Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/20/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 15 Minutes Following Session --
+= HB 105 DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 105(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 134 BOARD OF GAME MEMBERSHIP TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 20, 2017                                                                                         
                           2:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Dean Westlake, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Chris Tuck (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 105                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing the Gordon Haber Denali Wolf Special                                                                       
Management Area."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 105(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 134                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the composition of the Board of Game."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 105                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/03/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/17       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
02/10/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/10/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/10/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/15/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/15/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/20/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 134                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BOARD OF GAME MEMBERSHIP                                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/20/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/17       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/20/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEGAN ROWE, Staff                                                                                                               
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    On behalf  of  Representative  Josephson,                                                             
prime   sponsor,  explained   changes  made   by  the   committee                                                               
substitute, Version O, for HB 105.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS MCINTOSH                                                                                                                
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 105.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:05:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ANDY  JOSEPHSON  called the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   2:05  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Josephson, Drummond,  Parish, Westlake, and Tarr  were present at                                                               
the  call to  order.   Representatives Birch,  Johnson, Rauscher,                                                               
and Talerico arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
           HB 105-DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:06:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  105, "An  Act establishing  the Gordon                                                               
Haber Denali Wolf Special Management Area."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  moved to adopt  the proposed  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for  HB 105, labeled  30-LS0408\O, Bullard, 3/16/17,  as the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, Version  O  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:07:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON,  sponsor of HB  105, noted that  the original                                                               
bill has a  fiscal note from the Department  of Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR).   However,  he advised,  Version O  may generate  a fiscal                                                               
note with  minimal impact from  the Department of  Public Safety,                                                               
Division of  Alaska Wildlife Troopers,  and will possibly  have a                                                               
fiscal note with  zero impact from the Alaska  Department of Fish                                                               
& Game  (ADF&G).  He  reminded members that during  today's House                                                               
of Representatives floor session  he announced that the committee                                                               
would  convene within  15  minutes of  adjournment  of the  floor                                                               
session.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEGAN ROWE,  Staff, Representative  Andy Josephson,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on   behalf  of  Representative   Josephson,  prime                                                               
sponsor  of HB  105,  explained that  the  original bill  version                                                               
would have  created the  Denali Wolf  Special Management  Area to                                                               
protect wolves  near Denali National  Park and  Preserve ("Denali                                                               
Park")  and  that   the  title  in  which  it   was  drafted  was                                                               
administered by DNR.   However, she noted, DNR does  not have the                                                               
authority to  manage wildlife, and  therefore, per advice  of the                                                               
administration, Version  O includes the same  geographic area but                                                               
closes this area to the hunting and trapping of wolves.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:09:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  reminded members that  HB 105 was  before the                                                               
committee on 2/10/17 and 2/15/17  and public testimony was taken.                                                               
He again opened public testimony on the bill.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS MCINTOSH testified that he  has lived in Fairbanks for 46                                                               
years  and   wholeheartedly  supports  HB   105.    He   said  he                                                               
specifically  likes that  the bill's  purpose remains  to protect                                                               
wolves for future generations of  Alaskans and, as well, bolsters                                                               
the  economy  of  Alaska through  tourism.  Seeing  wild  animals                                                               
living free  in their natural  environment is one reason  he came                                                               
to Alaska, he added.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  closed public  testimony  on  HB 105,  after                                                               
ascertaining  that  a  previous   witness,  Mr.  Al  Barrette  of                                                               
Fairbanks, had no comment on the changes made in Version O.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:12:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  recalled  that during  the  2/10/17  hearing                                                               
committee members raised questions on  the original bill, such as                                                               
questions  about private  lands and  whether the  narrative which                                                               
stated that  wolves come  before all other  things in  the buffer                                                               
zone would mean  "just that."  To dispense  with those legitimate                                                               
questions, he  said, Version O would  make a simple closure.   He                                                               
related that ADF&G's  web site lists about 37  areas as presently                                                               
closed to  hunting or trapping.   Regarding the  closure concept,                                                               
he  noted  that  a  provision  in  the  constitution  [prohibits]                                                               
special and local  legislation.  However, he  continued, case law                                                               
says that if something is  of statewide importance and applies in                                                               
a local way, it may not  necessarily be prohibited.  For example,                                                               
on 2/10/17  it was  heard that Denali  Park has  650,000 visitors                                                               
per year and over $800 million  is spent in salaries at the park.                                                               
Some people,  he related, believe  that as few as  three trappers                                                               
are impacting the ability of visitors  to see wolves in the park.                                                               
While they  have rebounded  some, the  decline of  wolves roughly                                                               
parallels when the State of Alaska,  ADF&G, and the Board of Game                                                               
removed the buffer  in question, or at least a  buffer in similar                                                               
size and  similar location  near the Stampede  Trail and  east of                                                               
the George  Parks Highway,  although, he allowed,  this may  be a                                                               
contestable point.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:16:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  advised that his  vote on the bill  will be                                                               
no.  He said  he has lived and worked in  this area, including at                                                               
the Stampede  mine in the  late 1960s, and President  Carter used                                                               
the Antiquities  Act to  set aside  the area  in the  late 1970s.                                                               
This is  a solution  in search  of a problem,  he maintained.   A                                                               
witness  from ADF&G  indicated that  the wolf  population in  the                                                               
park ebbs and flows with  game availability and game availability                                                               
impacts  the  wolf  population greater  than  anything  else,  he                                                               
recalled.  Alaska  has enough park and reserve  lands, he opined,                                                               
and work should  be done on how to better  utilize the lands that                                                               
are available to the state  rather than setting aside properties.                                                               
He offered  his belief that  all or part  of this proposal  is in                                                               
the  Denali Borough  and  suggested looking  to  the borough  for                                                               
leadership regarding the trapping aspect.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  apologized  for arriving  late  to  the                                                               
meeting  and  inquired whether  the  vote  is for  the  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) or adoption of the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON replied  that  he  will treat  Representative                                                               
Birch's statement as  an objection, and said the vote  is for the                                                               
question of whether the bill should move from committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR added  that the committee adopted Version  O as the                                                               
bill under  consideration, but  that no motion  has been  made to                                                               
move bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  reiterated   his  earlier  explanation  that                                                               
Version O creates a closure and no other designation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:18:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said he  is intimately familiar with this                                                               
area and will  not be supporting the bill.   Drawing attention to                                                               
the map of the  proposed area, he said that the  east side of the                                                               
Nenana  River where  the boundary  goes  is "absolutely  crawling                                                               
with wolves."   Wolves follow their food source and  a portion of                                                               
the packs  that were in  the Stampede area have  probably drifted                                                               
over due to the high moose  population on that side of the river.                                                               
It  is the  largest  pack he  has  ever seen,  he  added, and  he                                                               
believes this  pack will split  soon.  He related  a conversation                                                               
he had  with a Denali  Park bus driver  in which the  driver said                                                               
the wolves were  seen during one period of time  because they had                                                               
chosen to  den near the road,  but once the den  location changed                                                               
the wolves were  only seen one at  a time every once  in a while.                                                               
Representative Talerico  reported that this issue  came up before                                                               
the  Denali Borough  while he  was mayor  of the  borough, but  a                                                               
draft ordinance before the borough died.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON said  it  makes sense  to  listen to  the                                                               
local  people's  comments.    One  major  wolf  was  killed,  she                                                               
recalled,  but one  cannot  go back  in  time and  fix  it.   She                                                               
maintained that  the bill  is trying to  address a  specific wolf                                                               
pack that was being researched and  was near and dear to people's                                                               
hearts, rather than the general wolf  packs around the park.  One                                                               
wolf is  just as valuable  being seen in  the park as  any other,                                                               
she  continued, not  just those  being researched,  and therefore                                                               
she will vote no.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:23:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER referred  to an article he  read and said                                                               
that the  science needs to be  considered.  Plenty of  wolves are                                                               
there,  he maintained,  and without  a  food source  a wolf  pack                                                               
cannot be kept there, so trapping may  not be the problem.  It is                                                               
difficult to  write a  law so  that maybe a  wolf will  be viewed                                                               
since what is  trying to be done  is to have wolf  viewing by not                                                               
trapping.   He  questioned whether  there is  science behind  the                                                               
bill  and  reiterated  that  there  may  be  more  involved  than                                                               
trapping as the reason for why the wolves moved on.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:26:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  noted he  has a degree  in biology  and is                                                               
heartened to  hear science  being referenced.   Because  he comes                                                               
from a  tourist town,  he noticed that  the North  Star Borough's                                                               
resolution states  that when the  area was closed to  trapping 49                                                               
percent of visitors  saw wolves, while over the  last three years                                                               
that number  was only  4 percent,  an all-time low.     Since the                                                               
wolf population was  decreased by about one-third of  what it was                                                               
during that time,  he said he cannot help but  think that for the                                                               
residents  of that  area and  for whoever  would make  a trip  to                                                               
Denali Park, it  could be a major economic  factor going forward.                                                               
For example,  he continued, the  value of an  individual humpback                                                               
whale  has  been  assessed  in  terms  of  generating  additional                                                               
tourist revenues  and it is not  cheap, so he would  bet that the                                                               
value to the state overall of a  single wolf in that area is very                                                               
considerable.   It is  economically wise to  set aside  a certain                                                               
area, he stated.  All nature asks  for is a space to exist and it                                                               
provides  such incredible  dividends  - a  pure  stream of  water                                                               
provides  salmon, an  area of  wilderness provides  all sorts  of                                                               
economic drivers such as food  for subsistence and other sorts of                                                               
harvest,  as well  as non-consumptive  uses like  from a  tourist                                                               
dollar.   Additionally,  he continued,  there  is the  loss of  a                                                               
decades-long [research] data set, a rare and precious thing.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:28:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   TARR  offered   her  appreciation   of  Representative                                                               
Parish's comments because  in large part that is  what is drawing                                                               
her  to support  the  legislation.   Denali  Park  has more  than                                                               
500,000 visitors  a year, she  continued, and right now  with the                                                               
state's  fiscal  situation  the  state  is  looking  towards  the                                                               
industries  that are  known  to be  sustainable  and have  growth                                                               
potential, and the  state's tourism industry is  certainly one of                                                               
those.   Her hope is that  people coming to Denali  Park for that                                                               
experience will  "stick around and  spend a lot more  money while                                                               
they're here."   Tourism is important given that  it is currently                                                               
the  state's  number  three industry.    Referencing  a  National                                                             
Geographic story  and an  article in the  Los Angeles  Times, she                                                           
reported that  in 1999 a  collared alpha  female was shot  and in                                                               
2012 a  trapper dragged a  horse carcass  to an active  wolf site                                                               
and  set traps  that caught  a pregnant  female belonging  to the                                                               
East  Fork  Pack. In  2012  this  same  trapper caught  the  only                                                               
remaining   breeding   female   in  the   Granite   Creek   Pack;                                                               
consequently, that pack produced no  pups and was reduced from 15                                                               
wolves  to  3.   The  trapper's  comment, seemingly  spoken  with                                                               
pride, was  that that was  the third  time he ruined  millions of                                                               
people's  Denali  Park  viewing   experience.    These  types  of                                                               
articles are  not a good  image for Alaska  and give the  state a                                                               
"black eye," she opined.  Offering  her support for the bill, she                                                               
said it  is the right  move for now and  can be revisited  in the                                                               
future and something else tried if the bill does not work.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:31:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE stated  he has always viewed  wolves as a                                                               
biological resource,  whether it  is to put  money in  his wallet                                                               
when he  personally handles  it or  to put  money into  the state                                                               
from people  coming into Denali Park.   If he sees  more than two                                                               
wolves  when out  camping, he  continued,  then he  has seen  too                                                               
many.  He said  he is conflicted in that only  half the battle is                                                               
won if  it is done on  the visitors' side; having  the money come                                                               
in makes  sense but  it is  a tough decision.   Alaska  should be                                                               
exciting  for everyone,  he opined,  and whether  it is  moose or                                                               
wolves it translates  into dollars for the economy  or provides a                                                               
great story to tell the kids.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:32:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND offered  her  appreciation for  Co-Chair                                                               
Tarr's reference  to the Los  Angeles Times article  because that                                                             
is where  many of  Alaska's tourists originate.   She  would much                                                               
prefer  for it  to be  in the  Los Angeles  Times that  Alaska is                                                             
working to protect  these wolves and increase  their numbers, she                                                               
continued, rather  than aerial  spotting of  wolves by  ADF&G and                                                               
the gassing  of [pups] in their  dens.  Offering her  support for                                                               
the bill,  she noted  that while  wolves do  not have  regard for                                                               
boundaries, people  do, and if this  isn't done it will  never be                                                               
known if it works.   If this doesn't work it  can be revisited in                                                               
the  future, but  at  this point  in  time it  would  be wise  to                                                               
respect the signs and help the wolves rebound.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:34:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR moved  to report  CSHB  105, Version  30-LS0408\O,                                                               
Bullard,    3/16/17,   out    of   committee    with   individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:35:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Westlake, Drummond,                                                               
Parish,  Tarr, and  Josephson voted  in  favor of  the motion  to                                                               
report CSHB  105, Version 30-LS0408\O,  Bullard, 3/16/17,  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   Representatives Rauscher,  Talerico, Birch,  and                                                               
Johnson voted against it.   Therefore, CSHB 105(RES) was reported                                                               
out of the House Resources Standing Committee by a vote of 5-4.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:35 p.m. to 2:39 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[Co-Chair Josephson passed the gavel to Vice Chair Westlake.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                HB 134-BOARD OF GAME MEMBERSHIP                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  WESTLAKE announced that  the final order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 134,  "An Act relating to the composition                                                               
of the Board of Game."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON,  sponsor, introduced HB  134.  He  noted that                                                               
he  has some  concerns  with  the way  the  Board  of Game  (BOG)                                                               
operates and explained that the  bill provides for a tourism seat                                                               
and  a non-consumptive  seat on  the seven-member  board.   There                                                               
would be no  impact on board members who  are currently appointed                                                               
and unconfirmed, or  appointed and confirmed, he  continued.  The                                                               
bill  clearly states  that these  seats  would be  filled in  the                                                               
future.   The bill is very  important, he said, because  about 85                                                               
percent of Alaskans  do not hunt or trap.   However, he added, he                                                               
would be  surprised if  that number also  applied to  the fishing                                                               
predilections because he assumes that  most people fish.  He said                                                               
he  has received  20 or  30  e-mails from  the public  expressing                                                               
concern with  the board not  hearing from  non-consumptive users.                                                               
In the  1990s, he recalled,  the Board  of Game had  members like                                                               
Joel  Bennett, Victor  VanBellenberghe,  and  Thomas Meacham  who                                                               
were  willing   to  hear,  entertain,  and   take  seriously  the                                                               
interests of non-consumptive users.   Former Senator Johnny Ellis                                                               
filed,  or considered  filing, a  bill  that created  a Board  of                                                               
Wildlife.  As to the question  raised in HB 105 on whether Denali                                                               
Park's wolves  need further protection, Co-Chair  Josephson said,                                                               
"You see a  Board of Game that has become  so politicized that if                                                               
a person where, ... for example..."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:42:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  interjected that since no  members of the                                                               
Board  of Game  are present,  care should  be taken  when talking                                                               
about the board's makeup.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  allowed that  that is a  fair statement.   He                                                               
shared his experience that if  during an appointee's confirmation                                                               
hearing the appointee indicated in  the slightest way that he/she                                                               
cared about  the wildlife watcher, that  appointee's confirmation                                                               
would most  likely be sunk.   It didn't used  to be this  way, he                                                               
continued.   In the  1990s there  was a culture  on the  Board of                                                               
Game that  was more  accepting of wildlife  viewing.   He posited                                                               
that there  would be more  dialog and diversity before  the board                                                               
if HB  134 was passed,  and there would  be an avenue  for people                                                               
who share  different values  to be  heard.   He pointed  out that                                                               
CSHB 105(RES),  the bill the  committee moved out  earlier today,                                                               
will  help protect  Denali  wolves.   However,  he related,  last                                                               
month the Board  of Game defeated a comparable  proposal by seven                                                               
votes to zero, while CSHB 105(RES)  passed by five votes to four.                                                               
He  read  from  the  current   statute,  AS  16.05.221(b),  which                                                               
identifies who may serve on the Board of Game and states:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     For  purposes of  the conservation  and development  of                                                                    
     the game  resources of  the state,  there is  created a                                                                    
     Board of  Game composed  of seven members  appointed by                                                                    
     the governor, subject to confirmation  by a majority of                                                                    
     the members  of the  legislature in joint  session. The                                                                    
     governor  shall appoint  each member  on  the basis  of                                                                    
     interest in  public affairs, good  judgment, knowledge,                                                                    
     and ability  in the field  of action of the  board, and                                                                    
     with  a view  to  providing diversity  of interest  and                                                                    
     points of view in the membership.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON said he is not  suggesting that there is not a                                                               
diversity  of views  on  the  board.   For  example,  there is  a                                                               
difference  of opinion  between "residential  hunters" and  those                                                               
supporting interests that may come from  out of state.  So, it is                                                               
not  like the  hunting  or trapping  communities are  monolithic.                                                               
However,  he  continued,   there  is  a  huge   swath  of  Alaska                                                               
residents,  85 percent,  who  have essentially  no  voice on  the                                                               
Board of  Game.   Therefore, HB  134 says,  "What would  be wrong                                                               
with those who are concerned  with watchable wildlife, frankly in                                                               
the end losing  most proposals 5-2?"  For  the non-consumptive or                                                               
tourism  seat  it  could  be a  difficult  experience,  he  said,                                                               
because they are  often going to have a hard  time convincing the                                                               
other five  of something,  such as that  predator control  is not                                                               
needed in  a certain  unit because there  is some  important bear                                                               
viewing  going on  there.   So,  while they  will generally  lose                                                               
those struggles by  five votes to two, at least  they will have a                                                               
voice, and that  is very important to the people  of Alaska.  Co-                                                               
Chair  Josephson pointed  out  that many  times  people will  not                                                               
attend the  Board of  Game meetings  because they  view it  as an                                                               
exercise  that  is,  from  their vantage  point,  hopeless.    He                                                               
therefore urged  that Title  16 as written  be infused  with more                                                               
delineation and more description so there can be real diversity.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  offered his understanding that  under HB                                                               
134,  these two  seats would  be the  only defined  seats on  the                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON replied that is  correct.  He posited, "That's                                                               
what this has  come to; the ... other five  will surely represent                                                               
the consumptive  users."  He said  he does not have  a particular                                                               
problem with that, but that one  could argue that there should be                                                               
a  little more  parity, a  "four  to three  kind of  thing."   He                                                               
agreed  there should  be  a strong  voice  for consumptive  users                                                               
because they  know a  lot about  allocation and  many know  a lot                                                               
about  biology and  what  it  takes to  harvest  wildlife.   They                                                               
reflect Alaska  in all  its abundance, but  this other  cohort is                                                               
absolutely cut out of the process.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER said he  understands and agrees, but that                                                               
it seems  like it would be  creating two seats of  equal value as                                                               
opposed to the others.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:50:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  argued that this is  inserting government                                                               
to  determine  what  decisions  the board  should  make  and  the                                                               
outcomes of  the votes.   The  governor gets  to appoint  and the                                                               
legislature gets  to confirm, she  said, and every time  that the                                                               
legislature does  not like  the makeup  of the  board it  has the                                                               
option  of  voting that  down  and  having the  governor  appoint                                                               
someone else.   The legislature already has the  option of saying                                                               
it  wants a  certain makeup  on  the board.    It is  not set  in                                                               
statute that there will be this one  and that one, she added.  It                                                               
allows for everyone being represented  when everyone in the state                                                               
gets to have  a voice through the representatives  when they vote                                                               
on the  makeup of the  board.  As  the makeup of  Alaska changes,                                                               
she posited, there may be changes  on the way the Board of Game's                                                               
seats are  being applied.  As  far as needing to  define seat-by-                                                               
seat, the  bill would bind the  hands of the governor  as well as                                                               
those of legislators to really represent their constituents.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  responded that  he is saying  it is  a policy                                                               
call and is in the interest  of the legislature and the people of                                                               
Alaska to  be bound  by this.   There  is nothing  atypical about                                                               
saying there  will be  X number  of pedicurists  and Y  number of                                                               
hairdressers  on a  board, it  is typical.   This  would give  an                                                               
audience to some ideas that nine  times out of ten will fail, but                                                               
members of  the public will  say, "I had  a voice and  I couldn't                                                               
attend   that   meeting,  but   someone   who   sees  the   world                                                               
approximately the way I do did [attend]  and they tried . . . and                                                               
they  raised some  sensitivities  and concerns  that never  would                                                               
have been raised otherwise."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:52:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  related  that  as  a  photographer  and                                                               
wildlife  viewer,  he  appreciates  wildlife and  being  able  to                                                               
photograph and  also appreciates the sponsor's  interest in being                                                               
able to view and take photos.   There should be a voice out there                                                               
of  some  sort, he  said,  and  he  commends the  sponsor's  idea                                                               
somewhat.  He inquired as to how  HB 134 and the provision in the                                                               
constitution that wildlife be managed  for maximum benefit of the                                                               
state's  people  on  the sustained  yield  principle  would  work                                                               
together.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  answered that  the committee's vote  today on                                                               
[HB 105]  said there  is an economic  interest in  living animals                                                               
and  that reflected  the maximum  benefit.   Requiring a  tourism                                                               
seat  and a  non-consumptive  seat  does not,  in  his view,  run                                                               
counter to that constitutional mandate.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH stated  that  fish and  game are  renewable                                                               
resources that have  been managed effectively one  way or another                                                               
since statehood.   He said he is concerned about  having folks on                                                               
the  Board  of  Game  who  do  not  have  some  interest  in  the                                                               
sustainable use  and consumption of  that resource.   He inquired                                                               
whether there would  be an analogous situation with  the Board of                                                               
Fisheries (BOF) if  someone who objects to fishing were  to be on                                                               
that board.   For  example, he  continued, it  would be  like the                                                               
board of  regents for a  university having somebody  that doesn't                                                               
think kids should go to a university.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  replied no,  people do not  see fish  the way                                                               
they  do wildlife  and that  is the  main difference.   It  is an                                                               
interesting question, he allowed.   For example, the new director                                                               
of the  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  isn't as concerned                                                               
with environmental protection  and so why is he  working for that                                                               
department.  The idea that Board  of Game members should be about                                                               
consumptive use only, and so why  would it be appropriate to have                                                               
someone  who is  non-consumptive, is  something he  thinks about.                                                               
He  said  his concern  and  experience  from  the Board  of  Game                                                               
meetings that  he has attended  is that any proposal  to conserve                                                               
rather than take is generally defeated.   While the Board of Game                                                               
does  have concerns  about sustainability  generally,  it is  his                                                               
opinion that board  members react viscerally when  somebody has a                                                               
proposal that board  members red flag and identify  as being just                                                               
in the  interest of  wildlife watching.   But, he  maintained, it                                                               
should  receive  a  voice  and another  reason  is  the  economic                                                               
interest in tourism.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:58:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH drew analogy  with proponents of alternative                                                               
energy not being  a good fit to  serve on the Alaska  Oil and Gas                                                               
Conservation  Commission  (AOGCC).     While  alternative  energy                                                               
proponents  are  well intentioned,  he  continued,  the AOGCC  is                                                               
trying  to reasonably  manage and  produce Alaska's  oil and  gas                                                               
resources.   He  said  he does  not see  how  someone opposed  to                                                               
hunting  or trapping  would be  a  good fit  on a  board that  is                                                               
primarily constructed  to efficiently manage and  maintain a game                                                               
resource that is collectively owned.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON responded  that if HB 134 were  to become law,                                                               
it would  likely be found  that the non-consumptive  seat holder,                                                               
and surely  the tourism seat holder,  is not bound to  looking at                                                               
an issue from one perspective.   For example, he said, the Yukon-                                                               
Charley National  Wild and  Scenic River  Area probably  does not                                                               
have scads  of tourist,  so the person  in the  dedicated tourism                                                               
seat might  say that there  is not  much interest in  the tourism                                                               
industry there  and would cast  a vote for  a proposal to  take X                                                               
number more wolverines in a sustainable way in that area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO asked whether  the assumption is that the                                                               
85 percent  of the  state's population who  don't hunt  are anti-                                                               
hunting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON answered no and  said the cohort he is talking                                                               
about may  view some of the  practices that are allowed  in state                                                               
law as abhorrent, not part of  the North American model, not fair                                                               
chase,  and not  sporting.   They  want some  concern for  intact                                                               
ecosystems, he  continued, and they  want an Alaska  that remains                                                               
wild rather than a place that  is all about abundance and nothing                                                               
else.    There  is  nothing  in  the  aforementioned  that  would                                                               
preclude some responsible and sustainable hunting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:02:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO posited that  he and the sponsor probably                                                               
have different understandings  of the Board of Game.   He related                                                               
that  he has  been  involved  in a  board  meeting  that had  213                                                               
proposals.   He  has  seen  the board  take  data and  allocation                                                               
considerations  from ADF&G  and structure  seasons, closures,  or                                                               
openings [accordingly].   For example,  a big thing for  his area                                                               
was when  the board took  numbers and allocations and  set antler                                                               
restrictions  so that  there would  be  a maximum  yield of  that                                                               
particular  resource to  continue.   Because he  is a  reasonably                                                               
aggressive consumptive user of  that resource, those restrictions                                                               
meant a lot to  him, he said.  The governor  can choose people of                                                               
any background  and diversity.   The  Board of  Game has,  in his                                                               
opinion, made decisions based on  the allocation and data that is                                                               
presented to  it and has  acted to manage the  resource correctly                                                               
for the advantage of Alaska's people.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  agreed the board has  done the aforementioned                                                               
and allowed  his comments  to have  been unfair  to the  Board of                                                               
Game   in   that  respect.      The   board  has   followed   the                                                               
recommendations  of the  department  and its  biologists and  has                                                               
made  some  good decisions  about  methods  and means,  he  said.                                                               
However, 95  percent of  the time the  board is  truly dismissive                                                               
about any  non-consumptive view of  the world.   Generally, those                                                               
dismissals have not  been for areas way off the  beaten path, but                                                               
in  places  where  the  other interests  of  Alaskans  should  be                                                               
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:05:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  remarked that she  is having a  hard time                                                               
wrapping  her mind  around this  because growing  up she  did her                                                               
fair  share of  consuming.   It was  up to  the game  managers to                                                               
ensure that the game was not  over or under hunted and remained a                                                               
useable resource  for food.  Now  it is being said  that it could                                                               
be a useable resource for  wildlife viewing.  But, she continued,                                                               
wildlife viewing  does not reduce  the number of animals,  so why                                                               
would the  Board of Game  have to  worry about how  many pictures                                                               
were taken of  something?  Viewing, not hunting,  is why national                                                               
parks  were set  aside.   This  does not  make  sense, she  said,                                                               
because  wildlife viewing  is a  whole other  way of  approaching                                                               
game policy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON responded  by citing HB 105 and  noting that 5                                                               
percent of the people are seeing  wolves now.  In his opinion, he                                                               
continued, this is  because the state is complicit  in the demise                                                               
of wolves that  leave Denali National Park  and Preserve ("Denali                                                               
Park"); it  is part of  a policy.   Now, under the  new [federal]                                                               
administration, there  is going  to be  less federal  control and                                                               
oversight in  the preserves and refuges  and that is going  to be                                                               
put back on the  State of Alaska at some cost to  the state.  For                                                               
example, on the Kenai Peninsula  top federal biologists have said                                                               
that  no   more  brown   bears  can  be   taken  because   it  is                                                               
unsustainable; however,  the state's position is  that things are                                                               
fine.   His  observation, he  said, is  that the  state generally                                                               
sides with "the take" and rarely "the non-take."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON commented,  "You  can  disagree with  the                                                               
policy of how  the allocations are made ... and  you can disagree                                                               
with game policy, but that's not  the same as establishing a seat                                                               
on the board."  Anybody who  doesn't get a moose might think that                                                               
the  game in  his/her management  area could  be managed  better.                                                               
Disagreeing with  the board's  policy is not  the same  as saying                                                               
someone  needs to  be put  on  the board  that is  not into  game                                                               
management for a sustainable use, she said.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[HB 134 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:09:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 134 Supporting Doc - BoG statute.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/24/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB134 Sponsor Statement 2.23.17.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/24/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
CSHB105 vers O.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB105 Summary of Changes.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
Map of Area in CS.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105 Supporting Docs - BoG prop. 142 letters.pdf HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 105
HB0134A.PDF HRES 3/20/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/24/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 134