Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/11/2017 05:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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                HB 173-CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION                                                                            
5:41:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL NO.  173, "An  Act establishing  the Alaska                                                               
Climate Change  Response Commission;  relating to the  powers and                                                               
duties  of   the  Alaska  Climate  Change   Response  Commission;                                                               
establishing the  climate change  response fund; and  relating to                                                               
the surcharge on oil produced in the state."                                                                                    
5:41:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDY  JOSEPHSON,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
prime  sponsor of  HB  173,  stated that  he  is introducing  the                                                               
proposed  legislation  for  the  following  reasons:    he  is  a                                                               
believer  in   science;  the  national  administration   and  the                                                               
director  of the  U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA) do                                                               
not believe that climate change  is real; the evidence of climate                                                               
change exists in  Alaska; and most scientists  agree that climate                                                               
change is occurring.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  mentioned that  he filed a  bill during                                                               
the   Twenty-Ninth  Alaska   State  Legislature,   2015-2016,  to                                                               
recreate  former Governor  Sarah  Palin's  Alaska Climate  Change                                                               
Sub-Cabinet   and  to   charge  that   group  with   recommending                                                               
legislation.     He   asserted  that   HB  173   would  be   more                                                               
sophisticated  than   the  original  bill;  it   would  create  a                                                               
commission populated by coastal  and local communities; and would                                                               
create  a  [Division of]  Spill  Prevention  and Response  (SPAR)                                                               
[Department  of Environmental  Conservation  (DEC)] surcharge  to                                                               
create  an office  under the  Office of  the Governor  that would                                                               
perform a full range of  climate change activities including work                                                               
on mitigation and grant access.                                                                                                 
5:44:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked for a  clarification of SPAR  and SPAR                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON answered  that SPAR  stands for  "Spill                                                               
Prevention and  Response" and  dates to 1989  as an  aftermath of                                                               
the Exxon Valdez oil spill.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL offered his  understanding of SPAR funding as                                                               
funding through oil per barrel  [produced] and per gallon of fuel                                                               
sold.   He asked for an  explanation of how the  commission would                                                               
be funded.                                                                                                                      
5:45:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGAN ROWE,  Staff, Representative  Andy Josephson,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  on   behalf  of  Representative   Josephson,  prime                                                               
sponsor of  HB 173,  stated that  the proposed  legislation would                                                               
accomplish  two things:   it  would create  a commission;  and it                                                               
would create  a fund for  the commission.   She relayed  that the                                                               
reference  to SPAR  in the  proposed legislation  was due  to the                                                               
sponsor's attempt to  mirror SPAR's funding mechanism.   She said                                                               
that  SPAR is  funded in  part through  a 1-cent  per barrel  oil                                                               
surcharge.  Under the proposed  legislation, a similar 1-cent per                                                               
barrel  oil  surcharge would  fund  the  Climate Change  Response                                                               
Fund.  She offered that  in drafting the proposed legislation, it                                                               
was originally thought  that the SPAR fund could  be doubled, and                                                               
50  percent could  be used  to fund  the Climate  Change Response                                                               
Commission; however, the Department  of Law (DOL) and Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services recommended  an amendment  to change                                                               
the  funding mechanism.    She offered  that  under the  proposed                                                               
legislation,  SPAR and  the Climate  Change  Response Fund  would                                                               
each take  1 cent  per barrel  and, therefore,  be funded  at the                                                               
same  level.   She relayed  that Legislative  Legal and  Research                                                               
Services  has  informed the  sponsor  that  on average,  SPAR  is                                                               
funded at $1.6 million per year by way of the 1-cent surcharge.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if it is  only the 1 cent per barrel of                                                               
oil passing  through the pipeline  that constitutes what  the oil                                                               
company pays into  the SPAR fund; he  expressed his understanding                                                               
that there  was an additional .099  cent per gallon of  fuel sold                                                               
going into the fund.                                                                                                            
MS. ROWE replied  that there is a motor fuel  tax, but that there                                                               
are two  surcharges per barrel  of oil  - one for  prevention and                                                               
one for response.  She said  that the surcharge for prevention is                                                               
4  cents per  barrel and  the one  for response  is [1  cent] per                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL stated  his belief that SPAR  was funded with                                                               
the 4 or 5 cents a barrel plus  1 cent per gallon sold.  He asked                                                               
how the Climate Change Response Commission would be funded.                                                                     
MS. ROWE responded  that a 1-cent per barrel  oil surcharge would                                                               
create the Climate Change Response  Fund.  She added that another                                                               
facet of the  proposed legislation is that a  significant duty of                                                               
the  commission  would be  to  assist  groups in  securing  grant                                                               
funds, so that the groups would have independent funding.                                                                       
5:49:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked for  clarification that the commission                                                               
would help groups get funding.                                                                                                  
MS. ROWE replied,  exactly.  She said the  sponsor recognizes the                                                               
gap  in   Alaska  for  services   to  help   non-profits,  tribal                                                               
governments, and  business entities tap  into the vast  amount of                                                               
climate change financing that exists,  including grants and other                                                               
types of public and private funding.   She reiterated that one of                                                               
the roles  of the commission would  be to assist in  securing the                                                               
funding for these groups, as well as the commission itself.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  asked, "Who pays the  1 cent?"  He  asked if                                                               
it  would be  the consortium  of  oil companies  using the  Trans                                                               
Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).                                                                                                  
MS. ROWE  answered that  she believed it  would be  the producers                                                               
that would pay the 1-cent surcharge.                                                                                            
5:50:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked when  "global warming" became "climate                                                               
MS. ROWE  speculated that the  term "global warming" was  used at                                                               
one point because scientists thought  that the earth was warming,                                                               
and now  scientists realize the  earth is  shifting temperatures.                                                               
She  referred to  the  PowerPoint  presentation, entitled  "House                                                               
Bill  173 -  Climate  Change Response  Commission,"  Slide 3,  to                                                               
point out the  various levels of warming shown on  the map of the                                                               
United States - some places getting  warmer and some colder.  She                                                               
stated  that Alaska  appears to  be affected  by warming  more so                                                               
than any other state.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  offered  that   "global  warming"  was  the                                                               
original term used; global warming  is in fact what is occurring;                                                               
and the  average temperature is  increasing.  He said  that along                                                               
with global warming is considerable  climate change - hurricanes,                                                               
droughts,  floods, snowstorms,  and  many  indicators of  climate                                                               
beside  temperature.   He  asserted that  some  of these  climate                                                               
change occurrences do  not appear to be global  warming, but they                                                               
are  all part  and  parcel of  climate change,  which  is due  to                                                               
5:52:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH stated that he  is troubled by further taxes                                                               
on the oil industry.   He asserted that a penny  a barrel adds up                                                               
5:53:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROWE reiterated that under  HB 173, the commission would have                                                               
the authority to allocate the  estimated $1.6 million in revenue,                                                               
as well  as use  that money  as seed  money to  access additional                                                               
climate financing.   She asserted that regardless  of one's views                                                               
on  climate change,  about  $400 billion  are  spent annually  on                                                               
climate finance;  other states are  competing for it;  but Alaska                                                               
is  not.     She  maintained  that  Alaska  is   missing  out  on                                                               
opportunities to  secure financing  that would  especially assist                                                               
rural  areas, as  well as  improve Alaska's  economy in  terms of                                                               
green technology.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  if there  were lessons  learned from                                                               
the  Palin era  iteration  of the  cabinet  level climate  change                                                               
commission - how well it worked and how this would be different.                                                                
MS.  ROWE replied  that  the most  significant  product from  the                                                               
Palin era [sub-cabinet]  was a report.  She  expressed her belief                                                               
that the  group was defunded  and, therefore, discontinued.   She                                                               
stated that  there was  no funding mechanism  for the  group, and                                                               
its focus was policy and monitoring.   She said that the original                                                               
version  of HB  173 was  introduced  by the  sponsor [on  3/10/17                                                               
during  the   First  Session  of   the  Thirtieth   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  2017-2018]  and  was   based  on  [former  Governor                                                               
Palin's]  administrative  order  [Administrative  Order  No.  238                                                               
establishing  the Alaska  Climate  Change Sub-Cabinet,  9/14/07].                                                               
The new  iteration of the proposed  legislation includes ensuring                                                               
that rural communities  "have a seat at the  table" and assisting                                                               
them in accessing funding.                                                                                                      
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  if under  the proposed  legislation,                                                               
the  commission  would  have  an   operating  budget  to  operate                                                               
MS.  ROWE   expressed  her  belief  that   the  commission  would                                                               
determine independently  how to distribute program  funds and not                                                               
be dictated by the Governor's operating budget.                                                                                 
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS   asked  if   the  commission   would  have                                                               
dedicated staff.                                                                                                                
MS.  ROWE responded  that under  the proposed  legislation, there                                                               
would  be an  executive  director, who  would  hire staff  funded                                                               
through legislative appropriation or the surcharge.                                                                             
5:56:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  ROWE referred  to Slide  2 of  the PowerPoint  presentation,                                                               
entitled "Purposes of  the bill."  She relayed  the four purposes                                                               
of  the  proposed  legislation.    The  first  is  to  coordinate                                                               
statewide strategy  under the commission, serving  as an umbrella                                                               
group.  The  second is to give rural communities  an active role;                                                               
the commission would  be structured to have six  members from the                                                               
executive  branch,  including  Commissioners  from  DEC  and  the                                                               
Department of Natural  Resources (DNR), as well  as nine regional                                                               
members.  She mentioned that  because the language for the makeup                                                               
of the  commission came from the  "coastal commission," Fairbanks                                                               
was  excluded.   She maintained  that since  the Interior  is the                                                               
region most  affected by climate  change, there is  a forthcoming                                                               
amendment to restructure the  commission with representation from                                                               
the Interior.                                                                                                                   
MS.  ROWE  relayed  that  the  third  purpose  for  the  proposed                                                               
legislation is  to help local  entities secure funding  - climate                                                               
financing, grants,  aid, and low-cost  debt.  She added  that the                                                               
fourth purpose is to create the [Climate Change Response] Fund.                                                                 
5:58:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROWE  referred to Slide  3, which illustrates that  Alaska is                                                               
impacted by climate change more  than other states.  She referred                                                               
to  Slide  4,  which  illustrates  the  regions  of  Alaska  most                                                               
impacted by  climate change.   She pointed out that  according to                                                               
the research cited on Slide  4 ["Climate change damages to Alaska                                                               
public   infrastructure   and    the   economics   of   proactive                                                               
adaptation,"  Melvin  et al,  2016],  the  infrastructure in  the                                                               
Interior  is most  affected  by  climate change.    She said  she                                                               
believes that to be due to  "so much infrastructure there and the                                                               
melting of the  permafrost," which will cost  billions of dollars                                                               
in impact unless Alaska works "to fix that infrastructure."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  what  is  included as  infrastructure                                                               
besides buildings and houses.                                                                                                   
MS.  ROWE  answered that  the  melting  of the  permafrost  would                                                               
affect roads, railroads, the  pipeline, electrical systems, sewer                                                               
systems, and any type of public or private infrastructure.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL concluded  that  permafrost  "is moving  the                                                               
ground, which (indisc.) structures, and causes a lot of damage."                                                                
MS. ROWE  said, exactly.   She referred the committee  members to                                                               
the  Melvin  paper  [included in  the  committee  packet],  which                                                               
details the  costs per  region for damage  to public  and private                                                               
MS. ROWE  referred to Slide  5, entitled "Global  climate finance                                                               
increased by  18% in  2014," and pointed  out the  Climate Policy                                                               
Initiative  Report  in  the committee  packet,  entitled  "Global                                                               
Landscape  of Climate  Finance 2015."   She  relayed that  of the                                                               
$392 billion spent  on climate finance [in 2014], much  of it was                                                               
public  funding that  went  to  developing countries;  therefore,                                                               
Alaska would  not have access to  the full amount of  money spent                                                               
on climate finance.  She  maintained that Alaska is not currently                                                               
competitive for that money, and  the commission would assist non-                                                               
profits and tribal governments to access some of it.                                                                            
6:00:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL TUBMAN,  Director of Outreach, Center  for Climate Change                                                               
and  Energy   Solutions  (C2ES),   paraphrased  from   a  written                                                               
statement,   which   read   as  follows   [original   punctuation                                                               
     Members   of  the   committee,   thank   you  for   the                                                                    
     opportunity  to  speak  with  you  today.  My  name  is                                                                    
     Michael Tubman  and I  am the  Director of  Outreach at                                                                    
     the  Center for  Climate and  Energy Solutions  (C2ES).                                                                    
     C2ES  is an  independent, nonprofit,  nonpartisan think                                                                    
     tank.  Our mission  is to  advance strong  policies and                                                                    
     actions  to reduce  greenhouse  gas emissions,  promote                                                                    
     clean  energy,  and  strengthen resilience  to  climate                                                                    
     impacts.  A key  objective  for our  organization is  a                                                                    
     national  market-based  program   to  reduce  emissions                                                                    
     cost-effectively. We  believe a sound  climate strategy                                                                    
     is essential  to ensure a strong,  sustainable economy.                                                                    
     Our  work is  informed  by  our Business  Environmental                                                                    
     Leadership  Council   (BELC),  a  group  of   32  major                                                                    
     companies  that work  with C2ES  on climate  change and                                                                    
     energy   risks,   challenges,   and   solutions.   BELC                                                                    
     companies include  BP, Shell, BHP Billiton,  Rio Tinto,                                                                    
     GE,    utilities,   automakers,    and   other    large                                                                    
     industrials. The  views I  am expressing,  however, are                                                                    
     those of C2ES alone.                                                                                                       
     My  presentation this  evening will  focus on  the need                                                                    
     for   state   climate   change   strategies   and   the                                                                    
     opportunities they can help unlock.                                                                                        
     The reasons to pursue a climate change strategy                                                                          
     The  need to  confront climate  change is  increasingly                                                                    
     clear,  and I  commend you  for taking  steps toward  a                                                                    
     stronger strategy.                                                                                                         
     In  Alaska, the  U.S.  Global  Change Research  Program                                                                    
     expects  significant  climate-related  challenges.  The                                                                    
     impacts for the state through this century, include:                                                                       
   · Increased annual precipitation, but with greater                                                                           
     evaporation leading to lower water availability and                                                                        
   · Greater risk from wildfire; and                                                                                            
   · Glacial retreat that may affect hydropower and fishery                                                                     
     Coordinated  planning between  the  public and  private                                                                    
     sectors can overcome these challenges,  and this is the                                                                    
     goal of  climate change strategies.  At the  same time,                                                                    
     many states view policies to  address climate change as                                                                    
     an economic  opportunity. These states  are positioning                                                                    
     themselves  as  leaders  in   new  markets  related  to                                                                    
     climate  action, which  include: producing  and selling                                                                    
     clean energy,  developing new  resilience technologies,                                                                    
     and attracting  new business. These goods  and services                                                                    
     are increasingly  in demand in  a global  market moving                                                                    
     toward  a carbon  constrained  future. Economic  issues                                                                    
     are just one motivator  for state policies that address                                                                    
     climate  change.   Policies  to  prepare   for  extreme                                                                    
     weather  events, improve  air  quality, reduce  traffic                                                                    
     congestion,   and   develop  domestic,   clean   energy                                                                    
     supplies can  all have climate benefits  and are worthy                                                                    
     endeavors in their own right.                                                                                              
     How   other  states   are  developing   climate  change                                                                  
     Alaskans  are not  alone in  your  interest in  climate                                                                    
     strategies. Thirty-four  states have  completed climate                                                                    
     action  plans or  are  in the  process  of revising  or                                                                    
     developing  one, and  many states  are  now focused  on                                                                    
     implementation   of  their   plans.  The   origins  and                                                                    
     structure of  strategies are as  varied as  the states.                                                                    
     Some start  with executive  orders, while  others begin                                                                    
     with legislation.                                                                                                          
     One  of  the  keys   to  a  successful  climate  change                                                                    
     strategy   is    getting   input   and    buy-in   from                                                                    
     stakeholders. Climate change  mitigation and resilience                                                                    
     will   affect   numerous   sectors  of   the   economy,                                                                    
     including:  energy, hunting  and fishing,  agriculture,                                                                    
     transportation, health,  and water. It is  important to                                                                    
     include  diverse  perspectives  when  creating  climate                                                                    
     change strategies to ensure mutual understanding.                                                                          
6:04:19 PM                                                                                                                    
     The private sector  also has a stake  in climate change                                                                    
     strategies.  State  and local  leadership  demonstrates                                                                    
     seriousness    about    ensuring   the    energy    and                                                                    
     infrastructure  needs of  business.  Over  the last  18                                                                    
     years,  C2ES   has  worked  with  businesses   to  find                                                                    
     practical,   economically   efficient   approaches   to                                                                    
     climate  change. In  a specific  example, last  year in                                                                    
     Anchorage,  we  convened  about  50  business  leaders,                                                                    
     city,  state, federal  and tribal  officials, nonprofit                                                                    
     organizations,  and   other  experts  to   share  their                                                                    
     experiences  addressing  climate   change  impacts  and                                                                    
     enhancing resilience. These  stakeholders helped assess                                                                    
     the climate  resilience of  Anchorage through  a number                                                                    
     of indicators critical for communities and businesses.                                                                     
     Climate change resources                                                                                                 
     As  the  state moves  from  strategies  to action,  the                                                                    
     federal  government has  tools and  resources that  can                                                                    
     Two  important  examples  of   federal  tools  are  the                                                                    
     Climate  Data  Initiative  and the  Climate  Resilience                                                                    
   · The Climate Data Initiative is part of data.gov and                                                                        
     offers open source access to information for                                                                               
     communities and decisions makers. It includes data and                                                                     
     resources related to coastal flooding, food                                                                                
     resilience, water, ecosystem vulnerability, human                                                                          
     health, energy infrastructure, and transportation.                                                                         
   · The Climate Resilience Toolkit is an interactive                                                                           
     government resource that helps users and communities                                                                       
     explore climate threats, assess their vulnerability                                                                        
     and risks, investigate options, prioritize them, and                                                                       
     take actions to become more resilient.                                                                                     
     Both  the  Climate  Data  Initiative  and  the  Climate                                                                    
     Resilience Toolkit have a special  focus on the Arctic,                                                                    
     which  includes 250  Arctic-related datasets,  and more                                                                    
     than 40  maps, tools,  and other resources  designed to                                                                    
     support climate-resilience efforts in Alaska.                                                                              
     In  addition,  some  federal  programs  provide  direct                                                                    
     resources that can be used to implement a strategy.                                                                        
   · The Resilience AmeriCorps program helps low-income                                                                         
     communities become more resilient by providing                                                                             
     volunteers to local governments. Anchorage has taken                                                                       
     advantage of this program.                                                                                                 
   · Other competitive federal grants for infrastructure                                                                        
     take resilience into consideration, such as                                                                                
     Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery                                                                     
     (TIGER) grants from the Department of Transportation                                                                       
     which provide federal funds to improve transportation                                                                      
     infrastructure, generate economic recovery, and                                                                            
     enhance resilience.                                                                                                        
   · At the Department of Energy (DOE), the Partnership for                                                                     
     Energy Sector Climate Resilience is an initiative to                                                                       
     enhance U.S. energy security by improving the                                                                              
     resilience of energy infrastructure to extreme weather                                                                     
     and climate change impacts. DOE works directly with                                                                        
     utilities to help them prepare for extreme weather and                                                                     
     climate change, which can save money and lives.                                                                            
   · Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has numerous                                                                         
     programs that provide resources and assistance for                                                                         
     climate adaption in environmental and health                                                                               
     infrastructure and systems.                                                                                                
6:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
     The  use of  these  federal resources  is amplified  by                                                                    
     having a  climate change strategy that  can demonstrate                                                                    
     the long-term  planning of  the state.  Importantly, in                                                                    
     the federal budget process,  Alaska's senators have the                                                                    
     ability to  bolster these programs  and make  sure they                                                                    
     are  providing  adequate  resources  to  fill  Alaska's                                                                    
     resilience needs as they are further identified.                                                                           
     Planning for climate change also makes business sense                                                                    
     Planning for climate change also makes business sense.                                                                     
     Many businesses  recognize the threats  extreme weather                                                                    
     and  climate   change  pose  to  their   supply  chain,                                                                    
     operations, and infrastructure.  They already make risk                                                                    
     and emergency  management plans, along with  drills and                                                                    
     training exercises  with employees. This  experience in                                                                    
     risk management can be coordinated  with city and state                                                                    
     agencies to  build and  maintain resilience.  Alaska is                                                                    
     home to many global companies,  such as the oil majors,                                                                    
     which  have experience  in disaster  response planning.                                                                    
     In  addition,  these  companies  and  others  may  have                                                                    
     access  to more  detailed data  and long-term  scenario                                                                    
     planning that could bolster public resilience efforts.                                                                     
     Companies also seek to work  with governments to reduce                                                                    
     risk. They consider the resilience  of a community as a                                                                    
     factor   in   determining   where   to   locate   their                                                                    
     businesses. For example, a business  may be more likely                                                                    
     to move to a location  where there is extensive coastal                                                                    
     flood protection, versus an area  that is less prepared                                                                    
     for  coastal  risks.  By  increasing  the  ability  for                                                                    
     communities to  plan for, respond to,  and recover from                                                                    
     risks, Alaska  can remain  competitive in  the economic                                                                    
     Planning for climate change makes fiscal sense                                                                           
     Finally,  planning  for  climate  change  makes  fiscal                                                                    
     Infrastructure  should be  built  to  last and  provide                                                                    
     economic  benefits  over   the  long  term.  Resilience                                                                    
     planning   is  just   another  part   of  making   sure                                                                    
     government money  is spent wisely. On  a national level                                                                    
     for instance, EPA found that  from now through the year                                                                    
     2100,  resilience   measures  could   reduce  estimated                                                                    
     damages  to coastal  property from  sea level  rise and                                                                    
     storm surges  from $5 trillion to  $810 billion. Making                                                                    
     Alaska resilient  to climate-related damage  would save                                                                    
     money over the long term.                                                                                                  
     According  to a  2005  National  Institute of  Building                                                                    
     Sciences study,  a dollar spent on  disaster mitigation                                                                    
     saves  four dollars  in  future  costs associated  with                                                                    
     recovery, and  allows the Federal Treasury  to redirect                                                                    
     an average of $3.65 from  disaster relief costs and tax                                                                    
     losses   to   communities   and  other   outcomes.   By                                                                    
     developing a  climate change strategy that  helps avoid                                                                    
     losses  and   speeds  recovery,   Alaska  is   being  a                                                                    
     responsible steward of resources.                                                                                          
     Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.                                                                     
6:09:45 PM                                                                                                                    
HAJO  EICKEN,  Director,  International  Arctic  Research  Center                                                               
(IARC),  University of  Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF), testified  that                                                               
IARC   conducts   research    in   collaboration   with   various                                                               
stakeholders   in  the   state,  including   tribal  governments,                                                               
boroughs, and  industry, on  responses to  changing environments,                                                               
and collaborates  with international  partners to  understand how                                                               
the Arctic functions.                                                                                                           
MR.  EICKEN referred  to the  question regarding  the outcome  of                                                               
former Governor Palin's  sub-cabinet on climate change.   He said                                                               
that  from  the  university's perspective,  the  sub-cabinet  was                                                               
valuable  in  that  it  gave the  university  access  to  various                                                               
commissioners and practitioners in  the state.  These individuals                                                               
had  very specific  information which  led to  the production  of                                                               
many datasets  both on the  present state of weather  and climate                                                               
and on projections  over the next decade; the  datasets were much                                                               
more  focused and  much  more responsive  to  information at  the                                                               
community  level.   He gave  an example:   the  IARC now  has one                                                               
researcher working with the tribal  organization within an Eskimo                                                               
community to help the community  deal with the challenges that it                                                               
is experiencing in  the coastal environment in Nome.   He said he                                                               
views the  commission as a  forum, or interface, to  help improve                                                               
the flow  of information from  the university and  other entities                                                               
to the state.                                                                                                                   
MR. EICKEN  maintained that the  proposed legislation  is prudent                                                               
and a  well thought  out and  effective response  to some  of the                                                               
environmental changes.   He relayed  that Alaska  is experiencing                                                               
significant  changes in  precipitation, snowfall,  rain, and  air                                                               
temperature;  however, the  most  significant  challenge is  that                                                               
much of  Alaska is very much  determined by the presence  of snow                                                               
and ice in various forms.   He stated that the thawing permafrost                                                               
and the change in sea ice  cover are big challenges and ones that                                                               
federal agencies are  not well equipped to address.   He referred                                                               
to the history  of coastal retreat and flooding  and the struggle                                                               
of the  U.S. Army  Corp of Engineers  (ACE) in  finding effective                                                               
solutions for keeping the coastal communities safe.                                                                             
MR. EICKEN maintained  that the value of the  commission would be                                                               
in creating  a space where  practitioners and policy  makers from                                                               
the   "stateside"    can   engage   with   other    experts   and                                                               
representatives   from  the   community   to   figure  out   what                                                               
information is needed  and what needs to be done.   He offered an                                                               
example of how  the commission would be valuable.   Last week the                                                               
IARC  hosted   a  workshop  with   about  80   practitioners  and                                                               
researchers focused  on wildfire response and  management; for an                                                               
average  fire in  Alaska, fire-fighting  response  costs tens  of                                                               
millions of  dollars and for  larger fires, hundreds  of millions                                                               
of  dollars.    He  said  that the  frequency  and  intensity  of                                                               
wildfires is  increasing and projected  to increase  further, and                                                               
funds to address those challenges  are not projected to increase.                                                               
The   practitioners  in   the  workshop   examined  more   modern                                                               
approaches  to  fire  management, such  as  satellite  platforms.                                                               
Attendees  reviewed effective  responses and  ways to  reduce the                                                               
cost of firefighting next season and  beyond.  There was only one                                                               
state employee  in attendance  at the  workshop because  of state                                                               
restrictions  on travel.   He  maintained  that the  role of  the                                                               
commission would  be to ensure  that the right contacts  are made                                                               
so that  the state can apply  for federal funding to  become more                                                               
prudent in managing fire risk.                                                                                                  
6:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked  Mr. Eicken if, in  his opinion, there                                                               
would be  value in  the proposed commission  even without  the 1-                                                               
cent per  barrel tax and the  funds that would be  dispersed upon                                                               
collection of the tax.                                                                                                          
MR. EICKEN responded, yes that is correct.                                                                                      
6:16:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  BLACK,  Director,   Community  Infrastructure  Development,                                                               
Division of  Environmental Health and Engineering  (DEHE), Alaska                                                               
Native  Tribal  Health  Consortium (ANTHC),  testified  that  his                                                               
primary job is  to build sanitation systems and  clinics in rural                                                               
Alaska.   He mentioned that he  gave a slide presentation  to the                                                               
House Special  Committee on  Arctic Policy,  Economic Development                                                               
(4/11/17)  showing the  infrastructure  damage  in rural  Alaska,                                                               
including  the  settling  of  pipes  and  permafrost  failure  on                                                               
foundations;  and in  the presentation  he discussed  attempts to                                                               
address these  conditions.   He emphasized that  there is  a real                                                               
issue  with  infrastructure  and with  the  warming  environment,                                                               
especially in areas where permafrost is  close to 32 degrees.  In                                                               
addition, there are changes in  water chemistry and precipitation                                                               
rates,  which  affect the  ability  to  provide water  for  rural                                                               
MR.  BLACK maintained  that  just  as ANTHC  has  the Center  for                                                               
Climate and Health, his organization  would certainly support the                                                               
state taking  a very coordinated  role in helping  bring together                                                               
organizations, such  as the one  at ANTHC, to  discuss strategies                                                               
for  keeping   infrastructure  functioning   and  the   types  of                                                               
infrastructure that  will be important going  forward in relation                                                               
to the warming environment.                                                                                                     
MR. BLACK  stated that he  was a  member of the  Immediate Action                                                               
Working  Group  under  former  Governor  Palin's  Alaska  Climate                                                               
Change Sub-Cabinet.   He maintained  that at that time,  the sub-                                                               
cabinet  allowed  the   state  to  have  clear   focus  and  help                                                               
coordinate what  has now become many  organizations involved with                                                               
climate  change  within  the  state,   around  the  country,  and                                                               
internationally.   At  the  time of  the  Palin sub-cabinet,  the                                                               
State  of  Alaska  was  taking  a  leadership  role  in  bringing                                                               
attention  to the  issues that  were important  to the  state and                                                               
recommending  coordination of  the  funding  through the  federal                                                               
6:19:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that HB 173 would be held over.                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 173 Fiscal Note DOR 4.7.17.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HSTA 5/9/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 Fiscal Note GOV 4.10.17.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HSTA 5/9/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 NCA Climate Change in Alaska.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 ADN Climate Change in Alaska.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 Impact on Infrastructure.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 CPI Climate Finance 2015.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 EPA Climate Change in Alaska.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 Fiscal Note DEC 4.6.17.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 173 Hearing Request.pdf HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB0173 Sponsor Statement.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB0173A.PDF HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173
HB 183 Draft Proposed CS 4.11.17.pdf HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 183
HB 183 CS Sponsor Statement 4.11.17.pdf HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 183
HB 173 Sponsor PPT 4.11.17.pdf HRES 5/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HSTA 4/11/2017 5:30:00 PM
HB 173