Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

01/23/2019 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
03:29:53 PM Start
03:30:46 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
04:33:58 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner, Dept. of Natural Resources,
Corri Feige
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 23, 2019                                                                                        
                           3:29 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Chris Birch, Chair                                                                                                      
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator Lora Reinbold                                                                                                           
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                                           
Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Commissioner                                                                         
Corri Feige - Anchorage                                                                                                         
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
CORRI FEIGE, Commissioner Designee                                                                                              
Alaska Department of Natural Resources                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as appointee to the position of                                                                 
commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.                                                                     
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:29:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CHRIS BIRCH called the Senate Resources Standing Committee                                                              
meeting to order at 3:29 p.m. Present at the call to order were                                                                 
Senators  Kiehl, Reinbold,  Bishop,  Giessel, Kawasaki,  Coghill,                                                               
and Chair Birch.                                                                                                                
3:30:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH asked committee members  introduce themselves for the                                                               
first Senate Resources Committee meeting.  He stated that he is a                                                               
mining engineer  and served in the  House for a couple  of years.                                                               
He said he  has been in Alaska  a large part of his  life and has                                                               
been associated  with the oil  and gas  industry for a  number of                                                               
years.  He started  working on  the Trans-Alaska  Pipeline System                                                               
right out of school.                                                                                                            
3:31:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL shared  that he  represents Senate  District Q  in                                                               
Southeast Alaska.  He introduced his staff  members. He disclosed                                                               
that  he is  a  lifelong  Alaskan where  he  has  picked fish  in                                                               
Bristol  Bay, worked  tourism, and  has been  involved in  public                                                               
3:32:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD said  she was  born and  raised in  Alaska. She                                                               
introduced  her  staff members.  She  emphasized  that she  is  a                                                               
passionate believer  in resource  development and  believes that,                                                               
"Alaska does it right." She  opined that Alaska is very effective                                                               
in  responsible  resource  development  and is  the  key  to  the                                                               
state's  future  to  get  out   of  the  current  recession.  She                                                               
disclosed that  she is  married to a  petroleum engineer  and her                                                               
two  sons are  engineers  as  well. She  said  she is  absolutely                                                               
convinced that  the state  needs to be  "Open for  business." She                                                               
emphasized that she stands with the governor in this regard.                                                                    
3:32:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  said he  represents Senate  District C,  which is                                                               
roughly one-third of Alaska. He  noted that Commissioner Designee                                                               
Feige  has been  "through  the process"  and  suggested that  she                                                               
3:33:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  said  he represents  the  Fairbanks-North  Pole                                                               
area. He  has served  as a Senate  Resource Committee  member for                                                               
some  years.  He emphasized  that  he  is  a fierce  defender  of                                                               
state's rights.  He said he  looks forward to what  the committee                                                               
can do with the current  administration on protecting the state's                                                               
access and building on what Alaska already has.                                                                                 
3:33:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL related  that  she chaired  the Senate  Resource                                                               
Committee for  the previous six  years. She described  herself as                                                               
a, territorial  kid just  like Senator Coghill  who was  born and                                                               
raised in  Fairbanks. She said  growing up in the  Fairbanks area                                                               
gave  her  a mining  background  because  that is  how  Fairbanks                                                               
started. She said  she is also a nurse practitioner  and when she                                                               
presented at the Resource Development  Council, she discussed how                                                               
the  development   of  the  state's  resources   creates  healthy                                                               
3:34:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI related that he  served eight years on the House                                                               
Resources Committee. He  said he represents a  Senate district in                                                               
Fairbanks. He agreed with previous  statements that Fairbanks has                                                               
a mining  history. He said he  does not have any  oil derricks or                                                               
mines in his district but a lot  of the miners and the people who                                                               
work on the North Slope live there.                                                                                             
CHAIR BIRCH  introduced his committee aide  and committee support                                                               
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                       
                     CONFIRMATION HEARING:                                                                                  
      Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources                                                                  
3:35:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BIRCH announced  that the  purpose  of the  meeting is  to                                                               
discuss   the   governor's   appointment  of   Corri   Feige   as                                                               
commissioner  of  the  Alaska  Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                               
(DNR). He read the following mission of the department:                                                                         
     The mission  of the Department of  Natural Resources is                                                                    
     to  develop,  conserve, maximize  and  use  the use  of                                                                    
     Alaska's  natural resources  consistent  with a  public                                                                    
     purpose or public interest.                                                                                                
CHAIR  BIRCH  explained  that   DNR's  major  programmatic  areas                                                               
include   agriculture,  forestry,   geological  and   geophysical                                                               
surveys,  mining, land  and water,  oil  and gas,  and parks  and                                                               
3:36:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CORRI FEIGE, Commissioner Designee,  Alaska Department of Natural                                                               
Resources, Anchorage, said  it was a great honor to  be given the                                                               
opportunity to serve as commissioner  for the department. She was                                                               
humbled  by  the level  of  responsibility  that comes  with  the                                                               
position  and  the impact  that  it  can  have  on the  lives  of                                                               
3:37:35 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE reviewed her background information:                                                                
   • Employed in the natural resource industry for over 30                                                                      
   • She is a geophysicist and an engineer by education and                                                                     
   • She has spent a great deal of time working internationally,                                                                
     an experience that gives a clear understanding of an                                                                       
     important and robust, scientifically-based permitting                                                                      
   • She has worked in mining, oil and gas, and geothermal, and                                                                 
     has worked with companies that aim to deploy new                                                                           
     technologies for energy generation or the energy-market                                                                    
   • She has been responsible for global project teams and                                                                      
     aligning the varied stakeholder interests associated with                                                                  
     the various projects.                                                                                                      
   • She was recently employed in the public sector as the                                                                      
    director for the Division of Oil and Gas for 18 months.                                                                     
She said she grew  up on a horse ranch in  Wyoming and her father                                                               
was  a miner.  He was  the director  of safety  and health  for a                                                               
company that had  several very large open-pit  uranium mines. She                                                               
added that her mother had a  career in real estate and commercial                                                               
development.  She  said  growing  up in  Wyoming  in  her  family                                                               
environment  influenced  her  career  path  and  established  her                                                               
belief  about  what  careful  and   diligent  land  and  resource                                                               
management  looks  like. It  gave  her  an appreciation  of  what                                                               
proper management  can do to  build strong communities.  She said                                                               
that  while growing  up it  was not  uncommon to  see cattle  and                                                               
antelope  grazing  adjacent  to  producing oil  wells  or  active                                                               
mines. That continues  to be true today. That  range-mix area now                                                               
has large windfarms as well.                                                                                                    
She added the following:                                                                                                        
     It is  that careful conservation and  management of the                                                                    
     land and the water  and the resources, using management                                                                    
     practices that  are focusing on multiple  uses that has                                                                    
     allowed  heavy industry  to  very successfully  coexist                                                                    
     with  agri-business with  hunting, fishing  and outdoor                                                                    
     recreation.  I  believe  it is  that  kind  of  careful                                                                    
     stewardship  and  land  management that  drives  strong                                                                    
     economies, it  provides the jobs and  it builds strong,                                                                    
     healthy communities with a good quality of life.                                                                           
3:40:22 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE listed  the following  priorities as                                                               
commissioner of DNR:                                                                                                            
   1. To see that Alaska's land and resources are                                                                               
     successfully managed to allow  for multiple uses and to                                                                    
     support a thriving economy.                                                                                                
   2. To secure the remaining four to five million acres of                                                                     
     federal land due to Alaskans since statehood.                                                                              
   3. Steward resource development in such a way give                                                                           
     Alaskans  opportunities today  and  preserve this  very                                                                    
     special  place  for  our  kids   to  make  sure  it  is                                                                    
     someplace that  they want  to call  home and  that they                                                                    
     can enjoy the same opportunities that we have.                                                                             
She said  that during her short  tenure at DNR, she  has met many                                                               
of  the DNR  team. They  are committed,  passionate professionals                                                               
who take  their work  very seriously. They  are proud  that their                                                               
efforts contributed  to the  generation of  over $1.4  billion in                                                               
state revenue in FY2018. If confirmed,  it would be a great honor                                                               
to continue to lead them.                                                                                                       
3:42:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL noted  that she  met with  Commissioner Designee                                                               
Feige during a recent tour of  the Red Dog Mine and was impressed                                                               
with her knowledge of the mining industry and geology.                                                                          
She  reminded  Commissioner  Designee Feige  that  she  testified                                                               
before  the Senate  Resources Committee  in 2016  to discuss  her                                                               
rejection of  British Petroleum's (BP) plan  of development (POD)                                                               
for  the  North Slope  related  to  gas.  That rejection  was  of                                                               
significant concern  and the  subject of  the meeting  because it                                                               
was  the  commissioner's  job to  make  that  rejection.  Senator                                                               
Giessel asked her  talk about how she would  receive the required                                                               
annual plans of  development from producers during  her tenure as                                                               
3:43:30 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE responded as follows:                                                                               
     When we see plans of  development or plans of operation                                                                    
     come before DNR, it's important  that we take a careful                                                                    
     look at  the due diligence  with which the  resource is                                                                    
     being produced and  I believe that was  the subject and                                                                    
     the question at  the heart of the Prudhoe  Bay POD that                                                                    
     you are talking about. We  have to ensure, working with                                                                    
     our  counterparts   at  AOGCC   [Alaska  Oil   and  Gas                                                                    
     Conservation Commission], that  the rate of development                                                                    
     is  appropriate to  ensure that  we  are capturing  the                                                                    
     full-time value  of money on those  resources. And then                                                                    
     AOGCC,  as you  know, has  the jurisdiction  for making                                                                    
     sure that those resources are  being produced in such a                                                                    
     way  that we  aren't inadvertently  producing too  fast                                                                    
     and leaving resource in the ground.                                                                                        
     So, I  think it's  very important  as we  are reviewing                                                                    
     those  PODs,  to  take a  very  comprehensive  look  at                                                                    
     what's  being  presented  to us.  Make  sure  that  the                                                                    
     technical  development that's  ongoing makes  sense for                                                                    
     where  that particular  unit or  development is  in its                                                                    
     life  cycle; work  with our  compatriots as  I said  at                                                                    
     AOGCC to  make sure  that we have  diligence in  how we                                                                    
     are producing that;  and don't run the  risk of wasting                                                                    
     any  resource.  But  at  the   end  of  the  day,  that                                                                    
     production is  the revenue stream  that comes  into the                                                                    
     state.  The  state  receives the  royalties  from  that                                                                    
     particular production. We also need  to be sure that we                                                                    
     are protecting  the state's  revenue interest  and that                                                                    
     revenue  stream  coming to  the  state.  So it  is  not                                                                    
     something  that  we  can  take   lightly;  we  have  to                                                                    
     consider them very seriously and very comprehensively.                                                                     
3:45:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked   if  she  serves  on   the  Advisory  and                                                               
Development Council  at the University of  Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF)                                                               
College of Engineering and Mines.                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE answered yes.                                                                                       
SENATOR BISHOP asked  if she checked to make sure  that there was                                                               
no ethical violation to continue serving on the advisory board.                                                                 
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE confirmed that she  looked into that                                                               
and does  not believe there is  an ethical conflict. Her  role is                                                               
advisory  and is  aimed  at helping  steward  programs that  will                                                               
attract engineering students  to the state and  ensure that those                                                               
engineering programs are aligned  with industry needs. She shared                                                               
that her role on the council  is very near-and-dear to her heart.                                                               
She  emphasized  that the  Advisory  and  Development Council  is                                                               
critically important given  that Alaska is the  only Arctic state                                                               
and that  engineering and resource  development means so  much to                                                               
the  state. She  said "growing  our own  engineers" that  have an                                                               
Arctic  engineering background  in  their engineering  education.                                                               
She opined that UAF and  the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA)                                                               
can offer a considerable amount to achieving that goal.                                                                         
SENATOR  KIEHL  recalled  that  former  Governor  Palin  and  the                                                               
legislature  at the  time set  a  goal for  Alaska's North  Slope                                                               
natural gas project  to get to a FERC  [Federal Energy Regulatory                                                               
Commissioner]  license. Noting  that the  state was  closer to  a                                                               
FERC license now,  he asked if that was still  the right goal; if                                                               
it was  being done in  the right way;  and the changes  she would                                                               
3:47:19 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE FEIGE  agreed that  the state  has a  long                                                               
history of  attempts to monetize  gas, especially from  the North                                                               
Slope. She  noted that  the original  Prudhoe Bay  documents show                                                               
that  the plan  was to  produce gas  within a  year or  two after                                                               
production commenced.  She conceded that there  have been several                                                               
runs  at that  but  agreed  that the  state  is  closer now  than                                                               
previous attempts. She continued as follows:                                                                                    
     In moving forward, where  the current administration is                                                                    
     at in looking  at that project, we are  going through a                                                                    
     period  of  due  diligence   to  understand  where  the                                                                    
     project actually  sits; where are we  actually in terms                                                                    
     of  securing the  FERC license  for  this program;  how                                                                    
     much more engineering  work needs to be  done; the data                                                                    
     that needs to go to  FERC; and what that timeline looks                                                                    
     like. That  due diligence needs to  be completed before                                                                    
     we  can  determine what  the  next  best step  for  the                                                                    
     project is.                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE emphasized  that that North Slope gas                                                               
absolutely  will be  monetized. She  pointed out  that the  North                                                               
Slope barrel  of oil equivalent  (BOE) for the 36  Trillion Cubic                                                               
Feet (Tcf)  reserves is a little  more than 6 billion  barrels of                                                               
oil equivalent.  She said  the project will  have to  be economic                                                               
and must take advantage of  the best that technology can provide.                                                               
Applying  the  best  technology  puts the  state  in  a  stronger                                                               
position to develop an economic project to move forward.                                                                        
3:49:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  asked what the odds  are that the North  Slope gas                                                               
will be monetized during her term.                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  FEIGE answered  that  it  will take  much                                                               
longer than  four years for the  build out of the  project and to                                                               
secure a toe-hold in the market.                                                                                                
SENATOR   KAWASAKI  referenced   art.   VIII,  sec   2,  of   the                                                               
Constitution  of  the   State  of  Alaska.  It   deals  with  the                                                               
legislature's general  authority and  is similar  to what  she is                                                               
doing   about  utilization   development  and   natural  resource                                                               
conservation, including land and water.  He asked what she thinks                                                               
"conservation" means  in terms of  both the constitution  and the                                                               
statutes that govern the commissioner of DNR.                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE  answered that conserving, maximizing                                                               
and  stewarding  resource  use allows  for  the  monetization  or                                                               
development  of one  resource  without it  being  a detriment  to                                                               
other  resources.  She asserted  that  not  pitting one  resource                                                               
against  another  is  important  and  balance  is  the  key.  She                                                               
emphasized that Alaska  must apply the best  possible science and                                                               
the  best   possible  resource  development   understanding  when                                                               
projects  and  development  programs  are  considered.  She  said                                                               
working  with its  sister agencies  at the  Alaska Department  of                                                               
Fish and Game, and the  Department of Environmental Conservation,                                                               
consideration will be  given to fish and  wildlife habitat, clean                                                               
water and clean air when projects are being constructed.                                                                        
3:51:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  remarked  that   DNR  deals  mostly  with  the                                                               
quantity  of water,  ADF&G  deals mostly  with  habitat, and  DEC                                                               
deals mostly  with the quality. He  asked how she will  work with                                                               
those departments during the permitting process for an industry.                                                                
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE explained  that ADF&G will inform DNR                                                               
on  the  water necessary  to  protect  fish for  determining  the                                                               
appropriate level  of withdrawal. She  added that DNR  works with                                                               
that department  as well  as DEC to  protect habitat  by managing                                                               
discharge coming  from any project.  She detailed that  DNR works                                                               
with DEC to  make sure the disposal path for  produced waters and                                                               
effluent streams  are managed appropriately  and are  not allowed                                                               
to harm the land.                                                                                                               
SENATOR KAWASAKI mentioned  state parks and asked  what value she                                                               
would  place on  not developing  a particular  area of  land that                                                               
Alaskans utilize.                                                                                                               
3:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE pointed out that  parks are governed                                                               
by DNR's  management plan and each  park unit has a  series of or                                                               
one specific  characteristic that is particularly  important. She                                                               
said  whatever  the  activity,  be   it  a  mine,  oil  and  gas,                                                               
geothermal, hydro,  or any  kind of  development must  fit within                                                               
the framework of the management plan.                                                                                           
SENATOR   KAWASAKI  asked   her  to   discuss  the   Division  of                                                               
Agriculture and how she plans to enhance its viability.                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  FEIGE  explained  that  the  Division  of                                                               
Agriculture  plays  an  important  role  developing  agribusiness                                                               
within  Alaska. She  noted that  in the  Fairbanks, Interior  and                                                               
Southcentral  areas the  agribusinesses  involve  field crops  as                                                               
well as livestock. She remarked  that the Division of Agriculture                                                               
has done  a terrific job  within the  last few years  of securing                                                               
market space  for farmers  and crop  developers within  the state                                                               
and  giving them  an avenue  to get  their products  within major                                                               
grocery store  chains like Walmart,  Carrs and Kroger as  well as                                                               
farmers markets.  She opined that enhancing  and growing programs                                                               
that return value to the  state's farmers are very important. She                                                               
said  there  is  interest  in growing  livestock  but  there  are                                                               
challenges associated with  cost due to the  state's climate. She                                                               
pointed out that  the division is squarely  focused on addressing                                                               
food  safety and  a food  security return  to Alaskans  to ensure                                                               
that the state  has the crop and livestock that  is being locally                                                               
developed. She  noted that the recent  earthquake in Southcentral                                                               
highlighted that food security is an issue in the state.                                                                        
3:57:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   GIESSEL   noted   that  Commissioner   Designee   Feige                                                               
previously was the  director of the Division of Oil  and Gas. She                                                               
asked, from the perspective of  commissioner, what she saw as the                                                               
opportunities and challenges  to DNR going forward  and where she                                                               
would like to guide the department.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE answered that the  challenges facing                                                               
DNR are  to ensure  that the  department can  operate effectively                                                               
within the  current fiscal  climate and  budget. To  achieve that                                                               
end  a  near-term  challenge  is  to  look  at  the  department's                                                               
regulations to make  sure they make sense,  have been modernized,                                                               
and that  the department is able  to be responsive and  timely in                                                               
its  work.  DNR  must  be  sure its  internal  processes  are  as                                                               
efficient   and  streamlined   as   possible,   the  permit   and                                                               
authorizations  that  are issued  are  high  quality and  legally                                                               
defensible, and  that internal due  diligence has been  done. The                                                               
opportunities  are that  the  administration  firmly believes  in                                                               
driving  the state's  economy through  resource development.  She                                                               
said she  looks forward to  helping steward and champion  that to                                                               
attract investment back to Alaska.                                                                                              
SENATOR COGHILL  said he had  three questions. The  first relates                                                               
to placer mining and the  state and federal rules associated with                                                               
water quality. He relayed that  placer miners feel that they have                                                               
been continually  pushed to the edge  on a variety of  issues. He                                                               
noted that  work was being  done on some regulation  changes that                                                               
push back a little. He said  those from the Fairbanks area feel a                                                               
duty to  make sure that  placer mining  remains a viable  part of                                                               
the  economy. He  inquired if  she had  seen anything  that would                                                               
give placer miners reason for optimism.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE FEIGE  replied  access  and ensuring  that                                                               
placer mining  claims are available  is key. She opined  that DEC                                                               
and ADF&G  do a fine job  ensuring that protections are  in place                                                               
for that activity. She apologized  that she did not have specific                                                               
detail on the placer mining  regulations, but she would look into                                                               
it. She  encouraged him to reach  out to her office  to start the                                                               
4:02:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  agreed to  reach out. He  pointed out  that some                                                               
large mines and UAF depend on placer mining activity.                                                                           
He raised the  question of access to state lands  and pointed out                                                               
that she would be one of  the biggest land managers in the world.                                                               
He noted that  he was glad to hear that  she has an international                                                               
perspective  because  people  look  at Alaska  as  an  investment                                                               
place. He  noted that she  would have  to rub shoulders  with the                                                               
federal government because they are a bigger land owner.                                                                        
SENATOR  COGHILL  said Alaska  has  several  protections on  land                                                               
management: the  Alaska Statehood  Act, the  Alaska Constitution,                                                               
the  ANILCA [Alaska  National Interest  Lands Conservation  Act],                                                               
and ANCSA [Alaska  Native Claims Settlement Act].  He opined that                                                               
ANILCA is  probably the  most unique  law given  to any  state on                                                               
conservation,  land  management  and   access  to  lands.  It  is                                                               
probably the  least respected  in Congress,  but the  most needed                                                               
for Alaska  to use. He asked  if she was knowledgeable  and ready                                                               
to  defend the  state's land  management  and how  she would  use                                                               
those  unique  protections.  He opined  that  guidance  from  BLM                                                               
[Bureau  of  Land  Management]  could  overrule  Alaska's  entire                                                               
statehood compact and constitution.                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE  agreed the state needs  a full court                                                               
press  on  the  Department  of   the  Interior  and  the  federal                                                               
government  generally  to  secure  the  acreage  due  to  Alaska.                                                               
Maintaining a  constant tension and  open lines  of communication                                                               
is important. The first step is  to press for the removal of PLOs                                                               
[public land  orders] and the  easements that have been  in place                                                               
since  statehood  for  study and  classification  of  lands.  She                                                               
pointed out  that a lot  those lands have high  prospectivity and                                                               
high potential  revenue value to the  state as well as  value for                                                               
hunting,  fishing, and  outdoor recreation.  She opined  that the                                                               
state is  well positioned for the  next 18 months with  a federal                                                               
administration  that is  willing to  work with  the state  on the                                                               
acreage  it is  due.  The current  congressional delegation  will                                                               
also be very helpful.                                                                                                           
She  added  that  one  thing  DNR is  doing  in  terms  of  state                                                               
selections  is ensuring  that the  selection of  lands, like  the                                                               
Ambler district, have an access corridor attached.                                                                              
4:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL expressed appreciation  that she discussed access                                                               
because  rivers and  R.S. 2477s  [Revised Statute  2477] are  the                                                               
corridors  that  are used.  Air  transportation  is also  heavily                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL addressed the third  question related to mapping.                                                               
He said the Division of  Geological & Geophysical Surveys does an                                                               
excellent job  of showing Alaska's  bounty, but it relies  on the                                                               
federal  government  to  get  accurate  coordinates  so  the  EIS                                                               
[Environmental Impact  Statement] process  is cleaner.  He opined                                                               
that at  the current  pace, mapping will  take 15  generations to                                                               
complete. He  asked if she has  thought about how to  enlist with                                                               
the  federal  government  as  a better  partner  to  improve  the                                                               
4:08:22 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE answered  that the administration has                                                               
been  talking   with  the  Department   of  Interior   about  the                                                               
acquisition of  real-time GPS  [Global Positioning  System] units                                                               
called  CORS   [Continuously  Operating  Reference   Station]  to                                                               
complete the  survey network of  the state. She related  that the                                                               
current GPS  network takes  several hours on  location to  get an                                                               
accurate  reading and  the  new  system would  take  a matter  of                                                               
minutes. She  explained that DNR  would work with  the Department                                                               
of Interior  to receive  the CORS  units and  the state  would be                                                               
responsible for maintaining  them. She added that  the CORS units                                                               
would be available  to subscribers, such as mines,  who would pay                                                               
a fee  to use them.  She said it  is time to  modernize surveying                                                               
and to  work with the Department  of Interior to get  the project                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL asked  what the timeframe is to  acquire the CORS                                                               
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE replied,  ideally, it would be within                                                               
the next 6 to 12 months.                                                                                                        
CHAIR BIRCH requested an explanation of the acronym PLO.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE answered that PLO  stands for public                                                               
land order.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  BIRCH asked  if  PLOs  are primarily  used  for a  federal                                                               
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE answered correct.                                                                                   
4:11:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  commented  on  her  career  accomplishments  and                                                               
extensive  experience with  the permitting  process. He  asked if                                                               
she had  ideas to  get departments  to work  together and  not in                                                               
silos to expedite protection of state lands.                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  FEIGE  said  that for  applicants  it  is                                                               
important to understand what is  expected, which agencies to talk                                                               
to for authorizations, and the full  scope of all the permits and                                                               
authorizations  required.   It  is  also  important   to  receive                                                               
guidance  from  a direct  point  of  contact within  the  various                                                               
agencies. She  explained that in  the business  world, regulatory                                                               
risk  goes up  if there  isn't an  understanding of  the process.                                                               
Within  DNR,  the Office  of  Project  Management and  Permitting                                                               
(OPMP)  is  the entity  that  ensures  that  DNR and  its  sister                                                               
agencies work in  a coordinated fashion. It is the  sole point of                                                               
contact that  works with the  applicant to coordinate  both state                                                               
and  federal permits  and  authorizations.  OPMP is  particularly                                                               
helpful  in streamlining  the National  Environmental Policy  Act                                                               
(NEPA) process  for the  EIS. She said  not all  federal agencies                                                               
have  a  codified   timeline  on  which  to  work   so  having  a                                                               
representative like OPMP can be  effective in keeping things from                                                               
bogging down.                                                                                                                   
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE FEIGE said her  intent is for DNR to create                                                               
clear, concise and predictable flowcharts  or frameworks for what                                                               
a mining activity or development  might look like. OPMP will walk                                                               
the applicant through the  process through frequent communication                                                               
in order  to deliver a project  in a clear and  cohesive way that                                                               
the public and various stakeholders understand.                                                                                 
SENATOR  REINBOLD   commented  on  her   background,  experience,                                                               
education,  and  interagency  work.  She thanked  her  for  being                                                               
willing to serve the people of Alaska.                                                                                          
4:15:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  her  to   discuss  opportunities  for  the                                                               
department to increase in-state timber processing.                                                                              
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE FEIGE  said the  Division of  Forestry has                                                               
significant staff retention  issues. She emphasized that  it is a                                                               
priority is to  secure and grow the timber  industry. She relayed                                                               
that  the  department  is  in  the  process  of  challenging  the                                                               
validity  of  the  Roadless  Rule  within  the  Tongass  National                                                               
Forest. The  state's position is  that Alaska ought to  be exempt                                                               
from that rule.  Pending the outcome of the  litigation, which is                                                               
in  abeyance, the  state is  looking at  alternative number  six,                                                               
which gives  maximum flexibility  for the state  and communities.                                                               
When the  State wins, she  said, 2.3  million acres will  come to                                                               
the state.  While the board  footage is assessed, it  is critical                                                               
to continue  to work  through the  existing good  neighbor timber                                                               
sale  policy. Several  of those  have been  executed in  the last                                                               
several  years and  one  is being  cued up.  This  will keep  the                                                               
sawyers and timber  industry going while the  State works through                                                               
the rulemaking process.                                                                                                         
She said  that at  the same  time she would  like to  address the                                                               
retention issues  and bring  real talent  back into  the forestry                                                               
program.  She acknowledged  that the  division director  has been                                                               
very challenged the  last several years. She  noted the potential                                                               
changes  to  regulations,  one  of  which  would  streamline  the                                                               
process  for standing  up a  timber sale.  All the  changes being                                                               
discussed  are  dedicated   to  strengthening  commercial  forest                                                               
activities  within  the state  and  ensuring  that the  necessary                                                               
board footage is available.                                                                                                     
4:19:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  if  the   Division  of  Forestry  has  the                                                               
resources needed to make sure  the Alaska Forest Practices Act is                                                               
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE FEIGE  admitted  that  the department  and                                                               
division is challenged  to do the best it can  with the resources                                                               
that it  has. She said  what is  important for forestry  and good                                                               
timber  practices is  that the  division is  taking advantage  of                                                               
commercial  sale opportunities  where "fire  breaks" are  needed,                                                               
where  there are  spruce  bark beetle  outbreaks  in the  Susitna                                                               
area,  and  making the  "fire  threat"  timber is  harvested  for                                                               
commercial revenue.                                                                                                             
SENATOR KIEHL  related that his  constituents have  observed what                                                               
they perceive to be a significant  shift in where the Division of                                                               
State Parks  is putting its  resources. State parks  rangers have                                                               
shifted  their focus  from  multiple missions  to  a very  strong                                                               
emphasis on  their law enforcement function.  Their perception is                                                               
that  park users  are  seeing a  loss of  some  services and  the                                                               
ability to  enjoy the park  responsibly. He asked her  to comment                                                               
on where part rangers' focus should be.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE explained  that state  part rangers'                                                               
primary role  is public safety. They  educate, protect resources,                                                               
and enhance  the park experience.  However, because they  are law                                                               
enforcement officials  they may  act accordingly if  they witness                                                               
an infraction  of the law.  She mentioned an earlier  meeting and                                                               
reiterated that if  a ranger is shooting radar on  an access road                                                               
into a park, they are probably in the wrong line of work.                                                                       
4:23:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked her to  share her insights into the direction                                                               
of the Mental  Health Trust Land Office (MHTLO),  which is housed                                                               
within  DNR,  because  entities  within  his  district  have  had                                                               
difficulty interacting with that office. on commercial sales.                                                                   
COMMISSIONER  DESIGNEE  FEIGE  clarified  that  MHTLO  is  housed                                                               
within DNR for  continuity and communication purposes,  but it is                                                               
guided  by  the   Mental  Health  Trust  Enabling   Act  and  the                                                               
settlement  of  litigation  that  reconstituted  the  trust  land                                                               
office and  the Land  Grant Trust.  She said  the MHTLO  does not                                                               
report directly to the commissioner  of DNR but rather up through                                                               
the Alaska  Mental Health  Trust Authority  Board of  Trustees to                                                               
the CEO. DNR does work with  the trust to communicate areas where                                                               
there are land swaps, functioning  as a conduit to the Department                                                               
of  the Interior.  With regard  to the  commercial sales  Senator                                                               
Kiehl  referenced, DNR  can assist  when there  are conflicts  or                                                               
breakdowns in communication.  She explained that the  trust has a                                                               
direct  mandate   to  manage   only  for   the  benefit   of  its                                                               
beneficiaries,  which is  probably  responsible for  some of  the                                                               
difficulties  associated   with  the   sale  and  use   of  trust                                                               
properties. DNR's commitment is to  assist the trust monetize its                                                               
land, serve as  a conduit for communication,  and coordinate with                                                               
other agencies.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR KIEHL noted  that in the past  when significant questions                                                               
arise regarding  oil and gas  the legislature observes  the dance                                                               
between the  commissioners of DNR  and the Department  of Revenue                                                               
and the attorney  general. He asked her philosophy  of DNR's role                                                               
when those issues come up  and the three departments work through                                                               
them while serving their missions and all Alaskans.                                                                             
4:27:04 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE  FEIGE replied DNR wears  two distinct hats                                                               
as a  landowner lessor  and a regulator  agency. She  opined that                                                               
for  a  healthy DNR  and  healthy  oil  and  gas industry  it  is                                                               
important  to  have  some  tension  between  those  roles.  As  a                                                               
landowner lessor,  DNR wants to  see the resources  developed and                                                               
to recoup the royalties and  revenues from that development. As a                                                               
regulatory  agency DNR  has the  responsibility  to provide  good                                                               
oversight,   due   diligence,    and   provide   protection   and                                                               
conservation in a  balanced way. Through the  Division of Mining,                                                               
Land and Water, DNR is  responsible for access corridors; whereas                                                               
through  the Division  of Oil  and  Gas, DNR  is responsible  for                                                               
surface  land use,  development of  exploration programs,  or for                                                               
the  development   of  units.  Through  the   Office  of  Project                                                               
Management  &   Permitting  (OPMP),   DNR  serves  the   role  of                                                               
coordinating  state   and  federal   permits  to   ensure  timely                                                               
development  and  standup  of  programs  and  new  production.  A                                                               
healthy  bit  of tension  within  DNR  ensures that  everyone  is                                                               
fulfilling those roles.                                                                                                         
With regard to  coordinating with other agencies,  DNR brings the                                                               
royalty  into the  state through  the Royalty  Accounting Section                                                               
within  the   Division  of  Oil   and  Gas.  The   royalties  are                                                               
distributed to  the Permanent Fund  and the  undesignated general                                                               
fund.  The   Department  of  Revenue   is  responsible   for  tax                                                               
CHAIR  BIRCH thanked  Commissioner Designee  Feige for  the well-                                                               
presented background qualification summary.                                                                                     
4:30:52 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
4:31:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH called the committee  back to order and opened public                                                               
4:31:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH closed public testimony.                                                                                            
4:31:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BIRCH stated  that in  accordance with  AS 39.05.080,  the                                                               
Senate Resources Committee reviewed  the following and recommends                                                               
the   appointment   be  forwarded   to   a   joint  session   for                                                               
Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources                                                                      
Corri Feige - Anchorage                                                                                                         
CHAIR  BIRCH  reminded members  that  this  does not  reflect  an                                                               
intent  by  any  of  the  members to  vote  for  or  against  the                                                               
confirmation of the individual during any further sessions.                                                                     
4:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
4:33:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH called the committee back to order.                                                                                 
4:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Birch adjourned  the Senate  Resources Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting at 4:33 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DNR Commissioner-Designee Corri Feige - Resume.pdf SRES 1/23/2019 3:30:00 PM
Feige Confirmation-Letter Council of Alaska Producers 1-23-19.pdf SRES 1/23/2019 3:30:00 PM