Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/23/1997 03:40 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                  
                         April 23, 1997                                        
                           3:40 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Rick Halford, Chairman                                                
 Senator Lyda Green, Vice Chairman                                             
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                    
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Bert Sharp                                                            
 Senator John Torgerson                                                        
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 Confirmation Hearing:                                                         
  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                        
   Ms. Marlene Johnson - Hoonah                                                
   Mr. Bruce Twomley - Juneau                                                  
 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                           
 Supporting continued use of Alaska's renewable furbearer resources.           
  - MOVED SCR 10 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 23(RES)                                                 
 "An Act relating to management of state land; and relating to                 
 access to land."                                                              
  - MOVED CSHB23(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                         
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 23                                                 
 Relating to the seizure and sale of Alaska commercial fishing entry           
 permits by the United States Internal Revenue Service.                        
  - MOVED HJR 23 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                              
 HOUSE BILL NO. 17                                                             
 "An Act establishing the Department of Natural Resources as the               
 platting authority in certain areas of the state; relating to                 
 subdivisions and dedications; and providing for an effective date."           
  - SCHEDULED, BUT NOT HEARD                                                   
 SENATE BILL NO. 40                                                            
 "An Act relating to management of discrete salmon stocks, to salmon           
 management assessments, and to the fishery business tax."                     
  - SCHEDULED, BUT NOT HEARD                                                   
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SCR 10 - See Resource Committee minutes dated 4/21/97.                        
 HB 23 - No previous action to consider.                                       
 HJR 23 - No previous action to consider.                                      
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Gary Wilken                                                           
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of SCR 10.                                     
 Mr. Dick Bishop                                                               
 Alaska Outdoor Council                                                        
 211 4th St., #302A                                                            
 Juneau AK 99801                                                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SCR 10 and HB 23.                            
 Mr. Wayne Regelin, Director                                                   
 Division of Wildlife Conservation                                             
 Department of Fish and Game                                                   
 P.O. Box 25526                                                                
 Juneau AK 99802-5526                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SCR 10.                                      
 Mr. Bill Perhach                                                              
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 34                                                                   
 Denali Park AK                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed HB 23.                                         
 Ms. Carol Carroll, Director                                                   
 Division of Support Services                                                  
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 400 Willoughby Ave.                                                           
 Juneau AK 99801-1724                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 23.                                       
 Ms. Melinda Hofstad, Staff                                                    
 Representative Bill Hudson                                                    
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of HJR 23.                            
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 97-28, SIDE A                                                           
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to           
 order at 3:40 p.m. and announced a confirmation hearing for the               
 Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.                                        
  MS. MARLENE JOHNSON  said she is a life-long Alaskan and reviewed            
 her resume for the committee.                                                 
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked what Alaskans can do to encourage the holding           
 of limited entry permits by Alaskans and asked if she had any                 
 comments on the IRS seizure of permits.                                       
 MS. JOHNSON said the primary answer is education of rural Alaskans.           
 They are unaware of what their rights are and what they should do.            
 They need to be educated about how to pay their taxes.                        
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  noted that if permits are lost in the larger               
 communities, it doesn't have the same drastic affect it does in the           
 villages where they are the economic focus.  He asked if there was            
 some way of creating a quota of one permit per village.  MS.                  
 JOHNSON said they had received questions like that and if it were             
 legal they could find a way to assign a permit to an area.                    
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD said in five years with welfare reform you'll find           
 the only income in some of those villages was derived from the one            
 or two permits that were there and now they are gone.                         
  MR. BRUCE TWOMLEY , Commercial Fisheries Entry Commissioner, said he         
 was first appointed to the Commission in 1992 by Governor Hammond.            
 He said before that he used to sue the State and federal government           
 on behalf of fishermen.  The laws are arcane and he thought he was            
 a help in deciding the numbers of cases that come before them.  He            
 acknowledged the problem with the IRS.                                        
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked what he thought could be done to keep                  
 permits in small villages.  MR. TWOMLEY said that is his biggest              
 personal concern and he knows first hand the effect if those                  
 permits disappear.  He thought that educating the people in the               
 villages was the best thing the Commission could do as the law is             
 now.  He said that a local permit brokerage has been established in           
 the Bristol Bay area to mitigate this problem.  He said of the                
 transfers that go to local people, more than half are by gift and             
 they go from one family member to another or from one village                 
 member to another.  The question is how to make more of that type             
 of transaction go on.                                                         
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if there was any hope of developing a quota            
 system.  MR. TWOMLEY replied it would be difficult to do a quota              
 system in a fishery that's not managed by quota.  The troll fishery           
 would be an exception.  The difficulty in having a community in               
 Alaska own a permit is with our constitution and as it is                     
 interpreted by our Supreme Court.  There are a lot of pitfalls in             
 trying to redistribute benefits.  This is an issue also with local            
  SENATOR LINCOLN  said she thought the answer in the villages was             
 economic development and diversity so people have an opportunity to           
 make money in other areas.  CHAIRMAN HALFORD agreed, but he said              
 that permits was one thing that had worked in the past.                       
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to send a letter on the two members of the              
 Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.  There were no objections              
 and it was so ordered.                                                        
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced they would next take up the nominee for          
 the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.                                      
  MS. MARY MARSHBURN,  Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner,                  
 submitted her resume and said it was to the benefit of Alaskans to            
 ensure the efficient depletion of the State's hydrocarbon resource            
 by prevent waste, both surface and below ground, by maximizing the            
 ultimate recovery and protecting the rights of adjacent owners to             
 produce.  She said they address these through a variety of programs           
 like the well permiting system, reservoir surveillance, the                   
 establishment of drilling units in unitized pools of operation in             
 the field inspection program.                                                 
 She said a commissioner needed integrity, a judicious temperament -           
 one that can listen and examine all sides, an ability to appraise             
 information and evaluate alternatives, and hopefully achieve a                
 sound and reasoned decision.  She said she found a statement in               
 enabling legislation that said the Commission was created to avoid            
 an appearance and, in fact, a conflict or the appearance of a                 
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked if there was anything new on the old order              
 number 360 and those conflicts.  MS. MARSHBURN replied no and                 
 that's part of the legal opinions and briefs she has been reading.            
 As far as she knows the owners are working cooperatively.                     
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  commented that the State is a party in the                 
 agreement and he thought that even if they agreed with each other             
 about the waste, they shouldn't be able to say they made a mistake            
 and there's no waste.  The pubic deserves an answer or proof that             
 there's a resolution.                                                         
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked if they would be getting into resolution of the         
 kick well.  MS. MARSHBURN replied that the Commission's                       
 jurisdiction is on all the properties within the State and it's all           
 underground.  So if there's drilling or if the pool extends from              
 outside to inside, they will be involved.                                     
 SENATOR LEMAN moved to send the standard letter to the full Senate            
 regarding Ms. Marshburn's appointment.  There were no objections              
 and it was so ordered.                                                        
           SCR 10 SUPPORTING USE OF FURBEARER RESOURCE                         
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced  SCR 10  to be up for consideration.            
  SENATOR WILKEN,  sponsor,   said SCR 10 calls for the legislature's        
 endorsement of continued harvest and use by Alaskans of the State's           
 renewable furbearer resources, consistent with the principles of              
 sustained yield.  Not only is trapping an important management tool           
 for helping to maintain healthy furbearer populations; it is also             
 a traditional activity for many Alaskans that helps to promote                
 self-reliance by providing income, food, and clothing.  Trapping              
 ties Alaska to its pioneer roots, and helps to keep alive the very            
 values that built the forty-ninth state.                                      
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he thought that Canada had taken action of              
 some sort.  There was an international protocol on furs.  Other               
 countries with a fur bearing interest have exempted themselves from           
 that and the United States has not.  He asked if there was some way           
 to add that to the resolution.                                                
 SENATOR WILKEN replied that he was speaking about the European                
 sanctions which he didn't know a lot about.  He understands the               
 sanctions are against furs that we would normally get in our normal           
 Alaskan way.  Canada, specifically, has acquiesced to harvest in              
 ways that are not compatible with our life style.  We don't want to           
 give up traditional trapping methods.                                         
 MR. DICK BISHOP , Alaska Outdoor Council, supported SCR 10.  He said          
 it is extremely timely, because last fall the Fish and Wildlife               
 Service put out a general invitation for comments on trapping on              
 federal refuges.  Eighty-five percent of the United States federal            
 refuge system is in Alaska and this was an opportunity for anyone             
 who wanted to restrict trapping to comment.  If any restrictions              
 were put on trapping in federal refuges, it would be a real                   
 imposition on Alaskans.  People both in and outside of Alaska have            
 started a campaign to take advantage of this opportunity and have             
 sent out propaganda opposing trapping on federal refuges.                     
 Number 512                                                                    
  MR. WAYNE REGELIN,  Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,             
 endorsed the resolution.  He said for the past few years they have            
 worked closely with a lot of Alaskan trappers, especially the three           
 Alaska trapper associations.  He thought it was time that trappers            
 get some well-deserved recognition for the good they do, because              
 they get a lot of negative publicity and they have a very                     
 legitimate activity.  He thought the resolution should be sent to             
 all the newspapers in Alaska, too.                                            
 MR. REGELIN explained that they have been working on international            
 humane trapping standards for almost four years through the                   
 International Union of Standards.  The European Union said they               
 wouldn't import furs that were caught unless they met an                      
 international humane trapping standard.  They thought they were               
 close a few years ago to having a standard developed and through              
 international politics they allowed the anti-trapping people into             
 the debate and we lost.  We have been treading water since then.              
 Canada just folded their tents and gave up saying they would ban              
 leg-hold traps.  Alaska does not want to do that; it would                    
 devastate our martin trapping industry.  In Canada, he said, the              
 decision was made in Ottawa, and he didn't think many provinces               
 were pleased.                                                                 
 He said the European Union is in extreme turmoil at this point and            
 we have an alternative plan to proceed if they take action.  He               
 said there is a strong green movement in some countries over there            
 and they will probably win.  We are working on developing a                   
 standard with Russia and Greece.  They are getting great support              
 from the Alaskan delegation.                                                  
  SENATOR LEMAN  moved to pass SCR 10 with individual recommendations.         
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
        HB  23 STATE LAND MANAGEMENT: ACCESS & RESTRICT                       
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced  HB 23  to be up for consideration.              
  MR. ED GRASSER , Staff to Representative Beverly Masek, sponsor of           
 HB 23, said HB 23 continues the effort to protect public access on            
 public lands in Alaska.  Last year this legislation had                       
 overwhelming support from the House and the Senate.  They have                
 worked on this version with DNR to make it apply to the proper                
 sections.  It protects the public's right to access public lands              
 for traditional uses, like hunting, fishing, trapping, snow                   
 machining, and dog sledding.  It also has a section protecting the            
 interests of private property owners and people who hold a lease              
 for mining and oil and gas exploration.                                       
 He said they had received a lot of support from the public as well            
 as the Alaska Boaters Association, the Alaska Outdoor Council,                
 Matanuska Valley Sportsman, Tanana Valley Sportsman, Territorial              
 Sportsman, the Alaska State Snowmachine Association, and other                
  TAPE 97-28, SIDE B                                                           
  SENATOR LEMAN  noted they had a letter of opposition from the                
 Environmental Lobby expressing concern about impacts from                     
 increasing helicopter activities, etc.  He didn't see that as being           
 recognized as a traditional means of access and asked if that was             
 a valid concern.                                                              
  MR. GRASSER  responded that the traditional means of access is               
 predicted for traditional outdoor activities and he didn't think              
 helicopter transportation provided a large array of traditional               
 uses once the transportation gets you to where you are going.  He             
 didn't think the bill intended or allow for that to happen, because           
 it ties the access to a traditional outdoor activity.                         
      MR. BISHOP  testified that the Alaska Outdoor Council strongly           
 supports HB 23.  If access is limited or unavailable, the                     
 opportunities for trapping (a traditional use) are similarly                  
 limited.  This insures that traditional activities, which include             
 much more than trapping, are protected through access on State and            
 private lands.                                                                
  MR. BILL PERHACH,    Denali Park resident, said throughout the State,        
 as development has intensified, the importance of professional                
 planning and the land designation process has become more obvious.            
 Future growth will make a case for designated use areas as well.              
 Enacting HB 23 will make it more difficult to pursue a balance of             
 uses; in fact, it will exacerbate conflict making it more difficult           
 for the State to provide for common use of resources.                         
 The Alaska Environmental Lobby is opposed to CSHB 23 because it               
 does not acknowledge the importance and value in establishing zones           
 of quiet and areas for nonmotorized use, growing concern over                 
 impacts from ever-increasing helicopter activities, or potential              
 impacts from motorized access to private property adjacent to State           
 The majority of Alaskans and a majority of Alaska's visitors                  
 greatly value its natural landscape including the means by which we           
 access it and this is best accomplished by maintaining a                      
 willingness to consider all viewpoints with a commitment to                   
 fairness and respect for differing interests.                                 
 As an example, he said there was a squatter problem in his                    
 community.  Over a period of years people, primarily summer                   
 employees from the Denali concessions, started living on State                
 land, primarily in DOT right-of-way and the community tried to get            
 some relief because the problem built to a point in 1992 when there           
 were 130 -150 people living in the woods at Hornet Creek and about            
 40 - 50 people living in the woods at McKinley Village without no             
 provision for sanitation or fire.  Finally, when there was bear               
 problem and one was finally killed, the State started to move                 
 which, he thought, was the first time the departments came together           
 and closed the areas.  The problem doesn't exist any more at this             
 point and it is nice to have the process for that type of closure             
 in place.  He thought HB 23 eliminated that process.                          
 Another point, MR. PERHACH said, is that most people in his                   
 community use motorized and nonmotorized transportation on their              
 trails and they work it out, but they don't have the level of use             
 there is in the Park.  He didn't think there was a problem in the             
 snow machine community with having a place to ride, but it was in             
 getting access to that place off the road system.  He explained               
 that a TRAK Board has been established made up of a combination of            
 motorized and nonmotorized interests who work together and come up            
 with solutions.  They can also find small pots of money to fund               
 projects and the legislature does not have time to find those                 
 federal sources of money.  He wanted to see emphasis on something             
 like TRAK rather than a divisive piece of legislation like this.              
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  said he thought once there was private property,           
 he didn't think they had the right to change the rules in which               
 that private property originally got there unless the State bought            
 it back and that's where he most strongly disagrees with his                  
 letter.   MR. PERHACH  responded that his intention was to call               
 attention to the possibility that a private property owner might be           
 affected by noise from a trail close-by or helicopter overflights.            
 He said the bill mentions flying as if it's traditional access                
 which fixed wing aircraft is.  He was concerned that helicopters              
 would be considered traditional access when it comes to certain               
 operations in the Park and he would be happy to have language that            
 excluded helicopters.                                                         
 Number 431                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced an at ease from 4:45 - 4:50 p.m.                 
  MS. CAROL CARROLL,  Director, Division of Support Services, said she         
 did work with Representative Masek on this bill and agreed to not             
 oppose the bill as it is now.  It does limit some of their                    
 discretion to do some types of multiple use closures and that is              
 something they are willing to live with.                                      
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked if this bill had any retroactive affect.  MS.          
 CARROLL answered that it is prospective; however, they have not               
 done many closures through the Division of Land.                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if Representative Masek would object to                  
 including within the legislation restrictions on the same type of             
 discretion by the Department of Fish and Game.   MR. GRASSER  replied         
 that she would prefer to leave the bill intact, but HB 168 is her             
 other bill addressing access on ADF&G closures.                               
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to pass CSHB 23(RES) with individual                    
 recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note.  There were no              
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
            HJR 23 SALE OF LTD ENTRY PERMITS BY IRS                           
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced  HJR 23  to be up for consideration.             
  MS. MELINDA HOFSTAD,  Staff to Representative Hudson, sponsor, said          
 it was a simple resolution.  She said there have some outrageous              
 actions on the part of the IRS to  seize limited entry permits in             
 lieu of back taxes.  Representative Hudson doesn't believe that               
 anyone should not pay their taxes, but this is a question of                  
 whether you take someone's livelihood away from them and their                
 ability to pay those taxes.  She said that the IRS has recently               
 taken a permit valued at $30,000 and sold it for $5,000.                      
  SENATOR TAYLOR  said he thought it was somewhat schizophrenic for a          
 group of people who earned the income through the permit they have,           
 many of whom got the permit at no cost, while others have to                  
 purchase them, and then fail to pay the taxes on the income they              
 earn.  He has a hard time specializing relief for one group of                
 taxpayers and not for all.                                                    
  SENATOR TAYLOR  moved to pass the resolution from committee with             
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
 CHAIRMAN HALFORD adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.                           

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