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 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 Conservation." 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.