Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/09/2009 02:30 PM ENERGY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
-- Continued from 04/06/09 --
Heard & Held
Moved SJR 7 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ENERGY                                                                             
                         April 9, 2009                                                                                          
                           2:45 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lesil McGuire, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 143                                                                                                             
"An   Act   establishing   the  Greater   Railbelt   Energy   and                                                               
Transmission  Corporation   and  relating  to   the  corporation;                                                               
relating   to   transition,   financial   plan,   and   reporting                                                               
requirements   regarding  planning   for  the   initial  business                                                               
operations  of  the  Greater  Railbelt  Energy  and  Transmission                                                               
Corporation; relating  to a report  on legislation  regarding the                                                               
Regulatory Commission  of Alaska and the  Greater Railbelt Energy                                                               
and  Transmission  Corporation;  authorizing  the  Alaska  Energy                                                               
Authority to  convey the Bradley  Lake Hydroelectric  Project and                                                               
the  Alaska   Intertie  to  the   Greater  Railbelt   Energy  and                                                               
Transmission Corporation; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE JOINT RESOULTION NO. 7                                                                                                   
Opposing a  United Nations designation  of the Arctic Ocean  as a                                                               
World Heritage Site.                                                                                                            
     MOVED SJR 7 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 143                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RAILBELT ENERGY & TRANSMISSION CORP.                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
03/09/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/09/09       (S)       ENE, RES, FIN                                                                                          
03/19/09       (S)       ENE AT 11:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                          
03/19/09       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/19/09       (S)       MINUTE(ENE)                                                                                            
BILL: SJR  7                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OPPOSE UN DESIGNATION OF ARCTIC OCEAN                                                                              
SPONSOR(S): THERRIAULT                                                                                                          
02/19/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/19/09       (S)       ENE, RES                                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JOE BALASH, Intergovernmental Coordinator                                                                                       
Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 143.                                                                                         
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SJR 7.                                                                                         
DAVE STANCLIFF                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SJR 7 for the sponsor.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
2:45:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LESIL  MCGUIRE  called the  Senate  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Energy  meeting   to  order  at   2:45  p.m.   Senators  Kookesh,                                                               
Wielechowski, and McGuire were present at the call to order.                                                                    
          SB 143-RAILBELT ENERGY & TRANSMISSION CORP.                                                                       
2:45:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SB 143.                                                                            
JOE BALASH, Intergovernmental  Coordinator, Department of Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR), said since the last  hearing on this bill he has                                                               
worked with  utility managers  on a  variety of  modifications to                                                               
bring some  comfort to their concerns.  The bill lays out  a two-                                                               
step  process   putting  the   corporation  and   the  governance                                                               
structure  in place  developing a  course for  the Railbelt  as a                                                               
region and  then putting together  transition and   finance plans                                                               
to  be completed  and based  on  the findings  of the  integrated                                                               
resource plan that is now under way.                                                                                            
He  said he  had  provided  a lengthy  amendment  to enact  those                                                               
changes in  a CS. However, since  that time a meeting  of all six                                                               
utility  boards in  the Railbelt  was convened  and they  decided                                                               
that they  would like more  input into the governance  portion of                                                               
the process. As  a result, he was expecting a  letter from all of                                                               
them on  the process  they will  see as the  ideal makeup  of the                                                               
governance structure.  He expected  that the boards  will endorse                                                               
the  Greater  Railbelt  Energy Transmission  Corporation  (GRETC)                                                               
proposal, but with  a few more important details  added. He asked                                                               
the committee  to hold SB  143, so it could  be worked on  in the                                                               
2:48:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BALASH  said the fiscal note  is about the startup  money for                                                               
the  corporation  much  of  which would  go  into  identifying  a                                                               
business location, housing employees,  getting the various pieces                                                               
of  technology  in place  -  a  control room,  communication-type                                                               
centers  and  things  like  that.  But  much  of  that  might  be                                                               
unnecessary.  A significant  portion  of that  fiscal note  would                                                               
have been  used by the  Alaska Energy  Authority (AEA) to  do its                                                               
part  in carrying  the load  in the  transition and  finance plan                                                               
development process  this fall. These  funds would still  be very                                                               
necessary for them  to stay on track for  having everything ready                                                               
for next session. It would then be a one-step bill.                                                                             
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked what figure he was thinking about.                                                                          
MR.  BALASH answered  less than  $1.5 million.  The total  fiscal                                                               
note is  $6.7 million and that  the Railbelt Energy Fund  be used                                                               
as the funding source.                                                                                                          
2:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE said  the committee looked forward  to working with                                                               
Mr. Balash in the Interim on SB 143.                                                                                            
          SJR  7-OPPOSE UN DESIGNATION OF ARCTIC OCEAN                                                                      
2:52:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced consideration of SJR 7.                                                                                 
SENATOR  GENE THERRIAULT,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of                                                               
SJR 7,  said it  was introduced  after his  staff saw  an article                                                               
relating  how  a  group  of  top  U.S.  and  Canadian  scientists                                                               
proposed that  an ice park  be established under the  auspices of                                                               
the  U.N.  in the  Arctic  to  protect the  critically  shrinking                                                               
Arctic ice  from further damage.  It would  preclude trans-Arctic                                                               
Ocean  shipping, resource  development  and  any increased  human                                                               
activity in the  Arctic. With the uncertainty of  exactly what is                                                               
going on  with the Polar  Ice Cap,  the resolution calls  for not                                                               
taking the step  of creating an Arctic Ocean ice  park as a World                                                               
Heritage Site.                                                                                                                  
2:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  what   happens  when  something  is                                                               
designated as a World Heritage Site.                                                                                            
DAVE  STANCLIFF,  Staff,  to  Senator  Therriault,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature said the Kluane area in  Alaska and Canada is a World                                                               
Heritage  Site  extending  across  international  boundaries.  It                                                               
creates  a  multi-jurisdictional   management  regime  that  goes                                                               
across   sometimes   cultural   but  most   often   international                                                               
boundaries.   There is a  movement in  this case to  suggest that                                                               
such    a   multinational    effort    would   be    advantageous                                                               
environmentally. The  problem is  that all  the countries  of the                                                               
world are still  asserting and wrangling over who  owns what part                                                               
of the Arctic.                                                                                                                  
2:55:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI questioned if  the U.N. designates Kluane as                                                               
a World Heritage Site, would  that doesn't usurp any jurisdiction                                                               
or take away any rights from the United States.                                                                                 
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  answered  his understanding  is  that  World                                                               
Heritage Sites  are agreed to  be managed according to  the rules                                                               
that are  set up  by the  United Nations  (U.N.) The  U.N. cannot                                                               
take away Alaska's right to  control the acreage; it's whether we                                                               
are  willing to  go into  it. If  any step  were to  freeze those                                                               
suggestions of  who owns  what, that might  be a  disadvantage to                                                               
the U.S. and  to Alaska, being that  it is the only  state of the                                                               
United States that is in the Arctic.                                                                                            
2:56:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KOOKESH  moved  to  report SJR  7  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  attached  fiscal note(s).  There                                                               
being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                         
2:57:30 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
the meeting was adjourned at 2:57 p.m.                                                                                          

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