Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/23/1994 08:15 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HJR 55 - Tongass National Forest Timber Harvests                             
  HJR 56 - Exempt Alaska From "PACFISH" Regulations                            
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee will hear both HJR
  55 and HJR 56 since the two resolutions relate to two very                   
  similar timber issues.  He noted that many who will be                       
  testifying will likely want to comment on both resolutions.                  
  He said both of the resolutions were introduced by the House                 
  Economic Task Force.  The resolutions were drafted and                       
  proposed to the task force by the Timber Issues Subcommittee                 
  which he chairs.                                                             
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS explained that HJR 55 urges Congress to                    
  increase the amount of timber available for harvest in the                   
  Tongass National Forest, and to provide sufficient funding                   
  to the Forest Service to facilitate offering the maximum                     
  amount of timber harvest in the Tongass, allowable under                     
  current law.  He stated that HJR 56 asks the federal                         
  government to permanently exclude lands managed by the                       
  Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in                    
  Alaska from the provisions of the so-called "PACFISH"                        
  (Pacific Anadromous Fish) strategy.  PACFISH is the plan the                 
  federal government has developed for managing Pacific                        
  anadromous fish watersheds and habitats in several western                   
  Number 225                                                                   
  (AFA), testified via teleconference, and stated that AFA is                  
  a coalition of over 300 companies who depend on and/or                       
  support the development and management of Alaska's forest                    
  resources.  AFA members believe the management of forests,                   
  through intensive silvicultural practices, will result in                    
  better jobs, communities and environment.  He stressed that                  
  AFA is in support of HJR 55 and HJR 56 and stated that while                 
  the two resolutions are interconnected, they have important                  
  MR. REINHART stated there is currently a timber supply                       
  crisis on the Tongass National Forest for those who depend                   
  upon it for its raw material source.  This timber supply                     
  shortage is not due to a biological shortage of trees, but                   
  rather a political shortage.  He stressed that only ten                      
  percent of the Tongass National Forest will ever be accessed                 
  for the management of timber.  The remaining 90 percent is                   
  protected in wilderness or other administrative set asides.                  
  MR. REINHART remarked it is believed that the Tongass                        
  National Forest is being managed beyond a sustainable level;                 
  that if harvesting is left to continue at present rates, it                  
  will run dry in the next decade.  He stressed nothing could                  
  be farther from the truth.  He said in the last decade,                      
  harvest levels from the Tongass National Forest have never                   
  been funded at a level over 450 million board feet per year.                 
  Since the passage of the Tongass Timber Reform Act (TTRA),                   
  funding has not exceeded 420 million board feet per year.                    
  He noted these levels are far below the over one billion                     
  board feet which could be biologically produced from these                   
  lands or the over 500 million board per feet called for in                   
  Governor Hickel's sustainable preferred alternative.                         
  Number 263                                                                   
  MR. REINHART said having only been in Alaska since August                    
  1993 and having been a professional forester for the last                    
  ten years, he has learned not to believe anything told to                    
  him by the professional preservation groups.  However, he                    
  had heard a lot about Prince of Wales Island and the Tongass                 
  National Forest from these groups.  He mentioned he did not                  
  know what to expect when he came to Alaska but added that                    
  what he saw were lots of trees.  He pointed out that the                     
  Tongass National Forest is nothing but trees.  Mr. Reinhart                  
  stated since the coming of settlers, only a small fraction                   
  of the Tongass has ever been harvested.                                      
  MR. REINHART explained the federal government made a                         
  commitment to the communities of Southeast Alaska that the                   
  Tongass National Forest would be managed to produce year                     
  round jobs in the region.  People brought their families and                 
  dreams to Alaska with this promise in mind and the promise                   
  was reaffirmed by Congress most recently in the TTRA of                      
  1990.  He pointed out that in that legislation, Congress                     
  created even more wilderness on the Tongass and in addition,                 
  directed the Forest Service to supply the existing industry                  
  through what is now known as the "seek to meet" language.                    
  Number 280                                                                   
  MR. REINHART advised that AFA recently filed suit against                    
  the Forest Service for failure to meet that requirement.                     
  The organization filed the lawsuit mainly because the Forest                 
  Service has failed to meet the independent sale program                      
  requirements given it by Congress.  Since the passage of                     
  TTRA, the lack of timber supply to this segment of the                       
  industry has resulted in the closure of several sawmills and                 
  logging companies in the Tongass region.                                     
  MR. REINHART said in each year since passage of TTRA,                        
  Congress has provided the Forest Service with funds to                       
  harvest 420 million board feet of timber.  In each of those                  
  years, the Forest Service has only made slightly over 300                    
  million board feet available.  This 120 million board feet                   
  shortfall has meant mills closing and being unable to                        
  reopen.  He stressed that AFA does not believe this is what                  
  Congress intended through its "seek to meet" language.                       
  Number 296                                                                   
  MR. REINHART stated the manner in which the forests are                      
  managed also has an impact on Alaska's other important                       
  renewable natural resource industry - fishing.  AFA believes                 
  and the science bares out that the state can manage for both                 
  a significant forest products industry and a large scale                     
  fishing industry.  He said to do so, there must be a                         
  realization that forest products and the fishing industry                    
  have more in common than they have differences.                              
  MR. REINHART mentioned he had a lot of science and research                  
  information which clearly shows that timber harvesting and                   
  fisheries are compatible.  Statistics from the Alaska                        
  Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) show that fisheries                      
  production has increased at the same time timber harvesting                  
  has increased.  He said while AFA does not pretend to claim                  
  there is a direct relationship between these two activities,                 
  the evidence does show that both are occurring and                           
  MR. REINHART stated last spring the federal government                       
  developed the PACFISH strategy to address the fisheries                      
  crisis in the Pacific Northwest.  With no research or                        
  evidence, the Forest Service and BLM made the decision that                  
  Alaska should be included in the strategy.  He said it has                   
  been well documented through the Forest Service and the                      
  media, that the PACFISH strategy would reduce timber                         
  harvesting on the Tongass National Forest by 50-85 percent.                  
  This would mean the loss of jobs, family incomes and damage                  
  to the social fabric of the region.  He noted all this would                 
  occur with no evidence to support the decision.                              
  MR. REINHART said not only should the proposal be of concern                 
  to the forest products industry, but it should also concern                  
  the fishing industry.  The PACFISH strategy deals with what                  
  are known as the four H's - harvesting, hatcheries,                          
  hydroelectric development, and habitat.  He stressed not                     
  only is the federal government attempting to reduce timber                   
  harvest through the PACFISH strategy, but also they are on                   
  the path to controlling offshore fish harvest and the                        
  state's successful fish hatchery programs.                                   
  Number 332                                                                   
  MR. REINHART told committee members that last year the                       
  Alaska Congressional delegation led by Senator Ted Stevens                   
  stopped implementation of the PACFISH proposal through the                   
  Interior Appropriation Bill.  He said this effort was                        
  successful for several reasons.  First, was the fact that                    
  the science was on the state's side.  There is no evidence                   
  that fish stocks in this region are at risk due to timber                    
  harvesting.  The state, through Dr. Rusanowski at DEC, made                  
  this point very effectively.  Second, was the passage of                     
  TTRA.  He stated the Tongass is the only national forest in                  
  the system which has legislatively mandated 100 foot, no                     
  harvest, stream buffers.  Alaska has already addressed the                   
  habitat issues on public lands and is doing so effectively.                  
  He pointed out that a recent Forest Service report on the                    
  southern Tongass shows that stream buffer implementation was                 
  meeting the letter of the law with few exceptions.  The                      
  report found the average buffer width is 169 feet.                           
  MR. REINHART stated the third factor was the progressive and                 
  state-of-the-art Alaska Forest Services Act (FSA).  Alaska                   
  is one of the leaders in implementing stream buffers on                      
  private and state lands.  The FPA has set the standard for                   
  protecting fisheries and allowing private landowners to                      
  maximize the return on their investment.                                     
  MR. REINHART noted that recently there were concerns raised                  
  over the implementation of the FPA stream buffer regulations                 
  on private lands, which allows for timber harvesting within                  
  the buffers as long as no significant harm will result to                    
  fisheries values.  Since these concerns were raised by the                   
  ADF&G, several important events have occurred which should                   
  lay any fears to rest.  These activities have included three                 
  separate biological reviews of stream buffer implementation,                 
  an on-site visitation by the commissioners of DNR and ADF&G                  
  to review stream buffer implementation and review of stream                  
  buffer implementation on the ownerships of major private                     
  Number 372                                                                   
  MR. REINHART remarked that each of these events produced the                 
  opinion and evidence that the FPA on private lands is                        
  working to protect fisheries values, which was good news to                  
  the forest products industry.  AFA is committed to a strong                  
  FPA which gives the public assurance that their resources                    
  are being protected.  He stressed that AFA and the forest                    
  products industry are currently in the process of designing                  
  and implementing the continuation of past fish/forest                        
  research efforts.  The AFA and the forest products industry                  
  are committed to finding answers and having the data to                      
  prove and insure that the state's forest practices protect                   
  fisheries values.                                                            
  MR. REINHART summarized that HJR 55 and HJR 56 are important                 
  statements of state policy in regard to the management of                    
  the state's natural resources.  AFA hopes that his testimony                 
  has summarized their commitment and belief that the state's                  
  forests, fish, wildlife, and communities can be managed for                  
  the benefit of all.  He said AFA strongly urges the                          
  committee to pass the two resolutions.                                       
  Number 397                                                                   
  JOEL KAWAHARA, SITKA, testified via teleconference, and                      
  advised committee members that he is a commercial fisherman.                 
  He read an article from the Ketchikan Daily News which                       
  appeared January 24, 1994.  He also read several articles                    
  from a Department of Commerce publication and information                    
  from an ADF&G article.  He suggested additions for HJR 56 on                 
  page 3, lines 5 and 6, "exclude lands in Alaska managed by                   
  the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management from the                 
  PACFISH requirements..."                                                     
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked Mr. Kawahara to fax his suggested                    
  additions, as it was difficult to hear his exact suggestions                 
  over the teleconference.                                                     
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he was not clear as to whether                    
  Mr. Kawahara is in support of HJR 55.                                        
  MR. KAWAHARA responded he is in support of HJR 55, but                       
  thought the equal importance of the fishing industry should                  
  be added.  He supports HJR 56 with amendments.                               
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES again asked Mr. Kawahara to mail or                    
  fax his proposed amendments to the House Resources                           
  Number 530                                                                   
  ERIC JORDAN, SITKA, testified via teleconference, and said                   
  he is a lifelong commercial fisherman and subsistence user.                  
  He expressed opposition to HJR 55 and HJR 56, as written.                    
  He wondered why the AFA cannot find an Alaskan to direct                     
  their association when they claim 600 jobs have been lost in                 
  Alaska over the past two years.  He thought maybe it is                      
  because long time Alaskans cannot take such an extreme                       
  position anymore.  He stressed that the forest products                      
  industry and the fishing industry do have a lot in common.                   
  Both need a healthy resource, a long-term sustainable                        
  management plan, and the need to harvest with a minimum                      
  impact on associated wildlife.  He said in the case of                       
  fishermen, it includes minimizing by-catch and eliminating                   
  adverse impacts on marine mammals.  In the case of the                       
  forest industry, it means changing harvest methods to                        
  minimize adverse impacts on deer, salmon, and other                          
  MR. JORDAN stated both groups must be managed to protect                     
  subsistence values.  He felt the two FURTHER RESOLVED                        
  paragraphs beginning on lines 29 and 32, page 2, of HJR 55                   
  should be struck or amended, as they conclude and request                    
  increased and maximum timber harvest without consideration                   
  of other values of the forest for other resources.  He said                  
  it is one thing for the AFA to take extremist positions, but                 
  it is another for the Alaska legislature to pass unbalanced                  
  resolutions.  Anyone who is seriously considered to manage                   
  these resources, whether it is Congress, the federal                         
  government or anyone in the state, will reject these                         
  resolutions because they are not balanced and show no                        
  MR. JORDAN stated in regard to HJR 56, Alaska should be                      
  enthusiastically embracing the PACFISH management strategy.                  
  One of the main losses to the economy in Southeast Alaska is                 
  due to the dams and the loss of habitat in the Pacific                       
  Northwest.  Alaska can live with PACFISH.  He said the                       
  forest industry is in the same position as the fishing                       
  industry was in territorial days.  The timber industry is                    
  dominated by a few big corporations like the fishing                         
  industry was dominated by a few canning operations and the                   
  fish traps.  He stressed how much Alaska's fishing industry                  
  improved when the fish traps were eliminated.  He stressed                   
  it is time to change the way timber is harvested in                          
  Southeast Alaska; eliminate the big monopolies and count on                  
  a lot of individual people to be involved in the timber                      
  harvest to maximize the value for everyone.                                  
  Number 611                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he fished for salmon from 1950-1970.                  
  The trap was discontinued in 1958 and the fish did not come                  
  back until the 200 mile limit was imposed.                                   
  (AMA), testified via teleconference, and expressed support                   
  of HJR 56.  He said rather than being an honest attempt to                   
  protect the fisheries in Alaska, PACFISH is the latest                       
  initiative to lock up natural resources in Alaska.                           
  Scientific facts do not support the application of PACFISH                   
  to Alaska but rather, PACFISH was developed to address                       
  specific fisheries problems in the Pacific Northwest and                     
  areas where there has been intensive human activity for many                 
  decades.  He stressed most of Alaska is off limits to                        
  development of timber or mineral resources and as a result,                  
  Alaska will never see the level of (indiscernible) as the                    
  Pacific Northwest.  He added that Alaska is far ahead of the                 
  Pacific Northwest and has statutes and regulations in place                  
  which protect the fisheries.  Every mining project must be                   
  evaluated under Title 16, and if a stream is affected in any                 
  way, a Title 16 permit must be obtained.  ADF&G has absolute                 
  veto power when it comes to any activity in, over, or around                 
  a salmon stream.                                                             
  MR. BORELL said the AMA suggests two changes in HJR 56.                      
  First, it is suggested the resolution be changed so it is                    
  clear that it applies to all Forest Service and all BLM                      
  lands in Alaska and is not limited to the Tongass.  This is                  
  stated in the actual resolution section, but is not                          
  referenced as clearly as it should be in the lead-in                         
  statement.  Second, the AMA recommends that HJR 56 be                        
  expanded to reference the mineral resource potential of the                  
  lands in addition to the timber resources.  The U.S. Forest                  
  Service and BLM lands in Alaska have significant potential                   
  for mineral development and AMA suggests that this fact be                   
  included in the lead-in statement of the resolution.  AMA                    
  urges passage of HJR 56.                                                     
  TAPE 94-19, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  via teleconference, and expressed support of HJR 56.  He                     
  felt PACFISH is not needed in Alaska because the state has                   
  adequate protections for salmon streams.  It is difficult to                 
  separate what happens on federal, state and private lands                    
  and he thought private landowners have a success story,                      
  which helps substantiate that the fishing and timber                         
  industries can work together.  Approximately three years                     
  ago, the FPA was passed which was a consensus among many                     
  groups, including environmentalists, fishermen, private                      
  landowners, agency people, etc.  The process was                             
  confrontational and lengthy and the most difficult point to                  
  resolve was how to protect salmon streams while giving                       
  private landowners the ability to harvest timber along                       
  MR. STURGEON said the law which resulted provides for 66                     
  foot buffers along all Class A streams and allows the                        
  harvesting of individual trees if they are approved by ADF&G                 
  and DNR.  Recently there has been a self-evaluation of how                   
  the buffer system is working.  ADF&G, DNR and three                          
  biologists went out to determine how successful buffers have                 
  been in protecting salmon streams.  One of the people                        
  included in the evaluation was Dr. Jim Buell, a biologist                    
  who stated in his report, "from a technical and                              
  administrative perception, the consensus was that the system                 
  had been working very well and (indiscernible) restored                      
  working relationships to its former level of cooperation and                 
  (indiscernible).  Furthermore, the consensus was that the                    
  system has had working results of generally healthy                          
  conditions for type A streams.  Only a few relatively minor                  
  incidents were noted.  Everyone generally agreed previous                    
  decisions regarding selection of trees could have been more                  
  conservatively executed and even these areas covered by                      
  (indiscernible) of the streams.  In my view, no significant                  
  long-term harms should be dissipated from these inferences."                 
  MR. STURGEON continued that Sealaska, Konkor and                             
  (indiscernible) combined data and added that the three                       
  companies had about 45 miles of streams protected.  Of that                  
  45 miles, approximately 1.5 trees were harvested per 100                     
  feet.  This means that approximately 40,000 trees were left                  
  in the buffers over the last three years from these three                    
  companies.  The objective of protecting salmon habitat and                   
  allowing private landowners to secure maximum values from                    
  these buffers went very well.  He felt both the fishing and                  
  timber industries should be proud of their effort.                           
  MR. STURGEON pointed out that the value of the trees left                    
  over the past three years was in excess of $9 million.  It                   
  is a large amount of money, but if it assures that the                       
  fisheries habitat is being protected and allows private                      
  landowners to get trees out of the buffers without harming                   
  habitat, it is a good compromise and shows that the buffer                   
  system is working.  He again endorsed HJR 56 and added that                  
  he supports the additions which the Alaska Miners                            
  Association had suggested.                                                   
  Number 078                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked Mr. Sturgeon to summarize the                    
  differences between what PACFISH requires with respect to                    
  buffers and what the FPA requires.                                           
  MR. STURGEON responded on private land, the FPA says that                    
  all type A water bodies, which are the main salmon streams,                  
  require a 66 foot buffer.  The law says that fish                            
  biologists, ADF&G and DNR can go in and approve individual                   
  trees within the buffer zones for harvesting, if harvesting                  
  those trees does not cause significant harm to either salmon                 
  habitat or water quality.  The PACFISH proposal is a much                    
  more rigid proposition.  There are no-cut zones and there is                 
  no flexibility in being able to harvest trees in the buffer                  
  zones.  It also includes more streams such as the feeder                     
  streams going into the main salmon streams and the buffers                   
  are much larger.                                                             
  Number 107                                                                   
  CHIP THOMA, JUNEAU, expressed opposition to HJR 55 and HJR
  56.  He stated he has been working on timber issues in the                   
  Tongass for 23 years.  He contested the employment and                       
  monetary figures contained on the first pages of each of the                 
  resolutions.  He said the McDowell group generated the                       
  figures for the AFA, and he did not believe they are valid                   
  figures, which puts a question into the validity of the                      
  resolutions.  He stressed for his purposes, he does not want                 
  the committee to change the resolutions.                                     
  MR. THOMA remarked upon close reading of the resolutions,                    
  they actually say that Congress and the administration                       
  should supplant and replace the alleged lost jobs in the                     
  industry; specifically those from the "near completion of                    
  first harvest on private land."  He said Congress will not                   
  consider any continuation of regional or village corporation                 
  logging activities.  Congress is grappling with its own                      
  Forest Service losses and to get further involved with                       
  private land and discussions on keeping employees in Alaska                  
  is out of the question.                                                      
  MR. THOMA stated it has been the great hope of the pulp                      
  industry and the Chambers of Commerce in the region to meld                  
  the private and public timber harvest into one big industry.                 
  He felt that is not going to happen.  There are no                           
  contracts, no primary processing requirement, no Forest                      
  Service oversight, no Congressional oversight and no DNR                     
  oversight.  He complimented the Cape Fox Corporation, one of                 
  the few village corporations doing something with their                      
  resources and making a profit for their shareholders.                        
  MR. THOMA said by the end of the fifty year contracts in                     
  Southeast Alaska, it has been documented with Congress that                  
  $3 billion will have been lost by the federal government in                  
  direct outlays of funds, not including habitat lost.  He                     
  felt the Tongass has been the biggest debacle in the entire                  
  U.S. and stated it is the largest deficit forest in the                      
  country.  He stressed there is no way that Congress or the                   
  administration is going to allow it to continue.  The                        
  current goal is to get out of the threat of litigation by                    
  Senator Murkowski and others.  If the contracts are                          
  cancelled quickly, corporations are going to sue for $1 1/2                  
  MR. THOMA said over 102,000 letters were sent to President                   
  Clinton after his forest summit in Portland.  It is a                        
  serious issue with many people in the U.S., and added there                  
  is a very high affinity for habitat and for protection of                    
  old growth.  He felt the timber industry is an                               
  anachronistic, inept and totally inappropriate industry for                  
  Southeast Alaska.  He said the trees in Southeast are not                    
  regenerative.  He stressed he is looking forward in his                      
  lifetime to seeing the timber industries shut down and more                  
  appropriate industries take their place.                                     
  MR. THOMA noted in the 1950's when the Forest Service laid                   
  out five pulp mill sales in Southeast Alaska, it was done by                 
  three-four foresters, judging from the air how much timber                   
  was down there and saying there were enough trees for five                   
  pulp mills.                                                                  
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if that fact was documented.                         
  MR. THOMA said the facts can be found in the Forest Service                  
  archives.  He stressed that is how the volume of timber that                 
  was estimated for the Tongass was determined.  He said those                 
  volumes were completely overestimated and because of the way                 
  the contracts were structured, the contracts have been                       
  overharvested ever since.  He expressed concern about the                    
  current push on keeping the timber industry going.                           
  Number 205                                                                   
  support of HJR 55 and HJR 56.  He said his company is part                   
  of an industry in transition, but added that Sitka is also                   
  in transition with the closure of the pulp mill in September                 
  1993.  With the closing and the loss of 400 jobs in Sitka,                   
  about 530 indirect jobs were also lost.  Total payroll for                   
  those combined, indirect and direct jobs, totals                             
  approximately $30 million.  He stated upon reviewing other                   
  industries in Sitka, the manufacturing jobs paid 70 percent                  
  higher than the average Sitka wage.  These were important                    
  jobs to the community in terms of their buying power.                        
  MR. POOL remarked when people discuss the timber industry in                 
  this region, they do not consider the cumulative economic                    
  impact.  The cumulative biological impacts are always looked                 
  at.  He said during the late 1980's, the Forest Service                      
  issued a report on the cumulative value to the communities.                  
  That number reached a high in 1990 of about $560 million per                 
  year, money which was generated in this region because there                 
  was a federal timber program.  He noted that figure was                      
  exclusive of the private land and timber corporations which                  
  were harvesting at the same time.                                            
  MR. POOL said his company feels HJR 56 is a good resolution.                 
  The restrictions of PACFISH when applied to Alaska will                      
  create a situation where there are buffer zones over buffer                  
  zones.  He pointed out that maps have been produced showing                  
  areas where fish will be harvested and in some cases, two-                   
  thirds of the timber which can be harvested will be                          
  eliminated because of PACFISH regulations.  He stressed he                   
  knows of no one in the timber industry who would like the                    
  fishing industry to go away.                                                 
  MR. POOL remarked that one other statistic which points out                  
  the fallacy of the PACFISH need is that in the early 1960's,                 
  when looking at the trend of the commercial salmon catches                   
  in Southeast Alaska, plotted against the timber harvest, an                  
  increase in catches can be noted for each year since that                    
  time period.  The salmon harvest during the early 1960's                     
  averaged about 15 million fish per year and in the past                      
  five-six years, the catch has been around the 55 million                     
  fish range.  There is not a decline in Alaska as there is in                 
  the Pacific Northwest.  He noted he has a chart showing the                  
  upward trend in both timber harvesting and fishing.                          
  MR. POOL felt that letters and resolutions are a good step,                  
  but he stated there is a need to take it a step further.  He                 
  would like to see a joint federal/state/local commission                     
  established to address some of the state's resource issues.                  
  Number 280                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked what the average salary in Sitka                 
  MR. POOL responded the average salary is $2,200, which is                    
  based on all salaries in the community.                                      
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked what the average is without the                  
  pulp mill salaries included.                                                 
  MR. POOL said he did not know.                                               
  Number 308                                                                   
  JOHN SISK, JUNEAU, stated his background is in wildlife                      
  biology and he has a masters degree in forestry.  He said he                 
  cannot support HJR 55 and HJR 56 as they are currently                       
  written.  He believed the timber industry is a significant                   
  and valid part of the regional economy, but there is much                    
  missing from the resolutions as written.  He noted the                       
  WHEREAS refer to declines in employment since 1990 and                       
  pointed out that those job declines in the timber industry                   
  are generally not related to timber supply from the Tongass                  
  National Forest.  Timber supply averages have been at or                     
  above those in the 1980's, since 1990.  In addition, the                     
  declines resulted from other factors.  He explained private                  
  landowners have the prerogative of logging and liquidating                   
  their timber quickly to generate cash for a variety of                       
  purposes and largely have done so.  Much of that logging is                  
  over.  It has been unsustainable and the decline is being                    
  MR. SISK stated pulp markets have been weak and there have                   
  been problems with market share and price, while lumber                      
  prices have gone up.  What that means is, for example,                       
  Alaska Pulp Corporation has made a financial decision to                     
  maximize profits by closing their Sitka mill and running the                 
  same amount of volume they are getting under the contract                    
  through the Wrangell mill, making a substantial profit.                      
  MR. SISK noted that Mr. Reinhart had said a lack of                          
  independent timber sales supply has resulted in the closure                  
  of independent mills.  Mr. Sisk pointed out that the two                     
  mills which closed in Haines and Klawock did so as a result                  
  of marketing disputes with the Weyerhauser Corporation.  He                  
  added that corporation did end up operating some of the                      
  timber sales after the mills were closed.  He felt it was                    
  misleading for anyone to make those points because supply is                 
  not the driving factor in terms of the changes being seen in                 
  the Southeast Alaska Tongass related timber industry.                        
  MR. SISK felt it was going to be difficult to use the                        
  Tongass to maintain the boom seen in logging on private                      
  land.  Private Native corporations have the prerogative of                   
  short-term liquidation of timber of dominant use; whereas on                 
  public forest lands, there is a legal commitment in place to                 
  long-term sustained yield and to multiple use, which is a                    
  different mission and different legal framework within which                 
  the national forest has to operate.                                          
  MR. SISK urged committee members to recognize that timber is                 
  part of a complex forest ecology and economy.  The themes of                 
  multiple use and economic diversification can strengthen the                 
  entire picture.  He stressed it is important to recognize                    
  all the key sectors which depend on the Tongass National                     
  Forest; timber, fisheries (both commercial and sport),                       
  wildlife, tourism and recreation, and subsistence.  This                     
  forest has to supply all of those uses and those uses tend                   
  to rely on the same 10-15 percent of the Tongass that is the                 
  biologically productive forest land - where the salmon                       
  streams are, where the deer habitat is, where the prime                      
  recreation opportunities are, and where there are also a lot                 
  of big trees.  He felt it is misleading to say that 90                       
  percent is off-limits to logging and there is only 10                        
  percent available and all that will be taken.  He stressed                   
  that 10 percent is the heart of the Tongass National Forest                  
  which is critical to sustaining a diversified economy in                     
  this region.                                                                 
  MR. SISK stated it would also be good to recognize the                       
  opportunities for developing all of the sectors of the                       
  economy instead of one dominant emphasis.  Examples include                  
  new value-added wood processing facilities, investments by                   
  the federal government in tourism, infrastructure for each                   
  community, commercial fisheries product and market                           
  development, sport fishing, and protecting subsistence for                   
  rural residents who need the forest the most.                                
  MR. SISK said in addition to having a mixed economy and a                    
  lot of mixed values and uses, it is important to recognize                   
  there is land designations such as wilderness areas,                         
  intensive timber harvest areas, fisheries habitat, etc.  He                  
  stressed the key words are sustainability of the use of the                  
  forest, diversification of the community and regional                        
  economies, protecting the basic integrity and the bottom                     
  line of the forest ecosystem, adding value to the resources                  
  and trying to keep as many jobs in forestry and fisheries in                 
  Alaska.  He emphasized the Tongass is a multiple use forest                  
  and not a dominant use forest.                                               
  MR. SISK said in regard to HJR 56, he expressed concern that                 
  there has been an overreaction to what PACFISH represents.                   
  He agreed that it is a mistake to take a policy developed                    
  elsewhere and blindly slap it down in Alaska.  He suspected                  
  there are many elements and a lot of research which has been                 
  done and there is a need to think about how fisheries,                       
  timber and wildlife are managed.  He urged committee members                 
  to not take such a doctrinaire extreme position.  There may                  
  be things to learn by the PACFISH regulations.                               
  Number 455                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stated Native corporations are exporting                   
  approximately the same amount of timber now as they have in                  
  the past five years, so the decline of timber resources is                   
  coming from the pulp mills.  He felt the timber industry is                  
  trying to take care of the fishing industry, looking at                      
  different types of industry, etc., and that is one of the                    
  reasons the timber being logged today is not paying its way.                 
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked if logging improves deer                         
  MR. SISK responded research shows that in Southeast Alaska,                  
  general logging does not improve deer habitat and removes                    
  some of the critical components.  He said there are ways to                  
  reduce that loss and spoke about deer in the Rockies who go                  
  down in the sagebrush when logging is ongoing.  In Southeast                 
  Alaska, there is no place for the deer to go.                                
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked if logging provides more food.                   
  MR. SISK replied a new clearcut in the summer provides                       
  additional forage, but when it gets buried in snow, that                     
  food is not available.                                                       
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY asked Mr. Sisk's estimation on how                     
  long it takes to regenerate the forest in Southeast Alaska.                  
  Number 522                                                                   
  MR. SISK stated there is a timber production viewpoint and a                 
  broader ecological viewpoint.  If there is a desire to just                  
  grow pulp fiber, it can be done quickly, perhaps in around                   
  100 years.  If there is a desire to grow high quality saw                    
  timber, it would be beyond that.  To recover the ecological                  
  characteristics which support wildlife habitat, an even                      
  longer rotation is needed.  To have a multiple use forest, a                 
  big section needs to be left alone and another section needs                 
  to be on a long rotation.                                                    
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY questioned how long it takes to create                 
  a two foot diameter tree.                                                    
  MR. SISK responded it is variable.  In some places, it could                 
  be grown in 80 years, while in other places it takes much                    
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he is interested in the comments                  
  made by Mr. Sisk indicating 10 percent of the entire Tongass                 
  is the productive area and asked Mr. Sisk to provide                         
  additional information if he has it.  Representative Hudson                  
  also noted that Mr. Sisk had mentioned the resolutions do                    
  not take into consideration sufficient diversity, multiple                   
  use and other aspects of the Tongass.  He stressed as seen                   
  before, Congress takes dynamic action and takes no                           
  consideration that in Alaska an effort has been made to                      
  develop a Forest Practices Act, for example, which includes                  
  the environmentalists, the timber industry, the fishing                      
  community, etc.   He felt there is a need to educate                         
  Congress on the fact that the state does have a solid Forest                 
  Practices Act, the state is concerned about tourism, sport                   
  fishing, commercial fishing, etc., and has tried to develop                  
  balanced laws and resolutions.                                               
  MR. SISK felt the phrases about maximizing timber which                      
  appear in the resolutions are probably red flags, just as                    
  they might be if someone were to say, let's maximize                         
  Number 648                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES stated she appreciated Mr.                    
  Sisk's approach on different uses of the forest, but thought                 
  there is a feeling of frustration by the people in the lower                 
  48 who do not have trees anymore because they have been                      
  logged off, generally for agricultural purposes.  They do                    
  not understand what Alaska does to get economic activity                     
  from timber and how well the state does manage.  She said                    
  the further frustration is because they are so far away and                  
  they have more money.  Alaska does rebel when a blanket                      
  regulation approach is taken which really affects other                      
  areas.  The state rightly says that we have more knowledge                   
  about how we ought to manage our forests and we would like                   
  the opportunity to do that.                                                  
  TAPE 94-20, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced that HB 199 will be rescheduled                  
  to Monday, February 28 at 8:15 a.m.                                          
  expressed support of HJR 55 and HJR 56.  He said the state                   
  has a model in the state Forest Practices Act and it does                    
  not need to be fixed.  The multi-faceted use of the forest                   
  is looked at more in Alaska than anywhere else in the world.                 
  He stated in regard to supporting the timber industry in                     
  Southeast Alaska, too often it is looked at as a pulp mill                   
  here, a pulp mill there.  It is an industry and without a                    
  sustainable yield of timber it is difficult to run that                      
  industry.  The industries cannot make capital improvements                   
  and cannot secure a steady flow of jobs.  He felt what is                    
  important on resolutions of this type is that they send a                    
  message to Congress, the people of the United States and the                 
  various environmental organizations.                                         
  opposition to HJR 55 and HJR 56.  He encouraged the                          
  committee to change HJR 55 to incorporate the concepts of                    
  sustainability instead of maximum timber production.  With                   
  regard to HJR 56, he asked the committee to take a more                      
  judicious view and not simply reject the PACFISH strategy.                   
  He felt the entire debate on the timber industry is quite                    
  interesting because a question is being faced on how a                       
  timber industry, which has become entrenched and does                        
  business in a certain way, can change for the future.  He                    
  remarked the timber industry is recognizing the need to                      
  change, but is resisting the change.  As a result, there are                 
  resolutions like the two being proposed, rejecting something                 
  which is in fact the result of a lot of research in the                      
  lower 48 and which will be applied judiciously on a case by                  
  case basis in Alaska.                                                        
  MR. KATZ told committee members that the Forest Service did                  
  estimates on the results of employing PACFISH in Alaska and                  
  he felt the impact most likely to occur is a possible 17                     
  percent reduction in timber.  A lot of the timber initially                  
  taken out of the timber base can come back in, once a                        
  watershed analysis is done.  He said the Forest Practices                    
  Act is currently being argued by the Forest Service.  He                     
  stressed that Act does not apply to the areas which PACFISH                  
  will apply to.  Free markets, clear limits and                               
  sustainability for all resources is what is needed to change                 
  the timber industry for the future.                                          
  Number 075                                                                   
  LARRY SMITH, FRITZ CREEK, testified via teleconference, and                  
  said he has been working with Alaska spruce for 35 years and                 
  served on the Forest Practices Act Review Steering                           
  Committee.  He said everyone on that committee agreed on a                   
  100 foot buffer with a zipper edge.  The legislature reduced                 
  the buffer zone from 100 feet to 66 feet.  He explained the                  
  committee (indiscernible) a conditional harvest zone when                    
  the buffer was on public land.  He stated to compare the                     
  state Forest Practices Act and its effect on federal lands,                  
  state public lands, municipal lands, and private lands is                    
  something that should be looked at.  Mr. Smith continued                     
  with a general discussion on buffers.  He advised committee                  
  members to not mix public land buffers with private land                     
  conditional harvest zones.  No significant standard                          
  (indiscernible) forest resources, fish wildlife, or the                      
  sustained yield of trees.  He reminded everyone of the                       
  decline of the Pacific Northwest mixed economies, timber,                    
  fish and forest recreation.                                                  
  Number 135                                                                   
  3, lines 4, 5, and 6 as handed out to read, "FURTHER                         
  RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests the                      
  United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, to                  
  manage the Tongass National Forest in order to provide                       
  maximum opportunity for timber harvest, recreation,                          
  fisheries and other multiple uses.                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES OBJECTED.                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said what was heard from many                     
  people is that there is a need for a balanced effect, and                    
  added there is a variety of uses of the Tongass National                     
  Forest.  He stressed there is nothing in HJR 55 which                        
  acknowledges that.  In reading the resolutions, a person                     
  would believe that both state and federal laws have made the                 
  area a single use forest.  He stressed that is not the case.                 
  Thousands of people depend on the forest for recreation,                     
  tourism and fisheries.  He felt there should be at least a                   
  minor acknowledgement of that fact or the committee will be                  
  producing an extreme, one-sided resolution.                                  
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated she supports balanced forest                     
  use, but stressed the purpose of the resolution is to give                   
  emphasis to timber.  She felt inserting the words                            
  recreation, fisheries and multiple uses eliminates the                       
  emphasis on timber.  She is opposed to the amendment as she                  
  feels it destroys the intent of the resolution.                              
  Number 163                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated for those who want to improve                   
  the opportunity for harvesting timber and want to see proper                 
  harvesting go forward should want to make this kind of                       
  change because in the discussions which are ongoing in                       
  Congress currently, this kind of resolution will be viewed                   
  as so extreme it will be rejected out of hand.  He said if                   
  there is a desire for people to seriously consider the                       
  concerns there are for the forest industry in Alaska, the                    
  concerns need to be couched in more reasonable terms so that                 
  people will read it.  He felt the way the resolution is                      
  written, it is so far extreme to one end, it will be dropped                 
  in the wastebasket.                                                          
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS felt there is a need to be extreme.                        
  Things are happening which are extreme to the industry.                      
  Towns are being shut down and people are being hurt.                         
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said that argument assumes that                   
  extremism works and what many members of the committee have                  
  accused the other side of is extremism.  If extremism is                     
  going to be used to respond, it may not serve the purpose                    
  desired.  It might be better to get across that the state                    
  does care about all the resources.                                           
  Number 191                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said all of the aspects of recreation,                 
  fisheries and other multiple uses are embodied in the other                  
  provisions which Congress has placed upon the state's lands.                 
  He viewed the resolution as a statement by the Alaska                        
  Legislature to Congress saying that the committee seriously                  
  wants Congress to consider making timber available for use                   
  in Alaska, for the value of jobs and the economy it provides                 
  the state.  He felt the amendment is not needed.                             
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN suggested that on page 3, line 4, after                 
  "FURTHER RESOLVED that" insert the words, "notwithstanding                   
  the use for recreation, fisheries and other multiple uses".                  
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said he will accept the concept                   
  as a friendly replacement language, but he will not use that                 
  exact language because if notwithstanding is used, that                      
  means regardless of these concerns.  He suggested using the                  
  word "recognizing" rather than notwithstanding.                              
  REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated she believes that HJR 55 is to                   
  put emphasis on timber and if there is any place for                         
  Representative Finkelstein's suggested amendment it would be                 
  in one of the WHEREAS sections.  She objected to putting the                 
  language in the RESOLVE section.                                             
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said the amendment being voted on                 
  is whether the committee recognizes recreation, fishing and                  
  other multiple uses.                                                         
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked for a vote with a show of hands on                   
  the amendment.  The MOTION was DEFEATED by a vote of 4-3.                    
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN pointed out that on page 2, line                  
  14 there is an extra zero.  In addition, he said there had                   
  been testimony earlier saying there is not a current                         
  decrease going on in the amount of timber being harvested                    
  from private lands, and pointed out there are two places in                  
  the resolution which states "near completion of the first                    
  harvest on private land" indicating it is over and there                     
  will be no more harvest on private lands.  He said another                   
  WHEREAS basically says the same thing.  If that is not the                   
  case and there was no testimony saying it is over, he                        
  suggested the two references be removed.                                     
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN MOVED to remove the language on                   
  page 1, line 15, "and the near completion of the first                       
  harvest" and the second WHEREAS on page 2.                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said the words "near completion of the                     
  first harvest" is probably correct.                                          
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said no testimony had been heard                  
  to that fact, but rather the testimony said it is not over.                  
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS stressed there is still timber being                       
  harvested from private land.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN stated the language makes it                      
  sound like the private harvest is over, and it is not                        
  necessary for the resolution to say that is the case if                      
  there is no evidence that it is over.                                        
  Number 291                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS suggested that committee members review                    
  the resolutions over the weekend.  He announced the                          
  committee will hear HJR 55 and HJR 56 again on Monday,                       
  February 28.                                                                 

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