Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/06/2010 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 168(FIN) Out of Committee
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 22                                                                                            
     Establishing and relating to the Alaska Northern                                                                           
     Waters Task Force.                                                                                                         
2:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REGGIE JOULE  presented an  overview of  the                                                                    
bill.  The  resolution  would  bring   the  members  of  the                                                                    
legislature, along  with the affected  Northern communities,                                                                    
into   the   national    discussion   about   the   possible                                                                    
opportunities  that  lay  in  Alaskan  Northern  Waters.  He                                                                    
informed  the committee  that he  would  offer an  amendment                                                                    
later in the meeting.                                                                                                           
2:20:47 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  HENSLEY,  STAFF REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE,  explained                                                                    
that under  passage of the  amendment; the task  force would                                                                    
be  comprised   of  12  members  appointed   by  the  senate                                                                    
president  that   would  represent  communities   along  the                                                                    
Bering,  Chukchi, or  Beaufort  Seas. There  would be  three                                                                    
representatives  from the  same  areas,  and seven  members,                                                                    
appointed jointly  by the  speaker of  the house  and senate                                                                    
president,  representing  the  executive  branch  of  Alaska                                                                    
State Government. Other members  included; the mayors of the                                                                    
North Slope Borough, the Northwest  Arctic Borough, the City                                                                    
of Nome, and  the City of Unalaska. The  United States Coast                                                                    
Guard and  a member of  a federal agency with  a significant                                                                    
role  in addressing  Northern waters  issues  would also  be                                                                    
represented. The task force would  hold seven meetings total                                                                    
in the communities  that were expected to  directly feel the                                                                    
impacts  of  increased   Arctic  activity;  Nome,  Kotzebue,                                                                    
Barrow,  and  Unalaska.  Meetings  would  also  be  held  in                                                                    
Anchorage. The  taskforce would present its  findings to the                                                                    
legislature  in January  2012.  Due to  the  opening of  the                                                                    
Arctic  sea  ice,   activity  had  increased  significantly.                                                                    
Recent  warming  trends had  resulted  in  the depletion  of                                                                    
Arctic perennial  sea ice  by nine  percent per  decade. The                                                                    
National  Aeronautics and  Space  Administration (NASA)  had                                                                    
observed  that  the ice  would  continue  to deplete  at  an                                                                    
increasingly accelerated rate.                                                                                                  
2:23:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze  suggested that the language  pertaining to                                                                    
appointments  by the  speaker of  the house  and the  senate                                                                    
president  be further  clarified. He  added that  committees                                                                    
were often  made up of an  odd number of people  in order to                                                                    
avoid deadlock with full membership votes.                                                                                      
CHRISTINE  HESS,  CHIEF   OF  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE,                                                                    
explained  that on  several occasions  the state  had had  a                                                                    
taskforce comprised  of an odd  number of members.  She said                                                                    
that this time  it happened to be an even  number. She hoped                                                                    
that people would  be able to work  together successfully to                                                                    
appoint members to the taskforce.                                                                                               
2:25:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hawker  offered that it  was always  challenging to                                                                    
establish  a  working  taskforce during  an  election  year,                                                                    
particularly,  if  the  taskforce  was going  to  be  active                                                                    
beyond  the  election  cycle. He  thought  that  there  were                                                                    
technical  concerns  of   succession  and  appointment  that                                                                    
should be examined.                                                                                                             
2:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Thomas thought  that the  resolution could  have                                                                    
benefited from input  from a member of  the National Oceanic                                                                    
and Atmospheric  Association (NOAH), or  other knowledgeable                                                                    
fisheries professional.  He wondered if the  fiscal note was                                                                    
a work draft.                                                                                                                   
Ms. Hess replied that the fiscal  note was a work draft that                                                                    
listed  the potential  attendees of  future hearings  in the                                                                    
Northern communities. She explained that  there was a bit of                                                                    
guess work  involved in  drawing up a  fiscal note  based on                                                                    
the  fact that  the taskforce  was currently  a hypothetical                                                                    
Representative Thomas  asked if the unmentioned  groups were                                                                    
broadly identified on Page 3, 17:                                                                                               
     (3) identify and coordinate efforts of mutual concern                                                                      
for  federal,   state,  and  local  agencies,   as  well  as                                                                    
international interests in the  creation of the commission;                                                                     
Ms. Hess replied yes.                                                                                                           
2:28:31 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kelly expressed  concern with the composition                                                                    
of the taskforce.  He believed that the  parties that should                                                                    
be represented  in Arctic discussions were  broader than the                                                                    
resolution  called  for. He  opined  that  a member  of  the                                                                    
general public was  not listed an appointed  member. He felt                                                                    
that the ownership and interest  in the Arctic was more far-                                                                    
reaching  than  was  reflected  in  the  proposed  taskforce                                                                    
Representative Austerman remembered  his earlier involvement                                                                    
in conversations  concerning the  Arctic. He stated  that in                                                                    
the  past  it was  understood  that  the federal  government                                                                    
would  eventually establish  a  commission  that would  deal                                                                    
with Arctic issues. He revealed  that he had been nervous at                                                                    
the prospect of  congress dictating what might  occur in the                                                                    
Arctic. He said  that it had been obvious for  over a decade                                                                    
that the  waters were  warming, the  fish were  moving north                                                                    
and the  state was not  responding. He said the  Coast Guard                                                                    
and the  Navy were  in discussions about  the future  of the                                                                    
arctic  and  that Alaska  had  not  been involved  in  those                                                                    
conversations. He  asserted that  Alaska needed  a taskforce                                                                    
that would examine  how the state should be  involved in the                                                                    
discussions. He  understood that the  initial recommendation                                                                    
was  that  the  federal  government should  put  together  a                                                                    
commission for  the northern waters using  the North Pacific                                                                    
Fisheries  Management  Council  as  a  model.  He  expressed                                                                    
concern that  the model worked  well for managing  fish, but                                                                    
that   the  council   was  chosen   by  the   governor,  who                                                                    
subsequently  drove policy  established by  the council.  He                                                                    
held that policy  should be set by the  legislature and that                                                                    
the federal  government should not solely  dictate decisions                                                                    
concerning northern waters.                                                                                                     
2:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stoltze  agreed  that   if  the  White  House  was                                                                    
appointing the commission organizations  such as; the Center                                                                    
for  Biodiversity,  Greenpeace,  World  Wildlife  Fund,  and                                                                    
Oceana  would be  at the  top  of the  member list,  leaving                                                                    
little room for Alaskan representation.                                                                                         
Ms. Hensley informed the committee  that the White House has                                                                    
created  two taskforces  that had  been holding  hearings in                                                                    
Alaska.  She  shared  that   the  Interagency  Ocean  Policy                                                                    
Taskforce,  the  Climate  Change Adaptation  Taskforce,  and                                                                    
approximately 30 other federal  agencies were looking at the                                                                    
Arctic, making now an appropriate  time for the state to get                                                                    
2:36:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Foster  pointed out to the  committee that it                                                                    
was  important  that  representatives   from  the  state  be                                                                    
involved in discussions at every  level. He thought that the                                                                    
commission  could be  the "go  to" entity  for the  state in                                                                    
discussions on northern waters.                                                                                                 
Representative Joule  expressed excitement  at the  level of                                                                    
interest   members  of   the   legislature  displayed   when                                                                    
discussing  taskforce membership.  He shared  that the  idea                                                                    
for the taskforce had been  born out of the recognition that                                                                    
there was  not collective Alaskan representation  in current                                                                    
Arctic  waters  discussions.  He  credited  the  offices  of                                                                    
Representative  Austerman  and   Representative  Foster  for                                                                    
brining the issue to his  attention. He hoped that knowledge                                                                    
could  be  drawn from  various  interest  groups that  would                                                                    
inform the policy proposed by a taskforce of this nature.                                                                       
2:39:43 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY  HARTIG,  COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL                                                                    
CONSERVATION,  informed the  committee that  he chaired  the                                                                    
governor's Sub-Cabinet  on Climate Change, as  well as being                                                                    
a  member   of  the   Sub-Cabinets  on  Rural   and  Natural                                                                    
Resources.  He  expressed  appreciation that  Arctic  issues                                                                    
were  being discussed  in committee,  and believed  that the                                                                    
key  issues had  been highlighted  by Representative  Joule.                                                                    
Currently, there  had been a  lot of  discussions throughout                                                                    
the  state   surrounding  Arctic   issues.  He   believed  a                                                                    
successful  taskforce on  the issue  would  be comprised  of                                                                    
groups operating at all  levels; international, national and                                                                    
statewide,  respectively;  the  Arctic Council,  the  Arctic                                                                    
Policy  Group, and  key state  agencies handling  day-to-day                                                                    
issues. He added that  there were jurisdictional boundaries,                                                                    
national  and international,  that would  need to  be wholly                                                                    
understood. There  could be limits to  federal participation                                                                    
in a taskforce of this kind.  He explained that there were 8                                                                    
Arctic Nations that were members  of the Arctic Council. The                                                                    
council was an intergovernmental  forum, intended to promote                                                                    
cooperation, coordination, and  interaction among the Arctic                                                                    
states.  There were  ministers from  each member  group that                                                                    
attended the  meetings on a  bi-annual basis.  Senior Arctic                                                                    
officials met every  6 months. Six working  groups worked on                                                                    
different research areas and reported  back to the body. The                                                                    
decisions of  the Arctic  Council were  non-binding, rather,                                                                    
the council  provided research and  analysis that  helped to                                                                    
inform  Arctic   issues.  The   governor's  office   sent  a                                                                    
representative to each  of the ministerial, and  most of the                                                                    
senior  Arctic meetings,  to  represent Alaska's  interests,                                                                    
and  to track  the  activities of  the  council. The  Arctic                                                                    
Policy  Group  (APG)  helped  to   frame  the  Alaska  state                                                                    
policies  that were  brought before  the  council. The  APG,                                                                    
comprised of  federal agencies, looked  at land  and natural                                                                    
resource management issues,  environmental protection, human                                                                    
health, transportation  and other  policies relevant  to the                                                                    
Arctic. The state participated in the APG meetings.                                                                             
2:45:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Commissioner Hartig  said that  an ad-hock working  group of                                                                    
the   state   met  bi-monthly,   and   was   chaired  by   a                                                                    
representative from  the governor's  D.C. office.  The group                                                                    
met to  determine the  issues that would  be brought  to the                                                                    
APG meetings,  to help influence  discussions at  the Arctic                                                                    
Council.   The  working   group  participated   with  native                                                                    
organizations,  university  representatives, private  sector                                                                    
groups,   non-governmental    organizations,   and   federal                                                                    
agencies  in Alaska.  He stated  that there  was significant                                                                    
activity happening at  the state level. The  Coast Guard and                                                                    
the Canadian Coast Guard just  completed a joint spill drill                                                                    
exercise.  Representatives of  the North  Slope Borough  and                                                                    
village communities also  participated. Ship traffic through                                                                    
the Bering Strait  to the Arctic was an issue  that would be                                                                    
addressed  in the  near future.  Discussions  with the  U.S.                                                                    
Geological  Service  had   occurred  concerning  the  Arctic                                                                    
Landscape Quad  Cooperation Group,  which would  assess land                                                                    
management, and the  formation of a science  center to study                                                                    
climate change.  He reiterated that  if a new group  were to                                                                    
be formed, the  work of the many existing  groups would need                                                                    
to be  respected, and  that the work  should be  done within                                                                    
the  recognized  forums.  He   mentioned  that  the  federal                                                                    
agencies  were limited  by  the  Federal Advisory  Committee                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hawker understood  that the  state should  proceed                                                                    
with caution  concerning other agencies  on the  federal and                                                                    
international level.  Commissioner Hartig agreed.  He stated                                                                    
that the  taskforce proposed could  be very  beneficial, but                                                                    
the existing structures could not be ignored.                                                                                   
Co-Chair Hawker  understood that the formation  of the group                                                                    
could  be valuable,  but  possible  conflicts with  existing                                                                    
groups  should be  considered.   Commissioner Hartig  agreed                                                                    
that  the  state  should   be  cognizant  of  jurisdictional                                                                    
2:51:01 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Austerman assumed  that a representative from                                                                    
the state  was present during international  policy decision                                                                    
discussions  with the  U.S.  State Department.  Commissioner                                                                    
Hartig responded  that the Arctic Council  does research and                                                                    
analysis of  potential policy, but  did not sit  directly in                                                                    
on  international negotiations.  The  state participated  in                                                                    
the Arctic  Council meetings through the  governor's office.                                                                    
Representative  Austerman  recommended  that  the  state  be                                                                    
become more involved. He said that  he had not seen a report                                                                    
from  the department,  or the  governor's office,  detailing                                                                    
what was  being done concerning Arctic  issues. Commissioner                                                                    
Hartig  responded  the   department's  activities  could  be                                                                    
researched on the DEC website.                                                                                                  
Representative  Austerman  asked  if  the  creation  of  the                                                                    
taskforce  could  serve   to  foster  broader  communication                                                                    
concerning Arctic  issues. Commissioner Hartig  responded in                                                                    
the affirmative. He felt that  the group could identify gaps                                                                    
where  there  would  be an  opportunity  for  further  state                                                                    
involvement, particularly on the international level.                                                                           
2:54:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Gara  believed   that  the   taskforce  was                                                                    
necessary  to  provide  information to  the  legislature  in                                                                    
order to create state policy.                                                                                                   
Commissioner Hartig responded that  the taskforce could have                                                                    
communication value when working  with local communities and                                                                    
the legislature.  He pointed out  to the committee  that the                                                                    
main concern  for the department  could be found on  Page 3,                                                                    
Line 13-14  of the bill,  which stated that  taskforce would                                                                    
provide  an  assessment  to facilitate  the  creation  of  a                                                                    
"state  and federal  commission  responsible for  overseeing                                                                    
the  development   of  state  and  federal   northern  ocean                                                                    
waters".  He believed  that  conflict  with existing  groups                                                                    
over the "overseeing" of waters could arise.                                                                                    
2:57:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Salmon  supported the bill, but  thought that                                                                    
the selection of  the board was narrowly  focused. He though                                                                    
the  problem   was  statewide  and  should   have  statewide                                                                    
Vice-Chair   Thomas  asked   if  cruise   ships,  commercial                                                                    
fishermen, oil tankers,  or other users of  the Arctic, were                                                                    
represented in any of the existing groups.                                                                                      
Commissioner Hartig  responded that  the Arctic  Council had                                                                    
work groups that included people  looking at specific marine                                                                    
issues,  including  marine  traffic.   The  state  would  be                                                                    
working with  the Coast Guard  to draft the  risk assessment                                                                    
associated  with   the  traffic.   International  governance                                                                    
mechanisms for  traffic, not subject  to U.S. laws  would be                                                                    
examined.  At the  state level  marine  industries would  be                                                                    
included in  discussions. He stressed that  talks pertaining                                                                    
to the issue were purely conceptual at this time.                                                                               
Vice-Chair Thomas understood the  importance that the people                                                                    
involved to the  talks be educated about  issues specific to                                                                    
the different communities and regions of the state.                                                                             
3:00:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Doogan  requested  clarification as  to  the                                                                    
state's  role  in  regard  to  Arctic  issues.  Commissioner                                                                    
Hartig replied that at the  base level, DEC handled the day-                                                                    
to-day business.  Specifically to the Arctic  the department                                                                    
was  discussing  future  additional   ship  traffic  in  the                                                                    
Arctic. The  department worked closely with  the Coast Guard                                                                    
in  the  area  of  marine traffic  safety,  and  to  enhance                                                                    
prevention  and  the  ability  to  respond  to  emergencies.                                                                    
Currently,  an Aleutian  Island  marine transportation  risk                                                                    
assessment was being conducted  and the information gathered                                                                    
could be applied  to other northern areas. He  said that the                                                                    
discussions were  at the preliminary stage  and that funding                                                                    
had yet to be procured for future studies.                                                                                      
Commissioner  Hartig  continued.   The  Arctic  Council  was                                                                    
looking at  containments that enter  into the Arctic  in the                                                                    
ecosystem.  An international  conference in  the fall  would                                                                    
continue discussions  of a monitoring  plan to  identify and                                                                    
track  contaminates entering  the  state from  international                                                                    
sources.  The currents  and wind  patterns  into the  Arctic                                                                    
make it  vulnerable to contaminates. Lastly,  climate change                                                                    
issues recommendations  had been  the result of  a year-long                                                                    
work group  process. He stated  he would need to  check with                                                                    
other  departments to  gain  knowledge  of their  particular                                                                    
Representative  Doogan  asked if  there  was  anyone in  the                                                                    
state  who was  coordinating  a response  to climate  change                                                                    
Commissioner  Hartig  responded  that  the  governor's  Sub-                                                                    
Cabinet  on Climate  Change  included  the commissioners  of                                                                    
DNR, DF&G, and the Department of Commerce.                                                                                      
Representative  Doogan thought  that  the  formation of  the                                                                    
proposed  taskforce  would be  necessary  to  bring all  the                                                                    
departments  involved   in  Arctic  issues  to   one  table.                                                                    
Commissioner  Hartig  asserted  that he  had  been  speaking                                                                    
solely to the issue of climate change.                                                                                          
3:07:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Austerman  questioned if  any  commissioners                                                                    
were  involved  in  discussions  of a  deep  water  port  in                                                                    
northern waters.                                                                                                                
Commissioner Hartig replied that  DOT&P/F had taken the lead                                                                    
on the  issue and  was working with  the Corps  of Engineers                                                                    
and the Denali  Commission. In 2009, the  Corps of Engineers                                                                    
had  finished a  report on  deep water  ports, from  which a                                                                    
more detailed look would be drawn.                                                                                              
Representative  Austerman referred  to Page  3, Line  13, of                                                                    
the legislation.  He asked if  the department  was concerned                                                                    
about   the  legislature   coordinating  with   the  federal                                                                    
Commissioner  Hartig  stated that  the  concern  was that  a                                                                    
federal agency would  sit on a taskforce  that was comprised                                                                    
of  mostly  non-federal members,  and  would  be subject  to                                                                    
federal laws that would limit  them from making decisions or                                                                    
3:09:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  MACK,   SPECIAL  ASSISTANT  GOVERNMENT   AND  EXTERNAL                                                                    
AFFAIRS, NORTH  SLOPE BOROUGH, urged  support foe  the bill.                                                                    
He testified that was imperative  that the state be involved                                                                    
in  discussions  concerning   Alaskan  northern  waters.  He                                                                    
shared that  the Council on Environmental  Quality (CEQ) had                                                                    
been tasked  with putting together recommendations  on ocean                                                                    
policy  for the  United States,  which included  the Arctic,                                                                    
for the  White House.  Representatives from the  North Slope                                                                    
Borough, during visits to Washington  D.C., noted that there                                                                    
was an  interest in Arctic  waters that dwarfed  any federal                                                                    
interest in the  eastern seaboard or the Gulf  of Mexico. He                                                                    
believed  that national  policy was  being crafted  and that                                                                    
the state should  not miss the opportunity to  engage in the                                                                    
discussions.   The   Arctic   Council   currently   received                                                                    
information  from  the  Protection   of  the  Arctic  Marine                                                                    
Environment  (PAME)  working  group  on  the  Arctic  marine                                                                    
shipping  assessment,  which  was setting  out  policy  that                                                                    
would  aid in  establishing  the shipping  policies for  the                                                                    
international  community. The  state  had  not been  heavily                                                                    
involved  in the  drafting of  the policy  which could  have                                                                    
substantial  implications   for  Alaska  residents   in  the                                                                    
future.  The Protection  of  the  Arctic Marine  Environment                                                                    
working group  had also established  the Arctic oil  and gas                                                                    
guidelines; a finished  document that had been,  or was soon                                                                    
to be  adopted by the  arctic council. He concluded  that if                                                                    
the state did not  get involved, decisions concerning Arctic                                                                    
waters would be made without an Alaskan voice.                                                                                  
3:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL NOLL,  SELF, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), supported                                                                    
the  legislation.  He  echoed  the  previous  testimony.  He                                                                    
shared that in March 2010 he  attended a meeting in New York                                                                    
City on  the subject of receding  sea ice at the  Council on                                                                    
Foreign  Relations.  He  testified  that there  was  a  very                                                                    
strong   international   interest    across   the   northern                                                                    
hemisphere  that was  paying attention  to  activity in  the                                                                    
Arctic, and  was eager to  engage in talks with  Alaska. The                                                                    
meeting   highlighted   Norway's   desire   for   bi-lateral                                                                    
discussions  with   interested  Alaskan   parties.  Norway's                                                                    
interest in Alaska  has been long term,  particularly in the                                                                    
fishing industry. He thought that  the new fiscal note would                                                                    
fund local meetings, but would  not be enough for creating a                                                                    
new   commission  between   the   state   and  the   federal                                                                    
3:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Foster solicited  suggestions from  Mr. Noll                                                                    
for improving the fiscal note numbers.                                                                                          
Mr. Noll  responded that he did  not have a number  in mind,                                                                    
but felt  that the  numbers need to  be higher.  He imagined                                                                    
that the  note would need  to be doubled, and  then examined                                                                    
by an economist.                                                                                                                
3:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  asked  if  there was  any  basis  for                                                                    
concern  with  the  proposed commission's  broad  membership                                                                    
Mr. Noll believed that the  composition was perfectly suited                                                                    
for  gathering  local  opinion  and  informing  the  public.                                                                    
However,  he  believed that  members  of  the Anchorage  and                                                                    
Fairbanks  business  communities   should  be  involved  for                                                                    
reasons of  commerce. He suggested that  the military should                                                                    
also  be involved.  He  said  that as  far  as an  awareness                                                                    
campaign, the commission was well staffed.                                                                                      
3:26:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MEAD TREADWELL,  CHAIR, THE ARCTIC RESEARCH  COMMISSION (via                                                                    
teleconference),   testified   that    the   state   had   a                                                                    
responsibility  to  inform  the federal  government  of  the                                                                    
challenges and  opportunities of  an accessible  Arctic. The                                                                    
federal government has  an Arctic policy due  largely to the                                                                    
information  provided   by  the  state.  On   the  issue  of                                                                    
shipping, the policy  called for a regime  that ensured that                                                                    
shipping was safe, secure, and  reliable. The commission had                                                                    
been working to  educate the United States and  the world of                                                                    
the opportunities in  the Arctic. As a citizen  of Alaska he                                                                    
believed that  the taskforce should  exist to  protect state                                                                    
interests.  He relayed  that the  creation of  the taskforce                                                                    
called  for  the  creation  of   a  state  and  federal  co-                                                                    
management of  Arctic shipping.  He stressed  the importance                                                                    
that  the  state  be  involved   in  northern  water  issues                                                                    
pertaining to  search and rescue. He  informed the committee                                                                    
that as a  result of the Arctic  Marine Shipping Assessment,                                                                    
the  International Maritime  Organization (IMO)  had met  in                                                                    
London  to  set a  mandatory  code  for ships  operating  in                                                                    
Arctic waters.  The code  could raise  the cost  of shipping                                                                    
goods to  rural Alaska, but  would also increase  the safety                                                                    
of  tour  boats. The  federal  government  was also  in  the                                                                    
process  of  revising the  state's  boundaries  by making  a                                                                    
claim  under the  law  of the  sea,  and resolving  boundary                                                                    
disputes  with  Canada.  Ship  noise  and  its  relation  to                                                                    
subsistence  was also  an issue  being examined.  There were                                                                    
many rules being  made that the task force  would make state                                                                    
government more  aware of.  He continued  that the  State of                                                                    
Alaska played a major role  in port discussions. He believed                                                                    
that   Alaska  should   take  the   lead  when   approaching                                                                    
international markets.                                                                                                          
3:35:27 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACEY FOSTER,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ALASKA HOUSE  NEW YORK,                                                                    
testified in  support of the  legislation. She  informed the                                                                    
committee that  the Alaska  House New  York is  a non-profit                                                                    
organization working  to connect Alaska  to the rest  of the                                                                    
world.  Arctic  policy  issues  had been  a  main  theme  of                                                                    
outreach  for the  organization.  The  organization had  met                                                                    
with the  Council on  Foreign Relations,  four times  in the                                                                    
last two years, and had invited  experts on the issue to the                                                                    
Alaska House  to discuss the  latest details. She  said that                                                                    
there  was a  great for  the  creation of  a taskforce,  and                                                                    
significant opportunity  for the state into  the future. She                                                                    
believed that the issue, as  one of policy, was complicated.                                                                    
She revealed that there was  frustration on the senate floor                                                                    
at  the federal  level  concerning what  should  be done  in                                                                    
Arctic   waters.  She   thought  that   the  state   had  an                                                                    
opportunity to get ahead of the  issue, and that there was a                                                                    
high  level of  interest on  the  national level  as to  the                                                                    
states position  on the  Arctic. She  warned that  without a                                                                    
solid  fiscal  note, there  was  not  enough weight  to  get                                                                    
representative   from   the   state   to   travel   to   the                                                                    
international discussions.  She urged  serious consideration                                                                    
of adding more heft to  the travel budget in preparation for                                                                    
travel to where decisions were made.                                                                                            
3:38:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze solicited further public testimony.                                                                            
3:39:47 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  OKLEASIK, PLANNING  DIRECTOR NORTHWEST  ARCTIC BOROUGH,                                                                    
KOTZEBUE (via  teleconference), voiced support of  the bill.                                                                    
He informed the  committee that the Inupiaq  people were the                                                                    
first group  to report  climate change and  changing climate                                                                    
conditions, including  ice conditions, as well  as reporting                                                                    
different   international    interests   in    the   Arctic,                                                                    
particularly  marine accessibility  and the  exploration and                                                                    
exploitation  of natural  resources both  on-shore and  off-                                                                    
shore. He  encouraged the taskforce  to use  existing Arctic                                                                    
bodies; the  joint North Slope Borough  and Northwest Arctic                                                                    
Borough  Planning  Commissions,   and  the  Arctic  Economic                                                                    
Development  Summit.   He  urged  the  involvement   of  the                                                                    
corporations   of   NANA,    the   Arctic   Slope   Regional                                                                    
Corporation, and the Bering Strait Native Corporation.                                                                          
3:42:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze closed public testimony.                                                                                       
Representative Joule thanked the committee.                                                                                     
HCR  22  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  Committee  for  further