Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/25/1996 03:38 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  brought CSHB 58(RES) before the committee.                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE , prime sponsor of HB 58, explained                 
 Chickaloon Flats is an extremely accessible area across the inlet             
 from Anchorage, and there is some concern among hunters about the             
 existence of resting and hunting areas for waterfowl.  The                    
 legislation will create a critical habitat area that does not                 
 preclude but, in fact, encourages hunting and access.  However, it            
 provides that if there is anything that would disrupt the nesting             
 of waterfowl, it would have to go through the Department of Fish &            
 Game.  The legislation is to assure adequate habitat for waterfowl,           
 and it does not create any stumbling blocks for future development,           
 nor will it inhibit access for any outdoor recreational purpose.              
 Number 368                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked what potential encroaching dangers the hunters         
 are concerned about.   REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  responded that he                
 doesn't think there is any potential development in that area                 
 planned at this time, but that the hunters are just looking down              
 the road twenty or thirty years to protect the habitat of the area            
 and the access to the area.                                                   
 Number 400                                                                    
  SENATOR LINCOLN  commented that a section of the bill permits entry          
 within the Chickaloon Flats Critical Habitat Area for the                     
 exploration and development of oil and gas resources when it is               
 compatible with the purposes for which the critical habitat area is           
 established, but she didn't how that entry could ever be compatible           
 with the guarantees that have been established for the area.                  
  SENATOR FRANK  asked if there is any scientific data to support the          
 notion that oil and gas development on the North Slope has affected           
 waterfowl in that area.   REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE , speaking from his            
 own experience of working on the slope for 15 years, said                     
 production has had not any serious impact.  However, he thinks                
 exploration and seismic activity during the nesting and staging               
 area could create a problem.                                                  
  SENATOR FRANK  voiced concern about allowing access to the area by           
 all-terrain vehicles and possibly horses because of the potential             
 tearing up of the vegetation.                                                 
  GERON BRUCE , Legislative Liaison, Department of Fish & Game, stated         
 the department is in support of HB 58.  He noted this area is                 
 authorized under AS 16.20.500, which is the enabling legislation              
 setting up the fish and game critical habitat areas.  He believes             
 some of the concerns expressed are addressed by the linkage between           
 that enabling legislation and this particular bill that sets out              
 this specific critical habitat area.  He said it is basically a               
 multiple-use area, but the significance of authorizing it as a                
 critical habitat area is that other uses conducted there have to be           
 compatible with its primary function.  In the case of an all-                 
 terrain vehicle, there might be certain circumstances in which it             
 would not be damaging to the primary purpose of protecting that               
 habitat, but there might be other situations where it would be, and           
 the department has the flexibility within this program to make                
 those calls.                                                                  
  SENATOR FRANK  said he thought the legislation should be clear that          
 users of all-terrain vehicles have to have permission from the                
 commissioner of the department before taking them into the area.              
  TAPE 96-35, SIDE B                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
  SENATOR LINCOLN  noted that subsection (c) on page 2 provides that           
 the state may acquire more lands for inclusion in the Chickaloon              
 Flats Critical Habitat Area, so it appears that the area could be             
 expanded beyond what is currently shown on the map.   She then                
 proposed an amendment to page 2, line 23, changing the word "shall"           
 to "may."  She said if there is going to be an expansion of the               
 area and then the exploration of development of oil and gas, it               
 shouldn't be automatic.   REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  pointed out that              
 there are two small islands out in the bay that are privately owned           
 and that is the only private property that would be available for             
 expansion, and the only reason that was considered was so that                
 those people wouldn't be frozen out of access to their property.              
  SENATOR FRANK  asked Mr. Bruce if the department feels that there is         
 adequate protection in state law and existing authority to handle             
 any threat to this bird area rather than passing this legislation.            
  MR. BRUCE  responded that he doesn't think that impetus for it is            
 motivated so much by a threat as it is more from the standpoint               
 that these people regard it as a special area and they look at this           
 provision as a way to gain that kind of recognition.                          
  SENATOR FRANK  asked if this area is open to mineral entry.   MR.            
 BRUCE  acknowledged that it is a multiple use area, and unless                
 specifically prohibited in the statute establishing the critical              
 habitat area, it would be open to mineral entry as long as it was             
 compatible with the fish and wildlife habitat in the area.                    
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE  pointed out it is below mean high tide, and            
 the only reason the exploration and development of oil and gas is             
 mentioned is that they are the only resources that anybody has                
 indicated that there's a possibility of locating there.                       
 Number 150                                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR  questioned the total number of acres involved in             
 this critical habitat area, and what number of acres do they                  
 propose removing from another critical habitat area so that it will           
 be available for multiple use.                                                
 Number 200                                                                    
  SENATOR LINCOLN  moved the following amendment to CSHB 58(RES):              
 Amendment No. 1                                                             
 Page 2, line 23:  Delete "shall" and insert "may"                             
  SENATOR FRANK  objected to the adoption of the amendment.  After             
 further discussion on the amendment, the roll was taken with the              
 following result: Senator Lincoln voted "Yea" and Senators Frank,             
 Halford, Pearce, Hoffman and Leman voted "Nay."  The Chairman                 
 stated the motion failed.                                                     
  SENATOR TAYLOR  moved the following amendment to CSHB 58(RES):               
 Amendment No. 2                                                             
 Page 2, line 13:  Between the words "boat" and "aircraft" insert              
 "hovercraft, helicopter, ultra lite and crawler tractor"                      
  SENATOR LINCOLN  objected to the adoption of the amendment.  The             
 roll was taken with the following result:  Senator Taylor voted               
 "Yea" and Senators Halford, Lincoln, Hoffman, Leman, Pearce and               
 Frank voted "Nay."  The Chairman stated the motion failed.                    
 There being no further discussion on CSHB 58(RES),  CHAIRMAN LEMAN            
 asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                      
  SENATOR HALFORD  moved CSHB 58(RES) be passed out of committee with          
 individual recommendations.  SENATOR TAYLOR objected.  The roll was           
 taken with the following result:  Senators Hoffman, Leman and                 
 Halford voted "Yea" and Senators Taylor, Lincoln, Pearce and Frank            
 voted "Nay."  The Chairman stated the motion failed.                          

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