Legislature(1993 - 1994)
05/03/1994 09:00 AM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 bill. 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 schools. Number 168 REP. GREEN asked why the facilities at Vandenberg Air Force base are not being utilized as a polar orbit launching facility. 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 population. 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.