Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2015 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
03:30:31 PM Start
03:31:00 PM Overview: Wetland Mitigation
04:18:45 PM SB70
05:00:29 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview: Wetlands Mitigation in Alaska TELECONFERENCED
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
Scheduled but Not Heard
<Pending Referral>
-- Public Testimony --
Scheduled but Not Heard
<Pending Referral>
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB  70-GAS PIPELINE RIGHT-OF-WAY;PARKS;REFUGES                                                                     
4:18:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced SB  70 to be  up for  consideration. She                                                               
invited Mr. Ellis and Mr. Perrin to the table.                                                                                  
4:19:34 PM                                                                                                                    
BEN ELLIS,  Director, Division of  Parks and  Outdoor Recreation,                                                               
Department of Natural Resources  (DNR), Juneau, Alaska, explained                                                               
that SB 70  will allow a gasline to go  through four Alaska state                                                               
parks. He explained  that when recreational land  has been pulled                                                               
out  of the  general state  land  the multipurpose  use has  been                                                               
replaced by a specific use, in  this case it would be recreation.                                                               
Because of the  difference between Title 38  lands (general state                                                               
land administered by the Division  of Mining, Land and Water) and                                                               
Title 41 land (state park lands)  he does not have the ability to                                                               
do any type  of long-term lease on Title 41  land. The concept of                                                               
title 41 is  to lease for short  periods of time of  four or five                                                               
years to  allow a  concession or something  similar to  occupy an                                                               
area; Title 41 lands are  not designed for long-term leasing that                                                               
the right-of-way for  a pipeline would need.  This bill addresses                                                               
that by allowing the four units  mentioned to be used in a right-                                                               
of-way situation while still being managed for park intent.                                                                     
4:21:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DON  PERRIN,  Acting  Coordinator, State  Pipeline  Coordinator's                                                               
Office, Department  of Natural Resources  (DNR), said  the intent                                                               
of this bill  is to allow for a pipeline  corridor through Denali                                                               
State Park  and three other  identified state  recreational areas                                                               
that are all under Title 41.                                                                                                    
He said the  State Pipeline Coordinator issued  a 38.35 right-of-                                                               
way  (ROW) lease  to the  Alaska Gasline  Development Corporation                                                               
(AGDC) in  2011. Presently it  is a dis-contiguous  lease because                                                               
of these Title 41 lands. This  bill would allow them to apply the                                                               
Right-of-Way  Leasing  Act  and  have a  contiguous  38.35  lease                                                               
through state lands.                                                                                                            
He said  the primary objective  of the bill authorizes  the lease                                                               
under  the  Right-of-Way  Leasing   Act.  It  requires  that  the                                                               
corridor  be managed  as  park land  and  recreation areas  until                                                               
leased  under   38.35  and  then   returned  to  park   land  and                                                               
recreational  areas  upon  termination  of  the  lease.  It  also                                                               
provides supplemental  requirements to reserve  traditional means                                                               
of  public access  and minimizes  the impact  of the  pipeline on                                                               
specific  values of  the park  and recreation  areas. This  means                                                               
that the State Pipeline Coordinator's  Office would work with the                                                               
Division  of  Parks  and  Outdoor  Recreation  to  formulate  and                                                               
establish  stipulations and  requirements of  the lease  that are                                                               
intended  to protect  the park  values  of those  areas. It  also                                                               
clarifies that it is in  the DNR commissioner's power to delegate                                                               
condemnation authority  to a  lessee that  does not  apply within                                                               
these park area  boundaries. In other words,  they cannot condemn                                                               
this land for a pipeline.                                                                                                       
Finally, Mr. Perrin  explained that SB 70 would  require that the                                                               
gas pipeline lease be issued before January 1, 2020.                                                                            
MR. ELLIS  explained that the  bill is needed  so there can  be a                                                               
right-of-way  lease through  the  four state  park units:  Denali                                                               
State  Park and  the recreational  areas of  Willow Creek,  Nancy                                                               
Lake, and Captain Cook State Park.                                                                                              
4:25:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PERRIN said one might ask  why this bill does not include the                                                               
state  game refuges.  They believe  that  the 38.35  Right-of-Way                                                               
Leasing Act  does apply  in those areas  and therefore  they were                                                               
not included in  the bill. Permitting for  geotechnical and other                                                               
field  work that  will  support the  final  application is  being                                                               
conducted in those areas, as  well. So, after discussion with the                                                               
Department of  Law, they didn't  feel they needed to  include the                                                               
state game refuges.  In regards to the two  gasline projects, the                                                               
ASAP and AKLNG,  the corridor that would be  created through this                                                               
bill is  basically what would be  granted to AGDC upon  review of                                                               
their amended application.                                                                                                      
4:27:36 PM                                                                                                                    
In 2012  the Corps of Engineers  finalized their EIS and  the ROW                                                               
was granted. It  follows the DOTPF ROW along  the Denali Highway,                                                               
but  because  it  was  through Title  41  lands,  the  department                                                               
determined the ROW Leasing Act didn't apply there.                                                                              
In 2013, the AKLNG project came  into being and the engineers for                                                               
both   projects  began   working   together  in   terms  of   the                                                               
geotechnical work needed  for the ROW. This means  core holes are                                                               
being drilled to assess the underlying  soils to come up with the                                                               
best ROW.  While it  is a  little early for  AKLNG to  finalize a                                                               
ROW, they  believe this corridor  will suffice for  both projects                                                               
and any  gasline project. Both projects  are currently conducting                                                               
field work along  that corridor to gather  information that would                                                               
support an application at some point.                                                                                           
4:28:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ELLIS said  they had  an organizational  meeting with  field                                                               
workers and this Wednesday the first work will begin.                                                                           
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  how confident he is that  this is the                                                               
line the "Big Three" are building.                                                                                              
MR. PERRIN answered  that their confidence level is  based on the                                                               
field work that is currently  occurring. They won't know what the                                                               
final  alignment is  until  FERC has  completed  its process  for                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if it's better  to pass this now or to                                                               
MR. PERRIN answered if they could  pass it now, it is enough land                                                               
to accommodate either project.                                                                                                  
CHAIR GIESSEL  said asked how  much wiggle  room there is  if the                                                               
line moves.                                                                                                                     
MR.  PERRIN answered  there  is a  significant  amount of  wiggle                                                               
room,  although the  ASAP  project could  end  up with  something                                                               
other than the line.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how large the easement is.                                                                           
4:31:44 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANK   RICHARDS,  Vice   President,   Engineering  and   Program                                                               
Management,  Alaska   Gasline  Development   Corporation  (AGDC),                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska, invited Mike Thompson to answer it.                                                                          
MIKE  THOMPSON,  Environmental   Regulatory  and  Lands  Manager,                                                               
Alaska Stand  Alone Pipeline  (ASAP) Project,  Anchorage, Alaska,                                                               
answered  that they  are looking  at 120  foot easement  for both                                                               
construction and operations and a  300 foot buffer on both sides;                                                               
so a  total of 750  feet. Any  quarter section that  touches that                                                               
buffer within 300  feet of that buffer was  incorporated into the                                                               
corridor  they are  discussing right  now. A  quarter section  is                                                               
about  1320 feet  by  1320  feet. This  is  a fairly  significant                                                               
buffer  and ASAP's  engineering  team said  it  would meet  their                                                               
SENATOR COSTELLO reminded  them of the Creamer's  Field issue and                                                               
asked what  assurances the legislature has  that the descriptions                                                               
are correct.                                                                                                                    
4:37:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS  answered that this  is the description that  they feel                                                               
assured with, but there may be modifications to it.                                                                             
CHAIR  GIESSEL   asked  Mr.  Richards   if  these   are  accurate                                                               
descriptions of these properties.                                                                                               
4:38:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHARDS  said the  land descriptions  in Section  1 actually                                                               
came  from AGDC.  The reason  they are  comfortable with  this is                                                               
because  it  provides  a  sufficient   amount  of  area  to  make                                                               
modifications  as they  work  with their  partners,  AKLNG, on  a                                                               
common alignment.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   asked  how  750  feet   compares  to  the                                                               
TransAlaska Pipeline System  (TAPS) buffer and if  there would be                                                               
public access through this corridor.                                                                                            
MR.  ELLIS answered  that they  would envision  working with  the                                                               
least impact  to the area  and manage that  through stipulations,                                                               
and it would still be open for people to cross.                                                                                 
4:41:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  pointed out  that language on  page 4,  line 9,                                                               
would reserve  uses for typical use  as opposed to leaving  it up                                                               
to ROW law.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked what changes  Mr. Ellis  was anticipating                                                               
and how they related to HB 139.                                                                                                 
MR. ELLIS  replied that his earlier  comment was more in  a small                                                               
sense of  movement. In  other words,  the ROW  line they  see now                                                               
will not be the  final ROW line, but he was  confident it will be                                                               
within the 750 foot ROW easement that this would grant.                                                                         
He said they  began reviewing HB 139 on Friday  and couldn't do a                                                               
comparison at this time, but it will need to be done.                                                                           
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  if he  thought it  would have  de minimis                                                               
consequences for this project.                                                                                                  
MR. ELLIS answered  that one of the largest  differences he could                                                               
see  offhand  is   that  HB  139  includes   refuges  within  the                                                               
description.  He would have to  defer to the Alaska Department of                                                               
Fish and Game or the Department of  Law as to whether it needs to                                                               
be in there.                                                                                                                    
MR. PERRIN added  that HB 139 is still being  reviewed, but it is                                                               
exclusive to  AGDC and  the ASAP  project and  not a  pipeline in                                                               
CHAIR  GIESSEL  said  this  bill  would be  held  over  and  that                                                               
information should  be available for  the next hearing.  They are                                                               
pretty concerned that parts won't be left out again.                                                                            
4:46:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there were any  impacts to hunting                                                               
or the ability to use firearms.                                                                                                 
MR. ELLIS answered that would  definitely be a negative impact on                                                               
hunting and using firearms near the corridor.                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if he saw any  businesses being taken                                                               
by eminent domain with passage of this bill.                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS answered no, but that  is a question for the Department                                                               
of Law.                                                                                                                         
4:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN HUTCHINSON,  Assistant Attorney  General, Department  of Law                                                               
(DOL),  Juneau, Alaska,  said the  final  question about  eminent                                                               
domain is  one for someone  involved with the  pipeline projects.                                                               
There are several  private inholdings within the  state parks and                                                               
the question is  if that alignment go through  a private holding.                                                               
The bill requires the state to  exercise eminent domain but it is                                                               
not actually  authorized in  several of the  parks; the  state is                                                               
required to  purchase land  rather than  take it  through eminent                                                               
domain. It's unlikely  that there will be any  takings within the                                                               
parks using eminent domain.                                                                                                     
He also  clarified that the  corridor identified in this  bill is                                                               
not actually  the final  ROW; it  is a  corridor of  land through                                                               
which  leasing  would be  authorized.  The  legislature would  be                                                               
giving  back to  DNR the  power to  authorize at  least somewhere                                                               
within  this corridor  the final  construction corridor  that Mr.                                                               
Thompson was  talking about,  which would  be some  small segment                                                               
within the legal description.                                                                                                   
He  said  the  Talerico  bill   takes  a  different  approach  in                                                               
authorizing  leasing  throughout  the   park;  there  is  no  set                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked which approach was  preferable from a                                                               
legal standpoint.                                                                                                               
MR.  HUTCHINSON   answered  that  was  a   policy  question.  The                                                               
legislature is authorized  to open this land for  leasing and the                                                               
governor's bill  takes a more minimalist  approach in identifying                                                               
a corridor within  which a lease is authorized to  be issued. The                                                               
downside to  that is that  there is some uncertainty  about where                                                               
the pipeline  will finally cross.  The upside is that  the entire                                                               
park is not being opened to ROW leasing.                                                                                        
SENATOR  COSTELLO said  this  sets a  general  guideline for  the                                                               
area, but would  this legislation have to be  replaced or changed                                                               
at some  point. Is it just  a building block for  the pipeline at                                                               
which some point they will know the specific route?                                                                             
MR. HUTCHINSON  answered no;  the legislature  would not  have to                                                               
come back. This sets an  area through which leasing is authorized                                                               
for  10  years  until  January  1,  2020.  The  only  reason  the                                                               
legislature would have to look at  it again is if the pipeline is                                                               
in a dramatically different place.                                                                                              
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked if  there  is  any practical  difference                                                               
between saying  we know this  is the  area that could  change and                                                               
the Talerico blanket approach.                                                                                                  
MR.  HUTCHINSON  answered that  is  a  complicated question.  One                                                               
advantage  in  the   governor's  approach  is  if   there  was  a                                                               
challenge, the legislature had already  looked at this particular                                                               
corridor,  which  would limit  review  of  that decision  by  the                                                               
courts.  A  much broader  bill  would  require lots  of  specific                                                               
circumstances leaving it more open to challenge.                                                                                
4:54:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  Mr.  Ellis  to define  what  some of  the                                                               
stakeholders are in this process from his division's standpoint.                                                                
MR. ELLIS answered  that he had no  discussions with stakeholders                                                               
on  this  process so  far,  but  during  the  EIS of  a  previous                                                               
rendition  meetings were  held in  Talkeetna,  Trapper Creek  and                                                               
other  places  where individuals  made  comments.  He is  in  the                                                               
process  of  getting those  comments.  Alaska  State Parks  would                                                               
consider  stakeholders to  be various  user groups  in the  area,                                                               
businesses and the MatSu Advisory Board.                                                                                        
SENATOR MICCICHE asked  him to research whether  firearms will be                                                               
allowed on  the ROW.  It is  open to  traditional uses  except in                                                               
very specific cases like during construction.                                                                                   
4:57:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS responded  that his comment was  about the construction                                                               
MR. PERRIN  added that through  the remainder of the  current ROW                                                               
that exists  (the 38.35  on state lands)  the hunting  analogy is                                                               
the same.  Folks access and  hunt along those non-park  lands and                                                               
so  the analogy  would be  the same  in the  park as  outside the                                                               
park. It will need to be clarified.                                                                                             
SENATOR  MICCICHE pointed  out  that under  49  CFR 192  requires                                                               
maintaining the  ROW. So,  actually there  is improved  access in                                                               
many situations.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  if  the improved  access  is  going                                                               
through wetland  areas, would it  be converted into an  area that                                                               
can be walked or driven over.                                                                                                   
MR. ELLIS  answered that it is  premature to say, but  the intent                                                               
would be to  use the "rails for trails" model  where old railroad                                                               
beds were  turned into hiking  or ATV  trails. And some  level of                                                               
restoration must be looked at.                                                                                                  
CHAIR GIESSEL said she would hold SB 70 for further review.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SRES Wetland Mitigation March 9 2015.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB0070A.PDF SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
Fiscal Note-SB0070-1-2-030615-DNR-N.PDF SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70 Hearing Request.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70 Sectional Analysis .pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70 Supporting Document- (LAS 30116 AGDC Geotech State Parks Permit final signed 2015).pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Gov Transmittal Letter.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70 Briefing Paper .pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70-Supporting Document-MapCaptainCookSRA_11x17_150224.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70-Supporting Document-Map-Denali_11x17_150225r.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70-Supporting Document-Map-Nancy_Lake_SRA_11x17_150224.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB 70-Supporting Document-Map-WillowCreek_11x17_150224.pdf SRES 3/9/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 70