Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/29/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:08:52 PM Start
01:09:30 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
02:06:34 PM HB155
05:11:44 PM HB129
05:44:59 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 5:00 pm --
Confirmation Hearing: AK Board of Fisheries
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 155(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
          HB 155-AK MENTAL HEALTH TRUST LAND EXCHANGE                                                                       
2:06:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 155,  "An Act authorizing a land exchange                                                               
in which  certain Alaska  mental health  trust land  is exchanged                                                               
for certain  national forest  land and relating  to the  costs of                                                               
the exchange; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
2:06:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  moved to adopt  the committee substitute  (CS) for                                                               
HB  155, Version  30-LS0335\U, Bullard,  3/8/17, [as  the working                                                               
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                            
2:07:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAN   ORTIZ,  Alaska  State   Legislature,  prime                                                               
sponsor of  HB 155,  noted there  have been  no changes  from the                                                               
original bill that he presented to the committee on 3/27/17.                                                                    
2:08:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  requested a summary  of the changes  from the                                                               
original bill that are made by Version U.                                                                                       
CAROLINE  HAMP, Staff,  Representative  Dan  Ortiz, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of  Representative Ortiz,  sponsor, first                                                               
provided a sectional analysis of HB  155, and then an overview of                                                               
the  changes in  Version  U.   She explained  that  section 1  in                                                               
Version U discusses  the purposes of the Act.   Section 2 details                                                               
that  the parties  are subject  to  these provisions  and not  AS                                                               
38.05.801.    Section  3  describes the  lands  included  in  the                                                               
proposed  trade,   and  she  said  maps   depicting  those  lands                                                               
accompany  the bill.    Section  4 provides  a  timeline for  the                                                               
proposed exchange and prioritizes  which lands would be exchanged                                                               
at what point in time.   Section 5 provides the process that will                                                               
occur should the final appraisal  find the values of the exchange                                                               
not  to be  equal.   Section 6  provides circumstances  that will                                                               
need to  occur in  order to  make the Act  effective.   Section 7                                                               
provides an effective date.                                                                                                     
MS. HAMP  next discussed the  changes between the  original bill,                                                               
Version 0,  and the CS,  Version U.   She explained  the original                                                               
bill  is dated  2/27/17,  and  Version U  is  dated  3/8/17.   On                                                               
3/3/17,  the  sponsor  received updated  maps  from  the  federal                                                               
legislation.   [To comport with  federal legislation],  Version U                                                               
takes  out  parcel  NB-2,  which   was  a  map  in  the  original                                                               
legislation, and  changes the  acreage.   Pages 3,  4, and  5 [of                                                               
Version U]  detail the  changes that  are made  in regard  to the                                                               
maps and  the acreage.   In response  to Co-Chair  Josephson, she                                                               
noted that  a summary  of changes was  provided in  the committee                                                               
2:10:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  how   much  was  the  change  in                                                               
MS.  HAMP replied  that  the total  acreage  changed from  18,274                                                               
acres  to 18,313  acres exchanged  for  federal lands.   For  the                                                               
Alaska  Mental  Health Trust,  the  acreage  changed from  20,580                                                               
[acres] to 20,645 [acres].                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  inquired whether the changes  are in the                                                               
state's favor.                                                                                                                  
MS.  HAMP responded  the  changes were  made  to accommodate  the                                                               
lands [the state] has so they  were accurate to the maps that are                                                               
now  had.   It  does not  necessarily mean  the  value the  state                                                               
incurred is more or less, it will be an equal value exchange.                                                                   
2:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  noted that committee members  don't have                                                               
the aforementioned maps before them.                                                                                            
MS. HAMP answered the maps are  on the Bill Action Status Inquiry                                                               
System (BASIS).                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  offered his understanding that  these are the                                                               
adjustments  to  the  maps that  [were  previously]  provided  to                                                               
committee members.                                                                                                              
MS.  HAMP replied  the  new and  most recent  maps  that go  with                                                               
Version U  have written at the  bottom, "Map Revision Date  - 03-                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ asked  Representative Drummond  whether she                                                               
has the [3/3/17] maps.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND responded  that there are no  maps in the                                                               
supporting documentation for this meeting.                                                                                      
MS.  HAMP advised  it should  be titled  "additional documents                                                                  
2:13:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  noted the  land  exchange  would be  about                                                               
20,000 acres and inquired what an  acre of forested land would be                                                               
worth versus an acre of unforested land.                                                                                        
MS. HAMP deferred to Mr. Wyn Menefee.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  opined it is  a shame  that there is  not a                                                               
successful timber industry on the  [Tongass National Forest].  He                                                               
said he  is curious as  to what the  economic value would  be for                                                               
the timber resource included within the exchange.                                                                               
WYN  MENEFEE, deputy  director, Alaska  Mental Health  Trust Land                                                               
Office,  Office  of  the   Commissioner,  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR),  responded the  value of  the timber  depends on                                                               
whether it  is old growth or  spruce or cedar -  different values                                                               
are associated  with the different  timber types.  He  offered to                                                               
provide  the committee  with a  chart showing  these assessments,                                                               
saying he doesn't  have the chart with him and  so cannot provide                                                               
the exact amount per acre at this moment.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH restated his question.                                                                                     
MR. MENEFEE  answered he doesn't  have this information  with him                                                               
and doesn't want to provide an incorrect answer.                                                                                
2:15:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  offered   his  understanding  that  the                                                               
Alaska  Mental  Health Trust  ("the  Trust")  has many  different                                                               
types of land.   Some has mining on it and  some can be developed                                                               
with subdivisions.  He asked whether  any of the land included in                                                               
the bill is for anything other than timber.                                                                                     
MR. MENEFEE replied that when  the Trust receives lands the lands                                                               
do  not have  any restriction  for the  type of  use.   The Trust                                                               
could use the lands for  subdivisions, mining, or timber harvest.                                                               
Trust [managers] maximize the revenue  and try to use the highest                                                               
and best use to produce the best revenue.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  inquired whether all  the aforementioned                                                               
aspects are  taken into  account or just  the timber  aspect when                                                               
trying  to figure  out the  value of  what is  being traded.   He                                                               
presumed there  are many  ways to measure  the economic  value of                                                               
one  piece of  property versus  another piece  and said  he would                                                               
like to know how this particular one is being done.                                                                             
MR.  MENEFEE  responded that  two  different  values are  in  the                                                               
federal legislation.  The United  States Appraisal Standards must                                                               
be  followed, he  said,  as well  as  another national  appraisal                                                               
standard.   It takes into account  the highest and best  use that                                                               
the appraiser feels  the land can be used for  and then values it                                                               
accordingly.  So,  if the appraiser sees that timber  is going to                                                               
be the  highest and best use,  it will be valued  for the timber.                                                               
If  the  appraiser  sees  that  subdivision  development  is  the                                                               
highest and best  use, it will be valued for  that.  He explained                                                               
that the  reason Ms.  Hamp said  the acreage  is not  critical is                                                               
because that  is not  representing what  actually gets  traded at                                                               
the end.   After  the appraisals  are done it  will be  seen what                                                               
makes the equal  value in land exchange and the  acreages will be                                                               
adjusted accordingly.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER inquired whether  this is done through an                                                               
MR.  MENEFEE  answered the  U.S.  Forest  Service (USFS)  has  to                                                               
contract,  or write  the appraisal  instructions, and  the Alaska                                                               
Mental Health Trust Land Office pays  for it.  [The work] is done                                                               
by people who are approved to do federal appraisals.                                                                            
2:18:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE  offered his understanding that  there is                                                               
HB  155   and  a  similar   federal  concurrent   resolution  [in                                                               
Congress], and  that moving HB 155  is going to be  contingent on                                                               
the federal  legislation passing.   He offered  his understanding                                                               
that  Version U  is  just  topographical, and  said  that in  his                                                               
opinion [the change]  in acreage is miniscule.   He asked whether                                                               
he is correct  in understanding that passing HB 155  is part of a                                                               
synergy that is going on.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ affirmed Representative Westlake's summary.                                                                
2:19:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON opened public testimony on HB 155.                                                                           
2:19:53 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID LANDIS,  mayor, Ketchikan  Gateway Borough,  testified that                                                               
the  Ketchikan Gateway  Borough has  repeatedly and  consistently                                                               
supported  the land  exchange legislation  referenced  in HB  155                                                               
because it  is a win-win-win  proposition.  It  is a win  for the                                                               
region's timber  industry, he said,  because it is  important for                                                               
Southeast  Alaska's economy  to  provide a  consistent supply  of                                                               
timber for those jobs that  are directly involved in the industry                                                               
as  well as  the affiliated  businesses that  are vendors  to the                                                               
timber industry.                                                                                                                
MAYOR LANDIS stated  the exchange is also a win  for the citizens                                                               
of Ketchikan  and the  over one million  tourists who  will visit                                                               
Ketchikan  each  year  because  there   are  Trust  lands  to  be                                                               
exchanged directly behind Ketchikan on  Deer Mountain.  There are                                                               
also  Trust  lands  to  be exchanged  on  Gravina  Island  across                                                               
Tongass Narrows, he  pointed out.  These are  major viewsheds for                                                               
the community and the Deer  Mountain parcel also has very popular                                                               
trails  used  by locals  and  visitors.    There is  very  little                                                               
support  in Ketchikan  to log  these areas,  he related,  and the                                                               
swap would protect these lands  and provide other lands much more                                                               
suitable for timber sales.                                                                                                      
MAYOR LANDIS  further said  the exchange  is also  a win  for the                                                               
Alaska  Mental   Health  Trust  because  Ketchikan,   like  other                                                               
communities,  has  citizens  who suffer  from  mental  illnesses,                                                               
substance abuse,  and other disorders.   The Trust  needs revenue                                                               
to fund  those efforts  and this  [proposed] land  exchange would                                                               
provide that revenue.   This exchange, he said  in conclusion, is                                                               
as close as one can get to a win for everyone involved.                                                                         
2:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHERYL FECKO  testified in opposition  to HB  155.  She  said she                                                               
has worked, recreated,  and harvested local foods  from Prince of                                                               
Wales Island and feels strongly  about maintaining her quality of                                                               
life.   While she  understands why  Ketchikan and  Petersburg are                                                               
opposed to logging  by the Trust in the areas  that are important                                                               
to them,  she said she  doesn't understand why people  feel there                                                               
would be  no opposition  to exchanging that  land for  parcels on                                                               
Prince of Wales  Island near the communities  of Naukati, Hollis,                                                               
and other  places on  the island.   She  said the  Trust's recent                                                               
[timber]  sale in  the Control  Lake area,  a popular  recreation                                                               
site in central  Prince of Wales Island, is a  perfect example of                                                               
the in-your-face clear-cut logging  that would concern the people                                                               
of Ketchikan and Petersburg if it were done in their backyard.                                                                  
MS.  FECKO noted  that  Prince of  Wales  Island has  experienced                                                               
extensive  logging  over  the  last 50-plus  years  and  now  the                                                               
challenge is  to retain a  quality of  life and a  healthy island                                                               
ecosystem as the public land  on Prince of Wales Island continues                                                               
to be  carved into  private- and  state-owned lots.   She  is not                                                               
opposed to  the timber  industry or  to the  needs of  the Alaska                                                               
Mental Health Trust,  she added, and hopes a way  can be found to                                                               
do things a bit differently.   She said she would like the bill's                                                               
sponsor, the  House Resources Standing Committee,  and the people                                                               
of Ketchikan  and Petersburg to  know that she, too,  cares about                                                               
the place where she lives.                                                                                                      
2:24:08 PM                                                                                                                    
DENNIS WATSON, mayor,  City of Craig, testified in  support of HB
155.   He said it  is important for  Prince of Wales  Island, the                                                               
timber industry,  and the  island's largest  sawmill.   Many jobs                                                               
are tied  up with this and  this [land] exchange has  been on the                                                               
table for  years.  There has  been plenty of time  for working on                                                               
the  parcels that  were  finally selected  for  the exchange,  he                                                               
continued,  and it  is time  to  move forward  with getting  this                                                               
issue settled.                                                                                                                  
MAYOR  WATSON said  Viking Lumber's  sawmill in  Klawock is  huge                                                               
because it  has a year-round  payroll in  an area where  jobs are                                                               
really scarce.   Contracts with  the sawmill provide  millions of                                                               
dollars.  He noted he has lived  in Craig for 42 years and worked                                                               
at the  sawmill during his  first two years.   The sawmill  is an                                                               
important part  of the economy,  he said,  and passing HB  155 is                                                               
very  important to  the mill's  existence.   Actions by  the last                                                               
federal  administration  cut  back  on the  amount  of  available                                                               
federal timber  and right now  the exchange is a  stopgap measure                                                               
to keep the sawmill and the island's economy going.                                                                             
2:26:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH stated  he shares  Mayor Watson's  interest                                                               
and conviction  regarding the importance  of the  timber industry                                                               
in Southeast  Alaska and the  Craig community.  He  asked whether                                                               
there are  other avenues or  venues in which the  legislature can                                                               
be supportive of an expanded timber industry in the state.                                                                      
MAYOR WATSON replied  that a state forest is needed  and said the                                                               
infinite litigation and ridiculousness  of trying to get anything                                                               
done has  been an impediment.   He allowed that in  the beginning                                                               
he thought a state forest concept  was foolish, but now he thinks                                                               
it  is the  only  way  and he  hopes  the  state legislature  and                                                               
administration will  follow up on  it because it is  unknown what                                                               
will happen with federal administrations.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH said he supports the [proposed] land trade.                                                                
2:27:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  offered  his understanding  that  there  are                                                               
multiple state  forests in southern  Southeast Alaska.   He asked                                                               
whether Mayor Watson wants a larger state forest.                                                                               
MAYOR  WATSON responded  yes, it  is  a large  selection that  is                                                               
being talked about  so there would be an ample  supply of timber.                                                               
Most of  the people following  this issue, he  continued, believe                                                               
the transition that the last  federal administration wanted to do                                                               
immediately is  about a 20-year  process.  A miniscule  amount of                                                               
timber is  being taken  today as  compared to  the days  when 600                                                               
million [board feet]  was being cut.  It should  be spread around                                                               
a lot more  than it presently is, he said,  but the current focus                                                               
is on  what can happen right  now and hopefully this  exchange is                                                               
the  bridge to  the future.   State  forests are  available right                                                               
now, he said, but they are a small, patchwork quilt.                                                                            
2:28:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND noted  she has  been to  the area  where                                                               
Mayor Watson lives  and said it is a spectacular  place.  Drawing                                                               
attention to the maps provided  by the sponsor, she observed that                                                               
the  two [proposed]  areas  on  Prince of  Wales  Island are  the                                                               
Naukati and Hollis  areas.  She inquired whether  these two areas                                                               
would benefit the sawmill.                                                                                                      
MAYOR  WATSON replied  he doesn't  know if  anybody from  Naukati                                                               
works at  that, but the  answer is yes  that both areas  are very                                                               
important to making this happen.   Both areas are very high-value                                                               
timber selections,  he continued, and  both are places  that have                                                               
had timber harvest  off and on through several years.   Hollis is                                                               
one of the original spots  where the long-term [timber] contracts                                                               
started some 50 years ago.                                                                                                      
2:29:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA KNIGHT testified  that her opposition to HB  155 is based                                                               
on a variety of grounds.   A far better alternative, she said, is                                                               
a  federal  buyout of  the  Alaska  Mental Health  Trust's  lands                                                               
included in the  proposed exchange.  Such a  buyout would satisfy                                                               
the  Trust's mission  to improve  the lives  of beneficiaries  as                                                               
well as impacts to Petersburg  and Ketchikan area landowners, and                                                               
a buyout would  also avoid long-term and  massive landscape level                                                               
impacts elsewhere if the exchange is enacted.                                                                                   
MS.  KNIGHT pointed  out  that the  Alaska  Forest Resources  and                                                               
Practices  Act  governs  logging  on the  Trust's  lands.    This                                                               
antiquated law is far weaker  than federal regulations, she said.                                                               
For instance,  it has no  limit on the  size of clear-cuts.   She                                                               
related that in August [2016],  Paul Slenkamp of the Trust stated                                                               
that the Trust was "in  final negotiations with Viking Lumber for                                                               
all the  Prince of  Wales land  it would  get under  the exchange                                                               
legislation."   She urged there  be a clarification of  just what                                                               
these "final negotiations" entail.                                                                                              
MS. KNIGHT posited  that changing the action from  an exchange to                                                               
a federal buyout would lend  support on a congressional level and                                                               
would greatly improve its chances  of passage by reducing or even                                                               
eliminating  opposition, and  would  result  in no  environmental                                                               
harm.  Given a fair chance  of passage, she said, the Trust could                                                               
finalize the action much sooner  and with less expense for survey                                                               
and appraisal since only about  half the lands would be involved.                                                               
It also makes fiscal sense because  it would cost the Trust about                                                               
half the $6 million in cost  cited by the Trust for the exchange.                                                               
A  federal  buyout   of  the  Trust's  problematic   lands  is  a                                                               
reasonable solution,  she posited,  because Congress  created the                                                               
Trust and  endowed it  with lands to  support itself,  leading to                                                               
problems due  in part  to the controversial  nature of  the lands                                                               
selected.    She  further  noted   that  the  Petersburg  Borough                                                               
Assembly supports  the buyout option if  the exchange legislation                                                               
fails  to pass  Congress by  1/15/17.   In  response to  Co-Chair                                                               
Josephson, she agreed  to provide a copy of  the borough assembly                                                               
2:32:22 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY EDWARDS  testified in opposition  to HB  155.  He  said the                                                               
bill is  unacceptable as written  because it trades one  very bad                                                               
problem for an  equally bad problem.  The problem  the bill would                                                               
create is explained in three  of the [written] comments on record                                                               
from the  [3/27/17] hearing that  were submitted by  Doug Rhodes,                                                               
by  Rebecca   Knight,  and  by   the  Greater   Southeast  Alaska                                                               
Conservation  Community (GSACC)  [under document  named, "HB  155                                                               
Public Comments. pdf"].   He urged the committee to  amend HB 155                                                               
to  authorize a  federal buyout  of the  problematic Trust  lands                                                               
instead  of  a land  exchange.    He  pointed out  that  Congress                                                               
established the  Trust and its  land endowment, which has  led to                                                               
the  current  dilemma.   Buying  out  these  18,000 acres  -  1.8                                                               
percent of the original million-acre  endowment - is a reasonable                                                               
and sellable solution, he posited.   The legislature's passage of                                                               
a bill  amended accordingly  would direct  Alaska's congressional                                                               
delegation to secure a buyout act.                                                                                              
MR. EDWARDS addressed testimony on  the bill that was provided by                                                               
the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust Land  Office  [3/27/17].    He                                                               
offered  his   belief  that   the  Trust's   testimony  blatantly                                                               
misinformed the committee  in several ways, the  details of which                                                               
he has  submitted to the committee  in writing.  For  example, he                                                               
explained,  the "brown"  map on  page 10  of the  Trust's written                                                               
testimony  either demonstrates  utter  incompetence on  Southeast                                                               
Alaska's  land management  issues, or  is an  outright lie.   The                                                               
brown  color  is  labeled,   "Natural  settings  with  old-growth                                                               
harvest  land  use designations,"  and  is  mostly overlain  with                                                               
cross-hatching to  indicate that this supposed  old-growth cannot                                                               
be  logged because  of the  Roadless Rule.   However,  he pointed                                                               
out, most of the brown is  not old-growth forest, or even forest,                                                               
at all.  Another  example on the same map is  the big brown block                                                               
near Juneau,  which is almost  entirely the Juneau Ice  Field and                                                               
high  alpine areas  - very,  very little  of that  brown is  old-                                                               
growth forest.   This same thing  occurs in the brown  area shown                                                               
on the  Chilkat Peninsula  across Lynn  Canal, he  continued, and                                                               
again in  the brown area  shown for the unforested  high mountain                                                               
spines of Chichagof and Baranof  islands.  This deception repeats                                                               
itself throughout much of the  brown-colored areas on the map, he                                                               
said, and  also in the  tan Wilderness  areas.  He  further noted                                                               
that these  same errors or  deceptions also carry through  to the                                                               
table on that map page.                                                                                                         
2:36:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  recalled  Mr. Edwards  referring  to  a                                                               
document provided by GSACC that is  three pages long with one map                                                               
and  which can  be  found on  BASIS.   She  further recalled  Mr.                                                               
Edwards referring to page 10 of  a similar document and asked Mr.                                                               
Edwards to  provide that  document or tell  the committee  how to                                                               
identify it.                                                                                                                    
MR. EDWARDS  replied that the document  is in the record  for the                                                               
committees [3/27/17  hearing of  HB 155] and  is provided  as two                                                               
different documents   one a PowerPoint  and one a PDF file.  Both                                                               
are Alaska  Mental Health Trust  documents, he said, and  are the                                                               
presentation provided on screen by Mr. Wyn Menefee.                                                                             
2:37:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE SALLEE  testified in opposition to  HB 155.  He  stated that                                                               
for three and  a half decades he has been  a self-employed owner-                                                               
operator of  a small sawmill,  as well as a  commercial fisherman                                                               
and  harvest diver.   Today  he is  representing himself  and his                                                               
lumber  customers in  opposition to  HB 155,  he said.   He  is a                                                               
logger by virtue  of needing logs for his sawmill  operation.  He                                                               
does not  fell trees; he takes  only dead and down  trees carried                                                               
to tidelands.  His brother was  a lifelong logger and a mentor to                                                               
MR. SALLEE said he has resided  on Gravina Island since 1956 when                                                               
his mother  began a homestead there.   Since 1956 he  has enjoyed                                                               
dozens of hunting expeditions on  the island for deer and grouse,                                                               
as well  as just hiking.   Therefore, he has  seen a lot  of what                                                               
went  on when  the Alaska  Mental Health  Trust began  logging on                                                               
Gravina Island  and, he noted, it  has not been pretty.   Way too                                                               
much  wood is  wasted,  he  reported, and  a  high percentage  of                                                               
felled commercially  viable timber is  left to rot.   The sawlogs                                                               
that are removed are primarily  exported in the round, leaving no                                                               
opportunity  for local  processing.   As  a  local sawmiller,  he                                                               
continued, he  gets numerous calls  for yellow cedar  lumber, but                                                               
yellow cedar  lumber does not  commonly get carried  to tidelands                                                               
where he  gets most  of his logs  from blowdowns  and landslides.                                                               
Furthermore,  he  recounted,  the  tops, cull  trees,  and  other                                                               
logging slash are neither removed from  the woods nor cut up into                                                               
smaller pieces so as to more quickly break down.                                                                                
MR.  SALLEE  stated  that  while   HB  155  takes  some  critical                                                               
timberlands  off the  chopping block,  for example  Deer Mountain                                                               
plus other lands near Petersburg  and communities, it does little                                                               
more than kick the  can down the road.  It  does nothing to clean                                                               
up the  current logging methods.   It does nothing to  keep local                                                               
timber for  processors near Ketchikan.   The best  option instead                                                               
of a land  trade, he urged, would be an  outright cash payment to                                                               
Alaska Mental  Health Trust  to buy off  Trust lands  with timber                                                               
interest.  He offered his  understanding that such a buyout could                                                               
be accomplished through the U.S. Forest Service.                                                                                
2:39:29 PM                                                                                                                    
EMILY  FERRY,  deputy  director,  Southeast  Alaska  Conservation                                                               
Council  (SEACC), testified  that SEACC's  concern is  less about                                                               
the  specific  content of  HB  155  and  more about  the  overall                                                               
intent.  Specifically,  she explained, a handout  provided by the                                                               
Alaska  Mental Health  Trust  mentions  that a  main  goal is  to                                                               
promote the timber industry in  Southeast Alaska.  But, she said,                                                               
the  bill  sets up  a  "Catch  22".   The  Trust  is mandated  to                                                               
generate  revenue to  benefit its  beneficiaries.   However,  she                                                               
advised, selling  timber locally  tends to  not produce  the most                                                               
revenue.  This  was seen last year when the  legislature passed a                                                               
bill that allowed the state to  offer timber at a reduced cost if                                                               
it was sold  to instate processors because  they couldn't compete                                                               
with  export  markets.    So,  she continued,  if  one  seeks  to                                                               
increase the benefits to the  Trust, one would export that timber                                                               
because  in  the current  market  that  would generate  the  most                                                               
revenue.  To promote the timber  industry the Trust would have to                                                               
sell the timber at a reduced cost and therefore it's a Catch 22.                                                                
MS. FERRY addressed the earlier statement  that HB 155 would be a                                                               
win-win-win situation.   She said  it would be  a win for  some -                                                               
the folks who SEACC has worked  with for years to ensure that the                                                               
hillsides  in   Ketchikan  and   Petersburg  don't   get  logged.                                                               
However, she continued,  it is certainly not a win  for the folks                                                               
on  Prince of  Wales Island  where whole  areas would  be logged.                                                               
And,  it is  questionably a  win for  the Trust's  beneficiaries.                                                               
She said  SEACC believes  that other avenues  could be  looked at                                                               
for  resolving this  issue  and maximizing  the  benefits to  the                                                               
Trust, whether  that is the  federal buyout mentioned  earlier or                                                               
working with conservation buyers.                                                                                               
2:42:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON inquired  whether SEACC's  thesis is  that if                                                               
the Alaska Mental  Health Trust must maximize its  assets then it                                                               
would need to export [the timber] because that is more valuable.                                                                
MS. FERRY replied yes, under the current economics.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  offered his understanding that  export is not                                                               
the plan.                                                                                                                       
MS.  FERRY  concurred that  export  is  not  the plan;  the  bill                                                               
doesn't  necessarily achieve  that win-win-win  scenario that  is                                                               
being looked for.                                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  surmised that in terms  of conservation there                                                               
would be some  net gain in that existing Trust  holdings, such as                                                               
Deer Mountain, are vulnerable to  harvest now, as are the parcels                                                               
to  be  obtained, although  there  is  the  Roadless Rule  and  a                                                               
significant  slowdown.   [Under HB  155, Deer  Mountain and  some                                                               
places]  would be  conserved in  an easement  while other  places                                                               
would not.  He asked whether  he is correct in understanding that                                                               
there is a net protection of  timber, but noted he is saying this                                                               
without having walked this land and knowing what it looks like.                                                                 
MS. FERRY responded  that in his testimony, Mr.  Edwards spoke to                                                               
other areas of  land that were going to be  exchanged that didn't                                                               
have high  timber values  so weren't  likely to  be logged.   She                                                               
agreed there is  an element to what Co-Chair  Josephson spoke to,                                                               
but said it could  also be looked at other ways  and looking at a                                                               
different solution altogether might be the way to go.                                                                           
2:44:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  stated that the  carrots in his  garden are                                                               
vulnerable to  harvest every fall  when they finish growing.   He                                                               
inquired whether Ms.  Ferry sees any potential  for a sustainable                                                               
harvest and  management of timber  resources in  Southeast Alaska                                                               
for the benefit  of the region's people  and economy, recognizing                                                               
that there are a number of  years between reforestation.  He said                                                               
the Trust obviously sees it as a significant economic plus.                                                                     
MS. FERRY answered she does see that,  but said it is going to be                                                               
much different than was seen 20-30 years  ago.  It is going to be                                                               
small-scale artisan-type work, she said,  and old growth logs are                                                               
needed  for  that, which  is  something  Alaska can  produce  but                                                               
Oregon  and other  states  cannot  produce.   If  the old  growth                                                               
resource  is liquidated  now, and  whether it  is sold  to Viking                                                               
Lumber for a  reduced cost or exported for more  money, that [old                                                               
growth] wood  resource is going to  be gone; it is  not infinite.                                                               
The forest  will grow back, she  continued, but it will  take 300                                                               
years to  get to the state  of high-value old growth  timber that                                                               
can be used for such things as  guitar tops and totem poles.  She                                                               
related that  SEACC already  sees it  much smaller;  for example,                                                               
the current number of timber  jobs in Southeast Alaska represents                                                               
about one-half  of 1 percent  of the  region's jobs.   People are                                                               
still  operating from  20 or  30  years ago  when it  was a  much                                                               
bigger part of the economy, she  said, but the reality is that it                                                               
is less  than 1 percent  of the  current economy, and  while that                                                               
could change a little it would not be significantly.                                                                            
2:46:21 PM                                                                                                                    
VICTORIA  MCDONALD testified  she  has hiked  Deer Mountain  many                                                               
times and considers it a memorable  landmark and does not want to                                                               
see Deer Mountain logged for  Alaska Mental Health Trust funding.                                                               
Nor, she  continued, does she  want the  land trade to  shift the                                                               
cutting  to  Prince  of  Wales Island,  which  has  already  been                                                               
heavily impacted, as  has Revillagigedo Island.  If  the focus of                                                               
the  Trust is  to make  money, she  encourages state  and federal                                                               
officials to think and act  creatively and find another means for                                                               
providing money for  mental health.  She offered  her belief that                                                               
the men and  women who set aside these mental  health lands could                                                               
not  have imagined  the massive  clearcuts in  southern Southeast                                                               
Alaska.  This issue has been  debated for many years and needs to                                                               
be solved  using collaboration and  compromise.  As for  a viable                                                               
timber industry  in Southeast  Alaska, she said,  that is  a myth                                                               
that is repeated  over and over.  While there  are trees still on                                                               
the mountains,  the best and  viable timber has already  been cut                                                               
for  the pulp  mills or  shipped overseas.   The  timber industry                                                               
contributes  very little  to the  area's economy;  rather, it  is                                                               
fishing and tourism.                                                                                                            
2:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  WEINSTEIN, spokesperson,  Save Deer  Mountain, testified  in                                                               
support of  HB 155.   The purpose  of the bill,  he noted,  is to                                                               
authorize the Alaska Mental Health  Trust to exchange some of its                                                               
landholdings with  the U.S. Forest  Service.  The  exchange would                                                               
involve Deer  Mountain, the iconic  backdrop of the  community of                                                               
Ketchikan.    He related  that  last  August and  thereafter  the                                                               
Trust's committees and  its board of directors voted  to log Deer                                                               
Mountain  as well  as  a sensitive  parcel  in Petersburg  unless                                                               
pending  federal legislation  to exchange  the parcels  with U.S.                                                               
Forest  Service  land  was  passed  by the  end  of  2016.    The                                                               
Ketchikan public  vehemently objected to the  board's decision to                                                               
harvest the  trees on  Deer Mountain and  the city,  borough, and                                                               
local tribal governments also all opposed the plan.                                                                             
MR.  WEINSTEIN  continued,  noting that  ultimately  the  Trust's                                                               
board rescinded  its action, regrouped,  and is now  working with                                                               
the   Alaska  congressional   delegation   on  federal   exchange                                                               
legislation,  which was  reintroduced in  the new  Congress.   He                                                               
offered  his   understanding  that  a  bill   by  Senator  [Lisa]                                                               
Murkowski  is  scheduled  for  mark-up   [3/30/17]  and  will  be                                                               
reported out of  committee.  For this reason, he  said, the House                                                               
Resources  Standing  Committee  needs to  move  state-authorizing                                                               
legislation  through the  committee process  and onward  to final                                                               
consideration by  the House of  Representatives so that  when the                                                               
federal legislation passes the exchange  can be implemented in an                                                               
orderly and timely fashion.                                                                                                     
MR. WEINSTEIN addressed  the earlier question about  the value of                                                               
some of the  parcels.  He reported that the  Alaska Mental Health                                                               
Trust Land  Office has estimated it  would get revenues of  up to                                                               
about $3 million from the  Petersburg parcel and about $2 million                                                               
from the 898 acres on Deer  Mountain.  He offered his belief that                                                               
if a  value-for-value trade was  done, the Trust would  expect to                                                               
get the  same kind of revenue  from the U.S. Forest  Service land                                                               
and other parcels that are being considered for exchange.                                                                       
2:50:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES   WOOD,    spokesperson,   Mitkof    Highway   Homeowners                                                               
Association (MHHA), testified  in favor of HB 155.   He said MHHA                                                               
is  a  group  of  95   Petersburg  homeowners  living  below  and                                                               
commuting along State  Highway 7, the Mitkof  Highway, which lies                                                               
at the foot  of the Trust's demonstrably  steep unstable hillside                                                               
parcels.  Soils  across a majority of the Trust's  parcels are of                                                               
concern to MHHA, he reported,  because U.S. Forest Service (USFS)                                                               
orthophotographic  maps  show  them  as  being  landslide  hazard                                                               
soils.  The  majority of these parcels exceed  the USFS standards                                                               
pertaining to  logging.   Mr. Wood further  pointed out  that the                                                               
Mitkof Highway corridor below the  Trust parcels in question have                                                               
also been analyzed  and mapped as a landslide hazard  zone by the                                                               
state's Division  of Forestry's  Landslide Science  and Technical                                                               
Committee.  He said the Division  of Forestry has no criteria for                                                               
best  management practices  specific  to  logging steep  unstable                                                               
slopes within  inhabited landslide  hazard areas.   If  the Trust                                                               
were to  log these slopes  it would do  so under the  guidance of                                                               
the Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act.                                                                                  
MR.  WOOD  stated  that logging  within  an  inhabited  landslide                                                               
hazard area  is unwise  as well as  inconsistent with  the public                                                               
interest and  the maximum benefit to  people.  The sole  focus of                                                               
MHHA over the  past 11 years has been entirely  on public safety,                                                               
he related.   Never once  has MHHA mentioned  viewshed, community                                                               
backdrop, local  recreation opportunities, wildlife  corridor, or                                                               
tourism,  though   each  of   these  issues   present  reasonable                                                               
arguments in favor of the land  exchange.  Nor, he continued, has                                                               
MHHA  offered  commentary  on  the  Trust  lands  next  to  other                                                               
communities or the USFS lands involved in the exchange.                                                                         
MR. WOOD said logging the slopes  above the homes of MHHA members                                                               
runs the  risk of  accelerated landslide  activity, and  the MHHA                                                               
has  absolutely no  confidence that  the  Division of  Forestry's                                                               
best management practices and  guidelines will provide sufficient                                                               
safeguards  to  protect homes  and  property  from unwise  timber                                                               
harvest.   Conversely, he continued,  MHHA does expect  that USFS                                                               
management  of the  hillside will  entail  other criteria,  which                                                               
will ensure that  public safety will not be  impacted by logging.                                                               
The committee may also wish to  consider that the majority of the                                                               
population in Southeast Alaska resides  in close proximity to the                                                               
Trust  lands involved  with this  land  exchange, he  added.   As                                                               
such,  for any  number of  reasons the  parcels are  clearly more                                                               
beneficial to be left in  their natural state for multiple-use by                                                               
the public, which  is more likely to occur  under USFS guidelines                                                               
and standards.  He urged the committee to support HB 155.                                                                       
2:53:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CYNTHIA LAGOUDAKIS, vice-mayor,  Petersburg Borough, testified in                                                               
favor of HB  155.  She said the bill  represents a 10-year effort                                                               
by the  residents of  Petersburg and  Ketchikan, the  U.S. Forest                                                               
Service,  and the  Alaska Mental  Health Trust  to affect  a land                                                               
exchange  within   the  Petersburg   Borough  and   elsewhere  in                                                               
Southeast Alaska.   The Petersburg  Borough seeks to  protect the                                                               
natural   resources   within   the  borough's   boundaries,   she                                                               
continued, and especially the lives,  property, and peace of mind                                                               
of those  borough residents  who live in  close proximity  to the                                                               
current Trust  lands that are  under consideration.   The borough                                                               
has  concerns for  the downstream  and downslope  effects of  any                                                               
potential  timber  harvest  in   this  area  given  the  credible                                                               
scientific information regarding landslides and other hazards.                                                                  
VICE-MAYOR  Lagoudakis  noted  that especially  in  this  current                                                               
fiscal climate  the Alaska  Mental Health  Trust must  manage its                                                               
resources  for   financial  efficiencies  to  best   achieve  its                                                               
mission.  Expediting  the land exchange outlined in  HB 155 would                                                               
help  significantly in  realizing those  efficiencies, she  said.                                                               
An exchange  of Trust lands for  USFS lands identified in  HB 155                                                               
would  meet   those  objectives   to  the  satisfaction   of  the                                                               
Petersburg Borough  and its residents,  as well as  other parties                                                               
affected  by this  agreement.   To that  end, she  concluded, the                                                               
borough concurs with and encourages passage of HB 155.                                                                          
2:55:26 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at ease.                                                                                             
2:55:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON removed  his objection to the  adoption of the                                                               
CS [for HB 155], Version U, as the working document.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON closed public testimony.                                                                                     
There  being  no further  objection,  Version  U was  before  the                                                               
2:56:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  stated that  as a  resource-inclined person                                                               
he  is thrilled  to  see  this initiative  by  the Alaska  Mental                                                               
Health  Trust and  the federal  [agency] working  to make  this a                                                               
reality.  He estimated that at  $2 million for almost 1,000 acres                                                               
[in Ketchikan] and $3 million  for 3,000 acres in Petersburg, the                                                               
average  is  between  $1,000  and $2,000  per  acre  in  realized                                                               
revenues from the harvest.   As a sustainable industry, where the                                                               
wood product  can be harvested  and then the  regrowth harvested,                                                               
this is  a great effort, he  continued.  The mapping  is detailed                                                               
and helpful,  and it sounds  like a win-win from  the standpoints                                                               
of  the communities,  the public,  and the  Alaska Mental  Health                                                               
2:57:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  recognized the conflict brought  up by Ms.                                                               
Ferry and  asked what could be  done to assure that  the citizens                                                               
of  Southeast Alaska  gain the  maximum benefit  possible through                                                               
local processing.   He requested  Mr. Menefee to respond  to this                                                               
as well as to the assertion about a high degree of wastage.                                                                     
MR. MENEFEE  replied that there  are different  standards between                                                               
state harvest  and federal  harvest; the  certain number  of logs                                                               
gotten out of a tree  varies from state to federal [regulations].                                                               
But,  he continued,  all  state  laws are  followed.   The  Trust                                                               
believes it  does receive fair  revenue [from the exchange].   He                                                               
acknowledged  every  single  log  does   not  get  cut  to  every                                                               
satisfaction.   Something could potentially  be worked  out where                                                               
somebody comes  in and can  cut more  in certain situations.   In                                                               
regard to  the issue that the  Trust will ship the  logs overseas                                                               
versus cut  locally, he said  it is in  the best interest  of the                                                               
Trust to  ensure it has  customers that will purchase  its timber                                                               
because the Trust will make revenue  off of it.  State laws guide                                                               
how  the  Trust  can  sell  the  timber,  both  commercially  and                                                               
negotiated.   The  Trust will  take into  full consideration  the                                                               
issue that it needs its  market purchasers along with the revenue                                                               
that the  Trust needs.   So, he added,  it is a  balancing thing,                                                               
and the  Trust will design  its timber sales accordingly  to take                                                               
that into account.                                                                                                              
3:00:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER opined that there  is a certain amount of                                                               
economic value  to be  gained in keeping  jobs local  and selling                                                               
things  local,  rather than  selling  overseas.   He  said  other                                                               
things must be  taken into account besides the price  tag of what                                                               
a board  is worth,  and that has  a bearing on  how to  value the                                                               
weight of this as far as an economic value for the local people.                                                                
3:01:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO said  he  has no  doubt  the sponsor  is                                                               
doing this in  the best interest of his community.   He noted the                                                               
backup   documentation   from  local   government   organizations                                                               
composed  of elected  officials, and  said these  resolutions and                                                               
letters are  important to  him because  he is  a big  believer in                                                               
local government and local control.   He stated he personally has                                                               
an issue  with any land  sales to the federal  government because                                                               
over 150  million acres  in Alaska are  in parks,  monuments, and                                                               
preserves, plus  another 50 million  acres are controlled  by the                                                               
U.S.  Bureau of  Land  Management and  the  U.S. Forest  Service.                                                               
Therefore,  he continued,  the  federal  government controls  200                                                               
million acres of the 363 million  acres available in the state of                                                               
Alaska.  State ownership and  keeping land in [the state's] hands                                                               
are important, he  opined.  The Alaska Mental  Health Trust looks                                                               
at  health  overall and  that  could  also  be  the health  of  a                                                               
community.   A reasonable economy  in a community  provides local                                                               
jobs and  makes things better  and healthier for everyone  in the                                                               
3:03:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TARR  moved  to  report  CS for  HB  155,  Version  30-                                                               
LS0335\U,  Bullard,  3/8/17,  out of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying  fiscal note.   There being                                                               
no  objection,   CSHB  155(RES)  was  reported   from  the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 129 02.14.17 Transmittal Letter.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB 129 Sectional.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB0129 Fiscal Note DFG 2.15.17.PDF HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB0129A.PDF HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
Frederick (Fritz) Johnson_Redacted.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
John Jensen 2016_Redacted.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
Reed Morisky 2016_Redacted.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
ASA Support - Jensen Morisky Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
Bristol Bay Borough Support - Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
CDFU Support - Jensen.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
Icicle Support - Jensen Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
KRSA Support - Jensen Morisky Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
ATA Support - Jensen.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
KPFA Support - Jensen Morisky Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
Unalaska Mayor Support - Jensen Morisky Johnson.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
USAG Support - Jensen.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Fish
HB0129 Fiscal Note DPS-AWT 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB155 Supporting Document-AFA Response to SEACC.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155
HB155 Supporting Document - SWood 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155
HB155 Supporting Document-AFA Response to SEACC 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155
HB155 Opposing Document Testimony -- Larry Edwards for 29 March hearing on HB155 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155
HB155 Supporting Document - Comment - CWood 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155
HB155 Opposition Document - Letter of Comment-SEACC 3.29.17.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 155