Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/24/1993 03:45 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE February 24, 1993 3:45 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Mike Miller, Chairman Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman Senator Steve Frank Senator Drue Pearce Senator Dave Donley Senator Al Adams Senator Fred Zharoff MEMBERS ABSENT All Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 77 "An Act relating to the powers of the Board of Game and to intensive game management to achieve higher sustained yield for human harvest." SENATE BILL NO. 107 "An Act relating to the wildlife conservation tag and to entry onto state game and wildlife sanctuaries, state game refuges, state range areas, and fish and game critical habitat areas; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 90 "An Act clarifying powers and duties of state officials in relation to a disaster emergency caused by a catastrophic oil discharge or the release of a hazardous substance." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 77 - See Resources minutes dated 2/10/93. SB 107 - No previous action to record. SB 90 - See Oil & Gas minutes dated 2/16/93. WITNESS REGISTER Russell Heath, Director Alaska Environmental Lobby P.O. Box 22151 Juneau, Alaska 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed CSSB 77. Mike Dubowski 5751 Old Valdez Tr. Salcha, Alaska 99714 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSSB 77 and SB 107. John George Alaska Outdoor Council 9515 Moraine Way Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSSB 77 and SB 107. Dave Kelleyhouse, Director Division of Wildlife Conservation Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSSB 77. Ron Somerville, Deputy Commissioner Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSSB 77. Teresa Sager-Stancliff, Staff Senator Mike Miller State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 107 Wayne Regelin, Deputy Director Division of Wildlife Conservation Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 107. Mary Forbes Alaska Environmental Lobby P.O. Box 22151 Juneau, Alaska 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Tom Garret Alaska Visitors Association 234 gold Street Juneau, alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 107 with some recommendations. Jeff Morrison, Legislative Liaison Department of Military and Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 110900 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0900 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 107. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-9 , SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR MILLER called the Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:45 p.m. and announced SB 77 INTENSIVE MANAGEMENT OF GAME RESOURCES to be up for consideration. SENATOR SHARP explained his proposed CS to SB 77. He said it accommodated most of the ADF&G amendments to the title. Number 111 SENATOR ADAMS moved to adopt the CS to SB 77 and asked for unanimous consent. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 120 RUSSELL HEATH, Alaska Environmental Lobby, opposed CSSB 77, because they believe that game should be managed for the health of the ecosystem and not specifically for human consumption. A healthy ecosystem will sustain all types of users over the long term. Number 134 MIKE DUBOWSKI supported intensive management for human use, because from a personal standpoint he depends on the resources, specifically mouse. He thought a lot of the areas he now uses would be closed, which means he would have to hunt in others areas, which,in turn, would make them overcrowded. Number 185 JOHN GEORGE, Alaska Outdoor Council, supported intensive management of the game resources on the limited amount of land we have left where the public can actually hunt and fish. Number 197 DAVE KELLEYHOUSE, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said most of their recommendations had been accommodated in the CS. He has some problems with removal of (a)(11)c on page 2, because that referred to conducting intensive management where human consumption would be expected to increase significantly. MR. KELLEYHOUSE said their official position remains neutral until he reviews the CS. SENATOR SHARP said the underlying purpose behind this bill is to create legislative intent for intensive management with the least amount of wiggle room possible. Number 314 SENATOR PEARCE asked if they say "shall" to the Board rather than "may," does the Governor, then, have the authority to overturn a decision by the Board of Game? MR. KELLYHOUSE said they had looked at the word "shall" versus "may" and it says the Board of Game "shall" adopt regulations it considers advisable. In all instances when there is a disagreement between the Board and the Commissioner, the Governor is the ultimate arbiter of that impasse. Number 388 SENATOR FRANK moved to pass CSSB 77 from Committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ADAMS objected and there was a roll call vote: SENATOR ADAMS: no; SENATOR PEARCE: yes; SENATOR FRANK: yes; SENATOR LEMAN: yes; SENATOR MILLER: yes; and SENATOR ZHAROFF: no; and CSSB 77 was discharged from Committee with a vote of 4 yeas and 2 nays. Number 418 SENATOR MILLER announced SB 107 WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TAG AND FEE to be up for consideration. TERESA SAGER-STANCLIFF, Staff for Senator Miller, said SB 107 would establish a wildlife conservation tag program. The tag would allow the purchaser to enter onto certain wildlife or game sanctuaries. It would give the Commissioner the authority to set a fee and to establish, through regulation, state refuges, range areas, and critical habitat areas where a wildlife conservation tag would be required for entry. Number 451 SENATOR ADAMS asked to see a map of the areas concerned and asked if his district was in it. He commented that in Anchorage and Fairbanks people are rich and can afford the tag, but if you're in rural Alaska, it is different. Number 462 WAYNE REGELIN, Deputy Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, supported SB 107. It is a way to allow users of wildlife who don't hunt or fish to contribute to the resource. He said there are 32 of these areas in the state, none of them are farther north than Fairbanks. The only three the legislation speaks to are McNeil River, Round Island, and Pack Creek. They intend to charge about the same price as a hunting license. They don't want to change the use of the land, but to gain revenues. MR. REGELIN offered one amendment to clarify the intent. It says revenues received would be used for non-game programs and watchable wildlife programs. Number 528 SENATOR ADAMS asked him to explain the concerns surrounding the Stan Price area. MR. REGELIN explained that the Forest Service has requested that they submit two other amendments for the Stan Price/Pack Creek area where the state owns the tide land area and the federal government owns the uplands area. They are trying to work out some agreement to accommodate the situation. SENATOR ADAMS asked him if the people who ride snow machines have to buy a permit to cross the lands with exemptions for private property and public easements? MR. RICKLAND answered if they were snow machining they would have to. The cost of that tag would be the same as a hunting license which is $25. He said they may lower it after public comment. Number 530 SENATOR ZHAROFF said that $15 may not be lot of money to him, but it means a lot to someone out there who is unemployed. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked how this dealt with subsistence users. MR. REGELIN said the areas they would plan to do this in are not where subsistence is an issue. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if there was a difference in residential and nonresidential rates. MR. REGELIN said at this time, no. SENATOR ZHAROFF commented that now we do have residential and nonresidential rates for hunting and fishing. MR. REGELIN said a different statute authorizes that. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked where the revenues are deposited. SENATOR MILLER said he understands that they will go into the general fund. MR. REGELIN said that was correct and they hoped to set up something similar to the duck stamp program. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked what were the penalties if you didn't have a stamp or whatever they decided upon. MR. REGELIN said that penalties had not been addressed. TAPE 93-10, SIDE B Number 580 SENATOR ZHAROFF said if you are going to pattern this after their other fish and game violation laws, there should be major penalties. MR. REGELIN thought there should be some sort of penalty if a regulation is broken. SENATOR ZHAROFF said he didn't favor this legislation. He said there a very few places we offer people the luxury to see some of the wildlife in Alaska. He didn't think we should be trying to balance the budget of the department with the users. He didn't think it required any management other than what is already provided through statute. MR. REGELIN said that the department is moving to put more effort into a watchable wildlife program. They are spending quite a lot of money on it and it is all coming from the general fund. They are looking for ways to reduce that general fund expenditure. Number 535 MIKE DUBOWSKI supported SB 107. He suggested requiring all visitors to the state pay a fee. Number 517 MARY FORBES, Alaska Environmental Lobby, supported SB 107. They believe nonconsumptive users of state land should pay a share of management costs. She suggested using language that specifically says what the funds should be used for and she wanted the program to be expanded to include more state lands. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked her if she didn't think charging a fee would be a deterrent to using them. MS. FORBES said she didn't think so, and she compared it to back pack programs she participated in where you have to pay a fee. Number 478 TOM GARRET, Alaska Visitors Association, supported SB 107. However, he had recommendations that would make it work better for both the department and the industry. He said that tourism does affect management and used the recent wolf issue as an example. The constitution says these resources are the common property of all Alaskans and should be managed to the highest and best use without regard for the amount of money collected by the department. They do support raising money to pay for non game wildlife activities, as long as they are voluntary. A broadly based market driven program of wildlife stamps or tags would be the most effective way to generate revenue. The tagging program now seems to be more of a program for entry fees. They do not support across the board mandatory wildlife viewing fees. MR. GARRETT said the Destination Alaska Study Team reviewed hundreds of different taxing options and determined the only options that would tax all visitors to Alaska equally was a state wide sales tax. They believe there should be two separate bills; one that establishes mandatory entrance fees for specific areas and another one that sets up the voluntary wildlife tag program that is marketed to people who may never even go to the places. He thought the revenue potential for the program had been greatly underestimated and offered to help them develop it. He said the fees should be implemented no sooner than 1994 as the season of 1993 has already been half sold. He thought the entrance fee should be spelled out in the legislation instead of leaving it up to the Commissioner. He said he was shocked to hear the proposed $25 fee. A trip to Pack Creek costs $245 round trip. If you had to pay a $25 fee on top of that, that's 10% of the purchase price. He also said where there is joint ownership or management, there should be only one fee. Number 391 JOHN GEORGE, Alaska Outdoor Council, supported the concept of user fees for nonconsumptive users of wildlife resources. They favored a volunteer program and using a patch or decal. SENATOR MILLER said he would hold SB 107 for further work and announced SB 90 DECLARATION OF DISASTER EMERGENCIES to be up for consideration. JEFF MORRISON, Legislative Liaison, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, supported SB 107 because it clarifies some ambiguities in Titles 26 and 46. Title 46 says an oil spill is automatically a disaster if it's of sufficient magnitude and Title 26 gives the Governor authority to declare a disaster when a recommendation is made. SENATOR PEARCE said under the Master Contingency Plan for Prince William Sound the departments can come in and force a closure of the terminal if they think there is an imminent problem, but they don't take over the management. MR. MORRISON said that the lines of authority would be much cleaner if this bill were passed. He said that there are oil spills all the time that are not disasters. When something is major, it should be the Governor's responsibility to declare it. Number 220 SENATOR PEARCE moved to pass SB 90 with individual recommendations and with any attendant fiscal notes from Committee. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.