Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/04/2004 03:55 PM Senate RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SR 4-AMEND WILDERNESS ACT                                                                                
CHAIR SCOTT  OGAN called the Senate  Resources Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 3:55  p.m. Present  were Senators  Wagoner,                                                               
Seekins, Elton and  Chair Scott Ogan. Senator  Stevens arrived at                                                               
5:12  and Senator  Dyson  arrived  at 4:53.  The  first order  of                                                               
business  to come  before the  committee was  SR 4,  a follow  up                                                               
resolution to  the one  passed by  the committee  earlier, asking                                                               
the Department  of Interior to  allow the release of  sockeye fry                                                               
into Tustumena Lake  in Wilderness Society and  Alaska Center for                                                               
the Environment  versus the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife  Service. The                                                               
Department  of Interior  has  determined  that qualifications  to                                                               
assert in  the Supreme Court  aren't there and the  Ninth Circuit                                                               
has met  and balked. The  result of  the lawsuit is  that 100,000                                                               
adult fish will not be returning to lower Cook Inlet.                                                                           
SR 4 asks Congress to amend  the Wilderness Act to deal with non-                                                               
commercial  activities such  as  the  sockeye salmon  enhancement                                                               
programs,  which have  been going  on  in Tustumena  Lake for  30                                                               
MR.   PAUL   SHADURA,    President,   Kenai   Peninsula   Fishing                                                               
Association,  supported the  resolution saying,  "The urgency  of                                                               
this  action  cannot  be overstated....  It  is  imperative  that                                                               
Alaska  encourages our  federal delegation  and our  president of                                                               
the need to take action...."                                                                                                    
MR.  JERRY FANDREI,  Executive Director,  Cook Inlet  Aquaculture                                                               
Association (CIAA), recognized the importance of this issue.                                                                    
     The Ninth Circuit Court of  Appeal's decision to enjoin                                                                    
     the  Tustumena Lake  project restricts  our ability  to                                                                    
     complete our goal of providing  protection for the Cook                                                                    
     Inlet  salmon resource.  The decision  also limits  the                                                                    
     ability of  the state to manage  its fishery resources,                                                                    
     particularly  those resources  providing the  basis for                                                                    
     the  state's  rural  economy.  On  behalf  of  CIAA,  I                                                                    
     support SR 4 and look forward to its submittal....                                                                         
MR. JERRY MCCUTCHEON, Anchorage resident, said:                                                                                 
     Put the  fish into Tustumena  Lake. Let the  state take                                                                    
     the  legal  responsibility  for having  it  happen  and                                                                    
     let's solve it  somewhere else. I think  by not putting                                                                    
     the fish  in the  lake we set  a bad  precedent.... The                                                                    
     waters of  the state of  Alaska belong to the  state of                                                                    
     Alaska. I don't  know whatever happened to  that, but I                                                                    
     think it's a good time to solve the problem.                                                                               
CHAIR OGAN said he agreed with him.                                                                                             
SENATOR  WAGONER  moved   to  pass  SR  4   from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal note.  There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            
CHAIR OGAN  added that  Mr. McCutcheon's  comments relate  to the                                                               
submerged lands issue  and he thought the State  of Alaska should                                                               
have the ability  to regulate what happens on  them, whether they                                                               
are  an in-holding  in a  national wildlife  refuge or  not. "I'm                                                               
outraged   that   somehow   somebody  thinks   their   wilderness                                                               
experience  is  being  compromised because  there's  some  little                                                               
fishies  swimming in  a lake  somewhere and  maybe a  float plane                                                               
that landed."                                                                                                                   

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