would create the subdivision and would go into the plat review. He explained it would be the same situation if there was a need to run a utility line across the land. DNR does not want that to create a subdivision. Number 311 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed concern in regard to the public access portion and asked if it would apply to the rights on section and quarter section lines. MR. SWANSON requested Sealaska to respond to the question. He said when land is conveyed to a Native corporation, only the exterior boundaries are surveyed, so section lines do not exist unless they were surveyed before. If the section line has been surveyed, the section line access is there. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated the exemption applies to more than Native land. MR. SWANSON said the exemption is only for land conveyed to Native corporations which is Public Law 92-203. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked Mr. Swanson to explain application of the sponsor's suggested amendment to add common carrier, on page 3, line 17. MR. SWANSON responded common carrier is a telephone, telegraph, utility line or pipeline, so putting in that particular utility will not create the subdivision, it will just allow that to happen. Number 337 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked Mr. Swanson to continue explaining the changes. MR. SWANSON said Sections 1 and 2 are the definitions of subdivisions. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said he still was not clear why there is a definition of subdivision in Sections 2 and 5. He asked why there are two different definitions of subdivision. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded because two different areas of the law are being discussed. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said one section applies to public lands and the other applies only to Native land. MR. SWANSON stated a change is being made in Title 38 to define subdivision and changes are also being made in Title 40. He said there is a desire to get one definition of subdivision. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES added a change is being made in Title 46, as well. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER felt to say they are being made uniform is not correct. He pointed out the definitions contained in CSSSHB 352(RES) are not repetitive and asked how they are being made the same. Number 360 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN responded there is a definition for Native lands and then there is the rest which has the other definition. He said the definition is the same for the same type of ground. MR. SWANSON stated currently there is no definition of subdivision in Title 38 and Section 1 addresses that problem. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked why the definition in Section 2 is different than the others. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER thought Title 34, Title 40, and Title 46 all have... CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked committee members to use the Chairman. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated although the definition for subdivision is not word for word in each of the sections, it is the same. She said because there are different sections, there is different information needed, but the basic definition of a subdivision means: "the division of a tract or parcel of land into two or more lots or by the creation of public access; does not include cadastral plats, cadastral control plats, open-to-entry plats, remote parcel plats created by or on behalf of the state regardless of whether these plats include easements or other public dedications, or plats prepared by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for the purpose of transferring leasehold interests at state-owned airports or creating or adjusting right-of-way boundaries." She said the other language in the bill is applicable to that particular section of law and only that section of law. She explained each section refers back to the specific definition of a subdivision. Number 451 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked why the exception for land owned by corporations organized under P.L. 92-203...and apply it to the other definitions as well. MR. SWANSON responded Title 38 only applies to state land and that is the reason for the Native corporation exception. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN clarified that Section 34 does not apply to state-owned land but other land. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if the person from Sealaska could speak as some of the questions being asked could be answered. RICK HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT, RESOURCE PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, SEALASKA CORPORATION, stated the proposed change in Section 1 making the reference to AS 40.15.290 meets the concerns which Sealaska had raised. He said Title 34 of the statutes relates to private lands, while Title 38 represents state lands. Sealaska was interested in the legislation because in correcting the problem discovered by Representative James in her district, it opened another problem. He explained Native corporations are conveyed large blocks of ground and at times, access across the ground will be required for public access or common carrier corridors. He said by having public access or common carrier corridors across their property, they do not want property they have not subdivided to all of a sudden be thrown into the subdivision definition which then starts kicking off other things under the provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and state law. MR. HARRIS stated Sealaska is satisfied with Section 1 and Section 5 with the proposed amendment which Representative James offered. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a MOTION to AMEND CSSSHB 352(RES), on page 3, line 17, after the word "public", add "or common carrier." CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. Number 550 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if the explanation of the changes to the law could continue. MR. SWANSON stated Section 2 establishes a new section in Title 38 for state land which defines subdivision. Section 3 addresses public records which set out DNR as the platting authority outside of organized boroughs or boroughs who do not have platting authority. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what the significance is of removing the words, "for the change or vacation..." MR. SWANSON responded that deletion allows DNR to review all plats instead of just vacation of existing plats or a portion of plats. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if that implies a greater work load on the department. MR. SWANSON replied the department is assuming they will have approximately 250 more plats to review. Existing regulations allow the department to charge for that plat review. He said the fees charged will more than cover the cost of the additional workload. He added the savings and benefits to the lot community will be substantial. Number 590 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if the program operates under program receipts authority. MR. SWANSON answered that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN wondered if the fiscal note does not pass, is the department's program receipt authority any bigger than the actual program receipts, and is there room to take the money and apply it to the department's budget. MR. SWANSON answered no. He said the department does not have any program receipt authority within the survey budgeting. He stated the department has fees and the fees go back into the general fund. Number 612 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated there is a fiscal note because there is income to cover expenses. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said there is not a zero fiscal note, it has a zero impact in relation to the general fund. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated there must be an assurance that the receipt and expenditure authorization is appropriated in the budget. Otherwise, the department will be given added responsibilities with no money to accomplish them and the money collected will go into the general fund. Number 665 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked if the department's concerns have been addressed. MR. SWANSON answered yes. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said in Section 4, it says the department may not disapprove a new subdivision plat except for failure (1) to comply with applicable state law; or (2) of the plat to provide for, or otherwise specify, access... He asked what else could the department disapprove a plat for. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES thought the section related to public input. When a plat is filed and if it meets state laws and regulations, it is on the books. TAPE 94-36, SIDE A Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if public hearings, etc., are state law requirements. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded they are by platting and planning authority within the various communities. MR. SWANSON said there are some requirements within Title 29 which is the municipal actions, but this legislation is outside municipal actions. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN clarified that nothing in state law is therefore being left out in the department's ability to disapprove a new subdivision plat. MR. SWANSON said the way he reads it is that the department will review the plat to make sure it complies with any state law as far as consistency with platting, public records, etc., and will make sure it has public access. If the plat meets those requirements, DNR will approve the plat. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated if the old language is read it says that "DNR is the platting authority in the area outside the organized boroughs,...for only the purposes of hearing and acting on petitions for the change or vacation of plats" which means it has already been done and shall execute in accordance with AS 29.40.130-29.40.160. He pointed out DNR is being given the platting authority and the other words are providing some limitations they have in their platting authority. DNR may not disapprove except for failure to comply with state law or to otherwise provide access to the lots. He felt the way the section has been rewritten is to conform with the new elements of function. Number 028 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES added that DNR cannot disapprove a plat for any subjective reason. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN felt the language indicates a state department cannot disapprove anything except for a violation of a state law. He thought he was missing something because all a state department can enforce is the state law. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a MOTION to move CSSSHB 352(RES) with fiscal note out of committee with INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. ANNOUNCEMENTS CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee will meet Monday, March 21 at 8:15 a.m. to hear HB 496 and HB 238. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Resources Committee, Chairman Williams adjourned the meeting at 10:05 a.m.