Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/14/1996 01:12 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                       
 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                
 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                 
 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                
 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              
 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            
 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.                                    

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