Dear Members and Friends,
Activity at the Legislature is picking up with several Fisheries Committee meetings taking place, as well as Jerry and myself meeting with legislators to discuss issues and UFA concerns.
There are a few bills that we are keeping an eye on and monitoring closely. I have outlined three that we have been working on this week.
- HB 87 Board of Fisheries Conflict of Interest: We wrote a letter to Senator Kevin Meyer, Chairman of the Senate Affairs Committee expressing our full support of the bill and recommended that Intent Language or a definition of participating in deliberations be adopted on the Senate side as the bill progresses forward. The letter may be found on our website:
UFA addtl comments on HB 87 Board of Fisheries Conflict of Interest (January 24, 2018)
- HB 199 Fish/Wildlife Habitat Protection; Permits: There have been several changes to HB 199, too many to list here. UFA has not established a position on this bill.
Major changes include: (For a full text of changes visit the Sectional Analysis)
- Penalty for violating fishway requirements
- Determination of anadromous fish habit which creates a two-tier permitting scheme. (Minor permit classifications for applications that will not significantly adversely affect anadromous fish habitat and major permit classification for applications that have the potential to significantly adversely affect anadromous fish habitat)
- Anadromous fish habitat permit
- Significant adverse effects which identifies criteria used to determine if the level of potential adverse effects to fish habitat could be significant, requiring a major permit.
- Construction without approval prohibited was amended to make reference to the new two-tiered permitting scheme and retain the requirement that a person or government entity can be found guilty of misdemeanor for failing to comply.
- Permit Conditions and mitigation measures sets forth requirements for permit conditions and mitigation measures for permits.
- Reconsideration of determinations which establishes a review and appeal procedures
- Exemption for emergency situations
- Notification of violations
- Applicability of permitting requirements
- Penalties for violations
- HB 188 Regional Fisheries Trusts: We had the opportunity to meet with JKT’s staff prior to the committee meeting. We discussed concerns regarding changes to limited entry, qualifications for applicants to lease a permit from a trust, definition of communities. The committee meeting addressed many of these issues stating that a board would be required for each community with at least two people with commercial fishing backgrounds and that there would be quantitative qualifications. They will base community boundaries on defined DCCED communities in ADFG/CFEC fishery regions, but only three regional fisheries trusts would be allowed to be established. The funding to purchase the permits would need to be raised by the trust or communities. And lastly, people from out of state will be allowed to apply and there is no guarantee that individuals who are leased permits would be required to stay in the community.
This bill still has a long way to go and we will keep you informed of more changes as they come forward.At this time, UFA has no position on this bill. We plan to discuss it with the full UFA board at our Spring meeting scheduled for February 27-March 1 in Juneau.
Thank you for your continued support of UFA.Have a good weekend.
UFA Executive Director
We encourage members to support our business members – see links on our website.
New Bill coming soon:
1. Governor Walker introduces legislation to streamline mining regulations
January 26, 2018 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker today (Jan 26) transmitted legislation to reduce red tape and bureaucracy for small miners following a series of extensive meetings and public engagements with miners across the state.
The proposed legislation eliminates the burdensome requirement to record annual labor affidavits. This simplified process will allow miners to focus on their business rather than on doing paperwork. Qualified miners would now be able to maintain their tenure simply by making payments to the state, rather than providing evidence of their work.
“Building a Stronger Alaska is a priority of my administration, and to continue down that path, we need a flourishing, diversified economy,” Governor Walker said. “This legislation keeps important environmental protections in place while ensuring that family mines can continue to operate and contribute to state and local economies by clarifying existing statues and removing unnecessary red tape. I hope to see the legislation come to my desk by the end of session.”
This announcement is not yet posted but we expect it to be soon at the Governor’s Press Releases page.
The bill will be available after it is introduced in House and/or Senate floor sessions next week.
Also worth noting – late breaking news from Washington DC:
2. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Suspends Withdrawal of Proposed Determination in Bristol Bay Watershed, Will Solicit Additional Comments
…“We have restored process, reviewed comments, and heard from a variety of stakeholders on whether to withdraw the proposed restrictions in the Bristol Bay watershed,” Administrator Scott Pruitt said. “Based on that review, it is my judgment at this time that any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there. Until we know the full extent of that risk, those natural resources and world-class fisheries deserve the utmost protection. Today’s action allows EPA to get the information needed to determine what specific impacts the proposed mining project will have on those critical resources.”
This decision neither deters nor derails the application process of Pebble Limited Partnership’s proposed project. The project proponents continue to enjoy the protection of due process and the right to proceed. However, their permit application must clear a high bar, because EPA believes the risk to Bristol Bay may be unacceptable…
EPA Press release
Federal Register pre-publication notice
EPA Bristol Bay home page
& Governor’s Walker Press Release:
3. The 30th Alaska Legislature – happenings from this week…
HB 188 – Regional fisheries trusts (Kreiss-Tomkins) was heard in House Fisheries Committee on Thursday… new version M was introduced with updated summary of changes, new sponsor statement, sectional analysis and other documents see the documents tab at the bill’s home page. Aleutians East Borough Mayor Alvin Osterback provided testimony requesting that two names be allowed on commercial fishing permits… scheduled for continued hearing on Tuesday February 30 – see below.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
10:00 AM – House Fisheries Committee – Room 120 – HB 188 – Regional fisheries trusts (Kreiss-Tomkins) – Continuation of introduction of committee substitute & review of sectional analysis
11:00 AM – House Fish and Game Budget Subcommittee – Room 120 – continued overview, testimony by invitation only.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
1:00 P.M.– House Resources Committee in room 124 – new bill, HB #to be assigned: “An Act relating to penalties for discharges of oil and other pollution violations; relating to oil discharge prevention and contingency plans for commercial motor vehicles transporting crude oil; and providing for an effective date.” <Pending Introduction & Referral>
3:30 P.M. Senate Resources – Room 205 – Overview: Alaska’s State Managed Game Refuges, Sanctuaries & Critical Habitat Areas
– Department of Fish & Game invited testimony only.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
10:00 A.M. House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee – Room 120 – Division of Commercial Fishing – Testimony by invitation only.
Friday, February 2, 2018
1:00 P.M. House Resources Committee – Room 124 – new bill, HB # to be assigned: “An Act relating to penalties for discharges of oil and other pollution violations; relating to oil discharge prevention and contingency plans for commercial motor vehicles transporting crude oil; and providing for an effective date.” <Pending Introduction & Referral>
5. To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing… To testify it’s best to go to a Legislative Information office – see them online at http://akleg.gov/lios.php .
If you can’t get to an LIO you can call in to listen in or testify through the following numbers – & ask for the specific committee hearing:
From Anchorage based phones call 907-563-9085;
From Juneau based phones or outside Alaska call 907-586-9085;
From other areas of Alaska, call toll-free 844-586-9085…and ask for the specific hearing.
To watch hearings online go to legislative home page at http://w3.akleg.gov/ at the time of the hearing, and click on the “Live Now” tab, and then select the meeting.
6. Bills related to fisheries, and others that may be of interest to fishermen that we are tracking.
HCR 8 – Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center (House Fisheries – passed House, now in Senate)
HJR 12 – Opposing FDA approval of GM Salmon and urging labeling (Tarr – passed House, now in Senate Resources
HB 14 – Leg. approval of Bristol Bay sulfide mine (Josephson – now in House Resources – new fiscal notes posted by DEC, DNR & ADFG)
HB 17 – Establishing a fish and game conservation program/account in ADFG (Josephson – now in House Resources)
HB 19 – Ban neonicotinoid pesticides (Drummond – passed House Resources, now in Finance)
SB25 – Motor Fuel Tax – Senate Rules by Request of the Governor (Senate Finance)
HB 29 -Prohibiting sale of genetically modified fish/fish products – Tarr
HB 32 – Relating to the labeling of food; relating to the misbranding of food; requiring labeling of food produced with genetic engineering (Tarr- House Resources)
HB 42 – Relating to seizure of property; relating to forfeiture to the state – includes language on seizure of fishing permits (Wilson – House Finance)
HB 46 Procure AK Fish, Ag Prod.; Raw Milk Sales (Tarr – House Finance)
HB 56 Relating to limitations on certain commercial fishing loans (Ortiz – House Finance)
& companion bill:
SB 71 – Relating to limitations on certain commercial fishing loans (Stevens –Senate Finance)
HB 60 – Motor Fuel Tax (House Rules by Request of the Governor –now in House Finance)
HB 87 Board of Fisheries and Board of Game – Conflict of Interest (Stutes –passed House, now in Senate State Affairs)
HB 88 Board of Fisheries Membership (Rep. Stutes – House Fisheries)
SB 92 – An Act relating to abandoned and derelict vessels; relating to the registration of vessels; relating to certificates of title for vessels; relating to the duties of the Department of Administration; relating to the duties of the Department of Natural Resources; establishing the derelict vessel prevention program; establishing the derelict vessel prevention program fund; and providing for an effective date.” (This bill includes some insurance requirements that we are not aware of as being currently available) (Micciche – Senate Resources)
HB 107 Fisheries enhancement permit – egg & unfed fry enhancement in same waters (Talerico – House Resources)
SB 115 “An Act relating to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission; and providing for an effective date.” (Administration – Senate State Affairs) )
HB 231 “An Act relating to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission; and providing for an effective date.” (Administration –House Fisheries)
HB 149 – Board of Fisheries five year cycle (Chenault – House Fisheries)
HB 155 – AK Mental Health Land Exchange (Ortiz –House Finance)
HB 177 – Invasive Species (Tarr–House Finance)
HB 188 – Regional permit banks (Kreiss–Tomkins – House Fisheries –new version introduced – see above – now scheduled for Tuesday 1/30)
HB 199 – Salmon Habitat permitting (Stutes – House Fisheries – new version introduced – see above)
SJR 3 Urging the President of the United States and the United States Congress to mitigate the harm done to the state’s seafood industry because of the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement; and urging the President of the United States and the United States Congress to work to benefit and protect the state’s seafood industry (Senator Wielechowski –Senate State Affairs)
Compiled by UFA staff and made possible by the support of our Group, Business, Individual and Crew members.
To join UFA see https://www.ufafish.org/become-