Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/03/1997 01:32 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                        February 3, 1997                                       
                           1:32 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Jerry Mackie, Chairman                                                
 Senator Gary Wilken, Vice Chairman                                            
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
 Senator Randy Phillips                                                        
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 All members present                                                           
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 64                                                            
 "An Act relating to the Shuyak Island State Park."                            
                                                                               
  - CSSB 64(CRA) ADOPTED AND MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                            
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 62                                                            
 "An Act relating to the payments in lieu of taxes program for                 
 cities in the unorganized borough; and providing for an effective             
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
  - MOVED SB 62 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 64 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
 SB 62 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Mayor Jerome Selby                                                            
 Kodiak Island Borough                                                         
 720 Mill Bay Road                                                             
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information in support of SB 64                
                                                                               
 Barbara Rudio, Chairman                                                       
 Kodiak State Parks Advisory Board                                             
 1711 Mill Bay Road, #1                                                        
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 64                          
                                                                               
 Jim Stratton, Director                                                        
 Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation                                        
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 3601 C St., Suite 1200                                                        
 Anchorage, AK 99503-5921                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 64                          
                                                                               
 Michele Drummond                                                              
 P.O. Box 334                                                                  
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 64                                         
                                                                               
 Kenneth Thompson                                                              
 P.O. Box 20487                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supports SB 64                                         
                                                                               
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 62                                 
                                                                               
 Lamar Cotten, Deputy Commissioner                                             
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                    
 P.O. Box 112100                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-2100                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 62                          
                                                                               
 Bill Rolfzen, Program Administrator                                           
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs                                    
 P.O. Box 112100                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-2100                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 62                           
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
  TAPE 97-4, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
                SB 64 SHUYAK ISLAND STATE PARK                               
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs              
 Committee meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. and noted all members were            
 present.  He then brought SB 64 before the committee and turned the           
 gavel over to Vice Chairman Wilken.                                           
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE , as prime sponsor of SB 64, read the following              
 sponsor statement into the record:                                            
                                                                               
 "I introduced SB 64 at the request of Mayor Jerome Selby and the              
 Kodiak Island Borough Assembly.  It presents one of the final                 
 actions of a long and complex effort by state and federal                     
 authorities and locally affected municipalities to compensate for             
 the effects of the Valdez oil spill.  The bill adds specific land             
 and water areas to the Shuyak State Park.  Shuyak Island was the              
 first part of the borough that was heavily impacted by the westward           
 streaming oil patches and tar balls from the 1989 accident.                   
                                                                               
 "The two large land owners on Shuyak Island are the state and the             
 Kodiak Island Borough.  Previous litigation had imposed management            
 restrictions that required the state to maintain wildlife habitat             
 and public recreation values while the borough was partially                  
 prohibited from commercial or industrial uses on its lands.  In               
 1984 the Shuyak State Park was established from part of the state's           
 holdings to protect the area's fish and wildlife habitat and                  
 public recreation opportunities, while maintaining customary                  
 hunting and fishing uses.                                                     
                                                                               
 "One of the provisions of the spill settlement was the                        
 establishment of a joint federal and state council to manage                  
 remediation and recovery efforts.  These responsibilities include             
 the replacement of lost fish and wildlife habitat with the                    
 acquisition and protection of other high value habitat.  It is for            
 this purpose that the Oil Spill Trustee Council selected the                  
 borough's Shuyak Island lands and purchased them in 1996.  The                
 final part of this effort is the consolidation of the lands under             
 the protective management of the Shuyak State Park.                           
                                                                               
 "SB 64 completes the transaction by formally incorporating all                
 state lands on the island into the Shuyak Island State Park.  The             
 expanded park retains the management goals, purposes, and allowed             
 uses of the original park."                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 060                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  directed attention to a proposed amendment to page          
 1, line 10, which inserts the words "commercial fishing".                     
                                                                               
 Number 075                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR DONLEY  moved adoption of the following Amendment No. 1:             
                                                                               
 Amendment No. 1                                                             
                                                                               
 Page 1, line 10:  Following "fishing," insert "commercial fishing"          
                                                                               
 Hearing no objection,  VICE CHAIRMAN WILKEN  stated the amendment was         
 adopted and would be incorporated into a C&RA committee substitute.           
                                                                               
 Vice Chairman Wilken returned the gavel to Chairman Mackie.                   
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  stated testimony would be taken from Mayor Selby,           
 who was standing by in Kodiak.                                                
                                                                               
  MAYOR JEROME SELBY , Kodiak Island Borough, said there are several           
 reasons why the transfer of these lands from the Kodiak Island                
 Borough into the Shuyak State Park was pursued, but the most                  
 significant was that in all of the studies that were done following           
 the 1989 oil spill event, it was found Shuyak Island has more of              
 the species that were impacted by the spill.  It is probably the              
 most critical habitat area in terms of the recovering species,                
 including the bird species and the marine mammal species.                     
                                                                               
 Mayor Selby said the Kodiak Island Borough has supported the                  
 increase in the size of Shuyak Island Park for many years mainly              
 because of the opportunity for increased tourism activities and as            
 a means to diversify their economy.  The area is also important to            
 Kodiak's commercial fishing fleet, and is used heavily by people              
 from Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula for recreation, hunting,               
 fishing, etc.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Mayor Selby pointed out that the effort to make the entire island             
 into Shuyak State Park is supported by virtually every group in               
 Kodiak.                                                                       
                                                                               
 In closing, Mayor Selby urged passage of SB 64, as well as voicing            
 support for the adopted amendment.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 175                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR HOFFMAN  asked how many acres are involved in these land             
 transfers.    MAYOR SELBY  responded that 26,000 acres were acquired          
 from the Kodiak Island Borough and there is an additional three to            
 four acres of state land on the eastern boundary that would also be           
 incorporated into the park.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 190                                                                    
                                                                               
  BARBARA RUDIO , Chairman of the Kodiak State Parks Advisory Board,           
 testifying from Kodiak voiced the Board's strong support for SB 64            
 and urged its passage.                                                        
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  asked if there was any opposition in Kodiak to the          
 transfer of these lands, and both  MS. RUDIO  and  MAYOR SELBY  said          
 they were not aware of any opposition.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 205                                                                    
                                                                               
  JIM STRATTON , Director, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation,             
 Department of Natural Resources, read the following statement into            
 the record:                                                                   
                                                                               
 "I am pleased to be here today to testify in support of SB 64.                
                                                                               
 The existing Shuyak Island State Park provides some of the best               
 fishing and hunting opportunities in the state park system.  When             
 the park was first created in 1984, the legislature provided for              
 four public use cabins that have become some of the more popular in           
 the park system, especially for silver fishing in August and deer             
 hunting in the fall.  Travel to the park is primarily by floatplane           
 from either Kodiak or Homer and is a significant economic boost to            
 air taxi operators and guides in both communities.                            
                                                                               
 "This bill, SB 64, would perpetuate these fish, wildlife, and                 
 recreational opportunities by expanding the park's boundaries to              
 encompass two major pieces of the island whose current and future             
 uses are legally restricted for fish and wildlife habitat and                 
 public recreation purposes.  The 9,900 acres of existing state land           
 are restricted by legal settlement between the state and the Kodiak           
 Island Borough.  This legal settlement resulted from a disagreement           
 over municipal entitlements and sets forth in a consent decree                
 signed in 1981 that these lands may only be used for wildlife                 
 habitat and public recreation.  Plans for that acreage to become a            
 state game refuge were never completed and are now included in this           
 park expansion.                                                               
                                                                               
 "In 1995, the EVOS Trustee Council purchased some land from the               
 Kodiak Island Borough to assist in the recovery of species impacted           
 by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  The Borough, as represented earlier           
 by Mayor Selby, sold the land with the expectation that it would be           
 added to the park to perpetuate its fishing, hunting, and                     
 recreational uses.  The conservation easement held on those                   
 properties by the federal government restrict uses to those which             
 will maintain the existing fish and wildlife habitat and it allows            
 for public recreation.  State parks has a long history of providing           
 recreational access in a habitat friendly manner and we look                  
 forward to providing that access in an expanded Shuyak Island State           
 Park.                                                                         
                                                                               
 "Once these additions have been established as part of the park               
 system, state parks will undertake a revision of the current park             
 master plan to include the new acreage in an island wide plan for             
 trails, campsites, possible new cabin sites, and anchorages.  As              
 funds and volunteers are made available, these new access                     
 opportunities will be realized.  Park designation does not diminish           
 any existing hunting, fishing, or trapping rights on the island.              
 The parks' original 1984 legislation is very clear in its intent              
 that management of fish and game, especially commercial fishing, is           
 the responsibility of the Department of Fish and Game.  Parks works           
 cooperatively with Fish and Game by managing two fish counting                
 weirs in the existing park to help determine commercial fish                  
 openings.                                                                     
                                                                               
 "Management of the island will cost the park system only a minimal            
 amount as we already have a seasonally staffed Ranger Station on              
 the Island and a volunteer program that brings two to four                    
 volunteers to assist the Ranger every summer.  The increased cost             
 of management is for extra boat gas to access the shoreline of the            
 newly expanded park.  We are currently expanding the visitor                  
 opportunities in the existing park through a developed trail system           
 and new visitor contact state funded by the state's Exxon Valdez              
 criminal settlement through the Division of Parks' Marine                     
 Recreation project.                                                           
                                                                               
 "Shuyak's existing reputation as a fishing and hunting destination            
 in the late summer and fall is expanding as Alaskans, local tourism           
 companies and adventure travelers from around the world discover              
 its unique kayaking and small boating opportunities to not only               
 fish, but also observe marine mammals and seabirds, as well as                
 terrestrial wildlife.  The proposed park expansion will add Shuyak            
 to the other great park units in Alaska (Chugach, Kachemak Bay,               
 Denali and Wood-Tikchik) as a popular topic for adventure travel              
 and sportsman magazines seeking new and exciting destinations to              
 share with their readers.  I just met with a local travel writer              
 last week that was interested in writing about Shuyak's diverse               
 fishing, hunting, and recreational opportunities.  Designation of             
 the entire island as a park will significantly add to the allure of           
 Shuyak and increase its notoriety in Alaska as a recreational                 
 destination.  This is good for Alaskan hunters, fishermen, and                
 boaters and good for those businesses providing transportation and            
 support.  I urge your support of this bill."                                  
                                                                               
 Number 275                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR PHILLIPS  asked if the definition of "recreational                   
 activities" includes snow machines and ATVs.   MR. STRATTON  answered         
 that it includes snow machines and ATVs, but the conservation                 
 easement on the parcel that came from the borough specifically                
 doesn't allow ATVs.  Responding to Senator Donley, he said he                 
 didn't think there was anything the Legislature could do about the            
 restriction.     MAYOR SELBY  further explained that ATVs on the type         
 of environment they have on Kodiak Island creates a great deal of             
 erosion.  The erosion runs down and fills up the salmon streams and           
 destroys the salmon population.  He pointed out that the beauty of            
 Shuyak Island is that it is small enough so it can be easily hiked            
 in a day.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 323                                                                    
                                                                               
  MICHELE DRUMMOND , a Kodiak Island resident testifying in Juneau in          
 support of SB 64, said she thinks the Shuyak Island Park is a good            
 idea because it would preserve the island as it is and because it             
 is an economic resource the community of Kodiak greatly needs as              
 well.  She noted the island is inhabited by Sitka blacktail deer              
 and brown bear and that there is excellent salmon and halibut                 
 fishing around the island.  She also noted that it is a good                  
 kayaking area.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
  KEN THOMPSON  of Juneau stated he was part of the volunteer program          
 on Shuyak Island during the summer of 1995, and that it was one of            
 the best summers of his life.  He said it is a magnificent place              
 with a great abundance of wildlife for hunting and sports fishing.            
 He added that he doesn't think the terrain on the island is                   
 suitable for snow machines or ATVs.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 395                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  noted access to public lands is an area of concern          
 to many people, and legislation has been introduced that addresses            
 the issue.  He asked Mayor Selby if the prohibition of ATVs in                
 Shuyak State Park was part of the negotiated sale agreement.   MAYOR          
 SELBY  responded that it is a very contentious issue on Kodiak                
 Island right now; there is a number of other land areas that are              
 being destroyed through improper ATV utilization.  In fact, they              
 are looking at some ways to restrict the use of ATVs on the entire            
 Kodiak Island.   He suggested that if ATVs were allowed in Shuyak             
 State Park, it would require additional park staff in order to                
 regulate their use.                                                           
                                                                               
  SENATOR DONLEY  commented that he didn't think anybody on the                
 committee is suggesting that ATVs should be allowed where they are            
 inappropriate with the conditions of that specific land, but there            
 is concern about blanket prohibitions on their use and these                  
 conditions that come with the land so that there is no option for             
 their proper utilization.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 435                                                                    
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony on SB 64,  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  asked            
 for the pleasure of the committee.                                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR DONLEY  moved CSSB 64(CRA) and the accompanying fiscal notes         
 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations.                   
 Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                                      
                                                                               
           SB 62 CITIES:  PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES                          
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  brought SB 62 before the committee as the next              
 order of business.                                                            
                                                                               
  SENATOR   GEORGIANNA LINCOLN , prime sponsor of SB 62, read the              
 following sponsor statement into the record:                                  
                                                                               
 "SB 62 provides the framework for disbursement of a new source of             
 federal funds to some to some Alaska communities.  In the last                
 session of Congress, Senator Stevens was successful in amending the           
 Omnibus Park and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 to make                  
 additional Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding (PILT) available to               
 cities in the unorganized borough.  These communities are now                 
 eligible to receive PILT moneys generated from compensation by the            
 federal government for the acreage of federal lands in their census           
 area.                                                                         
                                                                               
 "The inventory of lands is currently underway in order to determine           
 the level of payment available within each of eleven federal census           
 areas.  The Alaska Department of Community & Regional Affairs has             
 worked with Senator Stevens office on this legislation, and is the            
 entity within the state that will administer the pass through to              
 the eligible communities.  It is the intent of the federal                    
 legislation that these funds be provided to the communities for use           
 for "any governmental purpose."                                               
                                                                               
 "SB 62 provides for annual payments to eligible communities on a              
 per capita basis.  The amount available to the respective                     
 communities for this fiscal year will not be known until the land             
 inventory is completed by the Bureau of Land Management.                      
 Subsequent annual payments will be subject to the amount                      
 appropriated for the program by the federal government each fiscal            
 year.  Under this legislation, payments to the eligible communities           
 will be made by November 1 of the fiscal year in which the money is           
 received by the state."                                                       
                                                                               
 Senator Lincoln noted that Bill Rolfzen and Kim Metcalf-Helmar from           
 the Department of Community & Regional Affairs were present to                
 respond to questions.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 485                                                                    
                                                                               
  LAMAR COTTEN , Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community &                
 Regional Affairs, voiced the department's support for SB 62.  They            
 believe it will provide assistance to cities in the unorganized               
 borough that currently are not receiving, directly or indirectly,             
 benefits or payments through PILT; that it does comply with the               
 intent of Senator Stevens; and there is no overhead administrative            
 cost to the program.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 502                                                                    
                                                                               
  SENATOR WILKEN  inquired if there is a like program for federal land         
 within an organized borough.   BILL ROLFZEN , Program Administrator,          
 Department of Community & Regional Affairs, acknowledged that                 
 organized boroughs in the state receive a PILT payment on the same            
 formula as the federal census areas will be receiving their PILT              
 payments.  Responding to question from Chairman Mackie as to                  
 whether this would have any adverse effect, he explained this is a            
 nationwide program, and by adding these federal census areas it               
 will dilute the nationwide pot slightly.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 514                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN MACKIE  asked for the pleasure of the committee on SB 62.           
                                                                               
  SENATOR DONLEY  moved SB 62 and the accompanying fiscal notes be             
 passed out of committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing             
 no objection, it was so ordered.                                              
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the committee, the             
 meeting was adjourned at 2:07 p.m.                                            
                                                                               

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