Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/06/2002 05:15 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                           May 6, 2002                                                                                          
                            5:15 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Torgerson, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Wilken, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Rick Halford                                                                                                            
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 302(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An  Act  establishing  the  Alaska   Gas  Corporation,  a  public                                                              
corporation,   and  providing  for   its  structure,   management,                                                              
responsibilities, and operation,  and requiring the development of                                                              
a project plan  to evaluate whether construction  and operation of                                                              
a natural gas transmission pipeline  project by the corporation is                                                              
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 382(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act  relating to  the evaluation  and cleanup  of sites  where                                                              
certain  controlled  substances  may  have  been  manufactured  or                                                              
stored; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
     MOVED SCS CSHB 382(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 474(CRA) am                                                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to  public  rights-of-way  and  easements  for                                                              
surface transportation  affecting  the Anchorage Coastal  Wildlife                                                              
     MOVED SCS CSHB 474(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                              
HB 302 - See Resources minutes dated 4/29/02.                                                                                   
HB 382 - See Resources minutes dated 4/29/02.                                                                                   
HB 474 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 302.                                                                                        
Representative Gretchen Guess                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 382.                                                                                        
Ms. Laura Achee                                                                                                                 
Staff to Representative Joe Green                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 474 for the sponsor.                                                                      
Mr. Dick Bishop                                                                                                                 
Alaska Outdoor Council                                                                                                          
1555 Gus's Grind                                                                                                                
Fairbanks AK 99601                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 474.                                                                                         
Mr. Dennis Poshard, Legislative Liaison                                                                                         
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 474.                                                                                           
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 474.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-27, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                 CSHB 302-ALASKA GAS CORPORATION                                                                            
CHAIRMAN JOHN TORGERSON called the Senate Resources Committee                                                                 
meeting to  order at 5:15 p.m.  and announced CSHB 302(FIN)  to be                                                              
up for consideration.  He said that he intended  to take testimony                                                              
on  the bill  today  but  would hold  it  in committee  since  the                                                              
committee would be making a policy call.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  JIM WHITAKER,  sponsor of  HB 302,  said the  bill                                                              
establishes  the  Alaska  Gas  Corporation.   The  intent  of  the                                                              
legislation is to  keep a range of options available  to the state                                                              
with regard to  the eventual taking of natural gas  to market. The                                                              
private sector is interested in that  project but the sincerity of                                                              
that effort  has been questioned from  time to time.   He believes                                                              
it would be advantageous for the  state to keep this option viable                                                              
and to progress it.                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked Representative  Whitaker if he intends to                                                              
replace the initiative with this legislation.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WHITAKER said  it is  not his  intent to use  this                                                              
bill to replace the initiative. That  subject is under the purview                                                              
of  the  Lieutenant  Governor. He  introduced  this  bill  several                                                              
months prior to  the initiative. However, once  the initiative was                                                              
filed, he  asked for a  legal opinion  about whether the  bill and                                                              
initiative  are  substantially  similar. According  to  the  legal                                                              
opinion, they  are, so whether or  not it replaces  the initiative                                                              
would  be the  Lieutenant  Governor's  call. He  said  he has  not                                                              
contacted her about the matter.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  questioned why  there is  no fiscal  note from                                                              
the Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)  because the Commission would                                                              
be set up by the Legislature.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  WHITAKER said  it  would, but  assuming the  Joint                                                              
Committee  on Natural  Gas  Pipelines remains  viable,  it can  be                                                              
argued  that there  would be  no attendant  fiscal note.  However,                                                              
keeping that  committee in place  for this specific  purpose would                                                              
require a fiscal note from LAA.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  said  that,  in general,  all  of  the  Joint                                                              
Committee on Natural Gas Pipelines  hired experts will be finished                                                              
at the end of session. He said the  committee might need to take a                                                              
different direction  and have engineering staff on  board for this                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  told members that Representative  Whitaker has                                                              
submitted an  amendment to extend  the Joint Committee  on Natural                                                              
Gas Pipelines until January 31, 2004.                                                                                           
SENATOR WILKEN  asked if the  Alaska Gas Corporation  is analogous                                                              
to anything that exists today.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER  replied an analogy  could be made  to the                                                              
existing port authority,  although that is a rough  one, since the                                                              
subject matter  is the only similarity.  He said a  better analogy                                                              
is to  the operations  of the Alaska  Permanent Fund  Corporation.                                                              
The  Corporation  functions  in  an ownership  role.  He  did  not                                                              
envision  the maintenance,  operation,  building, and  engineering                                                              
functions being  attendant to state functions. He  envisioned them                                                              
as  private sector  functions  under contract  to  the Alaska  Gas                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN asked how it would  differ from the Alaska Railroad                                                              
Corporation (ARRC).                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER  replied that  ARRC is far beyond  what he                                                              
would envision. The  ARRC has been subject to  criticism for being                                                              
somewhat   cumbersome,   bureaucratic   and   inefficient.   Those                                                              
criticisms may have  merit. On the other hand,  the Permanent Fund                                                              
Corporation's  ownership  role  provides  a  much  more  efficient                                                              
SENATOR  WILKEN asked  him to  explain why  a copy  of the  Petrie                                                              
Parkman  Report  is in  members'  packets  and  what it  means  in                                                              
relation to the sentence on page 2.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE   WHITAKER  replied  that   he  found   the  report                                                              
interesting for a number of reasons.  Different participants wrote                                                              
it  in sections.  Those  sections  written by  the  Administration                                                              
seemed to  be quite negative with  regard to state  ownership, but                                                              
he came to the  conclusion that state ownership would  result in a                                                              
substantial  return  to  the  state, the  magnitude  of  which  is                                                              
indeterminate.  He also concluded  that an 8  to 18%  reduction in                                                              
tariff is  possible, if  not probable,  given state ownership  and                                                              
its  ability  to provide  for  financing  as  well as  tax  relief                                                              
relative to the determination of the tariff.                                                                                    
SENATOR TAYLOR asked when the bill was filed.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER said it was  filed at the beginning of the                                                              
first  session  of  this legislature.  He  extrapolated  that  the                                                              
reason  it is moving  now is  because  it is being  viewed as  the                                                              
lesser of two evils, meaning it and the initiative.                                                                             
SENATOR TAYLOR asked how it differs from SB 221.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER replied that he hadn't read that bill.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  if the  bill still  called for  design,                                                              
construction, operating  and maintenance  to be vested  within the                                                              
powers of the corporation.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE WHITAKER replied that is correct.                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  asked  Commissioner   Condon,  Department  of                                                              
Revenue, if he had any comments.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  CONDON indicated  that  he would  answer  questions.                                                              
[There were none.]                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  thanked Representative Whitaker  and held CSHB
302(FIN) in committee.                                                                                                          
           CSHB 382(FIN)-CLEANUP OF ILLEGAL DRUG SITES                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON   announced  CSHB   382(FIN)  to  be   up  for                                                              
SENATOR  TAYLOR  moved  to  adopt  Amendment  1,  which  reads  as                                                              
                      A M E N D M E N T  1                                                                                  
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                                                                                                           
     TO:  SCS CSHB 382(   ), Draft Version "S"                                                                                  
Page 2, line 4, following "made.":                                                                                              
     Insert "The owner of the property may appeal the                                                                           
determination  to the  superior court  for review  of whether  the                                                              
determination  was made in  compliance with  this subsection.   In                                                              
the  appeal, the  burden  of proving  by  a preponderance  of  the                                                              
evidence that the  determination was made in compliance  with this                                                              
subsection  is on  the law  enforcement agency  that employed  the                                                              
officer who made the determination."                                                                                            
Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "by certified mail, return receipt requested,"                                                                      
     Insert "given in a manner that is consistent with the rules                                                                
of civil  procedure for the service  of process in a  civil action                                                              
in this state"                                                                                                                  
Page 5, line 29:                                                                                                                
     Delete "or"                                                                                                                
Page 6, line 2, following "met":                                                                                                
     Insert "; or                                                                                                               
               (3)  a court has held that the determination that                                                                
     the property was an illegal drug manufacturing site was not                                                                
     made in compliance with AS 46.03.500(a)"                                                                                   
Page 6, line 30:                                                                                                                
     Delete "a reasonably clear possibility"                                                                                    
     Insert "reasonable cause to suspect the existence"                                                                         
Page 7, line 3:                                                                                                                 
     Delete "occurs"                                                                                                            
     Insert "has occurred"                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON objected  to  the motion  for  the purpose  of                                                              
hearing an explanation.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GUESS,  sponsor of HB  382, said Amendment  1 makes                                                              
her bill a much  better one. The first part of  the amendment sets                                                              
up an appeal process available to  the residential owner if a drug                                                              
lab is  determined to be  an illegal lab  site. It also  makes the                                                              
notification  process  consistent  with the  civil  procedure  for                                                              
service  so that  a  person can  also  be physically  served  with                                                              
certified  mail. Language  on  page  6, line  2,  states that  the                                                              
property can  be fit for use if  the court determines that  it was                                                              
not  an illegal  lab  site. Finally,  it  changes  the phrase,  "a                                                              
reasonably clear  possibility," which is language  used in another                                                              
state, to  "reasonable cause  to suspect," a  phrase used  in this                                                              
SENATOR  TAYLOR called  for the  question. There  were no  further                                                              
objections and Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  referred to language  on page 3, lines  16 and                                                              
17,  "occupy  the  property  at any  time  after  the  fourth  day                                                              
following  the day  that the  property  was posted"  and asked  if                                                              
committee members were comfortable with the four day provision.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GUESS indicated that was okay.                                                                                   
SENATOR TAYLOR explained  that the time frame was  shorter in some                                                              
states and longer in others.                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILKEN  moved to report  SCS CSHB 382(RES)  from committee                                                              
with individual  recommendations and attached fiscal  notes. There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
        CSHB 474(CRA)am-ANCHORAGE COASTAL WILDLIFE REFUGE                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced CSHB 474(CRA)am to be up for                                                                       
MS. LAURA ACHEE,  staff to Representative Joe Green,  said in 1971                                                              
the Alaska State  Legislature created the Potter  Point State Game                                                              
Refuge  in   an  area  along   the  southwest  coastline   of  the                                                              
Municipality of Anchorage. She offered:                                                                                         
     In  1988  the  legislature   expanded  it  to  form  the                                                                   
     Anchorage  Coastal  Wildlife   Refuge.  This  particular                                                                   
     piece  of land is  important because  in Cook Inlet,  as                                                                   
     the ice pack  moves in and out, it scours  the shoreline                                                                   
     and  roughs up  the  habitat or  the  areas where  there                                                                   
     would  be habitat in  the wintertime  as it moves.  Fire                                                                   
     Island creates a natural break  that keeps that ice from                                                                   
     scouring this  section of shoreline  so it is  unique in                                                                   
     the section  of Cook  Inlet. It  provides habitat  for a                                                                   
     lot of shorebirds  that otherwise wouldn't  have a place                                                                   
     to build  nests in the area.  A lot of these  birds move                                                                   
     on to other  parts of the state. Also, there's  a lot of                                                                   
     moose, lynx,  coyotes and other  wildlife that  use this                                                                   
     section of land.                                                                                                           
     The reason that  this has all come about  is because the                                                                   
     Anchorage  Coastal  Trail,  which  is  very  popular  in                                                                   
     Anchorage,  is in  the process  of  being extended  and,                                                                   
     during the extension process,  a lot of the constituents                                                                   
     in South Anchorage felt very  disenfranchised. They felt                                                                   
     like their voice  wasn't heard; they felt like  a lot of                                                                   
     the reasons  they had  for the  trail not going  through                                                                   
     the  Refuge were  ignored.  Every time  proposed  routes                                                                   
     would come out, the routes that  they suggested wouldn't                                                                   
     be  on the  maps,  only the  routes  that  go along  the                                                                   
     coastline.  To exacerbate the  problem, the Governor  of                                                                   
     our state,  for whom the first  section of the  trail is                                                                   
     named,  has stated  a preference that  he really  wanted                                                                   
     the trail to  go along the coastline. The  Department of                                                                   
     Transportation was following  along with that. ADF&G was                                                                   
     objecting   and  after  a  while   the  fish   and  game                                                                   
     biologists  who  were  doing   the  objections  suddenly                                                                   
     weren't heard  from any more.  They weren't  coming back                                                                   
     and  saying they  approved  of the  trail,  but we  just                                                                   
     weren't  hearing  anything from  them  anymore and  they                                                                   
     weren't willing to speak to us anymore.                                                                                    
MS. ACHEE said that  a lot of folks have suggested  that this is a                                                              
local issue that  should be solved at the Anchorage  level and the                                                              
state  shouldn't be  involved.  But  she thinks  there  are a  few                                                              
reasons the  state should be involved.  One is that  the oversight                                                              
of  this  project  has  been  removed  from  the  Municipality  of                                                              
Anchorage (MOA)  and is strictly  at the state level  and, because                                                              
the legislature created  this Refuge, it seems  that ultimately it                                                              
should be allowed  to have the final  say in how it's  managed. It                                                              
also seems  like the  public process  has broken  down. This  bill                                                              
simply says that  if there are any new rights-of-way  or easements                                                              
through the  refuge, the Department  of Transportation  and Public                                                              
Facilities (DOTPF) must notify the  legislature by February 1. The                                                              
legislature would then have 45 days  to respond before DOTPF would                                                              
take the  next step to create  or acquire that easement  or right-                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he found some of the  language confusing,                                                              
especially the language on the 45-day  notice. He asked if it says                                                              
the  railroad right-of-way,  realignment and  utility corridor  is                                                              
okay, but everything else has to come back [to the legislature].                                                                
MS.  ACHEE replied  that those  rights-of-way  existed before  the                                                              
refuge was created.                                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked  if DOTPF must wait to  take action until                                                              
45 days have passed beyond February 1.                                                                                          
MS. ACHEE said that is correct.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  asked what  will  happen if  the  Legislature                                                              
responds in opposition.                                                                                                         
MS.  ACHEE  said  she imagines  the  Legislature  would  have  the                                                              
opportunity to provide direction to DOTPF.                                                                                      
MR. DICK BISHOP, Alaska Outdoor Council  (AOC), stated support for                                                              
CSHB  474(CRA)am because  it will  provide some  oversight in  the                                                              
development of the Anchorage Coastal  Wildlife Refuge. The trail's                                                              
integrity  is important  from  the  standpoint of  its  biological                                                              
systems and the existing uses of the trail. He added:                                                                           
     It's kind of unique in that  it provides for hunting and                                                                   
     viewing  and shooting  through  the Rabbit  Creek  Rifle                                                                   
     Range.  That   mutually  satisfactory  arrangement   has                                                                   
     coexisted for going on almost  30 years now. The various                                                                   
     alternatives   that   have   been   proposed   for   the                                                                   
     development of the trail access  in that area has raised                                                                   
     serious questions about whether  that would persist if a                                                                   
     new cohort  of recreationists on a developed  path would                                                                   
     be  in conflict  with  those uses  and  also raise  some                                                                   
     potential  questions about the  integrity of the  swamp,                                                                   
     itself. And  I have to admit  I have a personal  bias in                                                                   
     favor of swamps.  You can take that into  account there.                                                                   
     They're great places.                                                                                                      
     I think  it's really  appropriate because state  refuges                                                                   
     in general are a creature of  the legislative expression                                                                   
     of its oversight on the management  of natural resources                                                                   
     in the  state for the  public's interest, the  so-called                                                                   
     public trust  issue. I think  it's very appropriate  for                                                                   
     the legislature  to have  the opportunity for  oversight                                                                   
     on situations  like this where there may  be significant                                                                   
     changes  proposed in  a refuge  that  could impact  very                                                                   
     satisfactory, very popular existing uses…                                                                                  
MR. DENNIS POSHARD, legislative liaison, DOTPF, gave the                                                                        
committee a map of the proposed routes and said:                                                                                
     The Department opposes this  legislation for a couple of                                                                   
     reasons. First, we don't believe  it's necessary. We are                                                                   
     actively  following a  federally mandated  environmental                                                                   
     process  that is  quite time  consuming  and requires  a                                                                   
     substantial  amount  of  public  involvement.  In  fact,                                                                   
     tonight we're  unable to have  the two leaders  from the                                                                   
     Department   of  Fish   and  Game   and  Department   of                                                                   
     Transportation  here because there  is a public  meeting                                                                   
     going on in  Anchorage as we speak but we  don't believe                                                                   
     that this is necessary. We think  that there's an active                                                                   
     process  in place  on this particular  project, and  the                                                                   
     process is working.                                                                                                        
     Secondly,  we  believe  that the  establishment  of  the                                                                   
     refuge, giving  the authority  to manage the  refuge and                                                                   
     access  into the refuge  to Fish  and Game was  adequate                                                                   
     and  we  think  they're  doing  a  good  job  with  that                                                                   
     mandate. I think  that much of testimony  that you heard                                                                   
     is regarding  specific trail routes. You'll  notice that                                                                   
     there's  no orange route  on the map.  That was  the one                                                                   
     that  was  most contentious.  It  was the  most  coastal                                                                   
     route and  it was one that  Fish and Game just  flat out                                                                   
     said they would not permit.  So, we have removed it from                                                                   
     the list of alternatives that  are going to be forwarded                                                                   
     in  a  draft environmental  impact  statement.  We  have                                                                   
     added a  future route at  the request of the  Department                                                                   
     of  Fish  and   Game  and  that  will  be   one  of  the                                                                   
     alternatives  that  will  be   forwarded  in  the  draft                                                                   
     environmental  impact  statement.   And  that's  out  of                                                                   
     direct response  to the agency responsible  for managing                                                                   
     the refuge.  It's also out  of response to  listening to                                                                   
     the public and their concerns also.                                                                                        
     Finally, I would  say again, we don't believe  that this                                                                   
     is a necessary  step. I think our biggest  concern is if                                                                   
     we do choose a route that requires  us to go through the                                                                   
     refuge and we  have to come back to the  legislature for                                                                   
     your approval  and the legislature should choose  to not                                                                   
     approve that particular route,  that's going to be quite                                                                   
     a difficult challenge,  because we would come  to you at                                                                   
     the  end  of  the  federal  environmental  process  when                                                                   
     there's been  a preferred alternative selected  that the                                                                   
     feds have bought  off on and to go back  then and change                                                                   
     the  route is  one that  I don't  know  that they  would                                                                   
     participate in  in funding an alternative route  at that                                                                   
     point. And  that's something that  is of concern  to the                                                                   
     department  also.  But  we   certainly  have  heard  the                                                                   
     concerns of the sponsor and  of folks who have testified                                                                   
     in the  past, and we're trying  very hard to  take those                                                                   
     into account  in the process.  With that, Mr.  Chairman,                                                                   
     I'd be happy to answer any questions.                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON said  DOTPF's solution  is to  do nothing  and                                                              
leave the  law as  it stands.  However, the  sponsor's staff  said                                                              
there appears  to be a problem with  how this has been  handled in                                                              
the  past.  Apparently,   DOTPF  is  not  doing  a   good  job  of                                                              
responding. He asked, "So, what are  we supposed to do with this?"                                                              
MR. POSHARD responded that this has  been a very difficult project                                                              
in  that it's  very contentious.  A  lot of  vocal people  support                                                              
various  routes  of the  trail.  Some  are  upset with  DOTPF  for                                                              
removing the  orange route (the  most coastal) as  an alternative.                                                              
He said:                                                                                                                        
     I  believe that  the  process is  working  and that  the                                                                   
     outcome of  the process  is going to  be a route  that a                                                                   
     majority of the  people can support and a  route that is                                                                   
     ultimately the best solution for that trail segment.                                                                       
SENATOR  TAYLOR  asked, "Why  in  the  world  are we  wasting  the                                                              
legislature's time on what I think  should be an Anchorage problem                                                              
conducted by  their planning  and zoning?"  He said the  Anchorage                                                              
Metropolitan Area Transportation  Study (AMATS) spends $40 million                                                              
of federal road  money in Anchorage every year  yet legislation is                                                              
required to build a bike path.                                                                                                  
MR.  POSHARD said  this is  an AMATS  project  funded through  the                                                              
Trails  and Recreation  Access  for  Alaska (TRAAK)  program.  The                                                              
state  has expertise  in dealing  with  the federal  environmental                                                              
process  that the  City of  Anchorage doesn't  have,   "especially                                                              
when it became part of the merge  process and requires concurrence                                                              
from  all of  the  various  resource  agencies, both  federal  and                                                              
state. That's why we agreed to take the lead on the project."                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN,  sponsor of HB  474, said the  coastal trail                                                              
has been  an on-going project for  over two years. When  it began,                                                              
the Governor  said it should  be a city  project but  the response                                                              
from Anchorage was less than desirable.  The Governor then decided                                                              
it  should  be a  state  project.  Representative Green  said  his                                                              
concern  is that  he's hearing  that  the orange  trail that  runs                                                              
through the middle of the habitat  area has been withdrawn because                                                              
ever since  Chip Dennerlein  has been  involved, he realized  they                                                              
would not have been able to permit that trail anyway. He added:                                                                 
     But it took them two years and  another threat to decide                                                                   
     that. My  concern is that unless  we keep their  feet to                                                                   
     the  fire,   it  could  revert   back.  Right   now  the                                                                   
     alternative route,  the fuscia route, looks  good. There                                                                   
     are three points of concern,  but the fuscia route looks                                                                   
     good. The  fuscia route could  have been done  two years                                                                   
     ago. And  no way  no how would  they consider that.  So,                                                                   
     I'm concerned  that unless we keep this pressure  on, it                                                                   
     could drop back.                                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked if they  could insert a reference to some                                                              
sort of interaction with the MOA instead of the state.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN  replied  it   is  the  refuge  that  he  is                                                              
concerned about  because that  is where the  habitat is.  It's not                                                              
the city part.                                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said they have  coastal zone management powers.                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  pointed out they don't have it  in the state                                                              
area and that's the area of the biggest concern.                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said  he believes it is up to the  state to manage the                                                              
state   wildlife  refuge.   State  law   specifically  tasks   the                                                              
Department of Fish and Game to manage this particular refuge.                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he sort  of agrees with  Senator Taylor's                                                              
concern about the legislature being  involved in a local issue. He                                                              
asked if  there is a way  to make it  a local issue  and suggested                                                              
language that would prevent DOTPF  from going forward with a route                                                              
without approval by the MOA.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN said he  wasn't sure if  that would  even be                                                              
necessary  because if  they  stay  with the  fuscia  route, it  is                                                              
outside of the refuge and the habitat area.                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  Mr. Poshard  why DOTPF  objects to  the                                                              
bill if the route is outside of the refuge now.                                                                                 
MR.  POSHARD replied  that  there  are a  few  sections where  the                                                              
fuscia route  juts into  the coast. In  those sections,  the route                                                              
could go around the wildlife refuge  or cut across it. Experts say                                                              
those particular  sections are not  critical habitat  areas. Being                                                              
able to cross a couple of those segments  would be very helpful in                                                              
terms of  bridge approaches  that are going  to have to  go across                                                              
Campbell Creek  and a couple of  other areas. ADF&G  has indicated                                                              
that  it would  be  able  to cross  the  refuge in  "small,  small                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  said the legislature would  probably have no                                                              
problem with that.                                                                                                              
6:00 p.m.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON  told members that a  process is in place  to manage                                                              
the Mendenhall Wetlands wildlife  refuge in Juneau.  A local board                                                              
manages for  competing uses among  duck hunters,  hikers, wildlife                                                              
viewers, and others. The management  of those uses would have been                                                              
complicated if,  in fact, there was  a trigger mechanism  by which                                                              
any aggrieved party could have come  to the legislature and say it                                                              
didn't like a  decision. He stated, "That's what  worries me about                                                              
this bill. We could have people who  liked the orange route coming                                                              
back in and asking the legislature to review."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN  said the legislature would  be involved only                                                              
in the  route selection, not the  management. If the  fuscia route                                                              
is selected, there  will be no problem but if it  goes back to the                                                              
orange route, there will be a major  problem because it goes right                                                              
through the critical habitat area. That is the major issue.                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  said this bill provides  an avenue for  an advocate                                                              
of the  orange route to make  the selection process  a legislative                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON suggested that  they "bless the fuscia route in                                                              
this  bill and  [have] any  deviations from  it come  back to  the                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he has  two concerns: one is the outfall                                                              
of Campbell  Creek, and  the route  that comes  back to  the trail                                                              
from inland.  Users will  be a prohibited  from being able  to get                                                              
off the route  at the dam. The  concern is that dogs  will run off                                                              
of the  trail and  into the private  lake area  or be able  to get                                                              
into the  critical habitat  area.  He said, "If  the fuscia  route                                                              
stays where it is and there is this  protection at the dam, then I                                                              
don't think it is a problem."                                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said that could be put in there, too.                                                                        
MR. POSHARD responded that would  pose a problem for DOTPF because                                                              
according  to the federal  environmental  process, NEPA,  DOTPF is                                                              
supposed to be weighing the alternatives  with equal merit. If the                                                              
legislature blesses  a particular route,  that could be  viewed as                                                              
biasing the study.                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-27, SIDE B                                                                                                            
SENATOR TAYLOR said  he agrees with Mr. Poshard  that this process                                                              
should be continued into the future and added:                                                                                  
     I really  believe that  many of us  in the state  should                                                                   
     have direct input on the Anchorage  AMATS process and we                                                                   
     should assist those people in  figuring out how to spend                                                                   
     that  $40  million and,  if  we  can, continue  to  keep                                                                   
     needless studies  and plans  rolling. I can't  imagine a                                                                   
     single new road  or trail ever being built  in Anchorage                                                                   
     as long as  we do this. That would probably  be fine and                                                                   
     leave  more  money  in  the  DOT  budget  and  we  might                                                                   
     actually  get a road  paved in  my district. This  seems                                                                   
     like  an excellent  process  and  I didn't  realize  how                                                                   
     enthused I  was about it until  you explained it  all to                                                                   
SENATOR STEVENS asked  what the subject of tonight's  hearing will                                                              
MR.  POSHARD  replied  that  it   will  be  an  unveiling  of  the                                                              
alternatives  that  are  going  to   be  forwarded  in  the  draft                                                              
environmental impact statement and public comment will be taken.                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked how long the  fuscia plan has been available                                                              
for public inspection.                                                                                                          
MR. POSHARD replied  that he thought the fuscia plan  had been out                                                              
in written form for a couple of months;  in map form - about three                                                              
or four weeks.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  how  long   the  other  routes  had  been                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GREEN replied the  orange and  the red  routes had                                                              
been considered for 2 to 3 years.                                                                                               
MR. POSHARD  said there is still quite  a bit of time  left in the                                                              
process. They are  at the point of releasing the  alternatives for                                                              
the draft environmental impact statement,  which will be published                                                              
and then public  comment will be taken. It should  be completed by                                                              
late summer.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked when the actual site will be selected.                                                                    
MR. POSHARD answered some time next fall or winter.                                                                             
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  suggested letting  DOTPF  go  ahead with  its                                                              
planning process  and then  bring the site  selection back  to the                                                              
legislature for approval before money is expended.                                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS asked Representative  Green, "What's your pulse on                                                              
this fuscia route?"                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied that  he likes it but he is concerned                                                              
about the  Campbell Creek  dam and  the ability  to come  from the                                                              
interior back to the coast without  going through private property                                                              
and the  danger of putting  a trail next  to the railroad  tracks.                                                              
The embankment is  very steep and it would be hard  to put a trail                                                              
in there. DOTPF  suggested using retaining walls and  putting in a                                                              
chain link fence to keep users off of the tracks.                                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS  asked for a  description of the  approval process                                                              
on the first portion of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.                                                                         
MR.  POSHARD  replied  that  he wasn't  here  when  that  occurred                                                              
approximately 15 years ago.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that it  makes sense that it was done by                                                              
the  MOA  since  the  trail  was   within  the  city  limits.  The                                                              
difference is it didn't include the habitat area.                                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS asked if Earthquake Park is a city park.                                                                        
MR. POSHARD replied it is.                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked what DOTPF is spending on this.                                                                        
MR. POSHARD  replied that  DOTPF has spent  $2 to $2.5  million on                                                              
the environmental  document. Completion of the trail  is estimated                                                              
to cost $16 million to $50 million, depending on the route.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  asked if they  could put the money  into roads                                                              
instead and not build the trail.                                                                                                
MR. POSHARD said it is up to the  AMATS policy committee to decide                                                              
whether to do it or not.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  HALFORD moved  to delete,  on page  2, line  1, "45  days                                                              
after the  agency has submitted notice  of the proposed  action to                                                              
the legislature;  the notice must  be submitted to" and  to delete                                                              
on line 3 "before February 1". [Amendment 1] It would then read:                                                                
     ...a state agency  may not take final action  to acquire                                                                   
     or create  a right-of-way or other easement  for surface                                                                   
     transportation within  the refuge until approved  by the                                                                   
     legislature during the regular legislative session.                                                                        
MR.  POSHARD said  DOTPF would  still object,  because it  doesn't                                                              
think  it's necessary  to  bring  the trail  routing  back to  the                                                              
legislature  for  approval.  DOTPF  doesn't  do  that  with  other                                                              
projects and  other wildlife refuges  in the state don't  have the                                                              
same standard.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON  said he reads Amendment  1 to mean that  instead of                                                              
leaving it  to the legislature's  discretion about whether  or not                                                              
to take it up, legislative approval  would be required on an AMATS                                                              
project. He  thought that is a  significant breach in  the concept                                                              
of AMATS  and said  he would  be interested  in knowing  the MOA's                                                              
reaction to this kind of legislative oversight on its project.                                                                  
SENATOR STEVENS asked if the Municipality  has taken a position on                                                              
this legislation.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said it has not.                                                                                           
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON   asked  if  there  were  any   objections  to                                                              
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON objected.                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  asked for a  roll call vote.  SENATORS TAYLOR,                                                              
STEVENS, HALFORD,  WILKEN and TORGERSON  voted yes;  SENATOR ELTON                                                              
voted no.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR TAYLOR  moved to pass SCS  CSHB 474(RES) out  of committee                                                              
with individual recommendations.                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON objected.                                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  asked for a  roll call vote.  SENATORS TAYLOR,                                                              
STEVENS, HALFORD,  WILKEN and TORGERSON  voted yes:  SENATOR ELTON                                                              
voted no, therefore SCS CSHB 474(RES) moved from committee.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON adjourned the meeting at 6:16 p.m.                                                                           

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