Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

04/10/2018 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:00:48 AM Start
10:01:45 AM HB199
01:53:25 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 1:00 pm --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 199-FISH/WILDLIFE HABITAT PROTECTION; PERMITS                                                                    
10:01:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  199,  "An Act  establishing  general  fish  and                                                               
wildlife  permits and  major and  minor  anadromous fish  habitat                                                               
permits for  certain activities; establishing  related penalties;                                                               
and relating  to the  protection of  fish and  game and  fish and                                                               
game habitat." [Version M was before the committee.]                                                                            
10:03:08 AM                                                                                                                   
JOHN   DUHAMEL,  Member,   Board  of   Directors,  Alaska   Power                                                               
Association.,  stated  he  also  serves   as  the  Chair  or  the                                                               
Hydropower  Group,  which  represents   most  of  the  hydropower                                                               
projects  in Alaska.    He  also serves  as  the Chief  Executive                                                               
Officer (CEO)  of the  Copper Valley Electric.   He  has recently                                                               
undergone the  licensing process to license  a hydropower project                                                               
in Alaska, the Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project in Valdez.                                                                   
10:04:10 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. DUHAMEL  stated that  HB 199  has admirable  goals.   The APA                                                               
understands the goals and the  reasons for the bill; however, the                                                               
APA was concerned about unintended  consequences.  The unintended                                                               
consequences of  HB 199 would  be very detrimental  to hydropower                                                               
and hydropower licensing  and relicensing.  He  stated that there                                                               
were several small  issues with the bill that he  did not wish to                                                               
cover due to time constraints.                                                                                                  
MR. DUHAMEL  focused his comments  on three main points.   First,                                                               
if HB  199 had been  in place when  CVEA built the  Solomon Gulch                                                               
Hydroelectric  Project,  the  project   would  never  have  moved                                                               
forward with  the requirement of  a fishway passage.   He related                                                               
that when  the project  was underway  in the  late 70s,  the CVEA                                                               
stopped several salmon fishways in a  small inlet for the sake of                                                               
building the hydroelectric project,  with an estimated 300 salmon                                                               
impacted.   The  project provided  a steady  flow of  water year-                                                               
round,  which  allowed  Valdez  to build  a  hatchery  plus  that                                                               
hatchery provides 300  million salmon to the area.   Although the                                                               
bill has  provisions for mitigation  allowances, there  seemed to                                                               
be a conflict between the  fishway requirement and the mitigation                                                               
10:07:05 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. DUHAMEL turned to his  second point; that these processes are                                                               
already in place.   As previously mentioned,  CVEA just underwent                                                               
licensing process  for Allison Creek Hydroelectric,  a small 6.5-                                                               
megawatt  project and  all the  requirements  for protections  to                                                               
anadromous  fish were  included in  the  process.   In fact,  the                                                               
process was  so laborious, it  took CVEA  five years to  obtain a                                                               
license to  build the project,  he said.   He estimated  the cost                                                               
for licensure  was $7 million.   He  predicted that it  would add                                                               
significant  time and  cost to  the licensing  process if  HB 199                                                               
passes because  it would add  another layer of  requirements into                                                               
the current process.                                                                                                            
MR. DUHAMEL  stated his  third point  was that  HB 199  tended to                                                               
oppose  US Senator  Murkowski's  efforts to  introduce an  energy                                                               
bill that  would streamline hydroelectric licensing.   US Senator                                                               
Murkowski's proposed  energy bill would require  consolidation of                                                               
those  reviewing and  reducing layers  for the  licensing request                                                               
and would speed  up the timeline.  This bill,  HB 199, would have                                                               
the opposite  effect since it  would add layers to  the licensing                                                               
process and  does not consolidate  reviewers and  instead expands                                                               
the number of reviewers.                                                                                                        
MR.  DUHAMEL,  in  conclusion,  said  that  APA  appreciated  the                                                               
efforts and goals of the  bill but have concerns about unintended                                                               
10:09:48 AM                                                                                                                   
ROBIN SAMUELSEN thanked the committee  for taking time to hear HB
199.  He said he was a  lifelong Alaskan from Dillingham.  He has                                                               
worked as  a commercial fisherman  for 50  years.  He  now trains                                                               
his grandsons to  reap the benefits of  Alaska's salmon industry,                                                               
he said.   He offered  his belief that  Alaska became a  state to                                                               
outlaw fish  traps, which  were devastating  Alaska's communities                                                               
and  killing  off  salmon  runs   that  had  previously  thrived.                                                               
Alaskans voted and became a state.                                                                                              
MR. SAMUELSEN  indicated the  next fisheries  issue was  the high                                                               
seas  drift  net  fishery  that  allowed  Japan  to  fish,  which                                                               
devasted the  runs in Bristol Bay.   He recalled as  a child that                                                               
fisheries  were shut  down.   He  further  recalled that  Senator                                                               
Lyman  Hoffman mounted  an effort  at the  United Nations  to ban                                                               
high seas driftnet fishing.                                                                                                     
10:11:31 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  SAMUELSEN commented  that  after 60  years  the current  law                                                               
needed updating  to address the  changes that have occurred.   He                                                               
said that although HB 199 does not  go as far as it needed to go,                                                               
but he felt it  was a step in the right  direction.  He expressed                                                               
concern that  oil would  not provide future  revenues in  the way                                                               
that salmon has.  His grandfather,  John W. Clark, was one of the                                                               
major  investors in  the first  cannery in  Bristol Bay  and Lake                                                               
Clark is named  after him.  His family has  been involved in this                                                               
fishery since  the first  day, he  said.   He offered  his belief                                                               
that the  only way  to keep  this run strong  and healthy  was to                                                               
provide  protection  for   the  salmon.    He   pointed  out  the                                                               
decimation of Lower 48 salmon runs.                                                                                             
MR. SAMUELSEN said he was  not against mining or development, but                                                               
the state needs to take steps  to ensure that companies coming to                                                               
Alaska to  develop resources do  so in  a sound manner  that does                                                               
not negatively  impact salmon stocks, communities,  and Alaskans.                                                               
He  told members  he previously  served  on the  Alaska Board  of                                                               
Fisheries  for  three years  and  on  the North  Pacific  Fishery                                                               
Management  Council (NPFMC)  for nine  years.   He expressed  his                                                               
frustration at not being able to  solve problems due to the laws.                                                               
He  offered his  belief that  this bill  was not  just about  the                                                               
Pebble  Mine but  about protecting  fish habitat  in all  Alaska,                                                               
including  Ketchikan, Bethel,  the  Yukon River  area.   Alaskans                                                               
depend upon salmon  for sustenance, that it  was intertwined with                                                               
their  culture  so removing  salmon  from  their diet  will  kill                                                               
people in rural Alaska, he said.                                                                                                
10:14:30 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  SAMUELSEN advocated  for protecting  runs  but not  shutting                                                               
down industries.  He emphasized  making protecting fish habitat a                                                               
priority  and  still  allow responsible  development  within  the                                                               
regions.  He thanked the committee.                                                                                             
10:15:00 AM                                                                                                                   
MIKE  SATRE, Board  Member, Council  of  Alaska Producers  (CAP),                                                               
stated he was  born and raised in Southeast Alaska  and Juneau is                                                               
his home.  He related that  he has over twenty years of technical                                                               
and management  experience in  the mining industry.   He  said he                                                               
serves  as the  Government  and Community  Relations Manager  for                                                               
Hecla  Greens Creek  Mine.   He  said he  was  speaking today  on                                                               
behalf  of the  CAP,  a non-profit  trade  association formed  in                                                               
1992, that  serves as  a spokesperson  for the  large-metal mines                                                               
and major  metal-developmental projects  in the  state.   The CAP                                                               
brings  together mining  companies  with interest  in Alaska  and                                                               
represent  and  informs  members on  legislative  and  regulatory                                                               
issues,  supports  and  advances the  mining  industry,  educates                                                               
members,  the media,  and the  general public  on mining  related                                                               
issues  and promotes  economic opportunities  and environmentally                                                               
sound mining practices.                                                                                                         
10:16:00 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. SATRE reported that on April  10, 2017, the CAP sent a letter                                                               
to this  committee in  opposition to  HB 199  because it  was the                                                               
wrong  solution to  a  non-existent problem.    Exactly one  year                                                               
later,  the council  maintains that  this is  the case,  he said.                                                               
Alaska  has a  world-class  permitting system  that balances  the                                                               
state's  economy  and  the  environment  through  the  consistent                                                               
application  of a  rigorous science-based  process.   He remarked                                                               
that  the system  works and  was a  proven model  for managing  a                                                               
complex   and   constantly-evolving    science   behind   habitat                                                               
management.   When Alaska's  system is  coupled with  the federal                                                               
protections  contained within  the National  Environmental Policy                                                               
Act (NEPA),  the Clean  Water Act  (CWA), the  Endangered Species                                                               
Act (ESA),  and Alaska National  Interest Lands  Conservation Act                                                               
(ANILCA), anadromous fish habitat  in Alaska has protections that                                                               
are  the envy  of  the world,  he  said.   He  stated with  these                                                               
protections in place  there was no need to  introduce the complex                                                               
regulatory   scheme  contained   within  the   current  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 199.                                                                                                     
10:17:00 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. SATRE commended Chair Stutes  and her staff for responding to                                                               
concerns about  the mining industry  in the  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for HB 199.  Without  question, the previous versions of the                                                               
bill  would have  resulted in  a complete  shutdown of  mining in                                                               
Alaska, he attested.   The sponsor and staff  should be commended                                                               
for  taking  the  time  to  learn how  mines  are  permitted  and                                                               
operated  as well  as  recognizing the  importance  of mines  and                                                               
miners to the  state.  Their consideration of  the CAPs  concerns                                                               
and  revising   the  bill  in  response   represents  the  normal                                                               
legislative process and he commended their efforts.                                                                             
10:17:33 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  SATRE remarked  that  after  a detailed  review  of the  new                                                               
committee  substitute (CS)  for  HB 199,  the  council still  has                                                               
significant concerns,  including the designation  of intermittent                                                               
waters  as  anadromous   fish  habitat,  the  lack   of  a  clear                                                               
definition of wetlands, designating  anadromous fish habitat, the                                                               
concept of  a fish habitat  permit assessment  that unnecessarily                                                               
duplicates a federal environmental  impact statement and the lack                                                               
of  clarity  on  the  use   of  mitigation  for  large  permanent                                                               
structures  that  impact anadromous  fish  habitat.   There  were                                                               
multiple  opportunities  to  litigate  a  single  permit  in  the                                                               
proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 199, he said.                                                                         
10:18:08 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  SATRE noted  that  while  the CAP  does  not  object to  the                                                               
concept  of  public  notification  in  the  fish  habitat  permit                                                               
process, it  appeared as  though the  current scheme  of comment,                                                               
decisions,  and  reconsiderations  could  result  in  significant                                                               
project  delays.   A  public  notification  process should  allow                                                               
sufficient time  to address stakeholder  concerns that  were made                                                               
in  good faith  while  still providing  the  project proponent  a                                                               
transparent and  predictable pathway to  a permit.  There  was no                                                               
question that salmon and salmon  habitat have cultural, emotional                                                               
and economic  significance in Alaska  like few other places.   It                                                               
was not by magic or  accident that Alaska has sustainably managed                                                               
its  fisheries  since  statehood.     The  state's  science-based                                                               
process built on a foundation  of objective evidence and data has                                                               
proven  itself year  after year.   While  every process  may need                                                               
some tweaks from time to time,  there was not any proven need for                                                               
the  introduction of  a burdensome  and complex  bureaucracy that                                                               
discourages  investment   in  Alaska.     If   specific  targeted                                                               
improvements to Title 16 were  necessary, such as the addition of                                                               
public   notification,  the   council  would   look  forward   to                                                               
participating  in  that  conversation.     The  CAP  respectfully                                                               
maintains that  HB 199  cannot be  fixed, he said.   He  spoke in                                                               
opposition to moving this bill from committee.                                                                                  
10:19:42 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR recalled  when the  Hecla Greens  Creek Mine                                                               
wanted to expand  the tailings site that  it required significant                                                               
public process,  which seemed pretty  positive.  She  offered the                                                               
idea  that   public  process  in   the  bill  would   provide  an                                                               
opportunity for  earlier discussion  of issues, which  might tend                                                               
to  limit litigation  later in  the process.   She  asked whether                                                               
that  could be  beneficial to  the  company.   She suggested  one                                                               
common complaint  by the  public was that  the public  learned of                                                               
about proposed projects after they  were authorized so the public                                                               
was  left without  the means  to meaningfully  participate.   She                                                               
liked provisions in the bill that  had the potential to make that                                                               
happen earlier.                                                                                                                 
MR.  SATRE responded  that the  Greens  Creek EIS  [Environmental                                                               
Impact  Statement] was  an example  of where  public notification                                                               
and comment  worked.   He reminded members  that the  EIS process                                                               
does  not issue  a permit  but  simply identifies  what the  best                                                               
alternative to move forward to  meet the public need and minimize                                                               
the impacts to  the environment.  He indicated  that Hecla Greens                                                               
Creek did  not get what it  wanted in that EIS.   The stakeholder                                                               
concerns were heard  in the EIS, the mine was  only allowed to go                                                               
forward and permit a limited  footprint.  He reiterated that this                                                               
was  a  great example  of  how  the  existing process  worked  to                                                               
minimize impacts  to anadromous fish  habitat, which was  the key                                                               
concern in that EIS.                                                                                                            
10:22:15 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  related her understanding that  the projects                                                               
[in question under HB 199] would  not really be ones with an EIS,                                                               
since that  would be triggered  with federal participation.   She                                                               
said she used  that as an analogy since  the public participation                                                               
seemed similar.  She asked whether  he had some comments on that,                                                               
noting the benefits to resolving  problems earlier in the process                                                               
since litigation can be a lengthy process.                                                                                      
MR. SATRE responded  that the CAP's concern with HB  199 was that                                                               
it  reaches state  oversight into  areas already  covered through                                                               
Section 404  [Clean Water Act  (CWA] permits that  would generate                                                               
an  EIS process.    He  pointed out  that  multiple permits  were                                                               
necessary   for  projects   with  multiple   analyses.     Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  &  Game   (ADF&G),  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR),  Department of Environmental  Conservation (DEC)                                                               
either  have veto  authority or  are  part of  the permit  review                                                               
process.   He offered his  belief that the system  already works.                                                               
He  expressed a  willingness to  have that  conversation for  any                                                               
Title 16 improvements in the future.                                                                                            
10:23:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STUTES  said  she  did  not  believe  any  public  comment                                                               
provision was in the Title 16  permit process.  She asked whether                                                               
he thought that would be valuable to the public.                                                                                
MR.  SATRE  pointed  out  that  the  letter  from  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries certainly  asked for public notification.   The Council                                                               
of Alaska  Producers believes that  could be one of  those tweaks                                                               
that could improve Title 16.   He looked forward to some targeted                                                               
language  that  would  allow  for  public  notification  of  fish                                                               
habitat permits.                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES thanked him for his testimony.                                                                                     
10:24:42 AM                                                                                                                   
WILL  MAYO,  Executive  Director, Tribal  Government  and  Client                                                               
Services, Tanana  Chiefs Conference, said his  traditional Native                                                               
name is  Saanh Dlith Toh'  which means "Summer  Mountain Leader,"                                                               
and he is a tribal member of  the Native village of Tanana on the                                                               
Yukon River, which heavily relies upon  salmon.  He said he would                                                               
speak  today on  behalf of  the Tanana  Chiefs Conference  (TCC).                                                               
The Tanana  Chiefs Conference was  organized to advocate  for its                                                               
tribes  and  consists  of  a consortium  of  42  Interior  tribal                                                               
communities, 37 of  which are recognized by  the US Constitution.                                                               
He  provided the  TCC's Native  name "Dena'  Nena' Henash"  which                                                               
means  "Our  Land  Speaks"  and   indicates  the  importance  the                                                               
resources  that were  derived from  its land.   He  said the  TCC                                                               
region  covers 235,000  square miles  in  Interior Alaska  within                                                               
their traditional ancestral lands  and serves about 14,000 Alaska                                                               
Natives in 39 villages.                                                                                                         
10:27:04 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MAYO stated that TCC  was charged with advancing tribal self-                                                               
determination and enhancing  Native regional unity.   He said the                                                               
council's  mission is  to provide  a unified  voice in  advancing                                                               
sovereign  tribal governance  through the  promotion of  physical                                                               
and mental  wellness, education, social and  economic development                                                               
and  the culture  of  Interior Alaska  Natives.   Currently,  the                                                               
TCC's 42  voting members of the  full Board of Directors  has two                                                               
standing resolutions  that direct  the advocacy on  this subject.                                                               
Both resolutions  support a rewrite  of Title 16 that  allows for                                                               
more protection of its food resources,  which HB 199 would do, he                                                               
said.  He related that HB  199 would create a two-tier permitting                                                               
system instead of big and small projects in one permit type.                                                                    
MR. MAYO  said that  HB 199  would break  down projects  into two                                                               
categories:   those that would  adversely affect  anadromous fish                                                               
and fish  habitat and minor  projects that would not  affect fish                                                               
and fish habitat.  The  bill would also provide specific language                                                               
for consideration of  effects of activity on  anadromous fish and                                                               
fish  habitat.   Under  HB 199,  a project  that  would have  the                                                               
potential to adversely affect these  resources must meet a number                                                               
of specific  criteria.  He  offered his belief that  the proposed                                                               
criteria in HB 199 was a  vast improvement over the current vague                                                               
criteria open to interpretation.   Further, HB 199 would create a                                                               
public process,  public notice for  all permits and allows  for a                                                               
30-day  comment period  for all  major projects  on a  draft fish                                                               
habitat permit  assessment.  In  addition, the  commissioner must                                                               
provide  a written  determination  allowing  for public  comment.                                                               
The public may  also submit a timely  request for reconsideration                                                               
if they disagree with the commissioner's determination.                                                                         
10:29:50 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  MAYO  outlined TCC's  specific  concerns  with the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for HB  199 [Version M].   The amended                                                               
version deleted  the language [Section  4, on page  3], "adjacent                                                               
riparian  areas."    The TCC  supported  inclusion  of  "adjacent                                                               
riparian  areas,"  which  could   acknowledge  the  authority  or                                                               
coordination with  DNR for defining riparian  habitat.  Exclusion                                                               
of riparian  areas would leave  a critical area of  the watershed                                                               
potentially not protected.  This  language would also help reduce                                                               
the  risk of  erosion  and sedimentation,  which otherwise  could                                                               
smother  and  suffocate salmon  eggs  and  reduce visibility  for                                                               
rearing salmon to find food.                                                                                                    
10:30:47 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. MAYO stated [Version M]  also removed the phrase "presumption                                                               
of  anadromy."    The TCC  supported  including  "presumption  of                                                               
anadromy,"  for all  waterways below  a certain  elevation to  be                                                               
determined  by the  ADF&G's  fisheries biologist.    It would  be                                                               
ideal if this was supported  by peer review scientific literature                                                               
so that  all waterways that  may have salmon will  receive proper                                                               
MR. MAYO outlined the TCC's last  concern.  He offered his belief                                                               
that the  proposed CS  for HB 199  [Version M]  has significantly                                                               
weakened language for  mitigation.  He offered  TCC's support for                                                               
the original language for mitigation  as per statute, but for the                                                               
following areas and  regions only, leaving the rest  of the state                                                               
     1.  Special areas or fishery reserves such as Bristol                                                                      
     2.  Regions primarily dependent on and/or support                                                                          
     traditional subsistence fishing.                                                                                           
10:32:28 AM                                                                                                                   
KARA MORIARTY, President & Chief  Executive Officer (CEO), Alaska                                                               
Oil and Gas Association (AOGA), introduced herself.                                                                             
JOSH  KINDRED,   Environmental  Counsel,   Alaska  Oil   and  Gas                                                               
Association (AOGA), introduced himself.                                                                                         
10:32:52 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  MORIARTY appreciated  that the  bill sponsor  and staff  has                                                               
recognized some  concerns, but as  with the mining  industry, the                                                               
AOGA has  some additional concerns  with the bill.   She welcomed                                                               
working with the committee on HB 199.                                                                                           
10:33:32 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KINDRED stated his job  was to review regulatory language for                                                               
AOGA,  primarily to  see  that the  effects of  the  oil and  gas                                                               
industry  were narrowly  tailored to  a legitimate  environmental                                                               
aim.   Through that lens he  has analyzed HB 199  [Version M] and                                                               
found it  would result  in substantial  negative actions  for the                                                               
state from  the public or private  sector.  This comes  at a time                                                               
when  the  state  has  been   struggling  to  manage  its  fiscal                                                               
challenges and the  economy could best be  described as stagnant.                                                               
He said  that was  a heavy  cost to pay,  but when  evaluated for                                                               
benefits the fundamental flaws in HB 199 can be seen.                                                                           
MR. KINDRED offered his belief  that the bill assumed that salmon                                                               
were not currently  being protected in Alaska.   As some previous                                                               
testifiers  have indicated,  nothing  could be  further from  the                                                               
truth.    The  bill "seems  to  be  a  solution  in search  of  a                                                               
problem," he  said.  He wondered  if was prudent to  move forward                                                               
with HB 199  since the bill would actually result  in harm to the                                                               
state.  He offered to cover some of the specific provisions.                                                                    
10:34:56 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  KINDRED referred  to  Section  4, on  page  3, to  "adjacent                                                               
riparian  areas, which  was  replaced with  "wetlands."   He  was                                                               
unsure of the catalyst for  that modification.  Wetlands comprise                                                               
175  million  acres of  Alaska  and  43  percent of  the  state's                                                               
surface  area and  were  already  sufficiently protected  through                                                               
federal jurisdiction.   He offered his belief that  this would be                                                               
a dramatic expansion of anadromous  fish habitat, into areas that                                                               
do  not  have  the  scientific   underpinnings  to  warrant  that                                                               
designation.   Further, any operator  that has had to  navigate a                                                               
Section  404(b) [Clean  Water Act]  permit would  understand just                                                               
how  sufficiently and  thoroughly wetlands  are protected  in the                                                               
10:35:52 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KINDRED  highlighted that the  committee substitute  (CS) for                                                               
HB  199  [Version M]  removes  the  qualifier "significant"  from                                                               
adverse  effects  in  the distinction  between  major  and  minor                                                               
permits.   That  would effectively  make sure  that any  resource                                                               
project would  need to go  through the major  permitting process,                                                               
he  said.   He suggested  that  process was  laborious and  would                                                               
result in  delays, which may  not be warranted since  the project                                                               
may  have nominal  adverse effects  and  should not  rise to  the                                                               
level of major permits.                                                                                                         
MR. KINDRED highlighted one of the  biggest issues he had with HB
199 was  that "this is  fodder for litigation."   He acknowledged                                                               
that this was  not the intent of HB 199;  however, he thought the                                                               
bill created  unintended consequences.   As  he read  through the                                                               
bill,  he said  he  identified four  different opportunities  for                                                               
litigation  for  every  single  permit that  goes  forward.    He                                                               
suggested that  a major resource  development project  could have                                                               
dozens of  permits.  This  bill could multiply  the opportunities                                                               
for litigation.  He highlighted  the opportunities for litigation                                                               
in the bill, including the  point when the commissioner makes the                                                               
distinction  between a  major  or minor  permit,  when the  draft                                                               
assessment  was made,  when the  bond assessment  was determined,                                                               
and when the final permit assessment was issued.                                                                                
10:37:07 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. KINDRED cautioned that this  not only added additional costs,                                                               
delays,  and  uncertainty on  projects,  but  it would  also  add                                                               
additional costs  to the  state.  It  was important  to recognize                                                               
that regulations could be manipulated  to serve ideological ends.                                                               
He stated he  reviewed these provisions through the  prism of how                                                               
a  special  interest  group  could  use this  bill  for  its  own                                                               
purposes.   The  AOGA  has seen  litigation,  more than  anything                                                               
else, used to  stop development projects in Alaska, he  said.  He                                                               
hoped the  committee would keep  this in  mind.  He  further said                                                               
that  the  [state]  should  be looking  for  ways  to  streamline                                                               
resource management.                                                                                                            
10:37:55 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  KINDRED said  he did  not  know much  about anadromous  fish                                                               
habitat a  year ago,  but he  researched it.   He  discovered the                                                               
public  narrative was  such that  the state  needed to  strive to                                                               
protect salmon.   Instead, he discovered how  exemplary ADF&G has                                                               
been  at protecting  salmon since  statehood.   He has  spoken on                                                               
numerous panels  and debated  proponents of HB  199 or  the Stand                                                               
for Salmon initiative; however, he  has not heard any examples in                                                               
which  the current  regulatory rubric  failed to  protect salmon.                                                               
He encouraged  members to proceed cautiously  when moving forward                                                               
with regulations that  would adversely affect the  state that are                                                               
not necessary.                                                                                                                  
10:39:02 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES recessed to a call of the chair.                                                                                   
1:04:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STUTES  reconvened  the  meeting [but  did  not  note  the                                                               
members who were present.]                                                                                                      
1:04:50 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM "BILL"  BROWN, PhD, stated  he has lived in  Juneau since                                                               
1992.   He said he  was an avid fisherman.   He was  appointed to                                                               
the  Board  of  Fisheries  by former  Governor  Sarah  Palin  and                                                               
reappointed by  former Governor Parnell;  however, he said  he no                                                               
longer serves  on the  board.   He holds a  PhD in  economics and                                                               
taught fulltime at the university level  for 23 years.  Among the                                                               
courses  he taught  was Resource  and Environmental  Economics, a                                                               
course that contained a section  on fisheries economics, he said.                                                               
When he left  the university in 2000, he opened  the only fishing                                                               
reel repair shop in Southeast Alaska.   He has serviced more than                                                               
1,000 reels per year  and the best part about it  was that he has                                                               
conversations with fishermen almost every day.                                                                                  
1:05:46 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. BROWN  asked to make two  brief points in his  support for HB
199 [Version  M].   First, he acknowledged  that everyone  in the                                                               
room  recognized the  importance  of salmon  for  the people  and                                                               
economy  of the  state.   Sadly,  he suspected  that people  also                                                               
recognized that many,  if not most, of the salmon  runs in Alaska                                                               
were in trouble.   This was especially true  in Southeast Alaska,                                                               
where  the king  salmon  harvest  has just  been  closed for  the                                                               
spring, like  it was last spring.   He predicted it  would likely                                                               
be closed next year.                                                                                                            
DR. BROWN  highlighted that  concern for salmon  was not  new and                                                               
was discussed every  year at every Board of  Fisheries meeting he                                                               
attended during his tenure on the board.   It has been a topic of                                                               
most  of  the customers  who  come  by his  shop,  he  said.   He                                                               
indicated that no one was sure  what was causing the problem with                                                               
salmon.  Several things have  been suggested, including high-seas                                                               
interception  by foreign  fishermen, warming  ocean temperatures,                                                               
bycatch  in the  Gulf of  Alaska, overharvest  and damage  to the                                                               
rivers and  spawning areas.   The  BOF and  ADF&G have  long been                                                               
trying to  help Alaska's  salmon, but the  results have  not been                                                               
good.   Both the numbers and  size of salmon have  been shrinking                                                               
and the state needs to do more.                                                                                                 
1:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. BROWN  outlined the aim  of HB  199 was to  carefully monitor                                                               
salmon  rivers and  spawning  areas to  make  sure that  economic                                                               
development  does not  damage  Alaska's salmon  stocks.   In  its                                                               
current form [Version  M], HB 199 was a good  start, but he would                                                               
like to see minor changes to  strengthen the bill.  First, it was                                                               
vital that  ADF&G have the  ability to protect riparian  zones to                                                               
create  mandatory  and  enforceable standards  for  fish  habitat                                                               
protection.   Second,  the bill  should have  stronger mitigation                                                               
standards  to allow  ADF&G to  rule against  major projects  like                                                               
Pebble Mine that  would cause substantial damage  to salmon runs.                                                               
Third,  the ADF&G  needed to  have broader  authority to  protect                                                               
fish  habitat  throughout  the  entire state.    He  related  his                                                               
understanding  that currently  the  authority  extends to  barely                                                               
half of the salmon streams in the state.                                                                                        
DR. BROWN identified  himself as a market economist  who does not                                                               
like regulations and believes that  economic incentives should be                                                               
left alone whenever possible; however,  he also acknowledged that                                                               
some  regulations  were  probably  necessary.    The  regulations                                                               
embodied in HB  199, along with his  suggestions, were necessary,                                                               
he said.   They would do a  small part to stave  off the collapse                                                               
of Alaska's salmon stocks.  He  cautioned that it would not solve                                                               
the problem  entirely, but it was  one important step and  he was                                                               
certain it would help.                                                                                                          
DR. BROWN turned  to his second main point, which  he said relied                                                               
upon economic analysis  and a bit of mathematical  reasoning.  As                                                               
he  sees it,  the main  arguments against  HB 199  come from  the                                                               
mining industry.   He remarked that he was not  opposed to mining                                                               
and completely understood the need  for copper, gold, silver, and                                                               
other metals  mined in  Alaska.  He  also understood  that mining                                                               
generates considerable income and lots  of jobs in the state, but                                                               
so does  fishing.   When salmon stocks  or salmon  forecasts were                                                               
down, income declines ripple throughout the entire state.                                                                       
DR. BROWN said, "Believe me.   Traffic in my reel repair shop was                                                               
down over 40 percent last year and  looks to be as bad this year,                                                               
as well."  Still, he doubted he  was being hurt as much as salmon                                                               
trollers in Southeast  Alaska or the small  communities that rely                                                               
exclusively on fishing.  He  highlighted the cost of fewer mining                                                               
jobs and  mining income  versus the benefits  of more  salmon and                                                               
salmon income from  HB 199.  He cautioned  that the [legislature]                                                               
would be making a mistake if  it only considered the "short run."                                                               
He indicated that the problem was  a dynamic one and happens over                                                               
a long period of time.                                                                                                          
1:09:52 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. BROWN,  in closing,  summarized his  view of  the issue.   He                                                               
remarked, as follows:                                                                                                           
     To me the  issue is this, in the best  of conditions, a                                                                    
     mine be worked  until it is exhausted  and closed down,                                                                    
     but  our salmon  will last  forever if  we manage  them                                                                    
     correctly.     Forever.     We  can   do  that.     Our                                                                    
     grandchildren  and their  children deserve  to grow  up                                                                    
     with Alaska  wild salmon as  an integral part  of their                                                                    
     identity, as it is ours today.   HB 199 is a small step                                                                    
     toward that end.  Thank you.                                                                                               
1:11:33 PM                                                                                                                    
EMILY ANDERSON,  Attorney; Alaska  Program Director,  Wild Salmon                                                               
Center, stated she  was an attorney who specialized  in the areas                                                               
of natural  resource and water law  for 14 years in  Alaska.  She                                                               
thanked the committee and bill  sponsor for taking on this really                                                               
difficult task of  tackling a critical update to  one of Alaska's                                                               
most  important  laws to  protect  fisheries.   She  offered  her                                                               
belief  that this  task was  long overdue.   The  Anadromous Fish                                                               
Act, also  known as the  fish habitat permitting law  was enacted                                                               
shortly after statehood and has not changed much since then.                                                                    
MS.  ANDERSON provided  background information,  noting that  the                                                               
Alaska  Constitution  has  three  provisions  which  specifically                                                               
address salmon  and other renewable  resources.  She  referred to                                                               
Article  VIII,  Section 3.  Common  Use,  which read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Wherever  occurring  in   their  natural  state,  fish,                                                                    
     wildlife,  and waters  are reserved  to the  people for                                                                    
     common use.                                                                                                                
1:12:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ANDERSON  said  secondly,  it also  directed  the  state  to                                                               
sustainably utilize, manage, and  maintain Alaska's fisheries and                                                               
renewable  resources [under  Section  4], which  read as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Section 4. Sustained Yield                                                                                                 
     Fish,  forests,  wildlife,  grasslands, and  all  other                                                                    
     replenishable  resources belonging  to the  State shall                                                                    
     be   utilized,  developed,   and   maintained  on   the                                                                    
     sustained  yield  principle,   subject  to  preferences                                                                    
     among beneficial uses.                                                                                                     
1:12:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON said  third, it also directed  the legislature, most                                                               
importantly, to  equally prioritize and balance  the conservation                                                               
of  Alaska's  natural resources  with  the  state's interests  in                                                               
utilization  and development  of them  [ under  Section 2]  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     Section 2. General Authority                                                                                               
     The  legislature  shall  provide for  the  utilization,                                                                    
     development, and conservation  of all natural resources                                                                    
     belonging to the State, including  land and waters, for                                                                    
     the maximum benefit of its people.                                                                                         
MS.  ANDERSON said  that  the key  point was  to  find a  balance                                                               
between these two pieces.                                                                                                       
1:13:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON  stated that  these constitutional  directives serve                                                               
as  the  foundation  for  the  standard  of  care  when  managing                                                               
Alaska's salmon  resources, including  the role  of the  Board of                                                               
Fisheries,  the  Alaska Department  of  Fish  & Game  (ADF&G)  in                                                               
fisheries allocation decisions  and managing sustainable harvest.                                                               
It also should  serve as a guide in terms  of the decisions about                                                               
how  Alaska protects  its fish  habitat and  as a  guide for  the                                                               
legislature.   She  added that  included ensuring  that its  laws                                                               
used a balanced approach.                                                                                                       
MS.  ANDERSON  reiterated  that   [Title  16]  was  outdated  and                                                               
general.  The commissioner would  issue a permit unless the plans                                                               
and specifications  were insufficient  for the  proper protection                                                               
of fish and  game; however, nothing in regulations  or in statute                                                               
indicates what  that means.   She characterized  it as  a general                                                               
approach for  a very  important law.   The  current law  does not                                                               
provide certainty or accountability in  the system to ensure that                                                               
from  administration  to administration  that  the  law would  be                                                               
applied consistently.   Currently, Alaskans have  been completely                                                               
excluded from the permitting process.                                                                                           
1:14:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANDERSON recalled a few weeks  ago, the ADF&G testified as to                                                               
the  challenges  it  faced  under  the  current  system.    Those                                                               
included a lack  of enforcement authority, the  need to implement                                                               
"work  arounds" to  assert jurisdiction  and apply  this law,  as                                                               
well  as a  lack  of overall  standards.   She  did  not wish  to                                                               
criticize  what  ADF&G does  with  respect  to fish  habitat  but                                                               
rather to highlight  the problem, which was that  the current law                                                               
is "a far cry" from a  rigorous permitting process.  He cautioned                                                               
that the state cannot jeopardize  its healthy fisheries, that the                                                               
status quo is simply no longer an option.                                                                                       
MS.  ANDERSON turned  to HB  199, which  she characterized  as an                                                               
important  step  in  the  right   direction.    She  acknowledged                                                               
numerous previous attempts  in the 1980s and 1990s  to change the                                                               
law and/or create regulations based  on arguments similar to ones                                                               
the committee  has heard today.   She offered her belief  that HB
199 would  build a solid  foundation necessary to make  sound and                                                               
transparent decisions,  including public notice on  all permits -                                                               
the  cornerstone   of  a  good   permitting  system  -   and  the                                                               
opportunity  for public  participation  in  decisions that  could                                                               
damage   Alaska's   fisheries.      It   would   fairly   balance                                                               
administrative efficiency  through the  minor permit  process yet                                                               
provide additional  review of  major projects.   Finally,  HB 199                                                               
would  add some  new tools  for permit  enforcement and  judicial                                                               
review to ensure accountability in the system.                                                                                  
1:16:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ANDERSON  offered her  belief  that  this  bill was  a  vast                                                               
improvement over the  current law.  She  encouraged the committee                                                               
to consider  adding enforceable  habitat protection  standards to                                                               
add substance with science-based standards.                                                                                     
MS. ANDERSON said she has often  heard the question, "Show us the                                                               
problem" and reasons the system needed  be fixed.  In 1996, ADF&G                                                               
published an article titled, "Can  Alaska Balance Economic Growth                                                               
with  Habitat  Protection?  -   A  Biologist's  Perspective"  [by                                                               
Kenneth  E. Tarbox  and Terry  Bendock.]   This conversation  has                                                               
been ongoing, she  said.  The authors tackled  that very question                                                               
using the Pacific Northwest as an example.  She read:                                                                           
     In the  Pacific Northwest declining  salmon populations                                                                    
     have  coincided with  resource  uses incompatible  with                                                                    
     sustainable  management  of  the whole  ecosystem  (NRC                                                                    
     Declines in  salmon production due to  habitat loss are                                                                    
     masked and hard to detect  relative to the timeframe of                                                                    
     institutional   decision-making.     The   failure   of                                                                    
     institutions to  adequately protect the  resources over                                                                    
     the rights  of the entrepreneur is  predictable because                                                                    
     it  is usually  politically  easier  to favor  economic                                                                    
     growth  over  conservation.    And   by  the  time  the                                                                    
     affected   natural   resources  have   collapsed,   the                                                                    
     original  policymakers  are  usually  gone,  leaving  a                                                                    
     fresh group  of policymakers  to respond to  the public                                                                    
     outcry and bring back these lost resources.                                                                                
MS.  ANDERSON  related  that  in time,  as  demonstrated  by  the                                                               
billions that were being invested  in the Pacific Northwest, with                                                               
absolutely no measurable  gains in the condition  of those salmon                                                               
runs, it becomes too late.                                                                                                      
MS.  ANDERSON offered  her  belief  that the  state  has a  great                                                               
opportunity to  "get it right."   The state has seen  declines in                                                               
salmon productivity, especially  in hard hit areas  like the Mat-                                                               
Su  Valley,  in  part,  due  to habitat  loss.    The  ADF&G  has                                                               
testified its  recognition that habitat was  no longer accessible                                                               
and  was causing  some of  the decline  for the  fisheries.   She                                                               
urged  members to  continue  the conversation.    In response  to                                                               
Representative  Tarr,  she  offered  to provide  a  copy  of  the                                                               
article to the committee.                                                                                                       
1:19:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN   MACKINNON,   Executive    Director,   Associated   General                                                               
Contractors of  Alaska (AGC), stated  that AGC is  a construction                                                               
trade  association representing  over 640  contractors, specialty                                                               
contractors,  suppliers and  manufacturers in  Alaska who  employ                                                               
tens of  thousands on  a seasonal and  fulltime basis  in Alaska.                                                               
Within  its  membership  was  much  of  Alaska's  commercial  and                                                               
industrial  construction industries.   Their  motto is  "We build                                                               
Alaska," he said.  The  Institute of Social and Economic Research                                                               
(ISER)   at  the   University  of   Alaska   reported  that   the                                                               
construction  trade  in Alaska  was  the  third largest  industry                                                               
paying the third highest wages  and employing over 15,000 workers                                                               
and  contributing $6.6  billion to  the economy.   These  figures                                                               
were  even  after a  20  percent  reduction in  the  construction                                                               
economy, he said.                                                                                                               
1:20:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MACKINNON   offered  comments  on  the   proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for  HB 199, Version M, after  first thanking the                                                               
committee for the significant changes made  to the bill.  He said                                                               
the  AGC found  Version M  was more  palatable than  the original                                                               
bill, but he still questioned the  need for the bill.  He related                                                               
that he  served as the  Deputy Commissioner of the  Department of                                                               
Transportation & Public Facilities  (DOT&PF) for five years prior                                                               
to  taking the  job  at AGC.    He  said that  at  DOT&PF he  was                                                               
responsible  for the  highway  program,  which included  DOT&PF's                                                               
administration,  planning, design,  and  permitting.   Permitting                                                               
represents  a  significant cost-driver  of  projects.   In  1970,                                                               
nearly 90 percent of every project  dollar went as a payment to a                                                               
contractor,  but today  it  is  less than  70  percent.   The  20                                                               
percent  difference was  for process  and permits,  he said.   He                                                               
acknowledged that process and permits  were not all bad, but some                                                               
of the process provided little value.                                                                                           
1:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACKINNON  stated he has  reviewed the documents in  the bill                                                               
file [for HB 199] and  submissions from Federal Energy Regulatory                                                               
Commission (FERC), DOT&PF,  DNR, and DEC.  The  amount of process                                                               
and  procedure  the  agencies  detailed  under  current  law  was                                                               
extraordinary.  The processes all  contribute to the well-managed                                                               
resources and  habitat in Alaska.   Although the  Anadromous Fish                                                               
Act (AFA) may  not have been changed since  statehood, there were                                                               
dozens of  other state and  federal laws  that have added  to the                                                               
protections  in the  AFA.    He offered  his  belief that  adding                                                               
another layer of review would not  provide any added value to the                                                               
resource and  instead could  cause additional  delay and  cost to                                                               
almost all projects - public and private.                                                                                       
1:22:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACKINNON offered  his belief that the problem  was no longer                                                               
getting funding for projects but  obtaining permission.  Some may                                                               
consider the  impetus for  this bill the  letter of  January 2017                                                               
from  the Board  of  Fisheries.   In  it  the  BOF requested  the                                                               
[legislature]  improve   public  comment  and   notification  and                                                               
enforceable  standards;  however,  these  could all  be  done  by                                                               
regulation and not by statute.                                                                                                  
1:22:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MACKINNON said  that AGC  has recognized  the importance  of                                                               
fish  as  a  subsistence,  sport,  and  commercial  resource  for                                                               
Alaska; however,  it was not clear  how HB 199 [Version  M] would                                                               
improve on  this critical resource.   There did not appear  to be                                                               
any  scientific analysis  behind this  legislation, he  remarked.                                                               
Further, Alaska  does not  have a  real problem  with development                                                               
causing  loss of  fish habitat  that impact  salmon returns.   He                                                               
could  not   think  of  instances   where  recent   decreases  in                                                               
anadromous fish  populations were the result  of local activities                                                               
other  than  overfishing.    Overfishing  was  a  management  and                                                               
political problem and  not a statutory problem.   He acknowledged                                                               
that  there  were many  potential  contributing  factors to  poor                                                               
returns such as bycatch, offshore  harvest, predation, or changes                                                               
in ocean conditions.                                                                                                            
1:23:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACKINNON  expressed concern  that HB  199 would  add another                                                               
layer to the  process and endanger Alaskan jobs  and threaten any                                                               
expansion  to the  state's limited  transportation infrastructure                                                               
pipelines  and hydroelectric  projects.   It could  also restrict                                                               
opportunities for  Alaska communities  to grow  and prosper.   In                                                               
closing, he said  that in the development  of Alaska's resources,                                                               
the state does  not need to choose between resources,  but how to                                                               
manage among all resources.                                                                                                     
1:24:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR said  some  testifiers  have indicated  that                                                               
this bill was not needed, but  to play "devil's advocate" that if                                                               
everything is being done right then  there should not be any fear                                                               
of the additional public process  built into it or any opposition                                                               
from the public.  She asked for his thoughts.                                                                                   
MR. MACKINNON  responded that it  would add an  additional layer.                                                               
He stated that  everything was being done right  with the current                                                               
permitting process, so he did not  see the need for an additional                                                               
1:25:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MARLEANNA HALL, Executive  Director, Resource Development Council                                                               
for  Alaska,  Inc.  (RDC),  stated she  was  a  lifelong  Alaskan                                                               
originally  from Nome.   She  related  that RDC  was a  statewide                                                               
business association comprised of  individuals and companies from                                                               
Alaska's  oil  and  gas, mining,  forest  products,  tourism  and                                                               
fisheries  industries.     The   RDC's  membership   included  12                                                               
landowning   Alaska  Native   corporations,  local   communities,                                                               
organized  labor,  and  industry support  firms  and  individuals                                                               
throughout Alaska.                                                                                                              
1:25:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HALL  offered  to  address   the  broader  concerns  of  the                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for  HB 199 [Version  M].   She stated                                                               
that  increasing uncertainty  and  adding unnecessary  regulatory                                                               
burdens  to community  and resource  development projects  across                                                               
Alaska with little to no added  benefit to salmon habitat was not                                                               
sound  policy.    This  bill  would likely  delay  or  even  halt                                                               
projects  and increase  costs for  Alaska's  communities and  the                                                               
private  sector  and  send Alaska  further  down  the  regulatory                                                               
certainty scale.                                                                                                                
1:26:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HALL said  the RDC's  member companies  who testified  today                                                               
gave specific examples of the  anticipated detrimental effects of                                                               
the proposed bill,  such as new delays,  unnecessary permits, and                                                               
requirements for  permitting wetlands.   The proposed  bill would                                                               
create  new opportunities  for litigation  and permit  challenges                                                               
and more,  she said.  She  asked why this bill  was necessary and                                                               
if the  bill sponsors could give  an example of how  the existing                                                               
permitting  process has  failed.   Many testifiers  spoke to  the                                                               
lack of  king salmon and  the size of  salmon but have  failed to                                                               
give an  example of how these  drastic changes to Title  16 would                                                               
help or to explain how Title 16 has failed.                                                                                     
1:27:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HALL suggested  that the idea that Alaska's  fish habitat was                                                               
not being protected  is very misleading.  Alaska has  some of the                                                               
best managed  fisheries in  the world  and each one  of us  has a                                                               
stake in  maintaining that  reputation, she  said.   The proposed                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for  HB  199  would  not  provide  a                                                               
productive,  balanced process  that will  allow Alaskans  to live                                                               
their way  of life  and coexist  with the  environment, including                                                               
fish,  she said.   The  added costs  for projects  throughout the                                                               
state would not just impact  businesses, but also communities and                                                               
everyday  Alaskans.   The state  has already  provided protection                                                               
for its fish habitat,  so it did not seem necessary  to go so far                                                               
to negatively impact the way of life for all Alaskans.                                                                          
1:28:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HALL offered her belief  that whether or not Alaskans support                                                               
the  bill, they  want to  protect  salmon and  other species  for                                                               
generations to  come.   She stated  that all  Alaskans, including                                                               
the indigenous people  who have lived in this  land for thousands                                                               
of  years,  have  a  stake  in  protecting  fish  habitat.    She                                                               
remarked, "We are all here today  because we love this place.  We                                                               
love our way of life."                                                                                                          
MS.  HALL  said  it  was  clear and  proven  that  community  and                                                               
resource  development can  coexist with  the environment  in this                                                               
great state.   Alaska has  permitted large projects, such  as the                                                               
Trans-Alaska  Pipeline system  and six  major producing  mines as                                                               
well  as expanding  vital  transportation infrastructure  without                                                               
harming  its  fisheries.    She  stated  that  Alaska's  existing                                                               
permitting system has worked well and has protected its fish.                                                                   
1:28:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HALL hoped  updates to Title 16 would focus  on the effort to                                                               
address  the specific  areas that  need  to be  updated:   public                                                               
comment and  consequences for  failing to  comply with  a permit.                                                               
This  may have  been the  sponsor's intention;  however, the  RDC                                                               
believes  this  bill  goes  way  beyond  that  and  would  damage                                                               
Alaska's communities, jobs,  and economy as well  as Alaskans way                                                               
of life.                                                                                                                        
MS.  HALL, in  closing, stated  that this  bill would  negatively                                                               
impact  community and  resource development,  including improving                                                               
the limited amount of infrastructure  Alaska has across the state                                                               
and well as  much needed new infrastructure.  The  RDC has looked                                                               
to  existing projects  developed with  Title 16  permits to  show                                                               
that  the state  can  and does  protect its  fish  habitat.   For                                                               
example,  fish  habitat has  been  protected  at fish  processing                                                               
facilities  at the  mouth of  a  river in  Southwest Alaska,  the                                                               
Ketchikan airport, activities at  Prudhoe Bay and Interior Alaska                                                               
roads, she said.                                                                                                                
1:30:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR offered her  belief that the statements being                                                               
made seemed  somewhat inconsistent.   She suggested  that stating                                                               
that  everything worked  just fine,  and development  has done  a                                                               
good job; then to proclaim  that the bill would cause unnecessary                                                               
delay and cost for projects.   She said that those two things are                                                               
mutually  exclusive because  if everything  was being  done right                                                               
having  an additional  layer of  public participation  should not                                                               
result in  any challenges to permits.   She argued that  the only                                                               
instance for a delay would be  when the public had questions over                                                               
issues   that  arose   during  the   permitting  process.     She                                                               
characterized these as mutually exclusive events.                                                                               
MS HALL suggested that Representative  Tarr was presuming that if                                                               
[the  permitting   process]  went   well  that  the   public  and                                                               
stakeholders  in Alaska  or the  Lower 48  would not  question or                                                               
appeal  permits.    She  offered  her belief  that  was  a  false                                                               
assumption that  there would  not be  numerous appeals  under the                                                               
permitting  process  in the  proposed  bill.   She  recalled  Mr.                                                               
Kindred's testimony from  the AOGA, which spoke  to the increased                                                               
number  of  opportunities to  appeal.    Not  only would  HB  199                                                               
increase  the opportunity  to appeal  but it  would increase  the                                                               
opportunities exponentially,  she said.   She could not  think of                                                               
any project  permitted without public participation.   She agreed                                                               
public noticing  was something that  should be considered  in the                                                               
Title 16  permitting process, which  the BOF  requested; however,                                                               
this bill goes way beyond that simple request.                                                                                  
1:32:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  said  she  reviewed  the  four  things  Mr.                                                               
Kindred mentioned, including that  a potential appeal could occur                                                               
when  the commissioner  distinguished between  a major  and minor                                                               
permit.  Since  80 percent would be minor permits,  it was not as                                                               
concerning to her,  she said.  Although the  draft assessment and                                                               
bond assessment  process might not  be well understood  at first,                                                               
but she  anticipated some rhythm  or tradition for  bonding would                                                               
occur.  She  recalled another potential litigation  point was for                                                               
the final permit.   She argued that all of  these [appeal points]                                                               
have  timelines associated  with  them; however,  none were  very                                                               
lengthy.    The BOF  suggested  that  the state  should  increase                                                               
opportunities  for   public  process.    Further,   the  resource                                                               
development  industry  has  been  successful  in  Alaska  getting                                                               
statutes  instituted that  requires  litigants must  pay for  any                                                               
damages  -  a  real  disincentive   to  bring  forward  frivolous                                                               
lawsuits.   She offered  her belief  that the  industry currently                                                               
has  many protections.    She argued  that it  was  time for  the                                                               
public to have opportunities to weigh in.                                                                                       
1:34:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TARR argued that  development at Chester Creek has                                                               
adversely affected  salmon habitat  by allowing  invasive species                                                               
to take  over in the riparian  zone adjacent to the  stream.  She                                                               
cautioned  that  Alaska  does  not want  to  follow  the  Pacific                                                               
Northwest's  demise of  salmon runs.   She  indicated this  was a                                                               
critical  time to  evaluate  these  issues.   The  bill has  been                                                               
scaled back  significantly and its provisions  seemed reasonable,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
1:35:33 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN KRAFT, Owner, Alaska Sportsman's  Lodge; Bristol Bay Lodge,                                                               
speaking on  behalf of himself,  said he  is the owner  of Alaska                                                               
Sportsman's Lodge on the Kvichak  River near Lake Iliamna as well                                                               
as Bristol Bay Lodge located on  Lake Aleknagik and serves as the                                                               
President  of  Katmai  Service Providers,  a  trade  organization                                                               
representing 50  businesses that operate in  Katmai National Park                                                               
and  Preserve.   He stated  that he  has been  in business  since                                                               
MR. KRAFT  offered provide a broad  view of the bill  in terms of                                                               
what the  lodge industry would  like to see.   He stated  that he                                                               
began his opposition  to the Pebble Mine in 2004  when he created                                                               
the Bristol  Bay Alliance  to educate those  who wanted  to learn                                                               
about resource  development in areas with  sensitive fish habitat                                                               
where salmon would  be at risk.  He has  been intimately involved                                                               
in the fight  to protect Alaska's salmon.  He  offered his belief                                                               
that the state  has sat idly for years while  fisheries have been                                                               
adversely impacted  by many  factors, including  proposed massive                                                               
megaprojects that could destroy productive fish habitat.                                                                        
1:37:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KRAFT remarked  that it  was no  wonder why  Alaskans sought                                                               
help  from the  federal  government.   He  hoped the  legislature                                                               
would create  a law  that would  adequately protect  fish habitat                                                               
and  yet  allow  industrial  activities   such  as  oil  and  gas                                                               
development  on  the North  Slope  to  continue.   It  seemed  so                                                               
obvious  that protecting  fish habitat  is  necessary.   Projects                                                               
should  not  be permitted  if  the  proposed project  operational                                                               
plans  indicate it  will  destroy  fish habitat.    He urged  the                                                               
committee to recognize the sport  fishing industry as an industry                                                               
and business.                                                                                                                   
1:38:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KRAFT said  he has  heard testifiers  say that  the business                                                               
community was opposed to HB  199; however, his industry generates                                                               
approximately  $1.4  billion  annually  in the  state.    It  has                                                               
supported  15,000 jobs  statewide  and depends  upon intact  fish                                                               
habitat  and healthy  fisheries.   His  industry  depends on  the                                                               
state to properly  protect fish and game as  mandated by Alaska's                                                               
Constitution.   He  acknowledged  that what  was  obvious to  him                                                               
might not  be so  clear to  others since for  them it  might mean                                                               
that destroying, diverting or obstructing  a river was alright so                                                               
long as the  habitat is restored once the  extraction process was                                                               
MR. KRAFT  offered his belief  that outdated laws were  vague and                                                               
subject to  interpretation and  political will.   He  related his                                                               
understanding that prior to statehood  the territory could simply                                                               
require the proper protection of fish  and game.  Salmon has been                                                               
such an  integral part of  the fabric in  Alaska and it  still is                                                               
today.   Alaska's fisheries differentiate  it from  other western                                                               
states and the Pacific  Northwest where agriculture, overfishing,                                                               
infrastructure, logging,  dams, mining and a  lack of willingness                                                               
to enact  laws to protect their  fish habitat has led  to an epic                                                               
crash and failure of their fisheries.                                                                                           
1:40:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KRAFT offered his belief that  HB 199 would add certainty and                                                               
clarity  to the  permitting process  and take  out the  political                                                               
will from the process.  He  understood the bill was introduced at                                                               
the request of the BOF; the experts  of fish and fish habitat.  A                                                               
permit  was just  issued  last month  for a  bridge  to be  built                                                               
across upper  or lower [indisc.]  creek and the upper  reaches of                                                               
it.  He said this was a  small creek in Southwest Alaska that was                                                               
home to  massive amounts  of spawning  sockeye salmon  and world-                                                               
renowned rainbow  trout.  Yet  this bridge was  permitted through                                                               
the ADF&G without any public  notice or notification to anyone in                                                               
the  industry   until  after  it   was  issued,  he  said.     He                                                               
acknowledged that HB  199 was not perfect, but  the committee has                                                               
worked on  it for two  years, that it was  time to move  the bill                                                               
out of committee and have the process continue.                                                                                 
1:41:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL   SCHINDLER,  PhD;   Professor,   Fisheries  and   Aquatic                                                               
Sciences, University of Washington,  paraphrased from his written                                                               
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     Thank  you for  this opportunity  to comment  today. My                                                                    
     name  is   Daniel  Schindler;  I  am   a  professor  of                                                                    
     fisheries  and aquatic  sciences at  the University  of                                                                    
     Washington.  I   have  worked  extensively   on  salmon                                                                    
     fisheries in western Alaska for  over 20 years, and our                                                                    
     research  program  at  UW  has  performed  research  on                                                                    
     Alaskan salmon and their habitat  since the late 1940s.                                                                    
     My   comments  today   derive   from  this   collective                                                                    
     experience which  sheds light  on what is  unique about                                                                    
     Alaskan  fisheries and  fish habitat,  compared to  the                                                                    
     situation we have here in the lower 48 states.                                                                             
     It is gratifying  to see that Alaska  is finally having                                                                    
     a  serious  conversation  about  the  adequacy  of  its                                                                    
     current laws  to protect habitat for  fish and wildlife                                                                    
     throughout the state. There are  few places left in the                                                                    
     world  where the  connections  between  people and  the                                                                    
     land-and-water  are  as real  as  they  are in  Alaska.                                                                    
     Commercial, subsistence, and  sport fisheries have been                                                                    
     sustained  for decades  to millennia,  and there  is no                                                                    
     reason  to  believe  that   these  activities  and  the                                                                    
     economies and  cultures they support will  not continue                                                                    
     into  the future     but only  if  we provide  adequate                                                                    
     habitat    protection    and    maintain    responsible                                                                    
1:43:22 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written comments,                                                                 
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     The primary  reason that Alaska's rivers  and lakes are                                                                    
     so  productive  is  because   the  habitat  is  largely                                                                    
     undeveloped,  vast,  and diverse.  Current  regulations                                                                    
     are intended to protect  the most important habitat for                                                                    
     fish  and  wildlife, but  what  we  have learned  after                                                                    
     decades  of study  in  western Alaska,  is  that it  is                                                                    
     extremely  difficult  to   identify  what  is  critical                                                                    
     habitat  and  what  isn't.   Some  tributaries  may  be                                                                    
     unproductive  for   decades  while   other  tributaries                                                                    
     produce  most  of  the  fish,  and  then  suddenly  the                                                                    
     importance   of    these   tributaries    can   switch.                                                                    
     Tributaries  can  flip  back and  forth  between  being                                                                    
     important and  sitting somewhat dormant, and  then back                                                                    
     again.  So, what  makes Alaska's  rivers so  productive                                                                    
     and  reliable is  that the  full complement  of habitat                                                                    
     remains  present. The  diversity of  habitat stabilizes                                                                    
     the  overall  productivity  and  reliability  of  these                                                                    
     systems. Eroding this diversity  of habitat, that could                                                                    
     happen  with inadequate  protection, runs  the distinct                                                                    
     risk  of  making  fisheries much  less  productive  and                                                                    
     reliable in the future.                                                                                                    
1:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written                                                                           
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                           
     I  could  go on  at  length  about the  ecological  and                                                                    
     environmental reasons for  strengthening protection for                                                                    
     fish and  wildlife in  Alaska. However  I am  sure that                                                                    
     many of  the voices  you have  heard from  with serious                                                                    
     reservations about this bill  have made their arguments                                                                    
     in economic terms. Thus, it  is important to reflect on                                                                    
     what  the economic  value of  intact habitat  might be.                                                                    
     Using  Bristol Bay  sockeye salmon  as an  example, the                                                                    
     economic value  of this fishery  has been  estimated at                                                                    
     over $1.5  Billion per year.  A large fraction  of this                                                                    
     revenue   remains   in-state.   What  is   not   widely                                                                    
     appreciated is  that the  total amount  of expenditures                                                                    
     supporting  research  and  management is  less  than  a                                                                    
     couple  million  dollars  per  year.  So,  hundreds-of-                                                                    
     thousands  of  dollars  of revenue  are  generated  for                                                                    
     every dollar spent on research  and management. This is                                                                    
     a remarkable return-on-investment  by any standard, and                                                                    
     it  is only  possible  because of  the  quality of  the                                                                    
     habitat that  produces fish. Sustainable  management of                                                                    
     fisheries  in Alaska  by the  Alaska Dept  of Fish  and                                                                    
     Game is  the envy of  the world  in many regards    but                                                                    
     productive  and  intact  habitat  is  what  makes  this                                                                    
     sustainable management even possible!                                                                                      
1:46:07 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written                                                                           
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                           
     For comparison,  let's look at the  Columbia River here                                                                    
     in  the  Pacific  Northwest.   More  than  500  million                                                                    
     dollars are  spent every year on  research, management,                                                                    
     restoration,   mitigation,  compensation,   etc.  These                                                                    
     funds are  spent to make  up for lost or  degraded fish                                                                    
     habitat, particularly for salmon.                                                                                          
     The value  of fisheries  in the Columbia  is generously                                                                    
     estimated at  a fraction of this  investment; for every                                                                    
     dollar spent  on research and  management, less  than a                                                                    
     single dollar  of economic  revenue is  generated. That                                                                    
     giant  sucking  sound you  may  hear  from the  Pacific                                                                    
     Northwest is  from all  of the  dollars being  spent by                                                                    
     citizens  and  tax  payers  to  try  and  prop  up  the                                                                    
     fisheries and habitat that we  have turned our backs on                                                                    
1:47:11 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written                                                                           
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                           
     So how  did we end up  in this predicament here  in the                                                                    
     Pacific Northwest?  We made some assumptions  about how                                                                    
     we  could develop  rivers for  hydropower, agriculture,                                                                    
     urbanization, mining, forestry,  etc., that have turned                                                                    
     out  to  be massive  mistakes  from  which we  are  not                                                                    
     likely to recover from any time soon.                                                                                      
1:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written                                                                           
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                           
     In particular, we assumed that:                                                                                            
          Fish habitat needs minimal protection                                                                                 
     We also assumed that                                                                                                       
          large-scale restoration is possible in places                                                                         
     where habitat is degraded                                                                                                  
     And that                                                                                                                   
          hatcheries can make up for destroyed habitat.                                                                         
     And last:                                                                                                                  
          We didn't sufficiently protect habitat simply                                                                         
     because we assumed that we knew what we were doing.                                                                        
          Of course, we couldn't have been more wrong on                                                                        
     all accounts.                                                                                                              
1:48:06 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. SCHINDLER continued paraphrasing from his written                                                                           
comments, which read as follows [original punctuation                                                                           
     There are  many scientific, environmental,  social, and                                                                    
     economic  reasons to  improve protection  for fish  and                                                                    
     wildlife habitat  in Alaska. This is  a remarkably wise                                                                    
     investment. It does not come  at an economic cost as so                                                                    
     many tend  to argue. Restoring and  mitigating for lost                                                                    
     and  degraded  habitat  is unfathomably  expensive  and                                                                    
     largely  ineffective. Alaska  is in  the driver's  seat                                                                    
     here to  make decisions  that the rest  of the  US made                                                                    
     dreadfully  wrong. You  have the  opportunity to  do it                                                                    
     Thank you.                                                                                                                 
1:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
KIM  REITMEIER, Executive  Director, ANCSA  Regional Association,                                                               
stated she  is a  lifelong Alaskan originally  from Kodiak.   She                                                               
said  that  she  serves  as the  President  and  Chief  Executive                                                               
Officer  (CEO)  of  the  12  land-based  Alaska  Native  Regional                                                               
Corporations for the ANCSA [Alaska  Native Claims Settlement Act]                                                               
Regional Association.   The ANCSA Regional  Association's mission                                                               
is  to  promote and  foster  the  continued growth  and  economic                                                               
strength of the  ANRCs on behalf of the more  than 127,000 Alaska                                                               
Native shareholders.                                                                                                            
MS. REITMEIER thanked  the committee and staff  for their efforts                                                               
to revise HB  199 into something more acceptable  to the industry                                                               
and  Alaskans.   She  acknowledged positive  steps  taken in  the                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute (CS)  for  HB  199; however,  the                                                               
ANCSA  Regional  Association   still  has  significant  concerns,                                                               
including the  designation of  intermittent waters  as anadromous                                                               
fish  habitat,  the omission  of  a  definition of  wetlands  and                                                               
designating anadromous fish  habitat.  Also, the  lack of clarity                                                               
and use  of mitigation  for large  permit structures  that impact                                                               
those fish habitat  and the multiple opportunities  to litigate a                                                               
single permit.   She  noted that while  the association  does not                                                               
object to the concept of  public notification in the fish habitat                                                               
permit process, it  appeared as though the  proposed structure of                                                               
comment,   decisions  and   reconsiderations   could  result   in                                                               
significant project delays.                                                                                                     
1:51:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER  stated a public notification  process should allow                                                               
significant  time to  address stakeholder  concerns made  in good                                                               
faith while  still providing the project  proponent a transparent                                                               
and predictable pathway to a  permit.  This bill would negatively                                                               
impact   Alaska's  rural   communities  and   the  infrastructure                                                               
projects that are necessary to maintain their way of life.                                                                      
1:51:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. REITMEIER  stated that  when updates to  Title 16  occur, the                                                               
focus  of that  effort should  be to  address the  specific areas                                                               
that need  to be  updated:  public  comment and  consequences for                                                               
failing to apply for a permit.   This may have been the sponsor's                                                               
intention but unfortunately this bill  goes beyond that and could                                                               
damage Alaska's communities, economies, jobs, and way of life.                                                                  
MS. REITMEIER stated  that Alaska's Native people  who have lived                                                               
here for  tens of thousands of  years know there is  nothing more                                                               
important than  the cultural and economic  significance of salmon                                                               
and  salmon   habitat.    Alaska  has   sustainably  managed  its                                                               
fisheries  since  statehood.    She agreed  there  was  room  for                                                               
improvement.  The unintended consequences  of HB 199 would have a                                                               
negative impact on Alaska's communities  for decades to come.  In                                                               
closing,  she  welcomed  the  opportunity   to  be  part  of  the                                                               
continued conversation  on how  to achieve  targeted improvements                                                               
that would  be beneficial to all  of Alaska.  She  said the ANCSA                                                               
Regional  Association   was  opposed   to  moving  HB   199  from                                                               
1:52:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STUTES  announced that they  had completed today's  list of                                                               
witnesses  who   were  invited  to   provide  testimony   to  the                                                               
[HB 199 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 199 Supporting Document David Montgomery.pdf HFSH 4/10/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 199
HB 199 Opposing Document APA.pdf HFSH 4/10/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 199
HB 199 Supporting Invited Testimony-Dr. Schindler.pdf HFSH 4/10/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 199