Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/26/1998 01:15 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HJR 56 - YTTRIUM MINING                                                        
                                                                               
Number 1740                                                                    
                                                                               
CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the next order of business was House              
Joint Resolution No. 56, Relating to yttrium mining and transfer of            
the linear induction motor research vehicle to Alaska.                         
                                                                               
CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON, sponsor of HJR 56, stated the resolution urges             
the Federal Railroad Administration to transfer the Linear                     
Induction Motor Research Vehicle (LIMRV) to the state for testing              
and research.  The transfer would allow for the potential                      
development of a new industrial and research business in Alaska.               
It could revitalize the Ketchikan area after the loss of the pulp              
mill.  Yttrium, a rare earth element, would be mined on the Prince             
of Wales Island and processed in Ketchikan.  Currently, yttrium is             
imported from overseas.  In addition, the Power Superconductor                 
Applications Company is proposing local employment in mining and               
refining, as well as in converting the LIMRV.  No state funding                
would be requested.                                                            
                                                                               
Number 1836                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES made a motion to adopt HJR 56 (0-LS1533\A)               
for testimony.  There being no objection, it was so adopted.                   
                                                                               
Number 1851                                                                    
                                                                               
JOHN PEARSON stated he has a small company called Alaska Economic              
Development Partnerships.  During the past 22 years he has been                
involved in fostering many economic development efforts as a former            
employee of the state (Department of Commerce and Economic                     
Development) and as a practitioner and advocate for orderly                    
economic development.  The opportunity placed before the state  -              
as a cooperative partnership between Ketchikan, Saxman, the state,             
and federal government - would be very unique and offer a number of            
opportunities.  The major areas of the project would be mining,                
refining, manufacturing, and research.  Mining would take place as             
soon as the vehicle is transferred from the federal government to              
the state.  Alaska is very fortunate that Dr. Steven Kuznetsov of              
Power Superconductor Applicants Company stepped forward and offered            
to bring part of this industry to the region.  It would give the               
state a strong base in southern Southeast well into the twenty-                
first century.  It would provide a number of jobs that the area has            
not had in the past and a number of training opportunities.  The               
vehicle would be transferred to Ketchikan/Saxman and retrofitted               
under the technical supervision of the Power Superconductor                    
Applications Company.  Thus, the support of the legislature to urge            
the federal government to transfer the vehicle is important.  He               
urged the committee members to support the resolution.                         
                                                                               
Number 2003                                                                    
                                                                               
STEVEN KUZNETSOV, President and Chairman, Power Superconductor                 
Applications Company, Incorporated, testified via teleconference in            
Pennsylvania.  The corporation has been involved in the design and             
manufacture of high-speed linear induction machines used for                   
launching aircraft and transit industry, for example.  Mr.                     
Kuznetsov started his career in 1974 as a design engineer on the               
LIMRV.  It obtained a world record for ground speed at 255 miles               
per hour by using a copper and steel-base propulsion system.  It               
does not rely on the adhesion of steel wheels to a steel rail.  It             
relies on electromagnetic propulsion.  Within the last three years             
the country has learned, with the help of the scientists at Los                
Alamos in New Mexico, how to produce an yttrium-base                           
superconductor.  The United States government owns a number of                 
patents in this area and the Power Superconductor Applications                 
Company owns a number of patents on the final application                      
technology.  In 1997, Los Alamos produced yttrium-base                         
superconductors to be used for electric utility apparatuses - fault            
limiters and transmission lines - prototype motors, and generators             
using a high-temperature superconductor and building technology to             
allow electricity to operate at 99 percent efficiency.  The LIMRV              
would allow the industry to develop a propulsion systems using                 
yttrium.  Part of the project would include manufacturing and                  
research facilities in Southeast Alaska to produce products such as            
fault limiters.  The company eventually sees manufacturing an                  
advanced linear induction braking system for the railroad industry,            
and the Navy's aircraft catapults.                                             
                                                                               
Number 2166                                                                    
                                                                               
DICK COOSE, Assembly Member, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, announced              
the borough fully supports HJR 56.  It would be a great opportunity            
to develop a new business in town.  The release of the LIMRV to                
Alaska is the first step.                                                      
                                                                               
Number 2189                                                                    
                                                                               
BOB WEINSTEIN, Mayor, city of Ketchikan, urged the committee                   
members to support HJR 56.  With the closure of the major employer             
in Ketchikan last year, the city is aggressively looking for                   
economic opportunities to help diversify its economy.  The project             
represents potential and the city would work closely with Dr.                  
Kuznetsov to see how it would translate into mining, manufacturing,            
and scientific research jobs in Ketchikan thereby benefiting the               
entire state.  The resolution is a very important step in                      
transferring the research vehicle to the state.                                
                                                                               
Number 2256                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES made a motion and asked unanimous consent to             
move HJR 56 (0-LS1533\A) from the committee with individual                    
recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note.  There being no             
objection, HJR 56 moved from the House Resources Standing                      
Committee.                                                                     

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