Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/21/1994 03:40 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                  
                            March 21                                           
                           3:40 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
 Senator Drue Pearce                                                           
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 333(RES)                                                
 "An Act amending the Alaska Land Act to define the term `state                
 selected land' for the purpose of recognizing mining locations, and           
 giving retrospective effect to the amendment; and providing for an            
 effective date."                                                              
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                
 Relating to efforts by the government of Mexico to protect gray               
 SENATE BILL NO. 339                                                           
 "An Act relating to the management of state land and resources;               
 relating to certain remote parcel and homestead entry land purchase           
 contracts and patents; and providing for an effective date."                  
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
   HB 333 - No previous action to record.                                      
 SJR 21 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 339 - See Resources minutes dated 3/18/94.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Jack Phelps, Legislative Aid                                                  
 c/o Representative Pete Kott                                                  
 State Capital                                                                 
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on CSHB 333.                                 
 Gerry Gallagher, Director                                                     
 Division of Mining                                                            
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 P.O. Box 107016                                                               
 Anchorage, Ak. 99510-7016                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported CSHB 333 and SB 339.                         
 Tom Boutin, Director                                                          
 Division of Forestry                                                          
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 400 Willoughby Ave.                                                           
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-1724                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 339.                                   
 Carol Carrol, Legislative Aide                                                
 c/o Senator Jay Kerttula                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, Ak. 99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SJR 21.                                   
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 94-23, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN MILLER called the Resources Committee meeting to order at            
 3:40 p.m. and announced  HB 333  (MINING LOCATIONS ON STATE SELECTED     D    
 LAND) to be up for consideration.                                             
 JACK PHELPS, Legislative Aide to Representative Kott, said HB 333             
 is a very simple measure.  It addresses a situation where a miner             
 holds a federal claim on land that has been selected by the state.            
 It allows him to relinquish his federal claim when the land is                
 conveyed to the state and convert to a state claim.                           
 SENATOR FRANK said he thought claims of any kind would be                     
 transferred.  MR. PHELPS explained that a federal claim constitutes           
 a federal inholding and the land under the federal mining claim is            
 not actually conveyed to the state until the federal claim is                 
 relinquished.  The miner would have a choice of mining under a                
 federal claim or transferring to a state claim.                               
 GERRY GALLAGHER, Department of Natural Resources, said if land in             
 a township was conveyed to the state, it would be conveyed                    
 excluding those existing federal mining claims.  MR. GALLAGHER said           
 the state probably has several thousand federal mining claims that            
 are essentially inholdings within the state selections.                       
 SENATOR MILLER asked what would be the benefit of staying with a              
 federal claim.  MR. GALLAGHER said there are two fundamental                  
 differences - a federal claim has the right to patent and there is            
 no provision in Alaska law for that; and second, a federal mining             
 claim carries with it extralateral rights.  That means if you stake           
 your claim on a vein, your rights travel with that vein wherever it           
 goes.  Under state law there are vertical sidewalls so that you               
 only own your claim.  Congress may change federal mining law,                 
 SENATOR FRANK asked about the royalty on federal claims.  MR.                 
 GALLAGHER said there is no royalty on federal claims, but numbers             
 are being discussed from 5% to 12% of the gross.  The state royalty           
 is 3% of the net.                                                             
 MR. GALLAGHER said the Department supports this bill.                         
 SENATOR FRANK noted that the state would pick up some revenue from            
 those claims that converted.  MR. GALLAGHER said that was correct.            
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if anyone opposed this measure.  MR. PHELPS             
 answered that he knew of no one opposing it.                                  
 Number 133                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass the CSHB 333 from Committee with                  
 individual recommendations with the accompanying fiscal note.                 
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
 SENATOR MILLER announced  SJR 21  (THANK MEXICO FOR GRAY WHALE                
 PROTECTION) to be up for consideration.                                       
 CAROL CARROL, Legislative Aide to Senator Kerttula, stated that               
 gray whales no longer exist in the Atlantic Ocean and their status            
 in the western Pacific is uncertain, although it may be nearing               
 extinction.  Only in the northern Pacific is the species no longer            
 endangered.  Mexico has severely limited access to a number of                
 breeding and calving grounds to encourage growth of the species.              
 SENATOR ZHAROFF moved to pass  SJR 21  from Committee with individual    al   
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
 Number 150                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER announced  SB 339  (MANAGEMENT OF STATE LAND AND               
 RESOURCES) to be up for consideration.                                        
 TOM BOUTIN, Director, Division if Forestry, explained section 20              
 provides that the Division of Forestry be able to offer sales under           
 certain conditions without the requirement in AS 38.05.113 that a             
 sale needs to be in a five year plan for at least the two prior               
 years.  Section 21 amends AS 38.05.118 allowing long term                     
 negotiated sales provided certain conditions exist.                           
 MR. GALLAGHER explained that section 22 is the only oil and gas               
 provision.  This removes a requirement that a lease sale be held              
 within 90 days of the quarter it's scheduled.                                 
 Section 23 allows the Commissioner to close land to mineral entry             
 in the future, but not valid existing rights.  Section 24 deletes             
 language to make it consistent with every other business in the               
 state of Alaska.  Section 25 they changed to make increments of $5            
 per acre annual rent rather than having it change at a specific               
 time so the Department can deal with whole numbers.                           
 Section 26 changes "permit" to a long term lease to accommodate               
 miners who are trying to get financing.  Section (b) exempts it               
 from competitive bidding procedures.                                          
 Section 27 clarifies language on "abandonment."  Section 28                   
 provides specific language to allow the Department to issue permits           
 for a slightly broader range of things than they have issued in the           
 past.  This is particularly in reference to reindeer grazing.                 
 Sections 29 through 32 are the conforming sections to the lands               
 package they discussed last week.  He highlighted the repealer in             
 38.05.207 which is the section on production licenses which were              
 constructed in 1983 as a defense against the 6 (i) challenge.                 
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if land that was used could be returned to              
 the state.  MR. GALLAGHER said that was not discussed in this bill,           
 but he said he was willing to discuss the issue with him.                     
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked about the sections referring to fishing.  MR.           
 GALLAGHER said under the current scheme setnet sites and                      
 mariculture sites are treated different from every other type of              
 lease in the Department.  Section 16 - 18 put those authorizations            
 into the standard department process for issuance which is                    
 essentially competitive bidding.  SENATOR ZHAROFF said he saw a lot           
 of problems if fishing sites were made available on a bid process.            
 For one thing there is enough confusion out there in just getting             
 people to lease sites, let alone going through the process of                 
 bidding for a site location.  He noted that the lease fee had                 
 recently doubled without any public hearings or notification.                 
 MR. GALLAGHER said he would welcome discussion on this issue.                 
 SENATOR ZHAROFF said he saw a big problem with these provisions.              
 He said the system has been basically working, but if the bid                 
 process is used people from out of state will get the sites.                  
 SENATOR MILLER said he intended to bring the bill before the                  
 Committee again next Monday and adjourned the meeting at 4:18 p.m.            

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