Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/09/2003 03:34 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB 142-DNR LEAD RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER TOM  IRWIN, Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR),                                                               
introduced Ms.  Ernesta Ballard,  Commissioner of  the Department                                                               
of  Environmental Conservation  (DEC),  Mary Siroky  of DEC,  and                                                               
Janet Burleson Baxter  of DNR. He noted  that Deputy Commissioner                                                               
Dick LeFebvre of  DNR and Cam Leonard from the  Department of Law                                                               
(DOL) were available to answer questions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN stated  support for SB 142  and explained that                                                               
it  is  an  act  designating  DNR as  lead  agency  for  resource                                                               
development projects.  The driving force behind  this legislation                                                               
is  the Governor's  priority to  develop  natural resources.  The                                                               
Governor  absolutely  believes  that priority  will  provide  new                                                               
wealth for  Alaska. The purpose  of SB  142 is to  facilitate and                                                               
expedite  resource   development.  The  bill   will  specifically                                                               
provide the  commissioner of DNR  with statutory  authority under                                                               
AS 38.05.020(b)  to lead  and coordinate  all matters  related to                                                               
the  state's review  and  authorization  of resource  development                                                               
projects.  As  the  state  puts  more  focus  on  development  of                                                               
resources, DNR  needs clear and  explicit authority to  carry out                                                               
its  role  to   lead  and  coordinate  the   state's  review  and                                                               
authorization of  these resource  projects. Although DNR  has and                                                               
will  continue  to  serve  as   lead  for  mining  projects,  its                                                               
authority to serve as lead  agency for other resource development                                                               
projects is  not as explicit.  SB 142 will provide  the necessary                                                               
clarity for future resource development.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  told members that the  primary responsibility                                                               
in  DNR will  rest  with  the Office  of  Project Management  and                                                               
Permitting. This office includes  the project management function                                                               
and  the  coastal  zone  management   program.    Large  resource                                                               
development   projects   are   more  efficiently   reviewed   and                                                               
authorized using  a lead agency  to coordinate and  integrate the                                                               
various  permitting processes  of the  agencies involved  using a                                                               
project team  approach. Smaller  projects, normally  less complex                                                               
and  requiring  fewer  permits,  may  benefit  from  lead  agency                                                               
coordination  for  review.  However,  they may  not  require  the                                                               
establishment of a project team.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN described a  three-phase process that projects                                                               
using  the lead  coordinating  agency and  project team  approach                                                               
will  undergo.  In  phase  one,  the  proposed  project  will  be                                                               
evaluated to determine  if the lead agency  project team approach                                                               
will  best  address  the  review  and  permitting  needs  of  the                                                               
project. The  second phase  will result  in establishment  of the                                                               
project  team,   development  of  an  integrated   agency  review                                                               
schedule,   delineation   of    information   requirements,   and                                                               
completion  of  any  necessary  agreements.  This  is  where  any                                                               
misconceptions will  be eliminated because all  participants will                                                               
sit  at the  table and  delineate the  required activities  for a                                                               
particular  project.  During  phase  three,  the  actual  project                                                               
review  and authorization  will  take place.  It includes  public                                                               
participation and  is tailored  specifically to  the requirements                                                               
for  permitting the  project. Additionally,  SB  142 will  assist                                                               
DNR's efforts  to streamline project review  and authorization by                                                               
facilitating:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   · the state's ability to pull together agencies to address                                                                   
     the project's specific concerns                                                                                            
   · the review and authorization process                                                                                       
   · a more cohesive working relationship among agency                                                                          
     representatives                                                                                                            
   · better communication                                                                                                       
   · more efficient permitting and a consolidated public process                                                                
     where possible                                                                                                             
   · integration of the state's permitting process with that of                                                                 
     the federal agencies.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said the laws governing  resource development                                                               
have  proliferated.   The  state  now  has   more  agencies  with                                                               
permitting  authority  over  resource development  projects  than                                                               
ever. Resource  development should  not be held  up by  the sheer                                                               
complexity  of   government.  This  bill  is   intended  to  help                                                               
alleviate that problem. He again stated support for SB 142.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN asked  where the  definition  of "resources"  is                                                               
located in statute. She expressed  concern that the bill contains                                                               
the phrase "all matters relating to resource development."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN  thought "resources"  would  apply  to anything  that                                                               
falls under the titles of DNR,  the Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game (ADF&G), and DEC.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN thought "resources"  would include minerals, fish                                                               
and game, air and water.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN said the divisions  within DNR include oil and                                                               
gas, parks, mining,  land and water, agriculture,  and then there                                                               
are the  associated issues with DEC  and ADF&G. He said  he could                                                               
not provide the specific statutory  definition of "resources" but                                                               
they should  include the areas  for which DNR is  accountable and                                                               
specifically the areas for which DNR issues permits.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN commented that she  cannot think of anything that                                                               
is  not a  resource, which  is why  she wants  a more  definitive                                                               
response.  She then  noted that  at least  20 statutes  are being                                                               
repealed in  SB 142 and  asked for  a brief description  of those                                                               
statutes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN deferred  to  Mr. Leonard  for  a summary  of                                                               
those statutes.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAM  LEONARD, Assistant Attorney  General, DOL,  told members                                                               
that  most of  the  sections being  repealed in  SB  142 are  the                                                               
provisions in existing law that  made DEC the coordinating agency                                                               
for  purposes  of  permitting  projects.   While  some  of  those                                                               
sections  will  remain intact,  they  are  being moved  to  other                                                               
statutes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Leonard to address AS 41.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LEONARD said  AS  41  is a  cross  reference  to the  permit                                                               
coordination  act,  AS 46.35.  It  is  a housekeeping  repeal  to                                                               
reflect that the cross reference will no longer be valid.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN  noted  Mr.  Leonard   said  most  of  the  statutory                                                               
provisions  being repealed  have never  been used.  He questioned                                                               
whether DEC ever held public hearings.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LEONARD said  individual agencies  held public  hearings. To                                                               
his knowledge, what wasn't used  was the coordinated approach led                                                               
by DEC, which is what AS 46.35 pertains to.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  said some portions  of the  bill need not  conform to                                                               
the Administrative  Procedure Act  (APA), such  as Section  2, AS                                                               
44.62.330(a). He  asked if that  applies to  adjudicatory hearing                                                               
procedures.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEONARD  explained that  those are  provisions from  AS 46.35                                                               
that  are being  moved to  another place.  AS 46.35.090  contains                                                               
language exempting  the adjudicatory hearing procedures  that DEC                                                               
uses on  its permits from the  requirements of the APA.  DEC does                                                               
offer  adjudicatory  hearings and  they  are  subject to  clearly                                                               
detailed  regulations. This  bill transplants  that provision  of                                                               
law to these other two places.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN commented that the language  on page 2, line 23, gives                                                               
ambiguous but broad authority.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LEONARD said  it was  intentionally left  broad so  that DNR                                                               
could consider  the breadth of  the types of projects  that might                                                               
be covered and implement this authority through regulation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN asked if a  fair interpretation is that language would                                                               
give DNR  the authority  to write  whatever regulations  it deems                                                               
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. LEONARD said  DNR would be limited because  it cannot intrude                                                               
upon  another agency's  legislative authority.  For example,  DNR                                                               
could  not write  new water  quality standards  that would  trump                                                               
DEC's regulations. The  regulations he was referring  to would be                                                               
more  procedural as  to how  DNR  would go  about performing  its                                                               
coordination role.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER ERNESTA BALLARD, DEC,  told members coordination can                                                               
really  improve the  prospect for  those  interested in  resource                                                               
development,  particularly in  rural Alaska.  In rural  areas, it                                                               
can  be  very  difficult  to  know the  details  and  follow  the                                                               
complexities of multiple agency  permitting programs. One benefit                                                               
DEC  anticipates from  DNR's  lead role  is  coordination of  the                                                               
public hearing process. Interested parties  can see how a project                                                               
is going to  look in its totality  at one place at  one time. She                                                               
said in  no way  will SB  142 change  her responsibilities  to do                                                               
water quality  protection. She believes  SB 142 will make  a real                                                               
improvement, particularly given  the rural nature of  most of the                                                               
projects, so that  everyone sees the project moving  forward as a                                                               
total project.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR OGAN  said he supports that  concept. He then asked  if DEC                                                               
was the coordinator  in the past, at least in  theory in statute,                                                               
and whether DEC ignored that policy.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said she cannot  speak to why DEC never used                                                               
its statutory authority to coordinate.  She believes AS 46.35 was                                                               
passed 30  years ago.  The coordination over  the last  ten years                                                               
was  achieved   through  the  intent  of   the  commissioners  to                                                               
coordinate, not through the auspices of that act.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN said  he wanted  to  make sure  the legislative  body                                                               
remains the policy  setting body. He said as much  as he respects                                                               
the  commissioners,  the state  now  has  the most  powerful  DNR                                                               
commissioner  in the  history of  the  state. He  said this  bill                                                               
removes several statutes and replaces  them with one sentence; he                                                               
assumes  the authority  to implement  that one  sentence is  very                                                               
broad,  which  requires  a  lot  of trust  on  the  part  of  the                                                               
legislative branch.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  said  she  believes  the  wisdom  of  this                                                               
approach  is   that  any  permitting  decision   involves  making                                                               
choices. Those  choices are directed  to some degree by  law and,                                                               
in  large  part, through  the  discretion  provided through  rule                                                               
making  in regulation.  She would  prefer that  those choices  be                                                               
made in  the total  context of  the project  so that  all parties                                                               
involved, both supporters and opponents,  see the entire project.                                                               
She and  the other  commissioners believe  this is  the preferred                                                               
method.   SB   142  codifies   the   commitment   made  by   this                                                               
Administration.   She   believes   the  permitting   issues   are                                                               
sufficiently complicated so keeping  them separate does not serve                                                               
the public interest.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  said he agrees  but wants  everyone to be  mindful of                                                               
the healthy  constitutional tension  between the  legislative and                                                               
executive branches so  that any delegation of power is  made by a                                                               
conscious decision rather than by default.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS referred to  the three-phase design and asked                                                               
Commissioner Irwin to  describe how he will  formulate phase one.                                                               
He asked what  agencies will be involved and  what the evaluation                                                               
criteria will be  to determine whether a project  is large enough                                                               
to require  a project team.  He also asked Commissioner  Irwin to                                                               
describe the process for a small project.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-26, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said a company  proposes and idea  or project                                                               
to  a  state agency.  The  company  may  present  an idea  or  an                                                               
engineering  plan  that  defines  50 percent  of  the  cost.  The                                                               
benefit of  having a lead agency  is its ability to  get everyone                                                               
with  the appropriate  expertise to  the table  at one  time. The                                                               
company  would explain  the scope  of the  project to  the group.                                                               
Each agency would describe what  permits the company will need to                                                               
obtain and any other requirements.  The company should leave that                                                               
meeting with a  clear list of requirements and  a commitment from                                                               
the lead agency. That should  quickly lead to a follow-up meeting                                                               
to discuss  the permit schedule.  He said the agencies  will also                                                               
understand the timeline.  DNR will have the authority  to get the                                                               
right  people to  the table  at the  right time  and hold  people                                                               
accountable.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Regarding the  determination of whether  a project  is considered                                                               
to  be small  or  large,  COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said  part of  that                                                               
determination will be made by  the company. Certain projects will                                                               
obviously be large,  but those will be in  the minority. However,                                                               
many projects  will fall into a  gray area. DNR does  not want to                                                               
preclude companies with small projects  that want to get into the                                                               
three-phase process  from doing so. Companies  need to understand                                                               
there is an  associated cost with the  three-phase process, which                                                               
will be paid  for by the companies. The commissioner  said at the                                                               
first meeting,  it should  be obvious to  team members  whether a                                                               
three-phase process  is necessary.  However, the company  will be                                                               
able to hear  what each agency will require. He  told members the                                                               
public  will  be  giving  input  so the  entire  process  can  be                                                               
adjusted if an issue arises.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS asked Commissioner  Irwin if he could provide                                                               
an estimate  of the  number of  resource development  permits DNR                                                               
will  handle  through  the  Office   of  Project  Management  and                                                               
Permitting.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN said he could  not provide any numbers but DNR                                                               
has no  desire to deal with  simple permits that are  under DEC's                                                               
purview.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS asked if  a project requiring multiple agency                                                               
permits  would be  under the  purview  of the  Office of  Project                                                               
Management and  Permitting. However, a project  needing a routine                                                               
outfall permit from DEC would not require DNR oversight.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  told Senator  Stevens that  DEC has  an on-                                                               
line permit  questionnaire. She  said if a  company is  unable to                                                               
work through  the permit questionnaire online,  it probably needs                                                               
to get at least an interagency  consultation. She said even a big                                                               
project can be relatively simple  in terms of permitting but, for                                                               
example,  if several  variables  could have  an  effect on  water                                                               
quality, the online  application process will reject  it. That is                                                               
when  everyone will  benefit  because  it is  at  that point  the                                                               
project  definition  can  be  changed   early  to  get  a  better                                                               
permitting outcome.  She gave,  as an  example, a  mining project                                                               
proposal  that   would  require  a  camp   and  sewage  treatment                                                               
facility.  Fecal  coliform in  a  spawning  bed stream  will  not                                                               
affect  spawning, but  it has  other implications  if there  is a                                                               
drinking water  system nearby.  The earlier  DEC knows  about the                                                               
project,  the sooner  DEC can  help the  applicant put  a project                                                               
together that will move quickly through the permitting process.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said  the only flaw he can see  in this system is                                                               
that certain people might be absent during the permit review.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN acknowledged that  having agency staff present                                                               
at a meeting is probably the most important thing DNR can do.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN said  this is  the only  committee to  hear this                                                               
bill. She is  uneasy with it because  it is a new  concept and it                                                               
puts so  much power in  one office. She  agreed that it  may work                                                               
with a good  commissioner, but if someone wanted to  abuse his or                                                               
her power, it could be devastating.  She said this bill creates a                                                               
new office with five employees.  She asked Commissioner Irwin the                                                               
cost to run the new office  each year and what the start-up costs                                                               
will be. She  asked Commissioner Ballard if DEC's  budget will be                                                               
decreased as  a result. She also  wanted to know what  the appeal                                                               
process  will be  with the  new  office. She  commented that  she                                                               
would feel better if the bill contained a sunset provision.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN said  he believes it is  important to remember                                                               
that DNR  will lead  and coordinate, it  will not  make decisions                                                               
for DEC.  The concept  is to get  people to the  table so  that a                                                               
project team can  make decisions. DNR is not  doing anything with                                                               
the appeal  process.  Regarding the  cost of the new  office, the                                                               
companies will be paying that  cost. He emphasized the importance                                                               
of  getting  the  agencies,  company,   and  public  together  to                                                               
understand the  complex process that  will occur, the  areas that                                                               
need to be  addressed, and what permits will be  required so that                                                               
nothing  goes  by  the  wayside.  What  will  be  eliminated  are                                                               
meetings with  absent staff  who point out  later in  the process                                                               
what will not work.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  added that  this bill  does not  create any                                                               
new power;  all of the  power to carry  out state law  vests with                                                               
the governor.  SB 142 will improve  organizational responsibility                                                               
and achieve  a better  result. The power  to permit  derives from                                                               
the  law  and the  underlying  state  policy to  develop  natural                                                               
resources for the  well being of the citizens and  to protect the                                                               
environment.  She said  in this  complex  permitting world,  this                                                               
approach will be an improvement.  DEC's entire budget anticipated                                                               
the results of  this legislation. DEC assumed it  will work hand-                                                               
in-hand  with  DNR.  DEC's  workload  remains  identical  but  by                                                               
working  hand-in-hand with  DNR, DEC  believes it  can streamline                                                               
the permit process and that  is reflected in DEC's overall budget                                                               
reduction.  She  said,  regarding  the  appeal  process,  project                                                               
applicants  and   project  opponents  know  how   to  appeal  the                                                               
components that DEC  is responsible for. She said  the ability of                                                               
people  in   the  state  to  access   administrative  procedures,                                                               
including appeals,  are mature.  She is  not concerned  that this                                                               
legislation will truncate that process at all.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN asked the cost of the five-person office.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN   replied,  "As   we  roll   in  DGC   -  the                                                               
efficiencies there, we roll in  this combined teamwork that we're                                                               
setting up  in this project,  we see those efficiencies  also, we                                                               
feel  that  these  costs  are adequately  reflected  in  our  '04                                                               
budget."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN asked for an amount.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN said he would get her that number.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  said this  approach was tried  in Kenai  but did                                                               
not work because the federal agencies would "go sideways on us."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN said  DNR cannot  make  the federal  agencies                                                               
come to  the table but  the federal agencies did  attend meetings                                                               
for   the  Fort   Knox  project.   He  believes   federal  agency                                                               
participation is necessary and should  be worked on but he cannot                                                               
affirm they will be at the table.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER  asked if an  invitation will be extended  to the                                                               
federal agencies.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN replied, "Absolutely, we need to."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  if  anyone in  state  government has  the                                                               
responsibility now to  lead and coordinate in any  kind of matter                                                               
related to  the review and authorization  of resource development                                                               
projects.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN answered the Division of Governmental Coordination.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said that is a  cabinet responsibility and,                                                               
from  the point  of view  of this  cabinet, it  has assumed  that                                                               
responsibility  jointly.  Cabinet  members  have  affirmed  their                                                               
commitments to  resource development  and have agreed  to contact                                                               
each  other  to try  to  work  together whenever  an  opportunity                                                               
arises.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked why,  if that is  so, this  legislation is                                                               
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said  the entire cabinet wants  to focus the                                                               
responsibility  this way.  The cabinet  feels very  strongly that                                                               
without  working   together,  it  cannot  achieve   the  resource                                                               
development  goals  that the  Governor  articulated  in the  time                                                               
frame available.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  he agrees  but was  wondering if  up until                                                               
now, everyone  has sworn to  work together  but no one  has taken                                                               
the lead.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN said  that theoretically,  discussions  about who  is                                                               
doing what take place at cabinet meetings.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he acts as the coordinator  in his business                                                               
and that is more cost efficient  because without it he would have                                                               
to call  all of his  division managers to  keep track of  what is                                                               
going on. He  asked if having one house keep  track of the status                                                               
will be more cost efficient.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN  said  that  is   correct,  and  he  had  the                                                               
opportunity to  experience that  with what the  state set  up for                                                               
the Ft. Knox mine.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  he  is not  concerned  about funding  five                                                               
people to do the work because  that may result in a decrease from                                                               
15 to  5. He then asked  if the federal agencies  are more likely                                                               
to attend if they are invited to the table.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said DNR has  already had very  good meetings                                                               
with  BLM and  EPA. Their  federal  counterparts do  not want  to                                                               
attend numerous meetings either - their time is valuable too.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  he  views  SB  142  very  positively  and                                                               
considers it analogous to how  private industry works. He said he                                                               
typically holds one person responsible  for coordinating any kind                                                               
of  a project  in his  organization. He  said he  has had  to get                                                               
permits, both  state and  federal, for projects  in the  past and                                                               
has found that whenever a  coordinating agency oversaw a project,                                                               
the process was much smoother than if  he had to find out what to                                                               
do where. He said  it seems that part of the  objective of SB 142                                                               
is to provide a [recipe] for the process.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN  said  the  permit process  is  not  easy  to                                                               
understand so  when everyone is  at the  table at the  same time,                                                               
the flow of  information is much better and  everyone leaves with                                                               
the same understanding  of how the process will  proceed. He said                                                               
when  agencies act  independently, they  might provide  different                                                               
answers but when they act together, the picture changes.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  when  he   looks  at  the  constitutional                                                               
authority  the legislature  has to  provide for  the utilization,                                                               
development  and conservation  of all  natural resources  for the                                                               
maximum benefit of the people, it  is important that be done in a                                                               
timely and wise  manner and in concert with  modern principles of                                                               
stewardship.  He  believes  SB  142   moves  the  state  in  that                                                               
direction and he supports it.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OGAN asked  if the  Division of  Governmental Coordination                                                               
(DGC)  was created  by statute  or whether  it was  set up  under                                                               
administrative policy. He  asked if it will continue  to exist if                                                               
SB 142  is enacted. He  said the general  idea behind DGC  was to                                                               
act as a  clearinghouse and coordination point  for the different                                                               
agencies. It  was purposely  set up independently  - it  does not                                                               
issue permits but acted as "the director of the choir."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BILL JEFFERSON,  Director of  the  Division of  Governmental                                                               
Coordination,  explained  to  members  that DGC  was  created  by                                                               
statute  but  it  is  narrowly  scoped  for  the  Alaska  Coastal                                                               
Management Program,  which is  not statewide.  SB 142  will cover                                                               
the entire state.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN asked if Mr. Jefferson's job will be eliminated.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JEFFERSON said he just moved to another division.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN asked  Mr. Jefferson if the legislature  can just pull                                                               
that part of the statute out.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JEFFERSON said  he  believes  part of  the  function of  the                                                               
executive order was to move that statutory authority to DNR.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  said regarding the  comments about the  power of                                                               
the  DNR   commissioner,  he  believes   that  in  the   end  the                                                               
legislature  has  authority  and   oversight  of  development  of                                                               
resources. He said he is  certain a runaway commissioner would be                                                               
the result of a runaway governor.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  asked how this will  affect agencies that are  not in                                                               
DNR,  DEC or  ADF&G  when they  issue a  permit,  for example  an                                                               
agency within  DOTPF.  He noted  that currently to start  oil and                                                               
gas projects, a company must have all permits in place.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN said  all agencies  need to  be at  the table                                                               
because  when  a project  involves  habitat  issues, the  company                                                               
needs to hear that upfront and  design around it. He said changes                                                               
can be  economical when a project  is still in the  design phase.                                                               
If changes  must be made late  in the game, everything  is turned                                                               
upside down,  such as bank  financing. He said this  process will                                                               
not cut corners on what is  done for the environment, it will let                                                               
people know  upfront what needs to  be done so that  projects can                                                               
be designed and built with those requirements in mind.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  said that  sounds great, however  in the  real world,                                                               
after  everyone has  been  at the  table they  go  back to  their                                                               
jobs  and   come  back  with   stipulations.  He  asked   if  the                                                               
commissioner of  DNR will have  the authority  at the end  of the                                                               
day to  expedite a project if  another agency comes along  with a                                                               
stipulation that delays a project.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said those situations will  undoubtedly arise                                                               
and  will  get  elevated  to the  commissioner's  level  where  a                                                               
decision  will  have  to  be   made.  He  reminded  members  that                                                               
ultimately   the  commissioner   will  be   accountable  to   the                                                               
legislature.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD told  members that  the development  of the                                                               
Red Dog  Mine 20 years  ago involved multiple state  agencies and                                                               
depended on a road that brought  revenue in. A borough was formed                                                               
to get municipal  financing for the road so DEC  got involved. To                                                               
make that  project viable  and feasible,  both from  a permitting                                                               
point  of view  and from  a resource  cost point  of view,  major                                                               
agencies of state  government had to work  together with everyone                                                               
involved. She said  non-resource agencies have to  be involved in                                                               
project  design  and  development   in  this  "vast,  far  flung,                                                               
disconnected state." That project  benefited from multiple agency                                                               
involvement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN asked if the commissioner  will be able to force other                                                               
agencies to  prioritize a permit  if it  is holding up  a project                                                               
and costing money.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  said the project  manager should  have called                                                               
the individual  commissioner long before a  problem gets elevated                                                               
to his level. If necessary, he would make that call.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  asked the  commissioners to  be prepared  for another                                                               
hearing on  SB 142  on Friday. There  being no  public testimony,                                                               
Chair Ogan adjourned the meeting at 5:05 p.m.                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects