Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/22/1999 03:20 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE March 22, 1999 3:20 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Rick Halford, Chairman Senator Robin Taylor, Vice Chairman Senator Pete Kelly Senator Jerry Mackie Senator Lyda Green Senator Sean Parnell MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Georgianna Lincoln COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 17 Requesting that the National Marine Fisheries Service and the United States Congress act immediately to reverse the decline of the Cook Inlet beluga whale population and to regulate the harvest of the beluga whales in Cook Inlet until the beluga whale population has recovered. -MOVED CSSJR 17(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 91 "An Act relating to enforcement of subsistence hunting and fishing laws; and repealing the authority of the commissioner of fish and game to assist in the enforcement of federal laws and regulations pertaining to fish and game." -HEARD AND HELD SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 13 Relating to the membership of the Pacific Salmon Commission. -HEARD AND HELD PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SJR 17 - No previous action to consider. SB 91 - See Resources minutes dated 3/17/99. SJR 13 - See Resources Committee minutes dated 3/17/99. WITNESS REGISTER Mr. Ron Somerville, Resource Consultant House and Senate Majority State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SJR 17. Mr. Joel Blatchford 1983 Waldron Dr. Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Mr. Daniel Alex, Project Coordinator Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council P.O. Box 101846 Anchorage, AK 99507 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Mr. Carl Jack 731 E 8th Anchorage, AK 99520 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Ms. Delice Calcote, Secretary Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council 205 E Dimond Anchorage, AK 99520 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Mr. Jev Lanman, Member Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council P.O. Box 1105 Chickaloon, AK 99674 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Mr. Lynn Levengood 1008 16th Ave. Fairbanks, AK 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 91. Major Joe D'Amico, Deputy Director Department of Public Safety Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection 5700 Tudor Rd. Anchorage, AK 99507-1225 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 91. Myles Conway, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law 1031 W 4th Ave. Ste 200 Anchorage, AK 99501-1994 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 91 and SJR 13. Mr. Jev Shelton 1670 Evergreen Ave. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SJR 13. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-14, SIDE A Number 001 SJR 17-COOK INLET BELUGA POPULATION CHAIRMAN HALFORD called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:20 p.m. and announced SJR 17 to be up for consideration. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to adopt the Committee Substitute, dated 3/19/99, Utermohle. There were no objections and it was so ordered. MR. RON SOMERVILLE, Resources Consultant to the House and Senate Majority, says it's pretty obvious that the National Marine Fisheries Service and other groups have felt that the Beluga whale in Cook Inlet has been under pressure for some time and what is causing the decline is speculative at this point. By and large the trend has been down and the harvest has gone up. In 1994, the Beluga population was estimated to be about 650 and it's now about less than 350. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked what the accuracy was on the harvest data. MR. SOMERVILLE answered that the harvest data was provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and all of the harvest is taken by native Alaskans. NMFS cannot regulate the taking by natives on any of the species unless there is some wasteful taking or if the species is depleted. Working with local hunters and shops in Anchorage, one in particular that sells beluga meat, they have been able to estimate the take. He also worked with the local Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council. In the last five years they have estimated that somewhere between 70 - 100 animals have been taken per year. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked about strikes versus taking. MR. SOMERVILLE replied that "strike" information is not very accurate, but a 1996 Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council estimated hunters landed 49 whales and estimated a total mortality of about 147 whales from hunters alone. NMFS and ADF&G didn't think that mortality is that great for most years. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked how the whales are taken. MR. SOMERVILLE replied that they are harpooned and some are shot before they are harpooned. He said that proposed regulations from NMFS probably will require that harpooning occur first to improve the wounding losses. The main thing he wanted to stress is that there was a petition from a number of organizations to list beluga on the Endangered Species Act and if there's anything we want to avoid it's that listing. This resolution asks NMFS to speed up the process of the status review to determine exactly what the population of the Cook Inlet beluga whales is and asks congress to appropriate money for this project. It also asks for a congressional "fix" from the Marine Mammal Protection Act allowing NMFS to regulate and enforce. He said there has been an agreement worked out between the local council representing most of the tribes in Cook Inlet and the National Marine Fisheries Service on some sort of plan. A proposed amendment they are working on with Senator Stevens, which has been added to the supplemental appropriation, will make it illegal to take beluga in Cook Inlet unless it's under a regulated regime. MR. JOEL BLATCHFORD supported SJR 17, but added that he has witnessed commercial fishermen shooting beluga whales and he personally had sunk four of them since 1955. He explained when a beluga gets old, their livers hold a lot of pollutants. So when they go into their winter season and their fat gets thin, the livers put out a lot of toxic waste. They start breaking out with tumors and are just too sick to eat. Their whole skin changes colors. When they are young, they are very clean. He noted that EPA has allowed discharging in coastal waters. MR. BLATCHFORD also informed the committee that the grey whales from California get very hungry on their migrations because they keep getting pushed away from their source of food by people other than hunters. Number 180 MR. DANIEL ALEX, Project Coordinator for Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council, along with the Alaska Beluga Whale Committee asked for the emergency amendment of MMPA which has been introduced as a rider on an appropriation bill by Senator Stevens. They have also asked for funding for co-management. They are concluding an interim co- management agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service by April 1. They have recently reached a consensus that Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council is the negotiating entity and have worked out some of the major points for an interim co-management agreement. They have a set of conservation measures proposed by hunters that are in the proposed interim draft co-management agreement. MR. CARL JACK said he provides staff support to the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals, a coalition of 14 native marine mammal councils that function in the State of Alaska. They support SJR 17, but request on line 17 insert language supporting Senator Stevens amendment #87 which was made on March 18, 1999. It would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to put a moratorium on the taking of belugas in Cook Inlet unless it's done through the co-management regime that Mr. Alex talked about. CHAIRMAN HALFORD informed Mr. Jack that the committee substitute more directly supports the Stevens language. Number 139 MS. DELICE CALCOTE, Secretary, Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council, supported SJR 17. However, she didn't think it was fair to blame the hunters on the numbers dwindling. NMFS data shows that they have only looked at tracer elements of biopollution in belugas and they have only looked at a few samples. Their hunters have been cutting up and sinking all of the belugas that are diseased with pus pockets. All samples that NMFS samples have been taken from marketable beluga. Fishermen have not provided any kind of bad samples to the NMFS. This is why the Cook Inlet belugas are the healthiest in the whole world. She asked for much more research and noted the problems that come from pollution, including metals, that come from the 230 plus operating wells in the Inlet. There are tankers that come up and dump their ballast treatment waters in the Kenai area. Plants in the Kenai are producing toxins that could be getting into the water source. She also said the tourist industry will bring further stresses on the area. MS. CALCOTE suggested establishing a five-mile no bothering zone around fishing and birthing areas much like the Canadians have just adopted on their beluga grounds. One day when she was fishing, she heard on the radio a man announce that he was shooting at belugas because they were bothering his nets. So the commercial fishing industry is not necessarily policing themselves as they say they are. She said there is sewage coming from Anchorage, Kenai, Ninilchik, Homer, and Elmendorf and Fort Richardson. According to EPA, there are billions of tons of toxins produced by the oil and gas industry per year that are being pumped into the Inlet. All of those pollutants settle into the mud. The beluga shrug out of their skin every year and they use the mud to take off their old skin. She asked if there would be dredging in the area where the beluga are known for their feeding and birthing areas. She repeated that protection for feeding and birthing zones needed to be established. There is a potential for gold mines coming in and she wanted the gold production runoff to be monitored. The beluga like to stay at the mouths of the streams for their food source. The Johnson River and the Beluga River are known beluga feeding areas, but she concluded saying that the whole area needed to be looked at and not just one small piece at a time. Number 310 MR. JEV LANMAN, Chickaloon Village, said he is a member of the Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council and representative of the Cook Inlet Treaty Tribes. He supported SJR 17 saying that his views have been voiced already. He said that getting accurate information about the numbers needed to have attention. Hunters don't have total control over this limited resource. The number of whales that are struck and destroyed because of pollution hasn't been recorded and it's not reflected in the scientific reports people are receiving today. He noted interference from tourist boats, oil wells, and many other industries are impacting what's going on. MR. LANKAN said that toxins in belugas have recently been evidenced by the yellow tumors and radioactive content. It has reached a state where you are taking a big risk if you eat the meat without having it tested first. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the Council has records of how many belugas are being taken and being shot. MR. LANMAN answered that the numbers vary from hunter to hunter and locations. He said they have totals, but they are not good numbers which is why he is testifying on behalf of this bill. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said one question has come up and they know the harvest has increased substantially, but they don't know that is the only reason or even a major reason for the decline. The way the resolution is drafted it says, "primarily due to overharvest". It also says, "appears to have declined". It might be more neutral to say "appears to have declined in recent years while harvest levels have increased significantly". Both of those things are true. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to adopt that language. There were no objections and the amendment was adopted. SENATOR TAYLOR asked what the feds have said is the base line population of belugas in Cook Inlet. He asked how long they had been managing them. CHAIRMAN HALFORD answered they had been managing them since 1972. MR. SOMERVILLE inserted after the Marine Mammal Protection Act was last amended it was required that NMFS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do population assessment and establish base line population levels for all the species they are responsible for. For belugas in Cook Inlet, their number was around 750 - 800, but it was established in those days as an off the top guess based upon surveys incidental to other work the State was doing in Cook Inlet as well as the University of Alaska. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if that wasn't the same thing we are working with today. MR. SOMERVILLE repeated that the data is skimpy at best, but the problem is under the Endangered Species Act the courts look at the "best available information." Many species like the wolf and goshawk can be listed on very skimpy information. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass CSSJR 17(RES) from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 91-ENFORCEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE LAWS CHAIRMAN HALFORD announced SB 91 to be up for consideration. MS. MEL KROGSENG, Aide to Senator Taylor, sponsor, said SB 91 basically prohibits any member of our Department of Public Safety or other state employee or a member of a police department of a local municipality from enforcing any federal statute or regulation that is inconsistent with out State Constitution or the Constitution of the United States. It also prohibits federal agents from the same thing. Another section of the bill repeals the authority of the Commissioner of ADF&G from engaging in agreements with federal law enforcement officers who are enforcing laws pertaining to subsistence eligibility. Basically, she said, we are not going to help them enforce laws that are in violation of our constitution. MR. LYNN LEVENGOOD, said he is an attorney in Fairbanks and supported SB 91 for a number of reasons. He said, "There is a train wreck scheduled and it's between the sovereignty of the State of Alaska and the intrusions of the federal government into the sovereignty of the State of Alaska." He said it's happening rapidly. Last year, the federal Subsistence Board declared sheep hunting areas where ADF&G had issued permits were open to federal hunting only. This year, the Glacier Bay issue is coming to the forefront. The federal government has kicked out our long-standing fishermen and the sovereignty of the State of Alaska through the Submerged Lands Act. MR. LEVENGOOD said that AS 16.05.050 (a)1 requires the Commissioner of ADF&G to cooperate with the federal government, he didn't think there was federal reciprocity to cooperate with the State of Alaska. This bill is necessary to repeal that requirement and to prevent unfunded federal mandates. The Legislature should do everything they can to prevent Alaskan's sovereignty from being encroached upon and the federal government from violating the constitutional rights of Alaskan citizens. He thought the idea that federal and state law enforcement agencies being so dependent upon each other for each other's safety was a ruse. Clearly, this legislation doesn't prohibit cooperation; just cooperating on federal regulations or laws that are in dispute. MR. MYLES CONWAY, Assistant Attorney General, pointed out that Section (c) of SB 91 would be unenforceable. It makes it illegal for federal officials to enforce federal laws or regulations that are inconsistent with the State's constitution. To prosecute federal officials for enforcing their own laws would be dismissed from the court with the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, we would be subjecting our state officers to potential federal criminal liability. There is a federal statute making it illegal to interfere with federal officials performing their duties. MS. KROGSENG responded that she had discussed this with Mr. Levengood and even if this is unenforceable, it would put the State's position on the table. We don't want the federal government enforcing laws that are inconsistent with our Constitution or the U.S. Constitution. Other lower 48 states have put laws on the books recently about the federal government purchasing land, because they don't want additional land being bought by the federal government, although they realize they may not be able to enforce it. The intent is to make a policy call. MR. LEVENGOOD responded that he didn't disagree, but there are certain requirements in some of the federal agencies that say some of their regulations can only be carried out and enforced if there is cooperation with the state and local governments. This would be one regulation we are objecting to. Number 569 MAJOR JOE D'AMICO, Department of Public Safety, testified his biggest concern regarding SB 91, also stated in a letter to the committee, is the unintended effect that Alaskan troopers will lose some degree of safety, mostly for rural troopers, if it is passed. He explained that most of our cross-deputization agreements are reciprocal in nature. There is no current law now that requires us to assist federal officers. In fact, in Glacier Bay we refused. It's a policy that they will not enforce federal fishing laws or assist the Park Service in that area. In rural areas, however, in many instances the closest help is a federal officer. SENATOR MACKIE asked if we had ever used any of our vessels to "ferry around" Park Service Rangers or anything in Glacier Bay or anywhere else. TAPE 99-14, SIDE B Number 590 His understanding was equipment was used in Glacier Bay only for our troopers who were enforcing our own fish and wildlife laws. MAJOR D'AMICO replied that he researched that issue using written records dating back to 1986 and they had never carted federal agents around in Glacier Bay. The Department has enforced state laws for commercial fisheries in Glacier Bay. They have ridden in Park Service vehicles for the Gustavus area state moose hunt which does not occur on Park land. That's because they don't have state vehicle available in Gustavus and it was convenient. They have also moored state boats free of charge at the Park Service dock in Glacier Bay in conjunction with state fisheries efforts. SENATOR PARNELL asked if he currently helped enforce federal statutes and regulations governing hunting and fishing. MAJOR D'AMICO said he has tried to figure out what that really means. He said the example in his letter with the brown bear and swans actually happened to one of his troopers and in that case they did directly assist a federal officer with a violation. A trooper in Haines recently investigated the shooting of a bald eagle. There are occasions where state troopers assist federal officers. SENATOR PARNELL asked if the swan example was unintended. MAJOR D'AMICO said that is correct. The trooper was working on the spring brown enforcement season, a state hunt, and they saw a hunter with bear and checked it. When they unrolled it to seal it, they found the swans. SENATOR PARNELL said he didn't see how he was tying a prohibition against direct enforcement of a federal subsistence hunting or fishing statute with trooper safety being put at risk. MAJOR D'AMICO said he could as in the case of the swans. In the case of the swans, he wondered if the trooper would be in violation of Section (a) in the direct assistance to the federal officer by providing the transportation. He said he didn't know exactly what "direct assistance" means. He explained that they have a good relationship with most of the federal agencies to provide reciprocal assistance and in many cases when the request is made, the officer doesn't know that there's going to be a problem, but they are concerned one will occur. The state receives the ratio of 8 or 9 to one assistances from the federal agencies in terms of personnel and equipment. The state is on the winning end when that occurs. Number 532 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was any assurance that Major D'Amico wouldn't provide backup to a federal agent in Glacier Bay. MAJOR D'AMICO replied if they were requested to backup a federal officer enforcing a federal law in Glacier Bay, they would probably do it to prevent some type of problem. SENATOR TAYLOR said he wasn't concerned about what happened in the past. He was concerned about the "pickle" they would find themselves in if there is something going on in Glacier Bay and they ask for assistance. He said they would be enforcing something that is very unconstitutional and we are going to file suit over. MAJOR D'AMICO said they would want a trooper to prevent violence. He was not just concerned about the federal officer, but the Alaskan citizen that they are going to contact. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if he thought the Alaskan would think he was there to protect him and his sovereign rights as a citizen when he walks up shoulder to shoulder with a federal officer to place him under arrest. MAJOR D'AMICO said he didn't know the answer to that. Whenever he has assisted federal officers, they have been glad to have him. SENATOR TAYLOR said whoever was with the swans inside the bear hide had to make a decision about what the limit was for swans taken by a qualified federal subsistence user and asked if there was a limit at the time if you were a subsistence user. MAJOR D'AMICO answered that he was not current on all federal law, although he knows they allow some take of swans in the spring. SENATOR TAYLOR said it wouldn't have been his problem, because they are both violations of federal law. He asked what the trooper did with the guys with the swans. MAJOR D'AMICO said that the trooper didn't do anything, that the federal officer handled it. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the defendant lived in the right community. MAJOR D'AMICO replied that he did. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if we have a law against shooting swans in Alaska. MAJOR D'AMICO answered that there are some state sanctioned swan hunts in Alaska. They are in game management units and have seasons and bag limits and firearms restrictions. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the state officer was aware of that. MAJOR D'AMICO answered yes. SENATOR TAYLOR asked why he didn't arrest the man for shooting six swans. MAJOR D'AMICO answered it was a federal problem and we generally don't do federal enforcement. SENATOR TAYLOR noted that we have Alaskan laws about killing swans and asked if that wasn't an Alaskan problem if our officer caught a man with six dead swans. MAJOR D'AMICO said the federal government manages and enforces most waterfowl cases. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if his officers would not arrest him if he were in violation of a bag limit on swans. MAJOR D'AMICO said they would if they were shot in the spring. SENATOR TAYLOR said shooting in the spring was even worse since there is no season that time of the year. MAJOR D'AMICO responded that he wasn't sure he understood the point, but if he were out there during a season and was over limit, he would be cited by a trooper. If he did it in the spring, they would most likely turn it over to the federal government. CHAIRMAN HALFORD thanked Major D'Amico for writing his long detailed letter and asked about an item on the second page saying a standing order is currently in place prohibiting our employees from using equipment for transporting Park Rangers or to assist federal officers in their attempts to enforce federal fishery laws in the Glacier Bay area. He said if Major D'Amico can make a policy like that work, it would seem that he could come up with a policy using the same methodology that would keep the state out of enforcing laws that are unconstitutional. He could see the reality with regards to personal safety and federal criminal law. He thought there was a way to work through that and produce a bill that avoids those problems and actually does something. MAJOR D'AMICO said if this bill passes he was not sure they could aid federal officers with a valid federal warrant to make an arrest. CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if they had a policy right now of not helping or transporting federal officers to enforce fisheries law in the Glacier Bay area. MAJOR D'AMICO said that is right. SENATOR TAYLOR said he was only concerned that we don't have our officers violating our constitution as they go to aid a federal agent. He asked if their policy was in writing. MAJOR D'AMICO answered that Commissioner Otte put out a standing order that this would not occur. Any request for assistance by the Park Service has to come through his office and he or Colonel Glass have to approve it except for emergencies. SENATOR TAYLOR said he was trying to get that policy into writing. MAJOR D'AMICO responded that's why the Department supports the intent of the bill, but are concerned about the reciprocity on backup. SENATOR MACKIE said the reason he can't support this is because we receive nine to one assists from them. He has participated in enough law enforcement activities to know when you are out there by yourself and need a backup, it's nice to have someone to back you up. Many of the federal officers are Alaskans, too, and he didn't want to support something that would put their life in danger. Number 343 SENATOR PETE KELLY asked if there was a way to separate assaultive behavior in the bill. SENATOR TAYLOR said that not one of the examples citted are impacted by this legislation. SENATOR MACKIE disagreed. SENATOR TAYLOR said an officer takes an oath saying he'll support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska and will fully discharge his duties as an Alaskan state trooper to the best of his ability. He's in violation of his oath when he steps up to enforce a law that his Supreme Court has told him is an unconstitutional law. SENATOR MACKIE said he is a lot more comfortable with our Alaska state troopers handling a situation that has danger to the perpetrator or to the officers involved. He thought it was bad public policy to take away our ability to assist. SENATOR TAYLOR said that's a red herring and the only thing they are being precluded from doing is assisting federal officers in the enforcement of subsistence regulations. SENATOR KELLY said he also needed a level of comfort that is all this is doing. SENATOR MACKIE noted the section that says, "The Department of Public Safety may not enforce or directly assist..." includes a whole wide range of things. He didn't really didn't see how our men would be involved if the feds were citing someone for a subsistence offense. He explained in a lot of situations the arresting officer finds out a little bit about the person being arrested. If the officer feels there is a safety concern, although it is a subsistence offense, he calls for backup. It happens all the time. He said you can't craft all the circumstances into one paragraph and just say subsistence when other factors are involved. SENATOR TAYLOR reiterated that our officers cannot assist in enforcement of a regulation governing eligibility to engage in subsistence hunting or fishing. Period. Number 165 SENATOR GREEN asked what the language on page 1, line 14 "(b) an employee or law enforcement agent of a state department other than the Department of Public Safety or other state agency or a police officer employed by a municipality may not enforce...etc." meant. She noted they are saying "other than" which exempts all the people they are trying to include. SENATOR TAYLOR moved to delete Section (c). There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR MACKIE asked why they were using a statute to direct a municipal law enforcement agency on whom they can and cannot assist. SENATOR KELLY told Major D'Amico that he didn't think his fears were justified. He didn't see how he would be prohibited from backing up a federal officer. MAJOR D'AMICO answered on page 1, line 8 and 9 it says, "the Department of Public Safety cannot enforce or directly assist the enforcement of a federal statute or regulation governing eligibility to engage in hunting or fishing in the state if the statute or regulation cannot be enacted by the state or regulations could not be adopted by the state department or agency because the statute or regulation violates either the constitution of the State of Alaska or the Constitution of the United States." As an example, if someone came to Hoonah who did not qualify under federal law to participate in a hunt and illegally took some deer, then they went back to their home and the federal officer found out who that person was and was prepared to issue a citation. If during the computer records check, he discovered this person had exhibited compulsive behavior in the past toward law enforcement officers, he thought the trooper would be precluded under this section from going along and providing that backup service, because at this point the only violation was a federal regulation pertaining to subsistence hunting. He thought the danger here was if we don't provide that service, when we need that service, it won't be available for us. TAPE 99-15, SIDE A Number 001 MAJOR D'AMICO said in Glacier Bay that under current law they can still provide backup to prevent violence, but they will not help enforce federal fishery laws. SENATOR TAYLOR said that many are confused that they won't help enforce federal fishery laws in Glacier Bay, but are upset if his legislation precludes him from doing exactly the same thing on federal subsistence laws. SENATOR PARNELL explained the difference under their current policy, if there was some danger of assault, they would be able to assist the officers. CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that this wasn't even the entire subsistence law, because there are a lot of areas where the state and federal subsistence laws are consistent. It only refers to the qualification differential based on the location of residence, the only provision that has been found unconstitutional by our Supreme Court. SENATOR MACKIE asked Senator Taylor if he would consider adding language like "unless it involved the threat of life or safety to an officer." MAJOR D'AMICO responded that he thought if it would allow them to provide backup service, the Department could support it. CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he wanted the feds to pay the bill for stepping all over our constitution. SENATOR MACKIE said he didn't disagree with that, but he feels strongly about the backup provision. He said he has a lot more confidence in our state troopers for handling these kinds of situations than having federal officers or armed park rangers. SENATOR TAYLOR said he would try to find some language to that effect. CHAIRMAN HALFORD suggested adding, "Unless the assistance is only provided in an immediate case where no alternative backup is available at any cost." He thought it would cover the rural situation. SENATOR PARNELL said they could add language on page 1, line 8 that says "notwithstanding AS 18.65.090 and except in the case of threat of imminent physical injury, the Department of Public Safety..." CHAIRMAN HALFORD announced they would hold the bill for further work. SJR 13-AK NATIVE ON PACIFIC SALMON COMMISSION CHAIRMAN HALFORD announced SJR 13 to be up for consideration. SENATOR WARD, sponsor, explained that as an Athabascan Native he had never voted to give up rights. Mr. Mike Williams brought it to his attention that he has never known of any Alaska Native who has been involved in a treaty. There has been a lot of talk about "have Alaska natives at the table," but when the time comes to select the voting people who are going to represent the State of Alaska, they are certainly not Alaska natives, and appear to be bureaucrats at first glance and are special interests. SENATOR WARD said he has never disputed his rights under the Constitution, but when people aren't even invited to the table to sit down in a bargaining agreement, like the Pacific Salmon Treaty that is going to affect their life, he didn't think that was right. MR. EDDIE BURKE, Aide to Representative Jerry Sanders, said a very interesting statement was given to the House Resources Committee. Mr. Dick Hoffman, President, Alaska Troller Association, said that there wasn't the caliber of Alaska Native to sit on this Board. SENATOR MACKIE asked what that private conversation had with the bill. SENATOR WARD said he thought it described a mind-set against having the people who actually consume the fish at the bargaining table. They have a position on it before the people who catch it and sell it and they are not at the table. SENATOR MACKIE said he didn't necessarily disagree with him, especially regarding the U.S./Canada Treaty. SENATOR MACKIE said he thought that Commission was representing the rights of all Alaskans, commercial, subsistence, white, and native and he asked for an example of where the people on the Commission are not doing there job. He also asked for an example where natives are being disadvantaged in the process. SENATOR WARD answered since they are closed door meetings, he couldn't say. He wanted an Alaskan Native added to it. SENATOR MACKIE asked how they added another commissioner when the make up is set by the U.S. Government. SENATOR WARD said that according to the rules, Canada would get one more seat also. SENATOR MACKIE asked where Alaska Natives have been disadvantaged by the Commission that represents Alaska. He said he fails to see where this is needed, because he feels that all Alaskans are being represented. SENATOR WARD replied if an Alaska Native had been representing subsistence on this Commission, it would have been resolved a long time ago. Number 420 SENATOR KELLY said he had a fundamental problem with this legislation, because the people of Alaska are already represented. If you add an Alaskan native, you are beginning to divide things racially. Natives own most of the private land in Alaska and their corporations have advantages far above anyone else's corporation. SENATOR WARD said he thought Alaska Natives should have a part of a treaty process that will affect them for the next hundred years. SENATOR MACKIE explained that the reason the natives in Washington state have a seat at the table is because of the treaties that involve the tribes with allocations. MR. MYLES CONWAY, Assistant Attorney General, added that the makeup of the Commission is set by federal statute. If the resolution goes forward, it should be directed to the Congress. SENATOR WARD responded that our congressional delegation told him that the request needs to come through the administration to them, because that's the way the original treaty was set up. MR. DAVID BEDFORD, Executive Director, Southeast Alaska Seiners, read Mr. Jim Bacon's testimony. Mr. Bacon is the co-chair of the Northern Panel and is a seiner in Southeast. The following is part of his letter: "I have served on the Northern Panel U.S. Section of the Pacific Salmon Commission since 1991. I currently serve as the co-chairman of that body. The Pacific Salmon Commission was created by the Pacific Salmon Treaty. The United State and Canada struggled through 15 years of difficult negotiations to produce the existing treaty. To add another commissioner to the Pacific Salmon Commission would require renegotiating provisions of the Treaty and opening contentious lengthy discussion with no certainty of success. However, I would council against pursuing SJR 13 not merely because its success is uncertain, but because we do not need it. Alaska's delegation to the Treaty fights diligently and, for the most part, successfully, on behalf of all Alaskans, native and non-native. The original treaty set management regimes for fisheries that impact salmon stocks that spawn in one nation and travel into the other nation's waters. The Commission is designed to review current arrangements and renegotiate expired annexes or management agreements. The Alaskan North Panel (there is a Canadian Northern Panel, as well) is made up of representatives from the Alaska Native Brotherhood, the recreational fishing community, the commercial gear groups, and fisheries managers from Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We discuss the issues relevant to the negotiations and work toward a consensus to present to the Alaska Commissioner and alternate commissioner who act as our chief negotiators in the discussions with Canada and the Southern United States. Alaska's greatest strength has been our ability to work together..." SENATOR MACKIE interrupted to ask if Mr. Andy Ebono was on our Northern Panel serving native interests. CHAIRMAN HALFORD indicated he was and noted that it was just an advisory panel. MR. BEDFORD added that the Panel drives the issues as far as they can get them, then the Commission takes them "for the final lap." "with all affected interests and the State of Alaska to protect Alaska's interests. While other delegations insist on circling the wagons and shooting inward, Alaskans consistently work together to serve all of our interests. Alaskan fisheries of relevance to the Treaty are the Southeast Alaska Chinook Fishery, both recreational and personal, the District 104 purse seine fishery (Noise Island Fishery), the District 101 gillnet(Tree Point) Fishery, and the Trans Boundary River Fisheries of the Taku and Stikine Rivers. The Commission also shares information about the Alsek River fishery. A separate body deals with Yukon River issues. The Pacific Salmon Treaty does not deal with any subsistence fisheries in Alaskan waters. Our subsistence fisheries are primarily in fresh water and intertidal marine waters near the terminal areas and, therefore, do not fit the criteria for Treaty or Commission involvement. Thus the decisions of the Pacific Salmon Commission do not affect subsistence harvests. The fishery of greatest importance to my fleet (I am a purse seiner) is the Noise Island fishery. Tlingit and Haida peoples of the west coast of Prince of Wales pioneered that fishery and served the first cannery built in Alaska in the late eighteen hundreds. To this day there is no distinction between native and non-native fishermen's interests with respect to negotiations with Canada. Our interest is the same, to protect Alaska's right to harvest salmon in the sovereign waters of Alaska. I am concerned with any approach which would either directly or indirectly divide or dilute Alaska's message or provide our adversaries with the ability to exploit potential perceived political differences. As I stated earlier, our unity is our strength. I believe that the current makeup of the Northern Panel, along with the Alaskan Commissioners serve all of Alaskan's interests well. I would urge the committee to not pass SJR 13." MR. JEV SHELTON, Southeast Alaska Gillnetter, said he is also Alaska's alternate commissioner on the Pacific Salmon Commission. He has been involved in the Pacific Salmon Treaty since 1974. He endorsed everything in Mr. Bacon's statement. He said that native fishermen are integral to all the fisheries in Southeast Alaska. They are leaders in the industry and are well respected. There is nothing that excludes them implicitly or explicitly. The record will show that they have been very much involved in the Treaty issues. Right now would be a bad time to insert this kind of an issue in front of the federal government. Alaska needs support and help on treaty related issues; it doesn't need anything that would indicate a split that might be exploited. The suggestion that this could be divided along subsistence lines is bad and the suggestion that it be divided along racial lines is hugely unfortunate. Adding members would take a lot of maneuvering to even accomplish. Each country has four commissioners and each country decides its own makeup. MR. SHELTON said he had dealt with many native fishermen and no one had expressed any dissatisfaction about the way their interests are being represented in this. He reiterated that subsistence is not an issue within the Treaty. How fish are allocated is up to the Board of Fisheries. The Pacific Salmon Treaty is concerned most with the Dixon Entrance and the troll fishery along the outer coast. TAPE 15, SIDE B Number 590 The streams up by Yakutat are completely out of bounds as far as the Canadians are concerned and never enter into discussions within the Treaty. The job of the Alaska delegation is to get the best possible allocation for Alaska and then the issue remains to be dealt with internally. SENATOR MACKIE asked who our four representatives are. MR. SHELTON said Dave Benton, Jim Pitman (non-voting federal representative), Curt Smitch (Advisor to Governor Lock), representing both Washington and Oregon, and Ron Allen who represents the 24 treaty tribes in Washington and Oregon. SENATOR MACKIE noted that adding another Alaskan would be two from Alaska and only one from Washington and Oregon and one from the federal government. CHAIRMAN HALFORD adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.