Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/26/1996 03:50 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE April 26, 1996 3:50 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Drue Pearce, Vice Chairman Senator Steve Frank Senator Rick Halford Senator Robin Taylor Senator Georgianna Lincoln Senator Lyman Hoffman MEMBERS ABSENT All members present ALSO IN ATTENDANCE Senator Judy Salo Senator Lyda Green COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 394(FIN) am "An Act authorizing shallow natural gas leasing from sources within 3,000 feet of the surface; relating to regulation of natural gas exploration facilities for purposes of preparation of discharge prevention and contingency plans and compliance with financial responsibility requirements; addressing the relationship between shallow natural gas and other natural resources; and adding, in the exemption from obtaining a waste disposal permit for disposal of waste produced from drilling, a reference to shallow natural gas." -- CONFIRMATION HEARINGS ON GOVERNOR'S APPOINTEES TO BOARD OF FISHERIES: Virgil Umphenour, Dan Coffey & Grant Miller PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 394 - See Resources minutes dated 4/24/96. WITNESS REGISTER Ella Ring Box 10-3212 Anchorage, AK 99510 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Dan Coffey Theo Matthews Box 69 Kasilof, AK 99610 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmations of Virgil Umphenour & Dan Coffey. Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Mrs. Irene Fandel 702 Lawton Drive Kenai, AK 99611 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmations of Virgil Umphenour & Dan Coffey Bill Henry 1081 Duck Pond Road North Pole, AK 99705 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Virgil Umphenour Marvin Hoff P.O. Box 32 King Cove, AK 99612 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Virgil Umphenour Grant Newton General Delivery King Cove, AK 99612 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Virgil Umphenour Melanie Gunderson P.O. Box 248 Sand Point, AK 99661 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Virgil Umphenour Myron Naneng P.O. Box 215 Bethel, AK 99559 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Virgil Umphenour Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey Ted Whip 3333 W. 86th Anchorage, AK 99502 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmations of Virgil Umphenour and Dan Coffey. Opposes confirmation of Grant Miller. Dan Billman 13740 McDonnell Road Anchorage, AK 99516 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Dan Coffey Bill Sullivan P.O. Box 943 Kenai, AK 99611 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Rob Williams P.O. Box 206 Kasilof, AK 99610 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey John Peckham P.O. Box 8394 Ketchikan, AK 99901 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Has concerns with confirmation of Dan Coffey Phil Cutler P.O. Box 241847 Anchorage, AK 99524 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Dan Coffey Terry Jorgenson P.O. Box 324 Chugiak, AK 99567 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Dan Coffey Dick Bower P.O. Box 3662 Soldotna, AK 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmations of Dan Coffey and Grant Miller Chris Rosauer 3716 Drum Circle Anchorage, AK 99507 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmations of Dan Coffey, Virgil Umphenour and Grant Miller Drew Sparlin 37010 Cannery Road Kenai, AK 99611 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey Dale Bondurant HC1 Box 1197 Soldotna, AK 99669 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Grant Miller Don Ostling P.O. Box 1781 Kenai, AK 99611 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey Ramon Sparlin P.O. Box 234 Sand Point, AK 99661 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Grant Miller Opposes confirmations of Virgil Umphenour and Dan Coffey Herman Fandel 702 Lawton Drive Kenai, AK 99611 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmations of Virgil Umphenour & Dan Coffey. Opposes confirmation of Grant Miller John Efta P.O. Box 353 Kenai, AK 9611 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposes confirmation of Dan Coffey Kevin Barksdale 881 Westbury Anchorage, AK 99503 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Dan Coffey Dick Bishop P.O. Box 73902 Fairbanks, AK 99707 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Virgil Umphenour, Dan Coffey & Grant Miller Cliff Skillings P.O. Box 23081 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports confirmation of Grant Miller ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-65, SIDE A Number 001 CSHB 394(FIN) am SHALLOW NATURAL GAS LEASING CHAIRMAN LEMAN called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:50 p.m. He introduced HB 394 as the first order of business, and invited Representative Scott Ogan and Hans Neidig to the table to explain a proposed amendment. REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN , prime sponsor of HB 394, explained th amendment was basically technical in nature. On page 6, line 2, language was added to clarify that the payments will be annual. On page 7, line 10, the phrase "exploration and before production" was added in case a lessee penetrates a formation capable of producing oil. HANS NEIDIG , staff to Representative Ogan, added that the change to page 7, line 25, was simply a drafting change because the language had been poorly drafted. Number 080 CHAIRMAN LEMAN directed attention to a letter dated April 26 from the Department of Natural Resources suggesting that on page 7, lines 21 - 23, the sentence starting with the phrase "consistent with the principle of..." be deleted. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated he concurred with the suggested change. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked for a motion to adopt the following Amendment No. 1: Amendment No. 1 Page 6, line 2: Following "payment to the state of" insert "annual" Page 7, line 10: Before the word "production" insert "exploration and" Page 7, line 25: Sentence should read: "may not be mined or extracted by the coal lessee from the coal lease without prior" SENATOR PEARCE moved the adoption of Amendment No. 1. Hearing no objection, the Chairman stated the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if there was a motion to adopt Amendment No. 2, suggested by DNR to delete the sentence on page 7, lines 21 - 23. SENATOR PEARCE moved the adoption of Amendment No. 2. Hearing no objection, the Chairman stated the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked for the pleasure of the committee on SCS CSHB 394(RES). SENATOR PEARCE moved SCS CSHB 394(RES), as amended, and the accompanying fiscal notes be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 130 CHAIRMAN LEMAN stated the next order of business would be confirmation hearings for the Governor's appointees to the Board of Fisheries: Virgil Umphenour, Fairbanks; Dan Coffey, Anchorage; and Grant Miller, Sitka. VIRGIL UMPHENOUR , addressing the committee via teleconference from Fairbanks, stated he purchased a commercial limited entry fish wheel permit in 1984 and fished on the Tanana River, where in 1985 he built a small processing plant. He then expanded his business to Fairbanks where he processes not only commercial caught fish, but also sport, subsistence or personal use caught fish, as well as game animals and domestic livestock. Mr. Umphenour stated he got involved in fish politics a number of years ago serving as the first co-chair for the Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association, as well as having served on the Yukon River salmon fishing negotiation's process since 1989. He has served on the Board of Fisheries for the past two years and was reappointed by the Governor in February 1996. There being no questions from committee members, CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanked Mr. Umphenour for his comments and then invited Dan Coffey to make his presentation. DAN COFFEY , a 49-year resident of Anchorage addressed the committee in Juneau. He stated he is a practicing attorney specializing in corporate and commercial law. In the course of his practice over the years, he has represented commercial fishermen, processors, and sportsfishermen. He noted he has served on the FISH Initiative board, however, when he submitted his name to serve on the Board of Fisheries, he resigned from that board and has no further connection with it. Mr. Coffey also related that over the time he has lived in Alaska he has been both a commercial and a sports fisherman. His last involvement in commercial fishing was from 1985 to 1990 when he owned an 80 foot commercial halibut schooner. Mr. Coffey said his standards or criteria that he uses when he tries to make decisions relative to fisheries are preservation of the resource, following the sustained principles of Alaska's Constitution, and his belief that it is a public resource which needs to be shared among Alaskans. He views that one of the primary objectives of the Board of Fisheries after it has met sustained yield and conservation is the allocation decisions which are necessary to be made, and those are the most difficult decisions that the board faces. He said he is committed to do his best to make the Board of Fisheries process work, and that he would base his decisions on the best available evidence brought to the board. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Mr. Coffey what particular commitments he has made to the Governor. MR. COFFEY clarified that the only specific thing the Governor requested of him was to do his best to strengthen the board process and make the board process work. They also discussed his involvement on the FISH Initiative and he informed the Governor of his resignation from that board. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Mr. Coffey his position on the FISH Initiative now. MR. COFFEY responded his answer was in particular addressing the Cook Inlet region. The Cook Inlet region is governed by what is known as the Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Management Plan, which has been in effect either as a policy or as a regulation since 1977. The board calls that the umbrella plan and underneath that is a series of other fish management plans which are step-down plans. Many step-down plans, which are mandated by the overall umbrella, have never been adopted in the 20 years that the plan has been in effect. That frustration from the sports fishing point of view was what led to the development of the FISH Initiative. Since his appointment to the board the board has addressed the issue of the step-down plans and will continue to address them until each element underneath those has been adopted. If they do that, then the necessity for an initiative goes away. SENATOR HOFFMAN asked if issues are not adequately addressed by the board, would he then support managing the resources in the state by initiative. MR. COFFEY replied that his first choice would be by the board, second by the Legislature, and third by initiative. He reiterated he does not believe the FISH Initiative is necessary if the board addresses the issues. Number 427 SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Coffey if after his resignation from FISH there was any further involvement, because there seems to be a perception that once he made his application to serve on the Board of Fisheries he still continued to be involved with the FISH Initiative. MR. COFFEY clarified that the things he might have done would be things like sending a file to Av Gross, or resigning as the registered agent, acts that disassociated himself with it. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Mr. Coffey if he thought it was fair in the FISH Initiative to take five percent of a statewide total, which includes what are considered as non sports fish like chums and pinks from Prince William Sound and Kodiak, and apply that to an allocation. He added, as an example, that if you take all the kings and silvers in Cook Inlet, that still wouldn't fulfill a five percent quota of 40 million pinks that return to Kodiak. He said this doesn't make sense. MR. COFFEY answered that the dilemma faced by the people who proposed the initiative is that you can't have a localized statewide initiative. It was hoped that it would be applied primarily to Cook Inlet, and that's why it is a blunt instrument and the least effective way in which to effect this policy. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he thinks something like this does a tremendous disservice to the management of fisheries because it can be very disruptive. Number 475 SENATOR HALFORD commented that he thinks the initiative is a result of the failure of the board to follow its own mixed stock fishery policy. He said laws have been passed to say do it and they haven't done it, so as bad as the initiative is, it is our fault. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Coffey who first approached him concerning his appointment to the Board of Fisheries. MR. COFFEY replied he was first approached by Phil Cutler, Bob Penney and Bruce Knowles, and then later he talked to a fair number of people, including people in the Governor's office, asking them about the job. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Coffey if the Governor indicated to him why he was selecting him over the other people that applied to serve on the Board of Fisheries. MR. COFFEY responded that the Governor didn't compare him to other people, but he has known the Governor since his days as an assemblymen on the Anchorage Assembly. They have been friends and political associates for a long time, and the people who urged him to run also supported him and made calls to the Governor and his staff. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if it was just happenstance that the people he talked with and met with are people that are directly involved in the FISH Initiative. MR. COFFEY replied that clearly the impetus initially came from these people in the sport fishing community, but there are others who are not in sport fishing who support him, who are commercial fishermen. SENATOR TAYLOR commented it seems as though his name has been placed here to specifically support or at least advocate for one very narrow issue within the entire parameters of fish. MR. COFFEY stated that if that's what they wanted him to do, he wouldn't have taken the job. He said the Governor knew his appointment was going to be controversial, but he didn't ask him to perform a specific agenda. It's real clear what his responsibilities are as a member of the board and he doesn't have any problem with that, nor does he have any problem with what he did ahead of time. He added what he offers is his energy, his knowledge, his willingness to work hard, and ability to make fair decisions as best he can. TAPE 96-65, SIDE B Number 005 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Coffey if he would feel comfortable in making decisions on the board that he felt in his heart were right, but that were very adamantly opposed by the sport fishermen groups who helped secure his appointment. MR. COFFEY answered that he just did that with Cook Inlet; he made decisions there that they didn't like. SENATOR TAYLOR said he was somewhat disconcerted a few days before when one of Mr. Coffey's supporters came to his office and basically indicated that if he and others were to oppose Mr. Coffey's nomination that he would do everything he could to remove Mr. Miller as an appointee to the board. He said he felt it was disappointing and he was particularly concerned because the attitude portrayed was that "he's our boy and you leave him alone." MR. COFFEY stated he wouldn't condone anything like that, and he added that Grant Miller has worked real hard, and he hopes he gets to serve with him on the board. Number 075 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Mr. Coffey if in his conversations with Governor Knowles, there was discussion on the Area M fisheries management and any of those conflicts. MR. COFFEY replied that they did not discuss any specific fishery, except there may have been discussion about the Cook Inlet mediation. SENATOR HOFFMAN said the board has made many decisions on allocation issues on subsistence on the Kenai, and he asked Mr. Coffey if he agrees with those or would he change any those decisions. MR. COFFEY responded that those decisions seem to work well for the local people and the traditions. He doesn't know if the board ever had a vote on them, but he does support those concepts. Number 110 SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Coffey to explain his position on allocation between the mixed stock fisheries and individual river systems -- how does he determine what is fair and equitable to each user group. MR. COFFEY answered that generally speaking, many of the state's fisheries are mixed stock. The problems the board has in making decisions relative to mixed stock fisheries in many areas of Alaska is an absence of good reliable data. He said in trying to make decisions, his method is to ask a lot of questions and to go to sources that he hopes are reliable. He also pointed out that by statute, subsistence comes first and so the board follows the law. The other users are all on the same plain, except when it comes to nonresident users. His personal view is that because the state has a system that is divided into personal use and subsistence, and there are people who are not in subsistence areas who have a need, in those areas on his personal decision-making basis, he elevates the personal use concerns higher than a sport use and a commercial use. SENATOR LINCOLN stated her only concern is Mr. Coffey being the initiator of the FISH Initiative and then to sit on the Board of Fisheries. MR. COFFEY said his advocacy and his involvement in something when he has no public responsibilities and no constitutional obligations is one thing, and that's that position he was in then. He emphasized that his decision-making process is going to be based on the facts as they are presented to him. He added that although he has biases and beliefs and opinions, he is not going in there with a closed mind. SENATOR SALO commented that she has always been leery of making the whole allocation area more political, but it seems to her that in the eye of someone, the board is always going to be not doing its job. She asked Mr. Coffey how he envisions working with the department, and also whether his commitment to this position is a long term one or one just to deal with a couple of issues that are currently on the table. MR. COFFEY responded that he agreed to serve the term, so he will serve the term and work as hard on king crab in the Aleutians as he did in any other issue. He views the department as primarily an informational gathering and implementation department. He has come to meet and know the people who are managing the fisheries, and if he needs something information wise, he will call them up and ask them for specific information. He tries to use that information in the decision- making process, and he would hope that the department would then implement the decisions that the board makes so that they're sort of the board's executive arm in that sense. SENATOR SALO stated she is very concerned about the Department of Fish & Game's budget, and she asked if the Legislature should seriously underfund that department, what he thought the role of the board would be in that situation. MR. COFFEY replied that basically there is no direct interface with the Legislature so what the board has done in the short time he has been there is by resolution. He added he thought it would be appropriate for the board to make an annual report to the Legislature or have its chairman or somebody report to an appropriate committee. SENATOR HALFORD congratulated Mr. Coffey on his record, his interest, and his tolerance for this process. He said he thinks there are few things that are really more frustrating than serving in the Legislature, but he thinks the fish board is probably one of them. CHAIRMAN LEMAN stated his main concern doesn't have to do with his capability to do the job so much as what he called the inappropriate influence of certain advocacy groups and the Office of the Governor on the board process. He thanked Mr. Coffey for appearing by the committee and responding to its questions. CHAIRMAN LEMAN then invited Grant Miller to make his presentation to the committee via the teleconference network from Sitka. GRANT MILLER of Sitka stated he has been a self-employed commercial fisherman for 30 years, spending the early parts of his fishing career first on the East Coast and then on the West Coast. He arrived in Alaska in 1977. He was previously a troller, but for the past three seasons he has been seining, as well as operating a herring bait pound and participating in the halibut fishery. Mr. Miller said he has been involved in various groups since coming to Alaska. He has been involved with Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA) for approximately 10 years and has been their president for eight years. He has also been involved with United Fishermen of Alaska from which he resigned after accepting his appointment to the Board of Fisheries. He also resigned from the Board of Directors of Seafood Producers Co-op. Basically, those resignations were due to not having enough time to fulfill those duties. He is currently serving on the Sitka Committee on Fisheries. Mr. Miller said he knew going in that being on the board was going to be a very difficult undertaking, but once he made the commitment to do it, he felt that he had some things to bring to this board that might be of help. He felt that his experience with NSRAA had given him some experience in reaching resolutions over contentious issues, as well as having a broad background in fisheries of all types. He felt that with this background and the experiences that he had with these various boards, that he had something that he could contribute to the Board of Fisheries process, which he strongly supports. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said criticism he hears is that the existing board no longer has good representation from the western and central Gulf of Alaska, but it seems to him Mr. Miller's background comes the closest to being acquainted with those fisheries. He asked Mr. Miller how he sees his interaction with his colleagues in the sharing of his knowledge and his ability to cover those areas where there is a weakness on the board. MR. MILLER pointed out that Trefon Angasan is a Bristol Bay fisherman who does serve on the board and John White has a gillnet permit and fishes a fishery in the Kuskokwim. He agreed his fishing background does somewhat resemble some of the other fisheries in Western Alaska, and to some extent, he is fairly knowledgeable, or at least has a basic understanding. In the three board meetings he has attended, he has learned a lot about these fisheries, and he feels his working relationship with the rest of the board members has been very good. SENATOR HOFFMAN noted the Legislature passed a mixed stock policy several years ago, but the board has not implemented or decided on a mixed stock policy. He asked Mr. Miller what he would do to see that a mixed stock policy would be implemented if he is appointed to the board. MR. MILLER responded that he thinks a mixed stock policy needs to be identified. He said he feels comfortable that the members of this board are quite capable of coming up with a policy that will work for Alaskans. TAPE 96-66, SIDE A Number 005 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked Mr. Miller if he would make a mixed stock policy a priority, as well as any other directives that the Legislature would pass. MR. MILLER responded that considering some of the issues they have to deal with, anything they can use as a tool or a criteria to make these decisions should be a priority, as well as adequate resources of data and information should be a priority. SENATOR HOFFMAN asked Mr. Miller his position on subsistence allocation. MR. MILLER replied his first priority is to make sure there is sufficient resource for any of these activities, and he would rank subsistence and personal use at the very top. He said he would also include sport and commercial as very high up on the priority list. He believes the resources of Alaska should be for Alaskans primarily, and if they are available and if there is an abundance, then he thinks we can choose to share that abundance with nonresidents of this state in an appropriate manner. He pointed out that a lot of people use the sport fishing method of providing their homes and family with fish, and he thinks that needs to be considered as well. Number 100 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked Mr. Miller if he believes this Administration is doing an adequate job of defending the Alaskan interests in the U.S./Canada salmon controversy, and if not, what else should be done. MR. MILLER responded that since he has been on the Board of Fisheries, he hasn't focused as much on that as he might have. However, he said it appears to him from what information he has gathered, mostly from the news media, that they are doing a good job. He suggested one of the main things that Alaskans might do to improve the situation is conduct in some way our own public relations campaign. CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanked Mr. Miller for his participation in the hearing, as well as his willingness to serve on the board. He then opened the meeting to public comment on the appointees to the Board of Fisheries. ELLA RING , a resident of Wasilla testifying from the Mat-Su LIO, stated she fishes in the northern district, and she urged support for the confirmation of Dan Coffey so that the Northern District can have a strong voice on the Board of Fisheries. THEO MATTHEWS , Executive Director of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA), testifying from Kenai, stated their primary concern on all of the nominees is on the balance of the Board of Fisheries. They believe the Governor has failed the state in creating a balance that people feel is fair and has regional knowledge as expertise. If all the nominees are confirmed, six of the seven appointees on the board will be from Anchorage and north of Anchorage. He said UCIDA does not support the confirmation of Mr. Umphenour, simply on the balance issue, nor do they support Mr. Coffey because of the balance issue, as well as his position with the FISH Initiative. UCIDA supports the nomination of Grant Miller from Southeast Alaska because of his experience in marine fisheries. IRENE FANDEL , a 30-year resident of Alaska testifying from Kenai, stated her strong support for the confirmations of Virgil Umphenour and Dan Coffey. BILL HENRY , a 40-year resident of Alaska testifying from Fairbanks, said he is a retired commercial Upper Yukon fisherman, a subsistence fisherman in the past, and he now sport fishes. He stated he represents a large number of friends and relatives who are in full support of Virgil Umphenour's appointment to the Board of Fisheries because he keeps himself well informed and he is able to make honest and intelligent decisions. MARVIN HOFF , an Aleut fisherman from King Cove testifying from the Dillingham LIO, stated his strong opposition to the confirmation of Virgil Umphenour. He said he attended the last Board of Fisheries meeting that concerned Area M, and he had to sit and listen to Mr. Umphenour lie and tell half-truths about that fishery and the fishery on Norton Sound. He added that Mr. Umphenour has not and will not ever make a sound, rational or sane decision concerning Area M. GRANT NEWTON , a resident of King Cove and Acting Chairman of the Alaska Fish & Game Local Advisory Committee testifying from the Dillingham LIO, stated he was speaking as a local commercial fisherman who is very familiar with the Board of Fisheries process over the past 12 years when dealing with Area M versus other regions of the state. He participated in two meetings of the Board of Fisheries this spring regarding Area M and the AYK Region with Dan Coffey, Grant Miller and Virgil Umphenour. He said Mr. Coffey and Mr. Miller were energetic toward the board process and objective in their questions of both sides of the issue. However, although Mr. Umphenour has no conflict of interest by state regulation, he appears to have his own agenda which deteriorates the board process and the integrity. He feels Mr. Umphenour does not form objective decisions using the best available information and policies of the state, nor does he objectively address the problems within the AYK Region itself. Number 335 MELANIE GUNDERSON of Sand Point testifying from Dillingham on behalf of the Peninsula Marketing Association, said the June fishery of Area M was recently up for consideration by the Board of Fisheries, and fortunately, they gained back their ability to fish and to support their families. This happened despite the persistent opposition by Virgil Umphenour. She said they are opposed to his continued participation on this board, not because of his opposition, but for his lack of understanding of the statewide commercial fisheries and the many different gear groups. MYRON NANENG , representing the Association of Village Council Presidents and testifying from Bethel, stated their strong support for the confirmation of Virgil Umphenour because he is the only one that speaks loudly for the conservation of the resource. He spoke against the confirmation of Dan Coffey. TED WHIP , a commercial fisherman on the Kenai Peninsula testifying from Anchorage, stated he has been observing the board process regularly since 1982, and this was the first board that ever addressed the problems in the Northern District fairly. Although Dan Coffey was not his first choice because he thought he had other interests, he turned out to be a very logical man who is able to see through the smokescreens on both the staff side and other user groups. He also believes Virgil Umphenour is experienced, fair and decisive. He said Grant Miller was not at all concerned about what happened in the Northern District. Number 406 DAN BILLMAN , Vice President of the Northern District Setnetters of Cook Inlet Association, voiced the association's and his support for the confirmation of Dan Coffey. He said they are likely one of the few commercial fishing organizations that supported and continue to support Mr. Coffey. Their continued support is based on Mr. Coffey's performance at the recent Board of Fisheries meeting because of his knowledge of the fisheries and how quickly he learned what were issues, what was important, and how to react to them. He is willing to listen to all sides, is fair and makes equitable decisions based on the information provided. BILL SULLIVAN of Kenai testified in opposition to the confirmation of Dan Coffey. He said by his very background and education, that is his being an attorney, Mr. Coffey will tend to look at all sides of issues brought before the board, but it is by his long time singular alignment on the critical issues that confront the very integrity of the Cook Inlet commercial fisheries that make him at the very least inappropriate for confirmation as a member of the Board of Fisheries. Not confirming Mr. Coffey will only serve to preserve the integrity of the board process. He stated support for the confirmation of Grant Miller because he is well qualified to look at both sides of the issue. ROB WILLIAMS , testifying from Kenai, voiced support for the confirmation of Grant Miller because he is a very level-headed person with an extensive fishing background. He said he also needs to be confirmed so that Southeast Alaska has their place on the board to cover the diversity of the state. He said he opposes Dan Coffey, and even though he resigned from FISH, the fact remains that he was involved with it and felt that it was a good thing, and, in his opinion, that's the largest deterrent to this Board of Fisheries' process. He also shows no concern for the problems of the Kenai River area. JOHN PECKHAM , a 21-year resident of Ketchikan and a commercial fisherman testifying from Ketchikan, stated his support for the confirmation of Grant Miller. He believes Mr. Miller will make an excellent member of the Board of Fisheries because he a reasonable guy, he's a consensus builder, he knows how to compromise, and he doesn't appear to have an agenda. Although he doesn't know Dan Coffey personally, he is concerned with the perception that he is a strong advocate of one peer group and is a person with an agenda. PHIL CUTLER , testifying from Anchorage on behalf of the Alaska Sport Fishing Association, said at a recent meeting of their association and discussions on appointees to the Board of Fisheries, their organization unanimously supported the confirmation of Dan Coffey. There was extensive discussion on Virgil Umphenour's appointment, but the meeting ended before a decision was made on whether or not to support his confirmation. TERRY JORGENSON , a commercial fisherman in the Northern District testifying from Anchorage, stated he has attended every Board of Fisheries meeting since 1982, as well as attending the recent meetings in Anchorage and watching hese potential members to the board. He feels the board has been democratic in form, and yet, has been unwilling over the years to address many of the mixed stock problems in Cook Inlet. He noted the Northern District Setnet Board interviewed Mr. Coffey and they were very concerned about his association with the FISH Initiative, but after questioning him for two hours, all of them supported his nomination. He said he finds Mr. Coffey very easy to communicate with on commercial fishing issues, he asks excellent questions, and he is a real problem solver. He also feels the other new members to the board did a good job, and the present board is in the best interest of the state. Number 547 DICK BOWER , a resident of Soldotna testifying from Anchorage, stated he is a sitting member of the Board of Fisheries. He said he wouldn't comment on Virgil Umphenour because he believes Mr. Umphenour has a couple of years of experience on the board so that the public and the legislators can judge his performance. In the case of both Grant Miller and Dan Coffey, he believes that they are both bringing to the board an additional perspective that he finds very valuable as a board member, and he thinks they have very quickly taken a position as a part of a team that is trying to solve the problems faced by the board. Grant Miller has given the board a perspective and knowledge of gear groups in that he is very able to relate to the pressing problems that come before the board. Dan Coffey is bringing knowledge of some of the legal and other aspects to the board that he thinks will serve the board very well. CHRIS ROSAUER , a board member of the Northern District Setnetters of Cook Inlet Association and owner of a processing facility in Anchorage, stated his strong support for Dan Coffey, Virgil Umphenour and Grant Miller. He said all three of them have done a good job so far and they all deserve a seat on the board. DREW SPARLIN of Kenai said that in his 35-years of Alaska residency, this is the first time he has felt compelled to speak to any committee concerning confirmation of Board of Fish appointees. He voiced his support for the confirmation of Grant Miller because of his participation in several fisheries within the state of Alaska over the years, and the fact that he will be the only member of the board that participates in any fishery other than salmon. Mr. Miller's vast knowledge within the state fisheries assist him in making unbiased decisions on very important issues. He voiced his opposition to the confirmation of Dan Coffey because he has a very limited participation level within the community public service sector concerning Alaska fisheries. His confirmation will only assist in the destruction of a unique board process that has served this state very well. TAPE 96-66, SIDE B Number 015 DALE BONDURANT of Soldotna and a 49-year resident of Alaska, stated his strong opposition to some of the questions posed by committee members to Dan Coffey. He said to question Dan Coffey just because he is a friend of somebody is really dragging this stuff through the dirt. He also said it is a disgrace for people to get up and say that Grant Miller is for the protection of the resource. DON OSTLING , a resident of Kenai and a Cook Inlet drift fisherman for 31 years testifying in opposition to the confirmation of Dan Coffey, said he doesn't think a person has to be a rocket scientist to know or figure out what further consequences would occur for the commercial salmon fishery in Upper Cook Inlet if Dan Coffey should be confirmed to the Board of Fisheries. RAMON SPARLIN , a commercial fisherman and long-time resident of Alaska testifying from Kenai, voiced his support for the confirmation of Grant Miller because of his knowledge and diversification in many fisheries. He has observed Virgil Umphenour at Board of Fisheries meetings, and he thinks his only concern is his interest in the AYK Region. He also said Dan Coffey's track record strongly indicates his bias in the use and allocation of Alaskan resources, and his appointment would be a stab in the back of the commercial fish interests of Alaska. Number 125 HERMAN FANDEL , a 30-year Kenai Peninsula resident and owner of a tourism-related business, said tourism in that area depends almost 100 percent on sport fishing, and he questioned how many FISH Initiatives there will have to be for the people of Alaska to get back even a few of their fish from the commercial monopoly that exists. He said the Board of Fisheries must do something to curtail or stop the driftnets in Cook Inlet. He voiced support for the confirmations of Virgil Umphenour and Dan Coffey to the Board of Fisheries, but stated opposition to the confirmation of commercial fisherman Miller to the board. JOHN EFTA of Kenai stated he does not support the confirmation of Dan Coffey because it appears that he doesn't believe in the system. He said Mr. Coffey found it convenient to circumvent the system by, as a last resort, involving himself in the initiative process. When he got appointed to the Board of Fisheries, he used the initiative as an indirect method as a blackmail tool to get what he wanted achieved at the Board of Fisheries. KEVIN BARKSDALE , an Anchorage commercial fisherman who fishes in the Northern District of Cook Inlet, stated his support for the confirmation of Dan Coffey. He feels that Mr. Coffey is fair and that he listened to everybody at the board hearings in February. He brought forth good questions for discussion and made good decisions. Based on Mr. Coffey's performance at the Board of Fisheries, he urged his confirmation. DICK BISHOP , addressing the committee in Juneau on behalf of the Alaska Outdoor Council, stated the council recommended to the Governor the appointments of Virgil Umphenour, Dan Coffey and Grant Miller. In urging the committee's support for the confirmation of Mr. Umphenour, he said Mr. Umphenour has a long history and involvement in conservation issues on behalf of the resource, as well as a good rapport with both rural and urban residents on fisheries and other issues. CLIFF SKILLINGS , Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Seiners, testifying in Juneau, voiced their strong support for the confirmation of Grant Miller. They believe Mr. Miller will be able to make fair and impartial decisions for all of the fisheries in the state of Alaska. Mr. Miller's involvement in the Southeast Alaska commercial fishing industry is an attribute that he can bring to this board which is lacking in southeast representation. While recognizing the need for fisheries management to benefit all users, Mr. Miller also understands the socioeconomic importance of the commercial fisheries both to the southeast region and also to those other regions statewide that depend upon productive commercial resources. There being no further testimony, CHAIRMAN LEMAN closed the confirmation hearings and adjourned the meeting at 6:30 p.m.