Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/27/1995 03:36 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SRES - 2/27/95                                                                
                                                                               
      HJR 27 EXEMPT ALASKA FROM FED CLEAN WATER ACT                        
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  announced that since the committee did not have a            
 quorum, the committee would just take testimony.  The committee               
 began taking testimony at 3:36 p.m.  The chairman stated the                  
 committee would first take testimony on HJR 27 and called the first           
 witness.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 020                                                                    
                                                                               
 JEFF LOGAN, Aide to Representative Green, prime sponsor of HJR 27,            
 read the sponsor statement for the resolution to the committee.               
                                                                               
 Number 040                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Logan if the policy on wetlands was a                
 letter from the Army Corps of Engineers, or if it was a law that              
 had been passed by congress.                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. LOGAN did not know if it is a law or not.                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought most of the policy on wetlands was dictated            
 by an Army Corps of Engineers memo.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 060                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LOGAN responded that is his understanding also.  S.49, which              
 the committee has a copy of, was introduced by Alaska's delegation            
 to congress to try to clarify language from the corps.  Section 3             
 is the amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.                  
 Representative Green has worked with the Alaska Wetlands Coalition            
 and the congressional delegation's staff; this resolution is                  
 something they requested.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 KEN FREEMAN, representing the Resource Development Council (RDC),             
 testifying from Anchorage, stated the RDC supports HJR 27.  Mr.               
 Freeman believes the situation in Alaska is different from that of            
 the rest of the country, and that most wetlands in Alaska are still           
 undeveloped.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 140                                                                    
                                                                               
 TONY TURRINI, representing the National Wildlife Federation,                  
 testifying from Anchorage, stated the federation is opposed to HJR
 27.  Mr. Turrini thinks the present Clean Water Act is adequate,              
 and that HJR 27 is unneccesary.  Mr. Turrini has submitted written            
 testimony to the committee which will be copied for the members.              
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Turrini if he thinks the passage of HJR 27           
 will have a negative economic impact on tourism and other                     
 businesses.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 203                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. TURRINI thinks if wetlands are destroyed, tourism will be                 
 negatively affected.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 JULIUS ROCKWELL, representing the Anchorage Waterways Council,                
 testifying from Anchorage, stated the council wants to maintain the           
 remaining wetlands in the Anchorage area.  He thinks the existing             
 legislation is adequate.  (Teleconference transmission is very                
 difficult to understand).                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 245                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Rockwell if he would be happier with New             
 England if over 50% of that area had been locked up and prevented             
 from being developed.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. ROCKWELL does not think half the state should be locked up; he            
 wants to protect what is left in Anchorage.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 263                                                                    
                                                                               
 GERSHON COHEN, Executive Director, Alaska Clean Water Alliance,               
 testifying from Haines, does not think there is a problem with the            
 current process for handling development in wetlands.  He has not             
 seen any permits turned down by the Army Corps of Engineers.                  
 (Teleconference transmission is very bad, Mr. Cohen's testimony is            
 almost entirely unintelligible).                                              
                                                                               
 Number 280                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Cohen, if all permits are routinely                  
 approved, why the permitting process is necessary.                            
                                                                               
 MR. COHEN thinks the permitting process gives projects needed                 
 scrutiny.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 295                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN officially called the Senate Resources Committee to            
 order, since there is now a quorum.  Present are Senators Frank,              
 Hoffman, Taylor, and the chairman.                                            
                                                                               
 MARGARET CLABBY, testifying from Ketchikan, stated she has read the           
 Federal Clean Water Act and other documents relating to wetlands.             
 Ms. Clabby stated she supports the Clean Water Act, and does not              
 think Alaska should try to get out of it.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 338                                                                    
                                                                               
 TROY REINHART, Employee Relations & Public Affairs Manager,                   
 Ketchikan Pulp Corporation (KPC), testifying from Ketchikan, stated           
 KPC supports HJR 27 and its' goals.  KPC also supports the comments           
 RDC gave earlier in the hearing.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 345                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Reinhart if he thinks there is anything in           
 the resolution that would cause the whole wetlands law to be thrown           
 out if it is passed.                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. REINHART responded he does not think that would happen.  He               
 thinks it would send a message to congress that Alaska is                     
 different.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN noted that Senator Halford has joined the committee            
 meeting.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 359                                                                    
 TERRY HERMACH, Prince William Sound Conservation Alliance,                    
 testifying from Valdez, stated he is opposed to HJR 27.  Mr.                  
 Hermach thinks Alaska should learn from the mistakes of the Lower             
 Forty-Eight.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 370                                                                    
                                                                               
 SHARON HAWKINS stated she participated in the round-table wetlands            
 discussion in which federal, state, and local governments also                
 participated.  This was about a six-month long ongoing process.               
 Ms. Hawkins informed the committee of the function of wetlands, and           
 stated Alaska supports summer staging and feeding grounds for over            
 95% of the world's seabirds.  She thinks HJR 27 should reflect the            
 fact that only a small percentage of Alaska's wetlands supports the           
 seabirds.  Ms. Hawkins stated Army Corps of Engineers' review of              
 permits is an important tool for wetlands development, because the            
 corps can add its' expertise to development.  Ms. Hawkins last                
 point is that wetlands within parklands are not necessarily                   
 protected from development.  She gave as an example placer mining             
 taking place in Denali National Park.                                         
                                                                               
 MS. HAWKINS stated that at the end of the round-table discussion in           
 which she participated, it was concluded that there is quite a bit            
 of flexibility in wetlands development.  She does not see a problem           
 with the current system and does not think the regulations should             
 be ignored.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 435                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Ms. Hawkins what part of HJR 27 indicates to             
 her there would not continue to be Army Corps of Engineers' review.           
                                                                               
 MS. HAWKINS replied it is her impression that exempting Alaska from           
 a "no net loss policy" would mean no review by the corps.  She                
 thinks that would mean no mitigation of private gain from public              
 lands would be required.                                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN noted that he and Ms. Hawkins have different                   
 understandings of what that language would do.  He does not think             
 the language would do what Ms. Hawkins thinks it would do.                    
                                                                               
 Number 460                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Hawkins who she represented in the round-            
 table process and how she was named to the round-table.                       
                                                                               
 MS. HAWKINS responded she was a citizen representative, and she               
 does not know how she was named to the round-table.  She was                  
 contacted by the Army Corps of Engineers and asked if she would               
 like to serve.  She was representing the environmental community,             
 but is not sure how she was chosen.                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Hawkins, if 375,000 acres of birdfeeding             
 and nesting areas are essential, how that land was missed after               
 sixty or seventy million acres have already been classified as                
 wilderness.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HAWKINS replied that the birds require a coastal estuarian                
 setting.  There is very little of that type of habitat.  The large            
 amount of acreage to which Senator Taylor is referring may be                 
 wetlands, but it may not have any feeding area.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Hawkins if it would be okay with her to              
 take 375,000 acres out of wilderness classification and add the               
 375,000 acres necessary for bird nesting and feeding.                         
                                                                               
 MS. HAWKINS responded that land classified as wilderness does not             
 preclude development.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 490                                                                    
                                                                               
 MOLLY SHERMAN, Alaska Environmental Lobby, stated the lobby is                
 opposed to HJR 27.  She read a written statement which was also               
 submitted to the committee.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 508                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD asked Ms. Sherman in what communities wetlands had            
 been destroyed, adversely affecting wildlife, fishing, and hunting.           
                                                                               
 MS. SHERMAN responded that an earlier participant in the hearing,             
 representing the Anchorage Waterways Council, mentioned that                  
 Anchorage's wetlands have been greatly affected by development,               
 including the Potter Marsh flats.                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD stated that Potter Marsh is full of waterfowl, is             
 protected, and was created by the building of the road: it is the             
 impoundment.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 524                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if any of the witnesses who testified in                 
 opposition to HJR 27 ever applied for a corps permit.                         
                                                                               
 MS. SHERMAN replied she can check with members of the Alaska                  
 Environmental Lobby.  She has worked in industry, and it is                   
 possible that companies she has worked for have applied for                   
 permits.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented it is possible that there is a great                 
 difference in life experiences between those people who have                  
 applied for a permit and those who have not.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 545                                                                    
 MALCOLM FORD, testifying from Anchorage, compared the environment             
 in Alaska with the environment in England.  (The teleconference               
 transmission is very bad, and Mr. Ford's testimony is                         
 unintelligible for the most part).                                            
                                                                               
 Number 568                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARTHA LEVENSALER, testifying from Anchorage, does not agree that             
 since so much of Alaska's land is locked up, it does not need to be           
 protected.  Public land is still open to development.                         
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-16, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARTHA LEVENSALER stated the permitting process is important, even            
 though most plans are approved, because the process frequently                
 changes development plans to help protect resources.                          
                                                                               
 Number 565                                                                    
                                                                               
 JULIUS ROCKWELL, of the Anchorage Waterways Council, testifying               
 from Anchorage added that members of the council have acquired                
 permits.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 550                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR made a motion to discharge HJR 27 from the Senate              
 Resources Committee with individual recommendations.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, discharged HJR 27 from                  
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SRES - 2/28/95                                                                
                                                                               
        HJR 27 EXEMPT ALASKA FROM FED CLEAN WATER ACT                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought up HJR 27 under reconsideration.  The                  
 chairman called the first witness to testify.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 256                                                                    
                                                                               
 MATT KINNEY, testifying from Valdez, stated he supports HJR 27, but           
 suggested amending the bill.  On page 2, line 23, add the term,               
 "feasible and prudent."  He also thinks the definition of                     
 "wetlands" is too broad and should be further defined.  Mr. Kinney            
 asked Senator Taylor if he has ever applied for an Army Corps of              
 Engineers' permit.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 185                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded he has applied for a permit.                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced the committee will set aside HJR 27 until            
 a quorum is reestablished.                                                    
 SRES - 2/27/95                                                                
                                                                               
        HJR 27 EXEMPT ALASKA FROM FED CLEAN WATER ACT                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought up HJR 27 once again and called the next               
 witness.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 184                                                                    
                                                                               
 JEFF WRALEY, testifying from Homer, is opposed to the idea we                 
 should be allowed to repeat the mistakes of the Lower Forty-Eight,            
 simply because we have much of our wetlands undeveloped.                      
                                                                               
 Number 216                                                                    
                                                                               
 ED BAILEY, testifying from Homer, gives testimony unfavorable to              
 HJR 27.  Alaska is unique because most of its' wetlands have not              
 been developed.  We should learn from what has happened elsewhere.            
                                                                               
 Number 246                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD made a motion to discharge HJR 27 from the Senate             
 Resources Committee with individual recommendations under                     
 reconsideration.                                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN hearing no objection, discharged HJR 27 from                   
 committee.                                                                    

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