Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/20/2001 01:50 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 22-MARINE PASSENGER VESSELS CO-CHAIR MASEK announced that the next order of business would be SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 22, "An Act relating to certain passenger vessels operating in the marine waters of the state; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee is CSSSHB 22(TRA).] REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA, testifying as the sponsor, explained that SSHB 22 is a sampling, registering, and reporting requirement for the cruise industry in Alaska. Under a voluntary program last summer, the cruise industry took it upon itself to perform water quality sampling of their discharges. Those discharge samples had unexpected high fecal coliform counts in the graywater, which is the water from the laundry and showers. Consequently, the cruise industry has worked towards meeting higher expectations. Representative Kerttula explained that SSHB 22 establishes a process whereby companies will [perform] sampling and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be able to obtain the sampling. Furthermore, this legislation will allow the state to mesh with federal legislation that U.S. Senator Murkowski put in place last year. She specified that a sponsor substitute (SS) was introduced in order to mesh with U.S. Senator Murkowski's legislation. The House Transportation Standing Committee worked on a compromise with the industry and Representative Kerttula, which resulted in the committee substitute (CS) that was presented to the House Transportation Standing Committee yesterday. Fundamentally, the CS remains a sampling, registering, and reporting bill. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA informed the committee that she has two amendments that she will be offering for the committee's consideration. She announced that she would withdraw the amendment labeled 22-LS0238\P.2, Lauterbach, 4/20/01, which reads as follows: Page 3, lines 9 - 16: Delete all material. Insert a new subsection to read: "(c) Except as provided in (f) of this section, a person may not discharge graywater from a large passenger vessel into the marine waters of the state that fails to meet the effluent standards for graywater established by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency under sec. 1407 of the federal cruise ship legislation. If the Administrator has not adopted these federal effluent standards by January 1, 2003, then, beginning January 1, 2003, and ending when the Administrator does adopt these federal effluent standards, a person may not, except as provided in (f) of this section, discharge graywater from a large passenger vessel into the marine waters of the state that has a fecal coliform bacterial count greater than 200 colonies per 100 milliliters or suspended solids greater than 150 milligrams per liter." She explained that although there were no performance standards in SSHB 22, there are now a few performance standards in [AS 46.03].463 of the CS. For the record, Representative Kerttula stated that she intends the performance standards to be the floor and not the cap. She related her belief that the cruise industry would probably surpass these performance standards fairly soon. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA turned to Amendment 1 [22-LS0238\P.3, Lauterbach, 4/20/01], which is merely a housekeeping measure that the drafter feels appropriate. Amendment 1 reads as follows: Page 5, line 13: Delete "and (d)" Page 5, line 15: Delete "(e) - (g)" Insert "(d) - (f)" Page 5, lines 22 - 30: Delete all material. Reletter the following subsections accordingly. Page 5, line 31, through page 6, line 1: Delete "other than a release covered by (c) of this section" Page 6, line 25: Delete "(e)" Insert "(d)" Page 6, line 27: Delete "(e)" Insert "(d)" Number 0619 REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE moved that the committee adopt Amendment 1. There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA turned to the final amendment [22- LS0238\P.1, Lauterbach, 4/20/01], [Amendment 2] reads as follows: Page 8, line 16: Delete "exemptions to" REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA characterized [Amendment 2] as a substantive amendment because it addresses the fact that SSHB 22 grants DEC the authority to implement necessary regulations. Although this legislation doesn't propose a large program and there is a minimal fiscal note, DEC will still try to work out exactly how the sampling will be done. Therefore, DEC does need some authority. The language that came out of the House Transportation Standing Committee is somewhat ambiguous because it says "The department may adopt regulations that are necessary for the implementation of exemptions". Therefore, the concern is that the language may be misread to mean that it only applied to the implementation of exemptions. Representative Kerttula acknowledged that the industry, as well as herself, have only had a short time to view CSSSHB 22(TRA). Although she wasn't sure of their position on the CS, she believes that [everyone] recognizes the need for reasonable regulations by [the state's] agencies. She noted that this legislation does have another committee of referral and thus the cruise industry will be able to review the [CS] further and can voice concerns at that committee. There was discussion regarding which amendment was being discussed. REPRESENTATIVE FATE asked if AS 46.03.460-46.03.490 describe the exemptions, if any. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA explained that the [regulations section] would provide the department the authority to deal with the statutes and implement anything necessary. Unless directly stated in the statute, the department wouldn't have to require the company to do it and thus, in that regard, there would be exemptions and additions. REPRESENTATIVE FATE expressed his discomfort in making exemptions when he really isn't familiar with that particular statute. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA explained that Amendment 2 would delete the language "exemptions to" because that language could be interpreted to mean that DEC can only implement exemptions to the statutes. Normally, a statute is put in place and then the agency determines how the sampling would be done. REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE agreed with Representative Kerttula regarding the possible interpretation of the "exemptions to" language. She remarked, "In a sense, the bill means nothing if you have no ability to implement it." Representative McGuire suggested that Amendment 2 could be amended on page 8, line 16, delete "to", insert "and the implementation of". She agreed that Representative Fate has a good point in that the [original] deletion [in Amendment 2] may, in some way, suggest that "we" don't want those exemptions implemented as well. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said she accepted that as a friendly amendment. REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE clarified that she would like her amendment to Amendment 2 to be conceptual. Amendment 2, as amended, reads as follows: Page 8, line 16: Delete "to" Insert "and the implementation of" CHAIR MASEK asked if there were any objections to Amendment 2 [as amended]. There being no objection, Amendment 2 [as amended] was adopted. TAPE 01-38, SIDE A Number 0010 ROBERT REGES, Member, Cruise Control, Inc., explained that Cruise Control, Inc., is a citizens group working to mitigate the impacts of industrial tourism. Mr. Reges said that he has, in the last 24 hours, reviewed CSSSHB 22(TRA) and thus he wanted to address the following four points. First, Mr. Reges turned to the issue of fees. Drawing on his statutory litigation experience, Mr. Reges pointed out that the ability to charge fees isn't necessarily assumed. Therefore, he requested the inclusion of intent [language] or explicit language to that effect. The explicit language, "including the assessment of fees" would be inserted on page 8, line 16. He noted his preference for including the explicit language. MR. REGES moved on to his second point and directed attention to page 7, line 28, which is the penalty section. He explained, "Subsection (a) is designed to preclude operators from using Alaska's court system if they have failed to register." Such statutes tend to be narrowly construed because they work [with] forfeiture. From his experience, he believes that, unless the legislature is very specific, the judges will read that penalty out of existence. Therefore, he suggested the following: page 7, line 28, after "claim", insert "crossclaim". He explained that there are basically the following three types of claims: a claim, a counterclaim, and a crossclaim. MR. REGES continued with his third point of discussion, the title and its notion of permits. He acknowledged that initially, permits weren't part of this bill, but were in the governor's proposed bill. Mr. Reges related his belief that the current title doesn't allow for an open and thorough discussion regarding whether a permitting regime might be the most efficient way to implement "what it is we're trying to do here." He pointed out that his industrial clients are often pleased to have a specific permit for them because it can take their unique needs into account. Furthermore, a specific permit would be an excellent vehicle by which the department typically accesses fees. He reiterated that the title doesn't leave room for discussion regarding whether there should be a permitting regime or not, which he finds regrettable. Therefore, he hoped that the title could be loosened in order to allow such a discussion. MR. REGES concluded with his fourth point regarding the deletion of the monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping of air emissions from CSSSHB 22(TRA). He recalled that the rationale for that deletion was that air emissions are addressed under existing law. He noted that he has worked extensively with air emission laws. However, if air pollution from cruise ships is left to fall under the existing statutes, there will be ambiguities because these laws and regulations weren't written with these sources of air pollution in mind. Therefore, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting under existing air emission laws would wind up being done in court or under an executive fiat under the existing authorities. For that reason, Mr. Reges advocated that the very minimal air emission requirements contained in SSHB 22 be reinserted. He specified that this language appeared on page 2, lines 25-31, of SSHB 22. Mr. Reges acknowledged that the cruise industry is concerned that self- reporting would "lead to turning oneself in for violations." However, Mr. Reges indicated the ability and his [preference] for immunizing that kind of data [self-reported air emission data] as is done with other self-audits. Mr. Reges explained that this type of data would allow knowledge regarding what is the best available control technology and who does and doesn't break the standard. He recognized that operators are engaged in a variety of efforts in order to reduce their emissions, but there is no way to compare and contrast the success of those efforts unless the monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping is reinserted into the bill. Number 0618 CO-CHAIR SCALZI addressed Mr. Reges' points on the fees and the permitting title change. Co-Chair Scalzi asked if the expansion of fees, included in [sub]section (a), would suffice so that the title wouldn't have to be changed. MR. REGES said that he was not an expert in regard to the legislative permutations of the title. Number 0689 RANDY RAY, U.S. Cruise Ship Association, testified via teleconference. He informed the committee that the U.S. Cruise Ship Association is compromised of the small U.S.-flagged cruise ships. Mr. Ray noted that he had obtained the bill last night and thus the association didn't have a definitive position yet. However, he related the belief that the bill is moving in the right direction and due to the short timeframe, he urged the committee to keep the bill moving forward. He noted that the [association] would work with the sponsor and the legislature through the process. CHAIR MASEK asked if there was anyone else who wished to testify. There being no one, the public testimony portion was closed and the committee discussion began. Number 0779 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA remarked that she believes she is in agreement with Mr. Reges' suggestion to include the word "crossclaim" in the penalties section. Therefore, Representative Kerttula moved that the committee adopt the following conceptual amendment, Amendment 3: Page 7, line 28, after "claim", Insert "crossclaim" REPRESENTATIVE FATE objected and asked if [Amendment 3] would change the intent of that particular clause. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA replied no. REPRESENTATIVE FATE related his understanding that [Amendment 3] would add one more claim in order to eliminate any possibility of any further litigation. Representative Fate withdrew his objection. There being no objection, conceptual Amendment 3 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA also indicated agreement with Mr. Reges in regard to including the assessment of fees in the regulations section on page 8, line 15. She pointed out that the fiscal note was moved from the House Transportation Standing Committee. Furthermore, she said, "We clearly envisioned DEC to be able to assess a fee." Although in the past the industry has said they have been willing to work with that, she wasn't sure because she hasn't spoken with the industry on this particular matter. Therefore, the record could reflect that intent or there could be an explicit amendment. She left that decision to the committee. CHAIR MASEK pointed out that this bill has a House Finance Committee referral and thus she believed that Representative Kerttula could speak with the industry and the House Finance Committee members on this issue. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA turned to Mr. Reges' comments about the permitting and the air emissions and said that she would do her best to discuss those with the industry and the entire legislature in order to resolve those. Number 0988 REPRESENTATIVE FATE moved to report CSSSHB 22(TRA) as amended out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSSSHB 22(RES) was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee. The committee took a brief at-ease from 3:45 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.