Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

02/22/2021 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:01:54 PM Start
01:10:55 PM Overview(s): Dept. of Natural Resources
02:27:14 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview: Dept. of Natural Resources TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 22, 2021                                                                                        
                           1:01 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Josiah Patkotak, Chair                                                                                           
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Grier Hopkins                                                                                                    
Representative Calvin Schrage                                                                                                   
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Mike Cronk                                                                                                       
Representative Ronald Gillham                                                                                                   
Representative Tom McKay                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW(S): DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CORRI FEIGE, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered an overview of the work that the                                                                 
Department of Natural Resources does.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BRENT GOODRUM, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-presented a PowerPoint overviewing the                                                                
divisions of the Department of Natural Resources with Deputy                                                                    
Commissioner Sara Longan.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SARA LONGAN, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Co-presented  a PowerPoint  overviewing the                                                             
divisions  of the  Department of  Natural  Resources with  Deputy                                                               
Commissioner Brent Goodrum.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARTY PARSONS, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Mining, Land, and Water                                                                                             
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Responded  to   questions  during   the                                                             
PowerPoint about the aquatic farm leasing program.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation                                                                                        
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Responded  to   questions  during   the                                                             
PowerPoint   presentation   about   projects  his   division   is                                                               
undertaking.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  JOSIAH  PATKOTAK  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to order  at  1:01:54  p.m.   Representatives                                                               
Patkotak,  Hopkins, Schrage,  Hannan,  Rauscher, Cronk,  Gillham,                                                               
and  McKay were  present at  the call  to order.   Representative                                                               
Fields arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK introduced  himself  to the  committee and  asked                                                               
each member  to offer a  brief history on his/her  district's and                                                               
personal interest in state resource management.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  brought about  the first  order of  business, the                                                               
nomination of a vice chair for the Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN nominated Representative Hopkins.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   PATKOTAK  declared   that  there   being  no   objection,                                                               
Representative Hopkins was the vice chair.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS thanked the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK moved  on and  addressed some  memos sent  out to                                                               
committee  members over  the weekend.    The first  was from  the                                                               
Rules  Chair  regarding  bill   hearing  requests  and  committee                                                               
protocols.  The second was  from Chair Patkotak himself regarding                                                               
amendments  and  protocols  for legislation  brought  before  the                                                               
House  Resources Standing  Committee.    He encouraged  committee                                                               
members to reach out to his office with any questions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  if it  would be  objectionable to                                                               
propose  an amendment  during  a meeting  rather  than having  it                                                               
drafted beforehand by Legislative Legal Services.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK said  those could be worked through  on a case-by-                                                               
case basis and offered to  address protocol issues outside of the                                                               
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^OVERVIEW(S): Dept. of Natural Resources                                                                                        
            OVERVIEW(S): Dept. of Natural Resources                                                                         
                                                                                                                              
1:10:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATOKTAK  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                               
be the overview of the Department of Natural Resources(DNR).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:11:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CORRI  FEIGE,  Commissioner,  Department  of  Natural  Resources,                                                               
offered  an  overview  of  the work  the  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR) does.   She explained that  DNR connects Alaskans                                                               
and gives  them access  and utilization  of state  lands, waters,                                                               
and resources.   Alaska is  586,412 square miles,  she continued,                                                               
making it  twice the  size of  Texas and larger  than all  but 18                                                               
sovereign  nations.   Despite  being  60  years after  statehood,                                                               
Alaska is owed  4.5 million acres of  statehood entitlement lands                                                               
from  the federal  government, and  closing  this gap  is one  of                                                               
DNR's  mandates.    The  department's   mission  is  to  develop,                                                               
conserve, and maximize  Alaska's natural resources in  a way that                                                               
is consistent with  the public interest.  This  requires that the                                                               
department be  highly transparent,  accountable, and  balanced in                                                               
its decision making and stewardship.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE then  explained that  DNR is  responsible for                                                               
management of  roughly 165  million acres  of state  public land.                                                               
This includes  activities such as  state land sales,  leasing for                                                               
oil and  gas, geothermal and mineral  development, and commercial                                                               
land leasing focuses  such as big game  guide camps, mariculture,                                                               
and solar  and wind  farms.  The  department is  also responsible                                                               
for the permitting and regulatory  oversite of many of these same                                                               
activities.  She further stated  that DNR is also responsible for                                                               
water   management,   timber    sales,   wildland   firefighting,                                                               
agricultural development, outdoor  recreation management, and the                                                               
identification and monitoring of  potential geologic hazards such                                                               
as volcanos and landslides.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  stressed that  all these services  are relied                                                               
upon  by Alaskans.   She  noted  that 2019  was an  exceptionally                                                               
difficult  fire season,  and that  in  the wake  of the  COVID-19                                                               
pandemic, 2020 saw record breaking  use of parks and recreational                                                               
facilities.   All nine  of DNR's  divisions have  transitioned to                                                               
remote  work in  response to  the pandemic  and have  migrated as                                                               
many functions online  as possible.  However,  she continued, the                                                               
doors were kept  open to the public in a  COVID-19 safe manner in                                                               
places that could not operate remotely.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK thanked Commissioner Feige for the overview.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:15:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENT  GOODRUM,   Deputy  Commissioner,  Department   of  Natural                                                               
Resources,  co-presented a  PowerPoint overviewing  the divisions                                                               
of the  Department of Natural Resources  with Deputy Commissioner                                                               
Sara  Longan.   He  reiterated  Commissioner  Feige's point  that                                                               
throughout the  Covid-19 pandemic, DNR  has worked to  be nimble,                                                               
resourceful, and responsive to the  needs of the people it serves                                                               
and  to  keep  the  state's  economy moving  along,  and  it  has                                                               
remained open for business.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER GOODRUM  then moved  on to  the presentation                                                               
with  slide   2,  entitled  "Department  of   Natural  Resources:                                                               
Organization  Chart."    This  slide  showed  the  organization's                                                               
structure, including  department heads and the  nine subdivisions                                                               
within  DNR.     He  explained  that  the   organization  of  the                                                               
presentation aligned  with information  previously shared  in the                                                               
department's program guide.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM  directed  attention  to  slide  3,                                                               
"Division of  Agriculture."   He began  by citing  the division's                                                               
mission: "To promote and encourage  development of an agriculture                                                               
industry  in  the  State,"  and  mentioned that  it  is  lead  by                                                               
Director  David Schade.    He then  explained  that the  division                                                               
works  to  protect  Alaska's  natural  resources  and  ecosystems                                                               
through invasive plant, pest,  and pathogen detection eradication                                                               
and  management  programs.    He  said DNR  has  also  worked  to                                                               
strengthen Alaska  food security through activities  at the Plant                                                               
Materials  Center,  and state  and  United  States Department  of                                                               
Agriculture(USDA)  agriculture production  programs.   Inspectors                                                               
from DNR's Division of Agriculture  continued work throughout the                                                               
COVID-19 pandemic  to help the  flow of local produce  within the                                                               
state,  as  well  as  phytosanitary   inspections  that  made  it                                                               
possible  to export  over $100  million  of logs  and peonies  in                                                               
2020.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM directed attention  to slide 4.   He                                                               
stated  that the  Division of  Agriculture works  to provide  all                                                               
Alaskan natural  resource industries and adjacent  state agencies                                                               
with  supporting   technical  service   and  native   plants  for                                                               
reclamation  projects associated  with construction,  mining, oil                                                               
and gas activities,  and other such interests.   The division has                                                               
recently  established   the  Industrial  Hemp  program   and  has                                                               
revamped   market  and   grant  services   programs.     He  then                                                               
highlighted the success of the  Elodea project, which is believed                                                               
to have eradicated 70 percent of Elodea in Sucker Lake complex.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:18:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM  then  began  the  portion  of  the                                                               
presentation  on the  Division of  Forestry, which  is headed  by                                                               
Acting Director  Tim Dabney.   He directed attention to  slide 5,                                                               
sub-headed  "Forest Management  and Development,"  which read  as                                                               
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Mission:  To develop,  conserve,  and enhance  Alaska's                                                                    
     forests  to  provide  a sustainable  supply  of  forest                                                                    
     resources for Alaskans.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Sold 31 commercial timber sales  and manages 47 million                                                                    
     acres of  forests on state  land including  three state                                                                    
     forests.                                                                                                                   
     ? Implementation of the  Forest Resources and Practices                                                                    
     Act  on private  lands supported  the harvest  of 127.5                                                                    
     million bd  feet of  logs valued  at $124.3  million in                                                                    
     the export markets.                                                                                                        
     ? The  Alaska Roadless Rule process  came to conclusion                                                                    
     with the successful removal  of roadless designation on                                                                    
     9.3 million acres on the Tongass National Forest.                                                                          
     ? Completed upgrades to the  Vallenar Bay road ($400.0)                                                                    
     in support  of the Good Neighbor  Authority timber sale                                                                    
     on  Gravina Island,  a joint  timber sale  project with                                                                    
     the USFS.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM directed attention to  slide 6, sub-                                                               
headed  "Wildland   Fire  Management,"  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     ? 348  fires burned 181  thousand acres as  compared to                                                                    
     last season when 2.5 million acres were blackened.                                                                         
     ?  Alaska Incident  Management Teams  (IMT), crews  and                                                                    
     individual  resources provided  much needed  support to                                                                    
     the L-48 states during their "fire year."                                                                                  
     ? The  Alaska Type I IMT  deployed to CO to  manage the                                                                    
     Grizzley Ck Fire  and to CA to the  August Complex, the                                                                    
     largest in the state.                                                                                                      
     ? Emergency  Fire Fighter  (EFF) crews  and individuals                                                                    
     earned $3.5 million in wages                                                                                               
     ? Cost recovery efforts to  date in FY21 have collected                                                                    
     $2.1 million from parties responsible for fires.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER   GOODRUM  noted   that  in   2020  wildland                                                               
firefighting was a major concern  due to the safety challenges of                                                               
the COVID-19 pandemic.   The division worked  with the Department                                                               
of  Health  and Social  Services  (DHSS)  to establish  effective                                                               
COVID-19  protocols  for  both  team members  and  out  of  state                                                               
resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:21:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  about  the status  of federal  cost                                                               
recovery for  the 2019  fire season, acknowledging  that it  is a                                                               
multi-year process.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISIONER   GOODRUM  replied  that  [the   Division  of                                                               
Forestry]  is   working  with  the   federal  government   to  be                                                               
reimbursed.  He noted that there  were four major fires that year                                                               
that qualified  for reimbursement,  and the  division anticipates                                                               
over $30 million  in reimbursement funds.  He said  here is still                                                               
some time left on that process, however.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:22:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER commented  that a  bill had  been passed                                                               
that allocated 25 percent of  federal timber sales go to schools.                                                               
He inquired if that was still current.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISIONER GOODRUM replied that  he is not certain of the                                                               
answer to  that question but is  happy to research the  issue and                                                               
get an answer back to Representative Rauscher at a later time.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:23:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA   LONGAN,  Deputy   Commissioner,   Department  of   Natural                                                               
Resources, ,  as co-presenter of  the PowerPoint  overviewing the                                                               
divisions of DNR,  continued onto slide 7, the first  in a series                                                               
of slides offering an overview  on the Division of Geological and                                                               
Geophysical  Surveys (DGGS)  which  is headed  by Director  Steve                                                               
Masterman in  Fairbanks, with supplemental offices  in Anchorage.                                                               
The sub-headings on the slides  are the sections within DGGS, she                                                               
explained, and each  has recent accomplishments listed.   Slide 7                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Mission: To determine the potential  of Alaska land for                                                                    
     production of  metals, minerals, fuels,  and geothermal                                                                    
     resources;  the locations  and supplies  of groundwater                                                                    
     and construction  material; and the  potential geologic                                                                    
     hazards  to   buildings,  roads,  bridges,   and  other                                                                    
     installations.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Mineral Resources                                                                                                          
     ?  Helicopter  airborne  geophysical survey  near  Pogo                                                                    
     flown and published                                                                                                        
     ? Contracted  for additional 35,000  sq km  of airborne                                                                    
     geophysical surveys                                                                                                        
     ? Publications  include new  geologic maps  and mineral                                                                    
     resources reports                                                                                                          
     for the  Denali Highway, Tok River,  and Mount Fairplay                                                                    
     areas                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Energy Resources                                                                                                           
     ? Rescheduled fieldwork to 2021 due to COVID-19                                                                            
     ?  Published  reports on  North  Slope  and Cook  Inlet                                                                    
     petroleum systems                                                                                                          
     ?   Released    structure-from-motion   data   covering                                                                    
     outcrops of  the Nanushuk Formation on  the North Slope                                                                    
     and Usibelli Group in the Nenana basin                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     State Geospatial Program                                                                                                   
     ?   Hired   a   GIO   to   support   inter-agency   GIS                                                                    
     coordination,    which    reinvigorated   the    Alaska                                                                    
     Geospatial Council                                                                                                         
     ?  New statewide  satellite imagery  acquisition (50-cm                                                                    
     resolution)                                                                                                                
     ? State Geoportal launched for all agency GIS data                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:26:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN thanked Deputy  Commissioner Longan and her                                                               
staff with  DGGS on the  record for their response  and expertise                                                               
to the December landslide that was  fatal in Haines.  The ability                                                               
to  produce   equipment,  scientific  experts,  and     emergency                                                               
responders was critical.  While  the ongoing efforts are complex,                                                               
she stated,  the expertise and  aid DGGS provided  was reassuring                                                               
to the community.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:27:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS thanked  Deputy  Commissioner Longan  for                                                               
discussing  DGGS  and  noted the  division  does  important  work                                                               
mapping out  where future  resource development  may happen.   He                                                               
inquired how DGGS decides where to go next.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  LONGAN  explained   that  DGGS  works  with                                                               
government  partners,  experts in  industry,  and  the public  to                                                               
understand  where  the  private  sector might  be  interested  in                                                               
conducting exploration programs.  She  offered DGGS's work on the                                                               
Nanushuk  Formation  as one  example,  as  it interested  private                                                               
sector  teams in  where to  go.   She  explained that  division's                                                               
technical  work  helped  these companies  know  where  to  locate                                                               
specific minerals  and may  lead to  successful drilling  for oil                                                               
and gas  wells.  It is  an ongoing collaborative and  effort, she                                                               
concluded,  and  DGGS  focuses its  efforts  on  those  interests                                                               
brought to its attention.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:29:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  added Deputy Commissioner  Longan's response,                                                               
stating  that on  the mining  side,  DNR works  closely with  the                                                               
United  States  Geologic  Survey  (USGS).    She  explained  that                                                               
certain  areas of  the state  are prospective  for certain  metal                                                               
groups.   In working  with the USGS  through programs  like Earth                                                               
Mapping  Resource  Initiative  (MRI),   the  state  can  leverage                                                               
federal  and  state  funds  towards  mapping  areas  of  resource                                                               
potential.    The  division  is  then  able  to  make  that  data                                                               
available to private sector.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  if   that  meant  the  department                                                               
received interest  along the Denali  Highway, the Tok  River, and                                                               
the Mount Fairplay areas already.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE responded  by  confirming  interest in  these                                                               
areas.  She  noted that the Mount Fairplay area  is known for its                                                               
rare earth  element potential,  and the  Denali Highway  is known                                                               
for  platinum  group  elements  in  addition  to  other  critical                                                               
minerals.    This is  particularly  important  when it  comes  to                                                               
targeting,  she  explained,  because   then  state  and  industry                                                               
geologists can develop the geologic map level of data.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:31:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN then moved to slide 8, which read as                                                                 
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Engineering Geology                                                                                                        
     ? Continued ASTAR sand and  gravel resource analysis of                                                                    
     western NPRA in support of community roads                                                                                 
     ?  Responded  to  landslide events  in  Barry  Arm  and                                                                    
     Haines                                                                                                                     
     ? Published  erosion maps for  more than 40  west coast                                                                    
     communities.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Geologic Information                                                                                                       
     ?  Published   87  new   geologic  maps   and  reports,                                                                    
     including 2,015 square miles of new geologic mapping                                                                       
     ? Served  1.04 million data and  publication files from                                                                    
     the division's website totaling  more than 32 terabytes                                                                    
     of information                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Volcanology                                                                                                                
     ? Upgraded volcano monitoring  instruments at 142 sites                                                                    
     on 12 volcanoes                                                                                                            
     ?  Expanded   and  increased  digital   data  telemetry                                                                    
     capability  at  2  receive facilities  and  5  repeater                                                                    
     sites in the Aleutians and the Alaska Peninsula                                                                            
     ?   Published   386   notices  of   volcanic   activity                                                                    
     describing daily observations of unrest at 8 volcanoes                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Geologic Materials                                                                                                         
     ? Negotiated agreement to receive  >38,000 boxes of oil                                                                    
     and gas cores from a major Alaska producer                                                                                 
     ?  Reduced  visitation  due  to  COVID-19  allowed  re-                                                                    
     organization of materials                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:34:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN then moved to slide 9, entitled                                                                      
"Geological & Geophysical Surveys: Planned for 2021," which read                                                                
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Resource Development                                                                                                       
     ?  Fly  three  Earth  MRI-funded  airborne  geophysical                                                                    
     surveys in the Eastern Interior                                                                                            
     ? Complete  ~2,440 sq. mi.  of geologic mapping  in the                                                                    
     Eastern Interior                                                                                                           
     ? Map ~750  sq. mi in the central  North Slope focusing                                                                    
     on Brookian geology                                                                                                        
     ?  Collaborate  with the  U.S.G.S.  to  drill two  core                                                                    
     holes in the North Slope foothills                                                                                         
     ? Publish  major reports on  the reservoir  quality and                                                                    
     potential of the Nanushuk Formation in NPR-A                                                                               
     ? Conduct  the first  modern lake volume  assessment of                                                                    
     lakes in the 1002 Area of the ANWR                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Hazards and Public Safety                                                                                                  
     ? Continue upgrading  volcano monitoring instruments on                                                                    
     high threat volcanoes                                                                                                      
     ?  Publish tsunami  inundation reports  and present  to                                                                    
     communities                                                                                                                
     ? Publish the first  regional avalanche hazard maps for                                                                    
     southeast and south-central Alaska.                                                                                        
     ? Establish a landslide hazards program in DGGS                                                                            
     ? New  federally funded project to  boost resilience in                                                                    
     communities facing flood and erosion hazards                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Data Delivery                                                                                                              
     ? Establish web services for statewide imagery data                                                                        
     ?  Increase   data  accessibility  e.g.,   provide  web                                                                    
     services  for  stream   sediment  analyses  in  Eastern                                                                    
     Interior                                                                                                                   
     ? Publish new  bedrock geology maps for  the Styx River                                                                    
     and Eastern Tanacross areas                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:35:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS noted that he is interested in learning                                                                   
about the upcoming avalanche hazard maps, for Anchorage in                                                                      
particular.  He did not need a response at this time.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:36:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GOODRUM began the next set of slides focused                                                                
on the Division of Mining, Land & Water, led by Marty Parsons.                                                                  
Slide 10 read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Mission:   Provides  for   the   appropriate  use   and                                                                    
     management  of  Alaska's  state-owned land  and  water,                                                                    
     aiming towards  maximum use consistent with  the public                                                                    
     interest.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     ? The Division  of Mining, Land &  Water (DMLW) manages                                                                    
     more than  160 million acres    a land  base comparable                                                                    
     in size to California and most of Oregon combined.                                                                         
     ?  DMLW  supports  core   missions  of  the  Department                                                                    
     including   acquiring  and   disposing   of  land   and                                                                    
     resources; providing  use of and access  to state lands                                                                    
     for  the public;  fostering responsible  development of                                                                    
     lands;  managing  resource  data;  and  protecting  the                                                                    
     State's  natural resource  assets  consistent with  the                                                                    
     public interest.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GOODRUM next moved onto slide 11, sub-headed                                                                
"In FY2020," which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                        
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Generated $30.7M  in revenues  to the  state through                                                                    
     authorizations  for  use  of state  lands  and  waters,                                                                    
     royalty payments, and land sales                                                                                           
     ? A  total of 3,177.85  acres of  municipal entitlement                                                                    
     land was conveyed to 5 different Boroughs                                                                                  
     ?  Brought in  25,087  acres  of statehood  entitlement                                                                    
     lands                                                                                                                      
     ?  Sold 194  parcels  of  land, totaling  approximately                                                                    
     2,374 acres of land                                                                                                        
     ? Generated  $5.6M in revenue  from land sales  for the                                                                    
     Land Income Disposal Fund                                                                                                  
     ? Issued  the Public  Review Draft  of the  North Slope                                                                    
     Area Plan,  a plan covering approximately  12.5 million                                                                    
     acres of land, for an area  that has never before had a                                                                    
     regional plan developed                                                                                                    
     ?  With  the assistance  of  the  Alaska Army  National                                                                    
     Guard, Bus  142, made  famous from  the book  and movie                                                                    
     "Into the  Wild," was  removed from  the spot  where it                                                                    
     was  abandoned  off  the  Stampede  Trail  near  Healy,                                                                    
     Alaska                                                                                                                     
     ? Entered  into a formal long-term  curation Memorandum                                                                    
     of Understanding  with University  of Alaska  Museum of                                                                    
     the  North in  Fairbanks to  begin the  restoration and                                                                    
     conservation  of  this   fascinating  piece  of  Alaska                                                                    
     history                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY GOODRUM  continued onto  slide 12  which outlined  more of                                                               
the division's  2020 accomplishments.   He noted  that recreation                                                               
opportunities, broadband,  and mining  authorizations are  just a                                                               
few of  the authorizations the  division is responsible for.   He                                                               
also explained that under the  emergency declaration the division                                                               
was  able to  suspend various  fees by  request to  better assist                                                               
Alaskans hardest hit  by the COVID-19 pandemic.   He concluded by                                                               
adding  that the  division is  responsible for  authorizations in                                                               
the aquatic farming industry and on the North Slope.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:38:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  how  the  division monitored  the                                                               
number of users in the Kenny and Patti Barber Shooting Range.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM replied  that personnel work  out of                                                               
the  area, and  there  are  means of  monitoring  who enters  the                                                               
shooting range, and those methods are used to count usage.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:39:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  about  the  aquatic  farm  leasing                                                               
program backlog and how many pending applications are left.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:40:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARTY  PARSONS, Director,  Division of  Mining, Land,  and Water,                                                               
Department  of   Natural  Resources,  answered  that   there  are                                                               
currently 45 applications.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN followed up asking  how old the earliest of                                                               
the  applications is.   She  noted that  there was  a substantial                                                               
backlog and wanted to know  if some applications were still three                                                               
years pending.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARSONS  responded that  there are  still a  few applications                                                               
dating back to 2017.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:41:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY asked to clarify  a number from slide 12, if                                                               
$501.4 million was suspended.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM  responded   that  the  number  was                                                               
$501,400.  He clarified that was thousands, not millions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:41:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  how  far  away  Alaska  is  from                                                               
opening a seventh large mine.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM  responded   that  there  are  many                                                               
smaller  mines  that  the  state   almost  considers  to  be  the                                                               
equivalent of a large mine.   He pointed out that the Donlin Gold                                                               
Project successfully made its way  through the federal permitting                                                               
process, along with  the Ambler Road Project.   He explained that                                                               
permitting of  large mines takes  a considerable amount  of time.                                                               
He  also noted  that in  active mining  locations there  has been                                                               
expansion  of activities.   However,  he finished,  he could  not                                                               
give an exact time frame.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  thanked Deputy Commissioner  Goodrum for                                                               
his explanation  and asked to  meet at  a future time  to discuss                                                               
this.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:43:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  LONGAN began  the  next  section of  slides                                                               
about the  Division of Oil &  Gas.  She presented  slide 13 which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Mission:  Manage  lands  for   oil,  gas  &  geothermal                                                                    
     exploration and  development in a fair  and transparent                                                                    
     manner  to maximize  prudent use  of resources  for the                                                                    
     greatest benefit  of all  Alaskans; facilitates  safe &                                                                    
     environmentally  conscious operation  & maintenance  of                                                                    
     common carrier pipelines.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     In FY2020                                                                                                                  
     ? Verified  and receipted $1.0 billion  in royalty, net                                                                    
     profit share  lease revenues,  rents, bonus  bids, unit                                                                    
     actions, and federal payments                                                                                              
     ? Held  five area-wide  lease sales resulting  in $7.7M                                                                    
     in bonus bids and more than 150,000 acres leased                                                                           
     ?  Collected $20.5  million in  lease rentals  on 1,548                                                                    
     leases                                                                                                                     
     ?  Issued six  net profit  share lease  audits and  one                                                                    
     state royalty audit,  collecting $7.5 million including                                                                    
     interest                                                                                                                   
     ? Expanded the boundary of  the Cook Inlet sale area to                                                                    
     include an additional 169,000  acres of leasable tracts                                                                    
     on and around the Iniskin Peninsula                                                                                        
     ?  Continued releasing  seismic and  well datasets  for                                                                    
     oil  and gas  exploration  projects  that received  tax                                                                    
     credits under AS 43.55.025  through the Alaska Geologic                                                                    
     Materials  Center, with  fee  structure covering  DNR's                                                                    
     admin costs                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN continued to present slide 14 which                                                                  
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In FY2020                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Reviewed and  approved four  new unit  applications:                                                                    
     Alkaid  Unit,  Talitha  Unit, Seaview  Unit,  and  West                                                                    
     Harrison Bay Unit.                                                                                                         
     ?   Implemented  online   lease   bidding  system   and                                                                    
     successfully held its first online lease sale event.                                                                       
     ?   Administered   approximately   2,000   leases   and                                                                    
     licenses, covering nearly 4.2 million acres.                                                                               
     ?  Issued  110  permits  and  amendments  to  authorize                                                                    
     surface activities  for exploration and  development on                                                                    
     State land                                                                                                                 
     ?  Negotiated two  new  financial assurance  agreements                                                                    
     and amended  four major financial  assurance agreements                                                                    
     with  North  Slope and  Cook  Inlet  lessees to  ensure                                                                    
     dismantlement,  removal, and  restoration occur  on the                                                                    
     State's leased land.                                                                                                       
     ? Published  the final Best  Interest Findings  for the                                                                    
     Beaufort  Sea  Areawide,  the Supplement  to  the  Cook                                                                    
     Inlet  Areawide and  the  preliminary  finding for  the                                                                    
     Gulf of Alaska Exploration License.                                                                                        
     ?  Evaluated and  interpreted data  for  the Public  2D                                                                    
     Seismic  Data, Northern  Gulf of  Alaska, Katalla  Area                                                                    
     project to identify  structures and potential reservoir                                                                    
     traps.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:46:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN continued onto slide 15, "BP &                                                                       
Hilcorp Transaction" which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                
provided]:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     ?  $5.6B  of  upstream   and  midstream  interest  sale                                                                    
     announced on August 27, 2019.                                                                                              
     ?  On  June 29,  2020,  the  commissioners of  Alaska's                                                                    
     Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR)  and Department                                                                    
     of Environmental Conservation  approved the transfer of                                                                    
     BP's oil and gas leases to  Hilcorp as part of the $5.6                                                                    
     billion sale.                                                                                                              
     ? On  September 21, 2020, the  midstream was completed.                                                                    
     It was determined Harvest Alaska  was fit, willing, and                                                                    
     able to take on the respective responsibilities and                                                                        
     obligations  for  TAPS,   Milne  Pipelines,  PTEP,  and                                                                    
     Badami Pipelines.                                                                                                          
     ?  DNR economists  analyzed  Hilcorp's economic  models                                                                    
     for the  acquisition on the upstream  and the midstream                                                                    
     sides  of  the  deal. The  National  Economic  Research                                                                    
     Association also did its own analysis of the upstream.                                                                     
     ?   Negotiated   financial  assurance   agreements   to                                                                    
     adequately protect the State  for Hilcorp and Harvest's                                                                    
     respective   upstream   and  midstream   dismantlement,                                                                    
     removal, and restoration (DR&R) obligations.                                                                               
     ?  Negotiated separate  agreements with  BP Corporation                                                                    
     North America  and BP Pipelines (Alaska)  Inc for their                                                                    
     respective   secondary   liability  of   upstream   and                                                                    
     midstream DR&R obligations.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY   COMMISSIONER  LONGAN   further   noted   that  all   the                                                               
information  from all  the public  meetings is  available on  the                                                               
Division of Oil& Gas's website.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:48:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN next  introduced the Office of Project                                                               
Management  & Permitting  (OPMP) which  is led  by Director  Kyle                                                               
Moselle  in Juneau.   She  directed attention  to slide  16 which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Mission:  Coordinate  multi-agency  regulatory  reviews                                                                    
     and  authorizations,   while  collaboratively  engaging                                                                    
     federal  agencies  on  land  use  planning  and  policy                                                                    
     initiatives  to   maintain  and  enhance   the  state's                                                                    
     economy,  quality of  life, and  maximize the  value of                                                                    
     Alaska's vast natural resources.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The Office  of Project  Management &  Permitting (OPMP)                                                                    
     supports private industry,  regulators, and the general                                                                    
     public by coordinating  multi-agency project reviews to                                                                    
     secure consistent, defensible,  transparent, and timely                                                                    
     permit decisions.                                                                                                          
     This model  is unique to  Alaska and offers a  level of                                                                    
     assurance  to the  public  and  companies investing  in                                                                    
     Alaska that permit reviews are robust and transparent.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  LONGAN  next   presented  slide  17.    She                                                               
explained  that   OPMP  coordinates  many  of   Alaska's  largest                                                               
projects, including oil  & gas, mining, and  transportation.  She                                                               
also noted OPMP's contribution to  the Large Mine Permitting Team                                                               
(LMPT), comprised of regulators  from multiple state agencies, is                                                               
responsible  for coordinating  the permitting  compliance of  all                                                               
active mines  in Alaska.   She next referred  to the list  on the                                                               
slide of federal  actions that OPMP had  coordinated, noting that                                                               
OPMP serves as a unified  voice representing many state agencies.                                                               
She  offered the  Coastal Plain  Oil &  Gas Leasing  Program, the                                                               
National Petroleum Reserve in  Alaska (NPR-A) Integrated Activity                                                               
Plan, and the Central Yukon  Resource Management Plan as examples                                                               
of what  OPMP has coordinated.   Deputy Commissioner  Longan also                                                               
pointed out  that many  of the federal  projects OPMP  engages in                                                               
are  multi-year endeavors.    She continued  that  OPMP has  been                                                               
responsible  for  community  outreach  on  the  Arctic  Strategic                                                               
Transportation  and Resources  (ASTAR)  project, working  closely                                                               
with the North Slope Borough and its communities.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM clarified  an earlier  question from                                                               
Representative Rauscher about timelines to  open a new mine.  The                                                               
project, he  explained, has scheduled five  years of construction                                                               
prior to start up, and the  Golden Peak Tetlin Project by Kinross                                                               
Gold Corp. anticipates a start-up sometime in 2024-2025.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GOODRUM then continued  to an overview of the                                                               
Division of  Parks &  Outdoor Recreation,  led by  director Ricky                                                               
Gease,  on slide  18.    He began  with  the division's  mission,                                                               
stating that  it "provides  outdoor recreation  opportunities and                                                               
conserves  and  interprets   natural,  cultural,  and  historical                                                               
resources for  the use,  enjoyment, and  welfare of  the people."                                                               
He  noted  that the  division  operates  the largest  state  park                                                               
system in  the United States, and  prioritizes public protection,                                                               
economic  development,  education,  and  resource  management  by                                                               
providing access to Alaska's world class outdoor recreation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  GOODRUM   explained  that  park  facilities                                                               
provided health, wellness, refuge,  and relief from the isolation                                                               
of  the  "Hunker Down"  orders.    Without tourists,  he  opined,                                                               
Alaskans were able to rediscover  what makes Alaska beautiful and                                                               
unique.   He  informed the  committee that  during the  pandemic,                                                               
state  park  use  increased  in  Alaska  by  20  percent,  almost                                                               
exclusively  all  Alaskan  users.     The  division  launched  an                                                               
improved  reservation  system,  issued permits  and  recreational                                                               
grants,  installed  additional   electronic  fee  stations,  thus                                                               
reducing additional  money handling in the  COVID-19 environment.                                                               
Park rangers assisted in over  60 search and rescue missions, and                                                               
the boating safety class taught  safety lessons virtually.  Last,                                                               
he  concluded, the  State Historic  Preservation Office  reviewed                                                               
over  2,000   projects  and  signed  14   major  project  related                                                               
agreements.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:54:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked about a  boat launch in the Gulkana                                                               
area, stating  that there was a  trade for some land,  and a boat                                                               
launch  was in  question.    He asked  for  clarification on  any                                                               
agreement that may have transpired.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GOODRUM offered  his understanding  that  the Department  of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities (DOTPF)  once acquired  land                                                               
that had  belonged to the  Eklutna village, and those  lands were                                                               
later returned as  part of a right-of-way that  existed some time                                                               
ago.  His understanding is that  the boat launch area is still in                                                               
its  current location.   He  believes there  is some  anticipated                                                               
work to help  improve access, but those lands  have been returned                                                               
to the Eklutna people.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked how  many additional  electronic fee                                                               
stations are still on the list  to add and how close the division                                                               
is to completing that to-do list.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:57:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE, Director, Division  of Parks and Outdoor Recreation,                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources, responded that  the division is                                                               
about half-way through efforts to  put electronic fee stations in                                                               
places  such  as  boat  launches  and parking  areas,  as  it  is                                                               
important to  remove cash handling  and remove  opportunities for                                                               
theft.    These programs  for  the  electronic fee  stations  are                                                               
either  funded   through  capital  budgets  or   with  additional                                                               
revenues through general fund  designated program receipts (GFPR)                                                               
monies.     The   division  makes   investments   as  they   have                                                               
opportunities, he explained.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN said that sounds great.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:58:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS complimented  the  Division  of Parks  and                                                               
Outdoor  Recreation on  a great  job keeping  the parks  open and                                                               
giving individuals  a chance to  socialize safely  outside during                                                               
the pandemic.  He stated  that use in Anchorage was overwhelming.                                                               
He  then asked  how  many cabins  in the  state  park system  the                                                               
division was planning to build in the future.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE replied there are  opportunities probably for about 30-                                                               
40  more.   Those are  opportunity  based through  GFPR funds  or                                                               
grants  such  as  the  Land   Water  Conservation  Fund  and  the                                                               
Recreational Trails programs.  The  division tries to match those                                                               
funds with  available funds with the  legislature through capital                                                               
improvement projects, he explained.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  thanked Mr.  Gease for  his response.   He                                                               
then  inquired  about  trail access  equality  for  lower  income                                                               
citizens and families who cannot afford user fees.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE  replied that  the parks have  free days  including the                                                               
day  after Thanksgiving.   He  also noted  the Kids  in the  Park                                                               
Program.  He  further assured the committee that  the division is                                                               
aware of the  disparities and tries to  provide opportunities for                                                               
all  users  in  Alaska.    He also  noted  that  there  are  free                                                               
campground passes for disabled veterans nationwide.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS further pressed  that there may be families                                                               
below a certain income threshold who  cannot afford park use.  He                                                               
asked  if a  low-income  exemption or  discount  could help  more                                                               
members of  the public enjoy  state parks without having  a large                                                               
negative impact on revenue.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:01:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM noted  that the  slide said  the division                                                               
issued 412  commercial permits in  2020, and that seemed  low for                                                               
the  state.   He also  asked  for information  regarding the  259                                                               
special permits.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE explained  that during a typical year  the state issues                                                               
600-700 commercial  use permits,  and that  is about  a one-third                                                               
dip  on  commercial use  permits.    He  attributed this  to  the                                                               
absence of cruise  ship traffic last season and the  lack of out-                                                               
of-state travelers  due to the  COVID-19 pandemic.   The division                                                               
anticipates similar numbers in 2021  but expects those numbers to                                                               
go back up as the travel industry recovers.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE said  that special use permits cover a  wide variety of                                                               
events and  activities, such as  group events, special  use days,                                                               
and firewood harvesting.   Many things need  special use permits,                                                               
he explained,  and those  are usually  done through  the regional                                                               
headquarter offices.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:04:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GOODRUM directed attention to slide 19,                                                                     
"Support Service Division" which read as follows [original                                                                      
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Mission: Provide  client-focused, efficient,  and cost-                                                                    
     effective   financial,   budget,   procurement,   human                                                                    
     resource,   information    technology   and   recording                                                                    
     services  to the  Department of  Natural Resources  and                                                                    
     the public.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     ?Successfully served our  customers during the pandemic                                                                    
     by creating and improving processes.                                                                                       
       Recorders Office  increased eRecording's and retained                                                                    
     services levels with an overall increase in revenue.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Numbers by Fiscal Year:                                                                                                    
       FY2019 - $4,503,083                                                                                                      
       FY2020 - $5,438,244                                                                                                      
       FY2021 - $3,579,484 (1/2 way through year)                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     ? Continue to work  with DOA to consolidate procurement                                                                    
     and  human  resources to  ensure  a  smooth and  stable                                                                    
     transition  that  will   bring  standardized  processes                                                                    
     across all agencies.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LONGAN introduced slide 20, "Trust Land                                                                     
Office," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Mission:  Protect  and  enhance  the  value  or  Alaska                                                                    
     Mental  Health Trust  Lands, including  minerals, coal,                                                                    
     oil and  gas, timber and real  estate, while maximizing                                                                    
     revenue from  those lands over  time to  support mental                                                                    
     health services.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Generating revenue  for the Alaska Mental  Health Trust                                                                    
     to improve lives of its beneficiaries                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     ?  Generated  $11.5  M to  fund  programs  for  ~85,000                                                                    
     Alaska Mental Health Trust beneficiaries                                                                                   
     ? Completed  sale of 3-acre  Juneau Subport  parcel for                                                                    
     $20 million (included in FY21)                                                                                             
     ? Completed  Phase 2A of  the USFS/Trust  land exchange                                                                    
     and sold timber from those lands                                                                                           
     ?  Viking  Lumber  harvested 13.4  mmbf  of  timber  at                                                                    
     Naukati generating $1.8 million in FY20                                                                                    
     ?  Sealaska completed  the Icy  Cape timber  harvest in                                                                    
     FY20 generating $3.7 million from the sale                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  LONGAN continued  discussing the  Trust Land                                                               
Office   with  slide   21,  which   read  as   follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Initiatives                                                                                                                
     ? Created new online commercial leasing program                                                                            
     ?  Created  new  exclusive access  permit  program  for                                                                    
     professional hunting guides                                                                                                
     ? Created  new online  general permit for  certain uses                                                                    
     of Trust land                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Coming in FY2021                                                                                                           
     ? Finish Phase 2B of the USFS Land                                                                                         
     Exchange                                                                                                                   
     ? Further Exploration of Icy Cape Mineral Project                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:07:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  LONGAN finished the presentation  with slide                                                               
22,  "Commissioner's Office,"  which  read  as follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     ?   Reducing  backlog   of  administrative   appeals                                                                       
     adjudicated 52 in 2019.                                                                                                    
     ?  Actively   promoting  Alaska  resources   to  global                                                                    
     investors.                                                                                                                 
     ? Enhanced federal engagements  to further assertion of                                                                    
     state's                                                                                                                    
     authority over submerged lands and RS2477 protection.                                                                      
     ? Working  effectively with other resource  agencies to                                                                    
     ensure protection  of State's  rights and  assertion of                                                                    
     rights under ANILCA                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  if  there are  any  state  lands                                                               
adjacent to electric utility rights  of way and how vegetation on                                                               
those  lands  is  managed  between utilities  and  the  state  of                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  responded  that   she  assumes  his  concern                                                               
regards the clearing  of potential hazard trees that  can fall on                                                               
powerlines and  cause wildfires.   She offered  her understanding                                                               
that local  utilities are responsible  for clearing  hazard trees                                                               
and other  vegetation that may pose  a wildland fire hazard.   In                                                               
2019, especially  in the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su)  Valley where                                                               
there is a large, standing  dead spruce beetle kill population of                                                               
trees,  DNR  worked  with the  Matanuska  Electrical  Association                                                               
(MEA) to  contract private landowners  if something could  pose a                                                               
fire  hazard.   This  land is  then cleared  by  the Division  of                                                               
Forestry.   This is  part of  the governor's  bond package.   The                                                               
department is establishing a fire  fuel mitigation program, which                                                               
is in  direct response to the  2019 fire year.   During 2019, she                                                               
said, fuel  breaks were  important for  stopping the  progress of                                                               
major fires.  The department is  actively setting up a very large                                                               
program and is  working to determine areas in the  state where it                                                               
needs  to  establish fire  fuel  breaks  in  order to  guard  the                                                               
urban/wildland interface.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:11:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE, in  response to  a follow  up question  from                                                               
Representative   Rauscher,   replied   that  [the   Division   of                                                               
Agriculture]  has  been  working  very hard  and  has  made  food                                                               
security  the number  one priority  during  the COVID-19  crisis.                                                               
Just  in   the  past  week   the  division  has   received  2,600                                                               
applications   for  microgrants.      Many  of   these  are   for                                                               
establishing  things  like  community gardens  and  expansion  of                                                               
neighborhood or private gardens,  specifically for the purpose of                                                               
food  security.   She  concluded  that DOA  and  the Division  of                                                               
Agriculture would  be happy to  return to present  these projects                                                               
to the committee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS thanked  the commissioner  for mentioning                                                               
the  $20  million  in  the  bond  package  for  fire  breaks  and                                                               
mitigations.    He  noted  that  another  $10  million  had  been                                                               
allocated for  fire prevention in  addition to  fire suppression.                                                               
He then  said he would like  the Division of Forestry  to discuss                                                               
what this  will look like  with the  committee when they  have an                                                               
opportunity to present later in the session.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:14:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK  explained that firefighting was  once a big                                                               
source of  income in his  district.  He  opined that he  does not                                                               
think village fire crews are  being used to their maximum benefit                                                               
and commented that instead money is  being spent on [out of state                                                               
fire] crews.   He would like  to reverse that trend  and return a                                                               
fire  academy  to  Tok,  where  he believes  one  was  once  very                                                               
successful.   He asked who  he needs  to work with  to accomplish                                                               
this, stressing  the need to  focus on getting villagers  back to                                                               
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  said she  would connect  Representative Cronk                                                               
with the Division  of Forestry and explained that  changes at the                                                               
federal level have directly impacted  Alaska's ability to utilize                                                               
the crews  from remote communities.   She stated that  DNR agrees                                                               
that putting those  crews back to work is crucial  and would work                                                               
with him to reestablish that program.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:16:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN stated that the  Division of Mining, Land &                                                               
Water has a set of  regulations about public water use permitting                                                               
out for public  comment that has "started to rattle"  some of her                                                               
constituents.  She  wondered how the regulations  may affect many                                                               
communities that  use local water  sources but have never  put in                                                               
an application,  because they always  presumed that they  had the                                                               
right of use.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE explained  that those  regulations are  still                                                               
out  for public  comment,  and therefore  she  cannot respond  in                                                               
detail at this time.   However, she assured Representative Hannan                                                               
that it  is not the department's  intent to make this  harder for                                                               
water users, and that the public  comment period is meant to be a                                                               
clarification  of  process.   She  reiterated  the importance  of                                                               
public  comment, asking  Representative Hannan  to encourage  her                                                               
constituents  to  testify.     Commissioner  Feige  then  assured                                                               
Representative Hannan she  would be happy to sit  down to discuss                                                               
this  in  greater  detail  after the  public  comment  phase  has                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  this regulation  proposal  package                                                               
intercepts with  the Alaska  Department of  Fish and  Game (ADFG)                                                               
and the  Department of Environmental  Conservation (DEC),  and if                                                               
those departments were part of the same public comment process.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONRE FEIGE said  DNR is working with  those two agencies,                                                               
and both ADFG and DEC are taking part in the same process.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:20:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE asked  about  the third  bullet point  on                                                               
slide   12,  which   noted  record   high   numbers  for   active                                                               
applications for different types of  mining.  He wondered what is                                                               
driving record high numbers.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  responded that the numbers  are reflective of                                                               
several  different factors.   First,  she noted,  there are  high                                                               
commodity  prices  presently.    She also  mentioned  new  policy                                                               
initiatives from  the federal  government in  the last  few years                                                               
[that are] relative to divesting  the United States from a public                                                               
and  national   security  perspective  and  away   from  sourcing                                                               
minerals from  adversarial nations.   Plus, she added,  there has                                                               
been tremendous  exploration success.   Moreover,  she concluded,                                                               
Alaska  is highly  ranked globally  as a  mineral investment  and                                                               
mining friendly province.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:22:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK  asked what the  legislature can do  to help                                                               
speed up  developing a mine.   He noted his excitement  about the                                                               
Tetlin-Kinross  partnership  as this  will  produce  jobs in  his                                                               
district  and give  students a  focus on  education to  help fill                                                               
those jobs.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   FEIGE   explained   that  mining   permitting   is                                                               
"authorization  heavy."   The National  Environmental Policy  Act                                                               
(NEPA)  review is  a  large part  of that.    She explained  that                                                               
mining has  a larger footprint  than oil and gas  development and                                                               
there are  [considerations for]  water use,  which leads  to much                                                               
more  required   environmental  documentation.     One   way  the                                                               
legislature and House Resource Standing  Committee can help is to                                                               
message  the federal  government  that having  a streamlined  the                                                               
NEPA  process that  is robust,  transparent, predictable,  and is                                                               
not prone  to "being taken  off on a  side tangent."   Within the                                                               
state,  exploration  and  mapping  can  be  increased  with  more                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  circled back to her  answer to Representative                                                               
Schrage's question, noting that  she referenced the Fraser Report                                                               
regarding  Alaska's  standing  as global  powerhouse  in  mineral                                                               
exploration and development.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:24:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK thanked Commissioner  Feige and offered a synopsis                                                               
of follow-ups  the committee expects  to see from  the department                                                               
regarding topics discussed in the meeting.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:27:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:27 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HRES DNR Overview 2.22.21.pdf HRES 2/22/2021 1:00:00 PM