Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/20/1995 05:10 PM WTR

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 JACK PHELPS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill                     
 Williams, stated that HJR 41 asks Congress to carve out of the                
 Jones Act an exemption for Alaska bulk commodities, thus allowing             
 Alaska coal suppliers to respond to new opportunities in the                  
 world market for coal.  There are currently no United States                  
 manufactured vessels capable of servicing large scale movements               
 of Alaska coal.  Therefore, a Jones Act exemption is an important             
 part of any effort to market Alaska coal, especially since the                
 effort is likely to include markets in the western United States              
 and Hawaii.                                                                   
 MR. PHELPS said that Alaska is the only state that is                         
 discriminated against by the Jones Act.  Under current                        
 conditions, Alaska suppliers of coal will be noncompetitive with              
 Asian coal shipments to the United States ports, which harms both             
 Alaska and the United States balance of trade.                                
 MR. PHELPS added that HJR 41 is consistent with state policy set              
 forth in Title 44 which requires the Governor to use "best                    
 efforts and all available means to persuade the United States                 
 Congress to repeal" the Jones Act.                                            
 THOMAS CRAFFORD, Manager, Minerals and Coal for Cook Inlet                    
 Region, Inc., testified in support of HJR 41 and that he's always             
 looking into safe methods for shipping coal.                                  
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked Mr. Crafford if he was familiar with the                
 Healy Coal Project.  She said that a Hawaii market would be very              
 advantageous for Alaska.                                                      
 MR. CRAFFORD responded by saying that he knew of the project, but             
 was not totally familiar with it.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Crafford about the status of the               
 Beluga coal fields.                                                           
 MR. CRAFFORD stated that no one had stepped forward to work these             
 fields.  Coal is a much different commodity in terms of handling              
 and shipping.  It's not like oil, where if a spill would occur,               
 it would leave a  major impact on the environment.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS made a motion to pass HJR 41 out of                      
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there were any objections.  Hearing                  
 none, the motion passed.                                                      

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