Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/09/1996 09:09 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                        February 9, 1996                                       
                           9:09 a.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Joe Green, Co-Chairman                                         
 Representative William K. "Bill" Williams, Co-Chairman                        
 Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chairman                                      
 Representative Alan Austerman                                                 
 Representative John Davies                                                    
 Representative Pete Kott                                                      
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Barnes                                                         
 Representative Long                                                           
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HOUSE BILL NO. 313                                                            
 "An Act relating to fees for big game tags for wolves; and                    
 providing for an effective date."                                             
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 WORK SESSION: AIR QUALITY PLAN REGULATIONS                                    
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 313                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: BIG GAME TAGS FOR WOLVES                                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) OGAN                                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG    ACTION                                                 
 04/20/95      1399    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/20/95      1399    (H)   RESOURCES, FINANCE                                
 02/07/96              (H)   RES AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                       
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 BO FORREST                                                                    
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P. O. Box 22151                                                               
 Juneau, AK  99801                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3366                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 313.                       
 KEN TAYLOR, Deputy Director                                                   
 Division of Wildlife Conservation                                             
 Department of Fish and Game                                                   
 P. O. Box 240020                                                              
 Douglas, AK  99824-0020                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4192                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 313.                                     
 LEONARD D. VERRELLI, Director                                                 
 Division of Air & Water Quality                                               
 Department of Environmental Conservation                                      
 410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 105                                              
 Juneau,  AK  99801-1975                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 465-5104                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on air quality plan regulations.               
 JOHN STONE, Chief                                                             
 Air Quality Maintenance                                                       
 Division of Air & Water Quality                                               
 410 Willoughby Avenue, Suite 105                                              
 Juneau,  AK  99801-1975                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 465-5103                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on air quality plan regulations.               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-15, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN called the House Resources Committee meeting            
 to order at 9:09 a.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Green, Williams, Ogan, Austerman, Davies, and Kott.           
 Representatives Barnes, Long and Nicholia were absent.                        
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee would hear HB 313 in addition            
 to the Department of Environmental Conservation presentation.  The            
 DEC will explain what they have done to address the concerns of the           
 witnesses at the hearing on January 18, 1996.                                 
 HB 313 - BIG GAME TAGS FOR WOLVES                                           
 Number 100                                                                    
 BO FORREST, Volunteer, Alaska Environmental Lobby, testified that             
 in the short time of being in Alaska, he had witnessed some pretty            
 amazing arguments about what is best for the state of Alaska.  He             
 said HB 313 is a real beauty.                                                 
 MR. FORREST said he tried to identify a list of concerns aside from           
 giving away $42,000 of the state's money.  He felt that HB 313 will           
 not affect the state's animal population one way or the other,                
 unless the tourist is considered an animal.  He stated that this              
 bill might attract some wealthy trophy hunter from the outside to             
 tip his guide a bit more.                                                     
 MR. FORREST said his interpretation of HB 313 is, "here hang on to            
 my wallet, while I blast off my other foot."                                  
 Number 275                                                                    
 KEN TAYLOR, Deputy Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,               
 Alaska Department of Fish and Game, testified that HB 313 would               
 reduce the license fee for nonresidents and nonresident aliens.               
 Currently, there are about 10,000 nonresidents that hunt in Alaska            
 every year.  Of these, about 250 will buy a wolf tag at the current           
 price.  There are about 30 nonresident aliens that buy a wolf tag             
 every year.  Of the 250 people with the tags, they harvest about 30           
 wolves a year.                                                                
 MR. TAYLOR said, reducing the tag fee to $10 or $15 as stated in              
 this bill would probably stimulate some harvest.  With the 10-15              
 percent of the people buying tags now, that would not be a serious            
 increase in the harvest.  As far as its affect on populations, it             
 would have little or no affect and, probably, put more people in              
 the field hunting wolves.                                                     
 Number 383                                                                    
 MR. TAYLOR said the reduction of the Fish and Game Fund by $42,000,           
 is not a large percentage.  He said due to the short notice of the            
 hearing, he did not know the position of the department on HB 313.            
 But, he said the bill is fairly simple and straight forward, and he           
 does not see either a major wildlife concern or a major fiscal                
 Number 469                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN remarked that he offered HB 313 as a                
 alternative way to manage wolves in the state.  He said 10,000                
 nonresident hunters come to Alaska every year.  Wolf tags are                 
 expensive, and if we lowered the price, the incidental take of                
 wolves could significantly increase.  There is no guarantee, but              
 the state has spent thousands and thousands of dollars on ill                 
 conceived, and ineffective control programs.  This concept would              
 allow the Board of Game to manage the level of harvest by adjusting           
 the seasons.                                                                  
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said his intent was to give the Board of Game             
 tools to help them manage wolf populations in certain areas.  In              
 the areas where there are problems, they can set more liberal bag             
 limits and seasons, and more hunters in the field will be carrying            
 a wolf tag.                                                                   
 Number 623                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN felt that HB 313 is a cost effective way to               
 give the Board of Game an opportunity to manage wolves.  He asked             
 for the committee's support in passing the bill.                              
 Number 644                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES said he appreciated the motivation in              
 trying to find a way to do intensive game management, with respect            
 to wolves, in a way that will be less controversial.  He said for             
 that reason the proposal has merits, but, geographically, there is            
 no way to direct where takes occur.  We could be taking wolves in             
 areas where there is no problem and we might be taking wolves where           
 populations are already low.  He referred to testimony on SB 81 on            
 January 31, 1996.                                                             
 Number 737                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said his second concern was that the state              
 would be losing revenues while it encouraged people to hunt wolves            
 in an area where it did not make any difference.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES referred to Mr. Taylor's testimony that there           
 might only be minimal effect on the wolf populations: therefore,              
 the only affect of this bill would be the loss of revenue.  He said           
 he cannot support HB 313 as it is currently written.  He suggested            
 an alternative would be to reconstruct HB 313 so that it is                   
 directed at the areas where the Board of Game has determined that             
 the state needs intensive harvest.                                            
 Number 795                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN countered that he felt HB 313 is not                      
 indiscriminate because it does allow the Board of Game to set                 
 seasons and bag limits.  If there are areas where the board does              
 not want a lot of harvest, they simply tighten up the seasons and             
 the bag limits.  It gives them an active management tool to place             
 seasons and bag limits according to what kind of pressure they want           
 on the animal.                                                                
 Number 830                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS stated that the bill still results in               
 loss of revenue and it, potentially, adds more management to an               
 issue the state is trying to cut back on.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the cry he hears is that there is not                
 enough intensive management of wildlife.                                      
 Number 967                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Taylor to return to the table and                 
 address this controversy.                                                     
 MR. TAYLOR responded that it is difficult to say how much impact HB
 313 would have if it were applied statewide.  The legislature has             
 dealt with these issues previously for brown bear.  For instance,             
 the legislature enacted a statute authorizing the board to waive              
 tag fees in areas where the board wanted to direct more pressure.             
 If that is a possibility for resolving the disagreement on the                
 committee, it might be something that you wish to consider.                   
 MR. TAYLOR offered that a similar statute giving the board the                
 flexibility to waive nonresident tag fees entirely, in those areas            
 the board has identified for intensive management, might be more              
 directed toward the problem.                                                  
 Number 1025                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if either case added to the administrative            
 requirements for the Department of Fish and Game.                             
 MR. TAYLOR felt that the administrative requirements would not be             
 Number 1051                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA said wolves are usually taken during            
 the winter.  She pointed out that a lot of guiding activity takes             
 place during the moose and caribou hunting seasons.  She asked Mr.            
 Taylor how much guiding activity occurs during the winter months.             
 Number 1111                                                                   
 MR. TAYLOR said guiding activity predominately occurs during the              
 fall season for moose, caribou and brown bear.  Some clients will             
 buy a wolf tag on the off chance that they see a wolf out on their            
 MR. TAYLOR said in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was some             
 guiding activities exclusively for wolves during the wintertime in            
 Unit 13, the Nelchina Basin, and Unit 26(B), along the Haul Road at           
 Prudhoe Bay.  He said that guiding activity is almost exclusively             
 done during the fall.                                                         
 Number 1149                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked explanation of the incidental taking of               
 MR. TAYLOR talked about Board of Game restrictions on wolf hunting.           
 He said a hunter cannot hunt the say day he is airborne.  Almost              
 all wolf harvest is incidental while moose or caribou hunting.                
 Number 1196                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said HB 313 is designed to enhance incidental             
 take.  He said he does not personally know of anyone who hunts                
 wolves in fall.  He said there is very little pressure on the                 
 wolves because of that.  He discussed his experience on the guide             
 Number 1305                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES remarked that if HB 313 could be modified so            
 that the reduction would be at the discretion of the Board of Game;           
 the state could then surgically direct any loss of revenue into an            
 area where there is a problem.   He said, as the bill stands now,             
 it is too indiscriminate and he cannot support it.                            
 Number 1348                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN expressed willingness to look at modifying HB
 313.  He suggested that the committee hold the bill for further               
 Number 1363                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if the committee objected to holding the              
 bill.  There were no objections.                                              
 Number 1381                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee would hear from the Department           
 of Environmental Conservation concerning the controversial issues             
 that arose between the "permittees" and the ADEC during the House             
 Resources Committee meeting of January 18, 1996.                              
 Number 1413                                                                   
 LEONARD D. VERRELLI, Director, Division of Air & Water Quality,               
 Department of Environmental Conservation came forward with JOHN               
 STONE, Chief, Air Quality Maintenance Section, Division of Air &              
 Water Quality, Department of Environmental Conservation.                      
 Number 1437                                                                   
 MR. STONE reiterated that the Air Quality Maintenance Section is              
 responsible for maintaining primacy of permit programs in the state           
 of Alaska.                                                                    
 MR. VERRELLI referred to the DEC's packet and addressed a letter              
 from Steven A. Torok, Senior Representative, Environmental                    
 Protection Agency with an attachment from EPA Region 10 responding            
 to the question of how more restrictive the state program may be              
 than the federal requirements.  He said that letter, at least, from           
 the Environmental Protection Agency's point of view would suggest             
 that the Department's present program is less stringent than the              
 federal law.  That is why we have such a long list of disapprovals.           
 MR. VERRELLI said the packet also included a letter dated January             
 18, 1996 listing 22 pages of deficiencies.                                    
 MR. VERRELLI said the DEC had received a FAX from Marilyn Crockett,           
 Alaska Oil and Gas Association, of a draft proposal as to how they            
 could work together to answer the Alaska Stakeholder's Coalition              
 questions and concerns along with EPA, in response to the hearing             
 of January 18, 1996.                                                          
 MR. VERRELLI said the packet included a departmental letter to Ms.            
 Crockett addressing how the DEC felt it should conduct its process,           
 including the EPA, about what the disapproval meant and what the              
 DEC had to do immediately and what could be deferred long term.               
 The department is awaiting a response from Ms. Crockett.                      
 Number 1539                                                                   
 MR. VERRELLI said the DEC review would cover some of the concerns             
 of the "coal fired" folks.  He said a schedule of events is                   
 Number 1585                                                                   
 MR. STONE recapped the Title V Permits Program status with the                
 Environmental Protection Agency.                                              
 A.  A copy of EPA's February 8 letter to the ADEC which EPA states            
 that Alaska's Title V program does not meet the minimum federal               
 B.  A copy of EPA's January 18, 1996 list of deficiencies in                  
 Alaska's Title V program.                                                     
 C.  Several deficiencies must be addressed before EPA can approve             
 Alaska's Title V program.                                                     
 D.  ADEC plans to propose regulation changes in Title V 18 AAC 50             
 next week to address these deficiencies, and accept public comment            
 for 30 days on the disapproval issues.                                        
 E.  The remaining Title V deficiencies do not have to be addressed            
 before securing EPA approval of Alaska's Title V. program, however            
 they will be addressed by ADEC over the next year.                            
 Number 1671                                                                   
 MR. STONE continued, recapping the Alaska Stakeholder's Coalition             
 (ASC) proposal.                                                               
 A.  The Alaska Stakeholder's Coalition submitted a proposal to ADEC           
 for addressing their concerns on January 26, 1996.  (Enclosed)                
 B.  A copy of Commissioner Brown's February 8 response to the ASC             
 proposal   ADEC agreed to address ASC's concerns, however we can              
 not meet the tight schedule proposed by the ASC.  The Open Meetings           
 Act notice requirements and the work that must be done to address             
 ASC's concerns and federal approval require more time than allowed            
 for in the ASC proposal.  We have committed to work as quickly as             
 possible to address ASC's concerns.                                           
 C.  The ADEC is awaiting a response from the ASC on Commissioner              
 Brown's counter proposal.  If ASC agrees, we will hold a meeting as           
 quickly as possible, no later than the end of February.                       
 D.  In the first meeting, we plan to prioritize ASC's concerns,               
 schedule additional meetings and discuss how the meetings will                
 Number 1728                                                                   
 MR. STONE continued,  the Interior Coal-Burners Excess Emissions              
 A.  The Coal Burners Group have requested changes to Alaska's                 
 emission standards so they can comply with the standards.                     
 B.  A copy of the DEC's August 25, 1995 letter to Kathryn Lamal of            
 GVEA describing how the coal burners could develop a new standard             
 for federal approval.                                                         
 C.  The December 4, 1995 Guide that describes how a member of the             
 public, including operators of permitted facilities, can request              
 changes to Alaska's federally-approved emission standards.                    
 D.  It is our understanding that the coal burners are determining             
 the extent of their noncompliance with the standards.  This                   
 analysis is a prerequisite to determining how to set a new                    
 Number 1770                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Stone to keep him apprised of the                 
 results of the counter proposal from the Alaska Stakeholder's                 
 Coalition and other issues.                                                   
 Number 1808                                                                   
 MR. STONE suggested that Chairman Green send a representative to              
 the first workshop meeting.  He stressed the importance of having             
 a representative from the EPA present at the start because most of            
 the issues have to do with parts of Alaska's program that need                
 federal approval.                                                             
 Number 1835                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES referred to the disapproval issues and asked            
 Mr. Stone if the changes in regulations were the proposed changes             
 on February 16, 1996.                                                         
 Number 1864                                                                   
 MR. STONE said the ADEC's goal was to propose those changes this              
 next week; hold the public comment period and then hold the public            
 hearing.  He said that time period was usually 30 days.  He said              
 after receiving public input, it is analyzed, the DEC makes changes           
 and then sends it to the Department of Law for review.  A several             
 month process from start to finish.                                           
 Number 1884                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked if there is a "drop dead" point, with             
 respect to EPA, where we have to have accomplished these changes in           
 regulations with respect to the issue of losing primacy.                      
 Number 1897                                                                   
 MR. STONE responded that the EPA is in the process of promulgating            
 an alternative operating permit program.  In discussions with them,           
 during the past two weeks, they have indicated that that program              
 will be promulgated in April.  That would be the "drop dead" date.            
 Number 1922                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES wanted to know what the bureaucratic time lag           
 is from the time the program is submitted and reviewed and the EPA            
 makes its decision.                                                           
 MR. STONE replied that the EPA, in the near future, would propose             
 a "disapproval alternate interim approval."  The EPA will accept              
 comment on that approval option.  In order to start that, we are              
 agreeing to work as quickly as we can under the state                         
 administrative procedures to address the disapproval deficiencies.            
 As soon as we complete that, then they can publish an approval.  As           
 soon as the DEC submits the final adopted regulations that have               
 been certified by the Department of Law, there is about a two year            
 delay in the federal register process.  Then they will publish an             
 interim approval.                                                             
 Number 1999                                                                   
 MR. VERRELLI said if the state is acting in good faith and moving             
 forward to meet their immediate goal, the state is usually given              
 the benefit of the doubt.                                                     
 Number 2033                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked the department if they are reasonably             
 confident that if we go through this process, we will retain                  
 primacy.  The response was in the affirmative.                                
 Number 2040                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN wanted to know if the department is getting                 
 informal feedback from the EPA that yes, the state is moving in the           
 right direction.                                                              
 Number 2057                                                                   
 MR. STONE replied that the department will try to involve the EPA             
 in all work group meetings so the DEC does not develop something              
 that the EPA will object to.  Our intent is to have them actively             
 involved in all the options that we consider with the stakeholders.           
 Number 2073                                                                   
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN commended the department for their progress                 
 toward accomplishing the goals with the Alaska Stakeholder's                  
 Coalition and the federal requirements.  He assured the department            
 that if there is any trailing legislation, that it does not cast              
 any aspersions on the DEC, the state will have something as a                 
 There being no further business to come before the House Resources            
 Committee, Chairman Green adjourned the meeting at 9:50 a.m.                  

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