Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/18/1996 08:13 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 537 - DIV. OF MINING AND GEOLOGY/ STATE GEOLOGIST Number 544 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the next order of business would be HB 537, "An Act renaming the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys in the Department of Natural Resources as the department's Division of Mining and Geology, and revising the duties of the state geologist within that division; and providing for an effective date." He stated the bill would combine the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys with the Division of Mining and Water Management as a cost cutting venture. Last year, the state geologist position was not funded and, currently, the division is serving without a state geologist. Number 604 JEFF LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Joe Green, read the following statement into the record: "House Bill 537 establishes in the Department of Natural Resources, the Division of Mining and Geology. Earlier this year an attempt was made to transfer DGGS (Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys) into the Division of Oil and Gas, and while we concur that the cost of state government can be effectively accomplished -- or lower cost of state government can be effectively accomplished by combinations of certain agencies. Combining DGGS with DOG would have been an inappropriate combination." "The use of DGGS personnel to perform DOG oil and gas presale analysis, as indicated by recent testimony by the DOG, would have been an improper use, we believe, of DGGS personnel. We believe that such activities, through that proposed combination, would not only violate state statute, but lead to ultimate dissolution of DGGS functions through the absorption in the DOG. "Budget reductions have reduced funding to the DGGS and combining it with another division is appropriate, but only if it is functions are preserved and its personnel are appropriately confined to the functions delineated in AS 41.08. Combining DGGS with the Division of Mining and Water not only ensures statutory compliance of its activities, but also its survival." Number 730 JERRY BOOTH, Alaska Geologic Mapping and Advisory Board, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He explained that the board was established in 1994, by former Commissioner Noah, as an advisory group to the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. With the new Administration, the advisory board offered to Commissioner Shively a recommendation that the board look at the future of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys' mission, goal and function into the future on how to improve its effectiveness and then provide a report outlining these findings. This effort was lead by Dr. David Hite, a member of the advisory board. He established a select committee of geologists and engineers representing all users of the DGGS. Number 791 MR. BOOTH explained that throughout 1995, the select committee held numerous meetings and public hearings to gain as much information as possible. He indicated a report was prepared in which the committee should have a copy of. The report contained numerous recommendations the committee made to the advisory board. Late in 1995, the advisory board approved their recommendations and provided these to Commissioner Shively. MR. BOOTH related that some of the recommendations included keeping the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys intact and expand its role to include a presence in Anchorage by the state geologist; to conduct a nationwide search for a new state geologist; provide a five year term for the position to make it a nonpolitical position to maintain its scientific integrity; recombine the hydrologist function back to DGGS; and to reinstate basin analysis and oil and gas functions back to the survey. He said all of these recommendations and ones not discussed, were to maintain the DGGS as an independent group within the current Alaska Statute AS 41.08. Number 870 MR. BOOTH stated that the intent and the recommendations of the advisory board regarding the DGGS is, respectfully, much different that those proposed in HB 537. He said they feel that the combining of DGGS with the Division of Mining and the removing of the requirement to have the state geologist run the DGGS is not in the best interest of the users of the state. The recommendations of the advisory board are well stated in the report and they look to this legislature to retain the current mission, role and function of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. MR. BOOTH pointed out that for a quarter of a century, Alaska has had a geological survey and it has functioned very well under AS 41.08. The advisory board of the DGGS respectfully requests that the House Resources Committee reconsider HB 537 and retain the DGGS as an independent division. He thanked the committee for the opportunity to testify. Number 940 DR. DAVID HITE, Member, Alaska Geologic Mapping Advisory Board Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He stated that he echoed the comments made by Mr. Booth and was strongly concerned about the requirements put fourth in HB 537 to eliminate the qualifications for the state geologist. He offered his assistance in answering questions relating to the report. Number 1006 TOM CRAFFORD, representing the Alaska Miners Association and the North Pacific Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said that he is a mineral exploration geologist and has been active in the state since 1974. He stated he is well acquainted with the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and the role it plays in Alaska. He stated he is respectful and appreciative of the service that DGGS has provided over the years, and he feels that its function needs to be preserved. Mr. Crafford stated he is similarly in support of the Division of Mining and Water Management. He indicated he has had good working relationship with them over the years. He noted he doesn't want his comments to be construed as any statement against the Division of Mining and Water Management. It is, therefore, with reluctance that he must express my opposition to HB 537. MR. CRAFFORD said he potentially fears that HB 537 could politicize the DGGS and it remove some of the statutorily mandated elements that established the division and preserves the academic and technical role that it was created to play. Mr. Crafford said HB 537 would create a geological (indisc.) which he fears could potentially become geological and geophysical survey in name only. It would relegate the position of state geologist to a subdirector level position and remove any educational or experience of qualifications for that position. He said those and other provisions of HB 537 could weaken the protection for the objective by (indisc.) regulatory role that was originally established for DGGS. He said he feels that in a resource rich state like Alaska that it is especially important to preserve the current functions of the DGGS, particularly in light of recent federal budget reductions that eliminated the Bureau of Mines and severely impacted the U. S. Geological Survey. He stated he endorses the recommendations of the Alaska Geologic Mapping Advisory Board which advocates the retention of a strong and independent division. Number 1170 SUSAN KARL, Officer, Alaska Geological Society (AGS), testified via teleconference. She explained the AGS membership includes professionals from oil and gas companies, mining companies, environmental contractors, Native corporations, universities, governmental agencies - statewide and outside of Alaska. She said she would focus on two main concerns. One, is that Alaska is a resource state and it is important to keep regulatory functions separate from research functions. The state's economic health depends on natural resources and the state also has significant geological hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, environmental hazards associated with human activities and the development of transportation and resources. If any state needs a strong, dynamic and independent geological survey, it is Alaska. MS. KARL referred to the second concern and said it also essential and critical that the state's leaders have solid scientific knowledge as a basis for their constantly evolving policy decisions. The state's health and welfare depend on these decisions. HB 537 makes Alaska's state geologist a political appointee with no required scientific credentials. It is unthinkable that Alaska's leaders would be making resource and environmental policy decisions without information from a scientifically qualified state geologist. MS. KARL said in conclusion, Alaska needs an independent, dynamic and adequately funded geological survey and a knowledgeable, credible and respected state geologist to contribute to informed decisions by state policy makers. She thanked the committee for listening to her testimony. Number 1295 RICH HUGHES, Chairman, Fairbanks Branch, Alaska Miners Association, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. He asked to go on record opposing HB 537. He stated that the combination won't work. The minerals industry is reviving in the state very strongly and this bill is sending the wrong message. Number 1324 ROGER BURGGRAF, Miner, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. He asked to go on record opposing HB 537. He said he realizes times are tough and cuts in government need to be made. The Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys is a technical, scientific agency with a statutorily mandated mission. To have it absorbed into a regulatory agency would weaken effect of their mission. The work that DGGS has done over the years has been very beneficial, not only to the state of Alaska, but to industry. With the downsizing of the federal government, it is even more important that Alaska, as a resource state, maintain DGGS in its present format. It is important that DGGS maintain its scientific integrity. The reports that DGGS has done has encouraged investments of millions of dollars into the state of Alaska. Mr. Burggraf requested that the committee reconsider its position with respect to HB 537. HELEN WARNER, Member, Alaska Miners Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She noted she is a graduate of the University of Alaska with a degree in mathematics. Ms. Warner said she doesn't think it is in the best interest of either the industry or the state for the DGGS to be subordinated or included into the Division of Mining. It is no diminution of the role of the Division of Mining. She said she supports the testimony of Jerry Booth, David Hite and Tom Crafford. She said she believes the DGGS has a mission and it is to all the people in the state and several other (indisc.) precise mineral industry. Ms. Warner urged the committee members not to pass HB 537. Number 1480 EARL BEISTLINE was next to testify from Fairbanks. He stated he is a life-long Alaskan with the sole professional career in Alaska's mineral education and mining industry fields. He said he supports the previous testimony of Jerry Booth, David Hite and Tom Crafford. He referred to the recommendations made by the Alaska Geological Mapping Advisory Board and said they are very important and need to be considered in detail and in their entirety. MR. BEISTLINE said he would suggest the present organization of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys remain an independent agency as it is at the present time for the benefit of Alaska and its people. It is an agency that offers a fundamental service to the economy of the state and identification of geological hazards for appropriate resolution and safety of its people overall. MR. BEISTLINE said it is his opinion that any streamlining of DGGS or a combination of other agencies for reducing costs of operation of state agencies should be carefully studied in depth in concert with appropriate personnel of Natural Resource agencies, legislators, state administrators and private industry. He said a strong Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys agency is an important foundation stone for the further enhancement of the state's minerals resource. He said that concludes his statement. Number 1615 NICO BUS, Acting Director, Division of Support Services, Department of Natural Resources, came forward to give his testimony. He said he wanted to comment that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) cannot support HB 537. He said basically, when DNR deliberated the introduction of Executive Order 92, the department tried to implement as many of the Alaska Geologic Mapping Advisory Board's recommendations as possible. Although it was not a perfect fit, they felt that Executive Order 92 met this purpose. House Bill 537, as proposed, strips many of the requirements the DGGS needs and the department cannot support it. Number 1663 MR. BUS distributed departmental sectional analysis outlining DNR's points section by section. Also, administratively and budgetarily, currently the department feels the Division of Mining is still struggling with the combination with the Division of Water that came about two years ago. He indicated the department doesn't feel it is appropriate at this time to combine the DGGS and the Division of Mining and Water. Number 1692 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN referred to Executive Order 92 and said the attitude was that because there wasn't a state geologist position, as it had been defunded last year, the DNR wanted to combine the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys with the Division of Oil and Gas. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN stated, "At the hearing of in front of the Oil and Gas Special Committee that one of the functions that would be done by DGGS would be to do presale analysis DOG and it was my feeling, and I so testified at that meeting, that that was step one of doing exactly what we've heard today as the objections to combining it with the Division of Mines -- that it would erode the statutory requirements of the DGGS. And so I submit to you that by combining them, if they cannot exist without a state geologist, which that function has been defunded, then they are far better off with Division of Mines and Water because they then by the very implement that would create that required to maintain and do those functions outlined in statute and not get involved in another division's activities. And so what I'm hearing as the objection going in to the Division of Mines is the very purpose that it's going there to prevent anything - any erosion of their functions, delusions that might come about by a more powerful or better funded division. And so that's the very reason that it was there. Plus the fact that if you look at the description of the duties of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, their functions fit exactly with what the Division of Mining needs -- hard rock minerals, tectonics, because along faults that is where mineralization occurs. I mean it's nothing to do -- it's not even mentioned other than was mentioned once before that fuel is used in one word description of the things that they look at. But no where is oil and gas mentioned, and yet, it was the department's decision that they should be merged with Oil and Gas Division. And I'm submitting that they far better matched with the Mining Division, and their functions would be much better protected. I champion that. I think it would be a travesty if we lost the functions as outlined in statute, and that's exactly what this bill does. It maintains those functions." Number 1830 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES respectfully submitted that House Bill 537 is equivalent to discussions during the Vietnam War era in having to destroy the village in order to save it. He said he thinks this combination is a far worse match than the proposed one with oil and gas. He said if we're not going to do the oil and gas one, then we ought to just leave it alone. While the state geologist position has been defunded, there still is an individual in the state survey who is currently the acting state geologist, who is by training and experience very qualified to be the state geologist. I think the division would be far better, under a reduced budget, to simply stay as it is to designate that individual as the state geologist with no increase in funds for the division. Number 1880 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "We went down this path - what was it about ten years ago and made this combination, at one time, and it was discovered to be unworkable. We've also had the testimony of a representative sample of the `who's who' in the mining world and the geology world; both from the companies, from the private sector, from the university, people who have had experience in the university world and people who had experience in the regulatory world of mining and people who have had experience in the areas that the state survey is statutorily charged to function. And out of that testimony, one of the particular things that this bill seems to ignore is that DGGS has a mission far broader than just mining. I mean that's certainly is, I think, its `flag ship mission,' but that it's much more than that. It's involved in the analysis where gravel is, it has been involved in land selections and making land selections. The state survey was one of the key institutions that selected some of the most productive petroleum rich land in the state of Alaska, in terms of land selection process. So, to suggest that there is no match with oil and gas or no necessity for them to maintain expertise in the basis analysis, I think, is short sighted. It ignores the past and it is short sighted with respect to the future." Number 1955 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said that we've been down this path before. We know that it's a mistake from history and the testimony. There is unanimous opposition from a representative sample of "Who's Who" in the mining and mineral industry in the state of Alaska. He suggested that the bill be put into a subcommittee and rethink how this proposal might fit into the Hite report. C0-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Representative Davies if he is familiar with the description of the duties of the division as in statute. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES indicated he was familiar with the duties. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if water and groundwater is one of the issues that the division is charged with reviewing and tabulating. He also asked it that isn't, in fact, the name of the division that would be going in. So, it is not just mining, it is mining and water and both of those are prime functions specified in the description of the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. Co-Chairman Green said he maintains, again, it is a fear, it is a speculation that they - going into a different regulatory body, that their functions would be lost. While, in open testimony, it was stated that part of their functions would be lost if they were combined with the Division of Oil and Gas. Number 2026 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES contended, "Mr, Chairman, I think that is a red herring. I opposed the combination with oil and gas. I don't think that's a good idea either. I voted, as you recall, to over turn 92. I think that, yes, I agree with you that reading the statute, I think the hydrological functions ought to be put back into the state survey, but the issue of regulatory agency and a research oriented agency like DGGS statutory supposed to be, is the paramount issue here in my mind. That's why the merger failed in `86 and that's why many many people opposed it then and continue to oppose it now. It's simply an inappropriate mix." Number 2048 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said he was referring to the fact that Representative Davis had stated in his prior testimony that he thought that it would be better in DOG. Co-Chairman Green said he would maintain that Representative Davies indicated it would be better in the Division of Oil and Gas and he would maintain that there is a better fit with the Division of Mines and Water. Number 2070 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN asked for more details about the reference to the past merger of the two agencies. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN commented, "That is correct, briefly. Different breed of cast, different attitude and it wasn't Division of Mines and Water then, it was the Division of Mines. There was an attempt made because -- while the testimony today has been unanimously against this, there are several out there involved with these who thought it was a good idea then, still think it is a good idea." Number 2112 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Bus to inform the committee what the cost would be to reinstall the state geologist to make the division whole again. Number 2127 MR. BUS said the director's salary is about $90,000. In the budget, to accommodate Executive Order No. 92, they felt there was some efficiency by merging the two divisions and sharing administrative staff. To recreate the director of the Division of Geology, you would need a director plus some support staff, so you are talking about $150,000, including benefits. Number 2155 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "To your chagrin, as well as mine, that budgeting was felt everywhere - budget cuts, and one of those, obviously, was the state geologist last year. A prior commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources used to use the phrase that's kind of like `eating your seed corn,' to which I do subscribe. Nonetheless, the division was cut and the state geologist position was lost and the concern, expressed by both the Department of Natural Resources and myself, is that without a state geologist, it is a vulnerable position and it has been cut. And part of the funding there to try and get outside funding as well and I think they have to some degree." Number 2195 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN emphasized that Representative Davies has indicated that HB 537 should go into a subcommittee. He said if he thought it would go to a subcommittee for constructive purposes, he might be so inclined. He said he is afraid that it will be a subcommittee to death. Number 2212 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAM K. "BILL" WILLIAMS reminded Representative Davies that this issue has been before the committee for quite some time. He pointed out that Representative Davies did vote against the executive order. He asked him if he could you give the committee some ideas as to how he thinks this should be done. Number 2224 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES responded, "I think that I, pretty well, outlined it. I don't think that either one of the mergers is appropriate I think, you know, the comment from the previous commissioner about `eating your seed corn' couldn't be more aptly demonstrated by the -- I think it can only be described as a `gold rush' that's going on in the Fairbanks area, right now and north of the Alaska range, all the way to McGrath, all around. As a result, I think as a direct result of the aero magnetic program that the state survey heads up and is carried out under capital funding from the state legislature. I think that's only one excellent example of the kind of strong work that's important to our economic future that results from having leadership from a strong state geologist." Number 2266 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES continued, "A second one in the news today, there are scientists on the ground at Akutan Volcano, right now, have flown there over the past week to advise whether the village should be evacuated or not. The geological hazards function, both from the ecological and earthquake hazards, is an important part of that statutory mission. That's not something that comes under - you know - the heading of `mining' in the state. And whenever I say that kind of thing, I certainly do not mean to denigrate that. I think that the mining function is extremely important." Number 2316 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES explained, "There is a philosophical problem and it translates down into a very practical problem in reality when you merge agencies that are supposed to have an objective scientific view about land selections, an objective scientific view about what the real hazards are and a proposal, for example, that might impact some kind of development - to have some objective view about what lands we ought to select for its oil and gas potential, its mineral potential and gravel potential, those kinds of things. There needs to be both the perception and the reality that the advice the state government is getting from that agency is independent of any advocacy group and independent from any regulatory concern. And that's the problem with putting the geologic mission and the geophysical mission under a regulatory mantle that the Division of Mining has." Number 2335 C0-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said he agrees about not wanting the legislation stuck in subcommittee, but in view of the opposition this bill is getting from industry, he can't debate the issue. He said there should be a plan benefitting both industry and the Administration. He asked Representative Davies if he had a plan or direction. Number 2381 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he had not responded to a plan, with respect to this particular bill, because he does not believe that this bill is the right way to do it. He said he would be happy to come back with a plan and noted he doesn't currently have one. He said his overall view is that among the choices of combining it with oil and gas, combining it with the Division of Mining, or leaving it as it is, he strongly support the status quo. He said leave it alone as it is. Representative Davies said he see the legislature designate the person who is acting as the state geologist to be the state geologist. He said his preferred position is to put the $150,000 back in the budget to make it whole again. Absent that, he would just leave it the way it is. Number 2431 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified, "In the evaluation discussions, the searching for what could be done, because I do champion the activities that the Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys has been doing. One of the reasons in the decade preceding this that it was combined when there wasn't the budget crunch that we are suffering now - was told to me that while it is important that a group, a think tank type of division such as DGGS is and should be, the fear of them being involved with a regulatory function where it's pretty much this type of one foot ahead of the other, those don't necessarily go and you can inhibit creative thought if it's over viewed - too much detail and I certainly subscribed to that. On the other hand, there is the fear always with a strictly theoretical group that they spend more time in theory than they do in action and that there may have been from time to time, I'm not [END OF TAPE] TAPE 96-36, SIDE B Number 000 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN continued, " ....been removed, but another benefit that would be derived from such a combination as outlined in 537, might be an oversight to just review, on an ongoing basis, what is actually accomplished and what is done in there rather than the reports which to some degree, in the past, has been -- and I think credit was given, done by USGS or done by some federal agencies, or by university work that then gets published as DGGS report. And So my point is that if they were combined briefly before, the function that they were combined for, at least for what I am talking about now, apparently was not done - that an oversight could be done and maybe the best thing in all worlds would be that this oversight comes back saying, `Yes, these people are extremely efficient, they use their time to the utmost, they not only should have their state geologist reinstated but they should be funded greater.' And I think while we, in the majority, are in a cost cutting mode, I do not think it is fair or appropriate to say that we would want to see the demise of a very beneficial, streamlined, well run, efficient organization. And if that comes back, if fact, then I think you can extricate them from the Division of Mines and reestablish them with their own state geologist far easier from the Division of Mines than it would be if they got embroiled in, as has been said, in presale analysis to the extent that was stated on the record. And so from that standpoint, I can see the desire to have them ultimately be an independent division. Right now, there is some cloud, there is certainly, through the division, the Department of Natural Resources, some indication that there should be merger and I am just submitting to you that for all of those reasons, I think that this merger will accomplish both the efficiency, the overview and the potential extrication back as an independent agency. If that is the best thing for the state - far easier than it would be in any other kind of combination. So, for that reason, I would still strongly support passage of HB 537." Number 110 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES explained, "The oversight and the analysis that you are suggesting might somehow magically occur from a director of the Division of Mining -- in fact, presently exists from an advisory board that is largely comprised of members of the industry. DGGS is not an `ivory tower' operation, it is not a `think tank' operation. It is about the farthest thing from it that you could imagine. It is a very `rubber meets the road' practical state agency whose mission is to -- one of its largest functions is to identify sand and gravel resources and that is not `think tank' type of operations. It's mission is the day-to-day -- part of it's involved in the day-to-day advise of whether a village should be evacuated or not. That's not `think tank,' that's about as urgent a day-to-day kind of mission as you can imagine. It does require, however, to make those kinds of analyses, to look into the future and to make some assertions about that, it does require some independent analytic ability. So, that is why it is important to maintain the separation from the regulatory commission." Number 183 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES continued, "Mr. Chairman, my only -- the reason why I left academia, why I left Columbia University, in New York State, and came back to this state to be a member of the DGGS was precisely because I did not want to be in an `ivory tower' anymore. Precisely because I wanted to do something that affected the people of the state of Alaska directly, and I felt at that time, and I continue to believe now, that the state survey is one of those agencies that does that. It's a `rubber meets the road' operation. It's a very practical application of geological analysis." Number 215 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN explained he isn't an oil, gas or minerals person. He said he sits in this legislature trying to learn everything I am supposed to learn and be able to make decisions that are good for the state of Alaska. He said, "In all due respect to your knowledge and how you push this through, Mr. Chairman, in other legislation that has come before this committee I have respected your opinions and I have tried to follow a lot of your leads because you do have the knowledge. Although, the testimony that we've had today is also from people that I have a lot of respect for in the industry and so I'm rather torn on this thing right now and I think if we were to go to a vote right now I would have to vote no to move it out of this committee until I have more time to either to talk to these other people or really to understand the issue a little bit more. But it seems to me that we need a little more time on this." Number 235 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked the participants on the teleconference network to rank their preference of the scenarios surrounding the DGGS. Number 283 MR. BOOTH reiterated that the advisory board recommends that the DGGS stay as it is. He said it has been operating very functionally with the acting state geologist. If it because of budgetary concerns, it has to remain that way, he is sure that the advisory board would concur to that as its number one priority. He said he thinks that what they are attempting to try to do in the DGGS is to `mount the tires, hit the road and screech a lot of rubber' as has been stated. The advisory board has been looking very closely at the functions of what DGGS is doing and making very strong suggestions in what they follow through to provide to users of Alaska with geology. Mr. Booth said that not only includes the mapping, but the seismic and traditional geology that is very important to try to get the hydro geologic function back in DGGS and, certainly, to expand the (indisc.) and volcanic deserts. He said he thinks that the advisory group certainly would support having an independent agency. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked Mr. Booth if he shares the concern that if it were combined that there would some sort of inhibition or some sort of restriction imposed on the normal functions of the DGGS, if the outlines of HB 537 were followed. Number 386 MR. BOOTH answered, "Mr. Chairman, yes I think that is what the advisory broad has felt as we've walked through this process the latter part of last year. There was a lot of discussion very similar to what we are hearing today on that particular issue and I think there were some very very strong concerns, and we thought the advisory board kind of filled the gap to make sure that we're functioning as we're supposed to. Your concerns and what would happen with DGGS if it went over to the DOG I think are much the same concerns as we have heard from the advisory board. Although, we were rest assured from DNR that the particular concern that you had was not going to happen, but as we all know when these get put into different groups, different things happen." Number 427 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS referred to the situation with the budget and trying to save money and said he thinks this was part of the Administration's goal and part of the legislature's goal. He said he would like some input from the industry as to whether they currently have any ideas. Number 439 REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN responded to Representative Williams that he believes the committee just heard their view. He said, "If we are going to do anything with the budget constraints that we have right now, then just leave it as status quo." Number 470 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said that because there is a significant difference of opinion on HB 537, the legislation will be held over for further discussion.