Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/19/2004 01:57 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 19, 2004                                                                                         
                           1:57 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Beverly Masek, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Cheryll Heinze, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Nick Stepovich                                                                                                   
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 531                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to natural gas exploration  and development and                                                               
to  nonconventional gas,  and amending  the  section under  which                                                               
shallow natural  gas leases may  be issued; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 531(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE AGAIN                                                                               
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 329(RES)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating to control of nuisance moose."                                                                                 
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 364                                                                                                              
"An  Act  establishing a  moratorium  on  the issuance  of  state                                                               
shallow natural gas  leases in the vicinity of  Kachemak Bay, and                                                               
directing  the commissioner  of  natural  resources to  reacquire                                                               
shallow  natural gas  leases on  the Kenai  Peninsula within  the                                                               
moratorium area; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 531                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONVENTIONAL & NONCONVENTIONAL GAS LEASES                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): RESOURCES                                                                                                           
03/04/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/04/04       (H)       O&G, RES, FIN                                                                                          
03/16/04       (H)       O&G AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/16/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/16/04       (H)       MINUTE(O&G)                                                                                            
03/18/04       (H)       O&G AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/18/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/18/04       (H)       MINUTE(O&G)                                                                                            
03/22/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/22/04       (H)       <Pending Referral>                                                                                     
04/01/04       (H)       O&G AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/01/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 531(O&G) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/01/04       (H)       MINUTE(O&G)                                                                                            
04/05/04       (H)       O&G RPT CS(O&G) 7AM                                                                                    
04/05/04       (H)       AM: HOLM, KERTTULA, MCGUIRE, ROKEBERG,                                                                 
04/05/04       (H)       CRAWFORD, HEINZE, KOHRING                                                                              
04/14/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/14/04       (H)       Heard & Held <Assigned to Subcmte>                                                                     
04/14/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/16/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
04/16/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 531(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/16/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/19/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
BILL: SB 329                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NUISANCE MOOSE                                                                                                     
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) BUNDE BY REQUEST                                                                                         
02/13/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/04       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/24/04       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/24/04       (S)       Moved CSSB 329(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/24/04       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/26/04       (S)       RES RPT CS  5DP              SAME TITLE                                                                
03/26/04       (S)       DP: OGAN, DYSON, WAGONER, STEVENS B,                                                                   
03/26/04       (S)       SEEKINS                                                                                                
04/01/04       (S)       FIN REFERRAL WAIVED                                                                                    
04/08/04       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
04/08/04       (S)       VERSION: CSSB 329(RES)                                                                                 
04/13/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/13/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
04/19/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MARIE CROSLEY, Natural Resource Specialist                                                                                      
Division of Oil & Gas                                                                                                           
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  531,  answered                                                               
SENATOR CON BUNDE                                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified as the sponsor by  request of the                                                               
Alaska Moose Federation.                                                                                                        
MATT ROBUS, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  SB  329,  answered                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-22, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  BEVERLY  MASEK  called  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 1:57 p.m.   Representatives Masek,                                                               
Dahlstrom,  Gatto,  Heinze,   Stepovich,  Wolf,  Guttenberg,  and                                                               
Kerttula were present at the call to order.                                                                                     
HB 531-CONVENTIONAL & NONCONVENTIONAL GAS LEASES                                                                              
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  531,   "An  Act  relating  to  natural  gas                                                               
exploration  and  development  and to  nonconventional  gas,  and                                                               
amending the section  under which shallow natural  gas leases may                                                               
be issued; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
Number 0085                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM  moved that the  committee rescind  its action                                                               
in reporting  CSHB 531, Version 23-LS1818\V,  Chenoweth, 4/15/04,                                                               
from  committee on  April 16,  2004.   There being  no objection,                                                               
Version V was before the committee.                                                                                             
[Although the motion originally referred to Version U, the                                                                      
committee, before taking any action on Amendment 1, corrected                                                                   
the motion to refer to Version V.]                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR MASEK noted that Representative Kerttula wanted to                                                                     
offer amendments.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA offered [Amendment 1], which read                                                                       
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Page 39, Line 31 - Page 40, Line 11;                                                                                       
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(3) for a nonconventional gas lease, rights                                                                     
     under the  reservation as set  out in AS  38.05.125 may                                                                    
     not be exercised under the lease unless                                                                                    
                    (A) the owner and the state and its                                                                         
          lessees, successors, or assigns reach a prior                                                                         
          written agreement under which the state and its                                                                       
          lessees, successors, or assigns may enter upon                                                                        
          the land in the exercise of the reserved right;                                                                       
          only one written agreement authorizing entry onto                                                                     
          the land may be required under this subparagraph                                                                      
          to authorize activity by the state and its                                                                            
          lessees, successors, or assigns, or by their                                                                          
          agents, attorneys, and servants as allowed under                                                                      
          this subsection; an agreement entered into under                                                                      
          this subparagraph is                                                                                                  
                              (i) for the duration of the                                                                       
                    period of production or recovery                                                                            
                    operations unless the parties agree to                                                                      
                    a different duration; and                                                                                   
                              (ii) a covenant running with                                                                      
                    the land;                                                                                                   
                    (B) the director, after notice and an                                                                       
          opportunity to be heard, determines that, to                                                                          
          exercise rights under the reservation and the                                                                         
          lease, the lessee has no other reasonable means                                                                       
          of entry than access and entry upon the land of                                                                       
          the owner; the lessee has the burden of                                                                               
          demonstrating compliance with this subparagraph;                                                                      
                    (C) the state, its lessees, successors,                                                                     
          or assigns make provisions to pay the owner of                                                                        
          the land full payment for all damages sustained                                                                       
          by the owner by reason of entering upon the land                                                                      
          for the purpose of exercising rights under the                                                                        
          lease, by posting a surety bond determined by the                                                                     
          owner and by the state, its lessees, successors,                                                                      
          or assigns to be sufficient as to form, amount                                                                        
          and security to secure to the owner payment for                                                                       
          all damages, subject to the following:                                                                                
                         (i) if a provision of this                                                                             
                    subparagraph conflicts with a                                                                               
                    requirement of AS 38.05.130, the                                                                            
                    provision of this subparagraph                                                                              
                    prevails; and                                                                                               
                         (ii) in addition to the coverage                                                                       
                    for actual damages required by AS                                                                           
                    38.05.130 or this subparagraph, as                                                                          
                    appropriate, the parties shall make                                                                         
                    provision for payment of reasonable                                                                         
                    compensation to the owner for any loss                                                                      
                    by the owner of the owner's use and                                                                         
                    enjoyment of the property."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA explained that  since the legislation has                                                               
been changed to refer to  nonconventional gas rather than shallow                                                               
natural  gas, the  owner  and the  state need  to  reach a  prior                                                               
written agreement  so that people can  enter upon the land.   She                                                               
acknowledged  that it's  undecided  with regard  to whether  such                                                               
prior   written  agreement   can  be   required.     She  further                                                               
acknowledged concern  regarding how stringently to  require it in                                                               
order that  it remains constitutional.   "But my reading  on this                                                               
is that  I would rather that  the landowners have this  power and                                                               
that if  there is going  to be a  lawsuit, that they're  the ones                                                               
that start out  holding the right," she opined.   Therefore, this                                                               
amendment  is  to  place  the  authority  in  the  hands  of  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH asked if the  agreement would be in lieu                                                               
of payment as well.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  answered that  such would  have to  be a                                                               
separate  agreement.    [Amendment  1]  merely  requires  written                                                               
agreement before anyone can enter the land.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH  inquired as  to whether Amendment  1 is                                                               
Number 0365                                                                                                                     
MARIE  CROSLEY, Natural  Resource Specialist,  Division of  Oil &                                                               
Gas,  Department  of Natural  Resources  (DNR),  deferred to  the                                                               
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR MASEK  noted that  there was  not a  representative from                                                               
the Department of Law.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  acknowledged  that   there  will  be  a                                                               
constitutional  issue because  of  the reserved  rights, but  she                                                               
felt that it's  more appropriate to place the  property owners in                                                               
the top position.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  related that Amendment 1  was offered in                                                               
the subcommittee,  but it  was the  desire of  the chair  [of the                                                               
subcommittee] to hold it and place it before the full committee.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE asked  if there  is any  way to  determine                                                               
whether Amendment 1 would be constitutional or not.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  MASEK   recalled  the  testimony  of   Jack  Chenoweth,                                                               
Attorney,  Legislative  Legal  and Research  Services,  and  Mark                                                               
Myers, Director, Division  of Oil & Gas, at a  prior hearing when                                                               
they said it would be unconstitutional.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  interjected   that  Mr.  Chenoweth  was                                                               
concerned,  but  didn't   know  how  the  courts   will  rule  on                                                               
[Amendment 1] because there is no case law on the matter.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  opined  that adoption  of  Amendment  1                                                               
would  be a  strong  statement that  the  committee believes  the                                                               
property owners should  be in the driver's seat.   She noted that                                                               
she has a  possible conflict of interest on any  coal bed methane                                                               
matter  because her  family  owns  property that  may  be in  the                                                               
leasing area.                                                                                                                   
Number 0916                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH  commented  that   he  liked  the  idea                                                               
encompassed  in Amendment  1, but  was concerned  with regard  to                                                               
wasting  time and  money if  it's unconstitutional.   He  said he                                                               
would like to here from other  committee members on the matter of                                                               
passing legislation that may be frivolous.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO inquired  as to  what would  happen if  the                                                               
amendment was determined to be unconstitutional.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said  that the state could  choose not to                                                               
enforce  it  or  it  could  be  severed  from  the  rest  of  the                                                               
legislation.   Representative Kerttula  said she  understands the                                                               
concern,  but without  any case  law  directly on  the matter  it                                                               
would be more appropriate to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF opined that there  are probably people in the                                                               
Legislative  Legal   and  Research  Division  and   the  Attorney                                                               
General's  Office  who  could  answer   whether  Amendment  1  is                                                               
constitutional.   Therefore,  he  requested that  Amendment 1  be                                                               
withdrawn until the answer can be obtained.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA declined to withdraw the amendment.                                                                     
Number 1133                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  remarked that the entire  coal bed methane                                                               
issue seems to  boil down to the people  [property owners], their                                                               
land, and  their rights.   "I  know we're  in murky  waters right                                                               
now, but  if there's  a clarity  out there  somewhere and  it ...                                                               
puts the  people in the  driver's seat,  ... that's what  this is                                                               
all about ...," she opined.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM commented  that those  committee members  not                                                               
present last  Friday are  at a  disadvantage because  they didn't                                                               
here Mr.  Chenoweth's statements.  Although  Mr. Chenoweth didn't                                                               
specifically say  that Amendment 1 would  be unconstitutional, he                                                               
gave the  strong impression  that there  would be  many problems.                                                               
Co-Chair Dahlstrom  related her understanding that  Mr. Chenoweth                                                               
was suggesting that the committee "not act in that manner."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG reminded  the  committee that  voters,                                                               
citizens,  and  landowners  of   the  state  have  voiced  strong                                                               
objection  to  [their]  lack  of   involvement  in  the  process.                                                               
Barring any clear legal opinion,  property owners deserve to have                                                               
a say  in who  enters their  property and  barring that,  to also                                                               
have their day  in court.  Therefore, he felt  that this might be                                                               
a good place to make the bright line decision.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH related  that the  surface owners,  the                                                               
property owners,  and the subsurface  owners, the state,  will be                                                               
competing to sell the resources.                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  MASEK  interjected  that  Amendment  1  would  also  be                                                               
problematic with the Statehood Act.                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM turned  to a memorandum Mr.  Chenoweth sent to                                                               
the Senate Resources Standing Committee,  from which she read the                                                               
     Taken together,  the state must abide  by provisions of                                                                    
     federal  law,  the  Alaska  Statehood  Act,  and  State                                                                    
     Constitutional  provisions under  which  the state  has                                                                    
     consented  to the  terms and  conditions applicable  to                                                                    
     Statehood  Act land  grants  and  has a  constitutional                                                                    
     obligation  to   provide  what   I  believe   would  be                                                                    
     determined  by  the court  to  amount  to a  guaranteed                                                                    
     access  to  the  resources  that  underlay  those  land                                                                    
     grants.  To  the extent that the  property owner's bill                                                                    
     of  rights  would  propose  to  make  access  to  those                                                                    
     resources fully dependent on  the surface owner's prior                                                                    
     written   consent,   it   would  raise   questions   of                                                                    
     compliance with  terms and conditions of  the Statehood                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM remarked that there  has been no discussion of                                                               
the  subsurface rights  on the  North Slope,  although subsurface                                                               
rights across the state will be impacted by this.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  reiterated  that there  isn't  a  clear                                                               
answer regarding  whether Amendment  1 is unconstitutional.   Mr.                                                               
Chenoweth would've said  it was if that was the  case, she noted.                                                               
Therefore, she said she didn't  believe Amendment 1 is frivolous.                                                               
She reiterated her  belief that the property  owners should "have                                                               
the leg up" in this situation.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM objected to Amendment 1.                                                                                     
A  roll  call  vote  was   taken.    Representatives  Guttenberg,                                                               
Kerttula, and Gatto  voted in favor of the  adoption Amendment 1.                                                               
Representatives  Wolf,   Lynn,  Dahlstrom,  Masek,   Heinze,  and                                                               
Stepovich voted against  it.  Therefore, Amendment 1  failed by a                                                               
vote of 3-6.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH reiterated  that he  likes the  idea of                                                               
Amendment 1,  and added  that perhaps in  the future  surface and                                                               
subsurface rights could be addressed.                                                                                           
Number 1812                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA moved that  the committee adopt Amendment                                                               
2, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                  
     Page  47, Line  31; after  "AS 46.04.900(25)",  insert,                                                                    
     "AS 46.40.205"                                                                                                             
     Page 48, Line 11 - Line 12; delete all language                                                                            
CO-CHAIR MASEK objected.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA reminded the  committee that part of what                                                               
the legislature  did last  year with  SB 69  was to  remove local                                                               
control  from  these  decisions through  the  coastal  management                                                               
program.   However, the  entire leasing  program no  longer falls                                                               
under  the ambit  of coastal  zone  review and  the coastal  zone                                                               
management program  has been  changed significantly.   Therefore,                                                               
the first  part of Amendment  2 would bring coastal  leasing back                                                               
under  some sort  of coastal  zone management  review.   She then                                                               
turned to the  second part of Amendment 2 and  page 48, lines 11-                                                               
12,  of  Version V.    The  language  on  page 48,  lines  11-12,                                                               
basically  says that  lease applications  under  the old  shallow                                                               
natural gas program  that were received by DNR  before January 1,                                                               
2004, would proceed  as under the old program.   Therefore, about                                                               
80,000 acres would be left under  the old program.  She clarified                                                               
that these  applications haven't been processed  or approved, and                                                               
therefore she  opined that any  applications should have  to come                                                               
under   any  new   program  that   the  legislature   institutes.                                                               
Amendment 2 would provide the state more control, she noted.                                                                    
Number 1952                                                                                                                     
MS.   CROSLEY  acknowledged   that  DNR   has  received   certain                                                               
applications  prior to  the  December 31st  deadline.   From  the                                                               
department's perspective, it's an  issue of fairness, she opined.                                                               
She  informed  the  committee that  there  are  five  applicants,                                                               
including Usibelli Coal  Mine, Inc., and Holitna  Energy who have                                                               
filed  shallow  gas applications  prior  to  the deadline.    The                                                               
leases  would've  normally already  have  been  issued under  the                                                               
existing program, but  DNR put in place a moratorium  and began a                                                               
public  process   to  address   concerns  held  by   the  public.                                                               
Therefore,  DNR  felt  it  was   fair  to  grandfather  in  lease                                                               
applications  filed by  a certain  date.   The specified  date is                                                               
necessary in  order to avoid  any party from taking  advantage of                                                               
whatever the legislature decides.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM  asked if the  cutoff dates coincide  with the                                                               
dates  specified  in the  legislation,  which  Amendment 2  would                                                               
MS.  CROSLEY said  that Version  V mirrors  the cutoff  dates DNR                                                               
thought  would  be  fair.     In  further  response  to  Co-Chair                                                               
Dahlstrom, Ms.  Crosley confirmed that  the language on  page 48,                                                               
lines 11-12,  should remain in  the legislation.  In  response to                                                               
Representative   Guttenberg,    Ms.   Crosley    specified   that                                                               
approximately   157,000  acres   would   be   impacted  by   this                                                               
moratorium.   The  acreage is  in  the Matanuska-Susitna  Valley,                                                               
Healy, and Holitna.                                                                                                             
Number 2154                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM objected to Amendment 2.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  said she  respected what Ms.  Crosley is                                                               
saying.  However, she reminded  the committee that the moratorium                                                               
is arbitrary  to begin  with.  She  reiterated that  80,000 acres                                                               
are in the  Matanuska-Susitna Valley.  If there's  a concern with                                                               
regard to  a certain geographic  area, perhaps a  geographic area                                                               
needs  to  be exempt.    "I  think  that,  again, it's  a  really                                                               
important  statement  that  we  expect  this  program  to  change                                                               
because  it  certainly  hasn't  worked  for  our  citizens,"  she                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if Ms.  Crosley has been  in any                                                               
discussion  with the  lease applicants  regarding  the status  of                                                               
their lease.   He asked  if the  lease applicants are  looking to                                                               
withdraw  their lease  or  change  the conditions  of  it if  the                                                               
situation were to change.                                                                                                       
MS. CROSLEY said she didn't  believe so, and therefore she didn't                                                               
know what would happen if the situation changed.                                                                                
Number 2276                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  declared a conflict of  interest because he                                                               
is  a resident  of the  Matanuska-Susitna Valley  and has  leases                                                               
under his property.                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  MASEK   reminded  the  committee  that   there  was  an                                                               
objection to Amendment 2, and therefore requested a roll call.                                                                  
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Kerttula, Gatto,                                                               
Heinze,  and  Guttenberg  voted  in  favor  of  the  adoption  of                                                               
Amendment 2.  Representatives  Lynn, Stepovich, Masek, Dahlstrom,                                                               
and Wolf  voted against it.   Therefore, Amendment 2 failed  by a                                                               
vote of 4-5.                                                                                                                    
Number 2349                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM  moved  to   report  CSHB  531,  Version  23-                                                               
LS1818\V,  Chenoweth,  4/15/04,  out   of  committee  again  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN objected.                                                                                                   
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Gatto,  Heinze,                                                               
Stepovich,  Wolf,  Guttenberg,  Kerttula,  Masek,  and  Dahlstrom                                                               
voted  in favor  of  reporting Version  V  from committee  again.                                                               
Representative Lynn voted against  it.  Therefore, CSHB 531(RES),                                                               
Version  V,  was  again  reported  out  of  the  House  Resources                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 8-1.                                                                                            
The committee took an at-ease from 2:32 p.m. to 2:37 p.m.                                                                       
SB 329-NUISANCE MOOSE                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR MASEK  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be CS FOR  SENATE BILL NO. 329(RES), "An Act  relating to control                                                               
of nuisance moose."                                                                                                             
Number 2449                                                                                                                     
SENATOR CON  BUNDE, Alaska State Legislature,  sponsor by request                                                               
of the Alaska Moose Federation,  informed the committee that some                                                               
years  ago 190  moose were  killed in  the Anchorage  area.   The                                                               
aforementioned  led him  to hold  public  hearings regarding  the                                                               
notion of having a special hunt  in order to reduce the number of                                                               
moose.   A substantial  number of people  came out  and testified                                                               
that  they didn't  want the  moose hunted.   Although  the public                                                               
seemed to  have a high  level of  tolerance for the  public being                                                               
injured  by moose,  the  public didn't  address  the moose  being                                                               
SENATOR  BUNDE   explained  that  the  Alaska   Moose  Federation                                                               
proposes that if  there is a problem/nuisance moose  in one area,                                                               
the moose  could be  transported to another  area rather  than be                                                               
killed.  The committee substitute  (CS) before the committee is a                                                               
compromise  between the  Alaska Moose  Federation and  the Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish & Game  (ADF&G).  This legislation would allow                                                               
ADF&G to  authorize a  private group  or individuals  to relocate                                                               
nuisance moose  from urban to rural  areas.  He specified  that a                                                               
nuisance moose  is defined as  a moose  located in area  of human                                                               
concentration  that  poses  a significant  risk  to  the  health,                                                               
safety, or  economic well being of  the people in the  area.  The                                                               
group relocating  the moose will  cover the relocation  costs and                                                               
the  state  is  protected  against  any  liability  arising  from                                                               
actions taken by  the group.  Senator Bunde pointed  out that the                                                               
committee  packet  includes  information from  the  Alaska  Moose                                                               
Federation,  which  details  the  high  number  of  moose-related                                                               
trooper calls as  well as wide support for the  legislation.  The                                                               
packet also  contains the opinions of  three biologists regarding                                                               
the relocation  of moose.   While all three biologists  have vast                                                               
experience  with  wildlife  management,  one  must  remember  the                                                               
following:  adult moose relocation  programs in the US and Alaska                                                               
have  been successful;  ADF&G must  approve  any private  group's                                                               
plan;  ADF&G  has  experience darting  large  animals;  there  is                                                               
appropriate liability protection [for  the state]; the program is                                                               
conducted at no cost to the  state; people are killed and injured                                                               
by moose and  the financial costs are great;  and the legislature                                                               
is  responsible   for  protecting  Alaskans  and   its  wildlife.                                                               
Senator Bunde reiterated that there  is a wide variety of support                                                               
[included in the committee packet].                                                                                             
Number 2760                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF  surmised  that  under  this  program  urban                                                               
dwelling moose  would be transferred  to rural  wilderness areas.                                                               
Therefore,  he inquired  as to  whether disease  would be  spread                                                               
with these relocation efforts.                                                                                                  
SENATOR BUNDE deferred to ADF&G,  but noted that to his knowledge                                                               
there aren't any communicable diseases involving moose.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  maintained his concern with  the possibility                                                               
of transmission of disease through these relocation efforts.                                                                    
Number 2870                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  posed a  situation in  which a  darted moose                                                               
dies in  transport to  its new  location.  He  asked if  the meat                                                               
would  be  edible  and  would  be given  to  charity  in  such  a                                                               
SENATOR  BUNDE specified  that meat  from a  moose that  has been                                                               
darted  shouldn't  be  consumed  by  humans  for  45  days.    He                                                               
acknowledged   that  some   relocated  moose   will  die   during                                                               
relocation, although  he pointed out that  currently all nuisance                                                               
moose  die and  in this  case the  relocated moose  could provide                                                               
"brood stock."                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  inquired as  to  how  a hunter  would  know                                                               
whether 45  days had passed  since a moose  he or she  killed was                                                               
SENATOR  BUNDE  answered that  darted  animals  are collared  and                                                               
tagged so that a hunter would know not to eat the meat.                                                                         
TAPE 04-22, SIDE B                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  requested  that  Senator  Bunde  walk  the                                                               
committee  through  a  scenario  in which  a  nuisance  moose  is                                                               
ultimately relocated.                                                                                                           
SENATOR BUNDE posed a scenario in  which a moose is frequenting a                                                               
schoolyard,  or other  location in  which  the moose  could be  a                                                               
danger to  human life and  health.  The  ADF&G is called  and the                                                               
moose is labeled  as a nuisance moose.  Assuming  that the Alaska                                                               
Moose Federation  is the  entity that  transports the  moose, the                                                               
moose  is darted,  tagged, and  placed in  wheeled transportation                                                               
and transported  to the release site  if on the road  system.  If                                                               
the release site  isn't on the road  system, helicopter transport                                                               
would occur.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  related his understanding that  there would                                                               
be  a holding  facility  so that  the moose  would  have time  to                                                               
metabolize the darting  chemical, and therefore would  be able to                                                               
recover prior to being relocated.                                                                                               
SENATOR  BUNDE  said   that  the  Alaska  Zoo   has  offered  its                                                               
facilities to  do what Representative Gatto  described.  However,                                                               
he  specified that  he didn't  view that  as an  extended holding                                                               
area but rather an area for a two- or three-day stay.                                                                           
Number 2829                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE said  she  finds it  interesting that  the                                                               
Alaska State Constitution mandates  moose management by sustained                                                               
yield  principles and  moose are  considered  a natural  resource                                                               
owned  by all  Alaskans.   She  inquired as  to why  it took  the                                                               
pipeline  being  shot  at  for  Alaska  Moose  Federation  to  be                                                               
SENATOR BUNDE answered that he didn't know.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG related  his understanding  from ADF&G                                                               
that when moose are relocated  habitat sustainability is critical                                                               
for the relocation area.  Therefore,  he inquired as to where the                                                               
moose would be relocated.  He  also inquired as to whether it's a                                                               
situation in  which the  [priority] is to  remove the  moose from                                                               
the area in which it's causing a problem.                                                                                       
SENATOR BUNDE  responded that  ADF&G will  determine the  area to                                                               
which the  moose will be relocated.   He explained that  there is                                                               
the  desire to  relocate moose  to areas  where the  habitat will                                                               
sustain more  animals and there  is a low density  of population.                                                               
There is also the desire to move the moose from harm's way.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  restated his earlier question  regarding the                                                               
transportation of disease by moose.                                                                                             
Number 2645                                                                                                                     
MATT ROBUS,  Director, Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish & Game (ADF&G),  said that he didn't  know of                                                               
any commonly found  diseases that would be of  concern.  However,                                                               
ADF&G would take interest in  any moose that didn't look healthy.                                                               
He  predicted that  once such  a moose  is identified,  he didn't                                                               
believe that  moose would be  relocated.  In further  response to                                                               
Representative  Wolf,  he explained  that  CSSB  329(RES) is  the                                                               
result  of meetings  with  the Alaska  Moose  Federation and  the                                                               
sponsor because  ADF&G was  concerned with regard  to how  such a                                                               
program would draw  off staff and fiscal resources.   The current                                                               
legislation illustrates  one of the agreements  reached, which is                                                               
the  third-party  organization will  have  to  agree to  pay  the                                                               
state's costs  and illustrate that  it can pay those  costs prior                                                               
to entering  the project.   However, how this will  actually work                                                               
between  the  third  party  and  the  department  is  yet  to  be                                                               
determined.  He related that  one scenario could be a third-party                                                               
organization  with  qualified   individuals,  and  therefore  the                                                               
third-party organization  would have the  program on its  own and                                                               
the department would  merely help identify which moose  are to be                                                               
considered nuisances  and where those moose  should be relocated.                                                               
Another scenario could be one  in which ADF&G could possibly have                                                               
some personnel  involved, but the third-party  organization would                                                               
reimburse the department  for it's staff time.   This all depends                                                               
upon the  nature of the agreement,  the size of the  project, and                                                               
things yet to be determined.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  if the  moose would  be darted  when                                                               
picked up and again when relocated from the zoo.                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said that he hasn't  been involved with moving moose or                                                               
any other  animal that  size without  immobilizing it.   Although                                                               
there may be mechanical techniques  that could be utilized to get                                                               
the moose in  the trailers, he indicated that there  could be two                                                               
immobilization periods.                                                                                                         
Number 2482                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if performing this  relocation effort                                                               
and  staging  the moose  at  the  zoo  during  the rut  would  be                                                               
MR. ROBUS  answered that during  the rut  one would need  to take                                                               
care  if placing  multiple moose  of  different sex  in the  same                                                               
holding  area.   There would  have to  be some  careful big  game                                                               
management considerations during that time of the year.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  commented that the  goal is to  ensure that                                                               
the state doesn't  end up spending a lot of  money for a nuisance                                                               
moose when  the animal  could easily be  dispatched in  place and                                                               
the meat distributed to the charities.                                                                                          
MR. ROBUS related that when  animals move into the Anchorage area                                                               
and become  nuisances, it is  typically during the  winter season                                                               
and probably  post-rut.  Mr.  Robus related ADF&G's  concern that                                                               
[relocation efforts] done in late  winter when the animals are in                                                               
the  worst  condition  of  the  year mean  that  the  moose  will                                                               
probably do the worst in terms of capture mortality.                                                                            
Number 2378                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  STEPOVICH  inquired   as  to  the  qualifications                                                               
necessary to move moose.                                                                                                        
MR. ROBUS  answered that he didn't  believe there to be  hard and                                                               
fast qualifications,  except in  the area  of handling  the drugs                                                               
involved.   Due to the types  of drugs used, a  veterinarian will                                                               
have to be  in charge of the drugs.   The aforementioned could be                                                               
performed  under  the   department's  authority  and  third-party                                                               
individuals   work  under   that   umbrella   or  a   third-party                                                               
organization could  have a  separate operation  with veterinarian                                                               
help that qualifies to possess  and dispense the necessary drugs.                                                               
In terms  of laws, rules, and  safety, the handling of  the drugs                                                               
is the  most critical part of  this whereas much of  the handling                                                               
of  the animals  is  merely  good practical  sense.   In  further                                                               
response to Representative Stepovich,  Mr. Robus pointed out that                                                               
the  legislation   specifies  that   there  will  be   a  written                                                               
application and proposal.  He  confirmed that there could be more                                                               
than one third-party organization and  it could take on different                                                               
forms.  With  regard to a moose returning to  the spot from which                                                               
it was taken, he suggested  that there would be relatively little                                                               
problem with it returning.                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM  declared a conflict  of interest  because she                                                               
is  a  member  of  the   advisory  board  for  the  Alaska  Moose                                                               
Federation.   With regard to  moose meat going to  charities, Co-                                                               
Chair Dahlstrom said  that the Alaska State Troopers  have a list                                                               
of  charities that  are interested  in moose  meat.   She related                                                               
that many of those involved  with the Alaska Moose Federation and                                                               
promoting this  program are individuals  with a genuine  love for                                                               
the animals.   She highlighted that the  legislation specifies on                                                               
page  1,  lines 13-15,  that  the  group(s) or  individuals  will                                                               
reimburse  the  state  for  all  costs  incurred  for  relocating                                                               
nuisance moose.   She  further related that  the folks  she knows                                                               
who are involved in this  all have professional veterinarians and                                                               
equipment.   Furthermore,  folks who  raise these  animals on  an                                                               
ongoing basis undergo inspections and  must comply with state and                                                               
federal regulations.                                                                                                            
Number 2076                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked  if there  are  regulations  in                                                               
place for this process.                                                                                                         
MR. ROBUS  replied yes, and  explained that ADF&G  has collecting                                                               
permits which  allow the  department to  take and  handle animals                                                               
and there is  a staff veterinarian who can hold  and dispense the                                                               
necessary  drugs.    Mr.  Robus  noted that  ADF&G  staff  go  to                                                               
training.  He  said that it's a matter of  regulations as well as                                                               
training, practice, and expertise.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked  if  this  is  going  to  be  a                                                               
statewide effort or merely an Anchorage basin effort.                                                                           
MR. ROBUS  explained that  in the  negotiations that  resulted in                                                               
CSSB 329(RES),  everyone agreed  that the  legislation will  be a                                                               
pilot effort for the Municipality of Anchorage.                                                                                 
Number 1931                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   WOLF   related   his  understanding   that   are                                                               
approximately 190 moose in the Anchorage area.                                                                                  
MR.  ROBUS stated  that  in  a winter  such  as  this, there  are                                                               
probably nearly 1,000 moose in the Anchorage bowl.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  questioned how one organization  can take on                                                               
a task that size.                                                                                                               
MR. ROBUS  answered that he  wasn't sure, but opined  that's part                                                               
of why it's a pilot project.   The question regarding whether the                                                               
nuisance moose problem  can be whittled down over  time with this                                                               
approach has  yet to be  seen.  Given the  compromise encompassed                                                               
in CSSB  329(RES), ADF&G is willing  to give this proposal  a try                                                               
and possibly even help some moose populations.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  remarked that  the idea has  merit, although                                                               
he felt  that it would be  more economical to provide  moose meat                                                               
to [charitable organizations].                                                                                                  
Number 1845                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced that SB 329 would be held over.                                                                        
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:12 p.m.                                                                 

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