HJR 56: Relating to an exemption for federal lands in Alaska from the federal PACFISH management strategy.

00HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 56 01 Relating to an exemption for federal lands in Alaska from the federal PACFISH 02 management strategy. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS Tongass National Forest timber resources accounted for about 2,500 of 05 the annual average 3,600 private sector jobs directly generated by the forest products industry 06 in Southeast Alaska in 1992, the last year for which accurate figures are available; and 07 WHEREAS the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska accounted for 24 percent 08 of basic industry employment (including government), and 34 percent of all private basic 09 industry employment, in 1992; and 10 WHEREAS workers in the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska, including 11 loggers, road builders, stevedores, sawmill workers and pulp mill workers earned 12 approximately $146,000,000 in wages and salaries during 1992; and 13 WHEREAS forest products industry employment in Southeast Alaska has declined 14 sharply since 1990, marked by the loss of $18,000,000 in payroll and more than 600 jobs, due

01 to reduced timber harvests on the Tongass National Forest and the near-completion of the first 02 harvest on private land; and 03 WHEREAS a decline in the availability of timber to harvest in the Tongass National 04 Forest will continue to cause the loss of jobs in the timber industry in Southeast Alaska and 05 will significantly impair the economic well-being of the area as many communities are totally 06 or otherwise very dependent on the timber industry as the sole or one of the largest employers 07 in the community; and 08 WHEREAS the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the 09 United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have cooperatively 10 developed a comprehensive strategy referred to as PACFISH for managing Pacific anadromous 11 fish watersheds and habitats on land administered by the United States Forest Service or the 12 BLM in several western states that limits the development, including timber harvesting, of 13 those lands so as to preserve, replenish, or restore pacific anadromous fish stocks; and 14 WHEREAS the United States Congress has effectively exempted the Tongass National 15 Forest from the PACFISH strategy by prohibiting the United States Department of Agriculture, 16 Forest Service, from expending funds to implement the strategy in Alaska until October 1994; 17 and 18 WHEREAS implementation of PACFISH requirements in the Tongass National Forest 19 would effectively cripple the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska, causing large-scale 20 unemployment and severe economic distress, in direct conflict with the federal government's 21 policy for the past four decades of preserving jobs and maintaining community stability in the 22 region; and 23 WHEREAS anadromous fish habitat in the Tongass National Forest is already 24 effectively protected by a network of overlapping federal and state laws and regulations, 25 including the Tongass Land Management Plan, the Tongass Timber Reform Act adopted by 26 the United States Congress in 1990 (with provisions mandating minimum 100-foot buffers on 27 all anadromous streams in the Tongass), the Alaska State Coastal Zone Management Program, 28 and the Alaska State Forest Practices Act; and 29 WHEREAS Southeast Alaska benefits from healthy anadromous fish stocks, 30 historically high commercial salmon catches, and anadromous fish habitat in excellent 31 condition at most streamsides; and

01 WHEREAS the State of Alaska maintains that the environmental goals of PACFISH, 02 are already being achieved in Alaska by existing state and federal laws and regulations, 03 including specific provisions for effective management of riparian areas and establishment of 04 minimum and appropriate stream buffers on all lands; 05 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the United 06 States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the United States Department of the 07 Interior, Bureau of Land Management to recognize the inappropriateness of applying the 08 PACFISH strategy to Alaska, and permanently exclude lands in Alaska managed by the Forest 09 Service or the Bureau of Land Management from the PACFISH requirements. 10 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Michael Espy, Secretary of 11 Agriculture; the Honorable Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior; to the Honorable Ted 12 Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, 13 U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; Mr. Jack Ward Thomas, 14 Chief of the U.S. Forest Service; and to Mr. James Baca, National Director of the Bureau of 15 Land Management.