Legislature(2011 - 2012)BARNES 124

03/07/2011 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 7, 2011                                                                                          
                           1:04 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Eric Feige, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Paul Seaton, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Peggy Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Alan Dick                                                                                                        
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz                                                                                             
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Alan Austerman                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 97                                                                                                               
"An  Act  extending  a  provision   relating  to  noxious  weeds,                                                               
invasive plants, and agricultural  pest management and education;                                                               
providing for an  effective date by repealing  the effective date                                                               
of sec.  2, ch.  102, SLA  2008; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
     - MOVED HB 97 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 106                                                                                                              
"An  Act extending  the termination  date of  the Alaska  coastal                                                               
management  program and  relating to  the extension;  relating to                                                               
the  review  of  activities  of  the  Alaska  coastal  management                                                               
program;  providing  for  an  effective   date  by  amending  the                                                               
effective date  of sec. 22, ch.  31, SLA 2005; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB  97                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EXTEND INVASIVE PLANTS LAW                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOHNSON                                                                                           
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/07/11       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB 106                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/07/11       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JEANNE OSTNES, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 97 on behalf of                                                                            
Representative Johnson, sponsor.                                                                                                
DAVID LENDRUM, Owner                                                                                                            
Landscape Alaska                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 97.                                                                                         
FRANCI HAVEMEISTER, Director                                                                                                    
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Division of Agriculture                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing on HB 97, answered                                                                    
GINO GRAZIANO, Natural Resource Specialist                                                                                      
[Invasive Weeds and Agricultural Pest Coordinator]                                                                              
Division of Agriculture                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing on HB 97, answered                                                                    
JANICE CHUMLEY                                                                                                                  
Cooperative Extension Service                                                                                                   
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Nikiski, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 97.                                                                                         
BRYCE WRIGLEY, Farmer                                                                                                           
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 97.                                                                                         
LORI ZAUMSEIL                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 97.                                                                                         
BLAINE SPELLMAN                                                                                                                 
Alaska Association of Conservation Districts                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 97.                                                                                         
RANDY BATES, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Coastal and Ocean Management (DCOM)                                                                                 
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Introduced HB  106 on  behalf of  Governor                                                             
Parnell, sponsor.                                                                                                               
LINDSAY WOLTER, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Environmental Section                                                                                                           
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  on  HB 106,  answered                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  ERIC   FEIGE  called   the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 1:04 p.m.   Representatives Feige,                                                               
Seaton,  Gardner, Munoz,  Dick, and  Herron were  present at  the                                                               
call to order.   Representatives P. Wilson,  Foster, and Kawasaki                                                               
arrived  as   the  meeting  was  in   progress.    Representative                                                               
Austerman was also present.                                                                                                     
               HB  97-EXTEND INVASIVE PLANTS LAW                                                                            
1:04:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FEIGE announced  that the  first order  of business  is                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  97, "An  Act extending  a provision  relating to                                                               
noxious weeds, invasive plants,  and agricultural pest management                                                               
and education; providing  for an effective date  by repealing the                                                               
effective date  of sec. 2, ch.  102, SLA 2008; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
1:05:03 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANNE OSTNES, Staff, Representative  Craig Johnson, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  introduced  HB  97   on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Johnson, sponsor.   She explained that the bill  would delete the                                                               
sunset  clause for  a two-year-old  position [Invasive  Weeds and                                                               
Agricultural Pest  Coordinator] in  the Division  of Agriculture,                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources.   She  directed attention  to a                                                               
document in  the committee  packet outlining  the accomplishments                                                               
of this  position, specifically pointing  out that the  person in                                                               
this  position successfully  applied for  grants that  brought in                                                               
funds  in  addition  to  those  provided by  the  state  for  the                                                               
position.   The two-year position  was established by  House Bill                                                               
330, which  provided $80,000 for  the position's paycheck  to put                                                               
together a plan for the state.                                                                                                  
MS.  OSTNES pointed  out that  Alaska does  not have  much policy                                                               
dealing with  invasive weeds.   One project of this  position was                                                               
to bring together a state  plan, which is almost complete because                                                               
all of the  public comment has happened.  The  letters of support                                                               
received by committee members are  from many of the organizations                                                               
that deal  with the land  and people  around Alaska, such  as the                                                               
soil and  water conservation districts  and the  Alaska Committee                                                               
on Noxious  and Invasive Plant  Management (CNIPM).  A  number of                                                               
people volunteer  with these  organizations to  try to  deal with                                                               
weeds in each  of their specific areas.  She  drew attention to a                                                               
graph  showing the  timeline between  an  invasive species  first                                                               
occurrence  in an  area and  when it  goes into  its high  growth                                                               
period.   She  related that  most experts  say Alaska  is at  the                                                               
bottom of  the depicted  S-curve and  ready to  go into  the high                                                               
growth period.                                                                                                                  
1:08:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. OSTNES noted  that a huge spurt in  dandelions, white clover,                                                               
and hairy  vetch occurred this  last summer.  This  position will                                                               
bring together the people around  the state dealing with weeds as                                                               
they appear and  begin to cause problems.  For  example, an award                                                               
was given to  a U.S. Coast Guard employee in  Ketchikan who found                                                               
a gypsy  moth egg mass at  the top of  a conning tower of  a ship                                                               
that came  in from  Japan.   She warned  that gypsy  moths coming                                                               
into  the   Tongass  National  Forest  would   definitely  be  an                                                               
agricultural pest.                                                                                                              
MS. OSTNESS  said one example  of something the state  must begin                                                               
worrying  about is  the Anchor  River where  an invasion  of reed                                                               
canary grass has  grown so much that now nothing  can be done and                                                               
therefore smaller infestations must  instead be dealt with first.                                                               
This position  prioritizes, discusses  policy, and tries  to save                                                               
the state  from spending a  lot of money.   For example,  in 2007                                                               
the  governor of  Idaho  requested $6  million  to fight  noxious                                                               
weeds  in that  state;  $4  million to  deal  just with  Eurasian                                                               
watermilfoil.   She reminded members  that Idaho is a  state much                                                               
smaller  state  than  Alaska  with  much  less  water.    Because                                                               
invasives  can  be such  a  costly  problem, this  position  will                                                               
hopefully  save  Alaska millions  by  trying  to employ  a  rapid                                                               
response against those species that have invaded the state.                                                                     
1:10:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  observed that  the  fiscal  note is  now                                                               
[$101,100 annually] and asked why the difference.                                                                               
MS.  OSTNES  replied that  this  includes  travel, supplies,  and                                                               
contracts, such as for surveying areas.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE DICK commented that he  has heard nothing but good                                                               
about  this program,  but he  has also  heard that  much of  this                                                               
success is due to the  dedication of the person currently holding                                                               
the job.   He expressed his concern that if  the sunset provision                                                               
is  removed, a  new person  with  less diligence  might be  hired                                                               
sometime in the future.                                                                                                         
MS. OSTNES responded  that the person in this position  must be a                                                               
good coordinator.  While she  does not know what the department's                                                               
job description is  for the position, she said she  is sure there                                                               
would be  a full vetting  process should the  current coordinator                                                               
decide to leave.   She also offered her belief  that the position                                                               
requires applicants to be Alaska residents.                                                                                     
1:12:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DICK cautioned  that if government is  going to be                                                               
grown, it  must be done with  a specific purpose and  intent.  He                                                               
expressed his  fear that in  10 years there  may not be  the same                                                               
diligence, focus, and energy as there has been so far.                                                                          
MS.  OSTNES  related  that  from   her  talks  with  the  various                                                               
organizations and  soil and  water conservation  districts around                                                               
the state  that they could not  have done the $1  million of work                                                               
without this coordinator.  The state  must at some point begin to                                                               
make policy  decisions and this  will not happen  without someone                                                               
in this  job.  In  the long  run, she advised,  spending $100,000                                                               
now will save millions later.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ offered  her support for the  bill and asked                                                               
whether  the costs  for [weed  management] projects  initiated by                                                               
the coordinator  are funded at the  local level.  In  response to                                                               
Ms.  Ostnes and  Co-Chair Feige,  Representative Munoz  agreed to                                                               
ask  this question  of the  coordinator, Gino  Graziano, when  he                                                               
1:15:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FEIGE opened public testimony on HB 97.                                                                                
DAVID  LENDRUM, Owner,  Landscape Alaska,  noted that  he is  the                                                               
fifth generation  of an agriculture  family and that  in addition                                                               
to  his nursery  and  landscape contracting  business  he is  the                                                               
landscape superintendent for the  University of Alaska Southeast.                                                               
He confessed that when Mr. Graziano  first visited him he was not                                                               
enthused because  he was sure he  would be told that  some of the                                                               
plants he  was selling  and planting would  be on  the prohibited                                                               
list.  However, he is now  a wholehearted convert.  Over the past                                                               
two  years he  has  worked  with people  from  the Committee  for                                                               
Noxious and Invasive Plant Management  (CNIPM) and has found that                                                               
their expertise and the size of  the problem are much larger than                                                               
he  ever  imagined.    As Alaska's  climate  changes,  the  plant                                                               
materials change,  and the plants  moving into the state  now are                                                               
causing much more trouble than they would have 100 years ago.                                                                   
1:17:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LENDRUM explained that the  biology of invasive species gives                                                               
them  certain advantages,  such  as starting  earlier or  lasting                                                               
longer  in  the  season  or   occupying  niches  that  would  not                                                               
otherwise be  occupied by  something else.   Several  species are                                                               
already nearly  out of control;  for example, sweet  white clover                                                               
is displacing everything  along rivers in the  Fairbanks area and                                                               
is waist  to chest high  as far  as the eye  can see.   Alaska is                                                               
still in a  pretty good position, he  continued, because invasive                                                               
plants must  follow a highway  system, too,  in that they  need a                                                               
way  to  be introduced  and  therefore  much  of Alaska  has  had                                                               
virtually no introduction.   However, those areas  that are prone                                                               
to infestation  are vulnerable.   While the  coordinator position                                                               
addresses  invasive  plants,   CNIPM  addresses  invasive  plant,                                                               
marine, and insect species.                                                                                                     
1:19:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LENDRUM  related that  at a conference  last year  he learned                                                               
that invasive underwater plants that  have never before been seen                                                               
in Alaska  are spreading  in the state's  harbor areas  and there                                                               
are no  control measures.   These types  of things are  what need                                                               
work  and  prohibition,  he advised.    Regarding  Representative                                                               
Dick's questions,  he said he  has been overwhelmed by  the depth                                                               
of  dedication not  just from  Mr. Graziano,  but throughout  the                                                               
whole [CNIPM]  organization.  The  people involved have  taken it                                                               
up with  a fervor  that is not  normally seen.   It has  become a                                                               
calling for  many of these  people who  are from all  age groups,                                                               
economic standards, and lifestyles, and he is impressed.                                                                        
1:20:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  commented  that   some  of  this  sounds                                                               
terrifying and asked what chance does the state have.                                                                           
MR. LENDRUM replied  that this is the only thing;  the state must                                                               
get  going now.   He  grew  up in  California where  most of  the                                                               
native habitat  has been overcome  by European invaders;  most of                                                               
the  plants now  seen  in California's  wild  landscape are  non-                                                               
natives that have taken the place  of the species that were there                                                               
before.  He allowed  there are  some invaders  that might  not be                                                               
stopped,  but  advised  that  the  focus needs  to  be  on  early                                                               
detection and  rapid response to  the first invaders  while their                                                               
numbers are small.                                                                                                              
1:21:59 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANCI  HAVEMEISTER,   Director,  Central  Office,   Division  of                                                               
Agriculture, Department  of Natural Resources (DNR),  said she is                                                               
present  to  answer questions,  but  noted  that this  successful                                                               
program has  been housed within  the Division of  Agriculture for                                                               
just under three years.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  inquired   why  control  of  underwater                                                               
invasive plants is not done under the Division of Agriculture.                                                                  
MS. HAVEMEISTER deferred to Mr. Graziano.                                                                                       
GINO GRAZIANO,  Natural Resource Specialist, [Invasive  Weeds and                                                               
Agricultural   Pest   Coordinator],  Division   of   Agriculture,                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources (DNR), replied  that determining                                                               
whether management of submerged  aquatic invasive species belongs                                                               
to the Division  of Agriculture or the Alaska  Department of Fish                                                               
& Game is ongoing.   Within DNR he has not  yet heard an attorney                                                               
general's opinion, but  he has heard some folks  mention that DNR                                                               
manages the substrate of a river  bed and therefore it would fall                                                               
to the Division of Agriculture  working with lands.  Others point                                                               
out  that  the  harvest  of  seaweed is  managed  by  the  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish &  Game and  therefore management  of aquatic                                                               
invasives  is the  purview of  ADF&G.   Beyond that,  the general                                                               
consensus that he gets is that it is probably a DNR issue.                                                                      
1:24:13 PM                                                                                                                    
JANICE  CHUMLEY,  Cooperative  Extension Service,  University  of                                                               
Alaska  Fairbanks, informed  members  that  throughout the  years                                                               
when invasive plants  in the state were being noted  as a growing                                                               
menace to Alaska's wildlife  habitat, fisheries, and agriculture,                                                               
the  one  sticking point  was  that  there  was no  point  person                                                               
through the  Division of Agriculture  to coordinate all  of those                                                               
activities  and, therefore,  efforts were  splintered.   She said                                                               
she  supports continuation  of this  position, regardless  of who                                                               
might hold  it in  the future,  because it  is important  to have                                                               
someone  coordinating  statewide  efforts  for  addressing  these                                                               
invasive species.    Without one person  coordinating things, all                                                               
the efforts will be splintered  and nothing will proceed.  Alaska                                                               
still  has  the ability  to  contain  or  eradicate some  of  the                                                               
invasive species within  the state and efforts really  need to be                                                               
taken to make that happen.                                                                                                      
1:25:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked how a specific  project is identified                                                               
and what is involved in coordinating with communities.                                                                          
MR. GRAZIANO  responded that  typically a  community will  form a                                                               
cooperative  weed  management  area  (CWMA),  getting  interested                                                               
organizations  and  individuals   involved  in  invasive  species                                                               
management and  bringing to the  table the Department  of Natural                                                               
Resources, Department of Transportation  & Public Facilities, and                                                               
federal and  municipal land  managers.  He  helps the  groups get                                                               
organized, identify projects, and  find funding for the projects.                                                               
For  example, Fairbanks  has a  cooperative weed  management area                                                               
led by  the soil  and water  conservation district.   One  of the                                                               
area's members found the common  waterweed, Elodea canadensis, so                                                               
he  joined  their  meetings  to start  addressing  the  weed  and                                                               
develop strategies  for finding  funds to  do more  surveying and                                                               
management of that weed.                                                                                                        
1:27:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  inquired  whether  Juneau's  problem  with                                                               
Japanese knotweed has been brought to Mr. Graziano's attention.                                                                 
MR. GRAZIANO  answered yes; he  has been working with  the Juneau                                                               
management area  through the Juneau  Watershed Partnership.   The                                                               
partnership has been doing what it  can by removing the weed, but                                                               
Japanese  knotweed  is a  very  entrenched  species in  Southeast                                                               
Alaska.   Additionally, he has  had a lot of  correspondence with                                                               
the   Department   of   Transportation   &   Public   Facilities,                                                               
particularly when  the department is doing  construction projects                                                               
in areas that  have Japanese knotweed, in which  case he consults                                                               
with them on how to deal with it.                                                                                               
1:29:05 PM                                                                                                                    
BRYCE  WRIGLEY,  Farmer, testified  that  he  raises about  1,000                                                               
acres  per year  of barley  and  wheat.   Over the  years he  has                                                               
watched  invasive weeds  move  into the  state  that represent  a                                                               
direct threat  to his  ability to provide  a sellable  product in                                                               
the  Alaska market.   After  Canada thistle  was discovered  in a                                                               
local  field, the  Cooperative Extension  Service  and the  Delta                                                               
Farm Bureau  coordinated an effort  to eradicate the  weed before                                                               
it  could  spread.    Later,  the  soil  and  water  conservation                                                               
district took  over the  noxious weed  effort in  this area.   It                                                               
took  18 years  to eradicate  that  patch of  Canada thistle  and                                                               
there has not been any in the area for the past 13 years.                                                                       
MR. WRIGLEY  expressed his concern  as a producer that  Alaska is                                                               
doing  too little  to address  this problem  while it  is in  its                                                               
infancy.   Once this  window of  opportunity for  controlling the                                                               
spread  of invasive  plants closes,  it  will never  again be  as                                                               
cheap or as easy  to address the problem as it is  right now.  It                                                               
is his  opinion that  the solution is  a long-term  commitment by                                                               
the  state to  manage invasive  species, beginning  with a  point                                                               
man,  and HB  97  addresses the  sunset of  this  position.   The                                                               
purpose of House Bill 330 was  to hire a coordinator to develop a                                                               
statewide  weed plan,  which  is necessary  to  bring in  federal                                                               
dollars for  weed management in Alaska.   He drew attention  to a                                                               
report by  Mr. Graziano  that states a  federal grant  of $80,000                                                               
had to be returned because there  were no matching funds for that                                                               
grant.  If the  state does not pay to address  this issue now, it                                                               
will most definitely be paying for it later, he advised.                                                                        
MR. WRIGLEY  suggested that  in addition  to removing  the sunset                                                               
for the coordinator's position, the  committee also include in HB                                                               
97 a  mechanism to match  federal dollars so that  the investment                                                               
by  the  state can  be  maximized.    Without an  effective  weed                                                               
management plan  for the state,  the cost to Alaska  farmers will                                                               
continue  to increase  and the  cost to  the state  will increase                                                               
exponentially.  More  needs to be done in Alaska  to address this                                                               
problem.   He urged  that the  coordinator's position  be funded,                                                               
the  sunset   clause  removed,  and  a   mechanism  provided  for                                                               
utilizing federal grants.                                                                                                       
1:32:31 PM                                                                                                                    
LORI  ZAUMSEIL informed  members that  she and  her husband  Troy                                                               
were the  people who found  a Canada  thistle growing in  a plant                                                               
that  they had  purchased from  a local  box store.   They  began                                                               
investigating  this,  and  with   the  help  of  the  Cooperative                                                               
Extension Service  learned just  how noxious and  invasive Canada                                                               
thistle is.   When no  satisfactory response came from  the store                                                               
as far up as its corporate  level, they contacted the Division of                                                               
Agriculture only  to find  that there  was no  one to  take their                                                               
report  about something  so serious  and  they were  subsequently                                                               
passed  all the  way to  the  division's director.   She  further                                                               
found that in Anchorage, all of  the federal agencies in the U.S.                                                               
Department of  Interior had a  person working on this  issue, but                                                               
the State of Alaska had no  one and the Municipality of Anchorage                                                               
had no  one.   Even to  an amateur it  was obvious  that multiple                                                               
people  spinning   in  individual   orbits  were  not   going  to                                                               
accomplish anything positive  enough to handle this  problem.  So                                                               
creating a  position to advocate  for the State of  Alaska seemed                                                               
like an incredibly important thing to  do to bring the state into                                                               
the battle so it was not just a battlefield to be overrun.                                                                      
1:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ZAUMSEIL  related that when Representative  Johnson responded                                                               
to her and Troy in 2007,  they committed to doing everything they                                                               
could  to  make  their  fellow   property  owners  and  taxpayers                                                               
understand that spending  $1 now would save $100 later.   This is                                                               
an issue  that will grow  exponentially and is growing  even with                                                               
effort.  If  momentum is lost from losing this  position, it will                                                               
be so  costly to  everybody in Alaska,  from salmon  fishermen to                                                               
property owners to farmers.  As  a result of their involvement in                                                               
Alaska, she  and Troy  have been  invited to  speak all  over the                                                               
country and they have found that  all eyes are on Alaska.  People                                                               
in other states  with budgets of tens of millions  of dollars and                                                               
with  agricultural losses  in the  tens of  millions of  dollars,                                                               
have  told her  that Alaska  is where  their state  was 20  or 30                                                               
years ago  and they  wish they  had not waited  to deal  with the                                                               
problem.    She  understands  Representative  Gardner's  position                                                               
about being  terrified because that  is exactly how she  and Troy                                                               
felt.  She  urged the continuation of  the coordinator's position                                                               
because it is important and matters on so many levels.                                                                          
1:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  commented  that  she would  not  know  a                                                               
Canada  thistle   and  would  therefore  not   be  alarmed  about                                                               
something growing in a plant pot.                                                                                               
MS. ZAUMSEIL  answered that  she and Troy  came across  a pocket-                                                               
sized weed  guide that  talked about  invasive plants  in Alaska,                                                               
which  was a  totally foreign  concept  to them.   However,  they                                                               
paged  through the  guide anyway.   A  month later  they found  a                                                               
Canada  thistle growing  in their  backyard  in Anchorage,  which                                                               
heightened  their awareness.   The  next spring  while purchasing                                                               
garden starts  at a retail  box store  in Anchorage they  found a                                                               
Canada thistle growing  in a pot.  They had  an inkling that this                                                               
was  a  bad  thing,  so  to  be  certain  they  took  it  to  the                                                               
Cooperative Extension  Service to have  it identified.   She then                                                               
"googled" it  on the Internet  and in  30 minutes she  was pretty                                                               
mad and in 60 minutes she was an activist.                                                                                      
1:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ZAUMSEIL  addressed what local  citizens can do,  noting that                                                               
she and  her husband  have no science  background and  hold full-                                                               
time jobs.   However, because they recognized  the seriousness of                                                               
this,  they   created  their   own  nonprofit   Cooperative  Weed                                                               
Management Area (CWMA) in Anchorage,  and dedicated a lot of time                                                               
for about  three years.  A  concerned citizen with a  voice and a                                                               
passion  can  really  accomplish something  and  this  particular                                                               
issue  is a  good example  of that.   She  informed members  that                                                               
federal legislation  was introduced  by U.S. Senator  Harry Reid,                                                               
and at her  and Troy's request this  legislation was co-sponsored                                                               
by Senators  Begich and Murkowski.   They also  asked Congressman                                                               
Don Young  to introduce a  companion bill,  which he did  the day                                                               
after Senator Reid's bill was  introduced.  This demonstrates how                                                               
much impact a citizen can have on the process.                                                                                  
1:40:30 PM                                                                                                                    
BLAINE  SPELLMAN, Alaska  Association of  Conservation Districts,                                                               
said his organization wrote a letter  of support for HB 97 and he                                                               
is  willing to  answer any  questions about  how the  Division of                                                               
Agriculture's  program  has  benefitted his  group's  efforts  in                                                               
managing invasive plants around the state.                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR FEIGE asked Mr. Blaine  Spellman about how effective the                                                               
coordinator position has been in terms of actual coordination.                                                                  
MR.  SPELLMAN  replied  that  the  soil  and  water  conservation                                                               
districts  have been  managing invasive  plants for  a very  long                                                               
time and,  as pointed out  by Ms.  Chumley, it was  oftentimes an                                                               
uncoordinated  effort   done  by   various  groups   in  complete                                                               
isolation of  one another.   Having a state coordinator  has been                                                               
exceptionally   important  because   it  has   unified  all   the                                                               
nonprofits  and the  soil and  water conservation  districts into                                                               
one  team working  with the  state.   He said  he feels  that the                                                               
position  and the  strategic plan  developed by  the Division  of                                                               
Agriculture have been very valuable.                                                                                            
1:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:42 p.m. to 1:43 p.m.                                                                       
1:43:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   FEIGE  closed   public  testimony   on  HB   97  after                                                               
ascertaining that no one else wished to testify.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  commented that  Dave Cannon, a  local area                                                               
coordinator,  gave him  a presentation  on this  issue and  it is                                                               
surprising how much  is unknown about invasive  species.  Pretty,                                                               
non-native flowers  that people want  to grow can  be disastrous.                                                               
The  legislature needs  to think  about creating  an Alaska  seed                                                               
bank or creating  more of a seed bank, like  the global seed bank                                                               
in Norway, and should consider a  seed vault so that native plant                                                               
species can be saved for the future.                                                                                            
1:45:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SEATON moved  to report  HB  97 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There  being no  objection, HB  97  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
1:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:45 p.m. to 1:48 p.m.                                                                       
               HB 106-COASTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM                                                                            
1:48:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FEIGE announced  that  the next  order  of business  is                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 106,  "An Act extending  the termination  date of                                                               
the  Alaska  coastal  management  program  and  relating  to  the                                                               
extension; relating  to the  review of  activities of  the Alaska                                                               
coastal management  program; providing  for an effective  date by                                                               
amending the  effective date of  sec. 22,  ch. 31, SLA  2005; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
1:48:53 PM                                                                                                                    
RANDY BATES,  Director, Division of Coastal  and Ocean Management                                                               
(DCOM), Department of Natural Resources  (DNR), first provided an                                                               
overview of HB  106.  He explained that in  2005, Senate Bill 102                                                               
amended  Alaska  statute  44.66.020(a)   to  include  the  Alaska                                                               
Coastal  Management  Program  (ACMP)  as  a  program  subject  to                                                               
termination, thereby  providing the legislature with  a mandatory                                                               
review of the ACMP's efficacy  through the program sunset process                                                               
within  that statute.   This  provision of  Senate Bill  102 also                                                               
included an uncodified  section that terminates the  ACMP on July                                                               
1,  2011.   This termination  of the  ACMP is  not like  a normal                                                               
sunset  provision because  there is  no grace  period or  program                                                               
wind  down -  it is  effective  immediately July  1, 2011,  which                                                               
means a  bill must be passed  this session extending the  ACMP or                                                               
the program terminates.  He  said Governor Parnell has introduced                                                               
HB 106, extending the termination date  of the ACMP by six years,                                                               
in  recognition of  the value  of the  Alaska Coastal  Management                                                               
Program to  extend the state's  authorities to federal  lands and                                                               
agency  activities, as  well as  the importance  of incorporating                                                               
local participation and input into those decisions.                                                                             
1:51:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BATES next  reviewed the history of the ACMP  and the changes                                                               
that have  been made to  it.  He said,  "The ACMP is  a federally                                                               
authorized, voluntary state program  where the state oversees the                                                               
responsible development  of coastal  uses and  resources, federal                                                               
activities within the  coastal zone, and activities  on the outer                                                               
continental  shelf."    The consistency  review  process  is  the                                                               
primary  tool  for  implementing  this  program.    Through  this                                                               
process, proposed  resource development projects, such  as a dock                                                               
or an  oil and gas  exploration project, are reviewed  by federal                                                               
and  state agencies,  coastal  districts,  and interested  public                                                               
members  for  compliance  with   the  ACMP  state  standards  and                                                               
district  enforceable  policies.   Since  1979  the structure  of                                                               
Alaska's coastal management plan  has included the most expansive                                                               
coastal  zone in  the nation,  extending for  the most  part from                                                               
Alpine to the ice fields of  southeast Alaska, all the way around                                                               
western  and  southcentral  Alaska,  and  several  hundred  miles                                                               
inland up  anadromous waterways.   Also important is  that Alaska                                                               
has a  "geographic location  description" which  allows extension                                                               
of the ACMP to the edge of the outer continental shelf.                                                                         
1:54:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BATES said the State  of Alaska chose this network-structured                                                               
program where  its departments and  divisions participate  in the                                                               
implementation  of the  ACMP.   The state  also included  a local                                                               
component where several coastal  municipalities and service areas                                                               
voluntarily  participate  in implementation  of  the  ACMP.   The                                                               
Division of  Coastal and  Ocean Management  (DCOM) serves  as the                                                               
lead agency and is responsible  for all aspects of implementation                                                               
of the program.                                                                                                                 
MR.  BATES related  that in  2003 changes  were initiated  to the                                                               
coastal  management program  by passage  of Executive  Order 106,                                                               
which moved  the Division of  Governmental Coordination  into the                                                               
Department of Natural  Resources, and passage of  House Bill 191.                                                               
House Bill  191 was intended  to reduce delays,  avoid regulatory                                                               
confusion and costly litigation,  allow new investment in Alaska,                                                               
and update and  reform the ACMP statewide  standards and district                                                               
enforceable policies to be clear,  concise, more uniform, related                                                               
to  specific concerns  and  in  the case  of  districts to  local                                                               
concerns, and  to be non-duplicative  of state and  federal laws.                                                               
A  key change  made  by House  Bill 191  was  elimination of  the                                                               
Coastal  Policy Council,  which  was the  governing  body of  the                                                               
coastal program, and the transfer  of all of the council's duties                                                               
into DNR.   The  bill also  required a  complete re-write  of the                                                               
statewide  standards,   the  coastal  district  plans,   and  the                                                               
enforceable  policies  to  ensure  that  all  the  standards  and                                                               
district policies  met with the  legislative intent to  be clear,                                                               
concise, not  susceptible to  subjective interpretation,  and not                                                               
duplicative  of  otherwise  existing   requirements.    The  bill                                                               
clarified that  district enforceable  policies may not  address a                                                               
matter regulated  or authorized  by state  or federal  law unless                                                               
the policy related specifically to a matter of local concern.                                                                   
1:57:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BATES  continued, saying  that House  Bill 191  clarified the                                                               
consistency review process to  provide more predictable timelines                                                               
and  standards, including  the scope  of the  project subject  to                                                               
review, when a  project can proceed in phases, and  the extent to                                                               
which projects inland of the  coastal zone are subject to review.                                                               
The bill encouraged  expansion of the use of  general permits and                                                               
otherwise  expedited consistency  reviews.   The last  key change                                                               
made  by House  Bill 191  was implementation  of the  "DEC carve-                                                               
out,"  which excluded  Department  of Environmental  Conservation                                                               
(DEC) permits from the coordinated  consistency review process of                                                               
the  ACMP  and  prohibited coastal  districts  from  establishing                                                               
enforceable  policies addressing  air,  land,  and water  quality                                                               
that are already covered by DEC.                                                                                                
MR. BATES said that in 2004  the ACMP regulations were amended as                                                               
required by House Bill 191.   In 2005 Senate Bill 102 was passed,                                                               
which provided  the legislature  with a  mandatory review  of the                                                               
ACMP's   efficacy  through   the   previously  mentioned   sunset                                                               
provision.    House  Bill  102 also  amended  the  deadlines  for                                                               
coastal  districts  to  submit  their  amended  coastal  district                                                               
plans,  immediately  repealed  district  policies  that  were  in                                                               
conflict with  existing law,  and mandated  revision to  the "ABC                                                               
List," including  those activities that qualify  for an expedited                                                               
review under the ACMP.  The  Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource                                                               
Management  (OCRM),  the  federal granting  and  oversight  body,                                                               
approved  those  changes  in December  2005  after  performing  a                                                               
National  Environmental  Policy Act  (NEPA)  analysis  on all  of                                                               
those changes.                                                                                                                  
1:59:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BATES  noted that pre-2003  there were 35  coastal districts,                                                               
33  of  which  had  coastal   district  plans  approved.    As  a                                                               
requirement  of  House Bill  191,  28  coastal districts  revised                                                               
their entire plan, 25  of which are in place now,  and 1 of which                                                               
is pending and under final review.                                                                                              
MR. BATES  reported that as  a preliminary to the  termination of                                                               
the ACMP  under the sunset  provisions in statute,  Senator Olson                                                               
last  year requested  a  full program  audit on  the  ACMP.   The                                                               
audit, delivered  in two parts,  was a significant  investment in                                                               
time  by the  Division of  Legislative Audit  that conducted  the                                                               
audit, as  well as the  Division of Coastal and  Ocean Management                                                               
(DCOM),   network   agencies,   coastal  districts,   and   other                                                               
participants  that responded  to, provided  information for,  and                                                               
participated  in   the  audit.     It  is   the  administration's                                                               
perspective  that  the  audit   represents  a  comprehensive  and                                                               
objective review and  evaluation of the ACMP.  He  said the audit                                                               
findings include  the following:   "the  program is  operated and                                                               
functioning   consistent   with    statutes,   regulations,   and                                                               
legislative intent;  clarifying the ACMP standards,  and district                                                               
enforceable policies, and reducing  the redundancy in the program                                                               
were  the  legislature's  intent;   the  ACMP  changes  have  not                                                               
diminished the  state's rights under  the CZMA, the  Coastal Zone                                                               
Management Act;  DNR is an  appropriate agency to  administer the                                                               
MR.  BATES pointed  out  that  the audit  did  not recommend  any                                                               
statutory changes  and concluded that the  legislature should re-                                                               
authorize the  ACMP.  Audit  findings identified ways  to improve                                                               
the ACMP,  including that while  the ACMP is operated  openly and                                                               
transparently, certain  aspects of  its process are  deficient in                                                               
openness  and transparency.   Another  finding  was that  changes                                                               
have lessened  consensus building among the  review participants.                                                               
He said  the division and  the department are  contemplating ways                                                               
to improve the  program as identified within  the audit findings.                                                               
With these  audit findings in  hand, and based on  the governor's                                                               
guiding principles  on resource management  as it relates  to the                                                               
ACMP, the  governor has introduced  HB 106, a  six-year extension                                                               
of the termination date for the ACMP.                                                                                           
2:03:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON asked whether  DNR has decided  to make                                                               
any of the changes recommended in the audit.                                                                                    
MR. BATES  replied that appropriate changes  are being considered                                                               
to be  responsive to the  audit findings.   The governor  has not                                                               
introduced statutory  changes at  this time,  but other  types of                                                               
changes are  being contemplated that would  still accommodate the                                                               
findings from the audit.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON surmised  that had the  audit suggested                                                               
any changes those changes would have been in the regulations.                                                                   
MR.  BATES  responded  yes;  the audit  did  not  find  statutory                                                               
changes necessary  or warranted,  but both  the division  and the                                                               
department recognize that improvements  could be made to increase                                                               
the  effectiveness and  delivery  of the  coastal  program.   The                                                               
[division's]  responses to  the auditor  are largely  captured in                                                               
the audit findings  themselves.  While there  are certain changes                                                               
that  [DCOM] feels  it could  and  should make,  there are  other                                                               
aspects  of  the audit  that  [the  division] responded  to  that                                                               
clarify some of the issues.   At this time [DCOM] has not decided                                                               
or  determined  what  would   be  appropriate  regulatory  versus                                                               
procedural issues to address the points that were raised.                                                                       
2:05:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  inquired what  the timeframe  might be                                                               
for some of the changes that [DCOM] is looking at.                                                                              
MR. BATES  answered that  the majority  of [the  division's] time                                                               
for the  next 45 days  will be  dedicated to being  responsive to                                                               
this  committee  and  the  legislature   on  this  bill  and  its                                                               
companion  on the  other  side.   As  time  permits, [DCOM]  will                                                               
debate what it can do based on  the findings and what can be done                                                               
by procedure  or regulation  to solve some  of the  issues raised                                                               
because  the  desire  is  to  have  a  functional  and  effective                                                               
division and program.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON asked whether personalities  would make                                                               
a difference, such as a different person in a certain position.                                                                 
MR. BATES replied that he  is unsure who Representative P. Wilson                                                               
might be  suggesting, but that  his is a challenging  position to                                                               
administer  in  compliance  with  state and  federal  law.    The                                                               
decisions he  has to make are  not always easy and  are certainly                                                               
not  well received  by all  the  players, which  is important  to                                                               
recognize  considering that  this  program significantly  affects                                                               
the  industry,  the  coastal districts,  the  public,  and  state                                                               
agencies.  If it is not  his position that is being talked about,                                                               
everybody in  this arena  has an opinion  about these  changes as                                                               
very  few people  are  ambivalent about  whether  the program  is                                                               
functioning  appropriately and  this tension  is good  because it                                                               
creates the opportunity to decide what is wanted as a program.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  assured  Mr. Bates  that  she has  not                                                               
talked to  anyone in  this regard;  it was  just a  question that                                                               
came to mind.                                                                                                                   
2:08:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  requested Mr. Bates to  share two examples                                                               
of projects  that were significantly  delayed or  stopped because                                                               
of the laws in place prior to passage of House Bill 191 in 2003.                                                                
MR. BATES  responded that some  information was  earlier provided                                                               
to  the co-chairs,  at their  request, regarding  project reviews                                                               
during the  five years prior  to 2003, which might  be applicable                                                               
to the  question.   One of  the complaints  about the  program in                                                               
2002  was that  there was  no legal  certainty to  the timeframes                                                               
associated  with project  reviews.   While he  cannot remember  a                                                               
specific example, he  does know that there  were projects stopped                                                               
for review for which there was no  legal reason to do so from the                                                               
division's  perspective; the  division  just  stopped the  review                                                               
because  it  needed  more  time  to consider  things.    So,  the                                                               
regulations were written  at one time to address some  of that as                                                               
an  issue.   He  offered to  come up  with  specific projects  if                                                               
Representative Herron wished.                                                                                                   
2:10:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON said  he  looks forward  to receiving  the                                                               
information that was provided to  the co-chairs.  He related that                                                               
the correspondence  from the  coastal districts  about HB  106 is                                                               
universal  in wanting  the ACMP  to  be extended.   However,  the                                                               
districts also  want some returns  to pre-2003, such as  a return                                                               
of the  [Coastal Policy] Council  so that the districts  can have                                                               
legitimate local  input.   He inquired  whether these  returns to                                                               
pre-2003  have been  considered  for the  legislation or  whether                                                               
[DCOM] only wants the extension.                                                                                                
MR.  BATES,  returning  to  the  prior  question,  asked  whether                                                               
Representative Herron's  request for information is  the material                                                               
that was  provided to the  co-chairs, which was data  relating to                                                               
consistency reviews for the past 10 years.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON  repeated that  the committee  has received                                                               
written testimony  from the  districts stating  that they  want a                                                               
return to  some of the  issues as they  were prior to  House Bill                                                               
191, such as  a Coastal Policy Council.  He  asked whether HB 106                                                               
does this.                                                                                                                      
MR.  BATES  again  returned   to  Representative  Herron's  prior                                                               
question  [about   specific  examples   of  delayed   or  stopped                                                               
projects],  saying that  he is  trying to  ascertain whether  the                                                               
data  provided   to  the  co-chairs   is  the   information  that                                                               
Representative Herron is looking for.                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR SEATON  clarified that the  information received  by the                                                               
co-chairs was  basically a data dump  of all of the  permits that                                                               
were  issued in  the  past,  not a  list  of  projects that  were                                                               
analyzed or  delayed.   The co-chairs did  not provide  copies to                                                               
the other  members because  of the large  volume of  copying that                                                               
would have been involved; also,  the data would not be meaningful                                                               
to the request that Representative Herron has at this time.                                                                     
2:13:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON reiterated that  all the districts want the                                                               
ACMP to be  extended, so that is  not the issue.   But, they also                                                               
want to  see a  return to  some of the  other items,  including a                                                               
[Coastal Policy  Council] to  provide legitimate,  genuine, local                                                               
input.  He asked whether such a provision is included in HB 106.                                                                
MR. BATES  said it is  fortunate that all the  coastal districts,                                                               
as well  as others, support  extending the program because  it is                                                               
valuable and meaningful  at the local level.  At  the state level                                                               
it is  a meaningful opportunity  to influence  federal activities                                                               
and  federal agency  permit activities,  particularly on  federal                                                               
land and  waters.   The governor is  not proposing  any statutory                                                               
amendments to the  ACMP through HB 106, it is  an extension only.                                                               
[The  department]  understands  that  Representative  Joule,  and                                                               
possibly  members of  the  other body,  may  be submitting  bills                                                               
proposing  substantive amendments  to  the ACMP.   He  continued:                                                               
"The  governor and  the department's  engagement on  any proposed                                                               
amendments  to the  ACMP will  be  guided by  the following  four                                                               
principles:   the ACMP must  maintain a predictable  process, the                                                               
ACMP  must  be  maintained  as   a  strong  state  program  where                                                               
participant input  is valued, the ACMP  standards and enforceable                                                               
policies must  be objective and  must not duplicate  or re-define                                                               
existing authorities, and coastal  districts should be afforded a                                                               
meaningful role  for input on  projects but should not  possess a                                                               
veto decision over projects."                                                                                                   
2:16:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  commented  that  he does  not  think  any                                                               
district  wants  veto power  or  local  control, they  just  want                                                               
legitimate and genuine  local input.  He said he  reads the audit                                                               
to suggest four  years, but the governor is asking  for six years                                                               
and a senate bill is proposing one year.                                                                                        
MR.  BATES  answered that  the  governor  put forward  six  years                                                               
largely based  on the years  2005-2011 and 2011-2017.   Six years                                                               
seemed reasonable  for a future legislature  to determine whether                                                               
the program is  functioning effectively and whether  it should be                                                               
continued or terminated.  There  is not much difference between a                                                               
four  year extension  and a  six year  extension other  than [the                                                               
division] does  not want  to go  through this  too often  just to                                                               
determine  the value  of  the  ACMP.   A  one  year extension  is                                                               
challenging for the administration  to consider because staff and                                                               
the  program  need some  security  to  be  able  to get  down  to                                                               
business.   Two issues are  at stake:   extension of  the program                                                               
and program  change.   [The division] does  not want  the program                                                               
survivability linked to program  change because they are separate                                                               
issues and [the  division] wants to deal with  them separately to                                                               
the extent possible.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON  disagreed  that  the two  issues  can  be                                                               
severed from  one another, and  specified that the length  of the                                                               
extension and  the concerns  addressed by  many people  are truly                                                               
2:19:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked how  many local  enforceable policies                                                               
existed prior to 2003 and, of  those, how many exceeded state and                                                               
federal law or regulation.                                                                                                      
MR. BATES replied he  does not have the number at  the top of his                                                               
head,  but he  believes that  the Division  of Legislative  Audit                                                               
calculated those  numbers and made  some percentage remarks.   In                                                               
further response, he  agreed to follow up  with this information.                                                               
For clarification  of Representative  Munoz's question,  he noted                                                               
that  in  2005  [Senate  Bill  102]  immediately  terminated  any                                                               
district  enforceable  policies  that were  rendered  duplicative                                                               
with existing state  or federal law.  While the  division did not                                                               
cull  the policies  at that  time,  that bill  had a  significant                                                               
effect  on the  district policies.    He presumed  that the  next                                                               
number Representative  Munoz might be  thinking of is  the number                                                               
of  policies  that  the division  finally  approved  in  district                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  agreed that  she would like  to be  able to                                                               
compare  how many  policies existed  prior to  2003 and  how many                                                               
remained in place after the change.                                                                                             
MR. BATES said he will follow up in this regard.                                                                                
2:22:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  read from a  letter written to  Mr. Bates                                                               
on 1/27/11  by Representatives Herron  and Foster which  asks why                                                               
ACMP Section  306 funds cannot be  used for contracts.   She then                                                               
read from pages  5 and 6 of Mr. Bates's  2/24/11 response to that                                                               
letter which  discuss the  $250,000 that  could not  be accounted                                                               
for by the  Bering Straits Coastal Resource  Service Area (CRSA).                                                               
She inquired whether this issue was  due to lack of experience in                                                               
leadership or malfeasance.                                                                                                      
MR. BATES  responded that some  of these  long-standing financial                                                               
issues with  the Bering Straits  CRSA were just resolved  and the                                                               
CRSA  was funded  again within  the last  month, which  means the                                                               
Bering Straits  CRSA is now back  on track as a  full participant                                                               
in  the program.   In  a program  financial audit  of the  Bering                                                               
Straits CRSA  the independent  auditor found  that a  little over                                                               
$250,000 could  not be accounted for.   Over the course  of three                                                               
fiscal years  there were no check  stubs or check history  of how                                                               
the  money   was  spent.     As   the  program   facilitator  and                                                               
implementer, the  division took  that issue seriously  and shared                                                               
it with  the Department of Law.   After looking at  the issue, no                                                               
criminal or  civil proceedings were taken.   The goal was  to get                                                               
the CRSA cleared of charges and  back on track to receive funding                                                               
as a full participant in the ACMP.                                                                                              
2:25:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER,   in   response  to   Co-Chair   Feige,                                                               
reiterated that  this issue is  discussed in a 1/27/11  letter to                                                               
Mr. Bates and  in his response of 2/24/11.   She inquired whether                                                               
the $250,000  was used appropriately  but the record  keeping was                                                               
shoddy,  or  was there  concern  that  the  money had  been  used                                                               
MR. BATES answered  he does not think it his  place to cast doubt                                                               
or make judgment, but that  [DCOM] recognizes there was a problem                                                               
in   terms   of   financial  accountability.      The   personnel                                                               
representing  the  Bering Straits  worked  well  on the  program.                                                               
After  the  Bering  Straits  audit   was  finished,  audits  were                                                               
performed on the  other three CRSA's because the  four CRSA's are                                                               
entities solely  for purposes of  coastal management and  have no                                                               
other  organizational structure  to them.   [The  division] funds                                                               
them  with  $73,000   to  $75,000  a  year  for   staff  time,  a                                                               
bookkeeper, and  office space, and  they have a  minimal matching                                                               
requirement of about 25 percent.   The other 24 coastal districts                                                               
are  municipalities that  are  under control  of  their Title  29                                                               
municipal authorities and as such  they are accountable for their                                                               
monies and are audited on a regular basis.                                                                                      
2:27:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER  understood Mr.  Bates  to  be saying  he                                                               
cannot answer or  is unable to answer the  question about whether                                                               
the  $250,000  was  used  appropriately   for  the  coastal  zone                                                               
management program.                                                                                                             
MR. BATES  replied he does  not have an  answer as to  whether it                                                               
was  spent appropriately.   The  money was  not identified  as to                                                               
where  it went,  how it  went,  and how  it  was used,  so it  is                                                               
difficult to  make any judgments  and it is not  necessarily [the                                                               
division's] place to  do so.  There is no  information to suggest                                                               
it was inappropriately  spent.  [The division] wanted  to get the                                                               
Bering Straits  CRSA's programmatic  bookkeeping in line  so that                                                               
it could receive monies again.   When the issues came out, [DCOM]                                                               
terminated the opportunity  for that CRSA to  receive any further                                                               
funding  until  the  issues  could   be  resolved  and  financial                                                               
controls put in  place so the CRSA could  operate effectively and                                                               
efficiently  utilizing [the  division's]  monies as  well as  any                                                               
other monies.                                                                                                                   
2:29:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GARDNER  asked   whether  Ms.   Wolter  of   the                                                               
Department of Law had heard her question.                                                                                       
LINDSAY   WOLTER,  Assistant   Attorney  General,   Environmental                                                               
Section,  Civil Division  (Anchorage), Department  of Law  (DOL),                                                               
responded  that  this was  originally  referred  to the  Criminal                                                               
Division and she is in the  Civil Division, so she did not really                                                               
participate in  the review  of this  particular issue  and cannot                                                               
comment very deeply on it.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER, referring  to a  letter from  Mr. Bates,                                                               
noted  that   the  issue   was  sent  to   Ms.  Wolter   after  a                                                               
determination that  criminal prosecution was not  warranted.  She                                                               
said she would  like some confirmation that the  $250,000 was not                                                               
misused  or  that if  it  was  misused  there  was some  sort  of                                                               
consequence.   She  inquired whether  Ms. Wolter  can assure  her                                                               
that this issue was not brushed under the rug.                                                                                  
MS. WOLTER  answered she  wishes she  could make  that assurance.                                                               
She recalled that  there was some ability to  piece together some                                                               
of the money and how it  was spent, although not nearly the total                                                               
of  $250,000.   This lessened  the  concern that  the funds  were                                                               
inappropriately  spent as  opposed  to just  not maintaining  the                                                               
bookkeeping.   Thus, the  goal was  to get the  CRSA back  up and                                                               
running rather  than determining  how the rest  of the  money was                                                               
spent,  given there  are  no  records to  prove  either way  what                                                               
happened to the  money.  In further response, she  agreed to call                                                               
Representative Gardner's office  to let her know  whom to contact                                                               
for an answer in this regard.                                                                                                   
2:32:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SEATON understood  from Mr. Bates that  the audit report                                                               
has a number  of recommendations for the  program's problems, but                                                               
it does  not suggest  that those  problems be  fixed statutorily.                                                               
He  recalled Mr.  Bates  saying that  [DCOM]  might do  something                                                               
programmatically or  through regulations or procedures,  but that                                                               
it has  yet to consider  any such changes.   He inquired  why the                                                               
committee should  have any confidence  that without  statutes the                                                               
problems  will be  fixed if  the  program is  extended six  years                                                               
given that [the division] has  made no effort or determination to                                                               
make those fixes.                                                                                                               
MR. BATES  said the words  he used earlier did  not appropriately                                                               
characterize  [DCOM's]   response  to  the  audit.     One  audit                                                               
recommendation is  to do the consistency  review regulations, and                                                               
those  regulations are  prepped and  ready to  go out  for public                                                               
review, but [the  division] has held off on them  to see how this                                                               
legislative  process goes.    The  division is  at  the ready  to                                                               
address legislative  inquiries and,  while not  overwhelmed, that                                                               
has  necessitated putting  those  regulations off  a little  bit.                                                               
Another audit recommendation  is to [complete] the  ABC List, the                                                               
list of  expedited consistency  reviews, and  a process  for this                                                               
was begun  within the  last month.   The  audit also  talks about                                                               
transparency  of  [DCOM's]  functions  with  the  working  group.                                                               
Monthly working group  meetings are held, but  [the division] has                                                               
a  bit of  concern with  the audit  in terms  of transcribing  or                                                               
taking minutes from a working  group function when it is [DCOM's]                                                               
opinion that  that is not  necessarily a productive use  of state                                                               
time  and the  working group  was not  necessarily set  up to  do                                                               
that.    [The   division]  is  looking  at  ways   to  meet  more                                                               
effectively with  the working group  and is intending to  use the                                                               
working group  as part of  the regulation review committee.   Two                                                               
tape recorders have  been purchased to tape the  meetings and, as                                                               
necessary, to  transcribe them or  rebuild the  meeting dialogue.                                                               
The audits  are important  to [DCOM] and  have not  been shelved.                                                               
He  pointed out  that the  audits  are relatively  new, with  one                                                               
audit dated  the first week of  January and the second  dated the                                                               
first week of  February [2011], and they are  being considered in                                                               
terms of what the division can  do and what the legislature might                                                               
want to do.                                                                                                                     
2:36:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SEATON observed  that page 24 of the  first audit states                                                               
that  the Department  of Natural  Resources  recognizes that  the                                                               
district  plan requirements  contained  in 11  AAC  114 are  more                                                               
stringent  than  intended under  House  Bill  191.   He  inquired                                                               
whether  the department  is  doing anything  to  roll that  back,                                                               
given it recognizes that it has gone beyond the statute.                                                                        
MR.  BATES replied  that he  is on  record in  previous testimony                                                               
stating that  what was  contemplated statutorily  was implemented                                                               
in  a  more  stringent  fashion through  the  regulations.    The                                                               
regulations  are  still  compliant  and fully  supported  by  the                                                               
statutes, but  the way  the regulations  were manifested  as they                                                               
were  written  they  became  more   stringent  by  a  variety  of                                                               
different  factors.   When House  Bill  191 went  into effect  in                                                               
2003, [the department] did not  know that a state cannot regulate                                                               
that which  the Marine Mammal  Protection Act  already regulates,                                                               
but the division knows that now.   That is the type of issue that                                                               
has been so challenging and  that has made these regulations more                                                               
limiting  than what  was contemplated  back  in 2003.   The  ACMP                                                               
regulations  include  state standards  at  11  AAC 112  and  they                                                               
include the coastal planning processes at  11 AAC 114.  Those are                                                               
processes that  the department could  initiate changes to.   And,                                                               
yes, the department  is considering those and  is considering how                                                               
to address some  of the suggestions within the  audit, whether it                                                               
be procedural or  whether it be regulation, and,  as supported by                                                               
the   governor,   [the   department]   is   willing   to   engage                                                               
constructively with interested parties on statutory amendments.                                                                 
2:39:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SEATON stated  he is  confused  that it  is being  said                                                               
statutory changes are  not needed for the  problems identified by                                                               
the audit; yet, what  is being seen is that if  they are not done                                                               
by statute, the  probability is that [the division]  is not going                                                               
to do  them in  its regulations or  procedures.   Throughout this                                                               
time  the division  has  not  backed off  from  a more  stringent                                                               
interpretation  than what  is  in  statute.   So,  it seems  that                                                               
[legislators] are left with the  need to incorporate changes into                                                               
statute; otherwise, what is intended  in the statute is not going                                                               
to be followed.  He asked  whether he is misunderstanding what is                                                               
being said.                                                                                                                     
MR. BATES responded that he  values Co-Chair Seaton's opinion and                                                               
recognizes  the changes  that  the co-chair  might  like to  see.                                                               
Every person and district would like  to see something out of the                                                               
coastal program.  While contemplating  changes back in 2008 under                                                               
the  re-evaluation, [DCOM]  realized  that it  could not  achieve                                                               
consensus on  program change  because there  are so  many parties                                                               
and  they  are affected  so  significantly  with even  one  minor                                                               
tweak.  It  is a package program and [the  division] is trying to                                                               
find the  right mix of  process and regulation that  will relieve                                                               
and  resolve these  issues.    He said  he  understands that  the                                                               
perspective  of legislators  is to  change the  statutes if  [the                                                               
division] does  not get it right.   The department wants  to make                                                               
sure  that  the  program  as  a whole  is  designed  to  be  most                                                               
effective for  the residents of  the state and  appropriate given                                                               
all the  interests that are out  there, and that the  changes are                                                               
relatively consensus driven.                                                                                                    
2:42:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SEATON  asked  whether  Mr. Bates  disagrees  with  the                                                               
federal Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA) comment  cited at                                                               
the  top of  page 28  of  the first  audit that  states "...  the                                                               
current  standard makes  protecting the  ecological integrity  of                                                               
the coastal habitats nearly impossible ...."                                                                                    
MR. BATES said it is not  his place to disagree with the comments                                                               
because  those are  the comments  by a  staff person  at EPA  who                                                               
feels passionately  one way or the  other.  In its  comments back                                                               
to the Division of Legislative  Audit, [the division] pointed out                                                               
that  to  have a  viable  coastal  program approvable  under  the                                                               
Coastal  Zone Management  Act it  must demonstrate  comprehensive                                                               
and robust  habitat management.   In 2003,  2004, and  2005, [the                                                               
division] demonstrated  comprehensive habitat management  when it                                                               
showed the OCRM the state  authorities that are incorporated into                                                               
the  ACMP, the  state  standards that  address  habitat, and  the                                                               
important habitat that  is the state standard at  11 AAC 112.300;                                                               
these   were  further   supplemented   by  district   enforceable                                                               
policies.   There is no  question that  some folks would  like to                                                               
see an  even greater degree  of habitat management in  the state.                                                               
However, [the  division] must  find that  balance where  there is                                                               
predictability  and  responsiveness  in a  program  that  affects                                                               
everybody so significantly.                                                                                                     
2:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON asked whether  the $250,000 is  for one                                                               
year or the total for three years.                                                                                              
MR. BATES answered that it was  about $250,000 over the course of                                                               
the three fiscal years of 2003, 2004, and 2005.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  said  she does  not  understand why  a                                                               
coastal district could not use  those funds to hire a consultant,                                                               
but she  does understand why  [the division] thinks there  has to                                                               
be a person in  the community who is the point  person.  It seems                                                               
to her  that the majority  of the program  is okay, but  that the                                                               
subsistence is not.  She asked  how long would take to re-do just                                                               
the subsistence part.                                                                                                           
MR. BATES explained  that one of the  funding opportunities under                                                               
the ACMP  is the  Section 309 funding,  which is  federal funding                                                               
specific to  program changes, such  as efforts that  would result                                                               
in  a  change  to  an  enforceable  policy,  state  standard,  or                                                               
particular  implementation technique.    [The division]  provides                                                               
funding for  all of the  coastal districts and state  agencies to                                                               
make these types  of program changes and once  the Bering Straits                                                               
CRSA  has its  district on  line, is  accepting funds  again, and                                                               
gets  its existing  plan in  place, [the  division] can  consider                                                               
funding  the  CRSA   for  these  types  of   program  changes  to                                                               
incorporate subsistence information into  its plan, to revise the                                                               
plan,  or  to  enhance  it   in  terms  of  designated  areas  or                                                               
enforceable policies.   Under [the  division's] own  project this                                                               
past year,  it identified and  compiled relevant  and appropriate                                                               
subsistence  information on  behalf  of, and  accessible to,  the                                                               
districts;  thus, when  they  want  to do  a  plan revision  that                                                               
information  is  already  blessed  and available  and  it  is  an                                                               
incorporation  process.   There  is a  public process  associated                                                               
with that type of program  change, and depending on the magnitude                                                               
of  the change,  that process  will take  two to  two and  a half                                                               
years  just to  make  sure  that the  local  communities and  the                                                               
affected public have the right  opportunity to participate.  That                                                               
is  the same  timeframe that  the  program has  had since  before                                                               
2:49:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BATES,  responding to a further  question from Representative                                                               
P. Wilson,  confirmed that  a district would  only have  to re-do                                                               
parts of its  plan and not the  whole thing.   At  this point the                                                               
districts will  have a  fully approved coastal  plan and  will be                                                               
able  to  target a  revision,  such  as  revising one  policy,  a                                                               
chapter,  or the  information within  the plan.   [The  division]                                                               
would work with the districts, and  for this type of effort would                                                               
support a  district hiring  a consultant  to shepherd  it through                                                               
the process.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON,  regarding a  plan that  had incorrect                                                               
wording for subsistence, asked whether  [the division] would show                                                               
a district the  wording that was correct in  other district plans                                                               
so the district could use that wording to revise its own plan.                                                                  
MR.  BATES  replied, "Plagiarism  at  its  best."   Environmental                                                               
impact  statements  are  full  of  good  information  related  to                                                               
habitat,  fish, wildlife,  and so  forth, and  [the division]  is                                                               
gathering as much meaningful information  as it can for districts                                                               
to   utilize  in   either  developing   a  designated   area  for                                                               
subsistence  use   or  enforceable   policies  related   to  that                                                               
subsistence use.                                                                                                                
2:51:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  asked  whether there  have  been  projects                                                               
opposed by the local districts that were allowed to proceed.                                                                    
MR. BATES allowed there are projects  around the state that he is                                                               
aware  of, with  a  recent one  in  Juneau.   Many  times when  a                                                               
district  feels  it  cannot provide  alternative  measures  which                                                               
would modify a project into  compliance, it will simply object to                                                               
the  project.   His agency  affords  due deference  to the  state                                                               
agency or  district; so, while a  local district may object  to a                                                               
particular project,  [DCOM] would  provide the  district comments                                                               
to the state agency with  greater expertise or responsibility and                                                               
ask  for some  position  to  help [the  division]  craft a  final                                                               
determination.   [The division's]  goal with  consistency reviews                                                               
is certainly  not to  object to  projects, it  is to  modify them                                                               
into  consistency  so that  economic  development  occurs in  the                                                               
state  while  protecting  and preserving  the  coastal  uses  and                                                               
resources that are important.                                                                                                   
2:55:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked Mr.  Bates to  cite some  examples of                                                               
projects that were not supported  locally but that received a go-                                                               
MR. BATES responded  that he believes one such  project was along                                                               
Lemon Creek  in Juneau.   He recalled that he  and Representative                                                               
Munoz might have  been at the creek  at the same time  to look at                                                               
whether  that activity  was an  emergency activity  that required                                                               
immediate repair  within two  to three days.   Although  the city                                                               
was not  available at  the time  of his visit,  he is  very aware                                                               
that the  City and  Borough of Juneau  had some  serious concerns                                                               
with the issuance of a permit  and a consistency finding for that                                                               
project.  While the city's  concern was understood, either [DCOM]                                                               
or the Alaska  Department of Fish & Game  determined that placing                                                               
riprap on  a stream bank  was necessary  to protect the  life and                                                               
property of nearby residences.   Other such projects are offshore                                                               
oil and  gas development where  a particular district  might have                                                               
objected to an  activity, but [the division] was  able to resolve                                                               
the matter  and issue a consistent  finding.  He offered  to do a                                                               
review and provide a list of these types of projects.                                                                           
2:55:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ inquired, in  general, whether the objection                                                               
of the local district causes the project not to happen.                                                                         
MR. BATES  answered that the  coordination process  requires that                                                               
public notice be given and  public comment solicited.  Within the                                                               
context of  a consistency  review, a  coastal district  and state                                                               
agencies would look at a project,  and 30 days later submit their                                                               
comments to [DCOM].   By regulation, those comments must  be in a                                                               
particular form:  they either concur  with the project and say it                                                               
is  consistent with  the  ACMP standards  and  policies, or  they                                                               
object to  it and submit  alternative measures suggesting  how to                                                               
modify  the project  to allow  it to  proceed.   A district  that                                                               
submits an objection with no  alternative measures is challenging                                                               
because what  it is saying is  that there is no  way to stipulate                                                               
this project into  compliance to allow it to move  forward.  That                                                               
is  certainly a  position of  some of  the districts,  and it  is                                                               
certainly an  option for  them.  As  the coordinating  agency, if                                                               
[DCOM] determines the project does  not comply, it would issue an                                                               
objection  to a  final consistency.   As  a coordinating  agency,                                                               
[DCOM]  must  work  with  the   district  and  must  also  do  an                                                               
evaluation  determining   compliance  with  each  of   the  state                                                               
standards and district policies that  might be applicable.  So, a                                                               
district  or state  agency may  disagree, but  [DCOM's] rationale                                                               
will be  included as  a legal  document within  the determination                                                               
demonstrating  how and  why [the  division]  found it  consistent                                                               
with that standard or that policy.                                                                                              
2:58:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SEATON stated  he does not have a  good understanding of                                                               
how the coastal zone program  works under current regulations and                                                               
would like to  see some flowcharts showing examples  of large and                                                               
small projects  from the past,  the participants,  and timelines.                                                               
He further requested that the legislative auditor be asked to                                                                   
provide an explanation of the audit and what the recommendations                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FEIGE concurred,  saying  the  committee would  benefit                                                               
from a step-by-step  explanation of the mechanics  of the program                                                               
and the process  that people seeking consistency  reviews have to                                                               
go through.                                                                                                                     
[HB 106 was held over.]                                                                                                         
3:00:35 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:01 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HRES 3.7.11 HB 97 Extend Invasive Plants Law.PDF HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 4/16/2011 10:00:00 AM
HB 97
HRES 3.7.11 HB 106 Coastal Management Program.PDF HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/16/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/18/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/28/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/30/2011 1:00:00 PM
HB 106
ACMP Final Evaluation June 2008.pdf HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3.7.11 DNR Response to Rep. Foster-Herron Letter.PDF HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
LB&A ACMP Audit Report Part 1.pdf HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
LB&A ACMP Audit Report Part 2.pdf HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3.7.11 HB97 Perception of an Invasive Species.PDF HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 4/16/2011 10:00:00 AM
HB 97
HRES 3.7.11 HB97 Report on AK Invasive Plant Project.pdf HRES 3/7/2011 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 4/16/2011 10:00:00 AM
HB 97