Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/27/1997 01:20 PM RES

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

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