Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/14/1996 01:12 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 539 - NAME CHANGE FOR SOIL AND WATER BOARD Number 2022 CHERYL SUTTON, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill Williams, introduced HB 539 by reading the sponsor statement into the record: "House Bill 539 was introduced by request of the Soil and Water Conservation Board. It simply changes the name of the Board to the Natural Resources Conservation and Development Board. This request has been made for the following reasons: MS. SUTTON read, "The declaration of policy for the board is to provide for the development, use and conservation of the farm, forest and grazing land of the state. The present name does not reflect adequately that the board has a resource development as well as a conservation mission. "MS. SUTTON continued, "This name change is in agreement with that of the major federal player in the partnership -- the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This organization changed its name from the Soil Conservation Service in the Department of Agriculture. MS. SUTTON proceeded, "The board, as well as the local Soil and Water districts, has a close tie with the NRCS Alaska Resource Conservation and Development offices in assisting rural regions of the state in adding value to their available resources. MS. SUTTON concluded, "The name change will not affect any of the statutory responsibilities of the board. It has a zero fiscal note." Number 2070 JEFF HARTMAN, Executive Director, Alaska Soil and Water Conservation Board, Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from Aniak. He stated that the third mission of the board is to advise the commissioner and make recommendations for a specific action necessary for effective and orderly development of agriculture, forests and grazing land. MR. HARTMAN explained the board's present name does not reflect that and the board feels that the name change to the Natural Resources Conservation and Development Board is appropriate. The name change will not affect the function and there is no cost. Number 2137 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES inferred that the title appears to change the scope of work of the board. Number 2181 MR. HARTMAN responded that the "Natural Resources" part of the name does reflect the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the board's federal partner, in the Department of Agriculture. MR. HARTMAN explained that the main issue is the "development" aspect and the resources include forestry and agriculture. Two members of the present board are involved with game ranching and a health farm in the Kenai, and one member is the past president of the Reindeer Herders Association. The board is involved in many resources other than land and water, and the "Natural Resources" reflects that we work for the Department of Natural Resources and our major federal partner, the Natural Resources Conservation Service. MR. HARTMAN said the board is not trying to assume any duties of the Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Our emphasis is on rural development and "value added" development of the program, and specifically, the resource conservation development within the NRCS. Number 2274 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT wondered who developed the language in the boards and commissions manual as to the board's function. MR. HARTMAN was not able to answer that question. He did say that the Alaska Soil and Water Conservation program will have its 50th anniversary next year. He said this bill does not change the Alaska Soil and Water program, nor the district, but the one aspect of the program, the five member advisory board to the commissioner, we are seeking to change, is the name change. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT suggested looking at the language in the function because the current board name would serve the function, at least, in the boards and commissions handbook, and might be more appropriate than a new name. MR. HARTMAN said that if the name change is approved, he will draft a new mission statement for the boards and commissions handbook. Number 2328 MS. SUTTON explained that the purpose for this particular board is outlined in statute. She said the language is fairly clear and does seem to fit with their purpose in statute. Number 2345 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said that the purpose in statute for the present Alaska Soil and Water Conservation Board fits under the proposed new title, but that is because the proposed title is so broad. He asked Mr. Hartman if he had considered something like the "Agricultural and Silvicultural Conservation and Development Board." MR. HARTMAN replied that that was not specifically addressed by the board when they arrived at the present name. MR. HARTMAN apprised the committee of the board's interest in developing tourist related products from natural resources. He said he was looking at a birch wood box in Aniak, which is not agricultural, but it is utilizing a natural resource with the help of the Natural Resources Conservation and Development Board to develop a market. He said the board is also working with others and trying to broaden the scope into locally available resources in the soil and water district. He talked about a project in the Willow area of making pressboard out of wood chips. He said that is not agricultural but it is using byproducts from a lumber mill and making a marketable product. Another project in Fairbanks is a dog "waste" compost project making compost and fertilizer from dog team waste.....(end tape) TAPE 96-34, SIDE B Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved that HB 539 move from the House Resources Committee with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note. Number 0015 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES objected. Number 0033 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he would hold the bill for a quorum and rescheduled HB 539 for Monday, March 18th.