Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/04/2019 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:01:37 PM Start
01:01:55 PM Presentation(s): University of Alaska Fairbanks
01:48:46 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):|| Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources
03:02:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner Designee Corri Feige
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
<Bill Hearing Postponed to 3/6/19>
<Pending Introduction & Referral>
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
Please sign up by 2:30 pm in order to testify
+ Presentation: Building AK's Blue Economy - AK's TELECONFERENCED
College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences by S.
Bradley Moran, Dean, UAF College of Fisheries &
Ocean Sciences
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 4, 2019                                                                                          
                           1:01 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative John Lincoln, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 7                                                                                                   
Requesting  that the  United States  Department  of the  Interior                                                               
Bureau  of  Land Management  implement  an  oil and  gas  leasing                                                               
program  in the  coastal plain  of the  Arctic National  Wildlife                                                               
     - <BILL HEARING POSTPONED TO 3/6/19>                                                                                       
PRESENTATION(S):  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
 Department of Natural Resources, Commissioner                                                                                
     CORRI A. FEIGE - Chickaloon                                                                                                
     CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SJR  7                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ENDORSING ANWR LEASING; RELATED ISSUES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BIRCH                                                                                                    
02/20/19       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
02/25/19       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/25/19       (S)       Moved SJR 7 Out of Committee                                                                           
02/25/19       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/27/19       (S)       RES RPT 5DP 1NR 1AM                                                                                    
02/27/19       (S)       DP:  BIRCH,  GIESSEL,  COGHILL,  BISHOP,                                                               
02/27/19       (S)       NR: KIEHL                                                                                              
02/27/19       (S)       AM: KAWASAKI                                                                                           
03/04/19       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
S. BRADLEY MORAN, PhD, Dean                                                                                                     
College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences                                                                                         
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Provided   a  PowerPoint   presentation                                                             
entitled,  "UAF   College  of   Fisheries  and   Ocean  Sciences:                                                               
Building  Alaska's  Blue  Economy," dated  3/4/19,  and  answered                                                               
CORRI FEIGE, Commissioner Designee                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Testified  as   Commissioner  Designee,                                                             
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:01:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHN  LINCOLN  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:01  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Rauscher, Talerico,  Tuck, Hannan, Hopkins, Rasmussen,  Tarr, and                                                               
Lincoln  were  present at  the  call  to order.    Representative                                                               
Spohnholz arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                               
^PRESENTATION(S):  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS                                                                               
        PRESENTATION(S):  UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS                                                                    
1:01:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN  announced that  the  first  order of  business                                                               
would be  a presentation  by the  University of  Alaska Fairbanks                                                               
College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.                                                                                        
1:02:39 PM                                                                                                                    
S.  BRADLEY MORAN,  PhD,  Dean, College  of  Fisheries and  Ocean                                                               
Sciences (CFOS),  University of Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF), provided                                                               
a  PowerPoint presentation  entitled, "UAF  College of  Fisheries                                                               
and Ocean Sciences:  Building  Alaska's Blue Economy."  Dr. Moran                                                               
informed   the  committee   "Building   Alaska's  Blue   Economy"                                                               
describes the  value CFOS brings  to the state by  its engagement                                                               
in  fisheries,  marine  biology,   and  ocean  science,  and  its                                                               
operation  of  facilities  such  as  the  research  vessel  (R/V)                                                               
Sikuliaq.   He  said CFOS  is the  largest research  and academic                                                               
unit in Alaska with  a budget in fiscal year 2018  (FY 18) of $46                                                               
million,  leveraged  from a  state  investment  of $5.9  million,                                                               
which is  a return on investment  (ROI) of 8:1.   The college has                                                               
12  locations throughout  the  state and  has  over 300  faculty,                                                               
staff, and students.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  for   clarification  of  the  CFOS                                                               
DR.  MORAN  explained  in  addition  to  $5.9  million  in  state                                                               
unrestricted general  funds (UGF),  $22.8 million in  research is                                                               
almost entirely from  federal grants, and $11.3  million per year                                                               
for the R/V Sikuliaq comes  from a cooperative agreement with the                                                               
National  Science Foundation  (NFS) for  operation of  the vessel                                                               
and  certain   shoreside  staff.    He   said  detailed  [budget]                                                               
information would be forthcoming in an annual report.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  surmised tuition represents  [5.8 percent]                                                               
of the budget.                                                                                                                  
DR. MORAN  said the indirect  cost revenue of about  $2.6 million                                                               
represents 5.8  percent of  the budget  in FY  18.   Although NSF                                                               
pays  over  $11  million  for R/V  Sikuliaq,  the  indirect  cost                                                               
revenue to  CFOS for  the vessel  is around  $1 million  and $1.5                                                               
million is paid for research.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO asked  whether the  bulk of  faculty are                                                               
located at the Fairbanks campus.                                                                                                
DR. MORAN  said UAF is  the flagship research university  for the                                                               
University  of  Alaska (UA),  although  CFOS  has faculty  in  12                                                               
DR.  MORAN   listed  CFOS   major  facilities   economic  drivers                                                               
beginning  with the  Alaska Sea  Grant Program,  which is  housed                                                               
within CFOS in  Juneau.  The Coastal  Marine Institute, Institute                                                               
of  Marine Science,  and others  leverage funding  and are  major                                                               
reasons why  CFOS is among the  "top five, top three  - fisheries                                                               
and ocean  [colleges] -  in the  country" (slide  3).   Dr. Moran                                                               
continued  to   industry  partnerships,   commercialization,  and                                                               
innovations that  are used by  the university system to  grow and                                                               
diversify   Alaska's  economy.      For   example,  the   Pollock                                                               
Conservation Cooperative  is the  largest philanthropic  donor to                                                               
UA,  providing $16  million from  2000 to  2018, and  consists of                                                               
five  industries:   Trident Seafoods,  Aleutian Spray  Fisheries,                                                               
Inc.,  American  Seafoods,  Glacier Fish  Company,  and  American                                                               
Seafoods.  Also,  the Ted Stevens Chair of Marine  Policy, UA, is                                                               
endowed through  the cooperative along with  wide-ranging student                                                               
research.   He  further  described  federal agency  partnerships:                                                               
the  Alaska  Sea  Grant  program is  a  partnership  between  the                                                               
National Oceanic  and Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA)  and the                                                               
state -  $1.5 million from NOAA  and a portion of  matching funds                                                               
from the  state; Bureau of  Ocean Energy Management  (BOEM), U.S.                                                               
Department of the  Interior - $1 million per year  to the Coastal                                                               
Marine  Institute; other  federal  agency  partnerships that  are                                                               
essential to the CFOS budget (slide 5).                                                                                         
1:12:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked for  the  location  of the  Coastal                                                               
Marine Institute.                                                                                                               
DR. MORAN  said the Coastal Marine  Institute is not a  brick and                                                               
mortar building but is a  virtual institute operated by CFOS with                                                               
funding from BOEM.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN asked for the location of Kasitsna Bay.                                                                   
DR. MORAN  said Kasitsna Bay Laboratory  is owned by NOAA  and is                                                               
located in Kachemak Bay; the  lab is extensively used for student                                                               
training and  coursework.   Also located at  Kasitsna Bay  Lab is                                                               
the  NSF Established  Program to  Stimulate Competitive  Research                                                               
(EPSCoR),  Fire and  Ice,  which awarded  $20  million over  five                                                               
years for research by CFOS faculty  and students.  Slide 6 listed                                                               
four  examples   of  innovation  and  commercialization:     Blue                                                               
Evolution leases space from UAF  at Kodiak to harvest and process                                                               
kelp;  Blue  Pipeline  Incubator  is  an  amalgamation  of  ocean                                                               
businesses  located at  the UAF  Seward  Marine Center;  $500,000                                                               
MARINER  award by  the Advanced  Research Projects  Agency-Energy                                                               
(ARPA-E), U.S.  Department of Energy,  to develop sugar  kelp for                                                               
market; UAF faculty in Kodiak makes pet treats from fish skins.                                                                 
1:16:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ asked  for  more  information on  sugar                                                               
DR. MORAN  said sugar kelp is  the type of kelp  harvested in the                                                               
aforementioned  award.   In  further  response to  Representative                                                               
Spohnholz, he  said the  kelp is  not used to  make sugar  but to                                                               
generate other products.                                                                                                        
There followed a short discussion on mariculture and kelp.                                                                      
DR. MORAN advised  mariculture is a major  opportunity for Alaska                                                               
due  to  Alaska's  geographic   location,  less  regulation,  and                                                               
proximity for  coastal community  business development.   Current                                                               
UAF mariculture  facilities are located in  Kodiak, Kasitsna Bay,                                                               
Seward,  and  Lena  Point.     Current  mariculture  research  is                                                               
underway at  UAS, and, elsewhere,  numerous faculty  and students                                                               
are working on kelp, crabs, and ocean acidification (slide 7).                                                                  
DR.  MORAN restated  since  3/14, CFOS  has  operated, through  a                                                               
cooperative agreement,  R/V Sikuliaq, a $200  million ice-capable                                                               
vessel;  in  2018,  CFOS  successfully   renewed  a  $33  million                                                               
cooperative   agreement  to   continue   operating  the   vessel.                                                               
However, he noted  in 2023, the cooperative  agreement to operate                                                               
the vessel will  be open for national competition  and many other                                                               
institutions  will  bid.    In  order  to  retain  the  operating                                                               
agreement  and   continue  to   receive  the   opportunities  and                                                               
financial  benefits provided  by  operating R/V  Sikuliaq, it  is                                                               
essential that  Alaska maintain its shoreside  facilities and its                                                               
excellent record of operations.   A new program called the Alaska                                                               
Sikuliaq Program offers a proposal  process for use of the vessel                                                               
at a rate of $50,000 per day.  R/V Sikuliaq is the only ice-                                                                    
capable vessel in the academic fleet (slide 8).                                                                                 
1:22:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  about  partnerships  between  R/V                                                               
Sikuliaq and industry or other governments.                                                                                     
DR. MORAN explained  anyone can charter the  vessel; for example,                                                               
Ocean  Networks Canada  chartered  the vessel  for  two or  three                                                               
weeks, as  did the  Office of Naval  Research, Department  of the                                                               
Navy,  U.S. Department  of Defense.   There  have been  inquiries                                                               
from industry as the vessel is  capable of seismic work and other                                                               
studies, from sediments to the surface of the ocean.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS surmised  the  vessel could  be used  for                                                               
seismic exploration for offshore oil and gas.                                                                                   
DR. MORAN said yes.                                                                                                             
DR.  MORAN,  in  response  to  Representative  Hannan,  said  the                                                               
cooperative agreement began  in March 2014; the  vessel was built                                                               
in 2012,  launched in  2013, CFOS began  operations in  2014, and                                                               
the  vessel became  fully operational  and approved  for seagoing                                                               
operations in March 2016.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked whether [renewal of  the cooperative                                                               
agreement  with  CFOS] depends  upon  charter  agreements or  NFS                                                               
DR. MORAN advised  the vessel is part  of the University-National                                                               
Oceanographic Laboratory  System (UNOLS),  which is  a consortium                                                               
of universities  that sets  the schedule  for R/V  Sikuliaq, thus                                                               
proposals funded by NSF are  scheduled for research by the vessel                                                               
through  UNOLS.   Private industry  would apply  to schedule  the                                                               
vessel up to one year in advance, and he gave an example.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN questioned whether  UAF must ensure ongoing                                                               
research grants to retain its operating agreement.                                                                              
1:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MORAN  restated any entity  can write  a proposal for  use of                                                               
the  vessel;  in  fact,  UAF   relies  on  proposals  from  other                                                               
entities, such as the University  of Washington, to fill ship at-                                                               
sea  days.   However, when  the operating  agreement is  open for                                                               
renewal, UAF  will write  a proposal  including a  budget, CFOS's                                                               
record of operation, and UNOLS  post cruise assessment forms.  It                                                               
is important  that NSF  receive value in  return for  its federal                                                               
taxpayer  dollars.     He  assured   the  committee   CFOS  meets                                                               
expectations in  vessel operations; in  fact, CFOS and  NSF share                                                               
the  vessel's  schedule  with local  organizations  such  as  the                                                               
whaling community.   He  recalled the  original proposal  for the                                                               
R/V Sikuliaq  came from a UAF  faculty member in 1970  and led to                                                               
an asset  on par  with that  of the  University of  Washington or                                                               
Woods Hole  Oceanographic Institution.  He  stressed R/V Sikuliaq                                                               
is  a remarkable  asset  for a  university the  size  of UAF  and                                                               
restated the importance of renewing  the cooperative agreement in                                                               
2023; in that  regard, CFOS is writing a $35  million proposal to                                                               
NSF for a new pier and warehouse facility in Seward.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  asked   whether  NSF   restricts  the                                                               
vessel's access.                                                                                                                
1:32:45 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MORAN  said  no,  R/V Sikuliaq  is  a  global-class  vessel;                                                               
however, it is ice-capable and  thus is limited to traversing two                                                               
and one-half feet of ice at two  knots:  it is not an icebreaker.                                                               
Continuing to other  examples of value brought by  UAF, Dr. Moran                                                               
described  an  NSF project,  Northern  Gulf  of Alaska  Long-Term                                                               
Ecosystem  Research (NGA  LTER).   The University  of Alaska  has                                                               
four long-term  research (LTER) projects, and  CFOS operates two,                                                               
one of which follows the "Seward  Line," which builds on 45 years                                                               
of research  and will last 10-20  years.  Funding by  NSF is $2.5                                                               
million  per year  and the  project seeks  to further  understand                                                               
impacts to commercial fisheries in  the Gulf of Alaska (slide 9).                                                               
An additional  funding stream is  the European Union  (EU) Arctic                                                               
Research Icebreaker  Consortium, which includes the  R/V Sikuliaq                                                               
and  other  vessels from  Canada,  Norway,  Sweden, Germany,  and                                                               
U.K., and  that further  illustrates UAF's  "international reach"                                                               
in  building  Alaska's   blue  economy  (slide  9).     Slide  11                                                               
highlighted   fisheries   in   Alaska's  economy:      Commercial                                                               
Fisheries:   two-thirds  of  U.S. fish  landings  are in  Alaska;                                                               
fisheries  generate over  $4 billion  wholesale value;  fisheries                                                               
are Alaska's largest private employer.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN inquired  as to  the percentage  of the                                                               
60,000 fisheries workers who are Alaskans.                                                                                      
DR.  MORAN  said  he  would  provide  that  information.    Sport                                                               
fisheries:  generate about $1  billion per year supporting 16,000                                                               
jobs; are an  important customary and traditional  use of fishery                                                               
resources  (slide 11).    As  an aside,  Dr.  Moran informed  the                                                               
committee  one-half of  520-530  graduate  students in  fisheries                                                               
studies  are working  in Alaska;  on the  oceanographic side,  of                                                               
over  100  graduate students,  one-half  are  working in  Alaska.                                                               
Furthermore, 47 percent of  the science, technology, engineering,                                                               
and math  (STEM) CFOS  faculty are women,  which he  described as                                                               
more than  double the  national STEM  faculty gender  equity, and                                                               
approximately 70 percent  of CFOS students are women.   Dr. Moran                                                               
directed attention  to a new  online program, UAF Blue  MBA, that                                                               
is an accredited MBA from the  school of management, and which is                                                               
designed for  working professionals.   The  degree is  focused on                                                               
fisheries,  ocean science,  and ocean  technology, which  are the                                                               
future around  the "ocean  economy."   He said  this is  a unique                                                               
program   that  is   entirely  web-based   and  will   create  an                                                               
opportunity to  increase revenue through online  education (slide                                                               
1:40:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked whether  there is enough interest in                                                               
fisheries  sciences  to provide  an  adequate  workforce for  the                                                               
DR.  MORAN advised  the fisheries  program attracts  top graduate                                                               
students  who   are  only  limited   by  the  cost   of  tuition;                                                               
traditionally, tuition  and a stipend  would be paid  by research                                                               
grants from  industry.   In fact,  fisheries faculty  members and                                                               
workers are in  demand to replace the expertise  lost from recent                                                               
retirements that have  created a void, for example,  on the North                                                               
Pacific Fishery  Management Council.   He then  provided examples                                                               
of  CFOS  industry  partners:    Hilcorp  Energy  company  funded                                                               
research  in  the  Beaufort  Sea  for  information  to  show  its                                                               
permitting  and  processes  comply  with  federal  standards  and                                                               
regulation; the  summer program  will be  extended into  a winter                                                               
study  (slide  13).    Another example  is  research  related  to                                                               
longline fisheries and  whale depredation (slide 14).   A further                                                               
example is  research related to  declines in the size  of Pacific                                                               
halibut (slide 15).                                                                                                             
1:44:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN asked what attributed to smaller fish.                                                                         
DR. MORAN said  the cause is not entirely known;  one idea is the                                                               
cause  was  depredation  by arrowtooth  flounder,  however,  more                                                               
research is needed.  Another  example of partnering with industry                                                               
is  research  into  the  crab fishery  to  ensure  a  sustainable                                                               
fishery  and crab  size.   Computer models  of catch  and bycatch                                                               
resulted  in a  proposal approved  by the  Board of  Fisheries to                                                               
reduce the size limit (slide  16).  Slide 17 illustrated research                                                               
into  the interaction  of  wild salmon  with  hatchery salmon  to                                                               
ensure  wild salmon  are not  genetically influenced  by hatchery                                                               
salmon.   Slide 18 illustrated  fisheries management  research on                                                               
the decline  of the size of  chinook salmon that has  been linked                                                               
to depredation by salmon shark,  and interactions of hatchery and                                                               
wild fish.  In conclusion,  Dr. Moran presented examples of shark                                                               
research  for biomedical  advances taking  place at  UA Anchorage                                                               
(UAA), and  resources for  policymakers provided  through several                                                               
programs at UA Southeast (UAS) (slide 19).                                                                                      
1:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
^Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources                                                                                  
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                  
         Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources                                                                      
1:48:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN  announced that  the  final  order of  business                                                               
would be a confirmation hearing  for the commissioner designee of                                                               
the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                            
1:50:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CORRI  FEIGE,   Commissioner  Designee,  Department   of  Natural                                                               
Resources  (DNR),  reviewed  her  qualifications  and  30  years'                                                               
experience  in  the  natural  resources   industry.    She  is  a                                                               
geophysicist  and engineer,  and her  work around  the world  has                                                               
provided a  clear understanding  of the  importance of  a robust,                                                               
scientifically-based   permitting  process.      She  noted   her                                                               
experience working  in the  mining, oil  and gas,  and geothermal                                                               
industries,  and  with  new energy  technologies.    Commissioner                                                               
Feige described  her responsibilities in private  enterprise; her                                                               
experience  in the  public sector  is one  and one-half  years as                                                               
director  of  the Division  of  Oil  and  Gas  (DOG), DNR.    She                                                               
provided   a  short   personal  history   and  said   her  family                                                               
experiences established  her belief in careful  and diligent land                                                               
and resource  management, an  appreciation that  the conservation                                                               
and  management  of  land  and water  includes  multiple  uses  -                                                               
including  heavy  industry and  business  -  along with  hunting,                                                               
fishing,  and  outdoor  recreation.    She  said  inclusive  land                                                               
stewardship and management drives  strong economies, builds jobs,                                                               
and a good quality of life.   As commissioner, her priorities for                                                               
Alaska  include  the following:    successfully  manage land  and                                                               
resources;  multiple use  of land;  support  a thriving  economy;                                                               
support local communities; secure  the remaining federal land due                                                               
to Alaska;  direct DNR to  provide opportunities for  the present                                                               
and the future.  Commissioner Feige  said she would be honored to                                                               
lead the  DNR team, which  is composed of over  900 professionals                                                               
who  have contributed  nearly $1.5  billion in  state revenue  in                                                               
fiscal year 2018 (FY 18).                                                                                                       
1:55:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN  asked whether  there is a  timeline for                                                               
securing the  four million  to five million  acres due  to Alaska                                                               
from the federal government.                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  advised, since transition, DNR  contacted the                                                               
Bureau of Land Management (BLM),  U.S. Department of the Interior                                                               
(DOI), about  the high priority  land classification  areas, such                                                               
as areas  of economic development  and settlement, or  areas that                                                               
are   prospective   for   mineral  extraction   or   agriculture.                                                               
Furthermore,  DNR reviewed  BLM's administrative  process related                                                               
to the release of the title  of selected land, and to public land                                                               
orders.   She opined DNR,  the state, and  Alaska's congressional                                                               
delegation need to  keep a constant pressure  on federal agencies                                                               
to  reach  DNR's internal  goal  of  attaining approximately  one                                                               
million acres  from [Public  Land Order No.  5150], which  is the                                                               
corridor along  the Trans-Alaska  Pipeline System  (TAPS), within                                                               
the next three years.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  about the  reevaluation  of  the                                                               
Division of Agriculture (DoAg).                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  responded the governor's budget  revealed the                                                               
administration's priorities  for DoAg:   phytosanitary inspection                                                               
program  to certify  timber  and  agricultural exports;  invasive                                                               
species  eradication  program to  protect  crops  and soils;  the                                                               
[Foundation  Seed  Program].    Other  programs  that  have  been                                                               
established and  funded by  the state, such  as the  Alaska Grown                                                               
program, can be  turned over to the private  sector and supported                                                               
by industry.                                                                                                                    
2:00:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER questioned  whether  the private  sector                                                               
has responded [to the governor's priorities].                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE has  heard some  positive responses  and some                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  inquired  as  to  Commissioner  Feige's                                                               
vision to grow the mining industry.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE recalled  mining  and  mining exploration  in                                                               
Alaska has been  active for the last two years;  Alaska is ranked                                                               
one  of  the   top  ten  provinces  in  the   world  for  mineral                                                               
exploration  and  discovery  success.   In  fact,  mining  claims                                                               
increased  by 216  percent between  2016-2017;  she opined  DNR's                                                               
role is:  to ensure  a transparent permitting process; to correct                                                               
errors in the language on  forms that created problems for placer                                                               
miners  and   others;  to   communicate  DNR's   expectations  on                                                               
permitting;  to  facilitate   mining  applications;  to  continue                                                               
ground-based  field  work  by  the  Division  of  Geological  and                                                               
Geophysical  Surveys (DGGS)  that  provides data  to industry  in                                                               
participation  with programs  conducted  by  the U.S.  Geological                                                               
Survey  (USGS),  DOI.   In  further  response  to  Representative                                                               
Rauscher, she  said she  seeks to  serve as  commissioner because                                                               
the state  has enormous resource  extraction potential  but fails                                                               
to  connect with  industry and  present opportunities  to develop                                                               
2:06:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  observed DNR  will eliminate  its regional                                                               
recording offices  and expressed her  concern about how  DNR will                                                               
serve the recording needs of individuals in rural areas.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  said DNR seeks  to fulfil recording  needs by                                                               
ensuring that residents  in local communities can  access and use                                                               
electronic recording  by making  training documents  available to                                                               
users.   For  miners in  the  Interior who  record affidavits  of                                                               
labor,  DNR   may  provide   a  seasonal   kiosk  or   desk;  she                                                               
acknowledged  electronic  recording is  not  a  solution for  all                                                               
areas of the state.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN related  the mariculture  industry depends                                                               
upon  DNR   permitting  sites  for  hatcheries   and  mariculture                                                               
projects.   She heard DNR  may revoke a  permit to a  hatchery in                                                               
Tutka Bay  established 40  years ago  - that is  a member  of the                                                               
Cook Inlet  Aquaculture Association -  and that has  permits from                                                               
Alaska  Department of  Fish &  Game  (ADFG).   She suggested  DNR                                                               
should  only  review  the "land-permitting  side  of  aquaculture                                                               
management ...."                                                                                                                
2:10:05 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE clarified  the  DNR permit  relative to  Cook                                                               
Inlet Aquaculture Association is issued  by the Division of Parks                                                               
and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR), DNR,  because the hatchery resides                                                               
within Kachemak  Bay State Park.   The  hatchery is located  in a                                                               
cove and is operated on a lease  with ADFG.  The hatchery made an                                                               
application to place  net pens in the bay, an  activity that does                                                               
not align with  other park activities in the  Kachemak Bay scenic                                                               
area, according  to DPOR.   Further,  the [Kachemak  Bay Critical                                                               
Habitat Area  Management Plan]  is currently  under review.   She                                                               
assured the  committee DNR has  enormous interest  in mariculture                                                               
and  has  received  over  500  mariculture  permit  applications;                                                               
however,   DNR  discovered   the  statutory   language  for   the                                                               
mariculture  program does  not  include  provisions for  renewing                                                               
leases.  She  said DNR seeks changes that  will allow mariculture                                                               
businesses to  renew their applications  and avoid  expensive and                                                               
lengthy reapplications.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS inquired  as to  DNR's responsibility  to                                                               
consult  with   residents  and   local  governments   during  the                                                               
permitting processes for large-scale mining operations.                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE advised  large mine  permit applications  are                                                               
presented  to the  Office of  Project  Management and  Permitting                                                               
(OPMP),  DNR,  which  is  currently   reviewing  two  large  mine                                                               
projects  and several  oil and  gas  projects.   The process  for                                                               
consultation  [with  affected  communities] is  attached  to  the                                                               
application for  the permit sought  from the state, not  from the                                                               
federal  government.   She described  the process  leading up  to                                                               
DNR's release of  a draft that subsequently is  open to community                                                               
consultation;  at that  time, the  permitting  teams have  public                                                               
meetings  in the  communities near  the location  of the  mine or                                                               
other  project.    She  cautioned  the  state  process  is  often                                                               
confused  with  the National  Environmental  Policy  Act of  1969                                                               
(NEPA)  government   to  government  consultation,  which   is  a                                                               
separate  process  wholly  between  federal  agencies  and  local                                                               
governments;  however,  the  state must  treat  all  stakeholders                                                               
equally.     Therefore,   when   DNR  receives   a  request   for                                                               
consultation OPMP  will arrange  for translators  when necessary,                                                               
and she  gave an example.   She restated the importance  that DNR                                                               
receive comments and ensure that  stakeholders and any interested                                                               
parties  have access  to pertinent  information.   However, DNR's                                                               
response  to a  request for  consultation or  information may  be                                                               
delayed due to its thorough consideration of requests.                                                                          
2:18:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  informed the  committee an  opinion piece                                                               
[published 2/10/19]  written by  Peter Evon,  Executive Director,                                                               
Orutsararmiut Native Council (ONC),  reported that ONC's concerns                                                               
and  requests  for  dialogue  -  regarding  permits  specifically                                                               
related to  the Donlin project  - were repeatedly ignored  by the                                                               
state [document  not provided].   He asked whether  said requests                                                               
were  known by  Commissioner  Feige  and for  her  view on  "that                                                               
disconnect between  the local government  and the  department ...                                                               
as that important local input."                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE advised  some of  the abovementioned  permits                                                               
related to  Donlin will be issued  by other agencies such  as the                                                               
Department   of   Environmental    Conservation   (DEC).      She                                                               
acknowledged  many easement  and  land use  permit requests  were                                                               
issued in draft form for  public engagement and consultation "all                                                               
at once,  and I  think that  that led  to some,  some confusion."                                                               
Currently, DNR and  DEC have 19 state regulatory  actions out for                                                               
public comment, some  of which have been ongoing  since 2017, and                                                               
she gave  examples.   She restated all  are invited  to community                                                               
meetings in each  region and said she  needed further information                                                               
to respond to questions about a specific request.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS offered to  provide further information in                                                               
this  regard.   He clarified  his  concerns are  not directed  to                                                               
pipeline right of way easements  but to tailings ponds and [long-                                                               
term  mine]  waste disposal,  and  how  a local  government  with                                                               
preferred  methods   for  tailings  waste,  for   example,  could                                                               
influence the permitting process.  He asked:                                                                                    
     But if  a local  government is  saying, "We  don't want                                                                    
     this in our backyard  for the next thousand-plus years"                                                                    
     ...  how do  you  take into  account  those type[s]  of                                                                    
     concerns,  when it  comes to  the  permitting of  these                                                                    
     projects. ... You deal  with those waste-water permits,                                                                    
     so how do you view that in the permitting process?                                                                         
2:22:16 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  opined local  comments  are  critical.   She                                                               
recalled the  [Coastal Zone  Management Act  of 1972  created the                                                               
Alaska  Coastal Management  Program  that was  repealed in  2011]                                                               
formerly provided  for the local  review of  projects; currently,                                                               
DNR  seeks  local  consultation  to  incorporate  valuable  local                                                               
knowledge  from subsistence  hunters  and residents  who use  the                                                               
land.   She urged  all residents  of an  affected region  to take                                                               
part  in  local meetings  and  inform  DNR.   Commissioner  Feige                                                               
extensively described  the Alaska  Dam Safety Program  within the                                                               
Division  of  Mining, Land  and  Water,  DNR, and  the  differing                                                               
characteristics of tailings dam construction.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  restated  his  question as  to  how  the                                                               
commissioner  would  incorporate  overwhelming  resistance  to  a                                                               
large-scale tailings  pond from a local  government or community,                                                               
into the permitting process.                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  said  alternative  methods  or  designs  are                                                               
considered  material   comments  and   would  be   presented  for                                                               
comparison and evaluation by engineers.  She remarked:                                                                          
     And  whichever  is  the most  appropriate  and  is  the                                                                    
     safest and can provide ...  the best overall fit to the                                                                    
     safety of  environment and  local communities  for that                                                                    
     operation,  then   ...  if  someone   brings  something                                                                    
     forward  that's better,  that  would  be evaluated  and                                                                    
     incorporated in ....                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  further advised  changes  can  also be  made                                                               
through the "alternatives analysis" of the NEPA process.                                                                        
2:26:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS   surmised   overwhelming   support   or                                                               
opposition from local government  is incorporated into the review                                                               
of facilities such as tailings ponds.                                                                                           
2:27:14 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER   FEIGE  said   yes.     In   further  response   to                                                               
Representative Hopkins she  said the cost and  profitability of a                                                               
mine project  are not a  factor in  the evaluation of  the safest                                                               
design for a mine.  She said:                                                                                                   
     We don't  sell permits,  that's not  what we're  in the                                                                    
     business  to  do.    What  we do  is  ensure  that  the                                                                    
     technology and  the engineering  that's being  put, put                                                                    
     forward on  whatever project is,  is the best  and most                                                                    
     secure available. ...  It is then up to  the company to                                                                    
     iterate  back and  say, "All  right  with that  change,                                                                    
     does my 'economics' still work?"                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  asked Commissioner Feige to  comment on                                                               
the 17 permits  for Donlin mine that have  been issued subsequent                                                               
to the change in administration.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  clarified  there  are  19  state  regulatory                                                               
actions that have not been issued  but are presently out in draft                                                               
form for public  comment.  She explained a major  decision at the                                                               
federal  level is  followed  by state  action;  for example,  the                                                               
Donlin  record  of decision  (ROD)  precipitated  the release  of                                                               
[draft] state permits  that were already underway,  and that then                                                               
were opened for public comment and consultation.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  expressed  her understanding  that  "a                                                               
floodgate of  new permits at the  state level would come  out ...                                                               
would  follow the  federal  approval."   She  stated her  concern                                                               
about  the number  of draft  actions is  whether residents  of an                                                               
affected  community  in  a  remote  region  would  have  time  to                                                               
adequately  research  and  consider  issues and  to  formulate  a                                                               
2:31:51 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE opined  the public  meetings are  "clustered"                                                               
because it is easier to address  several issues, such as right of                                                               
way easements,  all at  once; combining  the meetings  saves time                                                               
for residents and DNR wants  residents to understand the projects                                                               
"holistically,"  which may  include access  issues or  pipelines.                                                               
She acknowledged the projects are large and complex.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ   acknowledged   integrating   various                                                               
permits  or actions  to present  to the  community at  once makes                                                               
sense.  However,  she questioned whether community  members - who                                                               
are not engineers or scientists  - under these circumstances, can                                                               
be adequately informed, and asked  for assurance DNR will provide                                                               
a meaningful  opportunity for residents to  process the presented                                                               
information and respond.                                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE pointed  out public  consultation on  some of                                                               
the  draft permits  began in  2017,  thus on  each large  project                                                               
there  are  multiple  opportunities  to  review  information  and                                                               
return to question knowledgeable  parties; furthermore, there are                                                               
project websites with comments and  responses to inquiries posted                                                               
therein.    She  assured  the committee  DNR  strives  to  inform                                                               
community members of the information they need.                                                                                 
2:36:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  opined adequate public  process is  more important                                                               
than ever; residents living in  proximity to the Donlin mine have                                                               
reported  agencies  have  not responded  to  their  requests  for                                                               
consultation.  Although meetings  in the community were scheduled                                                               
to comply  with public notice,  she cautioned that  meetings have                                                               
not resulted in  full engagement with local  residents and Tribal                                                               
leadership and failed  to share information in  a meaningful way.                                                               
She pointed out state actions  have become more important because                                                               
the  federal  administration   has  shortened  its  environmental                                                               
impact statement (EIS)  process thus state oversight  by DNR will                                                               
need to  be more diligent.   Returning attention to  the Division                                                               
of Agriculture, she reminded the  committee of the level of state                                                               
investment that  was required  to ensure the  success of  the oil                                                               
and gas industry  and suggested other young  industries also need                                                               
state support  to become long-term, sustainable  industries.  Co-                                                               
Chair Tarr then referred to  Commissioner Feige's resume provided                                                               
in the  committee packet and  noted Commissioner Feige  is listed                                                               
as  president and  principal consultant  for The  Castle Mountain                                                               
Group, Inc.; she inquired as  to a possible conflict of interest.                                                               
Also,  she  questioned  whether continuing  budget  cuts  to  DNR                                                               
staffing have delayed lease sales and permitting.                                                                               
2:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  explained The  Castle  Mountain  Group is  a                                                               
corporation co-owned  with her husband; its  corporate activities                                                               
continue  and   are  completely   unrelated  to  those   of  DNR.                                                               
Regarding  staffing, she  said DNR  has experienced  difficulties                                                               
recruiting   and  retaining   staff  in   recent  years   due  to                                                               
instability and competition  brought by the oil,  gas, and mining                                                               
private  sectors.   She  said of  DNR's  900 budgeted  positions,                                                               
about 100  are vacant,  and each  division will  refill positions                                                               
based on a priority to fill permitting adjudication vacancies.                                                                  
CO-CHAIR TARR expressed  her concern about the  potential loss of                                                               
jobs to opportunities outside of Alaska.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO   recalled  past  state   land  disposal                                                               
programs that  have consisted  of very remote  land with  no road                                                               
access  and have  been  unsuccessful, for  example,  land in  the                                                               
Denali Borough at Mucha Lake,  which has been available for about                                                               
15 years; in fact, he said he has  been told all the good land is                                                               
gone.  He asked whether  there is available state-owned land with                                                               
access  and  with  development possibilities,  and  if  the  land                                                               
disposal program can be improved.                                                                                               
2:46:54 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  informed  the committee  the  administration                                                               
seeks to  put more acreage  into private hands;  she acknowledged                                                               
the available land  is remote but opined  there are opportunities                                                               
created by  current technology.   She  returned to  the [ongoing]                                                               
conveyance  of land  from BLM  and said  the Division  of Mining,                                                               
Land,  and  Water reviewed  the  land  classification process  to                                                               
prioritize land selection  and to focus on an  expanded amount of                                                               
settlement  land, agricultural  land, and  areas near  the Nenana                                                               
River bridge.                                                                                                                   
2:49:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN opened  public  testimony  on the  confirmation                                                               
hearing of Corri Feige, commissioner  to DNR.  After ascertaining                                                               
no one wished to testify, public testimony was closed.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK returned  attention to  Commissioner Feige's                                                               
resume and pointed out her  work history with The Castle Mountain                                                               
Group and  other entities.   He questioned  whether her  work for                                                               
The  Castle  Mountain Group  will  continue  during her  term  as                                                               
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE restated  work  done by  The Castle  Mountain                                                               
Group  "on  the  aviation  side"   is  managed  by  her  husband;                                                               
furthermore,  The Castle  Mountain Group  is an  "S corp  entity"                                                               
thus the  corporation continues,  although she is  not affiliated                                                               
with the corporation.  Aurora  Geophysical Services was a company                                                               
founded in the mid-'90s that is now closed.                                                                                     
2:51:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  referred  to   her  position  with  Pioneer                                                               
Natural  Resources/Evergreen  Resources  during the  time  of  an                                                               
"anti-development frenzy" and asked for  more information on this                                                               
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE explained  Evergreen Resources  was exploring                                                               
in the  Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su)  area near Port  MacKenzie for                                                               
coal bed  methane, which led  to an anti-development  frenzy from                                                               
property  owners who  were unaware  they did  not own  subsurface                                                               
mineral rights  to their  property.  She  said campaigns  to stop                                                               
the  development  of coal  syngas  came  to  Alaska and  DNR  was                                                               
unprepared  for  questions  from  the  public  about  development                                                               
activities  and   possible  impacts   to  private   water  wells.                                                               
Commissioner  Feige  said  there  was  misinformation  spread  by                                                               
Outside interests and  to avoid a similar  situation there should                                                               
be  numerous   opportunities  for   public  engagement   to  hear                                                               
proponents  and  opponents  answer   questions  about  a  certain                                                               
development.   In  further response  to Representative  Tuck, she                                                               
opined there is  no longer an anti-development  frenzy, but there                                                               
should  always  be  healthy   tension  between  natural  resource                                                               
project  proponents   and  opponents,   which  leads   to  better                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  expressed his concern about  the elimination                                                               
of  the Division  of  Agriculture  and its  programs  due to  the                                                               
administration's priorities.   He recognized Commissioner Feige's                                                               
long experience working  with the oil and gas  industry and urged                                                               
her to  represent the agricultural  industry in the  same manner.                                                               
He remarked:                                                                                                                    
     I believe  that you have  a lot of good  experience and                                                                    
     would do  a great job  at this, as  long as you  have a                                                                    
     listening ear  from the governor and  from Donna Arduin                                                                    
     [Director, Office  of Management and Budget,  Office of                                                                    
     the Governor].                                                                                                             
2:57:38 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER FEIGE responded:                                                                                                   
     ...  while   the  Division  of  Agriculture   has  been                                                                    
     proposed  for downsizing  it's not  going away  and the                                                                    
     core  programs   that  have  been  retained   ...  were                                                                    
     identified  as, as  those most  impactful  ... for  the                                                                    
     state  dollars in,  in the  budget as  conceived.   ...                                                                    
     We're,  we're in  the  process now  of  trying to  find                                                                    
     solutions so that those programs  like the Alaska Grown                                                                    
     and like  the farmers'  market program  can potentially                                                                    
     continue if, if the industry desires ....                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK restated  his  main concern  is the  process                                                               
that  the  administration  used  without  first  talking  to  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS appreciated  Commissioner Feige's response                                                               
that it  is important for  DNR to  listen to comments  from local                                                               
communities.   He referred to the  commissioner's 1/15/19 opinion                                                               
piece  related   to  Donlin   [Gold]  permitting   [document  not                                                               
provided].    The  statement referenced  DNR's  interaction  with                                                               
Calista  Corporation and  The Kuskokwim  Corporation  (TKC).   He                                                               
     I wanted  to ask if  you are aware  of the dozen  or so                                                                    
     community  and Tribal  resolutions  that have  publicly                                                                    
     said  they  do  not  support the  Donlin  mine  in  its                                                                    
     current  form,  and how  would  you  take into  account                                                                    
     those 12 or  so communities that oppose it  ... and how                                                                    
     would  you incorporate  that  into  modifying a  mine's                                                                    
     construction  or modifying  the  requirements that  you                                                                    
     put  in a  permit to  move forward  with a  large scale                                                                    
     [mine permit].                                                                                                             
3:00:50 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE expressed  her belief  the comments  from the                                                               
communities in opposition are very  important and she urged those                                                               
concerned to  provide alternatives  that could  become a  part of                                                               
the analyses and design of  the project "if it's appropriate, you                                                               
know, and the  engineering side bears out."   In further response                                                               
to Representative Hopkins, she said she  was aware of a number of                                                               
resolutions [in opposition].                                                                                                    
3:01:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR read the following statement:                                                                                     
     The    resources    committee    has    reviewed    the                                                                    
     qualifications    of    the    governor's    appointee,                                                                    
     Commissioner   Corri  Feige,   Department  of   Natural                                                                    
     Resources, and  recommends that  the name  be forwarded                                                                    
     to a  joint session for  consideration.  This  does not                                                                    
     reflect intent  by any  of the members  to vote  for or                                                                    
     against  this individual  during  any further  sessions                                                                    
     for the purposes of confirmation.                                                                                          
3:02:00 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:02 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HRES Building Alaska’s Blue Economy – Alaska’s College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences 3.4.19.pdf HRES 3/4/2019 1:00:00 PM
Corri Feige Resume.pdf HRES 3/4/2019 1:00:00 PM
Corri Feige
Corri Feige Supporting Document - Letter of Support 3-4-19.pdf HRES 3/4/2019 1:00:00 PM
Corri Feige Confirmation