Legislature(2019 - 2020)

2020-01-27 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2020-01-27                     House Journal                      Page 1473
HB 219                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 219 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to forest land use plans; relating to forest land                                                         
     use plan appeals; relating to negotiated timber sales; and providing                                                       
     for an effective date."                                                                                                    
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance                                                               
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Natural Resources                                                                                            
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 21 follows:                                                                     
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to timber sales and                                                             
Under current law, negotiated timber sales are authorized by three                                                              
different statutes. This bill creates one comprehensive negotiated                                                              
timber sale statute to provide the Commissioner of the Department of                                                            
Natural Resources with the flexibility to negotiate timber sales to                                                             
balance the evolving economics of the timber industry with the Alaska                                                           
Constitution's mandate for resource development in the public interest.                                                         
The bill also amends statutes on forest land use plans. Under current                                                           
law, such plans can be appealed or reconsidered under AS 44.37.011,                                                             
and a timber sale contract entered into based on the Commissioner's                                                             
best interest-finding may be appealed in the process outlined in AS                                                             
38.05.035. This leaves a timber sale subject to appeals at multiple                                                             
stages, creating the risk of delays in timber harvests, and raising                                                             
uncertainty among timber purchasers, processors, and investors.                                                                 
The bill addresses this situation by making forest land use plans non-                                                          
appealable or subject to reconsideration under AS 44.37.011, while                                                              

2020-01-27                     House Journal                      Page 1474
leaving intact other significant public process protections, including:                                                         
the right to appeal a commissioner's best interest finding concerning a                                                         
timber sale; the public notice and written best interest finding                                                                
requirements in AS 38.05.035; public notice requirements for                                                                    
negotiated sales of 500,000 board feet of timber or less in 38.05.945;                                                          
and the requirement for public notice of disposal of state interests in                                                         
Article VIII, Section 10, of the Alaska Constitution.                                                                           
The bill also leaves intact limiting a single purchaser to one negotiated                                                       
sale per year of more than 500,000 board feet of timber under AS                                                                
35.05.118, and exempting negotiated sales of more than 500,000 board                                                            
feet of timber from the written best interest-finding requirement.                                                              
This bill will result in more efficient land use planning and more                                                              
predictable timber harvests, while retaining robust public and agency                                                           
participation in the process.                                                                                                   
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Mike Dunleavy