Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/03/2017 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 3, 2017                                                                                          
                           3:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Cathy Giessel, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 88                                                                                                              
"An Act authorizing  a land exchange with  the federal government                                                               
in which  certain Alaska  mental health  trust land  is exchanged                                                               
for certain  national forest  land and relating  to the  costs of                                                               
the exchange; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 65                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing the Jonesville Public Use Area."                                                                           
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB  88                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AK MENTAL HEALTH TRUST LAND EXCHANGE                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEDMAN                                                                                                  
03/10/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/10/17       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/22/17       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/22/17       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/22/17       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/03/17       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB  65                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: JONESVILLE PUBLIC USE AREA                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DUNLEAVY                                                                                                 
02/22/17       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/17       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
04/03/17       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REBECCA KNIGHT, representing herself                                                                                            
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 88.                                                                                            
CHARLES WOOD                                                                                                                    
Mitkof Highway Homeowners Association (MHHA)                                                                                    
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
DAVID LANDIS, Mayor                                                                                                             
Ketchikan Gateway Borough                                                                                                       
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
LARRY EDWARDS, representing himself                                                                                             
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 88.                                                                                            
DENNIS WATSON, Mayor                                                                                                            
City of Craig                                                                                                                   
Craig, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
OWEN GRAHAM, lobbyist                                                                                                           
Alaska Forest Association                                                                                                       
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
BRYCE DAHLSTROM, Vice President                                                                                                 
Transportation and Raw Materials                                                                                                
Viking Lumber                                                                                                                   
Klawock, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
WYN MENEFEE, Deputy Director                                                                                                    
Land Office                                                                                                                     
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority                                                                                            
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 88.                                                                                          
GINA RITACCO, staff for Senator Dunleavy                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 65 for the sponsor.                                                                          
LYNNE WOODS, representing herself                                                                                               
Sutton, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
PATTI BARBER, representing herself                                                                                              
Butte, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
KENNY BARBER, representing himself                                                                                              
Butte, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
JIM SYKES, Member                                                                                                               
Matsu Borough Assembly                                                                                                          
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
CLARK COX, Natural Resources Manager                                                                                            
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Available to answer questions on SB 65.                                                                   
HEATHER FAIR, Statewide Right-of-Way Chief                                                                                      
Division of Statewide Design & Engineering Services                                                                             
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported clarifying language in SB 65.                                                                   
MARK BERTELS, President                                                                                                         
Sutton Community Council (SCC)                                                                                                  
Sutton, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
SCOTT LAPIENE, representing himself                                                                                             
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
BETH FREAD, representing herself                                                                                                
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65.                                                                                          
AL BARRETTE, representing himself                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 65  with an amendment to protect                                                             
existing trap  lines and make  the area pet-free  during trapping                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:30:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CATHY   GIESSEL  called  the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:30  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Stedman,  Coghill, Wielechowski,  Meyer, and                                                               
Chair Giessel.                                                                                                                  
          SB  88-AK MENTAL HEALTH TRUST LAND EXCHANGE                                                                       
3:31:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL announced  consideration of SB 88,  which was first                                                               
heard on March  22. The bill is a proposed  land exchange for the                                                               
Mental  Health Trust  Land Authority  (AMHTA). She  opened public                                                               
REBECCA   KNIGHT,  representing   herself,  Petersburg,   Alaska,                                                               
opposed  SB 88  on  a  variety of  grounds  and  believed that  a                                                               
federal  buyout  of AMHTA's  proposed  land  exchange was  a  far                                                               
better alternative.                                                                                                             
SENATOR HUGHES joined the committee.                                                                                            
MS. KNIGHT asked the committee to  change the action to a federal                                                               
buyout with the lands to be  added to the Tongass National Forest                                                               
and  the proceeds  going  into the  trust.  While the  Petersburg                                                               
Borough  Assembly formerly  supported  the buyout  option if  the                                                               
federal legislation failed to pass  Congress by January 15, 2017,                                                               
Ms. Knight said this option  would satisfy the trust's mission to                                                               
improve the  lives of beneficiaries  as well as  mitigate impacts                                                               
to Petersburg and Ketchikan area  land owners while also avoiding                                                               
long-term  and  massive   landscape-level  impacts  elsewhere  if                                                               
exchange legislation is enacted.                                                                                                
As  presently  conceived,  the   bills  in  the  legislature  and                                                               
Congress would  allow continuous  clear cuts on  several thousand                                                               
acres  on  already heavily-logged  Rosella  and  Prince of  Wales                                                               
(POW) Islands.  For instance,  a total  19 square-mile  clear cut                                                               
will  result on  Rosella Island  when combined  with the  trust's                                                               
nearly  4,000-acre  existing  clear  cut  and  the  proposed  and                                                               
directly adjacent  8,000-acre exchange parcel. This  existing and                                                               
proposed  scale  of logging  is  in  the  direct flight  path  of                                                               
thousands of Ketchikan flight-seeing visitors each summer.                                                                      
A  federal buy-out  is a  reasonable  solution, because  Congress                                                               
created the  AMHTA and  endowed it with  land to  support itself,                                                               
and this would result in no  environmental harm. If SB 88 passes,                                                               
AMHTA could  finalize the action  much sooner and cost  the trust                                                               
only  about half  the  $6-million exchange  cost  for survey  and                                                               
appraisals since only about half the lands would be involved.                                                                   
Finally,  AMTHA's land  could  be  purchased for  a  few tens  of                                                               
millions of  dollars at fair market  value, which is a  sliver of                                                               
the  amount  saved  from  the  public  purse  for  mental  health                                                               
services since its inception 61 years ago.                                                                                      
3:34:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  WOOD,  Mitkof  Highway  Homeowners  Association  (MHHA),                                                               
Petersburg, Alaska, supported SB 88. He  said the MHHA is a group                                                               
of  95 Petersburg  homeowners living  below  and commuting  along                                                               
State Highway  7, the Mitkof Highway,  which lies at the  foot of                                                               
the trust's  demonstrably steep,  unstable hillside  parcels. The                                                               
U.S. Forest  Service (USFS)  using orthophotographic  mapping has                                                               
designated  the  soils  across  most  of  the  trust  parcels  as                                                               
landslide  hazard soils  and  a majority  of  the parcels  exceed                                                               
Forest  Service  standards  pertaining  to  logging.  The  Mitkof                                                               
Highway corridor below  the trust parcels have  been analyzed and                                                               
mapped by the Division of  Forestry and the Landslide Science and                                                               
Technical Committee as a landslide hazard zone.                                                                                 
MR. WOOD said  the State Division of Forestry has  no criteria in                                                               
its  best   management  practices  specific  to   logging  steep,                                                               
unstable slopes within inhabited  landslide hazard areas. Yet, if                                                               
the trust  were to ever  log these slopes,  it would do  so under                                                               
the guidance of Alaska's Forest Resources and Practices Act.                                                                    
He said  the focus of  the MHHA over the  past 11 years  has been                                                               
entirely on public  safety; never once has  viewshed or community                                                               
backdrop, local  recreational opportunities,  wildlife corridors,                                                               
or tourism  been considered, though  each of the  issues presents                                                               
reasonable  arguments in  favor  of the  land  exchange. Nor  has                                                               
commentary  been  offered  on  the  trust  lands  next  to  other                                                               
communities  or  the  Forest  Service  lands  involved  with  the                                                               
Logging  the   slopes  above  their   homes  runs  the   risk  of                                                               
accelerated  landslide   activity,  Mr.  Wood  said.   His  group                                                               
believes  that   the  Division  of  Forestry's   best  management                                                               
practices guidelines  provide insufficient safeguards  to protect                                                               
their homes and property from  unwise timber harvest. Conversely,                                                               
he  expects that  management of  the  hillside by  the USFS  will                                                               
entail other criteria, which will  ensure that public safety will                                                               
not be impacted by logging.                                                                                                     
DAVID  LANDIS,  Mayor,   Ketchikan  Gateway  Borough,  Ketchikan,                                                               
Alaska, supported SB  88. He said the borough  has repeatedly and                                                               
consistently supported the land exchange  referenced in SB 88. It                                                               
is  a win/win/win  proposition for  Ketchikan.  It is  a win  for                                                               
their timber  industry, because it  is economically  important to                                                               
provide a  consistent supply  of timber for  those jobs  that are                                                               
directly  involved in  the  industry in  Southeast  and the  many                                                               
private businesses who are vendors to it.                                                                                       
This is  also a win  for the citizens  of Ketchikan and  the over                                                               
one-million tourists who will visit  Ketchikan this year, because                                                               
the trust lands to be  exchanged are directly behind Ketchikan on                                                               
Deer Mountain and on Gravina  Island above the airport. These are                                                               
major view  sheds and the  Deer Mountain  parcel also has  a very                                                               
popular trail used by locals  and visitors. There is virtually no                                                               
support in Ketchikan  to log these areas; the  swap would protect                                                               
these lands  and provide  other lands  more practical  for timber                                                               
In  addition,  this  is  a   win  for  the  Mental  Health  Trust                                                               
Authority, because like all communities  in Alaska, Ketchikan has                                                               
citizens  who suffer  from mental  illness, substance  abuse, and                                                               
other  disorders,  and the  AMHTA  needs  revenue to  fund  their                                                               
efforts; this land exchange will provide that revenue.                                                                          
In closing,  Mr. Landis said,  this exchange  is as close  as you                                                               
can get to a "win" for everyone involved.                                                                                       
3:38:50 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY EDWARDS,  representing himself,  Sitka, Alaska,  opposed SB
88 and  wanted it  amended to  a federal  buy-out of  the trust's                                                               
problematic  parcels. This  would  result in  a  "triple win"  of                                                               
needed funds  for the trust, the  end of logging threats  in five                                                               
communities and  No Name  Bay, and avoidance  of high  impacts on                                                               
new  trust  lands.  Amending  the  bill  would  also  direct  the                                                               
delegation to  amend its bills  in Congress. The  committee lacks                                                               
information to  get a  hard look at  impacts in  vicinities where                                                               
the  trust would  get new  land. Trust  and Division  of Forestry                                                               
testimony looked only at supposed  benefits during these impacts.                                                               
ADF&G's  Wildlife  and  Habitat  Divisions were  not  invited  to                                                               
testify  even though  the  trust  would get  33  square miles  of                                                               
forest  for logging  in large  blocks on  two islands  that would                                                               
have high landscape-scale cumulative  impacts. Their testimony is                                                               
MR.  EDWARDS  asked them  to  review  comments from  the  Greater                                                               
Southeast  Alaska   Conservation  Community  on   why  cumulative                                                               
impacts of the  land exchange are a very  significant issue. They                                                               
underscore why  a hard look by  the state is imperative.  He said                                                               
the  Alaska Constitution  obligates  state  government to  ensure                                                               
that  resource  development  is sustainable  and  in  the  public                                                               
interest. The  Alaska Supreme Court  said this means a  hard look                                                               
at salient  problems, genuinely engaging in  reasonable decision-                                                               
making,   and   considering   all  relevant   factors   including                                                               
cumulative impacts. But, under the  Forest Practices Act there is                                                               
no   state  hard-look   at  landscape-scale   impacts.  So,   the                                                               
constitutional  hard  look  obligation   for  the  proposed  land                                                               
exchange   falls  squarely   upon  the   legislature,  and   this                                                               
committee.  A  buyout  option, besides  being  the  best  option,                                                               
avoids the constitutional  problem. The state can't  afford to do                                                               
a buy-out, but the federal government can.                                                                                      
3:41:22 PM                                                                                                                    
DENNIS WATSON, Mayor, City of  Craig, Alaska, supported SB 88. He                                                               
said he  is also  the general manager  of the  Inter-Island Ferry                                                               
Authority.  He said  what usually  gets lost  in the  rhetoric is                                                               
that  this bill  will help  pave the  way to  a more  sustainable                                                               
revenue stream  for the  AMHTA that funds  programs for  the most                                                               
vulnerable  Alaskans. This  bill and  the timber  supply it  will                                                               
facilitate for the  Prince of Wales (POW) Island and  the City of                                                               
Craig  will keep  the island's  timber industry  and its  economy                                                               
going while efforts  to lift restrictions on  federal timber sale                                                               
areas are  allowed to  bear fruit. This  timber supply  will also                                                               
keep their largest  sawmill, the Viking Lumber,  in operation. It                                                               
provides a year-round  payroll and many direct  and indirect jobs                                                               
to Prince of Wales residents.                                                                                                   
He said the  wood wanes from the mill provide  energy in the form                                                               
of  heat for  the Craig  elementary  and middle  schools and  the                                                               
municipal swimming pool.  The wood waste is  also compressed into                                                               
bio-bricks,   further   increasing   the  percentage   of   total                                                               
utilization  of each  tree  processed. In  the  end, the  logging                                                               
roads built by  the mill will allow "Mom and  Pop" mill operators                                                               
to  access smaller  timber  sales and  salvage  timber for  their                                                               
lumber  cutting operations  and to  provide high  quality product                                                               
for the music  wood industry. These roads will  also allow island                                                               
residents access  to firewood, hunting, berry  picking, and other                                                               
subsistence and recreational activities.                                                                                        
MR. WATSON said the Viking  Mill is the island's largest consumer                                                               
on  the  Prince of  Wales  Island  electrical grid.  Ceasing  its                                                               
operation  would translate  into much  larger electric  bills for                                                               
island ratepayers.                                                                                                              
OWEN  GRAHAM,  lobbyist,  Alaska Forest  Association,  Ketchikan,                                                               
Alaska, supported  SB 88. The  lands that AMHTA would  receive in                                                               
this exchange are  areas that have had some logging  in the past;                                                               
the road systems are already in  and they are not adjacent to any                                                               
big communities.  These are areas  that were planned  for logging                                                               
by the  Forest Service in the  long term without any  harm to any                                                               
fish and wildlife. It is a win for everybody.                                                                                   
MR. GRAHAM said the last  federal administration couldn't provide                                                               
enough timber  for the last  surviving mill  that will be  out of                                                               
wood in less  than one year, and the Forest  Service says it will                                                               
be at  least three before  they can provide additional  timber to                                                               
it. So, the exchange really needs to go forward.                                                                                
He said several people testified that  they would like to see the                                                               
federal government  purchase the AMHTA  land and he  opposes that                                                               
idea,  because the  federal government  already owns  and manages                                                               
close to 95 percent  of the land in the region,  most of which is                                                               
kept idle.  If they purchase  the land it won't  benefit anybody,                                                               
and the community will lose 100 jobs.                                                                                           
3:46:10 PM                                                                                                                    
BRYCE   DAHLSTROM,  Vice   President,   Transportation  and   Raw                                                               
Materials, Viking  Lumber, Klawock,  Alaska, supported SB  88. He                                                               
said lack  of federal timber  has caused  many saw mills  to shut                                                               
down and  the loss  of thousands of  full-time skilled  jobs over                                                               
the last 30  years. SB 88 will provide the  much-needed timber to                                                               
keep the existing industry alive in  the short term. It will also                                                               
provide a stable  supply into the future. Exchange  of lands held                                                               
by the trust now will  protect the backdrops of several Southeast                                                               
cities and  give the trust the  ability to manage the  lands they                                                               
MR. DAHLSTROM  said Viking Lumber  directly employs 40  people on                                                               
POW Island  where they are 60  percent of the revenue  for Alaska                                                               
Power and  Telephone. Up to  250 jobs could  be lost if  they run                                                               
out of  timber. SB 88 will  allow Viking to keep  all these hard-                                                               
working  Alaskans  with  full-time employment.  The  unemployment                                                               
rate on  POW is  13.8 percent, almost  double that  of Southeast.                                                               
The island cannot stand to  have any existing business disappear.                                                               
He  said they  need to  be looking  at ways  to grow  sustainable                                                               
economies in Southeast, which is what SB 88 will do.                                                                            
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no   further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony, and announced that Andrew  Naylor Department of Law on                                                               
was line for questions. She  also remarked that the bill requires                                                               
some  technical changes  that would  put them  in alignment  with                                                               
Congressional legislation  and invited  Mr. Menefee to  tell them                                                               
about the changes.                                                                                                              
3:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
WYN MENEFEE,  Deputy Director, Land Office,  Alaska Mental Health                                                               
Trust Authority  (AMHTA), Department of Natural  Resources (DNR),                                                               
supported SB  88. He  explained that the  U.S. Senate  Energy and                                                               
Natural  Resources Committee  removed  a 54-acre  island from  No                                                               
Name Bay  in the exchange.  In the revision  the No Name  Bay map                                                               
got a different  date. So that there is no  confusion and to stay                                                               
in sync with  the federal bill, the map in  the state legislature                                                               
would also have to be revised with a new date.                                                                                  
CHAIR GIESSEL, finding no questions,  said they were working on a                                                               
committee (CS) that would be available by tomorrow.                                                                             
SENATOR MEYER  said language on page  2, line 14, said  the AMHTA                                                               
shall pay  all costs of the  exchange and asked Mr.  Menefee what                                                               
that would be.                                                                                                                  
3:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON IMHOF joined the meeting.                                                                                           
MR.  MENEFEE replied  that  the  biggest cost  will  be from  the                                                               
survey  and appraisal  and from  reimbursing  the Forest  Service                                                               
employees who  are doing  the follow up  title work.  He expected                                                               
the survey and appraisals would  cost about $3 million instead of                                                               
initially  anticipated   $6  million,  because   the  legislation                                                               
doesn't  require  a  NEPA  analysis.  The  bill  takes  away  the                                                               
discretion  of   the  Forest  Service   by  saying   "they  shall                                                               
exchange," leaving no alternatives to consider.                                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER asked what was meant by "karst" on page 3, line 7.                                                                
MR.  MENEFEE  answered  that  "karst"  is  a  form  of  limestone                                                               
formation. The  concern was specifically  in the Phase 1  area of                                                               
Nakabi  that  has  underground anadromous  fish  streams  through                                                               
which fish  migrate to get to  the next water body.  This area is                                                               
called out specifically, because  the Alaska Forest Practices Act                                                               
typically deals with surface water  and requires a buffer next to                                                               
anadromous fish streams to protect them from logging.                                                                           
SENATOR  MEYER  said  language  on  page  3,  line  8,  says  the                                                               
Department  of  Natural Resources  may  enter  into a  cost-share                                                               
agreement to cover  the cost of road maintenance  with respect to                                                               
any reciprocal road easements in  the exchange, and asked if that                                                               
is something DNR typically does.                                                                                                
MR. MENEFEE said  this is something that is normally  done by the                                                               
department.  The  issue is  if  the  state  is  going to  use  an                                                               
easement that  is owned by  somebody else  and make money  off it                                                               
by, for  instance, having a  timber operation and  logging trucks                                                               
running down  the road, it's hard  to expect that owner  to carry                                                               
the  increased   maintenance  of  that  road.   So,  cost-sharing                                                               
agreements are common for substantial impacts an easement.                                                                      
CHAIR  GIESSEL found  no  further  questions and  held  SB 88  in                                                               
               SB  65-JONESVILLE PUBLIC USE AREA                                                                            
3:54:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL announced  consideration of SB 65.  She stated that                                                               
Alaska's public lands were meant  for all Alaskans, ensuring that                                                               
multiple types  of uses occur, but  not at the expense  of public                                                               
safety or harm to the environment.                                                                                              
In 2006,  the legislature passed  HB 307,  which set up  the Knik                                                               
Public Use  Area. That was in  response to the need  to establish                                                               
some  order to  the problems  of vandalism,  shooting, and  trail                                                               
degradation that had arisen in  that area. While this example has                                                               
shown to  be a success,  some of the very  troublesome activities                                                               
that the  public use area  curbed have  found their way  into the                                                               
Jonesville area near  the community of Sutton.  So, the Community                                                               
Council  of Sutton  and residents  in and  around the  Jonesville                                                               
area would like  to replicate the Knik River  Public Area success                                                               
with the legislation before them.                                                                                               
3:55:51 PM                                                                                                                    
GINA  RITACCO,  staff  for   Senator  Dunleavy,  Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
presented SB 65  for the sponsor. She said  the Jonesville Public                                                               
Use Area is  approximately 11,000 acres and is  surrounded by the                                                               
community  of  Sutton, which  was  originally  formed as  a  coal                                                               
mining  community. Mining  took  place from  1920s-70s under  the                                                               
1977  Mining  Reclamation  Act,  which was  a  federal  act.  The                                                               
federal government  paid for the  area to  be restored to  a more                                                               
natural use.  In 2006 and  2009, additional restoration  work was                                                               
done.  At that  point, the  land became  general state  use land,                                                               
which  can't restrict  any legal  activity,  such as  all-terrain                                                               
vehicles   (ATV),  hiking,   swimming,  camping,   and  shooting.                                                               
However,  illegal behavior,  like lighting  cars on  fire, remain                                                               
She said  the increased  popularity of  the area  is due  to many                                                               
options for recreation that include  swimming and camping, hiking                                                               
trails, and  former mining areas  for motorcycle and  ATV riding.                                                               
Motorhome  and  camping are  used  year-round.  One of  the  main                                                               
problems is that random makeshift  shooting ranges have occurred.                                                               
So, gunfire is  crossing hiking paths and camping  areas, as well                                                               
as local  homes. The Sutton  Community Council calls it  the "Mad                                                               
Max  Theatre." In  fact,  last  year a  stray  bullet caused  one                                                               
fatality. The  neighborhood complains of constant  loud explosive                                                               
sounds and abandoned vehicles.                                                                                                  
MS.  RITACCO explained  that to  restrict  any legal  activities,                                                               
such  as the  stray bullets,  the area  must be  designated as  a                                                               
public  use area,  which then  triggers a  management plan.  This                                                               
bill does not  actually require DNR to create  a management plan,                                                               
but  it  allows for  the  possibility  of  one going  through.  A                                                               
management plan cannot be set up under general state use land.                                                                  
She added  that a  management plan would  allow DNR  to designate                                                               
areas for specific use and  this would protect homes and property                                                               
of local citizens, reduce the  ATV accidents, increase safety for                                                               
recreational shooting,  mitigate illegal  dumping, and  provide a                                                               
healthy and safer  environment for the public to  use in general.                                                               
This bill was modeled after the  2006 Knik River Public Use Area,                                                               
the main  difference being  that this comes  with no  funding for                                                               
enforcement or creation of the management area.                                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER  asked what will  be done  since there is  no money                                                               
for developing the plan or enforcement.                                                                                         
MS. RITACCO  replied that  it would  go into  the DNR  job queue.                                                               
However, other programs that have  money attached are a priority,                                                               
and  it is  possible that  DNR never  gets around  to creating  a                                                               
management plan.                                                                                                                
3:59:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  remarked that if this  needs to be done  it should                                                               
have adequate  funding. This area  has had problems and  he asked                                                               
if the Knik River Public Use plan is done.                                                                                      
MS. RITACCO answered yes, and it  had funding attached to it. She                                                               
added that  the Sutton Community  Council and the  local interest                                                               
groups  aren't concerned  about  not having  money attached.  The                                                               
first step is  to allow the designation of  the Jonesville Public                                                               
Use Area. She said the Sutton  Community Council has been able to                                                               
raise  $150,000 for  a playground  in the  past and  feels rather                                                               
confident that they can find some money.                                                                                        
SENATOR MEYER  responded that  that is very  noble of  the Sutton                                                               
Community Council,  but he thought  that enforcement  was needed,                                                               
or the problems will continue to exist.                                                                                         
SENATOR HUGHES asked if the  community could develop a management                                                               
plan and present it to DNR.                                                                                                     
MS.  RITACCO  replied that  the  community  has already  been  in                                                               
contact  with DNR  and is  working with  all the  stakeholders to                                                               
develop a plan. DNR has said they  would be willing to go out for                                                               
public  comment   on  it.  The   next  step  would  be   for  the                                                               
commissioner to sign off on it.                                                                                                 
4:02:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  asked if that  were to happen, would  troopers be                                                               
able to enforce it.                                                                                                             
MS. RITACCO answered  yes. They would then have  the authority to                                                               
write  citations  for whatever  was  not  being followed  in  the                                                               
management plan.  As it stands  right now, troopers can  still go                                                               
and arrest people  for arson and other illegal  activity, but the                                                               
management plan would  allow them to write tickets  to people who                                                               
are hiking through  the shooting range or shooting  in the hiking                                                               
area  and things  like that.  The bill  also allows  for the  DNR                                                               
commissioner  to authorize  volunteers for  enforcement, and  the                                                               
community of  Sutton has volunteers  that would be willing  to do                                                               
4:03:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked if the  community's plan has a timeframe for                                                               
presentation to the commissioner.                                                                                               
MS. RITACCO answered that she didn't know of one.                                                                               
4:04:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RITACCO provided a sectional analysis of SB 65.                                                                             
Section   1   has   multiple   subsections.   Section   41.23.280                                                               
establishes  the purpose  of the  public use  area. AS  41.23.282                                                               
provides for management  of the surface and  subsurface estate to                                                               
be managed  by DNR  and the  fish and wildlife  to be  managed by                                                               
ADF&G. It clarifies  that the public use area is  not part of the                                                               
state  park  system.  It  directs DNR  to  identify  and  protect                                                               
wetlands within the boundaries.                                                                                                 
Section 41.23.284 provides for the type  of uses that may and may                                                               
not be  prohibited. AS  41.23.286 defines  the boundaries  of the                                                               
public  use  area. AS  41.23.288  describes  who has  enforcement                                                               
authority for violations committed.  AS 41.23.289 states that the                                                               
penalty is  a violation as  defined in AS 11.81.900  and requires                                                               
the  Supreme   Court  to  create   a  bail  schedule   for  these                                                               
Section  2 is  uncodified law  and directs  the Supreme  Court to                                                               
create a bail  schedule within 90 days after  the management plan                                                               
is adopted. That concluded the analysis.                                                                                        
CHAIR GIESSEL opened invited testimony.                                                                                         
4:05:39 PM                                                                                                                    
LYNNE WOODS,  representing herself, Sutton, Alaska,  supported SB
65. She  said she lives on  the Jonesville Access Road  and was a                                                               
Mat-Su Borough  Assembly person  when the  Knik River  Public Use                                                               
Area  was  created.  They  always   wondered  where  the  "rabble                                                               
rousers" were  going to  go next. They  chose Sutton  where their                                                               
activities have been tolerated for too many years.                                                                              
MS. WOODS  said planning started  in this  area in 1986  when the                                                               
Moose Range was created. Good  plans are already done. Chickaloon                                                               
Village is very  active and has done stream  restoration at Moose                                                               
Creek and initiated a planning  process with the Mat-Su Borough a                                                               
few years ago identifying lands  to keep for recreation, hunting,                                                               
and fishing, and  those things that are being lost  now. She said                                                               
with  this  tool they  can  establish  goals and  find  potential                                                               
funders. They are very motivated.                                                                                               
4:09:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  asked if there  is a timeframe for  the community                                                               
to present its work to the DNR commissioner.                                                                                    
MS. WOODS answered that 12 months is a realistic timeframe.                                                                     
4:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTI BARBER,  representing herself, Butte, Alaska,  supported SB
65. It  was modeled after the  Knik River Public Use  area, which                                                               
has  been a  success  in  addressing the  junk  cars, trash,  and                                                               
unsafe target  practice issues. This  popular recreation  area in                                                               
Sutton needs the  same support to address the  same problems that                                                               
happened in Butte.                                                                                                              
KENNY BARBER,  representing himself, Butte, Alaska,  supported SB
65  for the  same reasons  Ms. Barber  did, but  he didn't  think                                                               
private individuals  would foot  the whole bill.  Some government                                                               
entity would  have to contribute. He  knows that DNR has  its own                                                               
enforcement rights  on the  Knik River Public  Use Area,  and the                                                               
same thing could happen in Sutton.                                                                                              
4:12:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  asked if he  would be  willing to support  a motor                                                               
fuel tax to pay for something like this.                                                                                        
MR. BARBER  said yes, but  the only "heart  burn" he has  is that                                                               
tax money can't be earmarked for that type of use.                                                                              
JIM  SYKES,  Member,  Matsu  Borough  Assembly,  Palmer,  Alaska,                                                               
supported  SB 65.  He observed  the very  strong community  input                                                               
that  went into  the plan.  There is  usually some  opposition to                                                               
issues like  this, but he  hadn't heard  of any on  this specific                                                               
one,  so far.  He  said  the borough  could  supply planners  and                                                               
connect people who  can answer questions. Part of  what they look                                                               
forward  to  in  developing  a  plan is  that  the  Borough  Land                                                               
Management  Department  has  committed to  helping  develop  that                                                               
management plan with DNR.                                                                                                       
4:15:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CLARK COX,  Natural Resources Manager,  Division of  Mining, Land                                                               
and  Water, Department  of  Natural  Resources (DNR),  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, said he was available to answer questions on SB 65.                                                                     
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said this proposal will  require creating a                                                               
plan and asked how that might be financed.                                                                                      
MR.  COX  replied  that  the   DNR  commissioner  would  have  to                                                               
prioritize it.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how the department's job queue works.                                                                
MR. COX  explained that parts  of the state  have no plan,  so he                                                               
wouldn't try  to determine how the  commissioner would prioritize                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL  said language  on page  2, line  26-29, requires                                                               
eminent domain  of private  property, and he  wants to  make sure                                                               
they aren't  taking lands out  of private  hands inappropriately,                                                               
and that could have a fiscal impact.                                                                                            
CHAIR  GIESSEL  said  she  thought   that  was  a  Department  of                                                               
Transportation   and  Public   Facilities  (DOTPF)   right-of-way                                                               
4:18:10 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER   FAIR,  Statewide   Right-of-Way   Chief,  Division   of                                                               
Statewide   Design   &   Engineering  Services,   Department   of                                                               
Transportation  and Public  Facilities  (DOTPF), Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
supported a changed to clarify that language.                                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that he  was working on language  with the                                                               
4:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RITACCO added that the  current wording is confusing, because                                                               
there  is  no private  land  within  Jonesville Public  Use  Area                                                               
boundaries.  The intent  of  this section  was  to eliminate  the                                                               
state's authority  to eminent domain  of private property  to add                                                               
additional land  to the  11,000 of public  use area.  They didn't                                                               
intend to remove the department's  authority to take private land                                                               
entirely,  especially  because the  highway  close  to Sutton  is                                                               
already being eroded by the  Matanuska River and DOTPF might have                                                               
to move the highway and use eminent domain in the process.                                                                      
SENATOR COGHILL said  the bill has several mandates  and asked if                                                               
legal language  was needed  to put  it in  the job  queue without                                                               
funding. If  the state isn't going  to pay for it,  he thought it                                                               
was wrong to demand that it be done.                                                                                            
MR. COX  answered that he  is not  a lawyer, but  thought Senator                                                               
Coghill was right.  In general, the "shalls"  and "musts" mandate                                                               
the public to think that things  will get done quickly, and maybe                                                               
the department needs some cover language.                                                                                       
CHAIR GIESSEL noted that Senator  Coghill would work with Senator                                                               
Dunleavy on that language. She then opened public testimony.                                                                    
MARK BERTELS, President, Sutton  Community Council (SCC), Sutton,                                                               
Alaska,  supported SB  65. He  worked  on the  Jonesville/Slipper                                                               
Lake Committee for  the past year and has a  lot of background on                                                               
this issue. The community almost  unanimously supports this bill.                                                               
This has  been an evolving problem  since the area was  opened to                                                               
more public use and because  of displacement of the problems from                                                               
the  Knik River  area. He  agreed  with the  introduction by  Ms.                                                               
Ritacco  and comments  by  Mr.  Sykes and  Ms.  Woods.  A lot  of                                                               
groundwork  has  been  done,  and  a  management  plan  would  be                                                               
advantageous to adjacent land owners.                                                                                           
4:25:17 PM                                                                                                                    
Troopers have  responded to that  area, he said, but  the problem                                                               
is that all the activities  overlap. The troopers have no mandate                                                               
to act  or write citations,  because there is no  management plan                                                               
or designated  areas. With a  management plan they would  be able                                                               
to act.                                                                                                                         
MR. BERTELS  explained that each  year private contractors  and a                                                               
lot of volunteers do spring  cleanup on the trails that sometimes                                                               
look "like a  bomb went off." He couldn't give  them an answer on                                                               
the  scheduled  development of  the  plan  other than  the  MatSu                                                               
Borough planning team would help to develop milestones.                                                                         
SCOTT LAPIENE,  representing himself, Wasilla,  Alaska, supported                                                               
SB 65. Mr.  Lapiene said he was a member  of the Citizens' Action                                                               
Committee  for   development  of  this  legislation.   He  listed                                                               
numerous positions  he held  in the  MatSu Borough  that involved                                                               
raising money and clearing about  30 miles of multi-use trails in                                                               
the Sutton community.  He participated in the  development of the                                                               
Knik  River  Public Use  Area  and  noted that  that  legislation                                                               
included specific  powers for  DNR within  the boundaries  of the                                                               
public use area.                                                                                                                
4:30:22 PM                                                                                                                    
There  are   several  options  for  funding   once  something  is                                                               
established, he  said, but it would  be nice for the  Division of                                                               
Mining, Land,  and Water to  have some  dollars to assist  in the                                                               
development   of   the   management  plan.   Implementation   and                                                               
enforcement of a plan could be  done in a few ways: for instance,                                                               
a motor  fuels tax, user  fees, or the  use of a  purchased trail                                                               
pass where  it wouldn't  matter if  you are on  a bicycle,  a dog                                                               
team, or a snow machine.                                                                                                        
4:31:59 PM                                                                                                                    
BETH FREAD,  representing herself  and the Jonesville  Public Use                                                               
Area,  Palmer,  Alaska,  supported  SB 65.  Ms.  Fread  said  she                                                               
participated   in   the   large  Slipper   Lake/Jonesville   Area                                                               
Committee. She  explained that several  communities in  the MatSu                                                               
Borough do make efforts of this  nature and work with the borough                                                               
to establish funding  mechanisms. "No one should be put  off by a                                                               
zero-fiscal  note,"  she said,  especially  since  it is  happily                                                               
endorsed  by  the  Sutton and  Chickaloon  communities  who  have                                                               
promised  to  help  with  funds  if  necessary.  People  are  not                                                               
comfortable living  alongside this  area. It  is also  costly for                                                               
the volunteers and  the companies that participate  in the yearly                                                               
AL BARRETTE,  representing himself, Fairbanks,  Alaska, supported                                                               
SB 65 with  an amendment to protect existing trap  lines and make                                                               
the  area  pet-free during  trapping  season.  He said  the  Knik                                                               
Special  Use Area  has  the  same issues  with  trappers and  pet                                                               
owners. The  troopers don't  have anything  to stand  on, because                                                               
the trappers are  legally allowed to trap, and it's  time for the                                                               
legislature to be  preemptive in urban areas like  this where the                                                               
problem exists and there are user group conflicts.                                                                              
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no   further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony.  She set  SB  65 aside  saying that  for  more than  a                                                               
decade she had been aware that this is "a wild west area."                                                                      
4:38:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  adjourned the  Senate Resources  Committee meeting                                                               
at 4:38 p.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Agenda - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65 - Version A.PDF SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Sectional Analysis.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Supporting Document-General Land Use 11 AAC 96.016.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Supporting Document-KRPUA Statute.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporing Document MSB Support Resolution.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-ADN Article.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-DNR Petition.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-Frontiersman Editorial.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-Jonesville Action Plan.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-KRPUA Bail Schedule.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-KTUU Article.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-Map of Area.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-MSB Letter.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB65 Supporting Document-Sutton Resolution.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 88 - Support - DNR Division of Forestry.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 65 Fiscal Note - DFG - SSS - 3 - 30 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Fiscal Note - DNR - MLW - 3 - 30 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Fiscal Note - DPS - AST - 3 - 31 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 Fiscal Note - DPS - AWT - 3 - 31 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 - Comments - Al Barrette.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 65 - Support - Dylan Buzby - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 65
SB 88 - Support - Suzanne Wood - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 88 - Support - Revised Maps - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 88 - Comments - Mike Sallee - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 88 - Support - Charles Wood - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 88 - Comment - Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community - 3 - 31 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88
SB 88 - Comments - Larry Edwards - 4 - 3 - 17.pdf SRES 4/3/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 88