Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/29/2010 03:00 PM House FISHERIES

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                HCR 15-BRISTOL BAY MINING STUDY                                                                             
3:09:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR EDGMON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION  NO. 15,  Directing the  Legislative                                                               
Council  to  contract  for an  assessment  of  environmental  and                                                               
socioeconomic consequences  of large-scale mineral  extraction in                                                               
the Bristol Bay area watershed.                                                                                                 
3:10:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   ALAN   AUSTERMAN,  Alaska   State   Legislature,                                                               
presented  a map  which illustrated  the district  he represents-                                                               
House District 36-including eight  villages in the Kodiak Island,                                                               
Lake Clark, and  Iliamna area.  In addition, the  map showed King                                                               
Salmon,  Naknek,  and  other  areas  relevant to  HCR  15.    The                                                               
resolution requests  the National  Academy of Sciences  conduct a                                                               
third-party,  independent  study   on  the  socioeconomic  issues                                                               
resulting   from   a   project   such   as   the   Pebble   mine.                                                               
Representative  Austerman  has heard  debate  as  to whether  the                                                               
state has  the ability to  permit and manage  a mine of  the size                                                               
proposed;  in  fact,  he  said state  departments  may  have  the                                                               
capability.  However,  he said he was  not debating environmental                                                               
issues  or  permitting  processes,   but  only  the  concern  for                                                               
socioeconomic issues expressed by the  residents of the area.  He                                                               
pointed out  that the size of  the potential deposit is  far more                                                               
than  the  total of  other  deposits  in Alaska  presently  under                                                               
production, and  spoke of the  impacts to small  communities such                                                               
as roads, construction equipment,  and manpower on "virgin land."                                                               
Representative Austerman  stated that  his concern is  the social                                                               
impact that  can come from  "a lot of money  coming in to  a very                                                               
remote area."   He expressed his interest in a  third party, like                                                               
the National Academy of Sciences,  answering and asking questions                                                               
of  the mining  industry regarding  this project.   He  indicated                                                               
that his  staff is prepared  to answer  questions on HCR  15, and                                                               
public testimony will follow.                                                                                                   
3:16:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR    EDGMON   identified    representatives   from    various                                                               
departments, and individuals, who are prepared to provide                                                                       
CHARISSE  ARCE, Staff  to Representative  Alan Austerman,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, re-introduced  HCR  15,  paraphrasing from  a                                                               
prepared statement,  which read as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
     I am very happy to be  here today to speak to you about                                                                    
     House  Concurrent  Resolution  15  which  requests  the                                                                    
     Legislative  Council  to  contract  with  the  National                                                                    
     Research Council  of the  National Academy  of Sciences                                                                    
     for an independent assessment  of the environmental and                                                                    
     socioeconomic    impacts    of   large-scale    mineral                                                                    
     extraction in the Bristol Bay area watershed.                                                                              
     During my  testimony today I  will explain  the purpose                                                                    
     of  the resolution  and provide  a brief  background on                                                                    
     the history of the National  Research Council.  I would                                                                    
     also  like  the committee  to  know  there are  several                                                                    
     people here and online to offer testimony today.                                                                           
     HCR 15  requests that the Legislative  Council contract                                                                    
     with   the  National   Academy  of   Sciences  for   an                                                                    
     independent   assessment   of    known   and   probable                                                                    
     cumulative     environmental      and     socioeconomic                                                                    
     consequences of  large-scale mineral extraction  in the                                                                    
     Bristol Bay area.                                                                                                          
     The purpose  of this study  is to assess  critical gaps                                                                    
     in  existing knowledge  and it  would serve  as a  tool                                                                    
     available to  legislators, the administration,  and the                                                                    
     public.     It  would   help  provide   information  on                                                                    
     potential  risks  and  benefits associated  with  large                                                                    
     scale mineral development.                                                                                                 
     Essentially  the  study  would  assess  the  cumulative                                                                    
     impacts associated with the  Pebble prospect itself and                                                                    
     examine  potential future  developments of  this nature                                                                    
     in the area once infrastructure is in place.                                                                               
     Based  on the  history and  reputation of  the National                                                                    
     Academies for  providing advice with high  standards of                                                                    
     scientific and technical  quality and independence, HCR
     15 requests  the Legislative  Council to  contract with                                                                    
     the National Research Council to conduct this study.                                                                       
     History of National Research Council                                                                                     
     Part of the National Academy of Sciences                                                                                   
     In  1863  President   Lincoln  signed  a  congressional                                                                    
     charter authorizing  a non-governmental  institution to                                                                    
     honor  top scientists  with  membership  and serve  the                                                                    
     nation whenever called upon.                                                                                               
     The NRC  serves as advisers  to the nation  on science,                                                                    
     engineering, and  medicine and is the  only institution                                                                    
     charted by the U.S. Congress to do so.                                                                                     
     Specifically the Academy of Science was created to:                                                                        
          "investigate, examine, experiment, and report                                                                         
     upon  any subject  of science  or art"  whenever called                                                                    
     upon to do so by any department of the government.                                                                         
     The  mission  of  the  NRC  is  to  improve  government                                                                    
     decision  making  and  public policy,  increase  public                                                                    
     education   and   understanding,    and   promote   the                                                                    
     acquisition and  dissemination of knowledge  in matters                                                                    
     involving   science,   engineering,   technology,   and                                                                    
     Some important points about  the National Academies are                                                                    
     the following.                                                                                                             
     The  NRC is  a  non-profit  and operates  independently                                                                    
     from the government.                                                                                                       
     They do not provide services to for-profit entities                                                                        
     Scientists  appointed to  the committees  serve without                                                                    
     Studies in Alaska                                                                                                        
     Since  1990,  there  have   been  nearly  20  different                                                                    
     studies and reviews conducted in Alaska.                                                                                   
     These studies  range from studying  the decline  of the                                                                    
     Steller  Sea Lion  in Alaska  waters, to  assessing the                                                                    
     research efforts  of the Oil Spill  Recovery Institute,                                                                    
     to reviewing the research and  restoration plan for the                                                                    
     Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Salmon fishery.                                                                                     
     The costs  for these  studies have varied  depending on                                                                  
     the scope  of work.   Recent projects have  ranged from                                                                    
     $600,000 - $1.6 million.   Ultimately the fiscal impact                                                                    
     will  be  up  to  the  discretion  of  the  Legislative                                                                    
     Council and  the National Academies, but  currently the                                                                    
     fiscal note attached to this resolution is $1 million.                                                                     
     Closing Statements                                                                                                       
     The main draw  of working with the  National Academy is                                                                    
     their   commitment   to   independent  advice.      The                                                                    
     legislative  council,  as  a  sponsor,  would  have  no                                                                    
     control over the conduct of  a study once the statement                                                                    
     of  task and  budget are  finalized.   Study committees                                                                    
     gather   information  from   many  sources   in  public                                                                    
     meetings  but they  carry  out  their deliberations  in                                                                    
     private in order to  avoid political, special interest,                                                                    
     and sponsor influence.                                                                                                     
     An added benefit  to this study will be  to provide the                                                                    
     public with  reassurance that  the legislature  and the                                                                    
     state are seeking as much  information as possible to a                                                                    
     very  complex and  contentious issue.   The  NRC is  no                                                                    
     stranger  to conducting  studies on  contentious issues                                                                    
     which is  evident through their 140  years of extensive                                                                    
3:22:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked how the National  Academy of Sciences                                                               
is directed to focus on the size  of a project, in the absence of                                                               
a permit, and not knowing the specifics of the project.                                                                         
3:22:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ARCE answered that a number  of specifics are known about the                                                               
project,  such  as  the  type and  location  of  ore-bodies,  the                                                               
methods of  minerals extraction,  and the  infrastructure needed.                                                               
The requested study will cover  socioeconomic aspects not covered                                                               
by the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).                                                                                    
3:23:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR EDGMON  recalled a  joint meeting on  this topic  where the                                                               
scope of  the proposed Pebble  mine, in  relation to the  size of                                                               
other mines  in the  state, was illustrated.   Testimony  at that                                                               
meeting indicated  that the recoverable  ore-bodies from  the all                                                               
of the  existing major mines are  about 600 million tons;  on the                                                               
other hand,  the potential scope of  the Pebble mine could  be 10                                                               
billion tons of recoverable ore.                                                                                                
3:24:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  asked  for   examples  of  positive  and                                                               
negative socioeconomic impacts that are  to be reported on by the                                                               
3:24:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ARCE said she did not know, but would provide an answer.                                                                    
3:25:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  interjected  that one  positive  "gold                                                               
town" effect of  a large development on small  communities may be                                                               
jobs for a region that  otherwise survives on summertime fishing.                                                               
The negative side  is the fact that so much  money then creates a                                                               
number  of different  problems with  alcohol,  drugs, and  social                                                               
issues, similar to  what happened in Kodiak during  the "boom and                                                               
bust" of  the king crab  industry.  He  pointed out that  most of                                                               
the profit leaves town by boat and plane.                                                                                       
3:26:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT observed,  with that  in mind,  the study                                                               
may   report  that   positives   and   negatives  are   balanced.                                                               
Historically,  the  state has  mitigated  negative  effects to  a                                                               
community with "impact money"; in  addition, some of the villages                                                               
in  Southwestern Alaska  could not  be much  worse off  than they                                                               
already are.   She stated that this type  of socioeconomic impact                                                               
is part of Alaska's history,  noting that boom and bust economies                                                               
have followed fishing,  gold mining, and oil  and gas industries,                                                               
and  the  state  has  learned to  prepare  for  these  scenarios.                                                               
Furthermore, a  report on socioeconomic impacts  is "not science,                                                               
is more of  an art, [and] may scare future  miners from coming to                                                               
the State of Alaska and investing...."                                                                                          
3:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN  stressed that the resolution  is not to                                                               
determine  whether the  mine should  be built,  or whether  there                                                               
should be mining  in Alaska.  The resolution asks  for a study to                                                               
look at the impact of the  mine, and its infrastructure, on eight                                                               
small communities.  At some point  in time the state will have to                                                               
make a determination  about whether the mine  should move forward                                                               
or  not,   and  that  will   be  the  time  for   arguments  over                                                               
environmental and permitting issues.                                                                                            
3:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  EDGMON acknowledged  Representative Millett's  point about                                                               
inhibiting  the   investment  climate  in  Alaska;   however,  he                                                               
expressed his  belief that the  Pebble prospect has  "the ability                                                               
to ...  exponentially dwarf the  large-scale mines that  exist in                                                               
Alaska.   And  it's not  just the  size, it's  where the  mine is                                                               
placed, right  next to the great  fishery."  He noted  the unique                                                               
situation  of  the  location   of  a  world-class,  non-renewable                                                               
resource next to a world-class,  renewable resource vying for the                                                               
same  water.    Chair  Edgmon encouraged  the  committee  to  ask                                                               
questions  now, and  take the  opportunity to  get a  third-party                                                               
3:32:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN   said  it  is  anticipated   that  the                                                               
National Academy  of Sciences will  be asked to provide  a series                                                               
of questions  that the  legislators should  be asking  the mining                                                               
industry,  the Department  of Natural  Resources  (DNR), and  the                                                               
administration, on how  to protect the citizens who  live in that                                                               
area.   The  study will  reveal  what the  legislature should  be                                                               
3:34:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR EDGMON opened public testimony.                                                                                           
3:34:38 PM                                                                                                                    
LORENE ENELON,  President, Iliamna  Natives Limited,  stated that                                                               
HCR 15,  concerning Pebble,  is premature,  given the  absence of                                                               
environmental impact studies.   In addition, the  resolution is a                                                               
duplicate   of  the   existing  federal   and  state   permitting                                                               
structure.    She expressed  her  belief  that the  existing  EIS                                                               
process is  very stringent about  the impact to the  fisheries in                                                               
the  lake area.   The  lake  area is  not part  of the  community                                                               
development  quota  (CDQ), but  is  considered  a major  spawning                                                               
ground  for Iliamna  Lake, and  the resolution  is an  additional                                                               
"layer" to economic development in the area.                                                                                    
3:36:52 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBIN SAMUELSEN, President/CEO,  Bristol Bay Economic Development                                                               
Corporation (BBEDC),  stated that  BBEDC supports HCR  15 because                                                               
of  the magnitude  and location  of the  mine, and  the potential                                                               
social and  environmental effects.   Mr.  Samuelsen noted  he has                                                               
previously been  involved with the  National Academy  of Sciences                                                               
and he holds it in the  "highest esteem."  He thanked the sponsor                                                               
for the resolution and said the  money will be well spent for the                                                               
residents of Bristol Bay.                                                                                                       
3:39:11 PM                                                                                                                    
L.  TIEL  SMITH, Land  &  Resource  Manager, Bristol  Bay  Native                                                               
Corporation  (BBNC), stated  BBNC's  support for  HCR 15,  saying                                                               
that  this resolution  allows for  the independent  assessment of                                                               
large scale  mining in Bristol  Bay, and  the study is  a prudent                                                               
and  necessary  investment  in  the  state's  natural  resources.                                                               
Funding this  study will make  more information available  on the                                                               
environmental and  socioeconomic impacts of projects  like Pebble                                                               
mine.   Furthermore, BBNC  supports the  review because  the size                                                               
and  location of  the  Pebble prospect  could  have "adverse  and                                                               
unquantifiable impacts on the rich  salmon and other resources of                                                               
the region."   Mr. Smith  opined these resources  are fundamental                                                               
to  the  interests  of  BBNC  and its  8,600  shareholders.    In                                                               
addition,  an  independent  study will  help  formulate  informed                                                               
opinions  for  the residents  of  Bristol  Bay, the  citizens  of                                                               
Alaska,  and legislators.   He  pointed  out that  BBNC does  not                                                               
oppose  responsible   resource  development  and   its  benefits;                                                               
however, resource  development must  not threaten  area resources                                                               
and economics.                                                                                                                  
3:42:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  THORSON   informed  the  committee  he   was  representing                                                               
himself.   He expressed  his belief that  the study  requested by                                                               
HCR  15  is  an  unnecessary   expense  due  to  the  significant                                                               
permitting steps  required of  the project.   At the  very least,                                                               
spending money on this study is premature.                                                                                      
3:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CAROL ANN  WOODY, Ph.D., Consultant,  informed the  committee she                                                               
was representing  herself.  However,  she said  the Environmental                                                               
Concerns  Committee  for the  Western  Division  of the  American                                                               
Fisheries Society will  be issuing a statement in  support of HCR
15.   She  referred  to  a resolution  passed  last  year by  the                                                               
Western Division  of the American Fisheries  Society recommending                                                               
a  formal,  independent,  scientific  review and  survey  of  the                                                               
consequences  of large  scale mineral  extraction in  the Bristol                                                               
Bay watershed.   The American Fisheries Society is  aware of this                                                               
project due to its size, scale,  and mine type, and because small                                                               
increases  in copper  levels can  harm  salmon, zooplankton,  and                                                               
other aspects of the food chain.   Dr. Woody emphasized that this                                                               
study  should   be  conducted  in   a  thorough,   rigorous,  and                                                               
scientific manner, and made available  to the public, and also to                                                               
policy- and  decision-makers.   Furthermore, because  the project                                                               
is contentious, and there is  a variety of stakeholders involved,                                                               
an  independent review  can augment  the work  undertaken by  the                                                               
state to assess the potential impacts of the project.                                                                           
3:45:29 PM                                                                                                                    
RICK  HALFORD  recalled that  in  the  past the  legislature  has                                                               
benefitted from spending  money to study major issues.   He said,                                                               
"It's not a very big issue to  spend a million dollars as a first                                                               
step to the  information chain, and advocates  and opponents have                                                               
consistently  agreed that  the  science is  going  to prove  that                                                               
either this  mine is possible, or  it's going to prove  this mine                                                               
isn't possible."   Thus, getting  the information is  valuable to                                                               
all.   He opined the core  question is whether it  is possible to                                                               
have the Bristol Bay fishery and  the mine in near proximity, and                                                               
the  National Academy  of Sciences  is an  appropriate entity  to                                                               
determine  whether history,  science, and  experience can  answer                                                               
that question.   Mr.  Halford stated his  strong support  for the                                                               
resolution, and  urged that  the resolution  be updated  with the                                                               
most current  data on the  size of the deposit.   He said  he was                                                               
speaking  on his  own behalf,  and disclosed  that he  works with                                                               
Trout Unlimited,  the Renewable Resources Coalition,  and Nunmata                                                               
3:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  STRICKLAND, Bristol  Bay  Fisheries  Liaison, Alaska  Marine                                                               
Conservation  Council (AMCC),  stated  his organization's  strong                                                               
support for  an independent review of  the potential consequences                                                               
of large  scale mining  in the  Bristol Bay  region, in  order to                                                               
provide sound,  scientific information on the  impacts of mining.                                                               
Bristol  Bay  salmon  are  one   of  the  most  ecologically  and                                                               
economically important  renewable resources  in the state  as the                                                               
salmon provide  thousands of jobs  and generated $129  million in                                                               
ex-vessel  value last  year;  in fact,  salmon  are the  economic                                                               
engine  of Southwest  Alaska-providing food  and contributing  to                                                               
the indigenous  culture of the  region-thus any  development that                                                               
impacts the  area should be  rigorously studied.   Mr. Strickland                                                               
concluded that  Bristol Bay  is one  of the  crown jewels  of the                                                               
state, and proper stewardship must be ensured.                                                                                  
3:50:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERTA  HIGHLAND, President,  Kachemak Bay  Conservation Society                                                               
(KBCS), stated  that KBCS strongly  supports HCR 15 for  its far-                                                               
reaching foresight  for a  responsible mining  decision regarding                                                               
the proposed Pebble mine.                                                                                                       
3:51:59 PM                                                                                                                    
ELISE  WOLF,  Board  Member, Kachemak  Bay  Conservation  Society                                                               
(KBCS), has heard that a permit,  or application, is in place for                                                               
the disposal of 3.3 billion cubic  yards of waste.  She expressed                                                               
concern that  the estimate  of waste is  inadequate for  the 10.8                                                               
billion   metric  tons   of  ore   projected  to   be  recovered.                                                               
Therefore, the amount  of waste and how it will  be handled is in                                                               
question.   In fact, one  estimate is  that an area  one-half the                                                               
size of Anchorage  may be needed to store the  waste.  She opined                                                               
the  HCR 15  study  is  prudent for  the  purpose of  determining                                                               
expectations prior  to issuing permits.   Her  organization posed                                                               
two  questions:   1.  Is  Lake  Iliamna going  to  be  used as  a                                                               
disposal site  for the waste?   2. Will  a disposal site  at Lake                                                               
Iliamna  be  applied   for?    She  then   related  her  personal                                                               
experience during  the development  of the  Trans-Alaska Pipeline                                                               
System    (TAPS),   and    cautioned   against    underestimating                                                               
socioeconomic  costs.    Although  the  proposed  mine  does  not                                                               
compare  to TAPS,  it places  at risk  the important  sustainable                                                               
industry of  fishing.  Ms.  Wolf reminded the committee  that the                                                               
resources of  our resource development state  include fishing and                                                               
tourism.   She warned  against ignoring 250  years of  history by                                                               
putting fishing, tourism, and the  cultural and economic value of                                                               
salmon, at risk.                                                                                                                
3:57:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT said  she fished Bristol Bay  for 20 years                                                               
and is  an Alaska  Native.  She  said she was  very aware  of the                                                               
impacts of a boom and bust economy on Alaska.                                                                                   
3:57:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MUNOZ   pointed   out  that   there   are   many                                                               
uncertainties regarding aspects of the proposed mine.                                                                           
3:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  EDGMON suggested  asking  the bill  sponsor what  specific                                                               
issues will be addressed by the study.                                                                                          
3:58:31 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA REIMER  stated that she  grew up in  Iliamna.  She  said the                                                               
resolution  is premature  because  Pebble has  not submitted  its                                                               
preliminary mine findings.   She questioned the  precedent set by                                                               
HCR 15, and  noted that Native corporations are  affected by many                                                               
of  these resolutions  in unknown  ways.   Ms. Reimer  stated her                                                               
strong opposition to HCR 15.                                                                                                    
4:00:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SHAWN DOCHTERMANN said that he  is a lifelong fisherman presently                                                               
operating in Bristol Bay, and is  speaking on his own behalf.  He                                                               
stated his  support for HCR 15  because it is difficult  to value                                                               
the tax  revenue from a  mine, and its possible  pollution, above                                                               
the renewable resource  fishery in Bristol Bay that  has kept the                                                               
region productive for  100 years.  Mr.  Dochtermann expressed his                                                               
desire  to  have the  National  Academy  of Sciences  assess  the                                                               
environmental  and socioeconomic  consequences because  a problem                                                               
with  discharge that  threatens the  fishery will  cause a  "huge                                                               
socioeconomic impact."  Mr.  Dochtermann observed that proponents                                                               
of the mine  have "pumped in" $132 million and  opined that state                                                               
agencies  may  not be  unaffected  by  the influence  of  special                                                               
interests.   Therefore,  an independent  study  from a  respected                                                               
source is  necessary.   He related his  personal experience  in a                                                               
deep mine and reported that water  must be pumped out and used to                                                               
process the ore.                                                                                                                
4:03:06 PM                                                                                                                    
ALEXUS KWACHKA,  Commercial Fisherman, informed the  committee he                                                               
fishes  commercially  in  Kodiak  and  in  Bristol  Bay,  and  is                                                               
speaking  for himself.   He  stated his  support for  HCR 15  and                                                               
said, "Industrialization and fish  don't mix; Atlantic salmon are                                                               
all but gone,  Pacific salmon in the Northwest  and in California                                                               
runs are  well below  the historic  levels and  fading fast."   A                                                               
third party review is in order;  in fact, it is impossible to put                                                               
enough  science in  front of  the  Pebble project.   Mr.  Kwachka                                                               
praised the Bristol  Bay fishery and urged the  committee to move                                                               
HCR 15 forward.                                                                                                                 
4:04:38 PM                                                                                                                    
TATIANA ASKOAK  informed the committee  she grew up  in Newhalen.                                                               
She stated  her support for  HCR 15,  as the assessment  could be                                                               
used  as  a tool  for  legislators,  local residents,  and  other                                                               
interested parties, in order to  make the best educated decisions                                                               
about the  studies.  The  importance of  a third party  review is                                                               
its availability  to the public.   Personally, she would  use the                                                               
review to analyze the situation during the permitting process.                                                                  
4:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR EDGMON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
4:06:37 PM                                                                                                                    
KEITH CRIDDLE, Ph.D., Professor,  University of Alaska Fairbanks;                                                               
Interim  Director,  Fisheries   Division,  University  of  Alaska                                                               
Fairbanks  (UAF),  related  his   experience  with  the  National                                                               
Academy  of   Sciences  (Academy)  and  offered   to  respond  to                                                               
questions regarding  the study process  and the structure  of the                                                               
National Research Council of the Academy.                                                                                       
4:08:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  asked for an  outline, and the  protocol, of                                                               
the "statement of tasks."                                                                                                       
4:08:26 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CRIDDLE explained  the statement  of tasks  is the  critical                                                               
piece  for defining  how an  Academy study  will take  place, the                                                               
terms of  reference, and what  questions will be addressed.   The                                                               
development  of  the statement  of  tasks  would begin  with  the                                                               
legislature's  request  and  the  Academy's response  as  to  the                                                               
feasibility of  the questions and  issues.   Other considerations                                                               
to  discuss are  the  timeframe  of the  study  and  the type  of                                                               
expertise needed  for the  members of the  study committee.   Dr.                                                               
Criddle observed that page 2,  line 26, of the resolution appears                                                               
to be the general purpose statement.                                                                                            
4:10:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BUCH asked  whether  the  legislature would  work                                                               
with the Academy to establish the boundaries for the study.                                                                     
DR. CRIDDLE  said yes.  In  fact, study sponsors and  the Academy                                                               
staff work to  produce a draft statement of  tasks for submission                                                               
to  members of  the  Academy  board for  comment  until there  is                                                               
mutual agreement.                                                                                                               
4:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  pointed out  that $132 million  has been                                                               
spent  on environmental  studies by  Pebble.   He asked  what the                                                               
Academy could provide for $1 million.                                                                                           
DR. CRIDDLE further explained that  the scope of a report depends                                                               
on the  statement of tasks,  the timeframe for analysis,  and the                                                               
resources  made  available  for  the study.    For  example,  the                                                               
Academy recently completed the first  part of a two-part study on                                                               
an  oyster mariculture  project.    The first  part  is a  short,                                                               
specific report  over six  to eight months,  and the  second part                                                               
will be lengthy, producing "a volume" of three hundred pages.                                                                   
4:13:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI asked for  the cost of the aforementioned                                                               
DR. CRIDDLE  estimated that a typical  eighteen-month study costs                                                               
approximately $1  million.  The  first three months are  taken to                                                               
form  the general  statement of  the  task, then  the next  three                                                               
months are  for the Academy  and the  sponsor to "nail  it down,"                                                               
and to  solicit the members of  the committee.  The  final twelve                                                               
months  are   the  study   period,  including   public  hearings,                                                               
gathering  information,  making  determinations on  the  specific                                                               
language of the report, and publication.                                                                                        
4:14:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  asked how data on  socioeconomic impacts                                                               
is quantified.                                                                                                                  
DR. CRIDDLE  observed that  the Academy consists  of a  number of                                                               
boards,  some of  which  deal with  economic  and social  science                                                               
issues,  as well  as water  quality  and fisheries  issues.   The                                                               
committee will  bring together expertise  to look at  the science                                                               
of different  types of impacts;  in fact,  that is an  example of                                                               
one of the terms of the statement  of tasks that would have to be                                                               
"fleshed out,"  such as  employment issues,  regional expenditure                                                               
patterns,  or  cultural  impacts.   He  described  the  committee                                                               
selection  process  and  how nominees  are  solicited  for  their                                                               
expertise, without the  possibility of bias, and  for their broad                                                               
4:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  opined concrete  science may not  be able                                                               
to address socioeconomic and cultural impacts to a community.                                                                   
4:18:45 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. CRIDDLE acknowledged that this  is not his area of expertise;                                                               
however, his experience  working with experts in  the subjects of                                                               
human  dimensions,  anthropology,  sociology, and  rural  studies                                                               
indicate  that they  have well-developed  scientific methods  for                                                               
addressing relevant  questions.   He assured the  committee there                                                               
are "quantifiable  and discreet  methods for  measuring different                                                               
types of social and cultural impacts."                                                                                          
4:19:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  asked  Dr.   Criddle  to  provide  other                                                               
reports  with a  similar  scope  of work  so  that  she may  have                                                               
confidence in the Academy's social and economic studies.                                                                        
DR.  CRIDDLE  related  that  he served  on  a  National  Research                                                               
Council committee  that studied the implementation  of individual                                                               
fishing  quotas.   This committee  included fisheries  biologists                                                               
and    experts     in    fisheries     management,    economists,                                                               
anthropologists, and legal experts.   The committee's report came                                                               
out  in 1999,  and is  a good  example of  a study  that included                                                               
resource  and  science  issues   and  a  thorough  discussion  of                                                               
cultural effects.   In addition,  the project had a  sister study                                                               
regarding community  development quotas, which might  be the best                                                               
source for comparison.                                                                                                          
4:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI asked  Dr.  Criddle, "Why  do you  think                                                               
this resolution is getting attacked?"                                                                                           
DR.  CRIDDLE suggested  the opposition  may come  from taxpayers'                                                               
desire for fiscal responsibility.                                                                                               
4:23:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ  asked how  long the  study might  last, and                                                               
whether Alaskan scientists would be seated.                                                                                     
DR. CRIDDLE  said the  first step  is for  the Academy  to decide                                                               
what board  would be responsible  for the project.   The National                                                               
Research Council  is organized into  several divisions,  and this                                                               
would fall  under the Division  of Earth and Life  Studies, which                                                               
includes boards  on ocean studies, polar  research, water science                                                               
and  technology, earth  sciences,  and  resources.   Furthermore,                                                               
studies  are  sometimes  jointly  administered  by  boards.    In                                                               
response to the  first question, he said the length  of the study                                                               
depends  on the  questions  asked and  re-stated  that a  typical                                                               
study lasts 18 months.   Dr. Criddle anticipated that the Academy                                                               
would welcome nominations of Alaskans  to serve on the committee,                                                               
and that local representation would be solicited.                                                                               
4:27:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MUNOZ asked:                                                                                                     
     Once you had your  questions, would you then anticipate                                                                    
     having   to   structure  various   proposals,   various                                                                    
     responses  for various  sizes of  a  project, since  we                                                                    
     don't have a specific project plan?                                                                                        
DR. CRIDDLE  acknowledged the  specific size of  the study  is an                                                               
important issue.   Committee reports are a good  way to determine                                                               
answers  to questions,  or can  help to  identify questions  that                                                               
ought  to  be  asked;  for example,  a  recent  committee  report                                                               
summarized  the current  state of  knowledge regarding  an issue,                                                               
and highlighted the  areas that were policy issues,  and what was                                                               
unknown about the issue.                                                                                                        
4:29:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked about the process  for choosing the                                                               
scientists that would serve on the board.                                                                                       
DR.  CRIDDLE  explained  that  after   the  expertise  needed  is                                                               
identified  by the  statement of  tasks, a  call for  nominations                                                               
would  be  put  to  the   membership.    Those  with  the  expert                                                               
backgrounds   desired  are   self-,   or  otherwise,   nominated.                                                               
Finally, individuals are  selected from the slate  of nominees by                                                               
the Academy.                                                                                                                    
4:31:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked who makes the final selection.                                                                     
DR. CRIDDLE responded  that there are full-time  employees at the                                                               
National Academy of Sciences  that hold administrative positions,                                                               
and there  are members who are  elected to the Academy  and serve                                                               
as volunteers.                                                                                                                  
4:32:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  inquired as  to how the  Academy verifies                                                               
that there are no conflicts.                                                                                                    
DR. CRIDDLE said that nominees  are asked to declare conflicts of                                                               
interest or biases, and a nominee  with a conflict of interest is                                                               
not considered.   An exception  may be  made for a  needed expert                                                               
who  states  a conflict,  but  asserts  his/her ability  to  form                                                               
judgments without bias.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked whether  the names of  the nominees                                                               
are available to the public.                                                                                                    
DR.  CRIDDLE said  yes.   He  added that  once  the nominees  are                                                               
identified,  the names  are  made public  and  public comment  is                                                               
taken prior to the final selection.                                                                                             
4:34:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  questioned   whether  nominees  disclose                                                               
whether they have been contacted  by proponents on either side of                                                               
an issue.                                                                                                                       
DR. CRIDDLE surmised the subject would  come up and raise a flag.                                                               
For example,  there is a  conflict if  a nominee held  a contract                                                               
with  one  of  the  parties  involved, or  had  issued  a  public                                                               
statement  holding  a  position,  but  taking  phone  calls  from                                                               
representatives of different  sides would not "rise  to the level                                                               
of being identified as a conflict of interest."                                                                                 
4:35:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON advised that  there is the opportunity for                                                               
conflicts of interest in an independent study.  He remarked:                                                                    
     And if we go down this  road, we want to make sure that                                                                    
     there's not  an opportunity  for someone to  in advance                                                                    
     screen   potential  participants,   I  know   that  has                                                                    
     happened  in the  past and  it's been  very contentious                                                                    
     when it  did happen....  Can  I go on the  Internet and                                                                    
      find out who participates in the National Academy of                                                                      
     Science studies today?                                                                                                     
DR. CRIDDLE  said yes.  He  added that one could  identify who is                                                               
currently serving  on a  committee, who has  served in  the past,                                                               
and the  members of the Academy.   The committees are  drawn from                                                               
across  the  spectrum  of  academia,  government,  and  industry.                                                               
However,  it would  be difficult  to  identify possible  nominees                                                               
before the slate is made public.                                                                                                
4:38:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked how many  members make up  the pool                                                               
of potential scientists.                                                                                                        
4:38:30 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CRIDDLE  estimated  "hundreds   of  thousands  of  potential                                                               
people, [but]  ones that likely have  expertise that specifically                                                               
address this question is going to be a much narrower set."                                                                      
4:38:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  made the  point that  with the  amount of                                                               
money at stake, it is important  to have a fair hearing, and that                                                               
the  potential committee  members are  not deluged  with mailings                                                               
from one side or the other.   A fair and balanced discussion will                                                               
hold up under a court challenge and public scrutiny.                                                                            
4:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER   assumed  that  scientists   involved  in                                                               
writing the environmental impact  statement (EIS) would come from                                                               
the same pool as the members of the Academy.                                                                                    
4:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CRIDDLE said  it  would be  unlikely  that someone  directly                                                               
involved in  the EIS would  be eligible  to serve on  a committee                                                               
writing the Academy's report.                                                                                                   
4:40:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER clarified that  his question addressed what                                                               
the  legislature  can  expect  from the  Academy  study  that  is                                                               
different from  the EIS process,  given the participation  by the                                                               
"same group."                                                                                                                   
4:41:21 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CRIDDLE  stated  that  similarities   would  depend  on  the                                                               
specific questions asked; for example,  the EIS will not focus on                                                               
economic impacts  and ancestral cultural  impacts.  On  the other                                                               
hand, the committees will have people with similar expertise.                                                                   
CHAIR EDGMON announced HCR 15 would be held.                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 266--Draft 2nd CS.PDF HFSH 3/29/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 266
HB 266--SE Alaska Fishermens Alliance Opposed 3.28.2010.pdf HFSH 3/29/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 266
HCR 15--U of W SAFS Ltr.PDF HFSH 3/29/2010 3:00:00 PM
HCR 15
HCR 15--NMWT Land Trust Ltr.PDF HFSH 3/29/2010 3:00:00 PM
HCR 15
HCR 15--Fogels Q and A.PDF HFSH 3/29/2010 3:00:00 PM
HCR 15