Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/27/1997 01:20 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 23 - PROTECT ACCESS FOR TRADIT'NL OUTDOOR USES Number 0030 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN announced the committee would hear House Bill No. 23, "An Act relating to traditional means of access for traditional outdoor uses and to the classification and the sale, lease, or other disposal of state land, water, or land and water." CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked Representative Masek, sponsor, to address the proposed committee substitute, 0-LS0158\F, Luckhaupt, 2/26/97, before there was a motion to adopt it. REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK deferred to Mr. Grasser. Number 0161 EDWARD GRASSER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly Masek, explained the committee substitute was arrived at following discussion with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and others. "And what we've done is we've taken and placed the language in parts of statute that already exist," he stated. MR. GRASSER said access language existed under AS 38.04.055 and AS 38.04.058, dealing with rights-of-way and easements. "And what we've done is we've added those two sections to the bill," he stated. "And that's the new Section 2 and new Section 3. And we eliminated the old Section 2 and old Section 3. And then we did do some amendments to both of those existing statutes to accommodate the traditional outdoor activity access that we're seeking." Number 0242 MR. GRASSER referred to Section 3 and said it incorporated the traditional-means-of-access language in the original bill, with a couple of changes. "We added in that the commissioner didn't have to get the approval of the legislature or meet these other provisions if the land, water, or land and water encompassed 640 contiguous acres or less," he said. "And we also changed the term `intrinsic values' which is found on line 12 on page 2 to `aesthetic values' and redefined that to more closely reflect Representative Masek's wish to preclude restrictions on access based on social values rather than on biological or ecological values." MR. GRASSER concluded, "The whole bill is now in Chapter 4 instead of Chapter 5. Chapter 5 has to do with land classifications. And these sections of Chapter 4 had to do with right-of-ways and easements and access. And we thought it would better reflect the intent of the bill by placing the language in those sections." Number 0342 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN referred to Section 3, which removed restriction ability from the director and gave it to the commissioner. Noting that in most cases the commissioner can delegate back to the director, he questioned whether that accomplished anything. MR. GRASSER said that was basically a suggestion of the drafter in Legislative Legal and Research Services, which he assumed accomplished basically the same thing. Number 0423 CO-CHAIRMAN BILL HUDSON said to Representative Green, "I think that, typically speaking, the constitutional responsibility rests with the department heads, and then they can delegate it down. But you hold the department head responsible for the actions." Number 0461 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred to page 2, lines 6 and 7. He expressed concern about the wording "public and safety and property." He asked whether private safety and property were included under `public' or `safety'. For example, if a oil rig were drilling but someone claimed that area was a traditional access, what would happen? MR. GRASSER said that was a drafting glitch and had been discussed with Jane Angvik of the DNR, who shared similar concerns. He said Ms. Angvik would offer an amendment for that sentence. He indicated page 2, line 7, should read "public safety" instead of "public and safety". In addition, "public or private" should be inserted between "and" and "property". Number 0893 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON made a motion to adopt the committee substitute, 0-LS0158\F, Luckhaupt, 2/26/97 as a work draft. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked about the DNR's amendment. Number 0641 MR. GRASSER said Representative Masek agreed to the changes in the amendment. He referred to page 2, line 7, and explained the "and" being deleted was a typographical or grammatical error by the drafters. In addition, he himself had made an error in typing the amendment; the insertion "public and private" was incorrect and should instead say "public or private". The corrected version of the DNR amendment, dated February 27, 1997, read: Page 2, Line 7 - Delete "and" between "public" and "safety" and then insert public or private between "and" and "property." Page 2, Line 19 - Insert new language under subsection (3) to read: for protection of public safety and public or private property. Renumber the existing number (3) and (4) according [sic] to now be numbered as (4) and (5). Number 0724 MR. GRASSER said the amendment to page 2, line 19, was "tied to the public or private property amendment in Section 3, at line 7, page 2." CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN labeled the combined amendment as Amendment 1. Number 0780 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to adopt Amendment 1. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0809 JANE ANGVIK, Director, Division of Land, Department of Natural Resources, came forward to testify. She indicated DNR had worked with Representative Masek and her staff on the bill. She said with the adopted amendments, the Administration was supportive of it. She explained, "It has separated issues of ownership from this issue and we are now back to a place where if a legislature chooses, it can exercise its rights ... to have complete oversight over those access issues and yet gives us enough flexibility so that we can protect natural resource development as well as other kinds of seasonal access issues that have to do with public safety." Number 0859 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK requested that the DNR provide a fiscal note. She asked whether it would be a zero fiscal note. MS. ANGVIK said that was correct and that they could adjust it. CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN offered to write the zero fiscal note. Number 0932 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor Council, came forward to testify, noting his was a statewide organization of conservation-oriented outdoor users. He said, "We have in the past expressed this philosophy as far as public access, and on the state lands as well as on federal lands. And we really appreciate having this bill in here. And we supported it last year, felt that it was the right approach. And we again support it, and we appreciate the efforts of Representative Masek and her staff to refine it, and to the Department of Natural Resources for taking a compassionate look at the issue and working with the sponsor for this. I think that it has been improved. We appreciate that. And we'd just like to reiterate the support that we've provided in the past." Number 0993 REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE JOULE asked how this would impact access for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). He mentioned that the land was more susceptible to scarring in the summer and fall. MS. ANGVIK said the state would still have the capacity, for example, to close the North Slope area. There, winter access was allowed but it was closed during summer to protect the tundra. Provisions in the law would allow DNR to continue that practice in order to protect, in particular, the oil field area from ATV use by "seasonal closures under the public safety and protection of public and private property." Number 1081 REPRESENTATIVE JOULE mentioned there were areas around the Wulik River and perhaps the upper Kobuk River where the tundra might be affected by ATVs. He asked how this legislation would apply. MS. ANGVIK said she believed if there were a request to close an area to protecting the tundra, the DNR would be able to analyze that under the terms of the bill. "If the area was less than 640 acres in size, we would have the ability to have a seasonal closing in order to protect the lands," she explained. "If the area exceeded 640 acres, we could bring it to the legislature and seek the approval of the legislature. Or if were closed for a seasonal period not to exceed the limitation that was set out in the bill, we would have the ability to close it." Number 1151 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether the DNR exercised any authority on federal land to prevent scarring, for example. MS. ANGVIK said no. Other than where they already had an easement, they had no authority to restrict or set any management prerogatives for that purpose on any of the federal lands. Number 1239 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON made a motion that CSHB 23, as amended, move from the committee with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note. He asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, CSHB 23(RES) moved from the House Resources Standing Committee.