Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/06/1998 03:40 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE April 6, 1998 3:40 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Rick Halford, Chairman Senator Lyda Green, Vice Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Bert Sharp Senator Robin Taylor Senator John Torgerson Senator Georgianna Lincoln MEMBERS ABSENT All Members Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 52 Relating to opposition to the designation of any rivers in Alaska as American Heritage Rivers under the American Heritage Rivers initiative. - PASSED SCS HJR 52(RES) FROM COMMITTEE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 392(L&C) am "An Act relating to access by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Fish and Game to confidential records for fisheries businesses and resources prepared or kept by the Department of Revenue under AS 43.75.015; relating to certain salmon products reports; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 373(RES) "An Act making changes to the Forest Resources and Practices Act; classifying anadromous streams and tributaries; relating to the designation of riparian areas; establishing buffers and slope stability standards on certain streams; and requiring retention of low value timber along certain water bodies where prudent." - PASSED SCS CSHB 373(RES) FROM COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HJR 52 - No previous action to consider. HB 392 - No previous action to consider. HB 373 - See Resources minutes dated 3/11/98 and 3/20/98. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Jeannette James State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 52. Ms. Mel Krogseng P.O. Box 3913 Soldotna, AK 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 52. Mr. Stan Leaphart, Executive Director Citizen's Advisory Commission on Federal Areas 3700 Airport Way Fairbanks, AK 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 22. Ms. Amy Daugherty, Staff Representative Alan Austerman State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 392 for sponsor. Mr. Bob Bartholomew, Assistant Director Division of Income Exise and Audit Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110420 Juneau, AK 99811-0420 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 392. Mr. Scott McAllister, Chairman Southeast Regional Chapter, United Salmon Association (907-463-5831 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 392. Ms. Janice Adair, Director Division of Environmental Health Department of Environmental Conservation 555 Cordove St. Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 392. Ms. Pat Springer, Staff Speaker Gail Phillips State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 999811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Read sponsor statement for HB 373. Mr. Jeff Jahnke, State Forester Division of Forestry Department of Natural Resources 400 Willoughby Ave. Juneau, AK 99801-1724 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 373. Ms. Marty Welbourn, Program Manager Forestry Resources Division of Forestry Department of Natural Resources 400 Willoughby Ave. Juneau, AK 99801-1724 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 373. Mr. Rich Harris, Sr. Vice President Sealaska Corp. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 373. Mr. Jack Phelps, Executive Director Alaska Forest Association 111 Stedman St, Suite 200 Ketchikan, AK 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 373. Mr. Dick Coose P.O. Box 9533 Ketchikan, AK 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 373. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-25, SIDE A Number 001 HJR 52 - OPPOSE AMERICAN HERITAGE RIVERS CHAIRMAN HALFORD called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. and announced HJR 52 to be up for consideration. REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, Sponsor of HJR 52, said the American Heritage River initiative is a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is something we don't need more of in Alaska, because we already have enough federal designation over some of our lands and waters. She said that President Clinton issued Executive Order 13061 directing agencies to establish and implement the initiative. It was touted as a method to give us money to clean up our rivers, but it also includes the entire watershed. John Schuller killed a grizzly bear in his own backyard and was found to be at fault because he was in the zone of imminent danger according to the Endangered Species Act. We don't want to allow the federal government to come in and put a blanket over our rivers and call them American Heritage Rivers. SENATOR TORGERSON proposed to change the last "Whereas" to "Be It Resolved." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she supported that. There were no objections to the adoption of the amendment and it was so ordered. MS. MEL KROGSENG said she was speaking on her own behalf as a Kenai River property owner and that although the majority of property owners objected to being included in the American Heritage Rivers, the Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board chose to make a motion to nominate the river as an American Heritage River. The statute clearly states that their authorization is purely to hold meetings on the Comprehensive Management Plan for the river and to make recommendations to the Commissioner. There was a lot of discussion on the matter and they came very close to being nominated, but the Kenai Peninsula Assembly defeated that action. She wanted them to know that the Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board seems to be taking actions that she believes are inappropriate with their mission. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if they should be added to the list this resolution is sent to. MS. KROGSENG answered that it wouldn't be inappropriate for them to send a copy to all the other 49 states. MR. STAN LEAPHART, Citizens Advisory Commission on Federal Areas, said in August last year they submitted comments on the initiative to Katie McGinty, who is chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality, urging that the proposed initiative not be adopted. But it was adopted over those objections. There are currently 126 rivers that have been nominated for designation and it's expected that the President will make his decision on the first 10 within the next two weeks. Their analysis indicated that at best its goals and objectives remain poorly defined and is a duplication of existing programs designed to provide assistance to local governments. At worst, it represents an entirely new federal program with no statutory authority for its creation which is a threat to state and local government authority, as well as the rights of private property owners. Although there have been some improvements to the initiative, there are still a lot of problems with it. One of the stated goals is to improve the delivery of services by the 12 departments and agencies that constituted the American Heritage Rivers' Interagency Committee. He asked why it takes the creation of a new federal program to compel these 12 agencies to do their job. The answer, of course, is that it does not. The Department is not currently performing as it should under existing statutory mandates and regulatory guidelines and they fail to see how this initiative would change that. On the contrary, by requiring agencies to focus on this new program, they will have fewer resources available for more important and legitimate programs. Better agency performance is not what this initiative is all about. It truly represents an effort to create, by executive fiat, a program that Congress refused to create in 1996 when it rejected a number of bills which would have created a National Heritage Area Partnership Program. His commission is also highly skeptical of the claim that designation of a river would only occur if there is "broad community support," particularly in light of the extremely lose definition of the term community. He used the example of the creation of the 1.7 million acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument over the objection of local communities by Utah's congressional delegation. Designation of a river would require adherence to a wide array of program guidelines and requirements in order to maintain the designation and qualify for federal funds. This would come at some cost to local control or loss of opportunity for the private property owner. The carrot and stick approach by the federal government means some special interest group gets the carrot and private property owners and businesses get the stick, usually in the form of more regulations and restrictive programs. Number 229 SENATOR TAYLOR asked which six rivers were on the short list to be designated. MR. LEAPHART answered that there are actually 126 rivers which are primarily in the eastern states, but the Columbia, the Rio Grande, and portions of the Upper Mississippi are some. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked Representative James if she considered opposing the entire program, as well as being exempted. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she thought about it, but decided they might be stepping on some other people's toes. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he didn't think they could do it under the current title and he didn't think it was appropriate to go through the process of a title change. SENATOR LINCOLN said under the process for nominating a river it says the communities in coordination with state, local, or tribal governments can nominate the river stretch and individuals living outside the area cannot nominate a river. This resolution says the Alaska State Legislature opposes a nomination or designation of any river in Alaska and asked if that does not preclude anyone in a community who wants to nominate their river. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said the intent of the President's initiative was to have the people who live along the river make the nomination which is part of the problem. Along with allowing your river to be identified as an American Heritage River, you get money to clean it up and that's an inviting thing. She thought the nomination should also be agreed to by the State, because the rivers are under the power of the state, not the local people. They do not want local people to have that authority. SENATOR LINCOLN asked if someone chooses to nominate a river in their community, would they need the state's blessing, the local blessing, and the tribal blessing. If that is so, by this resolution, that will never happen. She asked if that was correct. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said that was the purpose. SENATOR TORGERSON said he knows from experience that it does not come to the legislature for approval or to a local government. Their problem initially is that the advisory group to the Commissioner nominated it in the first place and that could be two people. To the Commissioner of Natural Resources it could be one. SENATOR LINCOLN said she wanted to understand if it says all the different bodies could nominate, but the State would not give their blessing. SENATOR TAYLOR said it goes beyond that, because the federal government has no jurisdiction over the navigable waters of the United States. There is not one single court case that indicates that isn't right. He thought the President was trying to use the initiative as leverage against the people who own property along rivers and the states who have all the rights to those waters. The Dinkum Sands case clearly indicates who has control over those navigable waters. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES supported Senator Taylor's comments and then added that the communities can nominate the rivers; and it says the federal role will be solely to support community based efforts to preserve and protect the resource. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to pass SCSHJR 52 (RES) from Committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. Number 450 HB 392 - REPORTS: FISH TAX & SALMON PRODUCTS MS. AMY DAUGHERTY, Staff to Representative Alan Austerman, sponsor of HB 392, said it addresses two types of reporting, exvessel value and wholesale price. The most important part are the changes they make to the wholesale price reporting. The size of the cans are antiquated, so they changed the denominations of the cans. Section Four also adds another reporting period, so this information can be obtained on a more timely basis by people who make marketing decisions with it. The first three sections enable the Department of Revenue to provide processor information needed by ADF&G and DEC. Currently, ADF&G is able to share information they receive with DOR, but this is not provided for in law. DEC currently is unable to access this information from DOR as well, although they have legitimate needs for it. Additional duplicative reporting may be established unless we can maximize and coordinate information the State already obtains. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if DEC would use this legislation to increase fees on processors. MS. DAUGHERTY answered that the fees wouldn't necessarily increase, but perhaps they would decrease. SENATOR TAYLOR said since DEC lives of its fees, he hadn't seen a decrease yet. Once they take away the floor they are having to charge all processors as a set fee, he is concerned they will use this as an opportunity. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if this information is currently available to DEC. He said he didn't know why they don't take the word of a little operator that they are a little operator. CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that they are adding thermally processed to the reporting requirements and fees and asked if they are totally untaxed at this point. MS. DAUGHERTY said this just deals with the wholesale price which isn't where the taxation occurs at the dock. The thermal processing is new language so everything is consistent with DEC and federal regulations on this type of product. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said we are amending this law to be consistent with regulations and thought it was supposed to happen the other way. He asked if there was any change to any processor by changing the word "canned" to "thermally processed." MS. DAUGHERTY answered that the bill speaks past canned, applying to pouched as well as any other device. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if that was previously taxed. MS. DAUGHERTY answered that it has always been taxed, but this is just for the reporting of the wholesale value. There are enough loopholes that information on products was not reported. This generalizes the information by the size of container in which the salmon is sold. Number 502 SENATOR LEMAN asked what is the purpose of this report if they don't have reporting of frozen product. He asked if that showed up somewhere else. MS. DAUGHERTY answered that fishermen who approached them were concerned mostly with pink salmon and how that goes through the market and how the information gets compiled. She said that frozen is not within this bill now. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he hoped someone from DEC could explain how this system works. It looks like it's all full of holes and all they are doing is changing the terminology. SENATOR LEMAN asked where in the bill was the reporting on exvessel value. MS. DAUGHERTY said the only part that refers to exvessel value is the part that seeks to let the agencies share information in Sections One and Two. SENATOR LEMAN asked what kind of information DEC would possibly have access to. Would it be grouped information or down to raw fish data and who catches it and where it's caught. MS. DAUGHERTY said she thought the bill didn't have restrictions on the information. She said Representative Austerman is far more attached to the wholesale reporting than any raw fish data. MR. BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Assistant Director, Income and Exise Audit, Department of Revenue, said he understands that there are two distinct objectives with the draft bill, one is bringing in a provision from last year to streamline and become more efficient. This is to save money to satisfy industry concerns that too many agencies are asking for too many reports. They found that they could not streamline the reporting parts, because there were certain confidentialities. The information comes into their data base and the information that's not confidential they pass on to ADF&G and DEC. They also send them the applications because they don't capture all of the data. There is a lot of information the ADF&G and DOR use that is reported to both departments. As the Department of Revenue, it is their intent that the only information they would allow DEC access to is what they have already been getting in current reports. They would, then, replace a Fish and Game report with the unified report. It's the same with DEC. They will not open up the tax information and let DEC come in and pick what they want. TAPE 98-25, SIDE B But if they currently, in determining their fees, get volume and value information, they would work with industry and DEC to eliminate that report. Sections One and Two deal with three agencies trying to find ways to combine reporting. They took the lead on this and it seems to have worked. Three agencies use one application; dealing with the reporting is phase two of it. There are no changes in reporting requirements in terms of looking for efficiencies. The second part of the bill deals mainly with the objectives of Representative Austerman. It has nothing to do with taxes or values and is basically a reporting requirement the legislature has placed on certain parts of the fishing industry and they needed somebody to collect that data, compile a report, and release it. That somebody was the Department of Revenue. They don't do a lot with the information. It used to be strictly for canned salmon twice a year. Certain fishermen requested information more often in a different format and covering more than just canned salmon. SENATOR HALFORD said the way he reads the reference section, there is no confidentiality required because it says it's not a matter of public record except as provided in AS 43.05.230 which says it has to have the degree of confidentiality required by law which it doesn't. MR. BARTHOLOMEW said the intent is to make certain confidential information available to DEC and to ADF&G and try to give some assurance that that information will be kept confidential by making them subject to the same confidentiality requirements as the Department of Revenue. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said there is some concern about the actual language in everything that is passed under 230 (I) remains confidential and he's not convinced that it works. Number 521 MR. SCOTT MCALLISTER, Chairman, Southeast Regional Chapter of United Salmon Association, said they are comprised of salmon permit holders and high volume harvesters of pink salmon, chum salmon, and red salmon. Their primary purpose is to recapture profitability for the salmon harvest industry. One of their objectives in achieving that goal is to become market oriented. It became apparent to them a number of years ago that they had no standards of measurement in the marketplace. In researching what their options were, they came up with the WCPR reporting requirement in this bill. It's their desire to see the language tightened up in statute to close the loopholes that seem to be of concern to harvesters. The old statutes had can sizes that are not used now and the other purpose was to have reporting periods that were more conducive to negotiation and settlement of a year-round contract. This bill also adequately tightens up language with thermal processed wording replacing the "canned" wording. Number 46 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was somewhere in law where frozen product is reported. MR. MCALLISTER said it was in regulation, but not statute. They don't get good information about frozen product, which is another step. SENATOR TAYLOR asked where egg sales are covered. MR. MCALLISTER said the commercial operator's annual report that ADF&G requires covers eggs. SENATOR TAYLOR thought egg sales would be a higher revenue generator than canned product is. MR. MCALLISTER said that's true in some years on some species, particularly with chum salmon. Processors say that the data base isn't worth the paper it's reported on and it's not statutorily required; there is nothing requiring them to be accurate and also there is no auditing provision. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said it looks like the title doesn't prohibit an amendment that would deal with frozen product. MR. MCALLISTER said a very good report that was generated for this body in 1983 goes into the difficulties in condensing different product forms down to reliable and accurate reporting requirements. He would support that debate anywhere it would occur, but it would not be in time for the upcoming fishing season which is almost upon us. Number 401 MS. JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health, said Mr. Bartholomew characterized the first three sections of this bill very well. They have been involved in combining their permitting applications and the reporting is the next step that the processors have actually asked for. The fisheries business tax, which is the information that would be provided to DEC, is from people who engage in processing fisheries resources for sale by freezing, cooking, salting, or other methods. This bill does not give DEC access to any kind of catch records, nor would they want that information. It is their intent to not actually share paper with the Department of Revenue, but have electronic sharing of processing amounts for purposes of main categories. Right now, their processing permits are based on the amounts of fish processed and are very large groupings. This is because right now they do not have the authority to keep that information confidential. They are subject to the public record and have relied upon constitutional protection for trade secrets when it comes to recipes and things like that that they have in their files. So far they have been successful, but haven't wanted to chance it with financial information. This bill would allow them to have access to that information for purposes of determining the appropriate permitting structure and placement in that structure for different processors and that's all they want it for. SENATOR LEMAN said that is all the information they should be seeking, but to get to that number, is it possible that the Department could claim that they need the underlying data which is the actual raw data that the processor uses as a receipt to pay the fishermen. MS. ADAIR answered that she couldn't fathom that. SENATOR LEMAN asked if they would be looking at other data relating to that processor's sales, or deployments of vans, or something else that demonstrates how much product is moving out of the facility. MS. ADAIR answered that they would be looking at how much they processed. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they would base that on tons or numbers of cans or what - to determine the size of the facility. MS. ADAIR said they report this in pounds. That is the information they would use and put it into categories like they have now for permits. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they don't trust the operators now to tell them how many pounds they process a year. MS. ADAIR answered that they don't ask them now. SENATOR TORGERSON asked why they don't instead of having the legislature pass legislation that would open up confidential records. MS. ADAIR answered she didn't know why they would tell her. SENATOR TORGERSON responded if their fee structure is based that way, why wouldn't they. MS. ADAIR answered that DEC couldn't keep it confidential. SENATOR TORGERSON said their fee structure for restaurants is based on how many people they sit and that's not confidential either. MS. ADAIR responded that it's easy to see how many people a restaurant can seat; it is a trade secret how much fish a processor processes. All the seats in the restaurant are not full seven days a week. You can't really glean how much money they are making based on the number of seats, but you could figure out how much money a processor is making by finding out how many pounds they process and she didn't think it was appropriate for them to be involved with that. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the processors are asking for this, but they don't want each other to know what they are doing. MS. ADAIR read an excerpt from a letter from the Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association saying they supported a fee assessment based on poundage processed. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they have the authority to audit if they suspect the poundage information was not correct. MS. ADAIR said she didn't believe so. SENATOR TAYLOR asked why DEC would, other than for structuring a fee, have to know poundage. Wouldn't they rather know the number of lines they had for canning processing, the number of tables and cookers, the number of sinks and bathrooms, etc. MS. ADAIR said he was right. There is a correlation between how much fish is processed and all those other things. They base their fees on how much time it takes them within a given plant in certain broad categories of plants. They want the categories to be smaller and once you break them down, you're looking at amounts that are being processed. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if they are just looking for ways to come up with a new fee schedule. MS. ADAIR responded that they are responding to a request made by the public which has asked them to base their fees on something they don't have access to. She thought it would lead to a fee reduction for the smaller processors. SENATOR TAYLOR said they could just as easily base their fee on the number of employees at a plant. MS. ADAIR said she didn't know what correlation she could make between their processing services and the number of employees at a given facility. SENATOR TAYLOR said he was concerned that basing fees on the volume of fish processed would be moving toward a straight tax. MS. ADAIR said it is not their intent or the processor's intent, but they are trying to get a better correlation between their average amount of time spent in a plant and what that plant actually looks like. Currently, their categories are broad, because they are not able to keep the information confidential. They are trying to get smaller categories that are more reflective of those processors who are in that category. One of the ways to do that is to look at how much fish is processed in a facility. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked what would happen to the fee if they freeze the fish. MS. ADAIR responded that their fees are different for different kinds of processing. Thermal processing and smoking are the highest fees, because that is more complicated and requires more time. Fresh frozen has lower fees. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked how they knew processors were not lying about how much they froze. MS. ADAIR answered if they have facilities for smoking and canning, they are inspected at a higher frequency. CHAIRMAN HALFORD clarified his point was that they have a lot of reporting for thermally processed fish and not for frozen fish. SENATOR TAYLOR said he thought the majority of lobbying for this bill is coming from the smaller processors who are getting hit with the same fee that they are charging the big processors. MS. ADAIR said that was not the case and that the smaller processors don't pay as much as the large ones do. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if everyone wanted the fee based on the volume of fish produced. MS. ADAIR answered that wasn't true, but the lobbying was coming from only one group. SENATOR TAYLOR asked why they didn't just charge $100, $200, and $300 for the small, medium, and large processors and come back to the legislature for general funds which is the way it used to be done. MS. ADAIR said that is not how they budget and set fees and she would be happy to go over the process with him. No one pays the full cost to the Department of the time involved in inspections and permitting. The fees cover only about 30 percent of the seafood processing program. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was assurance in this legislation that that same 30 percent of cost would be reflected in the future. He asked how he would know they weren't getting 100 percent of their cost in the future. MS. ADAIR responded that the Legislature had to approve, through the budget process, any department's ability to receive and expend fees. SENATOR TAYLOR parried that was called program receipts and didn't count as general funds, anymore, and no one gets denied their program receipts. MS. ADAIR responded that program receipts are only considered designated program receipts if they cover the entire cost of a program. DEC has a statutory prohibition on covering the travel costs of the programs through fees. Their program receipts are considered general funds and they have had increases denied. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said they would have staff work on this bill further. HB 373 - FOREST RESOURCES CHAIRMAN HALFORD announced HB 373 to be up for consideration. MS. PAT SPRINGER, Staff to Speaker Phillips, sponsor, read Speaker Phillips' sponsor statement. It said this bill would greatly enhance protection of Alaska's salmon resources and water quality. This legislation improves present Forest Practices Act safeguards and represents a commitment from the industry, environmental concerns and government to periodically reevaluate the Forest Practices Act. The Board of Forestry has found that the Act is working well in protecting salmon habitat and water quality, but concluded that some areas needed further review. They established a Science and Technical Committee that recommended opportunities to strengthen habitat and wildlife protection. A Stakeholder Committee then convened to incorporate the findings into recommendations for the Board of Forestry which endorsed a series of amendments to the Forest Practices Act. These amendments have broad consensus support from all the participants. MR. JEFF JAHNKE, State Forester, said he is also the presiding officer for the Board of Forestry. Today he is testifying on behalf of both in support of HB 373. He emphasized the process and resulting recommendations were based on the best available scientific recommendations and that the process was open throughout. The results were supported by a wide range of interests - the Board of Forestry with commercial fishing, forest industries, native corporations, environmental corporations, mining, fish and wildlife biologists and recreationists. He said this legislation was achieved through consensus over a period of two years and any substantive changes would make the consensus difficult to sustain. This is a good bill providing additional protection for key water bodies in coastal Alaska and is workable for the timber industry. He said that Ms. Marty Welbourn was the co-chairman of the Science and Technical Committee and has thorough knowledge of the legislation. MS. MARTY WELBOURN, Division of Forestry, explained that this is not a wholesale revision of the Forest Practices Act, but affects only the part of the Act that addresses stream classification and riparian management on private lands in Region One - the coastal forest in Southeast Alaska through Prince William Sound, the eastern part of the Kenai Peninsula, and Kodiak. It includes Mental Health Trust lands within that area, as well. Under the existing Forest Practices Act, about 20 percent of the streams in the area, including anadromous streams are unclassified and have no designated riparian areas. Furthermore, there are requirements to maintain some trees along stream banks of unclassified streams. Tree cover along streams provides woody debris for fish habitat and stabilizes stream banks to help control erosion and provides nutrients to the stream. When the Science and Technical Committee reviewed the Act, they found many issues where they didn't recommend changes. Two significant recommendations from the Committee require legislative change. They found all anadromous streams and their tributaries should be classified and have appropriate riparian protection. Secondly, they found that Type B streams, anadromous streams that have rock banks and relatively steep gradients, need more woody debris than they are currently getting. Woody debris is needed for fish habitat within Type B streams and other sorts of debris for Type A channels which can wash down from Type B streams. Woody debris is also needed for control of sedimentation. HB 373 contains consensus recommendations from the Board of Forestry that respond to the Science and Technical Committee's provision findings. TAPE 98-26, SIDE A The Act would also classify all tributaries to anadromous streams as Type B or D based on the steepness of the stream and stability standards would apply on those streams, as well. She explained under the current Act, only Type A streams, anadromous streams with a relatively low gradient, have a buffer. One of the things the bill does is add requirements that applies stability standards out to 100 feet from the stream or to the slope break on Type A streams, but it does not change the existing buffers on those Type A streams. On Type B streams, it would add a buffer that would go out to 66 ft. or to the slope break which ever is smaller. Many Type B streams are inside channels, so the buffers in many cases would be narrower than 66 ft. On the tributaries to anadromous streams, both stability standards would apply. On Type C streams there would be 100 ft. and on Type B streams about 50 ft. unless the break comes first. For larger tributaries to anadromous streams the bill strengthens the timber retention standards. It would require the operator to retain low value timber within at least 25 ft. and that could be wider depending on the characteristics of the stream. These changes help insure that the goal for the Forest Practices Act are met - to provide adequate protection of fish habitat and water quality and insure that it continues to satisfy the requirements for nonpoint source pollution under the federal Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. SENATOR TAYLOR commented that he thought the Forest Practices Act was a cookie cutter approach to forest management and that this bill's four-part breakdown of streams based upon gradient and bank structure is probably a more refined cookie cutter, but it's still just a cookie cutter. He thought it might get permits approved more quickly to be able to harvest with a greater level of stability than what they have had in the past. He supported that concept, although it was still just a cookie cutter approach. Number 133 CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that the distances were not consistent in the original Forest Practices Act. He asked if there was any place that private forest land can include fairly small parcels with another primary purpose to exclude the right of a property owner on their five or ten acre parcel to clear their stream front. MR. JAHNKE said he thought that was covered. MS. WELBOURN answered that first of all, land owners can convert their land to another use. They just need to notify them of a land use conversion. Small land owners, the size varying by region, are exempted from notification under the Act. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked how small is small. MS. WELBOURN answered in Southeast it's 10 acres and in Southcentral, it's 40 acres. Above those thresholds, you have to notify DNR if you are clearing the land and converting it to another use. Then the Forest Practices Act does not apply. If the conversion is not under way in a five year period, you are expected to reforest. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he was concerned about making it impossible for someone to develop another use because they have forest land. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if the slope stability standards are in existence now. MR. JAHNKE answered yes, and they are established by the rule making process, but the Board of Forestry is the body that reviews them. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they had to worry about anything more than 100 ft. MR. JAHNKE said he thought that was correct for private lands. SENATOR TORGERSON asked where the definition of break of slope was defined. MR. JAHNKE said it is defined in statute at the point where the stream bank changes to a lower area. In most cases, they believe the point of the break in the slope is easily identifiable. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked him if the statute specified the first break in the slope. MR. JAHNKE didn't have an answer. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he liked the fact that the other area of interpretation was high value/low value and it's the land owner that decides. MR. JAHNKE said that is how they interpret that, also. Number 240 SENATOR LEMAN said for the Type C and D water bodies there is a reference to a width measurement if the channel is incised. He asked if that was a term that is well recognized or does it need to be further defined by the angle of the incision or anything having to do with the structure of the stream bank. MR. JAHNKE said the distinction between incised and gradient is one that has existed for a while and he didn't think there had been a problem with that in the past. Number 256 MS. WELBOURN said it hasn't been a problem and has been worked out in the field. SENATOR LINCOLN said she didn't understand the fiscal note. DNR said based on distribution, there's going to be an estimated 21 percent increase in the number of buffer stream miles which would require additional staff time for office review of notification and field review of requests and violations. Training will be needed for land owners and operators and staff, etc. and it's all free. She asked how that can be. MR. RICK HARRIS, Sealaska, said HB 373 was put together in a process of consensus building and was a continuation of a process that began in 1988. They have been able to work with various interest groups and, where good science comes along and indicates there is a need to make a modification to the Forest Practices Act or to the regulations, they have come together to do that. This bill has identified some deficiencies in the Act and regulations. Since 1982, they have been monitoring the Forest Practices Act. Most of that money has been provided by the timber industry and the people who are interested in seeing the Forest Practices Act work, although they have received grants from EPA to do monitoring. As a result of the monitoring, they can say that the Act is working to protect fish habitat and water quality. The purpose of modifying the Act and regulations is to provide that all the streams are classified. MR. HARRIS said this is not a cookie cutter approach. It establishes the standard, but it allows people in the field - competent trained biologists and resources trained people, - to go out and make adjustments in the field that provide better protections for the private timber owner or to modify the practices in site specific areas, if it appears that water quality standards are not being met. The bill provides more flexibility than Senator Taylor gives it credit for. The other part of the bill that's useful is providing protection in the upstream reaches. Up until this time, there was no mandatory retention of timber, but through research they have found that some timber retention is important and for that reason they are agreeable to retain some timber along those streams to provide enhanced protection for the stream. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if they should amend this to say the first break in the slope. MR. HARRIS said they had been using this standard since 1990 and there hasn't been a problem with interpretation. It's been described as the first break you encounter as you come up over the slope. Number 340 SENATOR LEMAN asked if the definition of incised had ever been a problem. MR. HARRIS answered there are some minor adjustments they are suggesting, but incised and channels contained by geomorphology are terms that are understood when you are out in the field. CHAIRMAN HALFORD commented that in Southeast, the thing that shows the most and lasts the longest from timber cuts is a straight line. If you can avoid straight lines, it will look fine. MR. JAHNKE said straight lines generally occur on property boundaries. Number 376 MR. JACK PHELPS, Executive Director, Alaska Forest Association, supported HB 373 as written and said he had sent a letter to that effect. Their involvement has been thorough in this process and this is good legislation encouraging stability in terms of how the industry is dealt with by regulatory agencies and it is very science based. He also talked to Dick Coose with Concerned Alaskans For Resources and Environment, who wanted him to say they support this bill, also. CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that the fiscal note enumerated all the costs and then put zeros and he wanted that clarified. SENATOR LINCOLN agreed. MR. JAHNKE said they had struggled over the fiscal impacts of this bill and much of it they can do in the course of their normal inspections. It has been tough to identify what the additional 20 percent of Type B would mean. He thought the fiscal note said that. He said they are out in the field, anyhow, on the inspections. The training was the biggest issue and they are already conducting training session that they were going to work it into. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he has a problem with the zero fiscal note for the additional three months for two existing seasonal Forester II positions, because the Department will come back next year and say they notified the legislature of the cost and they approved it. MR. JAHNKE attempted to clarify that this is an adjustment to the Forest Practices Act and the people are in the field anyway and it's difficult to separate the impacts of this particular legislation. It's not a wholesale change. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if he wrote the fiscal note. MR. JAHNKE answered yes, he wrote some of it. SENATOR LINCOLN said she thought ADF&G would be involved in this process and she didn't see any fiscal note from them either. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he didn't have a problem with moving the bill out, but wanted a fiscal note that justified in numbers what it says with the words. Number 454 SENATOR LINCOLN said they had passed other legislation out of this committee that had a zero fiscal note and if the Department thought they could do it with a zero fiscal note, they could hold their feet to the fire. SENATOR LEMAN moved the technical amendment to replace "whichever area is smaller" with "whichever distance is less" and where it says "whichever area is greater" replace with "whichever distance is greater." There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass SCS CSHB 373(RES) with individual recommendations and an accurate fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN HALFORD adjourned the meeting at 5:50 p.m.