Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/28/1994 03:36 PM Senate RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE March 28, 1994 3:36 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Mike Miller, Chairman Senator Loren Leman, Vice Chairman Senator Steve Frank Senator Fred Zharoff MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Drue Pearce Senator Al Adams Senator Dave Donley COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 50(RES) Relating to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council comprehensive rationalization plan. HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 34 Requesting the Department of Commerce to give a high priority to fisheries development project grants for the Alaska salmon industry. SENATE BILL NO. 306 "An Act relating to an antitrust exemption for persons engaged in the fishing industry." 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." SENATE BILL NO. 311 "An Act authorizing a credit against the fishery resource landing tax for certain contributions made by taxpayers not harvesting fisheries resources under a community development quota and for contributions based on fishery resources not harvested under a quota made by taxpayers harvesting fisheries resources under a community development quota, amending the manner of calculating the amount available for revenue sharing by operation of this credit, and expediting agency review of the credit applications under that tax; and providing for an effective date." 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 HJR 50 - See Resources dated 3/24/94. HJR 34 - See Resources minutes dated 3/25/94. SB 306 - See Resources minutes dated 3/24/94. SB 310 - See Resources minutes dated 3/2/94, 3/16/94, 3/22/94, and 3/24/94. SB 311 - See Resources minutes dated 3/23/94. SB 339 - See Resources minutes dated 3/18/94, 3/21/94, 3/28/94, and 4/8/94. WITNESS REGISTER Rick Solie, Legislative Aide c/o Senator Steve Frank State Capitol Juneau, Ak. 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on CSSB 310. Tom Boutin, Director Division of Forestry Department of Natural Resources 400 Willoughby Juneau, Ak. 99801-1724 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSSB 310. Cliff Eames Alaska Center for the Environment 519 W 8th Ave., #201 Anchorage, Ak. 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 339 except for sections 20 and 21. Larry Smith Kachemak Resources Institute 1520 Lakeshore Dr. Homer, Ak. 99603 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 339. Steve Gibson 1622 Highland Dr. Homer, Ak. 99603 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Glenn Juday 4837 Palo Verde Fairbanks, Ak. 99709 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Jan Dawe P.O. Box 82003 Fairbanks, Ak. 99708 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Lane Thompson P.O. Box 80368 Fairbanks, Ak. 99708 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 339 Silvia Ward Northern Alaska Environmental Center 218 Driveway Fairbanks, Ak. 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 339. Doug Yates P.O. Box 221 Ester, Ak. 99725 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Martha Reynolds P.O. Box 84169 Fairbanks, Ak. 99708 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. William Dunne Alaska Environmental Lobby P.O. Box 22151 Juneau, Ak. 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-31, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN MILLER called the Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:36 p.m. and announced CS HJR 50( RES) (NPFMC COMPREHENSIVE RATIONALIZATION PLAN) to be up for consideration. SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass CSHJR 50(RES) from Committee. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER announced HJR 34 (FED FISH RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT GRANTS) to be up for consideration. SENATOR ZHAROFF moved to pass HJR 34 from committee. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER announced SB 306 (ANTITRUST EXEMPTION FOR FISHERMEN) N) to be up for consideration. SENATOR ZHAROFF moved to pass SB 306 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER announced SB 310 (STATE/PRIVATE/MUNI TIMBER OPERATION/SALE) to be up for consideration and announced a recess for a couple of minutes. SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt the proposed CS, Luckhaupt version U 3/18/94, to SB 310. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt amendment 1. RICK SOLIE, Legislative Aide for Senator Frank, explained that amendment 1 would amend the section for small timber sales not in the 5 year plan to be noticed sales under AS 38.05.945 (b) which would allow the public 30 days notice. SENATOR MILLER said there were no objections and amendment 1 passed. Number 85 SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt amendment 2, Luckhaupt U2. RICK SOLIE explained that this amendment would more clearly follow Senator Frank's intent with a comment period of not less than 30 days and not more than 60. TOM BOUTIN, Director, Division of Forestry, said there was no problem with these amendments and that the public process was very important. SENATOR MILLER announced there were no objections and amendment 2 was adopted. SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt amendment 3, Luckhaupt U3. RICK SOLIE said this amendment provides for a renewal for an FMA that would not lock the state into an extension. SENATOR MILLER said there were no objections to amendment 3 and it was adopted. Number 136 SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt amendment 4, Luckhaupt U4. MR. SOLIE said amendment 4 would put some bonding provisions in the bill that the department already practices requiring it of FMAs. MR. BOUTIN said these were already a feature of their ongoing contracts. SENATOR MILLER noted there were no objections and amendment 4 was adopted. SENATOR FRANK moved to adopt amendment 5, Luckhaupt U5. MR. SOLIE said amendment 5 inserts the definition of sustained yield that is in Title 38, not the one in Title 41. MR. BOUTIN said this definition is a little more comprehensive and is the one the Division of Forestry has to follow anyway on state land. SENATOR PEARCE asked what the difference was. SENATOR FRANK explained under Title 41 if this were a universe of forest, you could cut at a faster rate. It there was a 100 year regeneration cycle, you could cut more than 1/100 per year if it made sense. Under even flow you are more restricted to doing it evenly over the regeneration cycles. MR. BOUTIN explained that the underlying fear of this amendment is if the state had timber on, for example, 100 year rotation, and put all of that timber under a 20 year contract, using the Title 41 definition, the state could log the entire 100 years of timber in the first 20 years and then be out of timber for 80 years. SENATOR PEARCE asked if even flow would be applied to all state forests or to each sale. MR. BOUTIN said the state doesn't have in law a unit concept. It does calculate the annual allowable cut for the Tanana Valley State Forest and then for other forests. SENATOR MILLER noted there were no further objections to amendment 5 and it was adopted. SENATOR ZHAROFF said under section 6 what did "managing a state forest the Commissioner shall maintain growth at a high level of productivity" mean. MR. BOUTIN explained that the Division of Forestry does now remedy forest insect epidemics. It does now replant after fires to the extent that it can, even though it is not required by law. They do use precommercial thinning and other forestry methods to maintain a high level of productivity. He used the Rosie Creek burn as an example. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked how he would do that under this bill without having an increased budget. MR. BOUTIN said one resource that has drawn a lot of attention in respect to the FMAs is the 60 million feet allowable cut of low value hardwood in the interior that isn't being used now. A lot of it is dying back and rotting, so bringing this timber into forestation would increase the level of productivity geometrically and without any cost. That timber has a positive market value if there is an industry built to use it. SENATOR FRANK moved to pass CSSB 310(RES) from committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ZHAROFF objected. He said we just went through a major revision with the Forest Practices Act, and a number of people put a lot of effort into that. This is a move around that Act and it is causing a great deal of concern. SENATORS MILLER, LEMAN, FRANK, and PEARCE, voted yes; SENATOR ZHAROFF voted no and CSSB 310(RES) passed from committee. Number 344 SENATOR MILLER announced SB 311 (CREDIT TO FISHERY RESOURCE LANDING NG TAX) to be up for consideration. SENATOR LEMAN moved amendment 1. There was an objection. SENATOR LEMAN said he applauded the intent of the bill. However, in light of having consistent state tax policy we should make sure our tax credits are somewhat consistent. SENATOR JACKO explained that CDQ harvesters would get 100% and non CDQ harvesters would get 50%. SENATOR JACKO said he was concerned that amendment 1 would not give factory trawlers enough incentive to pay to get the credit. SENATOR FRANK said he would like to understand more about the total tax situation. SENATOR PEARCE agreed with Senator Leman and read from a statute the legislature passed last year regarding credits. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked who would determine if the person is being trained at $25,000 or $50,000 for a specific skill and who, then, would receive the funding for that training. Number 522 SENATOR LEMAN said because of the questions regarding his amendment he would withdraw it at this time, but requested that it accompany the bill, if it is discharged today. SENATOR FRANK moved to pass CSSB 311 from committee with individual recommendations with accompanying fiscal notes and the accompanying amendment. SENATOR ZHAROFF objected to say there is a lawsuit out there, also. He wanted a clear understanding that this is not affecting those monies that go back to the municipalities if there is a shared tax. SENATOR MILLER said CSSB 311 moved from committee with individual recommendations. Number 556 SENATOR MILLER announced SB 339 (MANAGEMENT OF STATE LAND AND RESOURCES) to be up for consideration. He said they would take testimony only. CLIFF EAMES, Alaska Center for the Environment, supported SB 339 and most of the proposed amendments. They appear to be housekeeping amendments. He said the catastrophic nature of the insect infestation has been grossly overstated in Alaska. TAPE 94-31, SIDE B Number 580 The idea that these trees are wasted if they are not logged is not the case, if you talk to an ecologist, MR. EAMES said. These trees are recycled into the ecosystem which has been the case for hundreds of thousands of years. In conclusion, he opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Number 568 LARRY SMITH, Kachemak Resource Institute, said he has spent 20 years chasing bark bugs one way or the other. Professionally he is a lumber user. He said that bad logging caused more beetles. We need to have consistency within the forestry division which is headed by a good person this year. Our recent experience with salvage sales in Cook Inlet should be closely examined. The big bark beetle scare led to a 223,000 acre long term sale to a big international company in which we lost a lot of money, damaged habitat, and caused more bark beetles. MR. SMITH said he believed we need enforcement of the provisions enacted by the legislature in 1990 to control bark beetles. DNR needs to do what they were told by the legislature before the rules are changed again. STEVE GIBSON, Homer, said he was a local sawmiller for the last 15 years. He said section 20 is unnecessary for a responsible planning agency. Under current 5 year planning requirements, the sale can be executed within 14 months of conception. Most of the timber on the Kenai Peninsula is of marginal or submarginal value when not infested. It requires a subsidy even to sell it. SB 339 is a law designed to circumvent intelligent public opinion and not solicit it. He strongly urged them to abandon sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. Number 512 GLENN JUDAY, Fairbanks, said he is a professional forester and was concerned with sections 20 and 21, because they look like an avenue to avoid conforming with the land use plan in place for the affected area. He was also concerned that it requires the Commissioner to see into the future regarding insect epidemic. Rather than lose substantial economic value, there should be some requirement to provide for a net return to the state on its resources. Number 483 JAN DAWE, Fairbanks, was concerned with sections 20 and 21 of SB 339. She said it does in a backdoor manner what SB 310 does in the open. She is concerned the last leg of the 5 year timber harvest schedule is being taken away from public oversight. She asked for the rationale behind section 21 and how they get a best interest finding out of it. MR. BOUTIN said the Division has run into this issue quite regularly particularly when the Department of Transportation is going to use barrow pits and where there has been an intended conversion to agricultural use. Sometimes those conversions need to take place more quickly than 38.05.113 would allow. MS. DAWE said the public should have advanced notice and strongly urged they to remand sections 20 and 21. LANE THOMPSON, Fairbanks civil engineer, opposed sections 20 and 21 of SB 339 which seems to be designed to circumvent the public comment that is possible under existing law. With the University lands and Mental Health lands coming up, there is a much bigger opportunity for clear cutting than would be available under existing law. He opposed sections 20 and 21, because they are designed to keep the public out. We need to get on with rational planning of the long-term logging industry in the Tanana Valley, he said, and drop SB 310 and SB 339. SILVIA WARD, Norther Alaska Environmental Center, commented that in sections 20 and 21 with salvage sales there is no requirement for reforestation which is not good forestry practice. Number 380 DOUG YATES, Fairbanks, objected to sections 20 and 21. Salvage sales are negotiated sales of forest resources and response the insect infestation is unwarranted at this time. These sections will not improve forest health, appear to be designed to create a false rational for timber harvest. Please tighten the existing regulations within the Division of Forestry, he urged. Follow the public process and provide regulatory continuity for Alaska's forest resources. Economic values of unutilized wood fiber is not the only measurement you should be considering. MARTHA REYNOLDS, Fairbanks, said section 20 sets no limits on size of salvage sales and shows no provision for public input, even if the sales are very large. She is concerned that sections 20 and 21 make no mention of net income flow and have no requirements for the state getting fair value for their timber resources. WILLIAM DUNNE, Alaska Environmental Lobby, has little or no objections to the majority of proposed changes to SB 339 which have been updated. Other provisions, sections 20 and 21, will cause great harm to the environment and should be addressed separately. His objections were to the conditions of salvage sales in section 20. They do support the salvage of timber on land that would be converted to nonforest uses. They oppose exempting salvage timber sales for existing size limits, public involvement, and restoration provisions of state law. Many biologists and forest ecologists feel that forest epidemics are self regulating and actually improve habitat for many types of wildlife. Records indicate that bark beetle outbreaks have occurred regularly over the past 70 years without negative impacts to overall forest health. Forest health problems are associated with fire suppression, poor logging practices, seismic trail power line, and road building activities. Salvage sale provisions in sections 20 and 21 would create a loophole allowing large scale negotiated long term timber sales in areas where DNR claims health problems exist. The U.S. Forest Service has abused their salvage sale provisions extensively on national forests for years. These sections would give the Commissioner of DNR extraordinary latitude in determining and even predicting forest health, employment levels, and timber values. SENATOR MILLER said they would work with this bill before bringing it before the committee and adjourned the meeting at 4:52 p.m.