Legislature(1993 - 1994)

05/03/1994 09:00 AM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  TAPE 94-39, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 041                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON convened the meeting at 9:10 a.m..  He                       
  brought up HB 548 and invited Mr. Kubley to present the                      
  Number 048                                                                   
  DON KUBLEY, Lobbyist for the Kodiak Island Borough, the City                 
  of Kodiak and Alaska International Marketing, presented HB
  548 and stated that there is a need to diversify the Alaskan                 
  economy and encourage new investments and industry to do                     
  business in our state.  He said there has also been a long                   
  standing desire to encourage high tech nonresource based                     
  business to compliment the natural resource industries that                  
  have done so much to build this state.                                       
  MR. KUBLEY told the committee that there is currently a                      
  window of opportunity to do just that.  The Aerospace                        
  Development Corporation, led by Mr. Pat Ladner, is moving                    
  quickly and aggressively to establish the first private and                  
  commercial rocket launching and tracking facility in the                     
  United States.  It appears that Near Cape on Kodiak Island                   
  has the perfect conditions and geographic location to                        
  accommodate a first class rocket launch facility.                            
  MR. KUBLEY said that three of the largest corporations in                    
  the U.S. rocket industry, Martin Marietta, Lockheed and                      
  Gruman are all interested in this project and have expressed                 
  strong support for the need for such a facility.  He added                   
  that a delegation from Lockheed will arrive in late May to                   
  open up communications and establish a dialogue.                             
  MR. KUBLEY stated that this project was great for the people                 
  of Kodiak, but the new industry has a positive impact on the                 
  Interior as well.  The vast majority of the new jobs created                 
  by this project will be based in the Interior near the                       
  existing experimental facilities.  There is also great                       
  potential for the Anchorage area to be the supply and                        
  transportation hub for materials going to the launch site                    
  during construction and future launches.                                     
  MR. KUBLEY told the committee that the Aerospace Development                 
  Corporation has made a strong commitment to the state that                   
  the leaders of the science and technology community will be                  
  aggressively establishing educational programs for our                       
  Number 168                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked why the facilities at Vandenberg Air Force                  
  base are not being utilized as a polar orbit launching                       
  Number 180                                                                   
  MR. KUBLEY answered that because it is a military base there                 
  are disadvantages to the private sector for doing business                   
  there.  Furthermore, because of the START treaty there are                   
  currently 500-600 minute man missiles that are now                           
  deactivated, which are located in silos and available at a                   
  low price.  These missiles could launch satellites, but                      
  there are no launching facilities at Vandenberg.  The plan                   
  is to construct the facility at Kodiak specifically to be                    
  able to launch these rockets above ground.                                   
  Number 205                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked why this bill is necessary since the                   
  legislature had already passed the resolution.                               
  Number 209                                                                   
  MR. KUBLEY replied that when the Alaska Aerospace                            
  Development Corporation was put into existence they were                     
  made a quasi state entity and accordingly they are required                  
  to get state approval for any project over $1 million                        
  dollars regardless of where the funds come from.                             
  Number 223                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON asked if the funds used for this project                     
  were expressly not from the state general fund or any other                  
  state source.                                                                
  Number 228                                                                   
  MR. KUBLEY replied that the funds were not coming from the                   
  general fund, but the corporation has received some                          
  administrative funding from the Alaska Science and                           
  Technology foundation.  He added that they have strong                       
  support from the Alaska Industrial Development Authority and                 
  may well receive a loan from them when and if a revenue                      
  stream can be shown to be viable.                                            
  MR. KUBLEY stated that both Lockheed and Martin Marietta                     
  have both indicated interest in becoming financially                         
  involved in the project.                                                     
  Number 237                                                                   
  BILL PAULICK, Director, Alaska Aerospace Development                         
  Corporation, Department of Commerce and Economic                             
  Development, testified in support of HB 548.  He stated that                 
  Kodiak is basically a perfect site as it compares to                         
  Vandenberg, it is cheaper, more efficient, faster, and the                   
  weather is just as good.  He pointed out that this is a                      
  commercial venture with funding and the potential revenue                    
  stream coming from the private sector and therefore it would                 
  not be conducive to try and utilize a military base with all                 
  of its complexities.                                                         
  MR. PAULICK asserted that the Kodiak location is safer than                  
  any other spot in the world as it has the widest launch                      
  azimuth with the exception of Hawaii.                                        
  Number 286                                                                   
  REP. MULDER asked Mr. Paulick how this project relates to                    
  Poker Flats.                                                                 
  Number 300                                                                   
  MR. PAULICK responded that Poker Flats has problems as a                     
  launch facility because the trajectory north is Prudhoe Bay                  
  and some of the drop zones further out are too heavily                       
  populated for multi-stage rockets to safely fly over.                        
  MR. PAULICK added that this project does not hurt Poker                      
  Flat, and it does not make economic sense to place this                      
  project there as the safety factor is too risky and                          
  insurance rates would be sky high.                                           
  REP. MULDER asked if they had already arranged with the                      
  private land owner for the utilization of the land.                          
  Number 308                                                                   
  MR. KUBLEY answered that they had arranged for the land.  He                 
  added that this project was one of the few that would have                   
  no impact on the fisheries in the area.  He also stated that                 
  the environmental community is supportive.                                   
  Number 317                                                                   
  REP. MULDER noted that at one point Kenai was a viable site                  
  and wondered why they were no longer.                                        
  MR. PAULICK replied that it was the safety factor that                       
  eliminated Kenai.  He said that Kenai was ruled out because                  
  of the location of the proposed facility in relation to the                  
  Number 333                                                                   
  MR. KUBLEY noted that this project has sparked a lot of                      
  interest globally.  Both the Japanese and the Taiwanese are                  
  interested in either using this facility or putting up their                 
  own near this one.                                                           
  REP. MULDER moved HB 548 with a zero fiscal note and                         
  individual recommendations.  No objections were heard; it                    
  was so ordered.                                                              
  CHAIRMAN HUDSON adjourned the meeting at 9:34 a.m.                           

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