Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/31/2004 01:05 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 31, 2004                                                                                         
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Beverly Masek, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Cheryll Heinze, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Nick Stepovich                                                                                                   
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 36                                                                                                   
Requesting the National Park Service to mitigate the adverse                                                                    
economic effects of commercial fishing closures and restrictions                                                                
in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HJR 36 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 41                                                                                                   
Relating to support for the Federal Land Recreational Visitor                                                                   
Protection Act.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 41(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 309                                                                                                              
"An Act prohibiting the release of nonindigenous predatory fish                                                                 
into public water."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 27                                                                                              
Relating to Take a Young Person Hunting Week.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHCR 27(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 44                                                                                                   
Relating to research into the decline of the Southwest Alaska                                                                   
population of the Northern Sea Otter in the western Gulf of                                                                     
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 44(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 36                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MITIGATING GLACIER BAY FISHING CLOSURES                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WEYHRAUCH                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/05/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/05/04       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
02/11/04       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/11/04       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/25/04       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/25/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/25/04       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/26/04       (H)       FSH RPT 5DP                                                                                            
02/26/04       (H)       DP: OGG, SAMUELS, GUTTENBERG, WILSON,                                                                  
02/26/04       (H)       SEATON                                                                                                 
03/05/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/05/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/05/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/31/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 41                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LAND RECREATIONAL VISITOR PROTECTION ACT                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KERTTULA                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
02/16/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/31/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 309                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PROHIBIT RELEASE OF PREDATORY FISH                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WOLF                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
05/08/03       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/08/03       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
05/16/03       (H)       FSH AT 7:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
05/16/03       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/16/03       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/22/04       (H)       FSH AT 9:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/22/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 309(FSH) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/22/04       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/24/04       (H)       FSH RPT CS(FSH) NT 3DP 2NR                                                                             
03/24/04       (H)       DP: GARA, WILSON, SEATON; NR: OGG,                                                                     
03/24/04       (H)       GUTTENBERG                                                                                             
03/31/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 27                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: TAKE A YOUNG PERSON HUNTING WEEK                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WOLF                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/20/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/29/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/29/04       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/31/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 44                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SEA OTTER RESEARCH/ENDANGERED SPECIES                                                                              
SPONSOR(S): RESOURCES BY REQUEST                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
03/18/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/18/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/29/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/29/04       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/31/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BRUCE WEYHRAUCH                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HJR 36.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JULIE LUCKY                                                                                                                     
Staff to Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HJR 41 on behalf of                                                                              
Representative Kerttula, sponsor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
STEVE HANDY                                                                                                                     
Juneau Mountain Rescue                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HJR 41 and answered                                                                  
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BOB JANES                                                                                                                       
National Ski Patrol;                                                                                                            
Juneau Ski Patrol                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HJR 41 and answered                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL GLUDE, Director                                                                                                            
Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HJR 41 and answered                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG, Assistant Director                                                                                           
Division of Sport Fish                                                                                                          
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  in support  of HB  309; answered                                                               
questions and provided information.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAN OGG                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as the sponsor of HJR 44.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-17, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NANCY DAHLSTROM  called  the  House Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 1:05 p.m.   Representatives Masek,                                                               
Dahlstrom, Gatto,  Stepovich, Wolf, and Kerttula  were present at                                                               
the call to order.   Representatives Heinze, Lynn, and Guttenberg                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HJR 36-MITIGATING GLACIER BAY FISHING CLOSURES                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 36,  Requesting the National                                                               
Park  Service  to  mitigate  the   adverse  economic  effects  of                                                               
commercial  fishing  closures  and restrictions  in  Glacier  Bay                                                               
National Park and Preserve.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0106                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BRUCE  WEYHRAUCH,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
sponsor, presented HJR 36 as follows:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  resolution before  you  asks  the [National]  Park                                                                    
     Service (NPS)  to use the services  of those negatively                                                                    
     affected  by the  closures of  Glacier  Bay first,  and                                                                    
     consider using  those services before they  go to other                                                                    
     outside  vendors,   consultants,  vessel   use,  vessel                                                                    
     owners, and that sort of thing.   And the basis for the                                                                    
     request comes as follows:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The National  Park Service  closed portions  of Glacier                                                                    
     Bay   National  Park   [and   Preserve]  and   excluded                                                                    
     commercial  fishing from  a large  area and  restricted                                                                    
     certain areas to lifetime permit holders.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH directed attention  to a map and pointed                                                               
out  that Glacier  Bay National  Park and  Preserve extends  from                                                               
Excursion Inlet  to the middle of  Icy Strait and Cross  Sound to                                                               
three  miles into  Lituya Bay.    Glacier Bay  National Park  and                                                               
Preserve is  about 500,000 marine acres.   On the map  he pointed                                                               
out the area  open to commercial fishing and  the area restricted                                                               
to  lifetime permit  holders.   He  said that  when the  lifetime                                                               
permit holders  die, commercial fishing [in  Glacier Bay National                                                               
Park  and   Preserve]  will   end.     Therefore,  there   was  a                                                               
compensation  program in  which $23  million was  appropriated to                                                               
those negatively  affected by the  closures.  However,  there are                                                               
still some  commercial fishermen and  businesses in the  area who                                                               
ask  to do  business with  the NPS.   Therefore,  this resolution                                                               
asks  the  Park  Service  to   consider  using  those  businesses                                                               
negatively affected by the closure  before considering the use of                                                               
other businesses.   Representative Weyhrauch said,  "We certainly                                                               
can't require the federal government  to do something, but it's a                                                               
statement of  intent by  the Alaska  [State] Legislature  that we                                                               
think you ought  to look first for those  negatively affected and                                                               
then look elsewhere."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0308                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK   asked  whether   the  federal   government  has                                                               
procurement  guidelines  for goods  and  services.   If  so,  she                                                               
asked, how will that impact HJR 36?                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH  answered  that  it  won't  affect  the                                                               
federal  government's procurement  code.   He related  his belief                                                               
that the federal government has  procurement rules and guidelines                                                               
as  well as  a  special courts  for  settling contract  disputes.                                                               
Furthermore, the  federal government  can enter  into sole-source                                                               
contracts  and put  contracts  out to  bid as  can  the State  of                                                               
Alaska.    [The  federal  government's process]  is  a  lot  more                                                               
complex, cumbersome,  and Byzantine than the  state's process, he                                                               
remarked.   Therefore,  he  opined that  the  answer to  Co-Chair                                                               
Masek's question is yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0380                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH inquired as to  how many boats are still                                                               
in the [Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve].                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  replied that currently there  are three                                                               
fisheries that are conducted inside  "the bay proper".  The three                                                               
fisheries are as  follows:  a Tanner crab pot  fishery, a halibut                                                               
longline fishery,  and a  salmon trawl  fishery.   He highlighted                                                               
that there are  also areas within [the Glacier  Bay National Park                                                               
and Preserve]  that are  wilderness waters  in which  fishing has                                                               
been completely prohibited by the federal government.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM,  upon  determining  no one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, announced that public testimony would be closed.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0465                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK moved  to report  HJR  36 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the accompanying  fiscal  note.                                                               
There  being no  objection, HJR  36 was  reported from  the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HJR 41-LAND RECREATIONAL VISITOR PROTECTION ACT                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 41, Relating  to support for                                                               
the Federal Land Recreational Visitor Protection Act.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0525                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BETH KERTTULA,  sponsor  of HJR  41, thanked  Mr.                                                               
Glude, Mr. Handy, and Mr.  Janes, members of the Juneau community                                                               
who do avalanche work and have helped save many lives.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JULIE LUCKY,  Staff to  Representative Beth  Kerttula, introduced                                                               
HJR 41, for the sponsor and testified:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska  does have  the highest  per  capita death  from                                                                    
     avalanche  rate,   which  is  not  a   statistic  we're                                                                    
     particularly proud  of.  This legislature  and previous                                                                    
     legislatures  have  shown  a  commitment  to  avalanche                                                                    
     safety by  designating November as  avalanche awareness                                                                    
     month.   We did a  bill just  this year, and  have done                                                                    
     resolutions  in the  past.   All of  those have  passed                                                                    
     unanimously.  But, we do  need to do more for avalanche                                                                    
     safety.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Senator Stevens  [U.S. Congress] has introduced  S. 931                                                                    
     ... in April of 2003.   It sits currently in the Senate                                                                    
     Committee on  Energy and Natural Resources  and has not                                                                    
     had a hearing.   ... What we would like  to do with our                                                                    
     resolution  is send  the message  that this  is also  a                                                                    
     priority for Alaska.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0763                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVE HANDY, Juneau Mountain Rescue, testified:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Juneau  Mountain Rescue  is  responsible  for snow  and                                                                    
     avalanche search  and rescue  operations in  the Juneau                                                                    
     operational area, which  is rather large.   It covers a                                                                    
     great amount of area where  people recreate in the snow                                                                    
     skiing,  snowboarding,  [and]  snow machining.    We're                                                                    
     also responsible  for high  angle technical  rescue and                                                                    
     back country search and rescue operations.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Many resources are put at  risk during these search and                                                                    
     rescue operations.  Again, I'm  here to speak on behalf                                                                    
     of the  search and rescue  community -- we're  the guys                                                                    
     who  go out  there,  it's not  the  fire department  or                                                                    
     anybody  else, it's  Juneau  Mountain  Rescue or  maybe                                                                    
     PJ's - Air Force para-rescue jumpers.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The knowledge  and training  and resources  proposed by                                                                    
     this   bill  [resolution]   would  not   only  have   a                                                                    
     tremendous impact  on reducing  the number  of injuries                                                                    
     [and] deaths ... caused to  those who are recreating in                                                                    
     the outback,  but, from my  perspective, it  would also                                                                    
     reduce  the exposure  of  rescue  individuals to  these                                                                    
     same things.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     When you go  out there, after an  avalanche has ripped,                                                                    
     all that  tells you is  that another one's going  to go                                                                    
     too, or  it's high probable  ....  Granted, that  we do                                                                    
     exercise   great   safety   and  we   generally   don't                                                                    
     jeopardize  our own  lives knowingly,  we're still  out                                                                    
     there.  We  use a large number  of resources, including                                                                    
     Army  resources,  private  helicopter  operations,  ...                                                                    
     whatever we can to get out there.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     I know, from  my own exposure, and I live  and play and                                                                    
     work  in  the  outback,  I know  that  my  friends  and                                                                    
     colleagues,  through the  efforts of  the national  ski                                                                    
     patrol  and Bill  Glude's  operation [Southeast  Alaska                                                                    
     Avalanche Center]  with the avalanche  research center,                                                                    
     this  education,  this  training, at  this  level,  has                                                                    
     greatly reduced a number of operations.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We can't  measure how many haven't  happened.  However,                                                                    
     if  the  resources  are allocated,  if  we  have  these                                                                    
     resources  and this  training can  grow  to spread  out                                                                    
     statewide,  then it  can have  nothing but  a ...  huge                                                                    
     impact on taking  away our dubious title  as the number                                                                    
     one state for avalanche deaths.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0979                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  referred to page 2  of the resolution,                                                               
[line 4]  where the National  Park System is mentioned  and asked                                                               
if  Mr.  Handy  could  compare  the  avalanche  problems  in  the                                                               
National Park System with those outside of the system.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANDY  replied that  he could  not but  added that  those who                                                               
recreate in those areas don't know the difference either.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  how  often  the rescuers  themselves                                                               
have to be rescued.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HANDY  stated that  in  the  course  of  his five  years  of                                                               
experience, they  had not had  one incident where  this happened.                                                               
He attributed this success to training.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that he  believed that  in the  fire                                                               
department's   experience  and   statistically,  the   number  of                                                               
rescuers that die exceeds the number of people rescued.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANDY was  not familiar with these statistics  but noted that                                                               
he  believes  the  training  and resources  that  would  be  made                                                               
available by  the passage  of HJR 41  could greatly  reduce those                                                               
statistics  as  well.   He  said  the  fire department  does  not                                                               
normally  respond to  incidents  in the  outback  [in the  Juneau                                                               
area].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BOB JANES, National Ski Patrol;  Juneau Ski Patrol, stated he was                                                               
very active in winter sports  recreation and had been involved in                                                               
the  previous and  current avalanche  warning systems  throughout                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I have  been involved ... [with]  especially the thrust                                                                    
     to reinstate, if you will,  some of the shortcomings of                                                                    
     what has  existed here  in the  overall system  for the                                                                    
     last  20  years.   That's  namely,  credible  avalanche                                                                    
     forecasting  methods and  that is  included in  Senator                                                                    
     Stevens' proposed  [S.] 931, among other  things.  It's                                                                    
     an overall umbrella effort for public education.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I represent the National  Ski Patrol system today which                                                                    
     includes the  Alaska division of that  national system,                                                                    
     and the local Juneau ski patrol.   I'm also a member of                                                                    
     Bill  Glude's  Alaska  Avalanche  Center  Board.    I'm                                                                    
     mainly  endorsing this  joint  [House] resolution  from                                                                    
     the standpoint ... in order  to get Senate Bill 931 out                                                                    
     of  committee and  proceeding along  because it  covers                                                                    
     everything  that really  is needed  and  some of  these                                                                    
     shortcomings I mentioned ....                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1252                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH asked  for  the number  one reason  for                                                               
avalanche death.   He supported  the facts that awareness  is the                                                               
key  and  that recreational  activity  is  not curtailed  by  the                                                               
resolution.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JANES replied,  "The awareness is the primary  mission of the                                                               
National Ski  Patrol system.   Their  mission statement  today is                                                               
priority on  public education, and training,  and prevention, and                                                               
all of this in the interest of public safety."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked where  does Juneau get armaments,                                                               
weapons, and munitions for avalanche control.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JANES replied, "Primarily through  previous contacts with the                                                               
military  units,   a  lot  of   the  previous   surplus  military                                                               
ammunition  for  the recoilless  rifle  that's  right across  the                                                               
channel  here,  the   105  millimeter  and  also   75,  are  used                                                               
throughout  the  United  States.   There's  still  some  of  that                                                               
military information available on the surplus market."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  if there  was a  cost to  train                                                               
local personnel.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JANES replied,  "There's a cost involved  in training because                                                               
it's  ...  a   technical  maneuver.    Generally,   the  cost  of                                                               
munitions, and transportation, getting  them here through federal                                                               
aircraft or what have you, is pretty nominal."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1406                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL GLUDE, Director, Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center,                                                                        
testified:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I've  been  an   avalanche  researcher,  and  educator,                                                                    
     forecaster, and consultant since  the 1970s.  ... Since                                                                    
     1995 with the Avalanche  Center, I've personally taught                                                                    
     over 5,000 people in avalanche courses.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We currently have  no operating budget at  all and I've                                                                    
     been  keeping  track  of  hours this  year.    I'll  be                                                                    
     donating  about two  to three  thousand hours  worth of                                                                    
     time to avalanche education.   The only funding that we                                                                    
     have this year is  $3,000 for doing avalanche education                                                                    
     throughout  Southeast,  which  includes travel  to  the                                                                    
     outlying communities, and $10,000  in two small grants.                                                                    
     One [is] from [the] Skaggs  Foundation and one from Sea                                                                    
     Dogs, which is  covering some of our  basic expenses to                                                                    
     keep  the program  operational.   Other than  that, I'm                                                                    
     volunteering all  my time except for  when I'm actually                                                                    
     teaching courses.  We are a non-profit.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     These  [a chart  entitled  US  Avalanche Fatalities  by                                                                    
     State, the  last 10 years]  are some figures  that were                                                                    
     compiled last fall.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     For  the last  10  years,  what you  can  see there  is                                                                    
     Alaska is  number one for  avalanche fatalities  -- not                                                                    
     just  per   capita,  but  total  number   of  avalanche                                                                    
     fatalities.  If  you looked out at per  capita, we'd be                                                                    
     far, far ahead  of Colorado which is second.   They are                                                                    
     a much larger state than  we are in terms of population                                                                    
     and they have far more winter visitors.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The other  key difference,  I think, in  Alaska, that's                                                                    
     worth focusing  on, is  that in  many of  these states,                                                                    
     most  of the  avalanche fatalities  are recreationists.                                                                    
     But, in  Alaska, we have  workers who are exposed.   We                                                                    
     lost  an  operator  on  the   Seward  Highway  who  was                                                                    
     clearing  debris  from an  earlier  slide  in the  year                                                                    
     2000.  We lost a  person who was operating an excavator                                                                    
     on a construction project for  a power plant in Cordova                                                                    
     also  a few  years  ago.   We have  a  number of  urban                                                                    
     residents who  are exposed.   We also have a  number of                                                                    
     transportation corridors that are affected.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1574                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GLUDE continued:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     I  got   some  figures  from  the   State  Division  of                                                                    
     Emergency  Services,  after  the  year  2000  avalanche                                                                    
     cycle, and their  best estimate of a  ballpark cost for                                                                    
     that  whole avalanche  cycle was  about $11,000,000  in                                                                    
     total  damages.   What they  didn't  calculate was  the                                                                    
     disruption    of    commerce,   the    disruption    of                                                                    
     transportation, and  all the  ripple effects  of those,                                                                    
     which are considerable.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Avalanches are something that  in Alaska really affects                                                                    
     all  of   us.    We   lead  the  nation   in  avalanche                                                                    
     fatalities, yet if  you look at that chart,  all of the                                                                    
     states  that have  a  significant  number of  avalanche                                                                    
     fatalities   on  that   chart  have   federally  funded                                                                    
     avalanche education  and forecasting programs  with the                                                                    
     sole exception  of Alaska.   We're  the one  state that                                                                    
     doesn't have anything.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We've  got a  couple  little non-profits,  we've got  a                                                                    
     number of groups  like the ski patrol  and the mountain                                                                    
     rescue group that are working with  us.  We have in the                                                                    
     Chugach  National Forest,  the Chugach  National Forest                                                                    
     Avalanche  Center, which  is simply  one ranger  who is                                                                    
     out  doing  winter  patrols   who  cares  enough  about                                                                    
     avalanches to be  looking at the snow  while he's doing                                                                    
     that  and  using  their  existing  website  to  try  to                                                                    
     publicize the information. ...                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     There were  a couple  of questions about  provisions in                                                                    
     the bill  that I  can probably address.   One  that's a                                                                    
     little  confusing is  why  is  Senator Stevens  running                                                                    
     this  through  the  National  Park  Service  (NPS)  and                                                                    
     Department  of Interior  when  traditionally it's  been                                                                    
     agriculture  and the  Forest Service  that has  handled                                                                    
     avalanche  issues.   The  answer  to  that is,  it's  a                                                                    
     simple matter of political strategy.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     The Forest  Service, as  we all know,  is very  fond of                                                                    
     their   hierarchy.     They  like   everything  to   be                                                                    
     controlled  right  from the  top  all  the way  to  the                                                                    
     bottom and  one of their  priorities right now  is that                                                                    
     we not  have any  nationwide federal level  earmarks of                                                                    
     funding.   The problem is  when you're dealing  with an                                                                    
     issue like  avalanches, you need a  coordinated program                                                                    
     nationwide to allocate the  resources, so, for example,                                                                    
     states like Alaska don't get left  out.  In order to go                                                                    
     around the  Forest Service's  hierarchy, he  has routed                                                                    
     the money  through interior, and  put the  Secretary of                                                                    
     Interior  in charge,  and  then set  up  a board  which                                                                    
     would administer the money.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The other issue  is that this was originally  set up at                                                                    
     a  bill  to address  the  availability  of weapons  and                                                                    
     ammunition  for  avalanche  explosive  work.    It  was                                                                    
     expanded to cover research, education,  and many of the                                                                    
     other avalanche  concerns, so,  you'll notice  there is                                                                    
     quite a  focus on the  availability of weaponry  in the                                                                    
     bill, but it does cover other uses as well.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We had a question on the  risk to rescuers.  I know of,                                                                    
     in the last 10 years,  in Europe there was one instance                                                                    
     where [an]  avalanche rescue  party that  was searching                                                                    
     for  victims  of a  first  avalanche  was hit  and  its                                                                    
     members were  killed by a secondary  avalanche.  That's                                                                    
     the only  one I know  of, but  it's always a  risk that                                                                    
     we're  quite  aware  of  because  avalanches  are  like                                                                    
     salmon --  if there's one avalanche  there are probably                                                                    
     other avalanches - they come in runs.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1769                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK stated she did not believe that Hatcher Pass was                                                                 
in the national parks and wondered how this resolution would                                                                    
affect the Hatcher Pass area where there are many avalanches.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GLUDE replied that the funding in Senate Bill 391 was in no                                                                 
way restricted to national parks.  He said:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We do lose  quite a few climbers on  Denali every year,                                                                    
     most of  them from out  of state.   But it  would allow                                                                    
     funding  to any  entity, including  private businesses,                                                                    
     departments   of  transportation,   state,  and   local                                                                    
     governments that have avalanche  problems.  It could be                                                                    
     used to address issues in Hatcher Pass and other areas                                                                     
     of Alaska as well.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM,  upon  determining  no one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1840                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK moved  to report  HJR  41 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1858                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  stated that the committee  had to finish                                                               
considering her  motion for one  [conceptual] amendment,  page 2,                                                               
line 12,  adding the  Chair and  the Ranking  Member of  the U.S.                                                               
Senate Committee  on Energy and  Natural Resources, to  those who                                                               
are notified.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM  called  for   objections  and  seeing  none,                                                               
adopted Amendment 1.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1908                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK  moved to  report  HJR  41,  as amended,  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHJR  41(RES)  was                                                               
reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HB 309-PROHIBIT RELEASE OF PREDATORY FISH                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 309, "An Act prohibiting  the release of                                                               
nonindigenous  predatory fish  into public  water."   [Before the                                                               
committee was CSHB 309(FSH).]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1956                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK  moved to adopt the  proposed committee substitute                                                               
(CS),  labeled  23-LS1097\W,  Utermohle,  3/23/04,  as  the  work                                                               
draft.   There  being  no  objection, Version  W  was before  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1974                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF,  speaking as sponsor, explained  that HB 309                                                               
is a bill  involving [nonindigenous] fish.   He said Southcentral                                                               
Alaska,  including the  Matanuska-Susitna  Valley  and the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula, have  been facing a  problem concerning  Northern Pike                                                               
and other  species, specifically,  Yellow Perch.   Representative                                                               
Wolf  said  this bill  would  give  more  "teeth" to  the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish  & Game (ADF&G) to try  to [discourage] people                                                               
from using  "bucket biology."   He noted  that the bill  does not                                                               
involve  any commercial  fishing activities  that currently  take                                                               
place in Alaska.  He said he  believes ADF&G is in support of the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2607                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked  about the  difference  between                                                               
Version W and [CSHB 309(FSH)].                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF explained  that concerns  were expressed  in                                                               
the House Special Committee on  Fisheries with respect to current                                                               
commercial fisheries  activities involving the  transportation of                                                               
live  crab and  [live crab]  eggs.   He said  the [House  Special                                                               
Committee  on  Fisheries]  made   sure  that  current  activities                                                               
involving commercial  fisheries in  Alaska were not  affected and                                                               
amended the bill to include a felony fine of not less $1500.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2126                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN turned  attention to  page 1,  line 10,  and                                                               
asked  if  a  [nonindigenous]  fish  were  caught,  could  it  be                                                               
released, even if  it shouldn't be [in that water  system] in the                                                               
first place.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF said  the bill  does not  involve catch-and-                                                               
release fisheries.  He indicated that  the purpose of the bill is                                                               
to address  the transportation of  [nonindigenous] fish  from one                                                               
area to another.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN asked  if a  [nonindigenous]  fish could  be                                                               
released in the same water it was caught in.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF turned attention to  page 1, [lines 4-6], and                                                               
he  said this  does not  prevent [participation]  in a  catch-and                                                               
release fishery.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2212                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG,  Assistant Director,  Division of  Sport Fish,                                                               
Alaska  Department  of  Fish  & Game  (ADF&G),  testified.    Mr.                                                               
Vincent-Lang said  the [bill]  would not  hold a  person eligible                                                               
for  a  class  C  felony  and   a  $1500  fine  for  releasing  a                                                               
[nonindigenous]  fish that  had  been caught  inadvertently.   He                                                               
said  the  bill  is  basically crafted  to  prevent  people  from                                                               
stocking [nonindigenous fish] initially.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked Mr. Vincent-Lang to  explain [page 1],                                                               
line 10.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. VINCENT-LANG explained, for  example, if an individual caught                                                               
a [nonindigenous]  pike in  Sand Lake and  released it  back into                                                               
that lake,  that individual would  be excluded from this  law and                                                               
would not  be held accountable  for releasing the fish  caught in                                                               
that lake.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN asked  if  it would  apply  even though  the                                                               
[nonindigenous fish]  shouldn't be there  to begin with,  [and by                                                               
not  releasing the  nonindigenous  fish back  into  the water  in                                                               
which it were  caught] would be helping to clear  the lake out of                                                               
that [species of nonindigenous] fish.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VINCENT-LANG said  [ADF&G]  could have  regulations to  help                                                               
clear  the lake  out [if  desired],  but it  would exclude  those                                                               
anglers from being penalized.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2279                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  directed attention to page  1, [lines 8-11],                                                               
and he said this does not apply to catch-and-release fisheries.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH suggested  that language  on [page  1],                                                               
line 12, contradicts  language in subsection (b),  with regard to                                                               
"ornamental  fish".   He asked  for an  example of  an ornamental                                                               
fish.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  explained   that  ornamental  fish  include                                                               
tetras, goldfish, guppies, and so forth.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VINCENT-LANG  explained  that   his  understanding  is  that                                                               
[paragraph   (1)]  basically   excludes   ornamental  fish   from                                                               
subsection (a),  while [subsection (b)]  goes on to say  a person                                                               
may not knowingly  rear or release live ornamental  fish in state                                                               
waters.    He  said  gar,  for  example,  are  fully  capable  of                                                               
reproducing in  Anchorage area lakes,  and [ADF&G] does  not want                                                               
somebody  releasing  their pet  gar  into  an Anchorage  lake  or                                                               
rearing those  gar in a  pond in their  back yard.   Mr. Vincent-                                                               
Lang said  [ornamental fish] that  are possessed  and transported                                                               
for  the purpose  of keeping  in an  aquarium should  be excluded                                                               
from  a  class C  felony.    He  said  [ornamental fish]  can  be                                                               
predatory or can carry diseases, which  may be a threat to native                                                               
species.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA said  Representative Stepovich  raises a                                                               
good point, and because it is  a criminal statute it becomes even                                                               
more  important.   She  said  she  thought  there might  be  some                                                               
confusion   between   [subsections]    (a)   and   (b),   because                                                               
[subsection]  (a) exempts  ornamental fish  from being  knowingly                                                               
released, while  [subsection] (b) says [ornamental  fish] may not                                                               
knowingly be released, and [subsection]  (c) is a class C felony.                                                               
She asked how it all works together.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. VINCENT-LANG said his understanding  is that [subsection (b)]                                                               
is  specific  about  the  activities  that  can't  be  done  with                                                               
ornamental fish, and he indicated  the language could possibly be                                                               
cleaned  up so  that  only [one  section]  deals with  ornamental                                                               
fish.   He  said  [ADF&G] didn't  want people  to  be rearing  or                                                               
releasing  ornamental   fish  in  bodies  of   water  that  could                                                               
potentially cause damage to native fish or release parasites.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said she  thought it  had to  be changed                                                               
because subsection  (a) clearly allows the  release of ornamental                                                               
fish.  She  said she thought a defense  attorney, in representing                                                               
a client,  would "walk through that,"  so it needs to  be changed                                                               
so  it  is  clear  that   ornamental  fish  cannot  be  released.                                                               
Representative  Kerttula asked  why [a  violation] is  a class  C                                                               
felony, and  if other states punish  it this harshly.   She asked                                                               
why it  is just "knowingly",  rather than having  an "intentional                                                               
state of  mind," and suggested, "If  it is going to  be a felony,                                                               
shouldn't it an  intentional action instead of it  just a knowing                                                               
action."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VINCENT-LANG  said  [ADF&G]  is  very  concerned  about  the                                                               
release of [nonindigenous]  fish and the impact  on the resources                                                               
of  Alaska.   He  said  the  level  of  penalty setting  is  [the                                                               
legislature's] jurisdiction and responsibility.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  asked what  other state's  penalties are                                                               
for the release  of nonindigenous fish.  She said  she knows it's                                                               
serious, but she thought a class  C felony is normally used for a                                                               
fairly serious assault.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  said a  lake  on  the Kenai  Peninsula  was                                                               
knowingly deposited with Yellow Perch,  and it cost [ADF&G] about                                                               
$40,000  to exterminate  the lake  with  Rotenone.   He said  the                                                               
[Yellow Perch]  have now moved  into the Moose River,  a spawning                                                               
system for  coho salmon.   He  said [coho salmon]  are part  of a                                                               
sport  fishery,  which  directly affects  the  guiding  industry,                                                               
which affects people's lives.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2594                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO offered  some  examples  of other  offenses                                                               
punishable by a class C  felony, as follows:  Unlawful furnishing                                                               
of explosives;  possession of  child pornography;  incest; sexual                                                               
assault  in   the  third  degree;   tampering  with   a  witness;                                                               
endangering the welfare of a child;  sexual abuse of a minor; and                                                               
assault.    He said he has  a problem with the  introduction of a                                                               
[nonindigenous]  fish  being equal  to  all  of those  absolutely                                                               
notorious indications  of what qualify as  a class C felony.   He                                                               
said he thinks if this goes to court, it is an overreach.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STEPOVICH  offered   an  example   of  a   child                                                               
unintentionally releasing a goldfish  into Alaskan waters, and he                                                               
expressed  concerns  about  [the  bill]  applying  to  minors  or                                                               
someone without "expertise."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF noted that some  of the points raised had not                                                               
been  considered previously.    He said  some  other members  had                                                               
suggested  that  the bill  be  referred  to the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee with regard to the class C felony.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2726                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM suggested  Representative  Wolf's intent  was                                                               
good, and she said these [issues] are taken very seriously.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VINCENT-LANG said  ADF&G supports  the concepts  behind this                                                               
bill and see it as an  increasing problem across Alaska.  He said                                                               
the problem can't  be dealt with on a "recover  basis" and has to                                                               
be  dealt with  on  a  "preventative basis."    He  noted that  a                                                               
conceptual amendment  had been passed previously  that dealt with                                                               
lines  3 and  13.   He said  [ADF&G] is  not opposed  to limiting                                                               
[subparagraph] (3) to saltwater  commercial fishing and could not                                                               
think  of  any  instances  in   which  commercial  fishermen  are                                                               
currently moving  live fish  around or of  instances in  which it                                                               
would be good [to do so].                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM  asked Representative  Wolf to take  that into                                                               
consideration while working  with the bill.    Co-Chair Dahlstrom                                                               
said [the  committee] does  realize the  seriousness of  this and                                                               
appreciates the department's support.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[HB 309 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The gavel was passed to Co-Chair Masek.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HCR 27-TAKE A YOUNG PERSON HUNTING WEEK                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION NO. 27, Relating to  Take a Young                                                               
Person Hunting Week.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2831                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF,   speaking  as  the  sponsor   of  HCR  27,                                                               
explained that  the intent of  HCR 27 is  to return to  what most                                                               
people  consider  their  national  heritage as  well  as  provide                                                               
mentorship  to young  people with  regard  to the  right to  bear                                                               
arms.   The resolution  recognizes "Take  a Young  Person Hunting                                                               
Week",  which was  passed several  years ago.   The  [resolution]                                                               
provides an  opportunity to reinstate the  importance adults have                                                               
with  regard to  taking  children hunting  as  well as  providing                                                               
assistance with  regard to correct firearm  safety, handling, and                                                               
the ethics of hunting.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA turned  to  page 1,  lines 10-11,  which                                                               
specifies:   "we  have an  obligation to  teach our  young people                                                               
about  our hunting  heritage".   She  mentioned  that some  might                                                               
disagree with  regard to the "obligation"  statement.  Therefore,                                                               
she  asked if  the sponsor  might  be amenable  to changing  that                                                               
clause.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF said  he wouldn't  object  to an  amendment.                                                               
However, he highlighted that a resolution has no weight in law.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-17, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2958                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN proposed  changing the  language on  page 1,                                                               
lines 10-11, such that it would read as follows:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      WHEREAS it is beneficial for young people to have an                                                                    
     understanding of our hunting heritage                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  said  that  he had  no  objection  to  that                                                               
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA said  she  would attempt  to write  some                                                               
proposed language while the meeting continues.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2931                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  highlighted  that many  of  the  "WHEREAS"                                                             
clauses use  the language "many of  our".  He suggested  that the                                                               
clause on  page 1, lines  10-11, could repeat  the aforementioned                                                               
phrase, and say,  "many of us wish to teach  our young children".                                                               
The  aforementioned  language  would  conform with  most  of  the                                                               
clauses, and  would reflect  that many people  do [want  to teach                                                               
their children about hunting] but  acknowledges that not everyone                                                               
does.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF said  that he would have no  objection to any                                                               
amendment to this.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  moved that  the committee  adopt [Amendment                                                               
1] as follows:                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 10,                                                                                                           
          Delete "we have an obligation"                                                                                        
          Insert "many wish"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK asked  if the  members understood  the conceptual                                                               
amendment.   She asked if there  was any objection.   There being                                                               
none, [Amendment 1 was adopted].                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2849                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG turned attention  to page 1, lines 6-7,                                                               
and  said  he  wasn't  sure   that  "poor  recruitment"  actually                                                               
reflects the  situation.  Therefore,  he suggesting  changing the                                                               
"poor recruitment" language to refer to "diminishing numbers".                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF   explained  that  he  believes   the  "poor                                                               
recruitment" thought came from the  Girl Scouts in Fairbanks that                                                               
was involved in getting young girls hunting.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2784                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG offered [Amendment  2], which would [on                                                               
page 1, line 7] replace  the language "poor recruitment" with the                                                               
language "diminishing numbers".                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked  if there was any objection  to Amendment 2.                                                               
There being none, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2751                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM  moved to  report HCR 27,  as amended,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHCR  27(RES)  was                                                               
reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HJR 44-SEA OTTER RESEARCH/ENDANGERED SPECIES                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 44,  Relating to  research                                                               
into  the  decline of  the  Southwest  Alaska population  of  the                                                               
Northern Sea Otter in the western Gulf of Alaska.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2699                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAN OGG, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor of HJR                                                               
44, testified that he represents District 36, and said:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     I'm here  today presenting a resolution  number 44 that                                                                    
     relates to the  Northern sea otter in  the Western Gulf                                                                    
     of Alaska.  ...  They  are a voracious animal; they eat                                                                    
     lots of shellfish; they eat  many times their weight in                                                                    
     seafood every day.  What  the problem here, isn't that,                                                                    
     and it's  not that  they are cuddly.   It's  that their                                                                    
     numbers have  been declining since  the 1970s,  as much                                                                    
     as 65 percent in a section  of the state that goes from                                                                    
     about  the tip  of the  Kenai Peninsula  and heads  out                                                                    
     into the  Aleutian Islands ...  That would  include the                                                                    
     southern coast of the  Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island,                                                                    
     and  then the  islands as  they  go out  into quite  an                                                                    
     extensive area.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     What the  resolution is addressing  is saying  that the                                                                    
     Fish and  wildlife service has recognized  this decline                                                                    
     and that they  have noticed them for being  listed as a                                                                    
     threatened species.   The impact of  being a threatened                                                                    
     species is  that potential to shut  down the commercial                                                                    
     fisheries in that  area.  What this  resolution says is                                                                    
     that  we would  like  to urge  the Federal  Government,                                                                    
     through [the]  U.S. Congress,  to provide  some funding                                                                    
     into the  research on these fuzzy,  cuddly creatures so                                                                    
     we can find out exactly what was going on with them.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Why  we're  doing  it  this   time  is  to  try  to  be                                                                    
     proactive.     The   last  creature   that  went   into                                                                    
     threatened status  and endangered  was the  Steller sea                                                                    
     lion in the same area.   We were not proactive, we were                                                                    
     reactive,  and some  of our  fisheries  were shut  down                                                                    
     because   we  didn't   have  the   research  on   these                                                                    
     particular  animals,  the  sea  lion.   In  talks  with                                                                    
     [U.S.] Senator  Stevens' staff  who funded  the Steller                                                                    
     sea lion  research close to $100,000,000  over a recent                                                                    
     period  of  time.    They   would  like  to  have  some                                                                    
     documentation  as  to  what  it would  take  to  get  a                                                                    
     research program up  and going before we  get into that                                                                    
     period where [we are] being reactive.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     We talked with folks with  the FITC in Kodiak, which is                                                                    
     the Fishery Industrial Technology  [Center] arm for the                                                                    
     University of  Alaska and they indicated  certain areas                                                                    
     where work could  be done and should be done.   We have                                                                    
     included their  recommendations in the  resolution and,                                                                    
     with a sum  of about $5,000,000 per year  that would be                                                                    
     spread out for five years.   Research would be centered                                                                    
     around  FITC;  they  would coordinate  it.    It  would                                                                    
     stretch from  the southern end  of the  Kenai Peninsula                                                                    
     out into the Aleutians.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2535                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH asked if Representative Ogg had already                                                                
identified the source for the money in the federal budget.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG replied that Senator Stevens' staff had                                                                      
requested a proposal that would justify the funding.  He said:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     We did the background  work, put a resolution together,                                                                    
     and gave  them a document  they could put on  the table                                                                    
     and  say, "Here's  a reason,  and  here's some  numbers                                                                    
     that  justify it,  and here's  a research  program that                                                                    
     would work  out there."   It would be through  the Fish                                                                    
     and wildlife service.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked how much  funding was spent on Steller                                                               
sea lion  [research] and whether  this funding could be  used for                                                               
[research] on northern sea otters.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG replied  that there has been  research done in                                                               
an eco-system model, regarding  relationships between the fishing                                                               
industry and the sea lion, between  sea lions and their prey, and                                                               
between the  sea lions and their  predators.  They did  not focus                                                               
on  the  sea  otter,  except   in  a  peripheral  manner.    This                                                               
resolution  aims at  a better  understanding of  the sea  otter's                                                               
ecosystem.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2420                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF said  he wondered how many sea  lions and sea                                                               
otters were being killed by Orcas.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG replied  that tags  from sea  lion pups  have                                                               
been found in  the bellies of Orcas that washed  up on beaches in                                                               
Prince William Sound.   He noted that it is  difficult to "follow                                                               
a pod of Orcas around" to gather information.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF indicated that sea  lions are a favorite food                                                               
of  Orcas.   He  was  concerned  that environmental  groups  were                                                               
blaming the  fishing industry as  being the killers of  sea lions                                                               
and sea  otters.  He feels  that the growing population  of Orcas                                                               
is responsible.  He said:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     These  environmental  groups  are making  a  tremendous                                                                    
     amount  of  money  from selling  the  idea  that  these                                                                    
     horrible commercial fishermen are  the reason [for] the                                                                    
     decline.  It's not a natural predator like the Orca.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG replied:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     You're exactly  right.  That's  exactly what  this aims                                                                    
     at.   When we did the  sea lion one the  groups went to                                                                    
     federal court and they said,  "It's declining, it's the                                                                    
     fishing industry."  There was  no empirical evidence or                                                                    
     scientific evidence  to say yes  or no.   We're dealing                                                                    
     in a  situation where people just  dealt with innuendo.                                                                    
     The court  in that  situation says,  "I'm not  going to                                                                    
     take  a  chance  here.     I'm  going  to  err  on  the                                                                    
     conservative side,  like our fisheries  managers always                                                                    
     do, if  you don't have the  answer you err."   So, they                                                                    
     just created big  zones around our work  areas.  Which,                                                                    
     once  we got  the  fishing research  money through  the                                                                    
     federal government, those  things started closing down,                                                                    
     because, after you  got the research you  found out no,                                                                    
     it wasn't  fishing that was  causing the  problem, it's                                                                    
     something in  the environment and that  nature.  That's                                                                    
     why we're  pushing this.   We want  to be ahead  of the                                                                    
     curve  this  time,  instead of  being  in  court  under                                                                    
     innuendo.  We want to help our fishing industry.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 2221                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO wondered  if  it was  fair  for the  people                                                               
doing  the  research  to  also   be  the  people  living  in  the                                                               
communities affected.   He asked  if the researchers  should come                                                               
from the  inland, since the  coastal community stood to  gain the                                                               
most as well as receiving the research monies.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH noted that $25,000,000 is a lot of                                                                     
money, and he wondered if the money could be used for other                                                                     
projects as well.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG replied:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     If Senator  Stevens decides, and the  fish and wildlife                                                                    
     service decides,  that this is an  appropriate place to                                                                    
     put  the  money,  it  will run  through  the  fish  and                                                                    
     wildlife service and then  they will determine, usually                                                                    
     by grants, ...  where these funds will be  expended.  I                                                                    
     can tell  you that the  sea lion research ...  was done                                                                    
     by  the  University of  Alaska,  some  done by  British                                                                    
     Columbia,  through a  consortium university,  and folks                                                                    
     going out  on charter,  but mostly into  scientists and                                                                    
     in the field research.   Some into charters for getting                                                                    
     people onto these rookeries and off of them.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     It's  not like  they are  going to  drop $5,000,000  in                                                                    
     Kodiak.  It's  just that's the area we  want to center.                                                                    
     There  are  programs  going on  there.    The  National                                                                    
     Marine Fisheries  Service (NMFS) is involved  right now                                                                    
     in the Steller sea lion  one and they'll probably track                                                                    
     along  with that  and  use economies.    They needed  a                                                                    
     number and  a period of  time.   This is a  lot smaller                                                                    
     number  than the  Steller sea  lion number.   They  may                                                                    
     adjust  it  when  they  have  comments  with  fish  and                                                                    
     wildlife.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2066                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  asked how  it  was  decided to  request  $5                                                               
million per year.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG replied:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Those  numbers came  from the  folks at  FITC. ...  The                                                                    
     person working on the sea  lions, working with fish and                                                                    
     wildlife  service, said,  "Here's how  a program  could                                                                    
     work.  This would address  the problems, and here's the                                                                    
     amount of  money [we] think  that would cover  it." ...                                                                    
     This  will end  up  on Senator  Stevens' desk,  Senator                                                                    
     Murkowski's  desk,  and  they'll make  the  appropriate                                                                    
     relationships.   Then fish  and wildlife  "circle" will                                                                    
     come  in  and maybe  they'll  say,  "$5,000,000 is  too                                                                    
     much; we  can do  it for $4,000,000,"  but you  have to                                                                    
     put something out.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2005                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  turned attention to page  2, and asked                                                               
if the  sponsor wished  to add the  appropriations' chair  or the                                                               
resource committee chairs to the copies distribution.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG noted that he had no objection to this.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  moved  Conceptual  Amendment  1  that                                                               
would include the chairs of  the resource committees in the House                                                               
and Senate of the United States Congress.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1941                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM noted there were  no objections and Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK REPRESENTATIVE  moved to report HJR  44 as amended                                                               
out  of   committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal notes.   There  being  no objections,  CSHJR                                                               
44(RES)  was  reported  out  of   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.                                                                 

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