Legislature(2003 - 2004)
03/31/2004 01:05 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 36-MITIGATING GLACIER BAY FISHING CLOSURES CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 36, Requesting the National Park Service to mitigate the adverse economic effects of commercial fishing closures and restrictions in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Number 0106 REPRESENTATIVE BRUCE WEYHRAUCH, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor, presented HJR 36 as follows: The resolution before you asks the [National] Park Service (NPS) to use the services of those negatively affected by the closures of Glacier Bay first, and consider using those services before they go to other outside vendors, consultants, vessel use, vessel owners, and that sort of thing. And the basis for the request comes as follows: The National Park Service closed portions of Glacier Bay National Park [and Preserve] and excluded commercial fishing from a large area and restricted certain areas to lifetime permit holders. REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH directed attention to a map and pointed out that Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve extends from Excursion Inlet to the middle of Icy Strait and Cross Sound to three miles into Lituya Bay. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is about 500,000 marine acres. On the map he pointed out the area open to commercial fishing and the area restricted to lifetime permit holders. He said that when the lifetime permit holders die, commercial fishing [in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve] will end. Therefore, there was a compensation program in which $23 million was appropriated to those negatively affected by the closures. However, there are still some commercial fishermen and businesses in the area who ask to do business with the NPS. Therefore, this resolution asks the Park Service to consider using those businesses negatively affected by the closure before considering the use of other businesses. Representative Weyhrauch said, "We certainly can't require the federal government to do something, but it's a statement of intent by the Alaska [State] Legislature that we think you ought to look first for those negatively affected and then look elsewhere." Number 0308 CO-CHAIR MASEK asked whether the federal government has procurement guidelines for goods and services. If so, she asked, how will that impact HJR 36? REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH answered that it won't affect the federal government's procurement code. He related his belief that the federal government has procurement rules and guidelines as well as a special courts for settling contract disputes. Furthermore, the federal government can enter into sole-source contracts and put contracts out to bid as can the State of Alaska. [The federal government's process] is a lot more complex, cumbersome, and Byzantine than the state's process, he remarked. Therefore, he opined that the answer to Co-Chair Masek's question is yes. Number 0380 REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH inquired as to how many boats are still in the [Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve]. REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH replied that currently there are three fisheries that are conducted inside "the bay proper". The three fisheries are as follows: a Tanner crab pot fishery, a halibut longline fishery, and a salmon trawl fishery. He highlighted that there are also areas within [the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve] that are wilderness waters in which fishing has been completely prohibited by the federal government. CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM, upon determining no one else wished to testify, announced that public testimony would be closed. Number 0465 CO-CHAIR MASEK moved to report HJR 36 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being no objection, HJR 36 was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.