Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/29/1996 08:18 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE April 29, 1996 8:18 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 Ramona Barnes Representative Don Long COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 112(RES) "An Act establishing a discovery royalty credit for the lessees of state land drilling exploratory wells and making the first discovery of oil or gas in an oil or gas pool in the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin." - PASSED HCSCSSB 112(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 262(RES)(ct rule fld) "An Act relating to management of game populations for maximum sustained yield for human harvest and providing for the replacement of areas closed to consumptive uses of game; relating to management of fish and game areas." - HEARD AND HELD CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld) "An Act restricting the use of certain funds deposited in the fish and game fund; and relating to the powers and duties of the commissioner of fish and game." - HEARD AND HELD SENATE BILL NO. 257 am "An Act relating to the taking of game or fish for public safety purposes." - HEARD AND HELD CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 283(RLS) "An Act relating to filing, recording, and indexing of documents with or by the Department of Natural Resources; repealing certain filing requirements concerning property involving nonresident aliens; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 112 SHORT TITLE: DISCOVERY ROYALTY CREDIT SPONSOR(S): RESOURCES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/07/95 516 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/07/95 516 (S) RES, FIN 03/08/95 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/15/95 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/17/95 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/17/95 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/27/95 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/27/95 (S) MINUTE(RES) 04/07/95 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/06/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/06/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/11/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/11/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/13/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/13/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/20/96 2802 (S) RES RPT CS 4DP NEW TITLE 03/20/96 2803 (S) FISCAL NOTE TO SB (DNR) 03/20/96 2803 (S) INDETERMINATE FN TO SB (REV) 03/25/96 2861 (S) FN TO CS (DNR) 03/26/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 03/26/96 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 03/27/96 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 03/27/96 2921 (S) FIN RPT 5DP 2NR (RES)CS 03/28/96 (S) RLS AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 03/28/96 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 03/29/96 2963 (S) INDETERMINATE FN TO CS (REV) 03/27/96 2921 (S) PREVIOUS FN (DNR) 03/29/96 2966 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 3/29/96 03/29/96 2968 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/29/96 2968 (S) RES CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 03/29/96 2968 (S) ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y12 N7 E1 03/29/96 2969 (S) THIRD READING 4/1/96 CALENDAR 04/01/96 2995 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 112(RES) 04/01/96 2996 (S) PASSED Y18 N2 04/01/96 2999 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/02/96 3557 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/02/96 3557 (H) RESOURCES, FINANCE 04/15/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 04/15/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/18/96 (H) RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 408 04/18/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/25/96 (H) RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 408 04/25/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/29/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: SB 262 SHORT TITLE: MANAGEMENT OF FISH/GAME POPULATION & AREA SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) MILLER, Sharp, Pearce, Halford, Green, Frank, Taylor JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/02/96 2286 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/02/96 2286 (S) RES, JUD 02/05/96 2309 (S) COSPONSOR(S): TAYLOR 02/12/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/12/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/08/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/08/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/11/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/11/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 03/12/96 2709 (S) RES RPT CS 5DP 1NR SAME TITLE 03/12/96 2709 (S) FISCAL NOTE TO SB & CS (F&G) 03/18/96 2785 (S) FIN REFERRAL ADDED 03/26/96 2910 (S) JUD REFERRAL WAIVED Y12 N8 04/03/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/03/96 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 04/04/96 3065 (S) FIN RPT 2DP 2NR (RES)CS 04/04/96 3065 (S) PREVIOUS FN (F&G) 04/09/96 (S) RLS AT 12:20 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 04/09/96 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 04/10/96 3112 (S) RULES TO CAL & 1 NR 4/10/96 04/10/96 3116 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/10/96 3116 (S) RES CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/10/96 3116 (S) ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y12 N8 04/10/96 3116 (S) THIRD READING 4/11 CALENDAR 04/11/96 3168 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 262(RES) 04/11/96 3168 (S) PASSED Y12 N8 04/11/96 3169 (S) COURT RULE CHANGES FAILED Y13 N7 04/11/96 3176 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/12/96 3690 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/12/96 3690 (H) RESOURCES, JUDICIARY 04/26/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 04/26/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/29/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: SB 247 SHORT TITLE: USE OF FISH & GAME FUND/COMM'R'S POWERS SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR, Sharp, Miller JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/30/96 2251 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/30/96 2251 (S) RES, FIN 03/20/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/25/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 03/28/96 2941 (S) RES RPT CS 3DP 2NR NEW TITLE 04/03/96 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 04/03/96 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 04/04/96 3064 (S) FISCAL NOTES TO CS (F&G-3) 04/04/96 3064 (S) FIN RPT CS 2DP 2NR NEW TITLE 04/04/96 3064 (S) FISCAL NOTES TO CS (F&G-3) 04/04/96 3064 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE TO CS (DPS) 04/09/96 (S) RLS AT 12:20 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 04/09/96 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 04/10/96 3112 (S) RULES CS & 2CAL 1NR 4/10/96 NEW TITLE 04/10/96 3112 (S) FNS TO CS (F&G-3) 04/10/96 3112 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DPS) 04/10/96 3114 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/10/96 3114 (S) RLS CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/10/96 3114 (S) ADVANCE TO THIRD READING FLD Y12 N8 04/10/96 3114 (S) THIRD READING 4/11 CALENDAR 04/11/96 3166 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 247(RLS) 04/11/96 3166 (S) FAILED PASSAGE Y10 N10 04/11/96 3167 (S) TAYLOR NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 04/12/96 3206 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 04/12/96 3206 (S) RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1 UNAN CONSENT 04/12/96 3206 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/12/96 3207 (S) AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING 04/12/96 3207 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y11 N8 E1 04/12/96 3208 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE FAILED Y13 N6 E1 04/12/96 3208 (S) COURT RULE(S) FAILED Y12 N7 E1 04/12/96 3220 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/15/96 3732 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/15/96 3733 (H) RESOURCES, FINANCE 04/26/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 04/26/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/29/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 BILL: SB 257 SHORT TITLE: TAKING FISH OR GAME FOR PUBLIC SAFETY SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) ZHAROFF JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/02/96 2282 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/02/96 2282 (S) RES, JUD 02/19/96 (S) RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/19/96 (S) MINUTE(RES) 02/21/96 2488 (S) RES RPT 5DP 02/21/96 2488 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (F&G) 03/22/96 (S) JUD AT 9:00 AM BELTZ ROOM 211 03/22/96 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 03/25/96 (S) RLS AT 7:00 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 03/25/96 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 03/25/96 2862 (S) JUD RPT 4DP 03/25/96 2862 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DPS-2) 03/25/96 2862 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FN (F&G) 04/03/96 3045 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 4/3/96 04/03/96 3045 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 04/03/96 3046 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 04/03/96 3046 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 257 04/03/96 3046 (S) PASSED Y12 N7 E1 04/03/96 3046 (S) MILLER NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 04/04/96 3070 (S) HELD ON RECONSIDERATION TO 4/9 CALENDAR 04/09/96 3097 (S) HELD ON RECONSIDERATION TO 4/10 CALENDAR 04/10/96 3129 (S) PLACED AT BOTTOM OF CALENDAR 04/10/96 3134 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 04/10/96 3134 (S) RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1 UNAN CONSENT 04/10/96 3134 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 04/10/96 3134 (S) AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING 04/10/96 3134 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y20 N- 04/10/96 3136 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 04/12/96 3690 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/12/96 3690 (H) RESOURCES, JUDICIARY 04/26/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 04/26/96 (H) MINUTE(RES) 04/29/96 (H) RES AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER WILSON CONDON, Commissioner Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110400 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0400 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HCSCSSB 112(RES). GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney Legislative Legal and Research Services Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward Street, Suite 409 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on CSSB 262(RES) (ct rule fld). PETE SHEPERD 1012 Galena Street Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Telephone: (907) 474-4685 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSSB 262(RES) (ct rule fld). BILL HAGAR, Member Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association 431 Gaffney Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-6295 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSSB 262(RES) (ct rule fld). LYNN LEVENGOOD, Executive Director Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association 1008 16th Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-5196 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSSB 262(RES) (ct rule fld). CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld). WAYNE REGELIN, Director Division of Wildlife Conservation Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Telephone: (907) 465-4190 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSSB 262(RES)(ct rule fld), CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld) and SB 257 am. SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 30 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3873 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld). GERON BRUCE, Special Assistant and Legislative Liaison Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Telephone: (907) 465-6143 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld). EDDIE GRASSER Alaska Outdoor Council 4506 Robbie Road Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 486-3830 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of the concept of CSSB 247(RLS)am(efd fld)(ct rule fld). GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Assistant to Senator Fred Zharoff Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 128 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3424 POSITION STATEMENT: Gave sponsor statement for SB 257 am. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-71, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN called the House Resources Committee meeting to order at 8:18 a.m. He announced a quorum was present. CSSB 112(RES) - DISCOVERY ROYALTY CREDIT CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the committee would address HCSCSSB 112(RES), Version O, "An Act establishing a discovery royalty credit for the lessees of state land drilling exploratory wells and making the first discovery of oil or gas in an oil or gas pool in the Cook Inlet sedimentary basin." Co-Chairman Green said, "As you recall at our last meeting we had a request by at least one of the members, Representative Barnes, and I believe you also felt that we should actually have the wording that we had been talking about, and so you have before you Version O which has incorporated that wording and I would entertain a motion to accept Version O as our work draft. It has been moved that 9-LS0808\O, 4/27/96, be adopted as the work draft. Without objection, that is the bill before us." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "It has also been brought to my attention that we have a proposed amendment, Representative Davies." Number 114 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES made a motion to adopt the amendment before the committee members. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN objected for the purpose of discussion. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES explained it removes the explicit definition of "paying quantities" on page 5, lines 7 through 13. He said there was a long discussion in subcommittee on whether or not this should be explicitly be defined. Representative Davies said his sense is this language is going to be pretty critical as to how much litigation there will be over this bill. He said it is his view that it would better for the division to spend a fair amount of time working with people of the industry and various legal people to make sure that this language is going to be the cleanest possible language. He said he believes the bill will work fine without including this specific definition. He said he thinks this is an instance where we will be further ahead if we allow the division to establish this definition in regulations. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "My objection would be that, as we found out in subcommittee that there are at least three definitions banding about out there for what `paying quantities' means. And that rather than leave that to chance or uncertainty by putting it in statute, there is no question what was meant when this bill was passed as opposed to relying on regulations which, from time to time as we have known in the past - regulations have a tendency to maybe move a little away from the full intent of the legislation. And for that reason, I would like to see -- and let the people who may be involved in this know precisely what is meant rather than to the possibility of a regulation that can be changed fairly easily, and for that reason I would oppose the amendment." Number 351 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said there is an expert in this field in attendance, Commissioner Condon. He said he knows this is highly irregular, but he would ask Representative Davies to withdraw his motion to take testimony on this issue. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Condon if he would like to testify on the amendment. WILSON CONDON, Commissioner, Department of Revenue, indicated he wasn't in attendance to testify in favor of this bill, but Representative Ogan asked him to be available to answer any questions about his past experience with respect to the discovery royalty disputes that have arisen. He said he would be happy to answer questions if the chair wishes. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Representative Davies to rescind his motion while testimony is taken or would he rather vote on it. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he would be happy to withdraw his motion as long as he can reintroduce it. He then withdrew his motion. COMMISSIONER CONDON then came before the committee to answer questions. Number 462 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the reason he asked him to be in attendance is so that he could describe, for the record, at what capacity he has dealt with this issue with the state in the past as far as discovery royalty. COMMISSIONER CONDON explained, "I dealt with the issues relating to discovery royalty while I served as an assistant attorney general and the deputy attorney general for the state back in the late `70s and up until 1980. In that capacity, there was a dispute between Union Oil Company and Marathon Oil Company with respect to whether or not they were entitled to a discovery royalty for their discovery of the McCarther River Trading Bay filed. In my work with respect to that particular dispute, I undertook to compile a comprehensive history of how the discovery royalty provision came to be what it was, and both in terms of the statutory origins of it - the regulations that were adopted to implement it and then all the disputes that had arisen up to that point with respect to the discovery royalty and there were a number. The disputes that arose centered on what did you have to discover and the statute, lease and regs referenced a geologic structure that had not been previously certified as a producing geologic structure as well, you know, what did you actually have to find to constitute a discovery. Did you have to have, you know, how much did you have to find? And then finally when did you make the discovery so that the clock started running. And all three of those issues were subjects of dispute up to that time and subsequently with respect to a couple of discoveries that were made on the North Slope." Number 639 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked Commissioner Condon if he feels the language in the bill is adequate to cover those three issues. COMMISSIONER CONDON said, "I believe that the bill, as you have drafted it, deals with what do you have to find by switching to pool from geologic structure. The timing I believe is explicit enough so that you don't have the kind of dispute that might have arisen and did arise before, and similarly by referring it to poolize, you have -- it also takes care of the timing and what, you know, what kind of a discovery you have to make. I don't -- looking at it last night and again this morning, it seems to me and I may not have thought about this as carefully as I should, but I tried, that the definition of `paying quantities' if you leave it in I don't think it's gonna create a problem. If you take it out I still think you're gonna land on the same square because I think by having tied it to pool the way you have that you're not gonna be sponding(Sp.?) litigation one way or the other as the previous legislation did." Number 772 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he would renew his motion to adopt Amendment 1. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he would object. Number 785 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN asked Representative Davies why he would like to take this out. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated that there was a long discussion in the subcommittee about whether these kinds of terms should be defined in the bill or if they should be left to regulation. He read from the paragraph above the one he is proposing to delete, "the commissioner shall adopt regulations setting out the standards, criteria and definitions of terms that apply to implement the filing of applications for the review and certification of, discovery oil and gas royalty certifications under this paragraph;". He said clearly with respect to most of the definitions, certainly the intent of the bill is that the commissioner, through the normal process, would set out the regulations. As the chairman has pointed out, there are at least four definitions of `paying quantities' in the existing regulations right now. They are all very similar, but the reason why they're slightly different is because they defend the definition of "paying quantities" depends on the precise context in which the term is to be used. Representative Davies said he doesn't believe that during the two hours of conversation in the subcommittee on this topic nor in the 15 minutes that we'll spend thinking about right now that the committee will spend the time requisite to understand those nuances as to what the best definition, the one that will be subject to the least amount of litigation, will be. He said he thinks that is a topic for experts, within his division, to go out and discuss it with members of the industry and other members that have had experience with these kinds of pretentious issues and to come back with a definition that will hopefully meet the goal of the minimum litigation. The chairman said, "Well, we'd it to chance," Representative Davies said he doesn't he is hoping that the opposite occurs. He said he doesn't want to leave this to chance. He stated he is concerned that if we just look down that list of definition and pick one having spent about a half an hour thinking about it, that they probably wouldn't pick the optimum one under those circumstances. Number 946 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN stated his objection is that he thinks just the opposite. This doesn't leave it to chance. He said the committee heard the commissioner say that this answers the question. Anybody who is thinking about drilling knows what they have to have for paying quantities. If we have three or four paying quantity definitions out there and we leave it regulations, we may end up with a fifth definition. He said he doesn't think there is anything in the bill that doesn't address itself specifically to discovery royalty, and because of that, he would think that is as good as they could possibly get. He said by including this, it is cut and dry. Number 997 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said if he understands the bill correctly, paying quantities is the whole crux of the bill when you get right down to it. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Well, not exactly. There has to be a separate pool discovered, and so that's the main crux. You have to find it, as the commissioner said, you have find it, then you have to develop it and then does that well that you use for the discovery royalty - it has a time certain completion date of that well and that's, in essence, that used to be a squabble and we heard between two companies who had the first date. It is new, it's a separate pool not associated directly in communication with an existing pool and that what is required. It can't just be a grease stain. It has to actually produce more profit than it cost to operate it - not that you necessarily would be able to drill another well and make your money back. It just says, `If you're producing it at greater rate, then you would have expenditures so that a prudent operator would continue to produce the best paying quantities.' And to me, that's pretty cut and dried, straight forward, no questions, no litigation, no anything and that's what we want." Number 1063 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he supports Co-Chairman Green's position and would speak against the amendment. He said there was quite a bit of debate about the paying quantities. Representative Ogan pointed out that he has known Commissioner Condon for about ten years and he is probably one of the leading experts on legal issues regarding oil litigation in the state. He stated he is comfortable with the commissioner's analogy of it. He said, "I think that the idea of paying quantities is -- if we have discovery royalty and the first one in the pool can -- and without paying quantities description can say `watch out at first,' and then sit on it, and we want the oil in production. So I think it also motivates people to bring the oil in production to get the discovery royalty. So for that reason, I think it's good to keep it in." Number 1118 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said, "As Representative Davies said, doesn't that mean leave it open for (indisc.) lease to get into a big squabble with the department as what really paying quantities is if it's not in there." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he isn't second guessing the department that they would ultimately have something in regulation. The question is we don't know what that might be. Number 1153 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN referred to descriptions that currently are in regulation and asked if any of them are strictly pointed toward discovery. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "No, this one is the closest and this is actually is not my wording. This is right out of one of the regulations, it's for unitization, but it certainly applies here. There is another one that says that the paying quantities must be sufficient to drill and pay out another well to the same formation, and the problem is if you had a $5 million well and you have a 500 barrel producing well you wouldn't ever get your investment back. But if you had the well drilled anyway, and that's sunk cost, 500 barrels a day certainly exceeds operating costs in most areas. Now if it was somewhere in a remote area it wouldn't, but in an oil field it would be enough to pay for its operation." Number 1208 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said if Representative Davies' amendment is adopted, is there anywhere in the bill where it specifies that the department will promulgate those regulations or identify the regulations immediately after this becomes effective. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said nothing says that they will define "paying quantities." Number 1226 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he can't believe that. It says in the paragraph immediately proceeding this, which he read earlier, that the commissioner "shall." It doesn't say "may," it says he shall adopt regulations defining the terms. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN pointed out that nowhere in the bill does it say that they will define "paying quantities." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said "paying quantities" is clearly a term that applies to the implement of filing for applications. In other words, it's a term and for the review and certification clearly that term must be defined. He said the debate isn't whether it should be defined or not. The question is, "Who should define it and when?" Representative Davies said he would also point out that there is another term that's not defined in the bill and that is "pool." That is an extremely complicated issue. He said he thinks the Senate committee chose not to define that. We chose in our subcommittee not to define it for very good reasons. We don't have the expertise to sit around and figure out exactly how to define it. He said the definition of "pool" will need to be in the regulations too before this whole thing moves forward. Representative Davies said he would submit that is a far more complicated issue than the question of paying terms. He explained it seems to him the underlying assumption is that somehow this is not going to be included in the bill or that it will be left to chance. He said he is suggesting that he hopes the process is precisely the opposite of that. People who have really spent a lot of time thinking about this will spend some more time thinking about it in the specific context of this bill. He said this doesn't exactly apply to discovery royalty, it applies to unitization. He said of the four definitions he has read, this is probably the best one. Number 1362 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said "pool" doesn't have four other definitions handing around in statute, it is described in statute. He stated there is a motion before the committee and there is an objection. He asked for a roll call vote. Representative Davies voted in favor of the motion. Representatives Austerman, Kott, Ogan, Williams and Green voted against the motion. So Amendment 1 was not adopted. Number 1409 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved that the committee move HCSCSSB 112(RES), Version O, with fiscal notes and individual recommendations, out of the House Resources Committee. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was an objection. Hearing none, HCSCSSB 112(RES) was moved from the House Resources Committee. CSSB 262(RES)(ct rule fld) - MANAGEMENT OF FISH/GAME POPULATION & AREA Number 1470 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the next order of business would be CSSB 262(RES)(ct rule fld), "An Act relating to management of game populations for maximum sustained yield for human harvest and providing for the replacement of areas closed to consumptive uses of game; relating to management of fish and game areas." He said when the committee members previously reviewed the bill, they asked that the drafter be in attendance to answer some questions. Number 1480 GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research Services Legislative Affairs Agency, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee to answer questions. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said there is a specific group of people that are protected under this bill, but there are others that were mentioned in the previous hearing on the bill that might also need the same sort of protection such as the Board of Game. He asked if there was a purpose for just excluding the Board of Fish. MR. UTERMOHLE said that change was made on the floor of the Senate. He said he was present and didn't hear the debate as to the reason for that change. Number 1527 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Let me rephrase that. If there seemed to a justification for them, would you also seem - would it seem logical to follow that other boards and activities - other people within various departments that a -- I know there is the legislative protection, but would there be protection for others even though it's not specified?" MR. UTERMOHLE said that we're basically talking about is the ability for a person to sue a public agency or public official to enforce the provisions of this act. Basically, in normal situations a employee of the state is entitled to qualified immunity as long as he is performing his functions in good faith, he enjoys qualified immunity from suit. However, this bill provides that persons subject to suite under this bill, because the term "public official" is broad and left open on the face of the bill, those people are denied their qualified immunity. So they are subject to suit regardless of whether their acts are in good faith. Number 1588 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Utermohle if he thinks this would invite litigation. MR. UTERMOHLE said he thinks the structure of the bill does invite litigation. He said it seems to him the crux of the bill uses the threat or actual litigation to make sure that the provisions of the bill do occur - that the game is made available for consumptive uses - that the land is not closed to certain kids of hunting, etc. He said the bill intends that result. The bill only provides for equitable relief, essentially an injunction to compel you to comply with the act or to remedy some action that's in violative of the act. What this does is compel someone to perform an act. The act does not provide for damages - for payments, as a result of violating the act. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the suit would be limited just to do what you're supposed to do and not any kind of real or punitive or any other kinds of damages. Number 1657 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said suppose that the public official believes that it is in the best interest of the state of Alaska to take some action that would close and then refuse to implement a order. He asked if you would be subject to other penalties at that point. MR. UTERMOHLE explained that if he declined to comply with an injunction issued by the court, he would be in contempt of the court. Number 1679 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Is there a potential for, in sight of litigation, if Area A is closed of whatever acreage that might be and the state then is required to open three times that amount, would that -- by reading this, does that imply or mean that it would have to be adjacent in the same area or could that be `O.K., we're gonna close it here in Northwest Alaska and we'll open it in the very southeast tip three times as much' and then somebody from Northwest would say `Hey, you closed off my hunting rights and I can't get to Southeast,' even though you've complied with the three to one ratio." MR. UTERMOHLE explained under Section 2, the new language added is AS 16.05.145, "Division relating to public trust for special fish and game management areas." It specifically provides that the replacement land be provided in a location in the same geographic area. Number 1732 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "What if there weren't three times as many acres and that geographic - and how big is a geographic area? I don't know whether that means the same hunting area or -- Is a geographic area a certain size?" MR. UTERMOHLE explained a geographic area would be pretty much determined by the size of the area to which the restriction for closure is applied. Number 1751 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said "If they closed 40 acres then 120 acres would be in the geographic area somewhere close." MR. UTERMOHLE answered in the affirmative. He explained presumably in some area that would be of benefit to those people who were closed out by the closure. There does not seem to be a similar provision in the first section of the bill relating to management of game where it requires that the state provide three times the area is to where closure or whether consumptive uses of game are precluded. He said the first section of the bill seems to operate more on a statewide level. Number 1795 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS referred to a person who may bring civil action and asked if a person can't do that today. MR. UTERMOHLE said they could. Number 1804 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he thinks Mr. Utermohle indicated there is a certain amount of immunity, as a public employee, that this waves. MR. UTERMOHLE answered in the affirmative. He explained that under current law, the ability to bring suit against a public officer exists and would protect any public officer from damages. This bill releases equitable relief. The loss from immunity perhaps is not that significant for the individual officer. Number 1837 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES referred to the terms of the bill on the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3 where it says the public trust would be breached by restricting access and also restricts fishing and hunting and trapping activities. He asked if there is any mitigation or definition of that restriction. He asked if the restriction in a certain area to bow hunting only would constitute a breach of trust. MR. UTERMOHLE said he thinks that could be considered a restriction subject to provisions of the bill. He said what constitutes a restriction will very well be in the eyes of the beholder and may result in considerable litigation. Number 1892 PETE SHEPERD testified via teleconference in support of CSSB 262(RES)(ct rule fld). He said ever since the environmental (indisc.) was adopted, it misinterpreted all the (indisc.) who is considered the father of modern day management. The concept of a land ethic, which he among other (indisc.), allows for active management (indisc.), we have witnessed a distortion of this vision to one of protecting land from human manipulation and consumptive use. The environmentalists reasons for placing land in restrictive categories would protect the integrity of ecological (indisc.), ecosystems and wildlife diversity. This paradigm saw its Alaska (indisc.) in ANILCA in which 32.5 million acres belongs to general hunting and about 60 percent of the state, under federal control, was to be only actively managed. Mr. Sheperd said since ANILCA, every opportunity or excuse has been ceased to set land aside for nonconsumptive use. Some game managers and activists apparently view the game fund as an entitlement, and apparently use it for viewing set aside perusing nonconsumptive uses. Sportsmen do not deprive the resources in these funds, but they deplore the assertion that hunting and trapping are not compatible uses of these lands. Mr. Sheperd said it is only just that land use laws for hunting and trapping be compensated by replacement. Otherwise the hunters, trappers and subsistence oriented persons will be effectively disenfranchised from consumptive activity even on state owned land. Active management for human consumptive use is a legitimate and healthy use of state lands. Number 2005 BILL HAGAR, Member, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association (AWCA), was next to testify via teleconference from Fairbanks. He stated he has great concern over the ability to litigate an individual in the department. He said, "What we've found is that they're basically telling us and the legislature to take a hike, and advancing an agenda that seems to be personal and through our research, it's quite unethical as far as their ethical guides go. And we've felt that we've asked the legislature for a balance to give us a little bit of fair play when bureaucracy out of control as they misappropriated $861,000 last year. This year the legislature defunded subsistence and habitat and also the misuse of $900,000 that Senator Sharp had set up for the intensive management. When we consulted counsel, it was over the fact of how do make the bureaucracy do what the legislator intended (indisc.) This (indisc.), so that's probably the primary reason why this litigation and the ability to sue puts a little more responsibility in that balance. The legislature is very good. Time's short and I appreciate you for taking it up. Thank you very much." Number 2091 LYNN LEVENGOOD, Executive Director, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association (AWCA), was next to testify via teleconference from Fairbanks. He said the legislation is necessary and it's intended that there be no net loss for consumptive uses. Since the beginning of statehood, millions and millions of acres have been lost to consumptive uses and that trend has recent resurfaced in the last two years promulgated by the lack of the of the Department of Fish and Game and most recently, the Board of Game. He said since Alaska has become a state, we've lost millions of acres. Alaska has more park lands than any other state or country in the world. The recent advocacy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game to close hundreds of square miles to consumptive uses makes this legislation absolutely necessary. The board, last year, closed over 200 square miles on the Alaska Peninsula to hunting, though no conflicting uses or biological problem existed and that was admitted to by the department's own biologists. They closed over 90 square miles in the Mat-Su area this year. Then after promising to open up new lands to hunting at the spring meeting in Fairbanks, they opened no new lands, but instead closed over a million acres to certain user groups. These closures were led by environmental extremists who want no hunting and were championed by Board of Game nominee Ruggle(Sp.?) who must not be confirmed. Mr. Levengood said the intent of this legislation has widespread support bipartisan. It has have urban and rural Native and non-Native people supporting this bill. He said this legislation is necessary because of the bait and switch tactics that the department is using. He urged the committee to set aside the areas that are designated in the bill. He continued to give testimony in support of the legislation. Number 2241 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said there is Amendment 1 before the committee, by Representative Ogan. He asked Representative Ogan if he would move his amendment. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN pointed out that a quorum wasn't present. Number 2250 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN called a brief recess at 8:56 a.m. He called the meeting back to order at 9:00 a.m. He announced Amendment 1 was before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN explained Amendment 1 deletes the three times and changes it to equal in size. He said he agrees that we cannot lose areas to hunting and stated he would like to see a nonet loss policy as he thinks it is more reasonable. Representative Ogan said he believes it would be more manageable for the department and everybody concerned to identify areas that need to be opened. Number 2292 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said because of the way the bill is written, he would have to support the amendment. It makes it a little more realistic, in his eyes, but he is not necessarily supporting the bill. If the bill does pass, he believes this will a be at least a step in the right direction. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Representative Ogan if his amendment would also apply to page 3, line 15, in that "three times" would also be deleted. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN answered in the affirmative. Number 2330 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he is going to support the amendment because it moves in the right direction, but it doesn't move far enough, in his view, to rectify all the problems of the bill. He said, "The idea of nonet loss is - I think, you know - under reasonable restrictions can get totally abused in this (indisc.) whole issue, it's surrounding this issue and others are gonna just invite enormous numbers of lawsuits, but having said that the amendment clearly doesn't make it any worse." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN called a brief recess at 9:03 a.m. The meeting was called back to order at 9:08 a.m. Co-Chairman Green asked that the record reflect that Representative Nicholia had joined the meeting. Number 2366 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN reviewed Amendment 1 for the members that weren't present earlier. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was an objection to the adoption of Amendment 1. Hearing none, Amendment 1 was adopted. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said at the previous meeting on the bill there was discussion regarding page 3, relating to limiting the public officials. There was a discussion about inserting after the word "official" on line 19 and line 21 "other than a member of the Board of Game." He asked if that was still the wish of the committee. CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he had thought the committee had already made that change. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he also had thought that had been done, but he got input from other committee members that it hadn't been done. Number 2452 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS moved that the previous stated amendment be adopted. TAPE 96-71, SIDE B Number 001 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN stated the amendment. On page 3, lines 19 and 21, after the word "official" insert "other than a member of the Board of Game." Co-Chairman Green said, "And I don't know whether you were here, Representative Nicholia, when George Utermohle, the drafter of the bill, explained that while that still leaves a significant number of people potentially liable that it would -- and we asked him specifically `Would that just mean...' oh, George is still here, I'm sorry. I'll see if I can get this right - that it would only apply to this specific action and not to any kind of damages, punitive or otherwise." REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES pointed out that the committee further heard that if the public official believes that they're acting under the best interest of the state of Alaska and the sustained yield in the constitution and they continued not to follow the order of the court that they could be held in contempt of court. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN indicate that was true. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said if the court viewed the management activity as rational or not, it might not be relevant if this bill prescribes and irrational action. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN added that the person involved would stay with the decision. Number 073 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he would speak against the amendment. The Board of Game are the people that pretty much make the calls regarding these situations. He said, "We've already declawed some of the bill with making it one for one and I don't think we need to defang it either." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "By voting against the amendment you would be allowing specific...." Number 098 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN withdrew his objection. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was an objection to Amendment 2. Hearing none, Amendment 2 was adopted. He said, "We've dropped it from nonet loss and we've excluded the Board of Game from the... We've put them back, I guess, where they were. We haven't excluded them from the protection they now enjoy." He asked if there was any discussion about the bill as it has been amended. Number 125 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he would appeal to the members of the committee that over the years we've lost millions of acres of hunting opportunity. It continues to be eroded by actions taken by state officials and various special interest groups. He said if we want to continue the loss of what has been traditional lifestyles and resources in this state then we shouldn't support the bill. Representative Ogan asked for support of the bill. Number 169 WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game, came before the committee members. He pointed out that the Board of Game does have a nonet loss policy for loss of hunting areas that they passed three years ago. Mr. Regelin they have instructed the department to go back and find all areas that are closed for various reasons to see if they can be opened again. He pointed out that at their last board meeting they did that. He referred to the Delta closed area, which had been closed for many years, and said it was much bigger than necessary so they reduced that in size so that it is just around the town of Delta. Mr. Regelin said he would urge the committee to look at the record of the Board of Game's March meeting. He noted he has some summaries of the actions that the board took. Mr. Regelin said he can't see how the hunter feels unbalanced. They got a lot more opportunity to do this. There were three areas that were restricted. One was in the Wasilla area and was restricted by request of the advisory committee from Wasilla and the borough. It was made a bow only area. He noted the area was right around the residential areas and has also been done in Fairbanks and other places. Mr. Regelin said another restriction was the use of air boats around the Nenana area. That was restricting a method access. He noted the department didn't take a position on that restriction. MR. REGELIN explained the third area where there was a restriction was on the North Slope. He explained the board, at the department's request, restricted the moose season on vast areas of the North Slope. The board closed a huge area to moose hunting. The area closed is much bigger than necessary. This is an area that is right on the fringe of the range of the moose population and they just use the river valleys. Rather than name every river valley, they closed the whole larger area. This is a moose population that has declined about 50 percent in the last three years. He said the department isn't sure why, but it is probably just because it's on the fringe of its range and they fluctuate as most species do. He pointed out that 25 years ago there were no moose in this area. Mr. Regelin said he thinks that all the areas where we have moose in Alaska that can support a harvest are open. The only exception would probably be some of the state parks near Anchorage. He said they might be able to open pieces of the Chugach. The other would be the hillside area which gets to be very controversial. Beyond that, he isn't sure where you would open an area to replace this restriction. He said the alternative is that they get sued and then he doesn't know what happens. MR. REGELIN said he wanted to explain that this requires the management of maximum sustained yield throughout Alaska. There are areas that we don't manage that way. For instance, Unit 9 is a great area for brown bear hunting and there are lots of bears in the area to maximize the harvest. Because of that, we have a lot smaller moose population than we could if we would reduce the bear population. Those are decisions that were made many years ago by the boards. Another place this is done is in the Tok sheep management area where there is a trophy area where they restrict access - a number of permits, and the Delta walk in sheep hunting area. He said, "We won't be able to do those any more because the way this is structured, it guarantees access for hunting. Like Mr. Utermohle said `It's in the eye of the beholder what you're gonna sue on.' But if a hunter says, `I'm guaranteed access to the Tok sheep trophy area,' and he doesn't draw a permit, we're gonna lose the way this is structured. And I think it's pretty poor legislation and I think that you need to look at the record of what's really going on rather than to listen to people who have an agenda that they do not want to share the wildlife of Alaska." Number 403 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he finds it rather unusual for Mr. Regelin to make the comment "Do no want to share the wildlife with Alaska." When you're managing primarily for hunters, that means there is a lot of animals around which means that the people who wants to view them has them available to view as well. MR. REGELIN said in Alaska, we manage primarily for hunting in almost all areas. There is a few areas that are available for wildlife viewing and they've been sanctuaries, Pac Creek and McNeil River. He said he thinks those are important areas that benefit hunters. The next bill on the agenda would allow the department to not spend any money on that activity. In most areas, hunting is very compatible with wildlife viewing and the department works hard to make sure that areas don't get closed down for that reason. When you mandate that you have to manage throughout the state for maximum sustained yield, there are many other beneficial uses for trophy hunting, for having good bear hunting areas and for having high quality hunts. All of the control use areas that we have around the state are for very good reasons. He noted there are some that he doesn't agree with personally, but the Board of Game passed those at the request almost always of the public because that's how they want their wildlife to be managed. Number 533 REPRESENTATIVE IRENE NICHOLIA said one thing she learned while growing up is that the people living in the area were the best biologists because they know the land, they know what's out there and they hunt those populations every year. She said she learned a lot from her father. Her father new best about where the caribou populations were going. He could tell her when the populations were down, if they were too far back or if they were migrating south. She said when she looks at the controlled use areas, she knows they're put there for reasons by the advisory councils for those different areas. Representative Nicholia asked if the amendments that have been adopted would eliminate those restrictions. MR. REGELIN said he thinks in areas where the board will say that consumptive use is an important use of the wildlife resource, which will be over time almost all of Alaska, yes that will require that we won't be able to use those types of controlled use areas anymore because it would restrict access. The bill is very specific about not allowing access to be limited for hunting. Number 639 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said his personal opinion is that this is poor piece of legislation and he doesn't plan on voting to move it out of committee nor would he vote for it on the floor, especially in its present form. He said he thinks we are going out and usurping the power of the Board of Game by legislation and he has a problem with that, just as he would have a problem with going out and setting fishing limits on major river streams by legislation rather than letting the Board of Fish take care of that. Representative Austerman said by passing this type of legislation could lead to setting aside one for one or one for three pieces of property in the timber industry as well. If you're going to close an area for timber in one area, lets open to three areas somewhere else. He continued to give examples and said he sees all kinds of things we could do with this type of legislation; therefore, he opposes it and will object to it moving out of committee. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN pointed out the bill is one for one and not one for three anymore. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said he understands that. Even one for one, he thinks it is a bad piece of legislation. Number 733 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Well, I think in interest of time, it appears that we probably should do a little more thinking on this, so I'm going to hold the bill in committee and review it a little bit more." CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld) - USE OF FISH & GAME FUND/COMM'R'S POWERS Number 745 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the committee would hear CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld), "An Act restricting the use of certain funds deposited in the fish and game fund; and relating to the powers and duties of the commissioner of fish and game." SENATOR ROBIN TAYLOR, sponsor of SB 247, came before the committee to explain the bill. He informed the committee members he would give a philosophical background as to why the bill is before the committee. He said the majority of the funds currently utilized by the department are what is called "program receipts." Those program receipts come from several different sources and the primary source is the federal government. The federal government taxes people who purchases hunting equipment, ammunition and fishing gear. There are excise taxes on various sporting equipment that you buy if it is to be used in the field. He informed the committee that a majority of the budgets of the different state's Departments of Fish and Game, throughout the west, are paid for by the user groups. It is like our federal highway program, taxes on gasoline and tires, etc., pay a majority of the cost of repairing and building the super highway system that we have in the United States. It wasn't paid for by someone who wanted to view the highway or by who someone who thought highways are nice and they liked ambiance of seeing a highway wonder down a valley. Senator Taylor said if we were to take 50 percent of the funds that the people of Alaska are paying on taxes on gasoline, tires, etc., and directed those monies into surveying parks, none of the repairs would be done to roads and the roads would become almost impassable. You are paying a very high amount of taxation for those roads all of which was being diverted. He said that is the reason for this legislation. Senator Taylor said the legislation says if you're going take my money and you're taking my money for a given purpose, then use it for that purpose. He stated there are both criminal and civil sanctions if you don't pay these takes. You're going to use a gun, pointed at my head, to take the money out of my back pocket and tell me it is going to be used for the following purposes. SENATOR TAYLOR said the federal laws are very specific. There is one area of income within the federal law that says you've got to use approximately 12 percent of it to provide access for recreational purposes. That is the money we use for building boat ramps. Senator Taylor said, "You know what they were doing with that before I got here? It was getting used by the department. And they would stack up on boat ramps about once every three or four years - they would decide where they wanted to build their pet boat ramp and they would go in and they'd build one. That was 11 years ago. When I got here I said, `Wait a minute, that money is dedicated for that purpose. Why aren't you using it for that purpose?' You know something, we built four boat ramps in the next year. Now everybody has kind of maintained that stream, we're building boat ramps now so that recreational boaters have an opportunity to get to a river, other than the Kenai, to stand shoulder to shoulder on. If we provided some more access, I guarantee you wouldn't have the problems that you've got on that combat fishing on the Kenai. Instead, we won't build roads. We just force them all to go to the one stream. We've got hundreds of streams in that area that they could be fishing on, but they have no choice. You send them all to one stream and then everybody gets upset because they're not catching their quantity of fish so they start stealing money from other people." SENATOR TAYLOR continued, "What this amounts to is this department for years and years and years has made internal priority decisions and those decisions were, `Oh, we're doing enough for the hunters lets go off now and do something for our echo buddies. Lets go over here and study wolves for habitat conservation areas so they can take forest base out of the Tongass. Lets go over here and study something else so they can do whatever they want with it.' We have probably the worst managed game populations in the world right now. The people of McGrath, last year they took hunter's money, hired a sociologist, sent him to McGrath and spent $40,000 doing a study. What was the study on? The study was on whether or not the people of that area wanted some predator control. What a shock. Just like Representative Nicholia was indicating to you the people of that area know a great deal more about what McGrath needs than any biologist sitting in Juneau seems to understand. They know for a fact that they haven't had any kind of survival on their caribou or moose population calves for the last three years. They know they've got a major problem. They've been begging this department to come up there and do some predator control. So what does the department do? `Why we've got to be nice and boutique and warm and fuzzy and make everybody feel like we're really concerned about the world. We're not concerned about the people of McGrath. We'll send out you monies, your tax dollars, we'll spend those to send a sociologist out there do a survey.' They did their survey. The people of McGrath - over 80 percent indicated they wanted something done about predators now. So what was the response of this department? Any of you sit on Finance or do any of you sit on the Finance subcommittee on the Fish and Game budget? They didn't ask for one thin dime for predator control, but they asked for all the same amount of money in the Habitat Division so they could go off and do more studies. I imagine we'll probably get five or six more sociological studies done out in the bush where everybody out there says, `Please do something about our declining game populations. We need this for subsistence. We need this meat for our families. Don't allow the predators to keep eating it all up.' And they'll smile at them and pat them on the head and come right back down here and not ask for dime. They'll want to have a peer review done by some group in Washington, D.C., on whether or not they should actually go out and upset a wolf. That's the purpose of this bill." SENATOR TAYLOR continued, "Those of us who are paying for the fiddler are sick and tired of listening to him play the wrong song and this pervades this department. If you don't think it pervades the department when we first put the bill in and said, `No, you only got to use - are going to use that money for the purposes for which it is dedicated under both federal law and now state law,' because that's all this does is put federal law on to our books and say, `If you're gonna take the money for that purpose, you have to use it for that purpose.' You know what we got? A $30 million fiscal note. Give you an idea how much of it was being misused and is being misused today? A major percentage of their budget. Now we can either start being honest with the people of Alaska and putting their money back where it was intended for. And if you don't like this concept, and I'm sure there are people who don't like the legislature setting any policy that the Fish and Game Department might have to carry out because they seem -- because of fish boards and other things, they seem to have this aura of being able to go out and set their own policies - that the legislature really can't have anything to do with them. Well if that's what you want and you want to maintain that autonomy to where these bureaucrats can decide how and when they're gonna spend their money and what they're gonna put that money into, then quit taxing these people for it or quit taking those federal taxes. Send it to a state where they're gonna do something about providing more deer for their population - providing more moose for their people. Sweden kills 100,000 moose a year - kills. Sweden isn't much bigger than Southeast Alaska - a 100,000. When I asked Mr. Regelin what that number would compare to in Alaska - that's more moose than we have in Alaska. They harvest that much each year. They do it through intensive habitat management and they've even got a wolf pack in the north end of Sweden, but it's a real small wolf pack and it doesn't have much impact on those herds. I'll be darned, I'll bet the Swedes keep it small. I bet if it started expanding up there, they can go up there and shoot a few wolves because their people want to be able to harvest 100,000 moose a year. They probably like the meat. Their people probably subsist on that and live on that just like ours should be. I can show you areas in my country where my Department of Fish and Game would not allow us to shoot one single black tailed deer for seven years. Under federal management, we shot four, per year, per person in that area. Fish and Game came along and refused to do any predator control in Southeast Alaska and for seven years around Wrangell you couldn't shoot a deer. You had to travel over 100 miles to find a place you could shoot a deer. The only place you can get good deer hunting in Southeast Alaska is where either intensive clear-cut logging has occurred, Prince of Whales which you can shoot six on, or you can go the ABC Islands, none of which have wolves. And you've always been able to get good deer hunting on those islands because there isn't a bunch of predators out there eating them up." Number 1275 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS referred to information in the member's file from the Department of Fish and Game, dated April 9, 1996. He said, "I know you've talked to them already, talked to what were the results of the loss of over $2 million in federal funds. Maybe you could talk a little bit more." SENATOR TAYLOR said, "O.K., first will result in the loss of over $2 million in federal funds. Look at the first fiscal notes on this thing, they were over $25 - $30 million. So each time we tried to work with with department - say `What's your problem here? Why do you really think it will cause this?' So we made amendments to put words like `personnel' back into it so they could use funds for personnel purposes and so on. And literally what you've got it down to now I think, the department will have to speak to this, I think this $2 million in federal match that they're worried about losing may be part of the monies that they're using either administratively, although I though we'd took care of that one also, but it may be within the Administration where they've got some shared folks they're using. It may be for some other purposes, but any amount that they're losing is an amount of money that under federal law they shouldn't be spending. `Will prohibit the spending of Fish and Game federal aid monies on managing catch and release fisheries.' I think that's also preposterous. And how much money do they actually spend on a catch and release fishery? There is only a few in the state and they're the trophy trout areas up north. You mean that they're not gonna hire the same protection officer to go out there and protect the resource and they can't hire him for going out and looking at bear and going out and looking at caribou. They can only him to go out and look at a trout. I mean are we so specialized now that we'd have people hired to do nothing but just go out and watch catch and release fishermen. That's the only function they have in life? I don't think so. What this amounts to is the department trying to find every nitpicky way they can to come in here and say -- it's like that last bill, I just loved it - come in here and tell you that there wouldn't be an ability to close down any land again around Nenana. Do you know that the McNeil bear refuge is larger in acres than all of the land ever developed by human beings since we came into this country? That's how big it is. They mean to tell me if they wanted to lock up a 10,000 acre chunk around some other town, around some other village. They couldn't lock that one up by merely taking 10,000 acres out of the McNeil River bear refuge. The back end of the drainage, for crying out loud might be open to - it's the same arguments that being made here." SENATOR TAYLOR said federal funds are specifically supposed to be within their budget, allocated for rifle ranges and for educational purposes. It says right in them that they're supposed to be out there educating on hunter education and safety. Number 1503 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said the first part talks about certain funds deposited into Fish and Game. He asked if basically all we're talking about are license fees. SENATOR TAYLOR said license fees and then there are various tags and tags even on king salmon. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN questioned whether taxes collected on binoculars, tents, etc., are involved in this. SENATOR TAYLOR said that is regulated under federal law. What he has attempted to do is put the two together to say, "If you're gonna spend the money and it's for a designated purpose, lets spend it for the designated purpose and not for something else." Number 1661 GERON BRUCE, Special Assistant, Legislative Liaison, Department of Fish and Game, came forward to give testimony in opposition to SB 247. He said to understand why the department opposes the legislation, you need to take some time to look at the history of the funding sources that are being discussed. Mr. Bruce said there are two funding sources. One is the federal aid and wildlife restoration which was enacted as a result of legislation that passed in 1937. One of the consequences of that piece of legislation was that license fees paid by hunters in states had to be dedicated to the the support of a wildlife management agency. In the 1950s, the federal aid and sport fish restoration also came on the books and it carried forward the same kind of program to sport fishing. There were two basic ideas in establishing this kind of funding system. Mr. Bruce explained in the period of time before this program came on-line, which is really the foundation of all modern scientific fish and wildlife management of recreational resources in the state, the fish and wildlife resources in the United States, as a whole, were in very bad shape as a result of unregulated hunting and habitat degradation. There were two basic concepts involved in this funding source. One was that it would create a stable secure source of funding for these programs. It mandated that the states who have primary management authority for fish and wildlife set up scientific agencies supported with their license fees and with the federal dollars that came to them on a formula basis. Mr. Bruce referred to the second purpose, which was just as important in the minds of these people who founded this program, was that to insulate the management of fish and wildlife resources from the the heat and emotion of political life. It was recognized that at least the history up to that point had been that when fish an wildlife interests and issues conflicted with the agendas of different political groups, nearly always the fish and wildlife resources lost. This was an attempt, to a certain extent, to buffer the management of those resources from the changing very heated political life. Mr. Bruce explained that purpose has been very largely successful. In Alaska, our fish and wildlife resources are in very good health. We do have individual pockets of problems that are being worked on. As a whole, the fish and wildlife resources in Alaska are at historic high levels, they are very healthy. He pointed out that in the United States many of the wildlife resources that were near extinction when the Wildlife Restoration Act was passed in the late 1930s, and have now been very successfully recovered. He noted he is talking about the wild turkeys, white tailed deer and some other populations. The program has been very successful and the two principles he outlined were fundamental in that success. Mr. Bruce said this legislation proposes to complete change that, essentially reverse it and make the appropriation process for funding management programs for recreational fish and wildlife resources a completely political process similar in concept to the way the capital budget is put together where each item -- between the two division's budgets, 340 projects would be individually line item appropriated. Number 1937 MR. BRUCE explained another problem the department has with the legislation is that the state legislation does not mirror the federal legislation. He pointed out in the committee member's files is the actual enabling legislation for the federal programs. He said you can see what the purposes are that the federal legislation was designed to serve. The purposes are extremely broad and it doesn't talk at all about restricting activities only to consumptive use, which is the heart of the legislation before the committee. There is a basic disjunction between the two pieces of legislation and what they seek to achieve. MR. BRUCE explained another concern of the department is that the management of fish and wildlife has to a holistic approach. You cannot manage just hunting without also managing habitat and considering some of the other uses that the public demands of its fish and wildlife. You have to have a total program to be successful. This legislation would only authorize the funding, through these two funding sources, of elements of that program. It would not support the entire range of the program. MR. BRUCE explained the legislation contains some similar definitions to the definitions that were in SB 77. He said the department has the same concerns with those objections which relate to high level of human harvest, intensive management and maximum sustained yield. He said he believes the department has spoken about concerns with those definitions in other pieces of legislation and they are very similar in this bill. MR. BRUCE referred to the heart of the bill and said it restricts the programs that can be funding by the two funding sources, which is the entire base of the Division of Sport Fishing and the Division of Wildlife Conservation, to only programs that are directly related to consumptive activities. The other is that the line item appropriation nature of the bill. He said it is important to realize that the legislature already has the authority to make appropriations by line item. Mr. Bruce said you have to ask yourself, "Why has the Alaska Legislature, since we became a state over 30 years ago, chosen not to take that approach?" There must be some good reasons why they have not. One reason is that the legislatures in the past have considered it wiser to allow the actual budget for the agency to be constructed by the wildlife and fisheries management professionals in the field who work on a day to day basis with these programs. They are then submitted to the legislature for approval, review, etc., but legislatures have bowed out of getting involved in that level of detail of putting together an agency budget of programs. These programs go on year after year and require a certain amount of training, background, experience and education to implement and design. So the legislature, who has after all set up the Department of Fish and Game and hired the professionals to run it, has deferred to these folks to put the budgets together. The legislature still has the authority to come in if anything is seriously out of line and change the budget priorities. MR. BRUCE said the other question is just a practical one with time management from the legislature's standpoint. "How and when is the legislature going to put together a budget of 360 items?" He noted that within each of these projects there are a number of other sub- projects. So it is a very time consuming process. He stated he really doesn't think the Finance Committee or the subcommittee wants to take on the time commitment and the burden of putting those things together from scratch. You could say, "Well, they're not gonna put them together from scratch, they're just going to take what the department does, they're gonna look at them and then rubber stamp them." He questioned what has been gained. Number 2430 MR. BRUCE pointed out the committee members have a letter from the Alaska Sport Fishing Association opposing this legislation. He informed the committee that the primary proponents of this legislation are from the wildlife community and they seem to be prompted by the feeling among some hunters that too much is going to nonhunting programs out of the Wildlife Conservation Division's budget. In point of fact, less than 5 percent of the entire division's budget is going toward other activities in those directly related to benefitting hunters. That is a very small percentage of their budget. Mr. Bruce said the department maintains that is not out of line. MR. BRUCE explained there was a survey done of Alaska voters. He said, "We asked them two questions. The state gets a third of its money for wildlife management from the sale of hunting and trapping licenses and tags. How much of that money should be spent on programs for wildlife viewing or other wildlife programs which do not involve hunting? Only 26 percent of the Alaska voters said `none.' So 75 percent, roughly, of the Alaska voters favors spending some money on those programs. The same question was asked about the federal aid sources of funding and there, less than 20 percent said `none.' 18.7 percent said they did not think any money from the federal aid source should be spent on managing for wildlife programs which do not involve hunting. I guess my final two points involve -- you know, to a certain extent I think we have a family feud here within the wildlife community and I think we've all had fights in our families. We all understand that one of the primary things to consider when you're in the middle of a fight like that is don't do anything in a short term that is going to damage permanently or....[END OF TAPE] TAPE 96-72, SIDE A Number 001 MR. BRUCE continued, "....and it threatens to do permanent damage to a relationship that really has more going for it than it has going against it. My final point in think involves Senator Taylor's example of the highway funds, and I'm really glad he brought it up because I would use the analogy in a little bit different way. I would say that, as I said earlier, we believe we have a well rounded balanced and comprehensive wildlife management program and it certainly - the major funding comes from the sale of hunting licenses and tags and then from the federal funds which are not all paid by hunters, but are paid by anybody that buys a hand gun. It's paid on a national level. Alaska gets $9 from the federal funding source for every $1 that our folks contribute to those taxes. So there is a lot of folks in the rest of the country that are contributing significant money through the federal aid and wildlife restoration funding source for our management programs. But using Senator Taylor's example of the analogy of the highway funds, I submit that not allowing any use of the federal aid programs and the hunting - the fish and game fund for wildlife viewing is similar to saying in the highway program, `You can't use any of the money for any pedestrian facilities because they're not paying anything to maintain these highways and roads.' So no more crosswalks, no more sidewalks, no more overpasses, nothing for people who are walking along those roads and I don't think that makes sense. I don't think Senator Taylor would think that that makes sense. What we're looking at here is a balanced program, a well rounded program. We think we have one and we urge you not to pass this legislation out of this committee. Thank you, I'd be happy answer any questions." Number 183 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN referred to Mr. Bruce saying that the legislature has bowed out of managing the funds this closely. He asked if it is not the legislature that gives the authority to the department to do that and if we chose to bow in, that's our option. MR. BRUCE said the legislature appropriates all funds spent by state agencies. What the legislature has done in the past is to provide general appropriations, set general policies and allowed the details to be determined by the agency. Mr. Bruce said what he is suggest is that has been a practice that has worked well and he doesn't think the arguments that have been advanced for radically changing that are that strong. Number 243 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "You know you stated in your testimony that we have the authority to change the budget priorities, yet is it not true that in spite of definite budget priorities that the legislature has given the Department of Fish and Game that those - money has been shifted around and moved into other departments that were specifically defunded by the legislature and very directly -- would very direct -- direction from the legislature yet, internally, you guys shifted around and - and furthered what the department's agenda is and not the legislature." MR. BRUCE said he believes Representative Ogan is speaking about a number of the department's reimbursable service agreements between various divisions and the Division of Habitat and the Division of Subsistence last year. He explained that money was not transferred into the base of those divisions. That money was provided to those divisions so that they could conduct work which was considered essential to the missions of the other divisions. In the case of subsistence and habitat, they had programs going on.... REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said, "Is that a yes or no answer, please, we don't have time for a long -- have they misdirected funds that the legislature definitely appropriated and used it for something else, yes or no?" MR. BRUCE said, "No sir, there was no misdirection of funds." Number 350 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he would like to continue taking testimony, but some of the committee members are going to have to leave. He said Co-Chairman Williams will continue to take testimony. Number 423 WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game, came before the committee. He said he agrees with what Mr. Bruce has said. He informed the committee members that in the Wildlife Division they have 180 individual projects that range in size from $10,000 up to about $200,000, and rather than having one BRU for wildlife management, he guesses they would 160. He said he thinks it would be fairly cumbersome for the legislature and for the division to administer. Mr. Regelin referred to a lot being said about how restrictive federal aid funds are and how they can't use them for anything. He said it is clear and very simple as to what it says in the federal law, "The following are eligible for funding under the Pitman/Robertson Act. Projects having as their purpose the restoration, conservation, management and enhancement of wild birds and wild mammals and the provisions for public use of and benefits from these resources." It says you can use them for any wild animal or wild bird and it doesn't get into any other definitions. Mr. Regelin informed the committee there are two activities that are prohibited. It can't be used for law enforcement activities and public relations (PR). It is very broad on how those funds can be spent. He said the department spends all of the funds on management of hunted species. They use the fish and game fund, which is the license fees, to pay for the programs of last year and are proposing this year that are more for the nonconsumptive use programs such as the wildlife education programs. Those were formally paid for with general fund monies. Number 577 MR. REGELIN said he thinks the intent is to make sure that the fish and game fund and the federal aid dollars are used for intensive management programs and no other programs. It talks about using them for wolf control, habitat manipulation and vegetation transplanting. There is a list that states what the funds can and can't be used for. Mr. Regelin said it is very clear that they couldn't be used for any areas where hunting is not allowed such as the McNeil River and Potters Marsh. He stated there are a few other things and that is why there is a large fiscal note. They wouldn't be able to use them for public services people because it is very specific that it has to have a direct benefit back to sustained yield management. He said the way he reads the bill they wouldn't be able to fund the people who work in public services. He noted those are the people who answer the phones and meet with the people who come in off the street to talk about hunting and where to go or fishing. The department would have to stop doing that or use general funds. MR. REGELIN said another thing it would do is preclude the department from building office buildings when they need to. He noted one is currently being built in Fairbanks. Mr. Regelin said, "The other thing that it - why there is a large fiscal note is that what we do -- the federal funds that come in, the Division of Administration within the Department of Fish and Game assess 6 percent of the federal aid to help run the administration of the programs. The federal aid, we've worked very hard to keep this percentage low. It's been pushed up in Senate and House Finance Committees before. Legally, it's under the federal aid rules, you can assess up to 15 percent for indirect costs. We've kept it at 6. If we did this it would cost our Division of Administration probably I think it's just over a million dollars of those funds. So I think that its, again, it's a trying to mandate that we only spend funds on very specific activities and it removes all of the balance from our programs. Thank you." Number 764 EDDIE GRASSER, Alaska Outdoor Council, was next to come before the House Resources Committee members. He stated his organization supports the concept of SB 247. They have some concerns with the way the bill is written. Mr. Grasser said they also have some concerns about some of the statements that have been made. On a historical basis, it is true that conservationists supported the Pitman/Robertson Dingel/Johnson (Sp.?) programs, but he would like to point out that those conservationists were pro hunting in the beginning. These concepts were generated by people like John Westly Powell, Gifford Pinshow, Teddy Roosevelt, etc. These people are all pro hunting people. They're the people who started the biological survey that later led to the Fish and Wildlife Service being instituted. These people all felt that animals could be restored throughout the country and managed scientifically also here in Alaska for the benefit of the public, but their view of the public included hunters and not just people who wanted to view wildlife. Mr. Grasser said as far as whether or not the PR program and the fish and game fund program was to insulate the department from politics is rather a dubious argument. One of the reasons that we're in the state that we're in now, as far as a group in supporting some suggested budget cuts to the department and supporting bill like SB 247 in concept, is because the anti hunting public has continually closed areas to hunting for their exclusive use and not for the public's use. He said it seems to him that if we don't take into account all the lands of Alaska, we can't achieve a balance and he thinks that is where the hunting and trapping public is coming from. Mr. Grasser said, "We feel that a balance has been achieved, that we've already closed enough lands to hunting and we don't need to close anymore unless there is a specific reason for doing so. A prime example of this is the McNeil River refuge bear closure that happened at the Board of Game this last year. That was a closure for an exclusive use - exclusive use of segment of the public. There are no areas, I would like to reiterate, in this state that are closed to viewing. You can go out to any place in this state and view, but there are places now where you cannot hunt or trap. There was no biological reason to close the Paint River area to bear hunting. Bear hunting is a highly desirable species for trophy hunters, it's not necessarily a subsistence animal or an animal that people in Alaska hunt to put food on their tables, but it's an animal that a lot of people desire to hunt." MR. GRASSER continued, "There is an argument that's been made by the department that there is no way that we could win that battle on Paint River that the world view and the nation view was that hunters were wrong to support hunting in that bear population. Well there is 30 some years of viewing and hunting took place there. There is a history that proves that both those uses are compatible. In our opinion, the department failed to take an opportunity where we could have used and educational effort to show people that these two uses are compatible. I think that is what we would have preferred to see happen there. I'd like to make a remark. This public survey that was taken of voters on whether or not people voted or supported using monies from the fish and game fund for PR sources for non-game functions like viewing. It is also true in that same survey that the same percentage or close to the same percentage of people opposed closing areas to hunting for viewing. I think that's reflects poorly on the department not to bring that up when they're making the other argument. I think the last thing I'd like to say is that in the direction of using these funds, a lot of people in the nonhunting or anti hunting community are concerned about hunters control these funds, and especially in the last few months because of our desire to have these funds expended in a more, what we view, appropriate manner." MR. GRASSER continued with his testimony, "Besides the PR/DJ program, the fish and game fund monies that are derived from licenses and tags, hunters and trappers throughout this nation and in this state have put together private efforts, have nothing to do with licenses or taxes or fees to the government, to raise funds for wildlife populations. Millions of dollars, nationwide, have been raised this way and expended on protecting habitat and restoring game populations. The people that are supporting these viewing areas for their exclusive use and opposed to hunting, they don't do that. They've never raised money and put it into habitat or wildlife restoration programs to the point that hunters have. There are some instances like the Nature Conservancy where they do by habitat, but in a lot of instances those lands are closed to hunting and, therefore, again an exclusive use. But most of the real strident environmental groups have put little or no effort into raising money out of the private sector and putting it towards a public purpose. So here, again, the hunters are the ones that have borne the brunt of restoring wildlife populations and management goals. I think that concludes -- again, we support the basic concept here. I think that there has to be some movement within the state to recognize more appropriate use of these funds. I think that the argument that the department has been insulated from politics on the way these funds and the PR funds are set up is incorrect. We no longer have predator management to any great degree in this state because of the anti hunting groups that raise all kinds of hell, or whatever you want to call it, whenever we try to do a program. So, you know, we finally decided I guess as a group that we had to do something. We were trying to work with all the groups. We were trying to work within the system, but the people that yelled and screamed and demanded their use be given exclusive usage of these lands were winning consistently. We were getting nowhere. So thank you for this opportunity to testify." Number 1180 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked Mr. Grasser if there are any changes he would like to see in the bill. MR. GRASSER said there are some, but he would like to write them up and present them to the committee. Number 1205 LYNN LEVENGOOD, Executive Director, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association (AWCA), testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. He said, "It would be probably a statewide (indisc.) of mine if school tax money was spent on a visitors center at the airport and I'm sure that many of the taxpayers, landowners who pay their property taxes for schools, like visitor centers would probably use it. But a specific tax base should be spent for the specific use allocated and authorized by law. Now what Mr. Regelin failed to tell you about the federal legislation is that in the intent language, much earlier in the federal legislation, it says that the PR program is a -- for PR program, the purposes are intended to benefit the license purchasers, and that's license purchasers and not general people in the state. There is nothing about SB 247 that would preclude Department of Fish and Game from spending any money. It would only preclude them from spending money generated by license revenue for activities which do not benefit license purchasers pursuant to the federal legislation. Historically, there has been many instances of misuse of this money. The state of Illinois tried - actually (indisc.) complaints (indisc.) for a museum and that was ultimately brought to the attention of the tax payers or license holders in Illinois. Currently, the governor of Maryland is trying to combine the Parks Department with Fish and Game in order to utilize fish and game funds from license purchasers to fund the Parks Department. Our current governor, in his CIP (Capital Improvement Program) budget, is trying to say that over $100,000 of license revenue to be spent for an access study into McKinley or Denali Park. He also is trying to take another approximately $100,000 to print brochures aimed at reducing bear encounters with tourists. There is active attempt within the department and within the Administration to steel these funds from dedicated users for purposes that are not clearly (indisc.) intended to befit licensed purchasers. The total balance program approach may have been O.K. when there was a significant amount of general funds in the fish and game budget. That is no longer true. Now the Department of Conservation is being run on license revenues paid by hunters and the matching fees promulgated by the license fees sent by hunters. So - because nothing in this legislation would restrict fish and game's activities, it would just make them find additional funding source. If people want a balanced program, great. Go to the legislature, get some general fund money and have a balanced program. But the funds dedicated and paid by sportsmen need to be provided for consumptive use activities. Again, some of the language within the bill does not provide any further restrictions than the Department of Transportation operates under regularly. Currently, Fish and Game is one of the few departments within the state which gets a general appropriation and takes the money and spends it where they want to, and we know from last year's experience that large -- well a million dollars was appropriated for intensive management purposes and it was diverted and spent on routine salaries and data collections. So we know that the history of the department for limiting expenditures to the intent of the legislature has not been very good recently. For that reason, this legislation is needed and I'd ask you pass it." Number 1450 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said there was nobody further to testify. He closed the public hearing on the bill. He noted the CSSB 247(RLS) am(efd fld)(ct rule fld), would be held. SB 257 am - TAKING FISH OR GAME FOR PUBLIC SAFETY Number 1547 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee would address SB 257 am, "An Act relating to the taking of game or fish for public safety purposes." GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Assistant to Senator Fred Zharoff, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee to explain SB 257 am. He informed the committee SB 257 was introduced in response to numerous complaints from communities throughout Senator Zharoff's district about problems primarily with problem bears. There are habituated bears within communities that are causing a lot of uncertainty to residents. Mr. Williams said it was not clear on the authority on how these problems should best be taken care of. He pointed out there are rules on the books for defense of life and property, but often it was thought by these communities that there should be a better way to deal with a truly habituated animal rather than waiting for a chance of tragedy in a defense of life and property situation. MR. WILLIAMS said Senator Zharoff met with the department and the Board of Game last fall to address these concerns. Through those discussions, it became apparent that the department didn't have authority to authorize this. He said "At the meeting, he went to talk to the Board of Game at -- the Attorney Generals Office happened to be there to inform the Board of Game that actually they'd had never had the authority to adopt regulations for public safety either, or never had the clear authority." MR. WILLIAMS explained Section 1 of the bill authorizes the the commissioner of the Department of Fish and Game to authorize the taking of fish or game for public safety. Section 2 refers to the authority or the powers of the Board of Game to enact regulations regarding taking of fish or game for public safety. Section 1 would deal with the way the community would be able to contact the department and work out a method to take a bear or whatever problem animal was the topic. Section 2 refers to the Board of Game's role in this. Mr. Williams said it is his anticipation that the department would work with the Board of Game and the public through a process to come up with the criteria that would be involved. So if there was a problem in a rural community, there would be some criteria to follow and a method so that the commissioner would be able to make a decision on whether or not an animal could be taken for public safety reasons. MR. WILLIAMS referred to Section 2. He said the Board of Game has, over the years, adopted numerous regulations. Even the defense of life and property regulation is a taking for public safety regulation which comes into question with the Department of Law's interpretation that they didn't have that authority. He referred to requiring hunter education classes before hunting and said he thinks there is an area in Anchorage where a hunter education class is required before hunters can go out and hunt in that area. The taking of birds around airports is a public safety measure. It is not clear that the board had authority and has currently has authority to adopt those kinds of measures. MR. WILLIAMS informed the committee members the bill hasn't had opposition while it has been moving through the process. He noted there is a letter in the committee member's files from the Department of Fish and Game that makes a reference to the village public safety officer - the VPSO (village public safety officer) program that could be used in some of the areas for the taking. That caused concern with the Department of Public Safety because those officers are not allowed to currently carry weapons. If you were going to get into that, it kind of opens up an area of liability. Mr. Williams said that wasn't their intent, but it is their belief that they could be involved in the process, but probably would not be involved in the actual taking on official duty as it could open up another area for the department. The VPSO could have a role in helping to identify the habituated animals and work with the department to come up with a solution. MR. WILLIAMS said other concerns he has heard on the bill are that people don't want the communities to not address what caused the bears to become habituated. Often it's a problem around a land fill or other attractions for these bears. He noted the bill is not a "cure all" by any means. We need to also deal with the attractions to try and break the cycles. He said he would be happy to answer questions. Number 1758 WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game, indicated the department is in support of support of SB 257 am. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Regelin if the department currently takes care of areas where people have a problem with bear sightings or unusual activities. MR. REGELIN indicated that is correct. In areas where they have staff, there are no real problems. They destroy the animal or capture it and move it. Out in rural areas where they don't have staff, this will give the department the opportunity to delegate authority to an individual in the community to take care of the problem without worrying about getting in trouble with the law. Mr. Regelin said it will make it clear that a person won't get sued by somebody that doesn't want anything to ever die. Number 1850 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he lives in Saxman where there are a lot of bears. They need something there. He noted the department comes out there often and sets bear traps, but it doesn't always work in trying to get the bears to come into the traps. He said they have since they have closed the land fill. Co-Chairman Williams discussed a situation where a bear had been relocated and it has made its way back to Saxman. He said he believes the bill is a good bill. MR. REGELIN said he agrees it doesn't solve all the problems. In Ketchikan, it is going to take some time for the problem to be solved. He noted the department is under lots of pressure to move the bears rather than to destroy them. They are given one chance and if they come back, they have to be destroyed. Number 1925 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there was any further people to testify. There being none, he closed the public hearing on SB 257 am. ADJOURNMENT CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN adjourned the House Resources Committee meeting at 10:30 a.m.