Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1995-05-10 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1995-05-10                     House Journal                      Page 2085
HB 344                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 344 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
"An Act authorizing the commissioner of the Department of                     
Natural Resources to negotiate and enter into timber sale contracts            
that provide for local manufacture of high value-added wood                    
products; and establishing an Alaska Forest Products Research and              
Marketing Program within the Department of Commerce and                        
Economic Development."                                                         
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance              
The following fiscal notes apply:                                              
Fiscal note, Dept. of Natural Resources, 5/10/95                               
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Community & Regional Affairs, 5/10/95               
Zero fiscal note, University of Alaska, 5/10/95                                
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development,                    
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated May 9, 1995, appears below:           
"Dear Speaker Phillips:                                                        
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am     
transmitting a bill that establishes a new negotiated timber sales             
program for state land managed by the Department of Natural                    
Resources.  This bill addresses the need to stimulate local, small scale       

1995-05-10                     House Journal                      Page 2086
HB 344                                                                       
value-added processing of Alaska's forest resources and to foster              
creation of Alaskan  jobs.  With the introduction of this bill, we seek        
to provide a new focus on how timber should be managed in Alaska               
by providing more jobs from timber cut on state lands by encouraging           
industries that process high-value finished wood products.  At the same        
time, this legislation provides direction on management of our forests         
to preserve fish and wildlife habitat and other uses of the forest             
including tourism, fisheries, personal and  family uses including              
hunting and fishing.                                                           
The goal of my Administration in proposing this bill is to develop             
sound long-term strategies for managing Alaska's forest resources so           
as to provide the highest and best economic uses in local communities          
that are dependent on timber resources while maintaining other                 
Alaskan uses through the constitutionally mandated sustained yield             
principles.  The attached bill maximizes the opportunity for                   
employment while minimizing the impact on other uses of our state              
I am introducing this legislation in the final days of the session             
because it is my understanding that the legislature will be holding            
hearings on timber over the interim and I think  it is critical that the       
new directions embodied in this bill are considered in the discussions         
of the legislature.                                                            
The bill has two main components:                                              
provisions for incentives for local manufacture of high value-added           
wood products and other value-added wood products from timber                  
on state lands and authorizing use of such incentives in awarding              
special negotiated timber sale contracts (sec. 2 of the bill)                  
creation of an Alaska Forest Products Research and Marketing                  
Program within the Department of Commerce and Economic                         
Development to coordinate research and marketing efforts related               
to value-added manufacturing of Alaska wood products (sec. 3 of                
the bill).                                                                     
An uncertain supply of timber is one of the primary factors limiting the       
development of high value-added wood products manufacturing                    

1995-05-10                     House Journal                      Page 2087
HB 344                                                                       
facilities in the state.  To address this problem, sec. 2 of the bill          
proposes a new special negotiated timber sale program for timber               
destined for local manufacture of high value-added wood products.              
Contracts negotiated under this section may be for the harvest of up to        
five million board feet of timber each year for up to 10 years.                
Stumpage rates would not be less than the base price established under         
regulations.  Planning for this program by the Department of Natural           
Resources also will take into account sustained yield principles of            
timber harvest, the need for protection of fish and wildlife populations       
and habitat and maximizing opportunities for public uses of the state's        
forests.  The same public comment will apply to the planning process           
as it is does with sales conducted presently.  Existing forest planning        
requirements would apply to these new negotiated sales and other               
timber sales programs would not be affected.                                   
To participate in a negotiated timber sale authorized in sec.2 of the          
bill, the prospective purchaser must agree to use at least 50 percent of       
the timber from the sale for the local manufacture of high value-added         
wood products.  In determining whether it is in the state's best interest      
to enter into a sale contract under sec. 2, the commissioner is to             
consider the economic benefits to the region from the local                    
manufacture of the high value-added wood products as well as from              
the local manufacture of other value-added wood products; the                  
commissioner also must ensure the sustainability of fish and wildlife          
populations and habitat and other uses of the forest.  My                      
Administration will be working with the Alaska Congressional                   
delegation to ensure that appropriate related changes are made to              
federal law.                                                                   
Section 3 of the bill establishes an Alaska Forest Products Research           
and Marketing Program to encourage in-state processing of Alaska               
timber into value-added wood products.  The program coordinator is             
to gather and disseminate existing information related to the                  
manufacture of value-added wood products and to identify unfilled              
needs and problems, conduct analyses and propose solutions to assist           
local manufacturers.  This program will be accomplished through an             
existing position in the Department of Commerce.                               
The provisions proposed in this bill will provide a mechanism for              
encouraging the development of Alaskan businesses and Alaskan jobs,            

1995-05-10                     House Journal                      Page 2088
HB 344                                                                       
and will establish a new timber sales program as a means of                    
encouraging local processing.  It should help address the crisis that          
faces Alaskan communities that are largely dependent on the jobs the           
forest products industry provides.  I urge your favorable action on this       
										Tony Knowles