Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/16/2003 02:05 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                          May 16, 2003                                                                                          
                           2:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22(RLS)                                                                                       
Relating  to  the  USA  PATRIOT  Act, the  Bill  of  Rights,  the                                                               
Constitution of  the State  of Alaska,  and the  civil liberties,                                                               
peace, and security of the citizens of our country.                                                                             
     MOVED SCS CSHJR 22(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 86(JUD) am                                                                         
"An Act relating  to state permitted projects;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 245(JUD)(efd fld)                                                                                         
"An Act  relating to certain suits  and claims by members  of the                                                               
military  services;   relating  to   certain  suits   and  claims                                                               
regarding acts  or omissions of  the organized  militia; relating                                                               
to workers'  compensation and death  benefits for members  of the                                                               
organized militia;  relating to liability arising  out of certain                                                               
search  and  rescue, civil  defense,  fire  management, and  fire                                                               
fighting activities."                                                                                                           
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 19                                                                                                  
Proposing amendments to  the Constitution of the  State of Alaska                                                               
relating to the Alaska permanent fund.                                                                                          
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 170                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to the Code of Criminal  Procedure; relating to                                                               
defenses,  affirmative defenses,  and  justifications to  certain                                                               
criminal  acts; relating  to rights  of  prisoners after  arrest;                                                               
relating  to  discovery,  immunity from  prosecution,  notice  of                                                               
defenses,  admissibility  of  certain   evidence,  and  right  to                                                               
representation in  criminal proceedings; relating  to sentencing,                                                               
probation,  and discretionary  parole; amending  Rule 16,  Alaska                                                               
Rules of  Criminal Procedure, and  Rules 404, 412, 609,  and 803,                                                               
Alaska Rules of Evidence; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
     ITEM REMOVED FROM AGENDA                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HJR 22 - See State Affairs minutes dated 5/13/03.                                                                               
HB 86 - See Judiciary minutes dated 5/7/03 and 5/13/03.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jomo Stewart                                                                                                                
Staff to Representative Guttenberg                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HJR 22.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rynnieva Moss                                                                                                               
Staff to Representative Coghill                                                                                                 
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HJR 22.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. John Brading                                                                                                                
2004 Steese Hwy                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks AK 99712                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Frank Turney                                                                                                                
Bill of Rights Defense Committee                                                                                                
PO Box 70392                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks AK 99716                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mike Lawless                                                                                                                
Bill of Rights Defense Committee                                                                                                
General Delivery                                                                                                                
Two Rivers AK 99716                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Lee DeSpain                                                                                                                 
707 Cowles St. #3                                                                                                               
Fairbanks AK 99701                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Scott Trafford Calder                                                                                                       
PO Box 75011                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks AK 99707                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 22.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director                                                                                       
Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                                                                    
P. O. Box 201844                                                                                                                
Anchorage, AK  99520-1844                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Gary Carlson, Senior Vice President                                                                                         
Forest Oil Corporation                                                                                                          
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 86.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Kyle Parker, Attorney                                                                                                       
Pat & Boggs                                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 86.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tray Wilson, Senior Vice President                                                                                          
General Counsel and Secretary                                                                                                   
Forest Oil Corporation                                                                                                          
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 86.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Joe Balash                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 86.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-50, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
    CSHJR 22(RLS)-PATRIOT ACT AND DEFENDING CIVIL LIBERTIES                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 2:05  p.m. Present  were Senators                                                               
Ogan,  Ellis and  French. The  first  order of  business to  come                                                               
before the committee was HJR 22.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  motioned to  adopt SCS  CSHJR 22(JUD),  version Q.                                                               
There was no objection and it was so ordered.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOMO  STEWART, Staff to  Representative Guttenberg,  said the                                                               
changes in the SCS are appropriate.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RYNNIEVA MOSS,  Staff to  Representative  Coghill, said  she                                                               
would answer questions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHN  BRADY, Fairbanks resident,  supported HJR 22.  He said,                                                               
"The  USA's  Patriot Act  creates  a  virtual police  state  with                                                               
little or no judicial oversight."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FRANK TURNEY,  Bill of  Rights Defense  Committee, supported                                                               
HJR  22. He  thought the  definition  of a  terrorist was  really                                                               
broad in the Patriot Act.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MIKE LAWLESS,  Bill of  Rights Defense  Committee, supported                                                               
HJR 22 and  thanked them for all  the hard work they  had done on                                                               
this resolution.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEE DESPAIN, Fairbanks resident, supported HJR 22.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT arrived at 2:13 p.m.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCOTT TRAFFORD CALDER, Fairbanks  resident, supported HJR 22.                                                               
He  wanted  to  know  if the  words  "reasonable  suspicion"  had                                                               
changed in version Q.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS replied  reasonable suspicion  and probable  cause                                                               
essentially mean the same thing.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. CALDER said  he objected to the use  of reasonable suspicion,                                                               
but that  this bill is only  a resolution and it's  better to get                                                               
something passed than nothing at all.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  commented that reasonable  suspicion is  a lesser                                                               
standard  than probable  cause, but  it is  the standard  that is                                                               
used before you stop a citizen who is walking down the street.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN said that Black's  Law Dictionary defines reasonable                                                               
suspicion as:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Such  suspicion, which  will  justify  an officer,  for                                                                    
     fourth amendment  purposes, in stopping a  defendant in                                                                    
     a public  place, is quantum of  knowledge sufficient to                                                                    
     induce   ordinary  prudent   and  cautious   man  under                                                                    
     circumstances that could lead to criminal activity...                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He said  that probable cause is  a higher standard by  50 percent                                                               
or  more  and  felt  that  reasonable  suspicion  was  enough  to                                                               
investigate  an  activity, but  it's  not  enough to  get  search                                                               
warrants for wiretaps and those kinds of things.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  what he reads on  page 2, lines 13  - 25, is                                                               
that  they  are  resolving  that in  the  absence  of  reasonable                                                               
suspicion or criminal  activity under Alaska state  law, no state                                                               
agency may  begin an investigation.  He asked whether  they think                                                               
that  state  officers  should  be able  to  assist  in  perceived                                                               
violations  under  the  same  reasonable  suspicion  standard  as                                                               
federal law or are they trying to avoid that.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  added that he  thought that  was a good  point and                                                               
asked  if we  have  state laws  that cover  the  federal side  of                                                               
things like kidnapping.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH replied  that you  can always  find some  statute                                                               
that will cover a federal crime and vice versa.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.   JENNIFER  RUDINGER,   Executive   Director,  Alaska   Civil                                                               
Liberties  Union (ACLU),  thanked Representatives  Guttenberg and                                                               
Coghill for  the bi-partisan  and tireless  effort they  put into                                                               
crafting this  resolution. The ACLU  supported the  language that                                                               
came out of the  House by a vote of 32  - 1. Reasonable suspicion                                                               
is   the   appropriate   legal  standard   for   initiating   the                                                               
investigations  and searches  that  are contemplated  by HJR  22;                                                               
probable  cause  is  the appropriate  standard  for  obtaining  a                                                               
warrant.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked if aliens  are treated differently  under the                                                               
Patriot Act  than for other  crimes since  it looks as  though it                                                               
allows them to be detained for six months without due process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RUDINGER replied  that the  Patriot  Act takes  many of  the                                                               
types of searches  and covert surveillance that used  to apply to                                                               
agents  of a  foreign  power  and expands  that  to  any kind  of                                                               
investigation.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     It's not whether  it's a U.S. citizen  or a non-citizen                                                                    
     and whether  it's a  routine criminal  investigation or                                                                    
     an investigation  related to  terrorism. That's  one of                                                                    
     the more  troublesome aspects of the  Patriot Act. It's                                                                    
     the  breadth  of  power  and   the  expansion  of  that                                                                    
     power...                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     With  respect to  non citizens  and their  detention, I                                                                    
     think a lot of that  action came from executive orders,                                                                    
     but I  want to find  out more  information specifically                                                                    
     on the length of those  detentions as to whether that's                                                                    
     coming from the Patriot Act or other executive orders.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN  said  Section  213  of the  Patriot  Act  has  the                                                               
authority  for delaying  notice of  execution of  warrant and  he                                                               
wasn't sure if reasonable cause was an appropriate standard.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RUDINGER  said  that  issue  has been  troubling  a  lot  of                                                               
constitutional  scholars, because  although the  Fourth Amendment                                                               
does say  probable cause is  necessary to obtain a  warrant, U.S.                                                               
Supreme  Court   cases  have  lowered   that  standard   in  some                                                               
instances. Justice Scalia said that troubled him.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH commented  that Alaska law has not  eroded, but he                                                               
couldn't speak to federal law.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  the  draft  is too  weak  and  ignores  the                                                               
possibility of  other federal  laws that cause  some of  the same                                                               
problems.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MOSS  said  this  is  the   product  of  almost  a  week  of                                                               
negotiations between  Representatives Guttenberg and  Coghill and                                                               
the intent is to encourage Congress  to look at any measures that                                                               
infringe on our liberties.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  the language is aimed at  the problem, which                                                               
is overreaching under the Patriot Act.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS motioned  to pass SCS CSHJR  22(JUD) from committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:32 - 2:36 p.m. - at ease                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
   CSSSHB 86(JUD) am-INJUNCTIONS AGAINST  PERMITTED PROJECTS                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  HB  86,  version X.2,  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved amendment 1.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS objected for the purposes of discussion.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  he was  concerned about  decreasing oil                                                               
and gas production in Cook  Inlet, but the Forest Oil Corporation                                                               
activity  has shown  promise. After  having fought  lengthy legal                                                               
challenges, they  have permits in  hand and are ramping  up their                                                               
production. Since  they have  jumped through  all the  hoops, the                                                               
Legislature is  saying once and for  all that the project  can go                                                               
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if  this would be  intervening in  an active                                                               
lawsuit.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  replied that  there  has  been a  stream  of                                                               
challenges.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GARY  CARLSON, Senior Vice  President, Forest Oil,  said they                                                               
operate the Osprey Platform and  are developing the Redoubt Shoal                                                               
Oilfield in Cook  Inlet south of Anchorage. It's  the largest oil                                                               
field to be  developed in Cook Inlet since the  early 70s and its                                                               
production  is  vital  to  Forest  Oil  and  is  in  the  state's                                                               
interest. They  have invested over  $200 million in  this project                                                               
to date  (transporting about 35,000  barrels of oil per  day) and                                                               
they and the  state are just beginning to see  some return on the                                                               
investment. They  hope to increase  production by  another 10,000                                                               
barrels as  additional wells are completed.  All was accomplished                                                               
in a safe  manner using state of the art  design, engineering and                                                               
innovation to minimize environmental impacts of the project.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The Osprey Project  is the first platform in Cook  Inlet to grind                                                               
and  inject  all  the  drill cuttings  eliminating  the  need  to                                                               
transport the materials to shore.  They are the first platform to                                                               
reinject produced  fluids on location  and the first  platform to                                                               
electrify the drilling rig using  shore power thereby eliminating                                                               
the  need for  diesel  engines and  reducing  the associated  air                                                               
emissions. They  are the first  Cook Inlet operation to  use soil                                                               
borings for pipeline  installation, which eliminates disturbances                                                               
to the bluffs and shoreline.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CARLSON  said they have  done what  the state has  asked plus                                                               
some. However, their  development of the Redoubt  Shoals has been                                                               
the  subject  of  continuing litigation  since  the  leases  were                                                               
issued  by the  State of  Alaska.  He said,  "The Alaska  Supreme                                                               
Court could  issue an injunction at  any time and, if  it were to                                                               
do so,  the fiscal impacts for  both Forest Oil and  the State of                                                               
Alaska would be dramatic and immediate."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked what  they are  in court  for now  and would                                                               
this amendment resolve the matter.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CARLSON replied  the special  interest  group, Trustees  for                                                               
Alaska, have sued  the state for awarding permits  to develop the                                                               
Redoubt Shoal field. They asked the  superior court for a stay to                                                               
stop production,  but they  were turned  down so  they petitioned                                                               
the  Alaska Supreme  Court.  The  basic case  is  being heard  by                                                               
superior court right now.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said he too  would be  frustrated if he  had been                                                               
sued for 10 years, but he  didn't know of any lawsuit that didn't                                                               
have two sides and asked him what their argument was.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. CARLSON replied  they stated in superior court  that they are                                                               
basically  against any  development and  listed a  lot of  issues                                                               
that the state didn't administer to their satisfaction.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked   if  it  had  to  do   with  the  initial                                                               
permitting.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. KYLE PARKER,  Pat & Boggs, Counsel for Forest  Oil, said they                                                               
have been  working with  Forest Oil since  1997. The  leases that                                                               
are the  subject of  the current  lawsuit are  now in  their 10th                                                               
year  of litigation,  originating  in  1993 in  a  case known  as                                                               
Ninilchik Traditional Counsel  v. State. That is  where the state                                                               
issued  its best  interest finding  and coastal  zone consistency                                                               
determination and put the leases out for sale. He continued,                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     In  that litigation,  the  AC&P  issues were  litigated                                                                    
     thoroughly.  The next  litigation that  came along  was                                                                    
     1995  and it  was  litigation over  the general  permit                                                                    
     that  governs all  the discharges  associated with  oil                                                                    
     and  gas  activities  in  Cook  Inlet.  That  case  was                                                                    
     litigated   again   by   Port   Graham   and   Nanwalek                                                                    
     Traditional Groups,  represented again by  Trustees for                                                                    
     Alaska. The  principal focus of  the attack  there was,                                                                    
     again, the  coastal zone consistency  determination for                                                                    
     the  general permit  that was  issued for  covering all                                                                    
     discharges in Cook Inlet.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The  next   set  of   litigation  was   the  litigation                                                                    
     challenging  the  exploration   phase  of  the  Redoubt                                                                    
     Shoals  Project,  which  Forest Oil  has  been  pursing                                                                    
     since it came into acquisition  of leases in 1996. Many                                                                    
     of  you  will  remember  that last  year  the  [Alaska]                                                                    
     Supreme  Court  entered   an  injunction  stopping  the                                                                    
     project in its tracks, because  it found that under the                                                                    
     AC&P, the state  had failed to consider  the impacts of                                                                    
     the discharges  associated with  the projects.  That is                                                                    
     the  very same  issue that  had been  litigated in  the                                                                    
     general  permit litigation,  which was  completed prior                                                                    
     to the  [Alaska] Supreme Court entering  the injunction                                                                    
     last  year. The  Legislature,  you  will recall,  acted                                                                    
     last year and  passed a bill that  ratified the state's                                                                    
     ability  to  rely  on general  permits  when  they  are                                                                    
     authorizing  projects.  No  sooner had  the  litigation                                                                    
     ended in  May of last  year, but the Trustees  and Cook                                                                    
     Inlet   Keepers   stepped   forward   with   the   next                                                                    
     litigation.   The  next   litigation  we're   currently                                                                    
     involved in  challenging the  development phase  of the                                                                    
     project and, again, the focus  of the attacks is on the                                                                    
     AC&P consistency determination....                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  this is  a classic  case of  what this  bill                                                               
intends to keep from happening.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRAY  WILSON, Senior  Vice  President,  General Counsel  and                                                               
Secretary for Forest  Oil Corporation, said he had  a letter that                                                               
he would summarize  for the committee. It includes  the amount of                                                               
expenses they have incurred in defending the cases.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-50, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
The  most   significant  impact  of  this   litigation  has  been                                                               
uncertainty  of outcome.  If they  were enjoined  from continuing                                                               
production at  this point,  the cost  would be  significant. They                                                               
disclose the litigation in their  filings with the Securities and                                                               
Exchange Commission  and the public  is aware of  the uncertainty                                                               
associated with it and they believe  it has had a negative effect                                                               
on the  valuation of their  stock. They are also  concerned about                                                               
whether  or not  they  should invest  in  additional projects  in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if  there are other  companies in  this same                                                               
position   and  shouldn't   everyone   be  helped   or  no   one.                                                               
Specifically, he  asked whether other amendments  would follow to                                                               
help other companies close out litigation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS replied that this is  the only one he has seen, but                                                               
he  would be  willing to  look  at everything  on a  case-by-case                                                               
basis.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT said  his staff, Mr. Balash,  has been dealing                                                               
with drafters  on Senator Ellis'  issue and that the  language is                                                               
not project specific.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN said  this bill  references the  Cook Inlet  Basin,                                                               
which is a geographic area.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOE BALASH, staff to  Senator Therriault, said that Section 1                                                               
states the purpose and findings, which is:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     To legislatively authorize and  approve all oil and gas                                                                    
     projects  located  within  the Cook  Inlet  Basin  that                                                                    
     have,  as of  the effective  date of  the act,  a final                                                                    
     authorization  permit or  other form  of approval  from                                                                    
     DEC,  Fish and  Game,  DNR or  the  former Division  of                                                                    
     Governmental Coordination at OMB.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The new provision under AS  46.40.096 adding Section 3 supercedes                                                               
and:                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Replaces   any  other   form  of   approval  previously                                                                    
     required by law  and a project approved  under this new                                                                    
     section  shall  remain  subject to  regulation  by  any                                                                    
     agency having jurisdiction  over the project consistent                                                                    
     with the  terms and  requirements of  the authorization                                                                    
     permit or other approval issued by the agency.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
So, they  are speaking  to all  oil and  gas projects  within the                                                               
Cook  Inlet   Basin.  This  morning   he  spoke  with   a  UNOCAL                                                               
representative who is very supportive  of the amendment. Marathon                                                               
is also  examining the amendment  to see  if it would  help them,                                                               
too.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BALASH  said lines 12-15  say a  project that is  approved by                                                               
this act  shall remain  subject to  regulation, which  means that                                                               
just  because  they  are  ratifying the  decisions  made  by  the                                                               
agencies, does not  mean that the companies can  ignore the terms                                                               
and conditions of their permits.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked for a  list of the  Cook Inlet oil  and gas                                                               
projects  that have  a final  authorization as  of the  effective                                                               
date of this act.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BALASH said he would try to  get one from the Division of Oil                                                               
and Gas.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  told  Senator  French that  he  was  endorsing  a                                                               
concept in the  bill that has no name attached  regardless of the                                                               
player.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH replied the language says:                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     'The  purpose   of  these  next  two   sections  is  to                                                                    
     legislatively  authorize and  approve all  oil and  gas                                                                    
     projects  located  within  the Cook  Inlet  Basin  that                                                                    
     have, as  of the  effective date of  this act,  a final                                                                    
     authorization permit or other form of approval.'                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      So I guess what I need to know is how many of those                                                                       
     are there...                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BALASH  replied he  could  think  of  a handful  of  current                                                               
projects  that  are either  in  exploration,  seismic testing  or                                                               
development  -   the  Cosmopolitan  project  on   the  Kenai  and                                                               
additional exploration with UNOCAL. He  said he would be happy to                                                               
get the list for him.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  thanked him  and asked what  is meant  by, "other                                                               
form of approval."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BALASH replied the permitting  process is very complex. There                                                               
are   consistency   findings,   best   interest   findings,   and                                                               
elevations, to name a  few - and this was an easy  term to use to                                                               
catch everything.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said he thought  it could cover a  telephone call                                                               
that said,  'sure, go  ahead,' and  he did not  want to  give his                                                               
legislative blessing to a telephone  call. He thought "other form                                                               
of approval" was too vague.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  Mr. Balash  if the  two other  companies he                                                               
mentioned have lawsuits going in addition to this one.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BALASH replied UNOCAL and  Marathon are active players in the                                                               
Cook Inlet Basin and would be subject to this bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS reiterated that this  bill is not company specific,                                                               
but is geographically oriented.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BALASH  said  line  25   inserts  a  new  section  into  the                                                               
consistency review process, AS 46.40.096,  and goes along with HB                                                               
191, which is the revision of the coastal management program.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted that the language  on lines 3-17 says this is                                                               
in  Alaska's  best  public interest,  avoids  costly  litigation,                                                               
provides  jobs,  creates  local  tax  revenue,  and  fuels  local                                                               
economies.  The  processes that  have  already  taken place  have                                                               
adequately protected the public interest.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  added that Section 3  says, "not withstanding                                                               
any other  provision except  with respect to  an appeal  filed by                                                               
the  applicant or  the affected  coastal resource  district." So,                                                               
the coast  districts still  have the  right to  appeal. Otherwise                                                               
they are saying if a company  has fulfilled all the other lengthy                                                               
requirements, they are allowed to proceed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN said  he didn't think Section 3 applied  to just the                                                               
Cook Inlet  area. It would  apply to  the coastal zone  no matter                                                               
where you are.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BALASH replied that he was correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:16 - 3:18 p.m. - at ease                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  removed  his objection  to  Senator  Therriault's                                                               
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected to wait for Senator French's information.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said he would hold  HB 86 until tomorrow morning to                                                               
get that  information. There  being no  further business  to come                                                               
before the committee, he adjourned the meeting at 10:00 a.m.                                                                    

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