Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/26/1997 03:42 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            JOINT   SENATE/HOUSE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                           
                        February 26, 1997                                      
                          3:42 P.M.                                            
   SENATE   MEMBERS PRESENT                                                    
 Senator Rick Halford, Chairman                                                
 Senator Lyda Green, Vice Chairman                                             
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Bert Sharp                                                            
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
  SENATE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                        
 Senator John Torgerson                                                        
  HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                        
 Representative Scott Ogan, Co-Chairman                                        
 Representative Beverly Masek                                                  
 Representative Ramona Barnes                                                  
 Representative Bill Williams                                                  
  HOUSE MEMBERS ABSENT                                                         
 Representative Bill Hudson, Co-Chairman                                       
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 Representative Fred Dyson                                                     
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
 Representative Reggie Joule                                                   
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 Briefing:  Citizens' Advisory Commission on Federal Areas                     
  Ms. Thyes Shaub, Chairman                                                    
  Mr. Steven Porter, past Chairman                                             
  Mr. Stan Leaphart, Executive Director                                        
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 13                                                
 Relating to RS 2477 rights-of-way.                                            
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SJR 13 - No previous action to consider.                                      
    ACTION NARRATIVE                                                           
  TAPE 97-14, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  called the Joint Senate/House Resources Committee          
 meeting to order at 3:42 and announced the briefing from the                  
 Citizens' Advisory Commission on Federal Areas.  He noted that Stan           
 Leaphart, Executive Director, has for years been the spark plug               
 behind a great deal of defense of a great deal of different                   
  THYES SHAUB,  Chairman, introduced the members of the Commission in          
 attendance:  Mr. Steve Porter, Mr. Stan Leaphart, Mr. Del Ackels,             
 Mr. Charlie Bussell, Mr. Grant Doyle, Mr. Don Finney, Mr. Clarence            
 Furbush, Senator Sharp, and Senator Halford.                                  
 MS. SHAUB said the Commission was formed in 1981 shortly after the            
 passage of ANILCA which put 104 million acres of land into federal            
 conservation units and established specific requirements and                  
 restrictions on land use.  The Commission was formed to watch out             
 for the interests of Alaskans and access to land in the                       
 implementation of ANILCA.                                                     
 She noted that they had developed a good working relationship with            
 agencies within the Department of Interior and the Department of              
 Agriculture.  One of the things the Commission did was initiate a             
 cooperative effort with agencies to simplify reporting requirements           
 for air carriers operating on federal conservation system units so            
 they can file one report instead of several reports to a number of            
 federal agencies.  This is an example of the streamlining                     
 activities they do.  They have assisted guides, hunters, private              
 land owners, miners, loggers, commercial fishermen, and native                
 organizations on public access and regulatory issues.  They have              
 submitted comments on numerous land plans and proposed federal                
 regulations such as the Tongass Land Management Plan, Endangered              
 Species Act, proposed listings, RS2477 regulations, and other                 
 regulatory issues regarding management of federal lands.                      
 When the Commission was first established there were five full-time           
 staff people in addition to the 16 members.  They reviewed and                
 commented on all the major land management documents for federal              
 conservation units and assisted numerous groups and individuals               
 with their problems in dealing with the federal government on                 
 management issues.  The Commission is now down to one staff person.           
 She noted that Mr. Leaphart is the only person in State government            
 who checks the federal register every day and flags important                 
 issues that come up.  He has a wide network of organizations and              
 individuals who he gives this information to on a regular basis.              
 MS. SHAUB said their annual report details the activities they have           
 been involved in over the last year.                                          
 Number 139                                                                    
  MR. STEVE PORTER  said he has noticed some trends in relation to the         
 State and federal government.  He said the federal government has             
 influence over the State through the administration in negotiating            
 international treaties and agreements.  One example is the                    
 International Treaty on Polar Bears which was used last year by the           
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as the authority for their                     
 regulatory authority over specific oil and gas operations on the              
 North Slope.  Therefore, we need to be aware that even                        
 international treaties have an impact on Alaskans.                            
 An important item is that international agreements are generally              
 negotiated in Washington D.C, like the Alaska Arctic Off-Shore Oil            
 and Gas Guidelines presently being negotiated between the various             
 countries of the Arctic.  This is being done with very little or no           
 input from the State of Alaska and we have the only arctic waters             
 in the United States.  He thought if they are meeting on U.S. soil,           
 they should meet in Alaska.                                                   
 Another area that affects Alaska is the regulatory arena.  He said            
 that Mr. Leaphart functions as a coordinator also, because he gets            
 information and sends it out to people who understand it.  A lot of           
 the regulatory changes are being called "housekeeping" changes                
 which suggests that this is nothing important.  What is happening,            
 though, is the federal government is actually stepping forward and            
 increasing their regulatory authority. One of the most recent                 
 changes that has substantially impacted the people of the State is            
 the RS2477 interim policy that the Secretary of Interior just                 
 changed.  Another thing the federal government does is                        
 clarification of policy which they track also, like the National              
 Park Service Navigability Water Regulations.                                  
 MR. PORTER said another area they have to watch is "studies" which            
 are seldom truly studies.  Very few studies are conducted for                 
 research and understanding; most of the time there is a                       
 predetermined goal set out in advance of the study and the study              
 does nothing more than come to the intended conclusion.  In the               
 past they have examined some of the studies and occasionally have             
 seen the intent of the study and refuted it.  He gave an example of           
 study done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Colville              
 Delta.  The concern was helicopter impacts on birds and the thesis            
 was if there was oil and gas development on the Colville Delta,               
 helicopter overflights might have the birds run around so much that           
 they would lose sufficient weight that they couldn't fly south for            
 the winter and they would therefore die.  But they killed over 500            
 birds and weighed their muscles to make this determination and they           
 actually herded thousands of birds over 2 kilometers to capture               
 them.   So the study's impact was substantially greater than 20               
 years of Prudhoe Bay type of activity.  Their formulas also                   
 randomly doubled a couple of factors.  However, once the Commission           
 submitted their response to that, the study disappeared.                      
 MR. PORTER said we need to make it a priority to review all federal           
 regulations whether they are couched in housekeeping terms or new             
 regulatory action.  Alaskans can comment on the policy shifts and             
 the State can sometimes act on policy.                                        
 Number 269                                                                    
  MR. STAN LEAPHART  said he has noticed over the last few months a            
 change in the posture of the federal government towards navigable             
 waters.  In July of last year the National Park Service adopted               
 some clarification or housekeeping regulations that specifically              
 stated that their management authority extends to all waters within           
 national parks including navigable waters.  In their assessment,              
 working with the AG's Office this flies in the face of the major              
 piece of enabling legislation for most of the park units which is             
 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).                 
 ANILCA says that State lands are not included; they are not subject           
 to federal jurisdiction on a lot of issues.  In the fall of last              
 year the BLM proposed similar regulations that have to do with the            
 management of wild and scenic rivers and wild and scenic study                
 There are six wild and scenic rivers in Alaska that are under BLM             
 management and interestingly enough about four or five of those are           
 some of the largest mining areas in the whole State.  Once again,             
 the BLM has authority under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to                 
 approve or disapprove of any resource project that affected a                 
 segment.  He noted that fisheries enhancement projects on this                
 river would be subject to approval or disapproval by the BLM.                 
 MR. LEAPHART said another set of "housekeeping" regulations are the           
 BLM law enforcement regulations which are still under review.                 
 These do not affect just Alaska, but there are some particular                
 concerns for Alaska because they tend to ignore some of the special           
 provisions Alaska was granted under the Alaska Lands Act.                     
 Number 354                                                                    
 The Endangered Species Act is frequently used as a political tool             
 rather than a biological or management tool.                                  
 There is a whole other area of international area designations,               
 like Man in the Biosphere Reserve Program (there are 4) under the             
 United Nations and World Heritage Site Designations (there are 2).            
 There are an additional seven areas in Alaska that have been                  
 nominated to be included on the World Heritage Site list.  He                 
 didn't know enough about them to know how they affected management            
 one way or the other.                                                         
 MR. LEAPHART pointed out other concerns are the management plans              
 the federal agencies started writing since ANILCA in the early                
 1980s.  He said we are about to see in the next four or five years            
 a whole new round of planning activity for the National Parks and             
 National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.                                          
 Number 443                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  commented that the federal bureaucrats at Glacier          
 Bay are attacking the 25 or 30 fishing vessels that traditionally             
 fish in Glacier Bay on behalf of increasing the number of 800 and             
 900 ft. cruise ships.  He thinks it is an environmental issue and             
 doesn't make any sense.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BARNES commented that committee members should learn           
 about bioshperic reserves because that everywhere you have one,               
 it's not just the designation of that park, but the 250 miles                 
 around it.                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if all the existing biosphere reserves              
 exist in federal parks.  MR. LEAPHART replied that they do not.  He           
 said he wasn't sure of the difference between the heritage sites              
 and biospheric reserves.                                                      
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that the Commission is traditionally deleted           
 from the budget by the Governor's office and reinserted by the                
 Number 490                                                                    
  SENATOR LINCOLN  said she appreciated the information they have              
 supplied to the committee.  She asked if they had requested the               
 Attorney General to file any lawsuits in 1996.  MR. PORTER answered           
 that they hadn't recently, but the State filed one against the                
 National Park Service over its cabin regulations and lost.                    
 SENATOR LINCOLN said that the Commission is no longer able to                 
 sponsor public meetings solely for gathering public input on                  
 specific issues and it bothers her that the general public can't              
 have access to their meetings, especially in the rural areas.  MR.            
 PORTER replied that one thing they try to do as a commission is               
 influence the regulators by asking them why they didn't have a                
 public meeting and basically intimidate them into allowing the                
 public to speak.                                                              
 MS. SHAUB said that every time they have a meeting it is public and           
 their budget doesn't allow them to travel as much as they used to.            
 SENATOR LINCOLN said she understood that, but it was her concern              
 that only the folks in Anchorage and Fairbanks could testify at               
 most meetings leaving out the rural people.                                   
 SENATOR LINCOLN referenced a letter dated December 4 and said she             
 would be interested in the response.  MR. LEAPHART replied that               
 there was no response, but what typically happens is in the final             
 regulations they list the organizations that have commented on them           
 and summarize the comments.  It's not normal to get a direct                  
 response to a particular letter.                                              
  REPRESENTATIVE OGAN  asked if they had looked into proposed                  
 regulations on trapping on federal wildlife preserves.  MR.                   
 LEAPHART said this is one of the areas where he got copies and sent           
 it to the world.  On this issue his concern was that there was                
 supposed to be a task force, but they "fooled around" for 90 days             
 then issued another letter saying they didn't have time to do it in           
 the time given so just threw it out for public comment.  This                 
 action does not meet the requirement of the appropriation which was           
 to put together a task force.                                                 
 He said that an argument supported by statute is that all                     
 activities on a wildlife refuge are subject to compatibility                  
 determinations.  ANILCA which established most of the refuges up              
 here, while it doesn't specifically authorize trapping, makes it              
 very clear in the intent language and the general authority                   
 language that it is a traditional activity and will be allowed.               
 MR. PORTER said their concern was that there was an appropriation             
 for a study of leg hold traps.  So they contacted all the trapper's           
 associations here and in the lower 48 to let them know what was               
 going on.  What they expect to see are regulations and a                      
 determination saying that this is not proper.                                 
  MS. SHAUB  said they are considering attending meetings in the other         
 Western States to talk about areas of common interest.                        
  TAPE 97-14, SIDE B                                                           
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if FLPMA had become law.  MR. LEAPHART replied         
 yes and explained that it is sort of the organic act of BLM.  It's            
 a general authority.  SENATOR TAYLOR said the part that alarms him            
 is where they proposed for the federal government to contract with            
 local enforcement officials in the performance of their duties.               
 Another part that concerns him is, "...search, without warrant or             
 process, any person, place, or conveyance according to any federal            
 law or rule of law and seize, without warrant or process, any                 
 evidentiary item as provided by federal law."  It goes on to                  
 provide extensive penalties should one resist.  He found it very              
 frightening.  MR. LEAPHART reiterated that these regulations have             
 not been enacted and they are under public review; the comment                
 period ends a week from tomorrow.                                             
 Number 534                                                                    
  REPRESENTATIVE OGAN  asked if discharging a firearm was creating a           
 disturbance.  SENATOR GREEN said yes it was and the wording was on            
 page seven.  REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he shared Senator Taylor's              
 concerns especially regarding our due process rights.                         
  MR. GRANT DOYLE,  Commission member, said one of the things that             
 concerns him is a provision in the new statutes allowing the BLM to           
 commandeer local law enforcement to fulfill the regulations.  They            
 understand there will be a lot of resistance so they make us use              
 our own police to enforce the laws.                                           
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  asked where the commission would suggest they              
 prioritize financial allocations.  He asked them for a proposal               
 that is specific enough to be budget items.                                   
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked regarding page 9, section 92.65.43 if                  
 subsistence use resources are regulated by BLM and other federal              
 land management agencies referenced as 50CFRpart100.  He asked if             
 they encompassed enforcement concepts similar to those which Mr.              
 Doyle mentioned or that he referenced in  the proposed regulations.           
 MR. LEAPHART answered that those were Department of Interior                  
 regulations, their part of the federal subsistence regulations.               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if BLM became the police officers for                    
 enforcing subsistence regulations on BLM land.  MR. LEAPHART                  
 replied yes.  SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the Forest Service was the              
 enforcement on U.S. Forest Service lands.  MR. LEAPHART said that             
 is correct.  SENATOR TAYLOR said he thought there was significant             
 duality in the manner in which those regulations are currently                
 being enforced.  He said they are being stringently enforced on the           
 Stikine River which is in his back yard, but he was also aware that           
 BLM was not enforcing their regulations in a similar fashion up               
 north.  He said this because he had watched people from Anchorage             
 and Fairbanks participate in subsistence activities in those                  
 communities, particularly caribou hunts, which they would literally           
 be poachers on if they were enforcing the law as it is written.  He           
 is very concerned about that, especially because in his district              
 right now the new proposed subsistence regulations say that no one            
 from Ketchikan will be allowed to hunt on Prince of Wales Island              
 for deer.  He thought they chose to discriminate in the manner in             
 which they enforce their own regulations.                                     
 Number 445                                                                    
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked regarding page 11 what BLM rules must he follow         
 if he's in an outstanding natural area if the term "outstanding               
 natural area" is not found in existing regulations.  MR. LEAPHART             
 answered that was an excellent question.  He said it wasn't in the            
 proposed regulations' definition of terms section.                            
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  thanked them for their presentation, their past            
 efforts, and their on-going efforts.  He said that concluded the              
 subject matter for their joint hearing and asked the Senate members           
 to remain to address a resolution.                                            
         SJR 13 OPPOSE DEPT. OF INTERIOR RS 2477 POLICY                       
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced  SJR 13  to be up for consideration.             
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to adopt SJR 13 with individual                         
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  adjourned the meeting at 4:45 p.m.                         

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