Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/02/1994 03:50 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                  
                         March 2, 1994                                         
                           3:50 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
 Senator Drue Pearce                                                           
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 None                                                                          
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 316                                                           
 "An Act relating to commercial fishing penalties."                            
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 310                                                           
 "An Act relating to the management and sale of state timber;                  
 relating to the classification of state land that would preclude              
 harvesting of timber or would designate harvesting of timber as an            
 incompatible use; relating to the administration of forest land,              
 proposals for state forest, and the determination of sustained                
 yield; and providing for an effective date."                                  
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
                                                                               
 SB 316 - See Resources minutes dated 3/2/94.                                  
                                                                               
 SB 310 - See Resources minutes dated 3/2/94.                                  
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Rick Halford                                                          
 State Capital                                                                 
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of SB 316.                                     
                                                                               
 C. E. Swackhammer, Deputy Commissioner                                        
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, Ak. 99811-1200                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 316.                                      
                                                                               
 Colonel Bill Valentine, Director                                              
 Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection                                      
 Department of Fish and Game                                                   
 5700 Tudor Rd.                                                                
 Anchorage, Ak. 99507-1225                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 316.                                      
                                                                               
 David Ingram, Hearing Officer                                                 
 Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                         
 8800 Glacier Hwy., Suite 109                                                  
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-8079                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 316.                                      
                                                                               
 Jerry Luckhaupt, Legislative Affairs                                          
 130 Seward St., Suite 402                                                     
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 310.                                   
                                                                               
 Richard Bishop                                                                
 1555 Gus's Grind                                                              
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Did not support SB 310 as written.                     
                                                                               
 Bill Allen                                                                    
 Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce                                                 
 P.O. Box 73765                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99707                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 310.                                      
                                                                               
 Michael Walleri                                                               
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 First Ave                                                                 
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99207                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Chris Maisch                                                                  
 Tanana Chiefs Conference                                                      
 122 First Ave.                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99207                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Judy Warwick                                                                  
 3200 Riverview Dr.                                                            
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99701                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Jan Dawe                                                                      
 Ak. Boreal Forest                                                             
 P.O. Box 82003                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99708                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Celia Hunter                                                                  
 1819 Musk Ox Trail                                                            
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Mary Shields                                                                  
 P.O. Box 80961                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99708                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Ginny Hill Wood                                                               
 1819 Musk Ox Trail                                                            
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310                                         
                                                                               
 Ron Ricketts                                                                  
 515 7th Ave., Suite 320                                                       
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99701                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 310.                                      
                                                                               
 Sean McGuire                                                                  
 351 Cloudberry                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak.  99709                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Dale Haggstrom                                                                
 2349 Stevens Ave.                                                             
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Eva Saulitis                                                                  
 325 Yana                                                                      
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
 Molly Hudson                                                                  
 P.O. Box 83467                                                                
 Fairbanks, Ak 99708                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310                                         
                                                                               
 Sylvia Ward                                                                   
 Northern Alaska Environmental Center                                          
 218 Driveway Rd.                                                              
 Fairbanks, Ak. 99701                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SB 310.                                        
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-15, SIDE A                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN MILLER called the Resources Committee meeting to order at            
 3:50 p.m. and announced  SB 316  (FISHING VIOLATIONS:FINES/BURDEN OF     F    
 PROOF) to be up for consideration.                                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD, sponsor, said it changes penalties for commercial            
 fishing violations and misdemeanors.  It doubles the fine for                 
 violations, changes the provisions to make them stronger on action            
 on misdemeanors.  In general, he explained, misdemeanors require              
 intent and violations don't.  It is important to note that the                
 number of enforcement actions is going up, but the amount in fines            
 is going down.  He said he lays a lot of the blame at the                     
 Department of Law's prosecution efforts, citing where in many                 
 cases, especially in Bristol Bay, a prosecutor lowered the                    
 recommended penalty (which the defendant agreed to) to the court,             
 because he thought the plea agreements were too harsh.                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS moved to adopt the CS to SB 316.  There were no                 
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS said he had a problem with the percentage of fines,             
 because he comes from a fishing district that does not make huge              
 profits as in Bristol Bay.  He hoped they could look at an                    
 annualized percentage of profit versus a fine.                                
                                                                               
 His other concern was in Section 2, where it says "a person who               
 without any culpable mental state violates Alaska Statute 16.05.440           
 - 16.05.690."  He said that covered a lot of sections.                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS also had problems with the $6,000 penalty for                   
 forgetting to renew a license.  SENATOR HALFORD responded that this           
 legislation is increasing the maximum fine which hasn't been the              
 problem.  It isn't his intention to penalize someone who hasn't               
 managed to handle the paper work.  The court of appeals reserves              
 the maximum fine for the worst kinds of offenders.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS said he agreed with those points, but he has problems           
 with Section 2 and designating Alaska Statutes.  SENATOR HALFORD              
 explained that is the existing statutory reference dealing with the           
 violation provision.  He doesn't disagree with Senator Adams'                 
 concern, he said.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked for clarification of felonies, misdemeanors,              
 and violations.  SENATOR HALFORD said the primary difference is               
 that a misdemeanor requires a culpable mental state.                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF said Section 4 changes the defendant's                        
 responsibilities from showing a preponderance of the evidence to              
 clear and convincing which would be difficult.  SENATOR HALFORD               
 explained that it is not a criminal standard, but it is a higher              
 standard than currently used.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 199                                                                    
                                                                               
 C. E. SWACKHAMMER, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public                  
 Safety, and Colonel Bill Valentine, Fish and Wildlife Protection,             
 joined the Committee.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked him to comment on his concern with Section 2.             
 MR. SWACKHAMMER agreed that the fines were increasing by twice as             
 much.  He explained that the penalty for merely not renewing a                
 license would be less than $1000.  He said if a person is                     
 commercially fishing without an entry permit it's charged as a                
 misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $15,000.                                   
                                                                               
 There was a brief discussion of fines.                                        
                                                                               
 MR. SWACKHAMMER said that every fishery is different.  Different              
 standards are set.  Courts have been fairly consistent and so has             
 the Department as far as exercising enforcement authority.  He said           
 what they do now is not working.                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS noted there was no fiscal note.  MR. SWACKHAMMER said           
 they would anticipate more misdemeanor trials in the                          
 Dillingham/Naknek courts.  He said this would mean a fiscal note of           
 $10,000 - $20,000 which he would prepare.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 374                                                                    
                                                                               
 DAVID INGRAM, Hearing Officer, Commercial Fisheries Entry                     
 Commission, testified in favor of SB 316 saying it would give the             
 Department of Public Safety the tools they need for enforcement               
 around the state.  He said these penalties are really aimed at the            
 flagrant violator.                                                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY said a large fine cannot be given for a minor                  
 infraction.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 425                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if a permit holder could lose his fishing               
 privileges if he had three misdemeanors in different fisheries.               
 MR. INGRAM replied yes, the judge has the discretion to suspend one           
 or more of the privileges.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 455                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK moved to pass CSSB 316 from Committee with individual           
 recommendations.  SENATOR ZHAROFF objected saying he was concerned            
 with the amendments suggested by the Limited Entry Commission.  He            
 also thought the one year mandatory suspension provision was very             
 sudden compared to the three years it is now.                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved reducing the penalty to two misdemeanors within           
 ten years before mandatory suspension.                                        
                                                                               
 MR. INGRAM said that the Department of Public Safety would like to            
 see it remain one year of discretionary call by the judge and on              
 the second conviction move to mandatory suspension.  He said the              
 problem is that they are not getting any misdemeanor convictions.             
 They are all being given violations, so no one is collecting                  
 misdemeanor number one.  They want to send the message to the fleet           
 that the legislature is concerned.  Sympathetic cases can always be           
 dealt with on a violation level, he added.                                    
                                                                               
 There were no more objections and CSSB 316 passed from Committee              
 with individual recommendations.                                              
 Number 500                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER announced  SB 310  (STATE/PRIVATE/MUNI TIMBER                  
 OPERATION/SALE) to be up for consideration.                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK said the purpose behind the bill is to encourage                
 long-term investment in timber development to create long-term                
 stable jobs on a sustained basis.  He said they wanted to maintain            
 a public process, but at the same time they want to allow the                 
 Department an additional means to have a long-term sale negotiated            
 so that investment can be attracted under terms and conditions that           
 will result in value-added processing.  He pointed out that any               
 forest management agreement would still fall under the Forest                 
 Practices Act and be subject to existing permits, etc.                        
                                                                               
 JERRY LUCKHAUPT, Division of Legal Services, said the bill deals              
 with the sale and management of state timber in state forests.  He            
 reviewed briefly the bill's sections.                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF commented that the Forest Practices Act took a lot            
 of time and a lot of individuals were involved - the timber                   
 industry, the Native Corporations, municipalities, fishermen,                 
 tourism and environmental groups, etc.  He asked how it changed the           
 provisions of the Forest Practices Act.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. LUCKHAUPT explained that Sections 6 - 15 make changes to the              
 Forest Practices Act.  Some of the changes are corresponding                  
 changes made to Title 38.                                                     
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-15, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 588                                                                    
                                                                               
  Sections 8 and 9 seem to be common sense changes, he noted,                  
 removing the requirement that the Commissioner notify himself                 
 whenever he engages in or allows operations on state land dealing             
 with removal of timber.                                                       
                                                                               
 He said it does make substantial changes to the Forest Practices              
 Act especially some of the definition changes.                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked what lands were affected by this legislation.           
 SENATOR FRANK said it would have some effect on municipal and                 
 private as well as state lands - no affect on federal lands.  MR.             
 LUCKHAUPT said that a lot of the intent in the bill was to apply to           
 only state lands, although a couple provisions apply across the               
 board - for example the reforestation standards.                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if the Forest Practices Act was not working.            
 SENATOR FRANK replied it was his intent to allow the Department to            
 do a long-term sale under a negotiated basis - with public input -            
 so that people who have the capability of making an investment will           
 have an assurance they will have a long-term stable supply.  In so            
 doing, they would create a value-added industry rather than just              
 cutting and shipping.  It would be done in a sustained yield                  
 manner.                                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF said one of the real problems he has with the bill            
 is like that of SB 308 which took a real slap at the public process           
 through the Coastal Zone Management policies.  The concern is that            
 the public process is being circumvented.                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK said he did understand the concern and thought                  
 different language might clarify the issue.                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER announced they would begin the teleconference and              
 called on Fairbanks to begin.                                                 
                                                                               
 RICHARD BISHOP, Fairbanks, testified that statutory revisions                 
 regarding forest management should assure that overall forest                 
 management goals will be met, including the legitimate goal of                
 producing sustained yield commercial timber harvest.  Cooperation             
 among agencies, general public, and commercial users is necessary.            
 They cannot support the bill as written, however.  He said he had             
 submitted written testimony, but wanted to mention a few points               
 now.  He recommended doing a clear cut on the statutory language              
 rather than selective cuts and then initiate a reforestation                  
 effort.  SB 310 has elements of confusion and concern: for                    
 instance, does "a finding in the best interests of the state"                 
 adequately address forest resource interests?  There is no obvious            
 requirement for coordination of the forest management agreement               
 over local uses of forest land.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 489                                                                    
                                                                               
 BILL ALLEN, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, supported SB 310,                  
 because it is essential to economic development in the interior of            
 Alaska for investors to have access to our resources and long-term            
 agreements must be available to insure that access.                           
                                                                               
 MICHAEL WALLERI, General Counsel for Tanana Chiefs Conference,                
 introduced CHRIS MAISCH, Director, Forestry Department, who                   
 accompanied him.  He said they have provided the committee with a             
 position paper saying there were a profound number of concerns they           
 had with the bill.  There were three pages of proposed amendments             
 and a discussion paper on the concept of sustained yield.                     
                                                                               
 Tanana Chiefs Conference is the largest forestry management program           
 in the interior of Alaska and, he said, they cannot support the               
 bill and would oppose its passage.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. WALLERI said that basically the intent of the bill is to                  
 authorize forestry management agreements which they agree with.               
 The bill drastically reduces public input and abandons sound                  
 planning processes and a number of standards currently in the                 
 Forest Practices Act, which isn't necessary.                                  
                                                                               
 He said there is a big difference between the state management and            
 private interest management.  The state has a fiduciary obligation.           
 Private individuals do not have the same obligation.                          
                                                                               
 MR. MAISCH testified that the way the bill is structured it removes           
 reference to AS 38 and AS 41 in regards to regional plans and also            
 forest management plans.  Those are two important components in               
 which local communities have invested a lot of time.  He said the             
 five year schedule was deleted in one section and that is important           
 to retain, because it provides notice to other land owners,                   
 specifically, native allotment land owners that are inholders in              
 the state forest or potential proposed forest management                      
 agreements.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. MAISCH explained that through coordinated sales they can start            
 managing for ecosystems rather than just for a piece of land                  
 someone might own, a concept he said was important.                           
                                                                               
 He said they could support a definition that would equate                     
 "sustained yield" to the annual harvest of growth increment on the            
 cite.  He also supported non-declining flow management as practiced           
 in the interior.                                                              
                                                                               
 In conclusion, he said they are in favor of retention of area,                
 regional, and site specific forest plans.  They support multiple              
 use designations for forest lands that include subsistence as a               
 consideration.  They support deleting the proposed public access              
 requirements that affect private lands.  They consider authorizing            
 coordination of state and private sales that encourage the                    
 maintenance of sustained yield and ecosystem management concepts.             
 They are not in favor of the state selling timber at a net loss in            
 terms of revenue generation to the state.                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK thanked them for the time they took in analyzing the            
 bill and said he looked forward to working with them on it.                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked them if the amendments took care of most of             
 their concerns.  MR. MAISCH said essentially the amendments put               
 back in to place the Title 38 and 41 planning processes.  They                
 think that the coordinated timber sale is an interesting concept              
 which needs developing.                                                       
                                                                               
 JUDY WARWICK, Fairbanks, resident supported SB 310.  She said the             
 cost and delay of duplication of forest land use plans has impeded            
 development where no other industry has the same requirement.  A              
 mandated two year advance scheduling of sales under 500,000 board             
 feet and long-term timber management leases have not been an                  
 option.  Without the security of long-term leases, companies cannot           
 risk the capital investment required in this type of industry.                
                                                                               
 She also pointed out that the U.S. currently imports $6 million               
 worth of birch from Canada.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER said anyone could fax their comments to the                    
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 JAN DAWE, Fairbanks resident, opposed SB 310.  She said the written           
 testimony is the work of approximately 20 residents and                       
 approximately 2,000 hours.  She said they do not want SB 310 even             
 if it is amended.  4,000 acres is tripling the current harvest                
 level.                                                                        
                                                                               
 CELIA HUNTER, Fairbanks resident, opposed SB 310.  The changes it             
 mandates range from completely rewriting the original purposes for            
 which the state forests were created to a literal sell out of those           
 forests to corporate interests and long-term sales arranged behind            
 closed doors between the Commissioner of DNR and the corporations             
 without any public notice or opportunity to comment until such                
 deals are foregone conclusions.                                               
                                                                               
 Present management policies adopted by DNR and the Division of                
 Forestry are existing support from a comprehensive cross section of           
 Alaska residents who have a long term stake in how their forests              
 are managed, she said.  This cooperative effort will be scuttled if           
 SB 310 is adopted.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 338                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARY SHIELDS, Fairbanks resident, said she cares passionately about           
 the community.  She said she is very mad, because it is the fourth            
 time she has had to leave work to voice her concerns.  She said               
 Fairbanks residents have spent thousands of hours trying to work on           
 forestry issues, and the general voice says they don't want large             
 scale timber harvest in the Tanana Valley.                                    
                                                                               
 She said the people of Fairbanks want to be part of the decision              
 making process.  Giving the Commissioner authority to make forest             
 management agreements is an outrageous infringement of the public             
 process.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MS. SHIELDS said she worked with Senator Fahrenkamp on the Forest             
 Practices Act and multiple use of the forest was the intent.  They            
 have no right to change that.                                                 
                                                                               
 GINNY HILL WOOD, Fairbanks resident, opposed SB 310.  It blocks               
 citizens input on economic, ecological, or forestry issues.  She              
 had testimony which she faxed to the Committee.                               
                                                                               
 RON RICKETTS, Executive Director, Fairbanks Industrial Development            
 Corporation, supported SB 310.  He said a majority of the people in           
 this community support development and the forest industry as they            
 envision it.  They do not want to decimate any forest or trample              
 over any users.  They do know they need to build a tax base on a              
 long-term basis, mostly because of the reduction in state revenues.           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 SEAN MCGUIRE, Fairbanks resident, said that there is broad and                
 overwhelming support for small scale local logging.  He thought the           
 exact opposite of what Mr. Ricketts said was true.  There is a                
 feeling that what they have is very special.  The forest is simply            
 too valuable to have the large scale clear cutting this legislation           
 invites.  This bill from start to finish is extreme, he said.  It's           
 guaranteed to cause a political storm.  He strongly opposed SB 310.           
                                                                               
 DALE HAGGSTROM, Fairbanks resident, opposed SB 310.  He asked where           
 would the kind of management described in it leave the small scale            
 local logging operators and other forest related businesses that              
 depend on the forest for raw materials.                                       
                                                                               
 EVA SAULITIS, Fairbanks resident, was shocked that this bill shut             
 out public participation.  This bill would make development of                
 commercial forest land the primary purpose of the Boards.  She                
 asked Senator Frank which constituents this bill represented, not             
 those who are dependent on a long-term sustainability of the forest           
 or the small scale mill operators, wood crafters, hunters,                    
 trappers, tourists, or subsistence users.  This bill is designed to           
 please the wealthy and politically influential minority.  It would            
 also benefit large outside logging companies.  She said the bill              
 was a sleazy and shameful attempt at getting around the democratic            
 process.                                                                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 94-16, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
  MOLLY HUDSON, Fairbanks resident, said this bill eliminates public           
 input.  She does not want to see big business devour our forest.              
 The authors of SB 310 do not care about small loggers, trappers, or           
 hunting and fishing guides.  She said if this bill passes, all they           
 will be able to afford to do is change the way they vote.                     
                                                                               
 SYLVIA WARD, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, said SB 310 was            
 not a fine tuning of the Forest Practices Act.  She also said that            
 the assumption timber harvest can improve the economy or make up              
 the oil revenue shortfall is a myth with no basis in economic fact.           
                                                                               
 Developing timber resources will only dig a deeper budget hole.               
 According to a study by the legislative research agency the                   
 Department of Natural Resources lost approximately $.90 on each               
 dollar in 1992.  State timber revenues might improve as the price             
 of timber increases.  Timber harvest and processing tends to drain            
 resources out of the economy.  Most of the logs are exported to               
 Japan for processing.  In addition, logging has a serious problem             
 with out of state hire.  Only the fish processing industry                    
 employees a higher percentage of non-Alaskans.  Rather than                   
 improving our communities, the influx of new residents further                
 stresses existing city, borough, and state supported services.                
 SENATOR MILLER announced that at this point there was a call on the           
 Senate.  His intention was to bring this legislation back on March            
 16 for a further public hearing and adjourned the meeting at 5:20             
 p.m.                                                                          
                                                                               

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