Legislature(1997 - 1998)

01/29/1998 01:25 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 296 - EXTEND ALASKA MINERALS COMMISSION                                     
CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the first order of business was House             
Bill No. 296, "An Act extending the termination date of the Alaska             
Minerals Commission."                                                          
Number 0187                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB
296, explained the bill is a simple extension of the sunset date               
for the Alaska Minerals Commission.  In 1997, the mineral industry             
invested close to $1.1 billion in extraction, exploration and                  
further development in the state.  The mineral resources are the               
state's wealth.  The Alaska Minerals Commission makes                          
recommendations to the legislature and Governor concerning problems            
and issues.  The report is commonly used as a guide when                       
introducing legislation.  Currently, he noted there is a 23 percent            
increase in investment in the minerals industry in the state.  The             
bill calls for a five year sunset which is normal for a commission             
of this magnitude.                                                             
Number 0347                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked Representative Brice whether the                
Alaska Minerals Commission acts in any other manner, other than                
data dispersement and assemblage.  He asked whether the commission             
has a permitting or regulatory function and whether the commission             
advocates for mineral development where there are oppressive type              
rules and regulations.                                                         
Number 0383                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied the Alaska Minerals Commission does               
not participate in the regulatory process.  It does advocate for               
legislative changes in terms of onerous rules that the industry                
could face, however.  For instance, the commission recommended that            
the state freeze a permit when a project was placed under                      
injunction by a court, a bill introduced by Representative Brice               
last year.  It also advocates for programs such as airborne                    
geophysical mapping that has led to a boom in exploration in the               
Interior of the state.                                                         
Number 0535                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK commended the sponsor for the bill.               
It is pretty straight forward and easy to read.                                
Number 0584                                                                    
MARY NORDALE, Chairman, Alaska's Miners Association - Fairbanks                
Branch (AMA), testified via teleconference in Fairbanks.  She                  
expressed her deep appreciation to Representative Brice, Therriault            
and Davies for introducing HB 296.  The Alaska Minerals Commission             
is a very important body because it provides (indis.) branch                   
between government and the industry.  The mining community supports            
and respects the commission.  It has been very helpful to the                  
general public and to the government of Alaska.                                
Number 0662                                                                    
JULES TILESTON, Director, Division of Mining and Water Management,             
Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference in               
Anchorage.  The division supports HB 296.  Simply, the commission              
does good work.  It identifies mining related issues that promotes             
responsible mining, encourages streamlining, and enhances the                  
Governor's theme - open for business.                                          
Number 0745                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK made a motion to move HB 296, version 0-                  
LS1176\A, from the committee with individual recommendations and               
the attached zero fiscal note.  There being no objection, HB 296               
moved from the House Resources Standing Committee.                             

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