Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

03/22/2006 01:00 PM RESOURCES


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01:55:50 PM Start
01:59:00 PM HB415
02:21:11 PM Board of Game
02:25:59 PM Big Game Services Board
02:33:30 PM HB420
02:45:34 PM HB419
02:53:14 PM Board of Game
02:54:12 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to Session Adjourn--
= HB 415 LIABILITY FOR RECREATIONAL LAND USE
Moved Out of Committee
*+ HB 419 REPEAL UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK LAWS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ HB 420 FOREST RESOURCES & PRACTICES STANDARDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 420(FSH) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 22, 2006                                                                                         
                           1:55 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jay Ramras, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Ralph Samuels, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Jim Elkins                                                                                                       
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 415                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to landowners' immunity for allowing use of                                                                    
land for a recreational activity; and providing for an effective                                                                
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 415 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Board of Game                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Richard Burley - Fairbanks                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Big Game Commercial Services Board                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Robert Mumford - Anchorage                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 420                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to riparian protection standards for forest                                                                    
resources and practices; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 420(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 419                                                                                                              
"An  Act repealing  the  Board of  Storage  Tank Assistance,  the                                                               
underground  storage  tank  revolving  loan fund,  and  the  tank                                                               
cleanup  loan program;  repealing certain  reporting requirements                                                               
relating to  underground petroleum  storage tank  systems; making                                                               
conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 419 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Board of Game                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Cliff Judkins - Wasilla                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 415                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIABILITY FOR RECREATIONAL LAND USE                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) SEATON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/01/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/06       (H)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
03/22/06       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 420                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FOREST RESOURCES & PRACTICES STANDARDS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/01/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/06       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
02/15/06       (H)       FSH AT 8:30 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/15/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 420(FSH) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/15/06       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/17/06       (H)       FSH RPT CS(FSH) 5DP                                                                                    
02/17/06       (H)       DP: HARRIS, WILSON, ELKINS, THOMAS,                                                                    
                         LEDOUX                                                                                                 
03/22/06       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 419                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REPEAL UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK LAWS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) COGHILL                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
02/01/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/01/06       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/22/06       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANNE MARIE HOLEN, Assistant City Manager                                                                                        
City of Homer                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BRANN, Volunteer                                                                                                          
for trail construction and maintenance                                                                                          
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MILLI MARTIN                                                                                                                    
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DAVID SCHEER                                                                                                                    
D & A Design                                                                                                                    
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE HESS, Founding Member                                                                                                     
Coalition for Homer Open Space and Trails (CoHOST)                                                                              
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
LINDSAY WINKLER                                                                                                                 
Homer Soil and Water Conservation District                                                                                      
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MARUS KILCHER                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
AL POINDEXTER, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Association of Conservation Districts                                                                                    
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT ARCHIBALD                                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ROBERTA HIGHLAND                                                                                                                
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society                                                                                               
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 415.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD BURLEY, Appointee                                                                                                       
Board of Game                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT MUMFORD, Appointee                                                                                                       
Big Game Commercial Services Board                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS MAISCH, State Forester                                                                                                    
Division of Forestry                                                                                                            
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 420 on behalf of the governor.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD SMERIGLIO, Member                                                                                                       
Alaska Board of Forestry                                                                                                        
Seward, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 420.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KAREN LIDSTER, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative John Coghill                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 419 on behalf Representative                                                                   
Coghill, sponsor.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
LARRY DIETRICK, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Spill Prevention and Response                                                                                       
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding HB 419.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF JUDKINS, Appointee                                                                                                        
Board of Game                                                                                                                   
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JAY   RAMRAS  called   the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order at  1:55:50  PM.    Representatives                                                             
Ramras, Samuels,  Gatto, Olson,  and Seaton  were present  at the                                                               
call  to order.   Representatives  Elkins, LeDoux,  Crawford, and                                                               
Kapsner arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HB 415-LIABILITY FOR RECREATIONAL LAND USE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 415, "An Act relating  to landowners' immunity                                                               
for  allowing  use  of  land for  a  recreational  activity;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  informed the  committee that HB  415 seeks                                                               
to allow  public use  of private  land for  recreational purposes                                                               
with immunity  to negligence granted  to the landowner.   He said                                                               
there wouldn't  be immunity for  gross negligence  or intentional                                                               
or  reckless conduct.   He  referred to  letters of  support from                                                               
boroughs, the  [Alaska] State Chamber of  Commerce, the [Kachemak                                                               
Heritage] Land  Trust, the [Alaska]  Soil and  Water Conservation                                                               
District,   ski   associations/organizations,  and   individuals.                                                               
Currently, the recreational statute  only applies to the inherent                                                               
risks, but not to the land, which is nonspecific, he said.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:59:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  HB  415 is  strongly  supported  by                                                               
people across the state, especially in his district.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS stated that he  doesn't anticipate contention and                                                               
requested that testifiers be concise.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:00:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE MARIE  HOLEN, Assistant  City Manager,  City of  Homer, said                                                               
she's testifying on behalf of  Walt Wrede, city manager of Homer.                                                               
She  noted  City  of Homer  resolution  0630,  expressing  strong                                                               
support for  HB 415 and  said outdoor recreation is  important to                                                               
Homer's identity  and economy.   Most residents of  Homer support                                                               
trails development,  but some landowners who  would be interested                                                               
in  establishing   public  trails  through  their   property  are                                                               
understandably  nervous about  liability.    This bill  addresses                                                               
these  concerns and  clears up  ambiguity  in current  law.   She                                                               
concluded, "HB  415 should  be welcomed  as an  easy 'no-brainer'                                                               
that will have a positive impact throughout the state."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BRANN, Kachemak  Nordic Ski Club and  trail volunteer, said                                                               
he's a founding member of the  Coalition for Homer Open Space and                                                               
Trails (CoHOST).  He said  recreation plays a significant role in                                                               
the  state's economy,  and trails  are  important for  year-round                                                               
residents and  visitors.   Demand for  recreational opportunities                                                               
is growing,  he noted,  but [landowners]  have been  reluctant to                                                               
sign  a  conservation easement  to  protect  them from  liability                                                               
because easements would  be in perpetuity.  This  bill aids large                                                               
landowners such  as Native corporations  as well as  his neighbor                                                               
who allows trails across his one-acre  property.  He said it also                                                               
would provide more  opportunity for trails in  urban and suburban                                                               
areas where many recreationists live.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:04:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MILLI  MARTIN said  she serves  on the  [Kenai Peninsula  Borough                                                               
Assembly],  but  is  representing  herself.   She  mentioned  the                                                               
assembly's resolution  2006-027, which she sponsored.   She would                                                               
like to see  the ski trails extended and to  offer a trail across                                                               
her own private property.  She  expressed her reluctance to do so                                                               
until this bill  passes.  She said there's an  opportunity on the                                                               
southern  Peninsula to  extend trails  from  Baycrest to  McNeil,                                                               
which won't  happen until there's  protection for  landowners who                                                               
allow those trails across their land.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DAVID SCHEER,  Partner, D &  A Design,  stated that his  firm has                                                               
been  working on  a  number  of projects  in  Homer that  involve                                                               
planning and development of large tracts  of land.  He noted that                                                               
the  majority  of these  projects  are  planned with  significant                                                               
areas of  open space,  trails, and  wildlife corridors,  but that                                                               
it's  a struggle  to figure  out how  to allow  public access  to                                                               
these  private lands  without opening  his  clients to  financial                                                               
liability.  As a designer and  developer, he said this bill would                                                               
be a  great design tool  and would  also increase the  ability of                                                               
property owners  to decide the  best use of  their own land.   He                                                               
said it  will also benefit the  public.  He added  that this bill                                                               
would  not only  allow cities  to see  an increase  in public-use                                                               
areas, even  while economic growth and  development infill vacant                                                               
lands, but  the private  land open to  public use  also increases                                                               
public recreation space with no additional burden on taxpayers.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:07:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE HESS, Founding  Member, Coalition for Homer  Open Space and                                                               
Trails,  relayed that  some  of the  subdivisions  in Homer  lack                                                               
pedestrian amenities.   He  has researched  the possibility  of a                                                               
trail  serving part  of his  subdivision.   He said  the existing                                                               
statutes  regarding  immunity   and  liability  don't  adequately                                                               
protect a  private property owner.   He said HB 415  would remedy                                                               
that situation and make people  much more comfortable in allowing                                                               
trails and recreational use on private property.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:09:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDSAY  WINKLER, Homer  Soil  and  Water Conservation  District,                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR),  stated that  she's also                                                               
representing  herself as  a landowner,  and she's  on the  Alaska                                                               
Trails Board.   She  said the Homer  Soil and  Water Conservation                                                               
District  is  a division  of  DNR  and  one  of the  only  public                                                               
agencies that strictly represents  private landowners.  This bill                                                               
provides  the  clarity  that  is  missing  from  the  other  four                                                               
statutes, and  the language is  standard and has been  adopted by                                                               
about  45  states.    She   said  HB  415  doesn't  threaten  the                                                               
landowner's  private  property  rights  because  it  specifically                                                               
states  that informal,  noncommercial  use  doesn't constitute  a                                                               
basis  for a  prescriptive  easement.   She  referred to  Section                                                               
3(b)(1) and  gross negligence,  and in  regard to  liability, she                                                               
characterized it as clear.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARUS  KILCHER agreed  with the  preceding testimony.   She  owns                                                               
several large properties  in Homer and is trustee  of the Kilcher                                                               
family homestead.   She expressed the  Kilcher family's enjoyment                                                               
from sharing its property with  others for recreational use.  She                                                               
said her primary  concern is liability, and this  bill would make                                                               
it easier on both the landowners and the public.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AL   POINDEXTER,  Executive   Director,  Alaska   Association  of                                                               
Conservation  Districts,  said   the  association  represents  12                                                               
conservations districts in  Alaska.  He commented  that a primary                                                               
benefit  of this  bill  is relieving  the  anxiety of  landowners                                                               
regarding hunting  on their land.   His board supports  this bill                                                               
unanimously.  "The bill allows neighbors to be good neighbors."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT ARCHIBALD  stated that  he has 35  acres outside  of Homer                                                               
and having trails on his property  is a positive thing for skiing                                                               
and  other  recreation.   He  added  that  without some  sort  of                                                               
liability disclosure, his ability to  allow trails on his land is                                                               
limited.  He said that he is in full support of this bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ROBERTA  HIGHLAND, Kachemak  Bay  Conservation Society,  informed                                                               
the  committee that  the society  has approximately  130 members.                                                               
She said  that it  strongly supports  this bill.   She  relayed a                                                               
dream for Homer to be connected by trails.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:15:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to  report HB  415 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HB 415 was reported out of the                                                               
House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^Board of Game                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be to  consider the appointment  of Richard Burley to  the Alaska                                                               
Board of Game.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of SB 85]                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD BURLEY, Appointee,  Alaska Board of Game,  said he served                                                               
on the board in the 1990s and would like to continue serving.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  noted that  Mr. Burley took  flying lessons                                                               
in 1961, and asked  if he has flown the Dalton  Highway.  He said                                                               
there is legislation, [SB 85],  that may be before the committee,                                                               
and he  asked if there has  been abuse of the  highway that would                                                               
require significantly more monitoring.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURLEY  asked if he was  referring to abuse of  fish and game                                                               
or the entire corridor system.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO spoke  of pending  legislation to  increase                                                               
access along the Dalton Highway, and  he surmised it will be used                                                               
by hunters and  recreationists.  He asked if Mr.  Burley has seen                                                               
people poaching or herding animals along the Dalton Highway.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURLEY said  he  thinks there  are reasons  to  open up  the                                                               
corridor, because  the Dalton  Highway is  one of  a few  ways to                                                               
access Alaska.  He said he hasn't seen major infractions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  said  that observation  is  important  and                                                               
asked  if he  has seen  snow machines  or other  vehicles herding                                                               
animals.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURLEY said he has not  observed it, but that doesn't mean it                                                               
hasn't happened.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAPSNER asked how long  it takes to fly the Dalton                                                               
Highway.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BURLEY said from 1.5 hours  to 3 hours, depending on the type                                                               
of airplane.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS  said he  has known  him for a  long time  and he                                                               
thanked him for his contributions to the community and state.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to  advance the  name  of  Richard                                                               
Hurley, appointee to the Board of  Game, to the joint session for                                                               
consideration.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[The  returned  attention to  the  confirmation  hearings on  the                                                               
Board of Game later in the hearing.]                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:22:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^Big Game Services Board                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of SB 85]                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  MUMFORD,  Appointee, Big  Game  Services  Board, said  he                                                               
worked for fish  and wildlife protection with  the state troopers                                                               
for 18  years.  He is  retired and interested in  serving on this                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if Mr. Mumford has  seen abuse during                                                               
his patrols around the Dalton Highway.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MUMFORD said he  has sent emails in opposition to  SB 85.  He                                                               
lived  and worked  in that  area for  many years,  and his  major                                                               
concern is  ATV use on  the north side  and the scaring  it would                                                               
leave in  the tundra.   He  said he hasn't  seen much  herding of                                                               
game, because  there isn't much use  of that area except  by snow                                                               
machines in the  winter.  He has seen people  running wolves down                                                               
with snow machines.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked if running wolves down is illegal.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MUMFORD said it can be, and  he was never able to make a case                                                               
against someone,  although he has  seen tracks in the  snow where                                                               
it happened.  Because of weather,  "it's hard to catch a day that                                                               
you can  actually fly and track  one of these guys  down."  There                                                               
is legal use of snow machines too, he noted.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:25:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked about ATVs south of Atigun Pass.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MUMFORD said that is not  as much of an environmental impact-                                                               
-if it  is regulated.  Otherwise  the territory would be  torn up                                                               
"so bad," and it is impossible to removes the scars.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if an ATV was a  single individual on                                                               
a four-wheeler or a track vehicle.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MUMFORD said  he is talking about both. "I'd  say no ATV-use,                                                               
just a single person on an ATV--that tundra is pretty fragile."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:27:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS said the Big  Game Commercial Services Board was                                                               
created to  set ethical standards  for guides and to  resolve the                                                               
conflicts  between guides  and  transporters,  especially in  the                                                               
Northwest Arctic  Borough.   He asked how  he would  address both                                                               
the ethical standards for guides, "to  make sure that some of the                                                               
local folks  out in western Alaska  can get and keep  those jobs,                                                               
and the conflict between the guides and the transporters."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MUMFORD   said  ethical  standards  need   to  be  specific,                                                               
attainable, and  definable.  He  said he  would like to  read the                                                               
tenets of the Alaska Professional  Hunters Association and see if                                                               
they could  be adopted.  He  said he believes heavily  in ethical                                                               
standards  and breaking  them  should  come with  a  cost.   Many                                                               
resident hunters use transporters,  and they should have priority                                                               
over non-resident hunters, he added.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:29:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS  moved to  advance the  name of  Robert Mumford,                                                               
appointee  to the  Big  Game Commercial  Services  Board, to  the                                                               
joint session for consideration. Hearing  no objection, it was so                                                               
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
2:29:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 420-FOREST RESOURCES & PRACTICES STANDARDS                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 420,  "An Act relating to  riparian protection                                                               
standards for  forest resources and practices;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS MAISCH,  State Forester,  Division of  Forestry, Department                                                               
of Natural  Resources (DNR), explained that  CSHB 420(FSH) amends                                                               
the Forest  Resources and Practices  Act for Region II,  which is                                                               
Southcentral  Alaska.     The  bill  establishes   standards  for                                                               
forestry  activities,  supports  a  healthy  timber  and  fishing                                                               
industry, protects  fish habitat and water  quality, incorporates                                                               
the best  science available, and maintains  one-stop shopping for                                                               
compliance  with  federal laws  for  the  forest industry.    Mr.                                                               
Maisch informed  the committee that HB  420 is the result  of two                                                               
years  of  work by  an  array  of  interests,  and it  has  broad                                                               
support.  He characterized HB  420 as consensus legislation.  The                                                               
science  and  technical  committee,  which  first  developed  the                                                               
science  around the  issue,  Native  corporations, industry,  the                                                               
environmental  community, and  other interested  parties were  at                                                               
the table  to develop the  final recommendations as  specified in                                                               
the  legislation.    The  Board of  Forestry  then  reviewed  and                                                               
adopted  these  recommendations,  which are  in  the  legislation                                                               
before the committee today.   Mr. Maisch said the legislation has                                                               
a zero  fiscal note.   The House  Special Committee  on Fisheries                                                               
reported out a committee substitute  that fixed a technical point                                                               
on  page  5,  line  27,  such  that  subsection  (a),  which  was                                                               
inadvertently omitted, was inserted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  reminded the  committee there  have been  three other                                                               
bills  that have  passed that  were consensus  efforts using  the                                                               
same model and scientific and implementation processes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  as to  any changes  between this                                                               
and the current Forest Practices Act.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAISCH  explained that  under  HB  420 there  are  increased                                                               
buffer widths  on streams  in Region  II.   He mentioned  a chart                                                               
entitled, "Existing  riparian management standards by  region and                                                               
land  owner"  that  specifies  the   current  standards  and  the                                                               
proposed  changes.    It  shows the  differences  by  region  and                                                               
landowner.    He  said  currently  there  is  a  100-foot  buffer                                                               
immediately adjacent  to anadromous  or high-value  resident fish                                                               
water streams.  The legislation  will increase the buffer size on                                                               
Type II-A and II-B streams to 150  feet.  On the outside bends of                                                               
the dynamic rivers where there  is much erosion and the retention                                                               
of woody  debris is important  for habitat purposes,  the buffers                                                               
are  wider.   Type II-C  streams are  smaller, nonglacial,  fixed                                                               
streams of clear water and have  a 100-foot no-cut buffer.  There                                                               
is a 50-foot no-cut buffer on the Type II-D streams.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAISCH clarified  that the  legislation  would increase  the                                                               
buffer  widths  on some  streams  and  decrease  it on  Type  III                                                               
streams  by  50  [feet],  which  is  based  on  the  science  and                                                               
implementation  group's recommendation.    He said  there are  no                                                               
other significant differences between current law and this bill.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:37:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH,  in response to Representative  Gatto, explained that                                                               
the language  on page  9, lines  9-12, means  that the  Type II-D                                                               
water body  doesn't refer to  the Kenai  River but rather  to its                                                               
side channels that are three feet or  less in width.  He said the                                                               
Kenai River would be considered a Type II-A water body.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:38:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH,  in response to Representative  Gatto, specified that                                                               
the number  in the  type refers  to the  region while  the letter                                                               
refers to the channel characteristics.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked then if  the legislation is to protect                                                               
streams more or less than they have been in the past.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  said HB  420 provides  additional protections  to the                                                               
water bodies in Region II.   He said science has found that there                                                               
is large  woody debris recruitment  into these stream  types that                                                               
are  beneficial  for  fish  habitat  and  water  quality.    This                                                               
legislation  targets  retaining   best  management  practices  to                                                               
encourage the  forest products  industry to  continue to  place a                                                               
high priority on habitat.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO pointed  out  that the  Matanuska River  is                                                               
beating the  banks to death.   He then asked if  this legislation                                                               
covers the Matanuska River.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  replied yes, and  specified that the  Matanuska River                                                               
is  a glacial  stream that  is dynamic.   Although  such a  river                                                               
isn't necessarily protected,  the buffers are left in  place.  He                                                               
explained that  as the  buffer erodes, trees  will fall  into the                                                               
channel and become part of  the habitat component.  Therefore, in                                                               
these  large glacial  streams  there  is a  wider  buffer on  the                                                               
active eroding  bank.  Although  at some point the  erosion might                                                               
pass through  the buffer  and reach the  actual harvest  unit, he                                                               
characterized it  as a  compromise such  that public  and private                                                               
lands  can continue  to  be managed  for  forest practices  while                                                               
retaining the important habitat criteria necessary.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:41:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked about [logging]  restrictions between                                                               
a house  and a river  even though the  bank is moving  toward the                                                               
house and the trees are destined to erode away.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH said that there are  many examples of rivers in Alaska                                                               
that are  aggressively eroding.   Trees that  fall in  help armor                                                               
the  bank because  they often  remain attached  to the  root wad.                                                               
The  trees provide  more protection  than  a stump  on the  bank.                                                               
Furthermore, those trees also become important habitat for fish.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON suggested that it  would be helpful to have                                                               
a side-by-side comparison of current and new regulations.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:43:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD SMERIGLIO, Member, Alaska Board  of Forestry, said he has                                                               
seen  improvement  in riparian  protection  in  the northern  and                                                               
coastal regions, and  HB 420 is the final piece  that will result                                                               
in riparian  protection for  the entire state.   Both  the timber                                                               
industry and Alaska Conservation Voters  support HB 420, which he                                                               
attributed to the excellent process  of the Division of Forestry.                                                               
He said the  fish resource in this region of  Alaska is enormous,                                                               
and therefore  the habitat merits protection.   This legislation,                                                               
which  he urged  the  committee to  forward,  will allow  logging                                                               
while protecting habitat.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if HB 420 is supported  by the Alaska                                                               
Outdoor Council (AOC).                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMERIGLIO said that he is not aware of AOC's support.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS  moved  to  report CSHB  420(FSH)  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 419-REPEAL UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK LAWS                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:45:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 419,  "An Act  repealing the Board  of Storage                                                               
Tank  Assistance, the  underground  storage  tank revolving  loan                                                               
fund,  and  the  tank  cleanup loan  program;  repealing  certain                                                               
reporting requirements relating  to underground petroleum storage                                                               
tank systems; making conforming  amendments; and providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KAREN  LIDSTER,  Staff  to Representative  John  Coghill,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 419 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
Coghill, sponsor.   She paraphrased  from the  sponsor statement,                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In 1990 the Alaska Legislature  passed HB 220 to credit                                                                    
     a state  UST [Underground  Storage Tank] Program  and a                                                                    
     Storage Tank  Assistance Fund in  order to  assist tank                                                                    
     owners that were required to  meet the deadlines set in                                                                    
     the   US   Environmental    Protection   Agency   (EPA)                                                                    
     Underground Storage Tank Program.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  1999, the  year after  EPA's deadline,  the program                                                                    
     began  to  phase out  and  was  formally ended  by  the                                                                    
     Legislature on June 30, 2004.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     A  loan  program  to   assist  owners  with  completing                                                                    
     cleanup was established by SB  128, passed in 1999. The                                                                    
     Storage  Tank  Assistance  Fund was  converted  to  the                                                                    
     Underground Storage Tank Revolving Loan Fund in 2002.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The  original legislation,  HB  220,  also created  the                                                                    
     Board  of  Storage  Tank Assistance  to  oversee  state                                                                    
     grants and loans.  The Board is no  longer needed since                                                                    
     the  grant  program has  been  terminated  and no  loan                                                                    
     applications have been received.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     SB 128 established a June  30, 1999 sunset date for the                                                                    
     board. Subsequent bills extended  that date to June 30,                                                                    
     2007.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     HB 419 will modify the end  date for the board in order                                                                    
     to  be   consistent  with  the  end   date  for  formal                                                                    
     termination of the loan  program. Additionally the bill                                                                    
     lists out  the statutes that  relate to the  board, the                                                                    
     reporting,  regulations,  fees,  revolving  loan  fund,                                                                    
     loan  program,  definitions,  uses  of  the  fund,  the                                                                    
     respective    administrative    codes,   the    orderly                                                                    
     completion of  the boards obligations,  and renumbering                                                                    
     instructions related to those statutes repealed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LIDSTER said  the legislation  that helped  the tank  owners                                                               
with  the EPA  regulations was  extremely successful.   The  loan                                                               
program wasn't used,  and therefore HB 419 would  provide for the                                                               
orderly termination of the board and the loan program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:48:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS  noted that Representative  Coghill is  trying to                                                               
perform  general housekeeping  measures  throughout the  session.                                                               
He asked if HB 419 is part of that effort.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. LIDSTER replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   referred  to  AS  46.08.025,   which  is                                                               
included in  the committee packet  and related  his understanding                                                               
that "these  are all going to  be satisfied with this."   He then                                                               
pointed out that there is  some performance bond money, and asked                                                               
if that is returned to the state or the companies.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
LARRY  DIETRICK,  Director,  Division  of  Spill  Prevention  and                                                               
Response,  Department  of  Environmental Conservation,  said  the                                                               
only  money  remaining   are  the  fees  charged   for  new  tank                                                               
installation.  The  1,000 or so tanks left in  the program amount                                                               
to roughly $35,000  per year.  To date, those  fees are deposited                                                               
into  the  loan  fund  being terminated.    Therefore,  when  the                                                               
program is terminated, those fees  will continue to be collected,                                                               
but will be deposited into the general fund.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:50:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON surmised then that  there is not money from                                                               
performance  bonds  or  other financial  responsibility  held  in                                                               
escrow pending  satisfactory performance of a  privately financed                                                               
response action as specified in AS 46.08.024(a)(3)(A).                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DIETRICK replied, "That is correct."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:51:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  moved to  report HB  419 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  Hearing no objections, it was so ordered.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^Board of Game                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  RAMRAS returned  to the  confirmation  hearings of  the                                                               
Board  of Game  and announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would  be to  consider the  appointment of  Cliff Judkins  to the                                                               
Alaska Board of Game.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF JUDKINS, Appointee, Alaska Board  of Game, said he has been                                                               
reappointed to the board by the governor for another term.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to   advance  the  name  of  Cliff                                                               
Judkins, appointee  to the  Board of Game,  to the  joint session                                                               
for consideration.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:54 PM.                                                                

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