Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532
04/10/2015 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE
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SENATE BILL NO. 70 "An Act relating to exceptions from designation as a special purpose site under art. VIII, sec. 7 of the Constitution of the State of Alaska for portions of Denali State Park, Captain Cook State Recreation Area, Nancy Lake State Recreation Area, and Willow Creek State Recreation Area to allow leasing a right-of-way for a natural gas pipeline." 9:29:09 AM Co-Chair MacKinnon addressed the legislation. BEN ELLIS, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF PARKS AND RECREATION, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, explained the legislation. He looked at the SB 70 Briefing Paper (copy on file): SB 70 is necessary to open a corridor through four state legislatively designated areas (Denali State Park and Willow Creek, Nancy Lake, and Captain Cook State Recreation Areas) to the right of way leasing act for the purpose of construction a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope of Alaska. The bill would accomplish the following primary objectives: 1) Authorize the issuance of a right of way lease under AS38.35, the Pipeline Right of Way Leasing Act for a gas pipeline in an identified corridor through Denali State Park and Willow Creek, Nancy Lake, and Captain Cook State Recreation Areas. 2) Require the corridor to be managed as parkland and recreation areas until leased under 38.35 and returned to original park and recreation area management upon termination of the lease. 3) Provides supplemental requirements to reserve traditional means of public access and minimize the impact of a pipeline on the specific values of park and recreation areas. 4) Clarifies the DNR Commissioner's power to delegate condemnation authority to the lessee does not apply within the bounds of the park and recreation areas. 5) Requires the gas pipeline lease be issued before January 1, 2020 Why the bill is needed: The parks at issue are special use sites, reserved from the public domain by the legislature pursuant to Article VIII, Sec. 7 of the Alaska Constitution. As a result, they are not, without legislative action, open for leasing under AS 38.35. Why this bill does not include State game refuges and DNR Susitna Basin Rec Rivers: Although some restrictions on multiple use are imposed on the state game refuges and rivers, these areas are not closed to leasing under AS 38.35 where a lease would be compatible with the purposes of the reserves. Does the corridor specified in the bill suffice for both the ASAP and AKLNG Projects: AGDC and AKLNG have worked cooperatively to select a common alignment for both projects. AGDC has completed its route revision to the common alignment and are now calling it Rev. 6.1. Field efforts for both projects have changed to reflect the common alignment as evidenced in the geo- technical site locations currently being conducted within Denali State Park. 9:35:06 AM Senator Dunleavy wondered if the proposed parcels were within the parks, or were any outside of the parks. Mr. Ellis replied that each proposed parcel within the bill were in one of the four parks mentioned. He stated that a portion would go outside of the park, but was not included in the legislation. Vice-Chair Micciche asked for assurance that, other than during the construction, the public use was previously permitted and the park corridors would not be interrupted in the future. Mr. Ellis replied that the land would remain park land, and available for public use under park statutes during the early phase. The pipeline construction would still allow some recreational usage. Vice-Chair Micciche remarked that the right-of-way may improve recreational access. 9:38:02 AM AT EASE 9:40:21 AM RECONVENED 9:40:25 AM Senator Dunleavy wondered if it was advisable to require that the right-of-way leases had definable and enforceable obligation for restoration and revegetation. Mr. Ellis replied that the intention was to fully return to the state prior to any land disturbance. JOHN HUTCHINS, ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, explained that any pipeline right-of-way leases under the statute was required to include a set of covenants that included an assurance that the lessee would restore the land to a condition acceptable by the commissioner. Vice-Chair Micciche wondered if the legislation would conclude the pipeline right-of-way needs from Prudhoe Bay to the terminus in Nikiski. Mr. Ellis deferred to Mr. Perrin. DON PERRIN, DIRECTOR, PIPELINE COORDINATION OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (via teleconference), explained that the state agencies had been working in terms of field work permitting, and coordination with federal agencies. He stated that the legislation would conclude the right-of-way needs for the project. 9:44:15 AM Senator Hoffman queried the percentage of the right-of-way that the legislation accomplished. He also wondered if there were further problem areas related to acquisition. Mr. Perrin replied that the corridor varied in width from on-half mile to two miles. He explained that the width was determined to ensure adequate engineering and environmental reviews. Senator Hoffman remarked that the line from Prudhoe Bay to the destination to tidewater. He wondered how much additional right-of-way was needed for the project. He queried the anticipated problem areas related to acquisition. Mr. Perrin replied that the bill would allow for completion of land as need for the right-of-way on state land. He noted that the act only applied to state land, and the legislation would allow for completion. Senator Hoffman queried the percentage of additional leases that was required for all right-of-way. FRANK RICHARDS, MANAGER OF PIPELINE ENGINEERING AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ALASKA GASLINE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (via teleconference), asked for a restatement of the question. Senator Hoffman wondered how much right-of-way was currently acquired and how much was yet to be acquired. He also queried the possible problem areas for future acquisition. Mr. Richards replied that the legislature had specifically required Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) the Title 38 lands through a state right-of-way in 2011, which represented approximately 55 percent of the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) right-of-way. The addition of the lands from the legislation gave access through Denali State Park, Willow Creek, and Nancy Lakes. That mileage was approximately another 5 percent of state lands. The completion of the supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) would show an outcome of record of decision by the Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management which would provide the federal right-of-way, at 30 percent right-of-way. The project would be approximately 90 percent, with the remaining 10 percent in municipal, borough, private land ownership, and native corporation allotments still yet to be acquired. 9:49:21 AM Senator Hoffman wondered if there were anticipated problem areas that would require eminent domain. Mr. Richards replied that there were very little, if any use of eminent domain. He explained that the legislature allowed AGDC the use of eminent domain through HB 4 and in existing statutes. Senator Hoffman restated his question as related to the AKLNG project. Mr. Richards responded that the AKLNG and ASAP currently shared a common route from Prudhoe Bay to the Susitna River Bridge. At that point, ASAP traversed to the east of the river, and the AKLNG headed west toward the Cook Inlet Crossing. He agreed to provide information for the actual land ownership requirements for AKLNG. Senator Hoffman queried the timeframe to acquire the required additional lands for project construction. Mr. Richards replied that the private and municipal owned lands would not be determined until the final investment decision to advance the project. Co-Chair MacKinnon wondered if there were any additional comments on SB 70. Mr. Richards replied that SB 70 would allow either pipeline project to proceed through the park lands. The original intent of the legislature provided the right-of-way across state lands, so the bill allowed for the land to advance the pipeline project. Senator Bishop queried the difference on the right-of-way for the two projects. He understood that the AKLNG was 180 feet, and the ASAP was 120 feet. Mr. Richards responded that he did not have the specifics for AKLNG. He explained that moving a large diameter pipe required areas to work and dispose. He stated that there was likely different equipment for the different sized pipe. Co-Chair MacKinnon wondered if the corridor would require the removal of trees for an extended period of time. Mr. Ellis replied that the land would return to a natural state. He stated that there was normally a five to ten year period of time that would allow for full revegetation. Co-Chair MacKinnon CLOSED public testimony. 9:54:50 AM AT EASE 9:56:21 AM RECONVENED Vice-Chair Micciche wondered what the right-of-way would look like at post-construction. Mr. Ellis responded that that corridor would be clear for construction. The 50 foot right-of-way for the pipeline would be clear. He stated that there may be a recreational trail near the pipeline that would also provide access to the line. SB 70 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further consideration.