Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/23/1993 08:00 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 197:  APPROP: ALYESKA SETTLEMENT                                          
                                                                               
  Number 388                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 197 and invited                          
  Representative Olberg to present his sponsor statement.                      
                                                                               
  Number 391                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 197,                       
  stated the intent of the bill was to fulfill the "blackmail"                 
  clause in the Alyeska settlement which states the                            
  legislature must appropriate Exxon restoration funds by                      
  September 15th, 1993, or those funds will be turned over to                  
  the State-Federal Exxon Valdez Trustees for disbursement.                    
  He stated allowing that to happen would be a mistake,                        
  because the legislature would only have veto power over any                  
  appropriation, but no input where the money might go.                        
                                                                               
  Number 447                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY announced CSHB 197 (STA) was up for                           
  consideration, and opened the floor for more testimony.                      
                                                                               
  Number 458                                                                   
                                                                               
  CRAIG TILLERY, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF                     
  LAW, explained that the funding from HB 197 is part of the                   
  joint settlement between the federal and state governments                   
  and Alyeska, but all monies spent will go to state projects.                 
  He believed it was necessary to pass HB 197 so the                           
  legislature could retain control of the settlement money.                    
                                                                               
  Number 504                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY asked if the administration might be usurping                 
  a constitutional legislative duty by mandating an                            
  appropriation of the funds within the settlement agreement.                  
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY replied it is the right of the Attorney General                  
  to negotiate the settlement of lawsuits by or against the                    
  state, and the settlement provisions were necessary to                       
  settle the case.  He reiterated the administration's                         
  position that the case never would have been settled, and                    
  for the amounts won, had it been taken to court.                             
                                                                               
  Number 538                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG noted the changes in the proposed CSHB
  197 (STA) involved deleting funds for the Kachemak Bay buy                   
  out.                                                                         
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY noted the change and said it might be the intent                 
  of the legislature to do the Kachemak Bay appropriation in a                 
  separate bill.  However, he believed it would be simpler to                  
  make the appropriation in HB 197.                                            
                                                                               
  Number 553                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY found it personally offensive for the state                   
  to buy land not directly affected by the oil spill with                      
  restoration funds.  He stated other legislators and timber                   
  owners felt the same way, and he did not feel the                            
  legislature should go along with the buy out.                                
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY replied the buy out had been recommended by the                  
  trustees' council and in many cases, beaches at Kachemak Bay                 
  had been oiled during the spill.  He noted there is concern                  
  about the impact of the oiling of the beaches.                               
                                                                               
  Number 580                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked about the rules regarding such                    
  appropriations.                                                              
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY noted the rules are stated in paragraph eight,                   
  page nine of the settlement agreement, as well as the                        
  appendixes of the agreement.  Under those rules,                             
  appropriations must be made for either restoration of land,                  
  or for spill prevention or reaction.                                         
                                                                               
  Number 606                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked what would happen if the                          
  legislature did not appropriate the funds this year.                         
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY replied the money would go to the trustees                       
  council as of September 15th.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 622                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS inquired about who would have veto                   
  power over the trustees.                                                     
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY noted the legislature would have veto power over                 
  the trustees.                                                                
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS then noted his long-time opposition                  
  to the Kachemak Bay buy out, stating it is, in his opinion,                  
  a beautification project.  He stated he and other Kenai                      
  River residents noted an oil spill related impact on the                     
  Kenai, and had been trying for years to get an appropriation                 
  to mitigate that impact, and until he could see the entire                   
  list of Alyeska settlements, he could not support HB 197.                    
                                                                               
  Number 695                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked how the four projects mentioned                   
  in HB 197 were decided to be the best use of the money.                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-33, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated the docks and storage                           
  facilities were deemed necessary for spill prevention and                    
  response. He stated the road from Cordova to Shepherd Bay is                 
  necessary because the Bay is the nearest deep water area                     
  near Cordova that can handle ferry-class vessels.  He stated                 
  the rest of the appropriation was a combination of                           
  restoration or response needs.                                               
                                                                               
  MR. TILLERY pointed out the appropriation was made on the                    
  basis of a need for staging facilities, for response areas                   
  for either state or Alyeska response vessels, and for                        
  advanced communications in the event of another spill; all                   
  identified as needs after the Exxon Valdez spill.                            
                                                                               
  Number 081                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ULMER asked if the people in the affected                     
  communities wanted the projects.                                             
                                                                               
  Number 083                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated "very much so", to the point                    
  where many residents were treating the facilities'                           
  construction as a done deal.                                                 
                                                                               
  Number 091                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked why the only city to be                        
  directly affected by oil on its beaches, Seward, had not                     
  been addressed in HB 197.                                                    
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated HB 197 is a simple bill:                        
  Whether or not to make the appropriation of funds.  If not,                  
  then he stated the trustees' council will make the                           
  appropriation for the legislature.  Given the trustees                       
  record, he preferred the legislature.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 143                                                                   
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS knew HB 197 would see further                        
  revision, and wanted to see it moved.                                        
                                                                               
  Number 160                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY MOVED acceptance of CSHB 197 (STA).                           
                                                                               
  CSHB 197 (STA) was ADOPTED 4-3; Representatives Vezey, Kott,                 
  Sanders and G. Davis voting YES; Representatives Olberg,                     
  Ulmer and B. Davis voting NO.                                                
                                                                               
  Number 174                                                                   
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN VEZEY MOVED passage of CSHB 197 (STA).                              
                                                                               
  CSHB 197 (STA) passed 7-0.                                                   
                                                                               

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