Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/21/1994 03:40 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 whales. 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, however. 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.