Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/30/2005 01:00 PM RESOURCES


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HJR 16 OPPOSE UN LAND DESIGNATIONS IN ALASKA TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 198 AQUATIC FARMING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 198(RES) Out of Committee
*+ HJR 9 URGE CONGRESS HONOR EXXON VALDEZ JUDGMENT TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 174 FISHING PERMIT AND VESSEL LICENSE FEES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 30, 2005                                                                                         
                           1:08 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jay Ramras, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Ralph Samuels, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9                                                                                                    
Urging  the  United States  Congress  to  honor the  process  and                                                               
judgment of  the federal courts in  the case of the  Exxon Valdez                                                               
disaster  and to  refrain from  enacting  legislation that  would                                                               
affect the outcome of the courts' resolution of the case.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HJR 9 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 16                                                                                                   
Opposing the  designation of  any area  in the  state as  a world                                                               
heritage  site,   biosphere  reserve,   or  any  other   type  of                                                               
international  designation  without  the consent  of  the  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 198                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  aquatic farming;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 198(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 174                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to commercial  fishing permit and vessel license                                                               
fees; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR  9                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: URGE CONGRESS HONOR EXXON VALDEZ JUDGMENT                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) LEDOUX                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/14/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/14/05       (H)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
03/30/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 16                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSE UN LAND DESIGNATIONS IN ALASKA                                                                              
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ELKINS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/14/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/14/05       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/30/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 198                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AQUATIC FARMING                                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ELKINS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/04/05       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/18/05       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/18/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 198(FSH) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/18/05       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/21/05       (H)       FSH RPT CS(FSH) 3DP 2NR                                                                                
03/21/05       (H)       DP: WILSON, ELKINS, THOMAS;                                                                            
03/21/05       (H)       NR: HARRIS, KAPSNER                                                                                    
03/30/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE HANCOCK, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HJR 9 on behalf of Representative                                                                 
LeDoux, sponsor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MATT JAMIN, Attorney for the Plaintiffs                                                                                         
Exxon Valdez Lawsuit                                                                                                            
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
MICHAEL MAXWELL, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                           
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ROXY ESTES                                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DOLLIE SCOTT                                                                                                                    
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL SCOTT, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                             
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DIANE PLATT                                                                                                                     
Cordova District Fishermen United                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
STEVE SMITH, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                               
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JERRY MCCUNE                                                                                                                    
United Fishermen of Alaska                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 9.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JAMES VAN HORN, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HJR 16 on behalf of Representative                                                                
Elkins, sponsor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CINDY MIDDLESTADT, Communications Manager                                                                                       
Alaska Support Industry Alliance                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 16.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JASON BRUNE, Project Coordinator                                                                                                
Resource Development Council                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 16.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
IRENE ANDERSON, Assistant Land Manager                                                                                          
Bering Straits Native Corporation                                                                                               
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 16.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DICK COOSE                                                                                                                      
Concerned Alaskans for Resource and Environment                                                                                 
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 16.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JOS GOVAARS, Staff                                                                                                              
to Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 198 on behalf of Representative                                                                
Elkins, sponsor.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JULIE DECKER, Executive Director                                                                                                
Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association                                                                            
Wrangell, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 198.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT HARTLEY, Oyster Farmer, President                                                                                        
Alaska Shellfish Growers Association                                                                                            
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 198.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BEDFORD, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Alaska Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 198.                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
PAUL FUHS                                                                                                                       
Pacific Aquaculture Caucus (PAC) Alaska                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 198.                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  RALPH  SAMUELS  called  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  1:08:51  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Olson, Elkins,  Ramras, Samuels, and  LeDoux were present  at the                                                               
call  to order.    Representatives Crawford,  Kapsner, and  Gatto                                                               
joined the meeting while it was in progress.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HJR  9-URGE CONGRESS HONOR EXXON VALDEZ JUDGMENT                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  SAMUELS  announced that  the  first  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO.  9,  Urging the United States                                                               
Congress to honor the process  and judgment of the federal courts                                                               
in the  case of  the Exxon  Valdez disaster  and to  refrain from                                                               
enacting  legislation  that  would  affect  the  outcome  of  the                                                               
courts' resolution of the case.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SUZANNE  HANCOCK,  Staff   to  Representative  Gabrielle  LeDoux,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  said HJR  9 urges  the United  States                                                               
Congress to  respect the  judicial process  and refrain  from any                                                               
action to  alter the punitive  damage awards to more  than 32,000                                                               
plaintiffs as a  result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez  oil spill.  She                                                               
noted that after  16 years, the plaintiffs are  still waiting for                                                               
resolution  of the  lawsuit.   When Congress  considered the  Oil                                                               
Pollution  Act  of  1990,  Exxon   Mobil  Corporation  sought  an                                                               
amendment  that would  have  substantially  reduced the  punitive                                                               
damages  that would  have been  paid  from the  Exxon Valdez  oil                                                               
spill.    This resolution  allows  the  courts to  determine  the                                                               
matter, she concluded.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:10:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATT JAMIN,  Attorney for the  Plaintiffs, Kodiak,  said Congress                                                               
is passing bills  very quickly without public  input, and current                                                               
members of  Congress are  concerned about  class action  and tort                                                               
litigation.   It  is possible,  he said,  that legislation  could                                                               
retroactively alter  the Exxon  Valdez punitive  award case.   He                                                               
said he supports the resolution.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:12:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  MAXWELL,  Commercial  Fisherman, Cordova,  said  he  has                                                               
fished and repaired  nets since he was a child.   "Our lives were                                                               
drastically  changed when  the  Exxon Valdez  ran  aground."   He                                                               
noted the  Prince William Sound  herring fisheries  were "totally                                                               
wiped out," losing a huge  portion of his livelihood.  "Fisherman                                                               
who had $500,000  boats sold them for pennies on  the dollar," he                                                               
added.  In Cordova there are  $30,000 nets stacked up and unused.                                                               
He  said  he has  lost  health  insurance  and has  many  medical                                                               
problems.   The community had  a fundraising benefit to  help pay                                                               
for  his medical  needs.   The spill  took livelihoods  away from                                                               
many, and he  asked, "Where is the help from  our politicians and                                                               
government?   Our  court system  has  failed us."   He  suggested                                                               
forbidding Exxon  from drilling  on the Arctic  National Wildlife                                                               
Refuge.     "How  about  laws   quadrupling  verdicts   of  large                                                               
corporations  for using  their great  influence  to stifle  court                                                               
proceedings?"  he asked,  "Where's  the help?"    He accused  the                                                               
legislature of  doing nothing.   "While Exxon makes  millions, we                                                               
go broke," he said.  "You  people are all in Exxon's pockets," he                                                               
said.  His daughter was  2-years-old when the spill happened, and                                                               
she will  graduate from high school  this spring, he noted.   "My                                                               
biggest dream was  to send her to a good  school, and, hopefully,                                                               
one of these days  I will be able to do it.   Please help us," he                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:16:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROXY ESTES,  Cordova, said the  Exxon Valdez oil  spill destroyed                                                               
her  life, and  forced  her  children to  move  away.   She  said                                                               
putting a  cap on damage awards  is ludicrous.  "The  damage done                                                               
is beyond words."   Big oil has  had their way, she  said, and it                                                               
bulldozed right  over locals with  no one in the  political arena                                                               
willing to stand  up for them.  No one  has been held accountable                                                               
for  the  lives  destroyed,  she  said.    She  stated,  "Exxon's                                                               
excellent   p.r.  campaign   has   been  enormously   successful.                                                               
Everyone worldwide  thinks Prince William  Sound is fine.   It is                                                               
not.  It  probably never will be again."   Elected officials need                                                               
to  represent the  people  who  put them  in  office, she  added.                                                               
"Stand up for the little guy."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:18:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOLLIE  SCOTT, Cordova,  said herring,  crab and  everything that                                                               
was fished  has gone  downhill.   She said  if the  damage claims                                                               
aren't settled,  it is an  invitation to do  it again.   She said                                                               
all the fishermen fought against  having the pipeline come out of                                                               
Valdez.    She  said  the  community could  have  lived  with  an                                                               
accident due to a storm, but "it was a drunken accident."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:19:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL SCOTT,  Fisherman, Cordova, said people  think that Exxon                                                               
has  paid all  that is  due, "but  nothing has  been paid  to the                                                               
fisherman."   He  suggested  that  they pay  before  they can  do                                                               
business in the state.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:20:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIANE  PLATT,   Cordova  District  Fishermen  United,   said  her                                                               
organization  represents over  900 commercial  fishermen in  area                                                               
(E).   She noted that  many of them  have been devastated  by the                                                               
oil spill, and  she encourages any attempt to  get the plaintiffs                                                               
the settlements they have been waiting for.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:21:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  SMITH, Commercial  Fisherman,  Cordova, said  half of  his                                                               
income was  from herring fishing,  which is  now gone.   He noted                                                               
that nothing indicates  it is coming back.  He  said the case has                                                               
been going  on longer than  is reasonable.   "Exxon has a  lot of                                                               
money;  they  don't mind  spending  it  on their  attorneys,  and                                                               
they're very  reluctant to  go ahead  and pay  the bill  that the                                                               
courts  and juries  have deemed  we have  coming."   He concluded                                                               
that justice delayed is not really justice.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:22:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JERRY  MCCUNE, United  Fishermen  of Alaska,  Juneau, said  there                                                               
have been  several attempts by  Exxon to get legislation  to free                                                               
them  of  punitive  damages.    "They're  on  constant  watch  in                                                               
Washington D.C.," he said.   The resolution urges Congress not to                                                               
allow any legislation to get Exxon out of their duty.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:23:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  moved to  pass HJR  9 from  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations.   There  being no  objection, HJR  9                                                               
passed from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HJR 16-OPPOSE UN LAND DESIGNATIONS IN ALASKA                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS announced that the  next order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 16,  Opposing the  designation of                                                               
any  area  in the  state  as  a  world heritage  site,  biosphere                                                               
reserve, or  any other type of  international designation without                                                               
the consent of the Alaska State Legislature.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES VAN HORN, Staff to  Representative Jim Elkins, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  HJR  16   on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Elkins, sponsor (original punctuation provided):                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     House Joint  Resolution 16  opposes the  designation of                                                                    
     any area in Alaska as  a World Heritage Site, Biosphere                                                                    
     Reserve,   or   any   other   type   of   international                                                                    
     designation without the specific  consent of the Alaska                                                                    
     State  Legislature.   It also  urges the  United States                                                                    
     Congress to pass and the  President to sign legislation                                                                    
     that  will  require approval  by  and  Act of  Congress                                                                    
     before   any  area   in  the   United  States   or  its                                                                    
     territories can be nominated as  a World Heritage Site,                                                                    
     Biosphere Reserve,  or any other type  of international                                                                    
     designation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     This  resolution  urges  the  Congress  of  the  United                                                                    
     States  to  reaffirm  the   power  of  Congress,  under                                                                    
     article   IV,   section   3  of   the   United   States                                                                    
     Constitution   over  international   agreements,  which                                                                    
     concern   disposal,  management,   and  use   of  lands                                                                    
     belonging  to  the United  States.    To protect  State                                                                    
     powers  not reserved  to the  Federal Government  under                                                                    
     the  Constitution  from   Federal  actions  designating                                                                    
     lands  pursuant to  international  agreements.   Ensure                                                                    
     that no United States  citizen suffers any diminishment                                                                    
     or loss  of individual  rights as  a result  of Federal                                                                    
     actions  designating  lands pursuant  to  international                                                                    
     agreements  for purposes  of  imposing restrictions  on                                                                    
     use of those lands.   Protect private interests in real                                                                    
     property  from  diminishment  as a  result  of  Federal                                                                    
     actions  designating  lands pursuant  to  international                                                                    
     agreements.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:26:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD asked him to define a biosphere reserve.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VAN HORN  said  it is  an area  of  terrestrial and  coastal                                                               
ecosystems promoting  solutions to reconcile the  conservation of                                                               
biodiversity   with  sustainable   use.     The  United   Nations                                                               
Educational   Scientific  and   Cultural  Organization   (UNESCO)                                                               
"governs  these  biosphere  reserves,"   he  added.    "Biosphere                                                               
reserves just  sort of showed up,"  he said.  They  include three                                                               
areas once  designated: core area, buffer  zone, and transitional                                                               
zone.   He said normally  the core area  is not subject  to human                                                               
activity, the  buffer zones help  protect the core area,  and the                                                               
transitional  zone  is  an  area  outside  of  the  buffer  where                                                               
resources are  developed for the  benefit of the people  who live                                                               
there.   "The  majority  of the  biosphere  reserves are  talking                                                               
about  people like  in South  America ...  where they  sell their                                                               
baskets  and Native  arts and  stuff  of this  nature," he  said.                                                               
"What is disturbing  is ... the Secretary of Interior,  by just a                                                               
signature of her  pen, can designate a World Heritage  Site."  He                                                               
said it circumvents the constitution.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:30:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CINDY   MIDDLESTADT,  Communications   Manager,  Alaska   Support                                                               
Industry Alliance, said  the alliance is a  nonprofit trade group                                                               
of oil,  gas, and mining  industries.  The alliance  supports HJR
16   because  environmental   maneuvers  can   stall  development                                                               
projects,  and conservation  designations  would provide  another                                                               
tool  for the  international  environmental  groups and  wildlife                                                               
activists.   She  said  industry  projects need  to  get off  the                                                               
ground  and maintain  operations.    International movements  and                                                               
ill-spirited  motivations could  increase  the  fear factor,  she                                                               
added, and  it is  appropriate that  Congress decides  before any                                                               
conservation designations are made in Alaska.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:32:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JASON BRUNE,  Project Coordinator, Resource  Development Council,                                                               
said his  organization's mission is  to grow Alaska's  economy by                                                               
developing  natural  resources.    He said  he  agrees  with  Ms.                                                               
Middlestadt's  comments.   He said  the Alaska  National Interest                                                               
Lands  Conservation   Act  created  a  network   of  conservation                                                               
systems.   The federal  government manages  235 million  acres in                                                               
Alaska, and  58 million  are Wilderness.   The addition  of world                                                               
heritage  sites is  unnecessary, he  opined.   "Such designations                                                               
would  severely   limit  the   economic  potential   of  resource                                                               
development  projects  throughout  our  great  state,"  he  said.                                                               
"Alaskans,  and Alaskans  alone," should  make decisions  on "our                                                               
land and  our resources," therefore Congress  and the legislature                                                               
should approve of biosphere reserves in Alaska.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:34:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  BORELL,  Executive  Director, Alaska  Miners  Association,                                                               
said biosphere  reserves and  world heritage  sites would  pose a                                                               
serious threat to  development, and they would be  used to harass                                                               
developers.  No more lands in  Alaska should be added to any type                                                               
of conservation  system.  Administrative  actions cannot  be used                                                               
to close or study lands unless  the study is authorized by an act                                                               
of Congress,  he said.   He said  world heritage sites  have been                                                               
used by  environmental groups to  stop projects, and  one project                                                               
in Australia  was harassed by  picketing a board meeting.   Three                                                               
environmental  groups petitioned  an  overseas  developer to  not                                                               
insure a mine in Kamchatka,  where a world heritage site overlaid                                                               
a  park and  preserve that  had been  established by  the Russian                                                               
government.   He believes that  if a  world heritage site  was in                                                               
place  in  western Alaska,  the  Red  Dog  mine would  have  been                                                               
blocked.   He  said it  is important  for an  act of  Congress to                                                               
approve a world heritage site.   He noted is not concerned by the                                                               
current Alaska administration, but he is by future ones.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:38:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
IRENE  ANDERSON, Assistant  Land Manager,  Bering Straits  Native                                                               
Corporation,  Nome, said  she  has worked  in  opposition to  the                                                               
marine biosphere  in Beringia.   The  federal budget  allocates a                                                               
lot of  money to  universities to  study Beringia  National Park,                                                               
she added.   She said  she wants  to stop authorization  of money                                                               
for  studies of  these  areas.   She  noted  that  there is  good                                                               
information coming from  the studies, but "they don't  need to be                                                               
calling  [it] an  international park."   She  said Bering  Strait                                                               
Natives have land  within and adjacent to the  Bering Land Bridge                                                               
National  Preserve,  and  Shishmaref  needs to  move  because  of                                                               
warming  ocean erosion  problems.   She  said, "If  we get  these                                                               
world heritages...we  could see  that not  only would  the Native                                                               
land  be  affected...but  neighboring  state  land...mines  right                                                               
south of  the preserve, and  we would  expect that that  would no                                                               
longer  happen  because  of the  transitional  zones  and  buffer                                                               
zones."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:43:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DICK  COOSE, Concerned  Alaskans  for  Resource and  Environment,                                                               
Ketchikan,  said  his   group  was  formed  to   keep  access  to                                                               
resources.   He said he  supports HJR 16, "that  asks, basically,                                                               
the U.S. legislature  to require that the Congress  and the state                                                               
legislature approve any UN designations  of world heritage sites,                                                               
biosphere   reserves,  or   any  other   type  of   international                                                               
designation."    The  designations ultimately  restrict  or  stop                                                               
public use of  public and private land, he said.   In Yellowstone                                                               
National Park,  there was  a mine  outside of  the park  that was                                                               
stopped as a  direct result of a United Nations  designation.  He                                                               
requested that local  governments also have a say.   "The UN is a                                                               
non-elected body ... and we  don't need their interference in our                                                               
lives," he said.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS said  he would like to  hold the resolution                                                               
in order to draft amendments.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[HJR 16 was held over]                                                                                                          
HB 198-AQUATIC FARMING                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS announced that the  next order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 198 "An  Act relating to aquatic  farming; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JOS  GOVAARS, Staff  to Representative  Jim Elkins,  said HB  198                                                               
amends Alaska's Aquatic Farming Act  and will allow aquatic farms                                                               
to operate  in compliance with  a recent supreme  court decision.                                                               
It  will  permit shellfish  farmers  to  sell insignificant  wild                                                               
shellfish  stocks, he  explained.   Alaska Department  of Fish  &                                                               
Game  (ADF&G)  opened a  commercial  dive  fishery on  designated                                                               
mariculture  sites to  remove the  wild geoducks,  which prepares                                                               
the  sites   for  future  mariculture.     He  noted   that  this                                                               
legislation  is a  compromise between  industry  members and  the                                                               
administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked about the taxation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:50:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIE DECKER, Executive Director,  Southeast Alaska Regional Dive                                                               
Fisheries  Association  (SARDFA),  Wrangell,  said HB  198  is  a                                                               
result of a  supreme court decision, which forced  the parties to                                                               
come  to the  table and  create a  compromise.   The levy,  which                                                               
Representative Kapsner  referred to  as a tax,  should be  set in                                                               
regulations  because  this is  a  new  way to  approach  resource                                                               
management.   If the legislature  feels it is appropriate  to set                                                               
the levy  in statute, she  said SARDFA would  like it as  high as                                                               
possible.   The  court  said the  state  cannot hand  significant                                                               
stocks to an individual.  To  comply with the court decision, the                                                               
levy would need  to be high enough  to make sure there  is no net                                                               
profit  going to  the  farmer, she  said.   The  farmers will  be                                                               
allowed to clear land to prepare for their farming activities.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:52:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  HARTLEY, Oyster  Farmer and  President, Alaska  Shellfish                                                               
Growers Association,  Homer, said HB  198 is an enabling  bill to                                                               
allow the shellfish  industry to go forward.   Dive fishermen and                                                               
the state are  in agreement with this legislation, he  added.  He                                                               
said that  without the bill, the  geoduck farms will be  gone and                                                               
the Seward  hatchery will  close, because the  geoduck seed  is a                                                               
vital part of the shellfish hatchery business plan.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:54:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BEDFORD,  Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Department  of Fish &                                                               
Game, said  he was one  of the principles involved  in developing                                                               
"this compromise."   He said  Alaska has been a  poor environment                                                               
for the development  of geoduck farms, which he thinks  will be a                                                               
productive  industry.     The  superior  court   said  the  state                                                               
constitution bars  ADF&G from  transferring a  significant amount                                                               
of common property  resource to farmers.  The  supreme court said                                                               
there  is  no  statutory   authority  to  transfer  insignificant                                                               
amounts.   HB  198 remedies  the  problem.   It allows  shellfish                                                               
farmers  to  harvest insignificant  amounts  of  wild stock  from                                                               
their farm  sites, he  said.  For  geoducks, ADF&G  staff believe                                                               
12,000 pounds  per farm site should  be considered insignificant.                                                               
Full public regulatory review will  revisit this number, he said.                                                               
Other elements  of HB  198 are  important, he  added.   Section 2                                                               
reiterates the  superior courts decision  that the state  may not                                                               
authorize  a  taking of  significant  stocks  of shellfish  by  a                                                               
farmer, and surveys will be required by biologists.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:57:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BEDFORD  said  that  Section  3 of  HB  198  creates  a  new                                                               
authority  for the  commissioner of  ADF&G to  allow a  farmer to                                                               
harvest a  significant amount of  wild stock with  an appropriate                                                               
levy--not a tax,  but a right to  harvest.  He said  that this is                                                               
new ground,  and advised  that the  greater the  compensation the                                                               
public  will receive,  the more  it  will be  acceptable for  the                                                               
exclusive  harvest.   Whatever price  was charged,  farmers would                                                               
need to be somewhere below the break-even point.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:00:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD said  Section 5 is important, because  ADF&G does not                                                               
allow the public  access to proprietary information,  but it will                                                               
report to  the public the  total amount  of shellfish taken.   He                                                               
said  another section  requires farmers  to leave  the amount  of                                                               
stock that they take when their permit is over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:01:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS said there is  talk of an amendment that defines                                                               
an insignificant number.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD  said ADF&G prefers  to set the amount  in regulation                                                               
because that process allows for more science and public input.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:02:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER  suggested  that  it is  also  easier  to                                                               
change regulations.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD said it is true, but there would be another hearing.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked about the level of a levy.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BEDFORD said  the  principle criteria  is  what is  adequate                                                               
compensation to the public for a common property resource.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER said  she doesn't  understand how  farmed                                                               
animals can be a common property resource.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD answered  that in aquatic farming,  there are natural                                                               
stock already there.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:04:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked  how it is lucrative if  a farmer is                                                               
assessed a 50 percent levy.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD  said there is  no levy on  their stock, only  on the                                                               
natural stock.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:05:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD asked  the difference  between wild  and                                                               
farmed stock.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BEDFORD said they are easily identified by age and size.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  FUHS,   Pacific  Aquaculture  Caucus  (PAC)   Alaska,  said                                                               
shellfish farming  will be a  good industry.  One  five-acre farm                                                               
can produce  as much  as the total  commercial harvest  of Alaska                                                               
wild stock  in one year.   It will help the  wild fishery because                                                               
it creates  a year-round market,  he said.   He said  the tension                                                               
between  wild harvesters  and  farmers is  that  farmers want  to                                                               
establish farms  on good habitat,  which means there  are already                                                               
wild stock there.  There is  no commercial fishery on a site with                                                               
only 100,000 pounds  of wild stock.  He said  the legislature was                                                               
fed up  with ADF&G  for not  allowing farms,  so it  passed House                                                               
Bill 208.  He said there are  two amendments.  The one from Lance                                                               
Nelson in the Department of Law is a good amendment, he opined.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FUHS  said  he  will  leave it  up  to  the  legislature  to                                                               
determine whether  to set 12,000  pounds in policy, but,  "I wish                                                               
we  could say  that we  had  more faith  in [ADF&G]  to stick  by                                                               
12,000 pounds, or  not attach other things to it,  like how close                                                               
it is  to another fishery  or other  things that you  could never                                                               
define.  My clients are going to  be fine with their farm, but if                                                               
you want this to go into an  industry and have other people to be                                                               
able to have farms sites  where there's insignificant stocks, you                                                               
either need to put it in as 12,000  pounds or keep a close eye on                                                               
what [ADF&G]  is doing.  Eventually,  I think we may  come to the                                                               
conclusion  you really  need to  move this  to the  Department of                                                               
Agriculture in [the  Department of Natural Resources]."   He said                                                               
that ADF&G has a natural hostility to farming.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:11:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD asked the value of 12,000 pounds.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. FUHS said 12,000 pounds would wholesale at $100,000.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked, "Do these things move around?"                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. FUHS  said geoduck clams live  in one place about  three feet                                                               
under the sea floor and filter 80 gallons of water a day.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:13:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. FUHS said he doesn't know anyone who is opposed to HB 198.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:14:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS offered Amendment 1, as follows:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 9, delete "acquire ownership of"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 carries.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:14:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS moved  to pass HB 198 as  amended with individual                                                               
recommendations.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:16 PM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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