Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/23/2003 03:35 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB 31-RAILROAD UTILITY CORRIDOR TO & IN CANADA                                                                     
CHAIR  OGAN announced  that SB  31 was  before the  committee and                                                               
that  a proposed  committee substitute  (CS), labeled  Version S,                                                               
had been prepared for the committee's consideration.                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER moved to adopt  Version S as the working document                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
CHAIR OGAN objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                              
[SENATOR LINCOLN arrived.]                                                                                                      
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
SENATOR JOHN COWDERY, sponsor of  SB 31, informed members that SB
31  establishes a  transportation corridor  for the  extension of                                                               
the  Alaska  Railroad  to  the  Canadian  border.  He  hopes  the                                                               
railroad can  eventually connect  to the North  American railroad                                                               
system. He pointed out the bill  was amended after it came to his                                                               
attention that  the Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR) would                                                               
be the agency to grant the  rights-of-way to the railroad and for                                                               
construction  of the  gas pipeline.  If and  when a  gas pipeline                                                               
becomes a reality,  he wanted to limit the  railroad's ability to                                                               
charge  tariff fees  on the  corridor. The  amendments in  the CS                                                               
reflect his  intent. He  then asked Mr.  Schmitz to  describe the                                                               
other changes in the CS to committee members.                                                                                   
MR. RICHARD SCHMITZ,  staff to Senator Cowdery,  told members the                                                               
changes made to  SB 31 since the last  Senate Resources Committee                                                               
hearing  will make  sure  this bill  retains  its vision  without                                                               
impacting any other vision, specifically  the gas pipeline. Staff                                                               
from  the  Alaska  Railroad  Corporation  (ARRC),  DNR,  and  the                                                               
Governor's  Office  met to  find  language  everyone could  agree                                                               
upon, which  resulted in  Version S. He  provided members  with a                                                               
comparison  chart of  Version  Q  and Version  S  [Version Q  was                                                               
previously considered by  the committee]. He said  the changes in                                                               
Version  S  are technical  in  nature  and  clarify some  of  the                                                               
ambiguous language. Those changes will  prevent the builders of a                                                               
gas line from having to get permits from both DNR and ARRC.                                                                     
MR. BOB  LOEFFLER, Director of  the Division of Mining,  Land and                                                               
Water, DNR,  gave the following  description of the  changes made                                                               
in Version S.                                                                                                                   
     1. A  reference was  added to  AS 38.35.020  to clarify                                                                    
     that the corridor can be used for a pipeline.                                                                              
     2. The  words, "in  consultation with  other interested                                                                    
     parties"  were added  to Section  1(b)  to reflect  the                                                                    
     fact that  ARRC must coordinate with  potential gasline                                                                    
     developers to  ensure optimal  location for  a pipeline                                                                    
     as well.                                                                                                                   
     3.  Language was  added to  Section 1(c)  to address  a                                                                    
     concern that  a railroad transportation  corridor might                                                                    
     not  be  consistent  with a  corridor  designed  for  a                                                                    
     gasline.  This language  requires  DNR  to approve  the                                                                    
     corridor  in a  way that  minimizes the  impact on  the                                                                    
     potential right-of-way for the gasline.                                                                                    
     4. In Section 1(c)(1),  the words "and other provisions                                                                    
     of this act", were added, which is a technical change.                                                                     
     5. In Section 1(d), the  words "and other provisions of                                                                    
     this  act" were  added to  clarify that  the identified                                                                    
     funding  source  is  the   trigger  for  conveyance  of                                                                    
     management authority.                                                                                                      
     6.  Paragraph (d)(3)  was  added  which reserves  DNR's                                                                    
     authority  to   manage  the   gas  pipeline   from  the                                                                    
     conveyance    to   the    railroad.   Therefore,    the                                                                    
     identification  and  management  of  the  gas  pipeline                                                                    
     remains  with   DNR.  That  will  allow   the  pipeline                                                                    
     developers to deal with one agency only, DNR.                                                                              
     7. The same  change to paragraph (d)(3)  is mirrored in                                                                    
     paragraph (e)(2).                                                                                                          
     8.   Section 1(f)  was rewritten to  provide protection                                                                    
     for the railroad. It requires  DNR to consult with ARRC                                                                    
     right  away if  the  Joint Pipeline  Office approves  a                                                                    
     pipeline  first. It  also gives  DNR  the authority  to                                                                    
     change the  boundaries of  the corridor  to accommodate                                                                    
     the best interests of the state, if necessary.                                                                             
SENATOR ELTON thanked Mr. Loeffler  for his quick response to the                                                               
Senator's question  about Section 1(f).  He said the  change made                                                               
to that subsection adequately addressed his concerns.                                                                           
CHAIR  OGAN  noted  the  bill is  silent  regarding  tariffs  the                                                               
railroad might charge  the gas pipeline for use  of the right-of-                                                               
way and asked if that needs to be addressed.                                                                                    
MR. LOEFFLER replied:                                                                                                           
     Because the  changes reserve from  what is  conveyed to                                                                    
     the  railroad the  right to  authorize  a gas  pipeline                                                                    
     right-of-way,  then  the  railroad  does  not  play  in                                                                    
     tariffs  or other  gas  pipeline  decisions except,  of                                                                    
     course,  we will  have  to coordinate  with  them if  a                                                                    
     railroad existed there  - they would be  the experts in                                                                    
     railroad safety standards.                                                                                                 
SENATOR COWDERY asked  if Version S contains a  provision to deal                                                               
with a  situation in which the  gas pipeline has a  need to cross                                                               
the railroad right-of-way.                                                                                                      
MR. LOEFFLER said he believes it  does. The decision to cross the                                                               
railroad right-of-way would  be up to DNR but  the crossing would                                                               
have  to   comply  with  federal  and   other  applicable  safety                                                               
SENATOR  COWDERY  said  it  is  reasonable  to  expect  that  any                                                               
crossing would  have to  maintain the  integrity of  the railroad                                                               
and  that  any fees  would  have  to  be  borne by  the  pipeline                                                               
developers. He stated,  "I just didn't want them to  say well, so                                                               
much  a cubic  foot of  gas or  any kind  of a  tariff bill  into                                                               
MR.  LOEFFLER said  it  is his  understanding  that the  railroad                                                               
would  not be  able to  add to  the tariff  or to  tariff on  the                                                               
portion of its  route through the railroad  corridor. Although it                                                               
is  not explicit  in the  bill that  the railroad  would have  to                                                               
establish  particular  safety  standards,  he  believes  that  is                                                               
implicit in the way government works.                                                                                           
SENATOR COWDERY  said he  asked because he  wanted the  intent on                                                               
record. He thanked Mr. Loeffler.                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN referred  to language  on page  4, line  29, and                                                               
     If  a railroad  has  started their  process before  the                                                                    
     gasline corridor,  and the  department finds  they need                                                                    
     that portion, then  they have - then  what happens? The                                                                    
     department can  just automatically adjust  the location                                                                    
     of the transportation corridor?                                                                                            
MR. LOEFFLER  said if  the railroad is  already built,  [ARRC] is                                                               
conveyed  the land.  ARRC  will  own the  land  so, like  private                                                               
landowners, anyone wishing  to cross that land will  have to deal                                                               
with  ARRC. However,  DNR will  not  convey all  rights. It  will                                                               
reserve  oil and  gas mineral  rights,  the right  to get  people                                                               
across,  and the  right  to  authorize a  gas  pipeline. He  said                                                               
because it's a  railroad, DNR will have to consult  with ARRC and                                                               
meet applicable safety standards.                                                                                               
SENATOR  LINCOLN said  that  answers her  question  but does  not                                                               
alleviate her concern.                                                                                                          
CHAIR OGAN asked  Ms. Johnson if she concurs  with Mr. Loeffler's                                                               
analysis of Version S.                                                                                                          
MS. PHYLLIS  JOHNSON, general  counsel for  ARRC, said  she does.                                                               
She  stated that  after both  the railroad  and gas  pipeline are                                                               
built, DNR will retain the authority  to manage and deal with the                                                               
pipeline owners entirely. She said  she feels that is appropriate                                                               
because it would not  be fair for a company to  have to deal with                                                               
several agencies to  build one pipeline. She said  in an earlier,                                                               
more generic  version of  the bill, after  the final  transfer of                                                               
the 200-foot  corridor to  ARRC, DNR would  have charged  for the                                                               
lineal footage on  railroad right-of-way and paid  that amount to                                                               
ARRC on  any existing contracts,  including an  existing pipeline                                                               
contract. The pipeline owner will not  have to deal with ARRC but                                                               
ARRC would  have received a  small percentage; all  revenues will                                                               
be collected by DNR.                                                                                                            
MS.  JEANETTE  JAMES,  former  Alaska  State  Representative  and                                                               
current railroad advisor to the  Governor, told members she has a                                                               
concern,  although it  is  not  a concern  of  DNR  or ARRC.  She                                                               
believes  any  revenues from  the  part  of  the gasline  in  the                                                               
railroad's right-of-way  should be prorated to  ARRC for exposure                                                               
of the  pipeline on ARRC  property. The gasline  developers agree                                                               
as long  as the  fees have  already been  established by  DNR and                                                               
ARRC does not charge more.  DNR was concerned about the mechanics                                                               
of collection but  she does not believe that  would be difficult.                                                               
She has  found no objection  to allowing the railroad  to receive                                                               
the revenue  for those uses  within its corridor. She  caution if                                                               
that is not done, there could be conflict later on.                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked if her  position as railroad advisor  is a                                                               
paid position.                                                                                                                  
MS. JAMES said it is.                                                                                                           
SENATOR LINCOLN said she shares  Ms. James' concern and asked her                                                               
to elaborate.                                                                                                                   
MS. JAMES responded:                                                                                                            
     We  have  to  just  kind  of guess  at  what  kinds  of                                                                    
     situations  there  could  be   on  the  ground  Senator                                                                    
     Lincoln. I'm just  using the evaluation of  - there was                                                                    
     a gasline identified previously  when they were talking                                                                    
     about it and they came  to my office as Majority Leader                                                                    
     and there was  one place where the  gasline crossed the                                                                    
     existing railroad  corridor that  is identified  on the                                                                    
     map.  That   railroad  corridor  is  probably   in  the                                                                    
     neighborhood of where a new  railroad corridor would be                                                                    
     - and maybe  not because that has yet  to be determined                                                                    
     and surveyed and  a feasibility study done  and lots of                                                                    
     things to identify that.                                                                                                   
     It  seems to  me that  when both  the railroad  and the                                                                    
     gasline are going  to be going down  the Alaska Highway                                                                    
     area to some  place in Canada, that  certainly there is                                                                    
     a  possibility  that  they  might   be  in  very  close                                                                    
     proximity. There is  - if you have a piece  of land and                                                                    
     a  gasline is  going through  your land  - there  is an                                                                    
     exposure  there. And  so it  doesn't seem  reasonable -                                                                    
     and no matter  what the amount of  the compensation is,                                                                    
     that  there is  any  compensation being  paid for  that                                                                    
     gasline, that the exposure should  go to the landowner.                                                                    
     That's  my issue.  There may  be none,  except maybe  a                                                                    
     cross  here and  there. Or  there maybe  a lot  that is                                                                    
     lined  up  simply  because the  gasline  is  where  the                                                                    
     railroad  needs to  go because  of  the topography  and                                                                    
     geological  situations there.  But, generally,  I would                                                                    
     think  the gasline  would be  away  from there  because                                                                    
     they  can  go  over  hills and  valleys  and  different                                                                    
     things  that the  railroad can't.  We  don't know  what                                                                    
     those things are....                                                                                                       
CHAIR  OGAN asked  Ms. James  if she  could suggest  any language                                                               
MS. JAMES said she would provide some.                                                                                          
MS. JOHNSON also offered to work on additional language.                                                                        
SENATOR   ELTON  asked   Ms.   James,  when   she  talked   about                                                               
compensation  for   any  exposure,   if  she  was   referring  to                                                               
compensation for  risk, and  not, for  example, for  laying fiber                                                               
optic cable in the transportation corridor.                                                                                     
MS. JAMES said  she is not suggesting the  railroad should charge                                                               
the  gasline  developers  for anything  other  than  the  charges                                                               
arranged by DNR.                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  said the flip  side of  that argument would  be to                                                               
identify  a  gas  pipeline right-of-way  and  have  the  pipeline                                                               
developers charge the railroad if it crosses that right-of-way.                                                                 
MS.  JAMES said  they are  two entirely  different transportation                                                               
systems. SB 31 specifically gives  the land, fee simple title, to                                                               
ARRC for its  corridor. She assumes that will be  a 200-foot wide                                                               
corridor  within a  500-foot  transportation  corridor. She  said                                                               
historically railroads  have owned  the land they  run on.  It is                                                               
not typical for  gasline developers to own the land  a gasline is                                                               
built on.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR OGAN  announced that Senator Seekins  joined the committee.                                                               
He then  reminded members that  a motion  to adopt Version  S was                                                               
before the committee so the  discussion should be centered on the                                                               
proposed committee substitute.                                                                                                  
SENATOR LINCOLN  pointed out  that the corridor  in Version  S is                                                               
500-feet wide. She  said the impetus for this  legislation was to                                                               
connect the  Alaska Railroad  to the Canadian  border and  she is                                                               
bothered to  hear anyone  say the state  should pay  the railroad                                                               
for  any right-of-way.  She remarked,  "...I  have problems  with                                                               
this being this  - still this 500 foot, which  is maybe more into                                                               
the real  estate side of  it than it is  for the goal  of getting                                                               
the railroad tie extended into Canada."                                                                                         
MS. JOHNSON  told members  the introductory  section of  the bill                                                               
does  say  500  feet.  However,  the portion  of  the  bill  that                                                               
addresses the construction of the  railroad [Section 1(e) on page                                                               
3] says DNR  will convey 100 feet either side  of centerline. The                                                               
intent is to reserve a  multi-purpose 500 foot corridor but, once                                                               
the railroad  is built,  ARRC will  get its  usual 200  feet. The                                                               
other 300 feet will remain in DNR's jurisdiction.                                                                               
CHAIR OGAN  asked if ARRC  would mediate any  conflicts regarding                                                               
placement of the railroad and the pipeline.                                                                                     
MS.  JOHNSON  said that  Version  S  requires that  the  railroad                                                               
consult with  other parties  early on when  it is  deciding where                                                               
the track should go. DNR would be the arbiter among all parties.                                                                
CHAIR OGAN  removed his objection  to adopt Version  S, therefore                                                               
the motion carried. He then took public testimony.                                                                              
DR.  CHARLES JURASZ  said  he  was testifying  on  behalf of  the                                                               
Canada  West  Foundation  and  as   the  Vice  President  of  the                                                               
[Indisc.]  Sustainable Development  Corporation, whose major task                                                               
is to establish  a trans-Yukon railway. He said  he would discuss                                                               
the level of interest that exists  in the Yukon and the amount of                                                               
interest and  engagement on the  national and  territorial levels                                                               
in Canada.                                                                                                                      
DR. JURASZ  said Datapath Systems of  Whitehorse recently carried                                                               
out a survey  to determine awareness of a  trans-Yukon railway or                                                               
a rail link. He provided the following results from that survey:                                                                
  · 68 percent of those people polled in Whitehorse were aware                                                                  
   · 66 percent of rural Yukoners were aware                                                                                    
   · 90 percent of those who were aware support a rail link                                                                     
   · the lowest level of support was 84 percent, the highest was                                                                
     98 percent                                                                                                                 
DR. JURASZ told members the  Yukon Territory went from a position                                                               
of having a population with barely  any interest in "being on the                                                               
map" to  one of people  who carefully  watch the method  by which                                                               
being put on the map  proceeds. Alaska's method is very important                                                               
to Yukoners, who  see the potential success of a  rail link being                                                               
based on coordinating  with a pipeline to  reduce building costs.                                                               
As  recently as  10 days  ago, the  Minister of  Foreign Affairs,                                                               
Bill  Graham,  who is  responsible  for  deciding on  whether  to                                                               
proceed  with  a  bilateral   agreement,  visited  Whitehorse  to                                                               
discuss the  commission. At the  end of those  evenings, Premiere                                                               
Fenty  and Foreign  Minister Graham  addressed the  candidacy for                                                               
commission members.  He believes the  level support in  Canada is                                                               
high although it might not be enthusiastically presented.                                                                       
SENATOR  LINCOLN  asked  for the  breakdown  of  support  between                                                               
Whitehorse and the rural areas.                                                                                                 
DR. JURASZ  repeated the  support in  Whitehorse was  68 percent;                                                               
the support in the rural communities was 66 percent.                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN asked how many households were polled.                                                                          
DR. JURASZ  did not have that  number but said the  pollster said                                                               
it  was one  of  the  "fuller" polls,  meaning  more people  were                                                               
interviewed. He offered  to send the survey  details to committee                                                               
SENATOR ELTON  pointed out that Dr.  Jurasz was a teacher  in the                                                               
Juneau School District and was  largely responsible for fostering                                                               
student interest in the biological sciences.                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER asked if the rail  link on the Yukon side will be                                                               
built with government or private corporation funds.                                                                             
DR. JURASZ said those options  are being addressed right now. The                                                               
route  for  both  the  rail   and  the  pipeline  has  been  well                                                               
established on the  Alaska side. The map on the  Yukon side shows                                                               
the interest  of rail in the  Yukon and that route  is consistent                                                               
with the  pipeline route Alaska  is interested in, but  there are                                                               
additional  considerations.  The  focus  on the  Alaska  side  is                                                               
"rails to  resources." To do that  on the Yukon side  will entail                                                               
corridors  that do  not coincide  with any  route that  Alaska is                                                               
currently addressing for the pipeline. He explained:                                                                            
     When you  ask at what level  are we looking to  or what                                                                    
     are the different sources  for funding, etcetera, there                                                                    
     is  no question  that  private  ownership becomes  very                                                                    
     significant to us, i.e. that  much of the rail interest                                                                    
     lies   within  the   private  sector.   We  have   some                                                                    
     advantages   on   the    Canadian   side.   There   are                                                                    
     organizations that literally  sponsor us, ensuring both                                                                    
     public  and  private  partnership.   So  we  have,  for                                                                    
     example,  a Canadian  Council  for  Private and  Public                                                                    
      Partnerships, which pursues only 'mega' projects and                                                                      
     the railroad across the Yukon would be such a project.                                                                     
DR.   JURASZ  told   members  that   Foreign  Minister   Graham's                                                               
involvement   signifies   that   the  Department   of   Transport                                                               
recognizes this  as a project  with international potential.   He                                                               
thanked members for their time.                                                                                                 
MR.  JACK PHELPS,  special assistant  for  natural resources  and                                                               
transportation   to   Governor   Murkowski,  told   members   the                                                               
Governor's commitment to a rail  link between Alaska and the rest                                                               
of the  country through  Canada is  longstanding and  well known.                                                               
When  he  was   a  United  States  Senator,   he  formulated  the                                                               
legislation  that created  the bilateral  commission. He  is very                                                               
interested  in seeing  the transportation  corridor designed  for                                                               
other   purposes:  pipelines,   fiber  optic   cable  and   other                                                               
appropriate uses. Obviously, this  legislation is the first step.                                                               
He stated Version  S is the direct result  of discussions between                                                               
Senator  Cowdery  and  DNR.   The  Administration  supports  this                                                               
legislation,  however it  believes other  issues may  need to  be                                                               
CHAIR OGAN asked if the  Administration wants the bill moved from                                                               
committee today.                                                                                                                
MR. PHELPS said he would support that.                                                                                          
SENATOR LINCOLN asked Mr. Phelps  if the potential amendment that                                                               
Ms. James  discussed is one of  the other issues that  need to be                                                               
MR. PHELPS replied:                                                                                                             
     That is  certainly one that  can be discussed.  At this                                                                    
     point I'm  not prepared  to discuss  the details  of it                                                                    
     except to  say that  there are complexities  related to                                                                    
     it, but  I think the  short answer to your  question is                                                                    
CHAIR OGAN took public testimony.                                                                                               
MS. DANA  OLSON, testifying from  the Mat-Su  via teleconference,                                                               
told members one of her major  concerns with SB 31 is notice. She                                                               
has a  property interest  in which  she has  a reservation  for a                                                               
federal railroad on a federal  patent. She contacted ARRC and was                                                               
assured that  she would receive a  response at the end  of March,                                                               
but she has not received anything.  She was surprised to find out                                                               
SB 31  was introduced as  it required coordination  among various                                                               
agencies. She  stated the  Alaska Railroad  Transfer Act  of 1982                                                               
said  railroad  ownership  would   revert  back  to  the  federal                                                               
government after  18 years of  non-continuous use.  The effective                                                               
date of  the 18-year deadline  was January 5, 2003.  The transfer                                                               
act required that  multiple efforts be made to  provide notice to                                                               
those who would be affected.                                                                                                    
TAPE 03-31, SIDE B                                                                                                              
MS. OLSON  continued. She  said this bill  does not  address that                                                               
issue so  she does not  know whether  she has been  affected. She                                                               
told  members that  SB 31  violates the  federally aided  highway                                                               
act. She  said she met with  DNR staff about a  proposed pipeline                                                               
across the Inlet. It would cross within her right-of-way.                                                                       
CHAIR  OGAN  noted  that  the  pipeline  corridor  would  connect                                                               
Fairbanks and Canada and not cross her land in the Mat-Su.                                                                      
MS. OLSON  said the pipeline  spurs might affect  her indirectly.                                                               
She said the  Alaska Railroad Transfer Act requires  notice to be                                                               
published. She said she was  denied a meeting with the Governor's                                                               
aides  to discuss  that  matter. She  said  that the  legislature                                                               
cannot legislate  until it knows  who will be affected.  She said                                                               
she would  be asking ARRC  to immediately respond to  her request                                                               
and she asked  that SB 31 be stayed until  appropriate notice has                                                               
been given to people who will be affected.                                                                                      
CHAIR OGAN said that appropriate notice  has been given on SB 31.                                                               
This legislation  deals with  a railroad  extension to  Canada to                                                               
connect  to the  North American  railroad system  so it  does not                                                               
affect the Mat-Su  area. With no further  participants, he closed                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  WAGONER  moved CSSB  31(RES),  labeled  Version S,  with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  its attached  fiscal notes  from                                                               
SENATOR ELTON  objected and expressed concern  that a substantive                                                               
amendment is  being prepared that  addresses compensation  to the                                                               
railroad. He said  this is the appropriate committee  to review a                                                               
change of  that magnitude. He  said his  concern is that  if this                                                               
bill   leaves  this   committee,  members   will  not   have  the                                                               
opportunity  to  review the  issue  of  whether the  railroad  or                                                               
gasline has primacy.                                                                                                            
CHAIR OGAN  pointed out  this legislation has  a referral  to the                                                               
Senate Finance  Committee. He stated,  "you can get  another bite                                                               
of the apple up there and a bite of the apple on the floor."                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  said he believes it  asks a lot of  Senate Finance                                                               
Committee members  to get involved  in an issue that  goes beyond                                                               
the fiscal impact.  The primacy question is  a substantive policy                                                               
CHAIR  OGAN said  he understands  the Senator's  concerns but  he                                                               
does not believe there is  consensus in the Governor's Office. He                                                               
said he would  commit to tracking that question and,  if there is                                                               
a serious problem, he will make sure it gets addressed.                                                                         
SENATOR LINCOLN  also expressed concern  about SB 31  leaving the                                                               
committee.  She  appreciates  the Chair's  thoroughness  but  she                                                               
shares Senator Elton's  concerns. She does not believe  it is the                                                               
Finance Committee's  obligation to deal with  resource issues and                                                               
amending a bill on  the floor is not that easy.   Since Ms. James                                                               
is the  railroad advisor to the  Governor, one can assume  she is                                                               
working  with  the  Governor  on a  proposed  amendment  that  is                                                               
resource  related.  She  believes  this committee  has  not  done                                                               
everything it can to finalize this legislation.                                                                                 
CHAIR OGAN  said he understands  those concerns, but  Ms. Johnson                                                               
told members  that the railroad's  right-of-way will be  100 feet                                                               
on each  side of the centerline  and that DNR will  arbitrate any                                                               
conflicts. That arrangement set his concerns aside.                                                                             
SENATOR DYSON  said he wants  to take action on  this legislation                                                               
because  it presents  a  marvelous  opportunity. Stimulating  the                                                               
economy  and providing  jobs is  a  very high  priority for  both                                                               
governments. He believes Dr. Jurasz  is correct in that there has                                                               
been a change  in the Canadian federal  government's attitude and                                                               
an  opportunity  is  available   for  both  governments  to  come                                                               
together. He  said there is  an immense amount of  mineral wealth                                                               
north of  the Alaska Highway  that both  sides of the  border are                                                               
very  eager to  have commercialized.  Lack of  market access  has                                                               
prevented commercialization.  He believes  the issue of  what the                                                               
railroad will charge for use  of its right-of-way can be resolved                                                               
as this process  moves forward. He encouraged members  to keep SB
31 moving.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR  ELTON maintained  his  objection but  stated  he has  no                                                               
problem with this  bill as written. He agrees  with Senator Dyson                                                               
about  the  importance  of  economic  development.  However,  the                                                               
question that remains in his mind  is that if a proposal to allow                                                               
ARRC to do a charge off  against the gas pipeline comes forth, he                                                               
will choose  primacy for the  pipeline. He said the  committee is                                                               
assuming that  nothing will get in  the way of the  gas pipeline.                                                               
He hopes that's the case.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  OGAN said  there  is some  ambiguity  from the  Governor's                                                               
Office that  needs to be  worked out.  He said he  shares Senator                                                               
Elton's concerns and he believes  it is the committee's intent to                                                               
give primacy  to the pipeline. He  said if this issue  was raised                                                               
two weeks ago, he would be  willing to hold the bill in committee                                                               
but the  clock is ticking.  He will  discuss the matter  with the                                                               
Administration  but he  does  not  object to  moving  it out.  He                                                               
called for a roll call vote.                                                                                                    
SENATORS  STEVENS, DYSON,  SEEKINS,  WAGONER, and  OGAN voted  in                                                               
favor, and SENATORS  LINCOLN AND ELTON voted  against moving CSSB
31(RES) from committee, therefore the motion carried.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects