SCS CSHJR 56(RES): Relating to an exemption for federal land in Alaska from the federal PACFISH management strategy.
00SENATE CS FOR CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 56(RES) 01 Relating to an exemption for federal land in Alaska from the federal PACFISH 02 management strategy. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS the protection of anadromous fish habitat is a national goal shared by the 05 people of Alaska; and 06 WHEREAS the protection of anadromous fish habitat has been part of the forest plan 07 on the Tongass National Forest since the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands 08 Conservation Act (ANILCA); and 09 WHEREAS the State of Alaska led the nation in 1990 with the passage of the State 10 Forest Practices Act which designates stream buffers for the protection of anadromous fish 11 habitat; and 12 WHEREAS, in the years since the passage of both ANILCA and the Alaska State 13 Forest Practices Act, ample data has been collected to show that the present stream buffer 14 programs are working; and
01 WHEREAS the braided stream channels in Alaska are unique in the nation and result 02 in a very high ratio of stream bank to upland areas; and 03 WHEREAS the 300-foot buffers proposed by PACFISH would affect a very 04 significant percentage of available harvest area because of these channeled streams; and 05 WHEREAS Tongass National Forest timber resources accounted for about 2,500 of 06 the annual average 3,600 private sector jobs directly generated by the forest products industry 07 in Southeast Alaska in 1992, the last year for which accurate figures are available; and 08 WHEREAS the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska accounted for 24 percent 09 of basic industry employment (including government), and 34 percent of all private basic 10 industry employment, in 1992; and 11 WHEREAS workers in the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska, including 12 loggers, road builders, stevedores, sawmill workers and pulp mill workers earned 13 approximately $146,000,000 in wages and salaries during 1992; and 14 WHEREAS forest products industry employment in Southeast Alaska has declined 15 sharply since 1990, marked by the loss of $18,000,000 in payroll and more than 600 jobs, due 16 to reduced timber harvests on the Tongass National Forest and the near-completion of the first 17 harvest on private land; and 18 WHEREAS a decline in the availability of timber to harvest in the Tongass National 19 Forest will continue to cause the loss of jobs in the timber industry in Southeast Alaska and 20 will significantly impair the economic well-being of the area as many communities are totally 21 or otherwise very dependent on the timber industry as the sole or one of the largest employers 22 in the community; and 23 WHEREAS the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the 24 United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have cooperatively 25 developed a comprehensive strategy referred to as PACFISH for managing Pacific anadromous 26 fish watersheds and habitats on land administered by the United States Forest Service or the 27 BLM in several western states that limits the development, including timber harvesting and 28 mining, of that land so as to preserve, replenish, or restore pacific anadromous fish stocks; and 29 WHEREAS the United States Congress has effectively exempted the Tongass National 30 Forest from the PACFISH strategy by prohibiting the United States Department of Agriculture, 31 Forest Service, from expending funds to implement the strategy in Alaska until October 1994;
01 and 02 WHEREAS implementation of PACFISH requirements in the Tongass National Forest 03 would effectively cripple the forest products industry in Southeast Alaska, causing large-scale 04 unemployment and severe economic distress, in direct conflict with the federal government's 05 policy for the past four decades of preserving jobs and maintaining community stability in the 06 region; and 07 WHEREAS the forest land on the Chugach National Forest and Bureau of Land 08 Management land in Alaska are experiencing growing forest health problems that could be 09 remedied through forest management activities, including timber harvest, but these activities 10 cannot go forward with the implementation of PACFISH on this land; and 11 WHEREAS anadromous fish habitat in the Tongass National Forest, Chugach National 12 Forest, and on Bureau of Land Management land is already effectively protected by a network 13 of overlapping federal and state laws and regulations, including the Tongass Land 14 Management Plan, the Tongass Timber Reform Act adopted by the United States Congress 15 in 1990 (with provisions mandating minimum 100-foot buffers on all anadromous streams in 16 the Tongass), the Alaska State Coastal Zone Management Program, and the Alaska State 17 Forest Practices Act; and 18 WHEREAS Southeast Alaska benefits from healthy anadromous fish stocks, 19 historically high commercial salmon catches, and anadromous fish habitat in excellent 20 condition at most streamsides; and 21 WHEREAS the State of Alaska maintains that the environmental goals of PACFISH, 22 are already being achieved in Alaska by existing state and federal laws and regulations, 23 including specific provisions for effective management of riparian areas and establishment of 24 minimum and appropriate stream buffers on all land; 25 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the United 26 States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the United States Department of the 27 Interior, Bureau of Land Management to recognize the inappropriateness of applying the 28 PACFISH strategy to Alaska, unless these agencies are able to demonstrate that current 29 standards are inadequate and the provisions of PACFISH are amended to reflect conditions 30 in Alaska. 31 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Michael Espy, Secretary of
01 Agriculture; the Honorable Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior; to the Honorable Ted 02 Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, 03 U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; Mr. Jack Ward Thomas, 04 Chief of the U.S. Forest Service; and to Mr. James Baca, National Director of the Bureau of 05 Land Management.