Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/01/1996 03:38 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                  
                         April 1, 1996                                         
                           3:38 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Drue Pearce, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Rick Halford                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 HOUSE BILL NO. 539                                                            
 "An Act changing the name of the Alaska Soil and Water Conservation           
 CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 60(RES)                                     
 Relating to Revised Statute 2477 rights-of-way.                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 311                                                           
 "An Act relating to marine safety training and education programs."           
 CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 58(RES)                                     
 Relating to reauthorization and reform of the Endangered Species              
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE   ACTION                                           
 HB 539 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HJR 60 - No previous action to record.                                        
 SB 311 - No previous action to record.                                        
 HJR 58 - See Resources minutes dated 3/27/96.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Cheryl Sutton, Staff to House Resources Committee                             
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1181                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 539                          
 Jeff Hartman, Executive Director                                              
 Alaska Soil & Water Conservation Board                                        
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 400 Willoughby Ave.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1724                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HB 539                         
 Walt Wilcox, Staff to Representative Jeannette James                          
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on CSHJR 60(RES)                   
 Bill Perhach                                                                  
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in opposition to CSHJR 60(RES)               
 Senator John Torgerson                                                        
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 311                                
 Barbara Burch                                                                 
 668 Anderson                                                                  
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 311                         
 Pat Holmes                                                                    
 P.O. Box 2651                                                                 
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 311                                        
 James Herbert                                                                 
 P.O. Box 1461                                                                 
 Seward, AK 99664                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 311                                        
 Jerry Dzugan, Director & Training Coordinator                                 
 Alaska Marine Safety Education Association                                    
 617 Katlian, B-33                                                             
 Sitka, AK 99835                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 311                         
 Mark Johnson, Chief, Community Health & Emergency                             
   Medical Services                                                            
 Division of Public Health                                                     
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110616                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0616                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 311                         
 Mariah Offer                                                                  
 P.O. Box 2264                                                                 
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 311                                        
 Jane Eizman                                                                   
 P.O. Box 192                                                                  
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 311                                        
 Hank Pennington                                                               
 P.O. Box 8183                                                                 
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 311                                        
 Dean Paddock                                                                  
 Bristol Bay Driftnetters' Association                                         
 P.O. Box 20312                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 311                         
 Betty Martin, Comptroller                                                     
 Treasury Division                                                             
 Department of Revenue                                                         
 P.O. Box 110405                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0405                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 311                          
 Anthony Kruppe                                                                
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in opposition to CSHJR 58(RES)               
 Jay Nelson                                                                    
 Department of Fish & Game                                                     
 P.O. Box 25526                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99811-5526                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded to questions on CSHJR 58(RES)                
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 96-43, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
         HB 539 NAME CHANGE FOR SOIL AND WATER BOARD                         
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to             
 order at 3:38 p.m.  He brought HB 539 before the committee as the             
 first order of business.                                                      
  CHERYL SUTTON , staff to the House Resources Committee, explained HB
 539 was introduced at the request of the Alaska Soil & Water                  
 Conservation Board.  The legislation changes the name of the board            
 to the Natural Resources Conservation & Development Board because             
 the present name does not reflect adequately that the board has a             
 resource development as well as a conservation mission.  The name             
 change will not affect any of the statutory responsibilities of the           
  JEFF HARTMAN , Executive Director, Alaska Soil & Water Conservation          
 Board, Department of Natural Resources, testifying in support of HB
 539, said the intent of the name change is to provide more of a               
 potential for opening doors in looking at resource development in             
 the rural areas of the state.                                                 
   There being no further testimony on HB 539,  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  stated         
 the bill would be set aside until a quorum was established.                   
 Number 070                                                                    
         CSHJR 60(RES) RS 2477 HIGHWAY RIGHTS OF WAY                         
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  brought CSHJR 60(RES) before the committee as the            
 next order of business.                                                       
  WALT WILCOX , staff to Representative Jeannette James who chairs the         
 House State Affairs committee, explained RS 2477 relates to a                 
 federal law that provides for rights-of-way for construction of               
 highways over public lands that are not reserved for public use.              
 In 1976 Congress repealed the RS 2477 but reserved existing rights-           
 of-way created under the statute.  The U.S. Department of Interior            
 is attempting to administratively rescind the long standing and               
 widely accepted interpretation of RS 2477 by adopting regulations             
 restrictively defining key statutory terms contrary to the intent             
 of Congress and virtually eliminating RS 2477 rights-of-way in the            
 state of Alaska.  He noted legislation has been introduced in                 
 Congress to preserve the long-standing judicial and executive                 
 interpretations of the RS 2477 and to protect existing rights-of-             
 way previously granted by the federal government.  HJR 60 supports            
 passage of the legislation being considered by Congress.                      
 Referring to the further resolved clause in the resolution, Mr.               
 Wilcox said it is the sponsor's understanding that perhaps 10 years           
 would be a better idea than using a reasonable period for the                 
 assertion, recognition, and determination of the existence of RS              
 2477 rights-of-way.                                                           
 Mr. Wilcox also pointed out this only relates to public lands, not            
 Native claims or private lands.                                               
 Number 115                                                                    
  SENATOR LINCOLN  noted the Tyonek Native Corporation has written a           
 letter relating to their concern about the RS 2477 crossing through           
 an old village cemetery site.   CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said he has read the          
 letter and understands the concern.  He pointed out the RS 2477               
 says that state law will determine how this is to be implemented,             
 so it is really a matter of state law, not of federal law.  He                
 added that in that particular situation, without prejudging all the           
 merits of it, he would guess that if it is as stated by the Tyonek            
 Native Corporation, the state would conclude that it would not want           
 to assert that right, and if there is need for an access, it would            
 do it a different way.                                                        
 Number 190                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  referred to the resolve clause on page 3, lines 8 &          
 9, which is asking for a reasonable period of time and a process              
 for making these assertions.  He suggested amending it to insert 10           
 years to be consistent with testimony that has already been offered           
 before Congress.   MR. WILCOX  voiced Representative James'                   
 endorsement of the amendment.                                                 
  SENATOR FRANK  moved that on page 3, line 9, delete the word                 
 "reasonable" and insert "10-year" in its place.  Hearing no                   
 objection, the Chairman stated the amendment was adopted and would            
 be incorporated into a Resources SCS.                                         
  BILL PERHACH , representing the Alaska Environmental Lobby, read             
 into the record their position paper in opposition to CSHJR
 Number 380                                                                    
  SENATOR PEARCE  moved SCS CSHJR 60(RES) and the zero fiscal note be          
 passed out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing             
 no objection, it was so ordered.                                              
 BOARD) back before the committee.  Hearing no additional testimony,           
 he asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                   
  SENATOR PEARCE  moved HB 539 and the accompanying fiscal note be             
 passed out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing             
 no objection, it was so ordered.                                              
           SB 311 MARINE SAFETY EDUCATION PROGRAMS                           
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN introduced SB 311 as the next order of business.               
  SENATOR JOHN TORGERSON , prime sponsor of SB 311, said he introduced         
 the legislation at the request of commercial fishermen in his                 
 district.  Basically, the funding for the program has come from the           
 federal government, but with recent budget cuts, it is facing                 
 elimination under the current funding level.  He noted the same               
 legislation was introduced in the House.                                      
 Senator Torgerson explained SB 311 allows for the appropriation of            
 50 percent of the income earned by the state on the balance of the            
 fishermen's fund for grants to the Alaska Marine Safety Education             
 Association (AMSEA) for this training program.                                
 Senator Torgerson said he recognizes that the entire budget of the            
 training program is somewhat less than 50 percent of what the fund            
 earns, so the 50 percent would overfund them approximately $45,000,           
 and he suggested the committee may want to amend the language to              
 allow appropriating up to 50 percent.                                         
 Senator Togerson stated he supports the fund and would like to see            
 it continue, and this funding source is one way to ensure that it             
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  agreed that changing the language to up to 50                
 percent was appropriate in order to protect the integrity of the              
 fishermen's fund.                                                             
  SENATOR TAYLOR  moved the following amendment to SB 311:                     
 Amendment No. 1.                                                            
 Page l, line 8:  After the word "appropriate" insert "up to"                  
 Hearing no objection, the Chairman stated the amendment was adopted           
 and would be incorporated into a Resources CS.                                
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  opened the public hearing on SB 311.                         
 Number 440                                                                    
  BARBARA BURCH , representing the Kodiak Fishermen's Wives and                
 testifying in Kodiak, voiced strong support for SB 311 and the                
 AMSEA program.                                                                
  PAT HOLMES , testifying in Kodiak, stated investing 50 percent of            
 the interest from this fund is a really good investment.  He is a             
 biologist for the Department of Fish & Game, and in addition to his           
 fishery management duties, he is also regional safety officer and             
 chair of the department's safety training committee.  He said they            
 extensively use the AMSEA materials in their training program, not            
 only for the crews of the vessels that conduct research and                   
 enforcement, but also for their seasonal employees who man the                
 field camps.  The department's training program is also offered to            
 personnel from the Department of Environmental Conservation and               
 personnel from the Division of Parks.  A spin-off program called              
 "Cold Water Kids" is used extensively in many schools in Southeast            
 Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska.  He urged the committee's support              
 for SB 311, because without state funding, the program will cease             
 to exist.                                                                     
  JAMES HERBERT , testifying in Seward, said he is one of Senator              
 Torgerson's constituents who encouraged him to introduce SB 311               
 because he supports training for commercial fishermen and mariners            
 in the state.  He has been a fisherman in Alaska for over 25 years,           
 and he believes that in recent years, attitude wise, things have              
 changed and a lot of that has to do with the work of the network of           
 volunteers that AMSEA has created throughout the state.  He                   
 believes the legislation targets a viable source of money,                    
 something that reasonably could be used to help prevent further               
 injuries through educating people.                                            
  JERRY DZUGAN , the director and training coordinator for AMSEA               
 testifying in Sitka, said AMSEA is an Alaska based nonprofit                  
 corporation, and they have been training mariners and marine safety           
 instructors from all over Alaska for the last 10 years.  He noted             
 Alaska's recreational and commercial boaters suffer the highest               
 fatality rate in the nation.  However, partly as a result of                  
 AMSEA's efforts and the efforts of all of the volunteers who help             
 AMSEA, the recreational and commercial fishing fatality rate has              
 dropped about 50 percent in the last several years.  He also                  
 pointed out AMSEA's unique Alaska specific program has been                   
 emulated on all other three coasts of the nation and Alaska is now            
 recognized by many in the nation as a place to go for quality                 
 hands-on training.  He stressed that AMSEA has no secured funding             
 in sight for the next fiscal year.                                            
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked if private parties contribute to this                  
 nonprofit organization and if they are actively soliciting                    
 contributions from private parties.   MR. DZUGAN  replied that AMSEA          
 has about 100 members around the state, and they do contribute to             
 AMSEA's effort.                                                               
 Number 560                                                                    
  MARK JOHNSON , Chief, Community Health & Emergency Medical Services,         
 Department of Health & Social Services, stated drowning is a major            
 problem in the state, and there is no other comprehensive program             
 like AMSEA that is offered in the state to address this issue.                
 He said drowning is not only a problem among the commercial fishing           
 community, it is a statewide problem that affects most regions and            
 most age groups.  The department feels AMSEA has been successful,             
 and they believe supporting AMSEA is in the best interest.                    
  MARIAH OFFER , an AMSEA instructor testifying in Kodiak, speaking to         
 the importance of the prevention of marine accidents, said AMSEA              
 has been a great support in keeping her up with requirements and              
 changes in regulations and information.                                       
  TAPE 96-43, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 010                                                                    
  JANE EIZMAN , a 19-year commercial fisherman testifying in Kodiak,           
 spoke to the improvement in safety measures being taken by                    
 fishermen in the last 19 years, and she attributed the                        
 understanding of safety regulations and the proper use of safety              
 equipment to AMSEA's efforts.  She noted she is an AMSEA                      
 instructor, as well as teacher of fisheries science at Kodiak High            
 School, and AMSEA is an integral part of her marine and wilderness            
 safety survival training program that she offers at the high                  
 school.  She added that as a contributor to the Fishermen's Fund              
 for the last 19 years and different licenses that she has                     
 purchased, she feels it is an appropriate use of funds.                       
  HANK PENNINGTON , testifying in Kodiak, said he has worked on                
 extending marine safety and survival training to fishermen in                 
 coastal communities and public schools in Alaska for the last 21              
 years.  He said the genesis of AMSEA was the fact that no single              
 agency had either the expertise or the resources or the geographic            
 coverage to get this training out where it was needed.  He voiced             
 his concern that if the legislation does not pass, AMSEA will                 
 wither.  He said what is needed is a stable base of funding for               
  DEAN PADDOCK , testifying in Juneau on behalf of the Bristol Bay             
 Driftnetters' Association, said public safety is one of the truly             
 legitimate functions of government.  The present day demand for               
 AMSEA came as a federal mandate, and it was a temporarily funded              
 mandate.  He pointed out that it is already a user funded activity;           
 the fishermen have already paid.  He said AMSEA has done a great              
 job at a very low cost benefit ratio, and he urged passage of the             
  SENATOR LINCOLN  offered as an amendment to page 1, line 8, after            
 the word "income" insert "from interest."  She said if at some time           
 in the future there is any other type of income that is earned by             
 the fishermen's fund, this would clarify that the "up to 50 percent           
 of the income earned" relates to interest income.                             
  BETTY MARTIN , Comptroller, Treasury Division, Department of                 
 Revenue, explained that the fund could also earn realized and                 
 unrealized gains.  Currently, it earns actual interest that is paid           
 into it, and then there is realized and unrealized gains on the               
 fixed income securities, and all of that, the net number, is paid             
 into the general fund annually.                                               
  SENATOR TORGERSON  asked Ms. Martin if she thought Senator Lincoln's         
 amendment was a good amendment for the purpose of the bill.   MS.             
 MARTIN  said she thought it was, because it will make a more                  
 consistent cash flow to the fund.                                             
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked if there was any objection to Senator                  
 Lincoln's amendment.  Hearing no objection, he stated the amendment           
 was adopted.  He then asked for the pleasure of the committee.                
  SENATOR PEARCE  moved CSSB 311(RES) and the accompanying fiscal              
 notes be passed out of committee with individual recommendations.             
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      
 Number 235                                                                    
        CSHJR 58(RES) REFORM THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT                       
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  brought CSHJR 58(RES) before the committee as the            
 final order of business.                                                      
  ANTHONY KRUPPE , representing the Alaska Environmental Lobby (AEL),          
 stated they have several concerns with the legislation, but they              
 have narrowed it down to the two most important things that they              
 believe will strengthen the resolution.                                       
 The first suggested change is to delete the resolve clause on page            
 2, lines 7-9, which requests the Congress to proceed with                     
 reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act, using HR 2275 as the           
 basis for the reauthorization legislation.  He said he believes               
 that by deleting those lines, it will make the resolution a bit               
 stronger because AEL does not believe that HR 2275 is a piece of              
 legislation that the Alaska Legislature should support.                       
 The second suggested change is to delete lines 22 and 23 on page 2            
 which eliminates the concept of "distinct population segment" from            
 the definition of "species."  He said the concern with distinct               
 population segments in the definition of species could be resolved            
 by establishing an interpretation of the definition similar to the            
 policy supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Their             
 specification designates that species must satisfy particular                 
 criteria distinguishing the segment of species as reproductively              
 isolated and significant in the evolution of the species.                     
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  commented that if HR 2275 is used as the basis, it           
 does not necessarily mean that the bill as originally introduced              
 will become law.  It is a starting point, and as Congress works to            
 get a consensus, the bill will probably be crafted along the way to           
 accommodate concerns, so he thinks using it as the mark-up vehicle            
 is fine, at least from the Alaska perspective, because it probably            
 comes the closest to accommodating some of the concerns we have as            
 a state to the implementation of ESA.                                         
 Number 400                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked if it was correct that the "distinct                   
 population segment" is causing problems with the management of our            
 fisheries in Alaska.   JAY NELSON , Department of Fish & Game,                
 confirmed that the listed population of Snake River fall chinook              
 that is causing problems for the fisheries in Alaska is listed                
 under the "distinct population segment" provision of the law.  He             
 added that the problem with the "distinct population segment" is it           
 benefits the state with regard  to land vertebrates, in general,              
 but with fish it is a different situation.  He said while the                 
 administration is not satisfied with a blanket removal of the                 
 "distinct population segment" provision, it agrees there probably             
 needs to be a more surgical solution to it.   CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked           
 if inserting the words "for anadromous fish" after the word                   
 "species" would help.   MR. NELSON  responded that would definitely           
 be more surgical.                                                             
 Number 455                                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if the Governor agrees with the position that          
 the Queen Charlotte  goshawk and the Alexander Archipelago wolf are           
 distinct population segments deserving attention under ESA.   MR.             
 NELSON  responded that the Alexander Archipelago wolf and the Queen           
 Charlotte goshawk were both requested to be listed by a private               
 group based in the Lower 48 with two Alaskan citizens involved.               
 The proposal to list it as an endangered species was opposed by the           
 department, as well as opposed by the federal government, and now             
 there are pending lawsuits by that same private party to list them.           
 He added that the Queen Charlotte goshawk and the Alexander                   
 Archipelago wolf are classified as subspecies.  He said changing              
 that from a subspecies is a complicated thing, and the department             
 has not taken a position on that.  Even if they were eliminated as            
 a subspecies, they still might under the Fish & Wildlife Service              
 decision fall under "distinct population segment."  He also said              
 the Governor does not view HR 2477 as the best vehicle for                    
 reauthorization of the Act.                                                   
  TAPE 96-44, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 015                                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if the Governor is doing what he can to make           
 certain that this legislation doesn't pass.   MR. NELSON  answered            
 that with the exception of one letter from the Governor, they have            
 done nothing in the way of working on this legislation in                     
 Washington, D.C.   SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if the Governor's letter was         
 supportive, and  MR. NELSON  answered that it wasn't.   CHAIRMAN LEMAN        
 commented that if the Governor had a positive approach and told Mr.           
 Katz that we want to work this really hard and help our delegation,           
 then we might have a little bit different resolution.                         
 There being no further testimony on CSHB 58(RES),  CHAIRMAN LEMAN             
 asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                      
  SENATOR TAYLOR  moved CSHJR 58(RES) be passed out of committee with          
 individual recommendations.   SENATOR HOFFMAN  objected.  A vote of           
 the committee was taken with the following result:  Senators Frank,           
 Pearce, Taylor and Leman voted "Yea" and Senator Hoffman voted                
 "Nay."  The Chairman stated the motion carried.                               
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 5:16 p.m.                                            

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