Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/18/1996 08:13 AM 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                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the first order of business would be HB
 539, "An Act changing the name of the Alaska Soil and Water                   
 Conservation Board."                                                          
 Number 101                                                                    
 JEFF HARTMAN, Executive Director, Alaska Soil and Water                       
 Conservation Board, Department of Natural Resources, came forward             
 to testify in support of HB 539.  He said the board had a meeting             
 February 1, and at that time the perception of what the board did             
 wasn't clear with the present name of "Soil and Water                         
 MR. HARTMAN pointed out that state statute defines the board's                
 function as development use and conservation.  The board felt the             
 name change would more accurately reflect what the board views as             
 their function which is not only conservation, but the development            
 of resources, specifically in rural areas.                                    
 Number 200                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES said he doesn't have a problem with                
 adding the word "development," but did have a problem with the                
 further name change to "Natural Resources Soil and Water."  He said           
 in all the justification, that part of the name change is not                 
 really addressed.  He pointed out that this isn't the biggest issue           
 facing the state of Alaska, but to broaden the title to "Natural              
 Resources Conservation and Development Board" takes in many other             
 possible areas.  When it said, "Soil and Water" we knew what the              
 board was supposed to be doing.  Natural resources covers the whole           
 waterfront and could possibly include fish, game, oil and gas.  He            
 suggested changing "Natural Resource" to something like,                      
 "Agricultural and Forestry Conservation and Development Board."               
 Number 289                                                                    
 MR. HARTMAN said they didn't specifically consider that name                  
 change, but the board is an advisory board to the Department of               
 Natural Resources.  He explained the department doesn't cover fish            
 and game, but they represent the land owners.  He said a lot of the           
 resources they deal with are more than just soil and water.  He               
 said the soil and water conservation is the tradition that they               
 come from.  Mr. Hartman said they are into forestry and developing            
 tourism related products using natural resources.  He noted one of            
 the potentials for development in Aniak are wild berries.  It is a            
 locally available resource.  It currently isn't utilized, but it              
 would be a matter of coming up with a distribution system.                    
 MR. HARTMAN briefed the committee about an ongoing project in                 
 Fairbanks of converting dog waste into a usable fertilizer.  He               
 also noted they are taking the ground water and making it into a              
 usable resource for the greenhouse industry.  People in Aniak were            
 very interested in this project because they have to fly in all               
 their fertilizer.                                                             
 MR. HARTMAN explained there were several reasons the wording                  
 "Natural Resources" was chosen.  One is their federal partners "The           
 Soil Conservation Service," changed their name a couple of years              
 ago to the "Natural Resource Conservation Service."  He said,                 
 "We're also one of the principle boards advising the commissioner             
 of Natural Resource.  So, again, Natural Resource Conservation                
 Development we felt was in keeping with that."                                
 Number 450                                                                    
 MR. HARTMAN said he wouldn't argue that the board's principle base            
 is agricultural, but it is broader and the board wants to reflect             
 that kind of change of emphasis because the whole resource                    
 conservation development program in the Natural Resources                     
 Conservation Service is relatively new to Alaska - about five years           
 old.  It brings a lot of capabilities that some of the local people           
 aren't are aware of.  For these reasons, that is why "Natural                 
 Resource" was chosen as opposed to a more traditional name.                   
 Number 495                                                                    
 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN noted the arrival of Representatives Scott Ogan             
 and Irene Nicholia.                                                           
 Number 518                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN moved to pass HB 539 from the House             
 Resources Committee with individual recommendations and the                   
 attached fiscal notes.  Hearing no objection, HB 539 passed out of            
 the House Resources Committee.                                                

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