Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

01/29/2020 01:00 PM RESOURCES

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
01:09:55 PM Start
01:10:50 PM Presentation(s): Department of Natural Resources
02:06:39 PM Presentation(s): Department of Environmental Conservation
03:20:03 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overviews: TELECONFERENCED
- Dept. of Natural Resources by Commissioner
Corri Feige
- Dept. of Environmental Conservation by
Commissioner Jason Brune
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 27 REGULATION OF FLAME RETARDANT CHEMICALS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 29, 2020                                                                                        
                           1:09 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Lincoln, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 27                                                                                                               
"An  Act relating  to the  manufacture,  sale, distribution,  and                                                               
labeling  of  child-related  products  containing  certain  flame                                                               
retardant   chemicals;  relating   to  an   interstate  chemicals                                                               
clearinghouse; adding  unlawful acts  to the Alaska  Unfair Trade                                                               
Practices  and  Consumer Protection  Act;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CORRI FEIGE, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Provided   a  PowerPoint   presentation                                                             
entitled,  "Department  of  Natural  Resources  Overview,"  dated                                                               
1/29/20, and answered questions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JASON BRUNE, Commissioner                                                                                                       
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Provided   a  PowerPoint   presentation                                                             
entitled, "DEC in 2019:  A  year in review," dated [1/29/20], and                                                               
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA CARPENTER, Director                                                                                                   
Division of Environmental Health                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions during  the presentation                                                             
by the Department of Environmental Conservation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:09:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHN  LINCOLN  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at  1:09 p.m.   Representatives Tuck,                                                               
Hannan, Talerico, Tarr,  and Lincoln were present at  the call to                                                               
order.   Representatives  Spohnholz  and Hopkins  arrived as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                              
       PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:10:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN announced  the first order of  business would be                                                               
a presentation by the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:11:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CORRI  FEIGE,  Commissioner,   Department  of  Natural  Resources                                                               
(DNR), presented a  PowerPoint presentation entitled, "Department                                                               
of Natural  Resources Overview,"  beginning with the  Division of                                                               
Agriculture.   Commissioner  Feige  reminded  the committee  [the                                                               
majority of  the Division of  Agriculture's budget was  vetoed by                                                               
Governor Dunleavy on June 28,  2019, and subsequently restored by                                                               
a  reversal of  the  veto].   Therefore, DNR  sought  in 2019  to                                                               
rebuild a  more efficient  DOA to  better serve  the agribusiness                                                               
community in Alaska, by providing  services the government should                                                               
provide,   and    allowing   agribusiness   to    move   forward.                                                               
Accomplishments  for DOA  during  2019  included identifying  and                                                               
responding  to Elodea  outbreaks in  Big Lake  and Mat-Su  lakes.                                                               
After the  outbreak occurred, permits  to apply  Elodea inoculant                                                               
were   quickly  issued   by  the   Department  of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), and  DOA responded to the  outbreak within 24                                                               
hours  so that  Elodea under  the lake  ice will  die during  the                                                               
winter.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS asked how the Elodea inoculant is used.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:14:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE recalled  chemical  application to  eradicate                                                               
Elodea  has been  used  by the  state  since 2016-2017;  however,                                                               
Elodea  spreads very  rapidly, which  requires a  quick response,                                                               
and  applications  during  the  winter and  in  the  spring  will                                                               
increase  efficacy  of the  chemical.    In further  response  to                                                               
Representative   Hopkins,  she   offered   to  provide   specific                                                               
information  on  the  location,  efficacy,  and  use  of  various                                                               
chemicals  used   to  eradicate   Elodea.     Commissioner  Feige                                                               
cautioned Elodea  erodes fish  habitat thus  DNR has  worked with                                                               
the Alaska Department of Fish  and Game (ADFG) to repopulate fish                                                               
populations that have been killed along with the Elodea.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN observed the  pilot hemp crop was destroyed                                                               
[during the  summer of  2019] and  asked for  the status  of hemp                                                               
regulations and a future pilot hemp project.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE assured  the committee  hemp regulations  and                                                               
the   industrial   hemp   program    were   revived   after   the                                                               
aforementioned 2019 DOA  [budget] veto was reversed.   She stated                                                               
the timeline for  the development of hemp regulations  was set by                                                               
Senate   Bill   6  [passed   in   the   Thirtieth  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature]; the regulations  are now in final  legal review and                                                               
the industrial hemp  program will be underway within  weeks.  She                                                               
added  national  regulations  related  to  industrial  hemp  have                                                               
undergone changes thus DNR seeks  to ensure state regulations are                                                               
in  alignment with  federal law.   Commissioner  Feige continued,                                                               
noting  the  [Alaska Grown  $5  Challenge  campaign] awarded  its                                                               
"Golden  Carrot" award  to the  Fred  Meyer store  in Palmer  for                                                               
selling more Alaska  grown produce than any  other major retailer                                                               
(slides 2 and 3).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  turned attention to the  Division of Forestry                                                               
(DOF), noting Alaska  had a record fire year, but  in addition to                                                               
wildfire  management, DOF  is responsible  for forest  management                                                               
and  development.   The  rejuvenation  of  the commercial  timber                                                               
industry is a high priority  for the administration; however, the                                                               
industry recently  has been hampered  by the lack of  U.S. Forest                                                               
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture,  timber sales.  In 2019,                                                               
there  were  31  commercial  timber  sales  that  generated  $2.3                                                               
million in state revenue; in  addition, there was a Good Neighbor                                                               
Authority  sale in  Vallenar Bay  for  16 million  board feet  of                                                               
timber.   She  pointed out  the biggest  challenge to  the Alaska                                                               
timber  industry  is a  20  percent  log  tariff on  spruce  logs                                                               
exported  to China.   Currently,  there  is proposed  legislation                                                               
that would  modify [AS 38.05.118  Negotiated Sales.] in  order to                                                               
expand an export market for  timber sales.  Returning to wildland                                                               
fire management, she said in  2019, there were 742 wildland fires                                                               
that consumed nearly 2.6 million  acres statewide; however, 3,800                                                               
structures  were protected,  as were  lands valued  at nearly  $1                                                               
billion.   She urged  Alaskans to  "firewise" their  property and                                                               
related DOF is seeking federal  funds to establish more fire fuel                                                               
breaks that  have stopped  fires such as  the [Shovel  Creek fire                                                               
near Fairbanks ignited 6/21/19] (slide 4).                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:21:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ acknowledged  the work  accomplished by                                                               
DOF and firefighters;  she described the smoke  in Anchorage that                                                               
caused stress for residents with  health issues and asked whether                                                               
health  issues  have  brought   changes  to  wildfire  management                                                               
response.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE related  the  [Swan Lake  fire near  Sterling                                                               
ignited  6/5/19]   was  managed   in  partnership   with  federal                                                               
agencies; the state holds  "initial attack responsibilities," and                                                               
she  advised  first methods  of  containment  are discussed  with                                                               
federal partners  and take into consideration  weather forecasts,                                                               
loss of  revenue to businesses, and  health impacts.  This  is an                                                               
ongoing discussion between the state and federal partners.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  questioned how the state  would impress                                                               
a different approach upon the federal government.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  said DOF has suggested  any lightening-strike                                                               
fires in  standing black  spruce that begin  before the  first of                                                               
June  should be  suppressed because  they become  dormant in  the                                                               
duff above the soil and reignite.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ supported DOF's efforts in this regard.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  said the Shovel  Creek fire was  near his                                                               
house and the  [existing] firebreak was critical  to stopping the                                                               
fire.    During  the  fire,   he  heard  from  constituents  that                                                               
information on  the fire  was difficult  for residents  to access                                                               
and   urged  that,   in  the   future,  the   department  provide                                                               
information  to  local  communications networks  such  as  social                                                               
media.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:26:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE agreed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS also  cautioned, during  the fire,  local                                                               
municipalities and  firefighting organizations  did not  know how                                                               
to  identify  locations  to  be  evacuated  in  terms  that  were                                                               
recognized by residents.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN returned  attention to  slide 4  and asked                                                               
for the meaning of Good Neighbor  Authority (GNA), and if the GNA                                                               
timber  sale  was  included  in   the  $2.3  million  in  revenue                                                               
generated by timber sales.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE explained  GNA sales are state  sales of lands                                                               
neighboring U.S. Forest  Service lands and the  Vallenar Bay sale                                                               
was included in  the total revenue from  commercial timber sales.                                                               
She  continued  to the  Division  of  Geological and  Geophysical                                                               
Surveys  (DGGS),  noting DGGS  is  involved  in every  aspect  of                                                               
resource development,  public safety, and geologic  and community                                                               
hazards.   For  example,  DGGS completed  1,900  square miles  of                                                               
mapping  to  support  mineral  exploration  related  to  sourcing                                                               
critical and strategic minerals in  Alaska to reduce imports from                                                               
China.   In  support of  energy resources,  DGGS mapped  Brookian                                                               
plays on the  North Slope and hosted industry tours.   The Alaska                                                               
Geospatial  Council, DGGS,  DNR,  completed infrared  [synthetic-                                                               
aperture]  radar (IFSAR)  and  distributed data  for  use in  the                                                               
construction  of  powerlines,  road corridors,  and  other  major                                                               
infrastructure (slide  5).   In 2019  DGGS:   continued assessing                                                               
sand and  gravel in  support of  the Arctic  Slope Transportation                                                               
and  Resources (ASTAR)  project  and initiated  a statewide  snow                                                               
avalanche  hazard assessment  for  public  safety; provided  1.15                                                               
million  data and  publication files  of geologic  information to                                                               
interested parties of the mining  and energy industries; upgraded                                                               
30  monitoring  stations  on eight  volcanos  and  completed  the                                                               
geologic hazard assessment at the  Atka Island [Korovin] volcanic                                                               
complex; the  Geologic Materials Center (GMC),  DGGS, DNR, hosted                                                               
over  1,400  visits  and  core viewings  and  provided  tours  to                                                               
industry, government  officials and international  officials; the                                                               
replacement value of  materials held at GMC is  estimated at over                                                               
$37 billion  (slide 6).   Slide 7 listed DGGS  activities planned                                                               
in 2020.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:33:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE  informed  the   committee  the  Division  of                                                               
Mining, Land and Water (DMLW)  manages over 160 million acres and                                                               
its  responsibilities include  land  acquisition, land  planning,                                                               
land   conveyance,  permitting,   and   stewardship  (slide   8).                                                               
Highlights for DMLW  in fiscal year 2019 (FY 19)  are:  generated                                                               
$26.5  million  in revenues  through  authorizations  for use  of                                                               
state  lands  and waters  by  royalty  payments and  land  sales;                                                               
conveyed  nearly  3,000  acres  of  municipal  entitlement  land;                                                               
acquired more  than 101,000 acres of  new high-priority statehood                                                               
entitlement  lands; issued  preliminary and  final decisions  for                                                               
the Donlin  Gold project; authorized  65 miles of ice  roads, 144                                                               
miles of snow roads, and 62 acres  of ice pads on the North Slope                                                               
(slide 9).                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN  asked  how  the disposal  of  public  land  is                                                               
reported.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE said  each calendar year DMLW  issues a report                                                               
on the  land sales  program, how  state lands  are sold,  and the                                                               
selection process; in  fact, DMLW is focused on  clearing land to                                                               
provide  access  so  land  can  be made  available  for  sale  to                                                               
Alaskans.   She continued to the  Division of Oil and  Gas (DOG),                                                               
noting DOG  conducts lease sales, collects  royalties, authorizes                                                               
oil  and  gas  activities,   and  provides  commercial  analyses,                                                               
economic modeling  financial risk assessments, and  audits (slide                                                               
10).  Slide 11 listed DOG activities in 2019.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE provided  an  update on  the  BP and  Hilcorp                                                               
Energy  Co. transaction:   in  October  2019, the  state began  a                                                               
review  of   the  transaction  announced  in   August  2019;  the                                                               
transaction is a transfer to  Hilcorp of BP Alaska's upstream and                                                               
midstream   assets   valued   at  approximately   $5.6   billion.                                                               
Activities since  December 2019  are:   Hilcorp/Harvest Midstream                                                               
[Hilcorp  midstream company]  restructure,  completed in  January                                                               
2020, in preparation for the  transfer of BP's midstream pipeline                                                               
assets to Harvest;  on 1/9/20, the organizational  meeting of the                                                               
Governor's Oversight Committee (GOC) was  held.  The committee is                                                               
composed of the  commissioners of DNR, DEC,  ADFG, the Department                                                               
of  Labor &  Workforce Development,  the Department  of Commerce,                                                               
Community & Economic Development, the  Department of Law, and the                                                               
Department of Revenue, and was  formed to monitor the transaction                                                               
and  share  pertinent  information  in a  public  setting.    The                                                               
oversight  committee  organized  at  its  first  meeting  and  is                                                               
expected to hold a public  meeting in March [2020]; the committee                                                               
is  working  with Hilcorp  and  BP  on financial  stress  testing                                                               
related to Hilcorp's  financial capacity to manage  the assets it                                                               
seeks to  acquire.  Further  related to the transaction,  DNR has                                                               
published a  frequently asked questions (FAQ)  website located on                                                               
the  DOG  homepage  with  the   capacity  to  generate  automatic                                                               
notification emails to interested parties.   Lastly, she said the                                                               
Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA)  will hold a public hearing                                                               
2/4/20 on the midstream transaction (slide 12).                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:40:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN expressed  his  understanding  the North  Slope                                                               
fields that supply  the pipeline are leased from the  state to BP                                                               
Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA).  He remarked:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I guess  there's some confusion  in terms of  the lease                                                                    
     agreements  [that are]  being  transferred  from BP  to                                                                    
     Hilcorp,  or  if  Hilcorp is  basically  acquiring  the                                                                    
     [limited liability  company (LLC)]  that is  the lessee                                                                    
     with  the state.   I'm  just wondering  if ...  there's                                                                    
     been  any   sort  of  new   thinking  or   a  different                                                                    
     understanding of,  of that  arrangement, and  what role                                                                    
     the  state plays  in ...  transferring  the leases,  or                                                                    
     not.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE said  the aforementioned  issue falls  within                                                               
DNR's statutory responsibility; she  agreed the transaction is an                                                               
asset sale and a stock  transfer because BPXA will be transferred                                                               
and will  become a  subsidiary of Hilcorp.   Regarding  the state                                                               
leases,  she said  DNR must  approve all  of the  lease transfers                                                               
prior  to the  approval  of [the  BP/Hilcorp  transaction].   She                                                               
further explained:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     ... there is  a fundamental change of  control and it's                                                                    
     with  that   control  that   we  monitor   things  like                                                                    
     financial  assurance  for [dismantlement,  removal  and                                                                    
     restoration  (DR&R)],  all  of implications  that  come                                                                    
     with that, and  there's ... the bulk  of the protection                                                                    
     of  the ...  state's interest  and Alaskans'  interests                                                                    
     that are  carried in  that piece. ...  That is  part of                                                                    
     the  due  diligence  that  we're  doing,  we  have  the                                                                    
     latitude  at DNR  to adjust  our  basic lease  transfer                                                                    
     form ... to  account for the structure  of whatever the                                                                    
     deal is  that's before us ....   There's a lot  of land                                                                    
     and  legal  work  in  that   that's  part  of  the  due                                                                    
     diligence to  make sure that we  capture everything ...                                                                    
     and nothing falls through and gets dropped.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN observed  a company sets up  an LLC specifically                                                               
to  limit  its  liability  related  to  business  activities;  he                                                               
expressed  his  concern  that  if  the  state  is  leasing  to  a                                                               
subsidiary such  as BPXA, the  state may  not be assured  that if                                                               
the LLC becomes financially unviable,  the owners of the LLC will                                                               
ultimately  be  responsible  for  the cleanup  of  the  company's                                                               
activities on the North Slope.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:44:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  was unsure  whether BPXA  is an  LLC or  an S                                                               
corporation;  however, the  interest  of Alaska  is protected  by                                                               
financial  assurance agreements  that utilize  joint and  several                                                               
liability,   which  allow   the  state   to  hold   the  original                                                               
leaseholder   liable.     In  the   case   of  [the   BP/Hilcorp]                                                               
transaction,  the  parent company,  BP,  has  agreed to  maintain                                                               
joint and  several liability  for all of  the leases  included in                                                               
said transaction.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR cautioned another  catastrophe such as the [4/20/10                                                               
Deepwater Horizon  oil spill  in the Gulf  of Mexico]  may render                                                               
the parent company, BP, financially unsound.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE responded:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The way we  cover that is the,  the financial assurance                                                                    
     agreements  that  we're  putting in  place,  those  are                                                                    
     contracts, so  they're different  animals by law.   And                                                                    
     they're   not  static   documents,  these   are  living                                                                    
     documents,  and  the  way  DNR  handles  our  financial                                                                    
     assurance  agreements for  DR&R,  or  whatever else  we                                                                    
     happen to be bonding for,  those are revisited ... on a                                                                    
     three- to five-year basis, ...  so we're checking in on                                                                    
     a  regular  basis with  the  financial  health of  that                                                                    
     entity and  we're adjusting  those bonds.   So,  it's a                                                                    
     combination of  not only necessarily a  parent guaranty                                                                    
     ... but there's actual cash attached as well ....                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  asked  whether the  meetings  of  the  Governor's                                                               
Oversight Committee will be announced.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:47:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  said GOC meetings  will be  publicly noticed,                                                               
posted online,  and open  to the  public.   She continued  to the                                                               
Division of Parks  and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR),  noting 2020 is                                                               
the 50th anniversary  year of Alaska state parks.   Highlights in                                                               
2019  were:   61  percent  of  DPOR operations  were  self-funded                                                               
through fees  such as  reservations for  public use  cabins; DPOR                                                               
issued 695 commercial  permits, 286 special permits,  and over 80                                                               
active and pending  grants; a new public use cabin  was opened in                                                               
Chena River State  Recreation Area; the Office  of Boating Safety                                                               
held 410  classes, 106 pool  sessions, and reached  almost 16,000                                                               
youth to  continue its commitment  to improve boating  safety for                                                               
kids and  adults in  Alaska (slide  13).   The Office  of Project                                                               
Management and Permitting (OPMP)  represents the state's interest                                                               
with federal  agencies during federal  program reviews;  in 2019,                                                               
OPMP  coordinated the  state's comments  on 38  plan reviews;  in                                                               
fact, the OPMP model to  coordinate comments and permits on large                                                               
development projects  functions as a coordinator  between federal                                                               
and state  agencies to  prevent lags in  project timelines.   She                                                               
explained  timelines for  federal permits  are not  codified thus                                                               
the office  is necessary to  prevent lag and delay;  in addition,                                                               
OPMP  serves  to  de-risk regulation  for  industry  (slide  14).                                                               
Slide 15 listed OPMP activities in 2019.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN  recalled previous  testimony  by  oil and  gas                                                               
consultants  and   the  mining  industry  that   the  development                                                               
timeline  for projects  in Alaska  is much  longer than  in other                                                               
jurisdictions; although  some conditions  are endemic  to Alaska,                                                               
he  asked  about  steps  the   state  or  the  legislature  could                                                               
immediately take to expedite permitting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:51:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE advised federal  permits such as environmental                                                               
impact  statements (EISs)  take the  longest, which  has led  the                                                               
federal   government  to   propose   reforms   to  the   National                                                               
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).   She gave an example of                                                               
an EIS  required by  NEPA that  was 10,000  pages long,  cost $15                                                               
million,  and  lengthened  the   permitting  timeline  by  years.                                                               
Speaking from  her previous experience, Commissioner  Feige noted                                                               
the  timeline to  obtain  an  EIS is  36-48  months.   She  urged                                                               
members to contact the federal  government during the NEPA reform                                                               
comment  period and  request streamlining  of  the NEPA  process.                                                               
She related Governor Dunleavy  requested Fixing America's Surface                                                               
Transportation Act  (FAST Act) 41  status for  the aforementioned                                                               
critical and  strategic minerals exploration  so there will  be a                                                               
codified timeline.   Finally, she  encouraged the use of  OPMP to                                                               
aid in permitting processes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:54:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  FEIGE continued  to the  Support Services  Division                                                               
which successfully  closed the recorder's  offices in  Juneau and                                                               
Palmer, without  decreasing revenue  (slide 16).     Finally, the                                                               
Trust Land  Office (TLO) generated  $10.6 million to  fund Alaska                                                               
Mental  Health  Trust  Authority programs  which  support  85,000                                                               
beneficiaries  across  the  state;  for  example,  TLO  sold  2.9                                                               
million  board feet  of  timber  in the  Naukati  timber sale  to                                                               
Viking Lumber, and sold the  three-acre Juneau Subport parcel for                                                               
$20  million (slide  17).   Slide 18  listed TLO  initiatives and                                                               
activities  in 2020.    Turning attention  to  activities in  the                                                               
commissioner's  office, Commissioner  Feige  noted  in 2019,  the                                                               
commissioner's office team  adjudicated 52 administrative appeals                                                               
and established  the Future Leadership  Summit program  to ensure                                                               
there is a future professional workforce within DNR (slide 19).                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR   said  she  is   discouraged  by   the  continued                                                               
elimination of positions within  the Division of Agriculture; she                                                               
pointed out  the state's agriculture industry  has an opportunity                                                               
for economic  growth from $100  million to  $2 billion.   She has                                                               
heard  of  the  division's   reorganization  and  adjusted  fees;                                                               
however, the  future of  DOA programs, such  as Alaska  Grown, is                                                               
unclear.   Alaska  needs  to diversify  its  economy and  develop                                                               
other industries; she  suggested if a fraction of  what was spent                                                               
on  the  oil  and  gas  industry were  to  be  spent  on  another                                                               
industry, there could be great potential.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:59:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER FEIGE  offered to update  the committee  because DNR                                                               
has  fully reconstituted  DOA; positions  have been  restored and                                                               
restructured  to   better  support  growth  in   the  agriculture                                                               
industry.   She  stated the  Alaska Grown  program is  "alive and                                                               
well,"  and DOA  plans to  support  the program  through fees  in                                                               
order to  reduce reliance upon unrestricted  general funds (UGF).                                                               
She  said  she  has  met   with  the  Board  of  Agriculture  and                                                               
Conservation (board)  to discuss new initiatives  and programs to                                                               
grow  the  agricultural  sector  in Alaska  and  to  connect  the                                                               
industry  with   international  markets.    Further,   the  board                                                               
discussed how to  protect Alaska growers from  the importation of                                                               
products  that are  free from  inspections.   Commissioner  Feige                                                               
acknowledged DOA  was challenged  by filling positions  that were                                                               
lost  prior to  the reversal  of the  FY 20  veto of  Division of                                                               
Agriculture funds.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  stressed  the  value   of  agriculture  to  rural                                                               
communities, tourism, and health.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:02 p.m. to 2:06 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                                     
   PRESENTATION(S):  DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:06:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN announced  the final order of  business would be                                                               
a presentation by the Department of Environmental Conservation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:06:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JASON   BRUNE,   Commissioner,    Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), provided  a PowerPoint presentation entitled,                                                               
"DEC  in 2019:  A  year in  review," dated  [1/29/20].   Slide  2                                                               
stated  DEC's mission:    Conserving,  improving, and  protecting                                                               
Alaska's  natural  resources  and   environment  to  enhance  the                                                               
health, safety, economic, and social  well-being of Alaskans.  He                                                               
said to  protect human health  and the environment,  DEC oversees                                                               
air  quality,  water  quality, environmental  health,  and  spill                                                               
prevention and  response (slide 3).   Commissioner Brune informed                                                               
the  committee the  leadership team  at DEC  represents over  125                                                               
years  of state  service  and is  comprised  of highly  respected                                                               
experts in their  fields (slide 4).  He paraphrased  from slide 5                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     DEC Employees Matter                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Predictable, timely, science-based, legally defensible                                                                     
     permits require experienced and knowledgeable staff                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
   • Improve retention rate: DEC currently has a 21 percent                                                                     
     annual turnover rate?Why?                                                                                                  
   • Exit Interviews                                                                                                            
   • Evaluations-bringing private sector experience to DEC                                                                      
   • 25 percent of employees weren't current (quickly became                                                                    
     current by end of January!)                                                                                                
   • Evaluations are required to be done at different times of                                                                  
     the year based on hire date                                                                                                
   • Create individual development plans                                                                                        
   • Evaluate employees based on metrics, not seat time                                                                         
   • Develop departmental, division, program, and individual                                                                    
     goals on an annual basis (same time)                                                                                       
   • Develop DEC's values                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:09:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  further  explained, to  address  DEC's  high                                                               
employee turnover  rate, he implemented exit  interviews, brought                                                               
employee  evaluations current,  and  scheduled team  evaluations.                                                               
In addition,  during a strategic planning  session, DEC developed                                                               
goals  for  programs  and  for  individuals,  decided  to  create                                                               
individual   development   plans   and   provide   training   and                                                               
advancement opportunities,  emphasized improving  the recruitment                                                               
and retention of employees, and  developed DEC values.  He opined                                                               
DEC's  values  of  customer service,  accountability,  integrity,                                                               
collaboration, and  objectivity are  the core of  a science-based                                                               
organization such as DEC (slide  6).  Commissioner Brune said the                                                               
result of significant  budget cuts in the last five  to six years                                                               
is  that the  department must  incorporate technology  to improve                                                               
efficiency  and reduce  costs; for  example, cell  phones can  be                                                               
used to  complete remote  inspections to  save costs  and further                                                               
partnerships  with the  regulated community,  and DEC  staff will                                                               
research using  drones to gather  information.  Other  methods to                                                               
incorporate  technology include  providing  vital information  to                                                               
the public on the DEC  website and using software programs (slide                                                               
7).  He turned  to the topic of air quality,  noting DEC has been                                                               
collecting ambient air  data in certain communities  for 25 years                                                               
to  ensure compliance  with national  ambient air  standards that                                                               
are  established  by  the U.S.  Environmental  Protection  Agency                                                               
(EPA).  In Alaska, the  primary pollutants are particulate matter                                                               
and  carbon  monoxide;  he  pointed  out the  graph  on  slide  8                                                               
indicates  an  upward  trend  of  unhealthy  days  for  sensitive                                                               
groups, which is  explained by the installation in 2012  of a new                                                               
monitoring station  in North  Pole.  Most  of the  unhealthy days                                                               
occur in Fairbanks from man-made pollution.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:15:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  returned attention  to slide 7  and asked                                                               
from where most of the  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records                                                               
requests to DEC originate.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE observed  he receives  FOIA records  requests                                                               
related  to his  schedule,  per-  and polyfluoroalkyl  substances                                                               
(PFAS), fine  particulate matter  (PM2.5) and residents  who burn                                                               
on  curtailment days,  mining projects,  and  almost every  other                                                               
issue.  He restated the  importance of posting public information                                                               
online.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  questioned when  2019 air  quality data                                                               
will be available.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE said  he will  provide 2019  data when  it is                                                               
available.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN pointed out the  graph on slide 8 indicates                                                               
there was no natural pollution in 2016.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  surmised because unhealthy days  are based on                                                               
the proximity  [of an  event such  as a  fire] to  the monitoring                                                               
station, unhealthy days in certain  locations may not be reported                                                               
by monitoring  stations.  In  further response  to Representative                                                               
Hannan, he  said other events  that create natural  air pollution                                                               
are volcanos and high winds that blow glacier silt.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked whether  stations monitor  for dust                                                               
in rural Alaska.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE said  no; at  times  monitoring stations  are                                                               
installed during  construction or projects, but  he expressed his                                                               
belief there are no permanent stations located in rural Alaska.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked whether there are  monitoring stations                                                               
[to detect] nuclear threats.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   BRUNE   informed   the  committee   DEC   monitors                                                               
[Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power  Plant] radiation levels in fish                                                               
from an environmental health perspective, but not air quality.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK expressed  his concern  about the  long-term                                                               
effects  of   plastics  into   the  food   supply  of   fish  and                                                               
subsequently into  human food supply;  he asked whether  there is                                                               
data in this regard.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:20:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said  the quality of Alaska fish  has not been                                                               
impacted  by Fukushima  radiation;  however, the  state does  not                                                               
test  for plastics  [in  fish].   He continued  to  the issue  of                                                               
Fairbanks air  quality and  recalled in  2018, [the  Home Heating                                                               
Reclamation  Act  was  passed by  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough                                                               
(FNSB)  voters prohibiting  FNSB from  regulating home  heating],                                                               
thus the  responsibility was  transferred to DEC.   On  very cold                                                               
days, Fairbanks and North Pole have  the worst air quality in the                                                               
U.S. due  to home  heating by use  of woodburning  appliances; in                                                               
fact, area residents must choose  between breathing clean air and                                                               
keeping  warm.    However,  the state  has  a  responsibility  to                                                               
protect   human  health   or   lose   federal  highway   funding.                                                               
Commissioner Brune stated  he met with officials  and held public                                                               
hearings in Fairbanks; in December  2019, DEC submitted a Serious                                                               
Statewide   Implementation   Plan   and   recently   received   a                                                               
completeness notice from EPA.  He  said, "And we are on a pathway                                                               
to  having clean  air once  again  in Fairbanks  within the  next                                                               
decade, things will  be, this issue will be addressed."   He said                                                               
DEC staff, residents,  and policymakers have worked  to bring all                                                               
parties  together  to  find  a local  solution  to  the  problem.                                                               
Further, he  urged for  research into  electrostatic precipitator                                                               
(ESP) technology, which  could allow residents to  burn [wood] on                                                               
curtailment days (slide 9).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:25:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS acknowledged  DEC's  efforts of  outreach                                                               
and  to   ensure  that   large  scale   point  sources   are  not                                                               
economically limited by DEC proposals.  He remarked:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     EPA has said we won't  be losing federal highway funds,                                                                    
     ... [that  EPA] will be  able to protect  the economics                                                                    
     of the  state is, is  really good to hear  because that                                                                    
     has  been a  concern for  ... a  little over  ten years                                                                    
     now.  ...  I was  very disappointed to hear that we are                                                                    
     relying on  a 5 percent  improvement - year by  year by                                                                    
     year -  with a  destination of ten  years out  to reach                                                                    
     attainment.    Many  people in  my  community  ...  and                                                                    
     people across  the city of  Fairbanks don't  agree with                                                                    
     the  people  that it  sounds  like  you worked  closely                                                                    
     with,  whether it  was  former Representative  [Tammie]                                                                    
     Wilson  or Mr.  Mike Prax,  who are  two advocates  for                                                                    
     continuing to burn  whatever you need to  stay warm and                                                                    
     while that is key, there  are ... financial ways, there                                                                    
     are incentives to keep people  off of using many of the                                                                    
     very  old  solid  fuel heating  systems  which  is  the                                                                    
     woodstoves and coal burn apparatuses  that we have. ...                                                                    
     I don't know where  your communications were with Clean                                                                    
     Air Fairbanks or  ... with people who  didn't share the                                                                    
     same view  on the  problem   ...   There has  been some                                                                    
     desire to have  more legal teeth for [DEC]  ... to come                                                                    
     down  with  stronger  civil  and  potentially  criminal                                                                    
     actions against people if they  continue to neglect the                                                                    
     fact  that  their waste  from  their  house flows  onto                                                                    
     their neighbor's  house and impacts their  health.  ...                                                                    
     We have  very stringent  rules for septic  systems that                                                                    
     [keep]  pollution   on  your  property,  and   this  is                                                                    
     something that  is very  similar, in  my view,  to that                                                                    
     issue.  So,  I'd like to hear who else  you worked with                                                                    
     in  Fairbanks and  what  collaboration  points you  had                                                                    
     with them  outside of just  Ms. Wilson and Mr.  Prax on                                                                    
     this issue.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:27:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said he met  with all the "point source folks,                                                               
... the clean  air folks, the wood-burners, the, the  FEDCO - the                                                               
Fairbanks  Economic   Development  Corporation  -   the  [Greater                                                               
Fairbanks  Chamber   of  Commerce],"  and  others   to  hear  all                                                               
perspectives.  He remarked:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The big impact was  obviously from wood-burners, but we                                                                    
     are   required   when   you're  putting   a   statewide                                                                    
     implementation  plan,   a  serious  step   forward,  to                                                                    
     address the point source folks   ...  We have decreased                                                                    
     the  sulfur content  of the  coal that  is going  to be                                                                    
     burned  from  0.4 percent  to  .25  percent; there  are                                                                    
     other requirements  that certain entities are  going to                                                                    
     have  for  using  diesel  one  versus  diesel  two  ...                                                                    
     especially  on  curtailment   days.    The  curtailment                                                                    
     levels  went   down  so  there  will   likely  be  more                                                                    
     curtailment days ....                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE continued  to explain  DEC provides  No Other                                                               
Adequate  Source  of  Heat  (NOASH) waivers  and  has  limits  on                                                               
burning [wet] wood  and on those who sell [wet]  wood.  Regarding                                                               
enforcement,  he   stressed  the  importance  of   educating  new                                                               
military personnel.  After a  violation, DEC's first contact is a                                                               
letter and homes  and businesses are visited  by local residents.                                                               
However,  DEC is  authorized to  address a  third violation  with                                                               
civil action if warranted.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS pointed out  Fairbanks will have waited 20                                                               
years for healthy air during  the period from 2009-2029; he urged                                                               
for stronger efforts such as woodstove changeouts.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:32:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  agreed  with  the  importance  of  woodstove                                                               
changeouts.   He turned  attention to slide  10 and  reminded the                                                               
committee  that  past  efforts   of  the  regulated  industry  to                                                               
transfer primacy  on permitting  projects in Alaska  from federal                                                               
to  state  agencies  were successful,  so  the  Alaska  Pollutant                                                               
Discharge Elimination Systems (APDES)  program holds primacy over                                                               
the National  Pollutant Discharge  Elimination System  (NDPES) to                                                               
permit  major industry  in Alaska.   In  2019, DEC  did not  pass                                                               
EPA's  five  year  review  [that is  required  because  of  DEC's                                                               
oversight  of  NDPES water  compliance  and  enforcement] due  to                                                               
staff  deficiencies and  insufficient  travel funds,  threatening                                                               
Alaska's primacy  over NPDES; in  response, DEC  reassigned three                                                               
positions  and  obtained  federal  authority  to  fund  four  new                                                               
positions  and travel  funds.   Although  EPA recommended  eleven                                                               
additional  positions, DEC  has  seven new  inspectors in  place.                                                               
Further,  he informed  EPA inspectors  they are  not to  announce                                                               
enforcement actions on industries for which DEC is responsible.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  for  the source  of the  additional                                                               
funds to increase staffing and travel funds.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:36:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  explained DEC  had approximately  $600,000 in                                                               
unused  federal   authority  which   was  released   through  the                                                               
Legislative Budget  and Audit Committee process;  the same amount                                                               
of increased federal authority is now in the [FY 21] budget.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  recalled legislators anticipated  that the                                                               
prior   50  percent   across-the-board   reductions  in   program                                                               
recommendations for  travel would affect the  state's ability [to                                                               
conduct  inspections]; she  asked whether  DEC has  requested the                                                               
restoration  of  travel  funds specifically  for  monitoring  and                                                               
inspections in FY 21.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  acknowledged  because travel  authority  was                                                               
decreased, DEC seeks to use  technology for efficiencies with its                                                               
reduced budget.   However,  DEC is  authorized to  make transfers                                                               
within divisions  to accommodate  for additional travel  and will                                                               
do so when necessary.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR asked  for additional  information related  to the                                                               
aforementioned   reassignments,  for   example,   who  is   doing                                                               
[reassigned staff's] previous work.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE surmised  staff were  reassigned from  duties                                                               
related  to data  collection for  the  Southeast "baseline  water                                                               
studies" and offered to provide more information in this regard.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  questioned  why only  seven  positions                                                               
were filled if EPA recommended eleven new positions.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said DEC will  assess its needs for additional                                                               
staff next year.  Slide 11 listed three projects of interest:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
   • Palmer is a [mine exploration] project near Haines                                                                         
     related to  a pending  U.S. Supreme  Court [groundwater                                                                    
     hydrologic    connection]   case    on   whether    the                                                                    
     connectivity  of ground  water to  surface water  would                                                                    
     require NPDES  permits; DEC is awaiting  the results of                                                                    
     a dye test to determine if there is connectivity                                                                           
   • Pebble is an example of the Dunleavy Administration's                                                                      
     focus  to  create  a fair  and  predictable  permitting                                                                    
     process  for  all  projects  and   DEC  and  the  Trump                                                                    
     Administration  worked  to   withdraw  the  EPA  404(c)                                                                    
     determination                                                                                                              
   • Ambler project has had EPA 404(q) determination                                                                            
     withdrawn                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:41:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  when  the [Palmer]  dye  test  was                                                               
conducted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  said the dye  test was conducted  "within the                                                               
last couple of months" and DEC is awaiting the results.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN pointed  out  her  constituents in  Haines                                                               
want to ensure that the water  test was conducted during a normal                                                               
fall rainy season  rather than during a colder  period; she asked                                                               
for the level of hydrology at the time of the test.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     My understanding is  that the test was  done before the                                                                    
     snow  fell.   I  don't  know,  I  didn't get  into  the                                                                    
     minutiae of  all that  detail but I  do know  that that                                                                    
     was  obviously  a consideration  and  if  there was  no                                                                    
     connectivity,  sometimes   it  takes  months   to  show                                                                    
     connectivity, so they'll obviously  continue to look to                                                                    
     see if that dye shows up, if it didn't.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:42:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR,  on behalf of her  constituents, expressed concern                                                               
about the  governor using [Pebble  Project] documents  to develop                                                               
[the  Dunleavy Administration's]  position and  advocate for  the                                                               
company, as  evidenced by DEC's  participation in  the withdrawal                                                               
[of the EPA 404(c) determination].  She remarked:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     And certainly, it's been highly  politized, but this is                                                                    
     an  issue that  came  up in  your confirmation  because                                                                    
     people   have  concerns   about  your   connection  and                                                                    
     previous employment  history ....   ...   I  hope we're                                                                    
     not, as  a regulatory  agency, ... getting  the talking                                                                    
     points from the company because  there needs to be some                                                                    
     distance between those two groups.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE responded:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I can  assure you  that this  effort originated  in the                                                                    
     governor's  office, not  through  DEC, but  I can  also                                                                    
     assure  you   that  that   predictability  of   a  fair                                                                    
     permitting process matters  to the investment community                                                                    
     and as  we have  been submitting  comments from  DEC to                                                                    
     OPMP,  who coordinates  the state's  permitting process                                                                    
     on  Pebble,  I have  done  everything  in my  power  to                                                                    
     ensure that  my team is  not, I'm not  editing anything                                                                    
     that they  send.  ...   Companies that want  to develop                                                                    
     projects in Alaska need to  meet our high standards, no                                                                    
     one   is  better   than   Alaska   at  protecting   the                                                                    
     environment ....                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  directed attention  to slide 12  and restated                                                               
Alaska's  high  environmental standards  need  to  apply to  all.                                                               
Cruise ships  are allowed  to discharge up  to 40  fecal coliform                                                               
bacteria in  100 milliliters  of water  and some  communities are                                                               
allowed to  discharge up to  1.5 million fecal  coliform bacteria                                                               
in  100 milliliters  of  water; for  example,  beach closures  in                                                               
Ketchikan are  due to a  [Clean Water Act] Section  301(h) waiver                                                               
which allows  the discharge of  up to 1.5 million  fecal coliform                                                               
bacteria.  He  urged that communities should also be  held to the                                                               
higher standard.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:45:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked whether  DEC  has  taken action  to                                                               
assist communities  so they can  comply with the  higher standard                                                               
of water quality.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  pointed  out many  communities  have  [Clean                                                               
Water Act  Section 301(h)]  waivers that are  issued by  EPA, not                                                               
DEC.   However, DEC  proposes to use  money from  the [Commercial                                                               
Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance  Program], known as the                                                               
Ocean Ranger  program, to upgrade community  wastewater treatment                                                               
plants.   The program will be  similar to the Village  Safe Water                                                               
program, Division of  Water, DEC, in which  communities can apply                                                               
for  low  interest  loans,  grants, and  loan  forgiveness.    He                                                               
restated DEC  will regulate the  cruise ship industry  like other                                                               
industry by  moving the monitoring  of cruise ship  air pollution                                                               
to the Division of Air Quality.   Over 12 years, the Ocean Ranger                                                               
program has  reported one violation  per year; a "revamp"  of the                                                               
Ocean  Ranger program  will consist  of early  season inspections                                                               
for  every   ship,  incorporating  technology   into  monitoring,                                                               
upgrading   shore-based   [wastewater]    treatment,   and   more                                                               
inspections  by DEC  staff  in  port and  as  ships are  underway                                                               
(slide 13).                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK opined  cruise ships  have higher  standards                                                               
because  the  location and  contents  of  discharges from  cruise                                                               
ships are  unknown; this differs with  discharges from stationary                                                               
treatment plants,  which can be  monitored.  He  agreed standards                                                               
for water quality  from water treatment plants  should be higher,                                                               
and existing oversight and standards should not be reduced.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  stressed  DEC  is  not  reducing  standards;                                                               
inspections  and enforcement  and compliance  on the  cruise ship                                                               
industry  will continue,  but not  by  Ocean Rangers.   He  noted                                                               
nefarious activities  may not  be witnessed  by an  onboard Ocean                                                               
Ranger and  cruise ships have  a corporate  social responsibility                                                               
to protect Alaska and its  environment.  In fact, most violations                                                               
by the cruise ship industry are self-reported.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK pointed  out DEC  is reducing  oversight and                                                               
expressed  regret  at the  loss  of  the  presence of  the  Ocean                                                               
Rangers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:51:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  advised most  regulated facilities  in Alaska                                                               
are  inspected once  per year,  in  fact, the  foundation of  the                                                               
Clean Water Act is self-monitoring  and self-reporting.  Further,                                                               
Ocean  Rangers lacked  authority  and DEC  staff  will be  making                                                               
early season inspections of each boat.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN stated  her constituency  demands adequate                                                               
monitoring.   She  asked what  the commissioner  has proposed  to                                                               
make  inspections  more  effective  and  that  will  make  timely                                                               
changes  to the  existing  statute that  requires inspections  by                                                               
Ocean Rangers.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE offered  to provide  a draft  [of forthcoming                                                               
legislation].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  recalled Carnival  Cruise Line was  recently fined                                                               
$20  million for  dumping in  Alaska waters.   She  cautioned not                                                               
having  a replacement  program  in place  is  poor planning,  and                                                               
further remarked:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I  just  want to  express  some  frustration with  this                                                                    
     administration that  continually pounds its  fist about                                                                    
     following  the statute  and  listening  to the  people.                                                                    
     And  I  find  that   highly  offensive,  that  this  is                                                                    
     something  that  was  voted   on  by  the  people,  and                                                                    
     supported by  the people,  and without  any consistency                                                                    
     in that position  you're just taking away  the voice of                                                                    
     the  people.   ...   You're  a  representative of  this                                                                    
     administration  and those  two things  are in  conflict                                                                    
     with each other.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  estimated the funding supporting  the Ocean Ranger                                                               
program  is  approximately  $4  million [per  year].    From  her                                                               
research,  improving water  quality  in  local communities  would                                                               
require spending  billions of dollars to  upgrade infrastructure,                                                               
thus $4  million would  "do nothing."   She surmised  the funding                                                               
suggested by  Commissioner Brune for upgrades  is unavailable and                                                               
would not  be spent for  the purpose  that voters intended.   Co-                                                               
Chair Tarr said, "And then the  actual purpose that the voters of                                                               
Alaska said  they wanted,  which was to  have oversight  on these                                                               
boats, is  being eliminated without  them having  the opportunity                                                               
to weigh-in, unlike  other items where the  governor has proposed                                                               
we should  put it  back on  the ballot  for Alaskans  to weigh-in                                                               
...."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:56:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  explained [Ballot  Measure 2,  the Commercial                                                               
Passenger Vessel  Excise Tax, approved  by voters on  8/22/06] is                                                               
an existing  law that should  be reviewed by the  legislature and                                                               
the administration to  ensure it is current and  that it protects                                                               
the environment, and  that the money assessed  [per passenger] is                                                               
used in  an appropriate  way; the  revamped program  will improve                                                               
the environment  and regulate the  cruise ship industry  as other                                                               
industries  are   regulated.    He  acknowledged   upgrading  the                                                               
Anchorage  Water  and  Wastewater   Utility  (AWWU)  plants  from                                                               
primary  to  tertiary treatment  will  cost  in the  billions  of                                                               
dollars; however, he has been  told some communities in Southeast                                                               
can be upgraded  for estimates ranging from $5 million  up to $30                                                               
million,  and he  said  his  proposal is  not  meant  to pay  for                                                               
everything, but will lead to solutions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:59:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  turned  attention  to  proposed  legislation                                                               
addressing Tier 3 water bodies.   Previous DEC policy established                                                               
that any  Tier 3 nomination  requires the passage  of legislation                                                               
to designate a  Tier 3 water body; he advised  proposed SB 51 and                                                               
HB 138 codify the aforementioned  DEC nomination process and vest                                                               
the  power of  designation with  the legislature.   He  cautioned                                                               
DEC's policy can  be changed by a future  commissioner and opined                                                               
the executive branch  should not oversee the  designation of Tier                                                               
3  water  bodies,   but  DEC  should  provide   guidance  to  the                                                               
legislature.   He said  DEC supports HB  138; however,  should HB
138 not  pass, DEC will  follow the existing process  (slide 14).                                                               
Turning  to  the  Division  of  Environmental  Health  (DEH),  he                                                               
observed quick action by the  division to issue pesticide permits                                                               
is  required   to  successfully   respond  to   invasive  species                                                               
outbreaks  such  as  Elodea  (slide  15).    In  addition,  on  a                                                               
statewide basis - with the  exception of Anchorage - DEH provides                                                               
food  safety inspections;  complaints  about  restaurants can  be                                                               
submitted by calling 907/764-YUCK (slide 16).                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  asked  for  the  number  of  food  safety                                                               
inspector positions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said due to  limited travel budgets, DEC seeks                                                               
in  the  future  to  combine inspections  in  rural  Alaska;  for                                                               
example,  utilizing   "rainbow  people"  to  inspect   water  and                                                               
restaurants.  There are fewer than 20 inspector positions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK asked  whether  there are  fees charged  for                                                               
inspections.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  said inspection  fees are included  in annual                                                               
permit fees.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK questioned  whether fees  cover the  cost of                                                               
required tests.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:04:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA CARPENTER,  Director, Division of  Environmental Health                                                               
(DEH), DEC,  informed the committee since  FY 16, as a  result of                                                               
UGF  budget reductions,  the Food  Safety and  Sanitation Program                                                               
has eliminated  positions and prioritized its  workload according                                                               
to  funding sources;  for example,  a federal  contract from  the                                                               
U.S.  Food  and  Drug  Administration   (FDA)  pays  to  complete                                                               
manufactured  food  inspections,  many  of which  take  place  in                                                               
coastal   communities,  or   communities  with   fish  processing                                                               
facilities.  Thus,  while the division is  conducting the federal                                                               
inspections,  it   seeks  to  leverage  federal   funds  by  also                                                               
completing retail  food inspections  of school kitchens  or other                                                               
facilities  under DEH  jurisdiction.   Further, the  division has                                                               
raised its  fees; the  remaining funding  available for  the Food                                                               
Safety and  Sanitation Program consists  of federal  funds, fees,                                                               
and a small amount of UGF.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   surmised  the  fees  are   collected  from                                                               
businesses  and  questioned  how often  routine  inspections  are                                                               
scheduled.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:06:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER offered to provide  a schedule of inspections.  She                                                               
clarified fish testing is under the  purview of the Office of the                                                               
State Veterinarian  (OSV), DEH, DEC;  samples for testing  by OSV                                                               
are collected by food safety  inspectors and are also provided by                                                               
stakeholders.   The  testing  is currently  funded  by the  Ocean                                                               
Ranger program,  Division of  Water, DEC;  DEH tests  fish tissue                                                               
for  mercury, and  other metals,  and  samples are  sent out  for                                                               
further analysis.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN inquired  as to  whether  DEC determines  which                                                               
stocks will be tested and for what contaminants.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER explained  DEH has a sampling process  in place and                                                               
much of  its testing  is based  upon opportunistic  sampling; for                                                               
example, OSV has  a great relationship with  the stakeholders and                                                               
other state  agencies that  provide samples.   Twenty  years ago,                                                               
most  testing focused  on mercury  and  other metals;  currently,                                                               
however,  additional contaminants  of concern  are analyzed.   In                                                               
addition,  the  division  maintains  a  library  of  samples  for                                                               
comparison.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked whether fees  are charged [to test] the                                                               
water quality of communities' or individuals' wells.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENTER advised  DEC regulates  public water  systems that                                                               
supply  more  than  25  people  or  have  more  than  15  service                                                               
connections; testing  of public  water systems  is funded  by the                                                               
federal Safe  Drinking Water  Act administered  by EPA.   Private                                                               
wells are not regulated, and testing is not required by DEC.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:10:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK questioned whether  private water systems are                                                               
regulated by EPA.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER was unaware of [federal regulations].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  continued to slide  17:  FDA requires  DEC to                                                               
test milk,  in order to receive  Grade A status, and  to test for                                                               
toxins in shellfish.   However, in FY 21, DEC  seeks to eliminate                                                               
the dairy [testing] program due  to the "current fiscal climate."                                                               
Testing  of  shellfish  is  currently paid  by  the  cruise  ship                                                               
industry; also in  FY 21, DEC proposes that one-half  of the cost                                                               
of  testing will  be paid  by  UGF and  one-half by  fees to  the                                                               
shellfish  industry.   In  order  to  prevent another  oil  spill                                                               
disaster, the  Division of Spill Prevention  and Response (SPAR),                                                               
regularly inspects  drilling entities  (slide 18).   Further, DEC                                                               
is  undertaking a  contingency plan  (C-Plan) scoping  project to                                                               
garner  opinions  about the  C-Plan  process  from the  regulated                                                               
industry,  environmental  organizations, and  regional  citizens'                                                               
advisory councils.   All comments  on the project will  be posted                                                               
to  the DEC  website through  the comment  period ending  3/16/20                                                               
(slide 19).  In response  to Representative Tuck, he said C-Plans                                                               
fall under of purview of SPAR.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE informed  the committee SPAR is  funded by the                                                               
Oil and Hazardous Substance Release  Prevention and Response Fund                                                               
that collects five cents per barrel  of oil produced - four cents                                                               
for the prevention account and  one cent for the response account                                                               
- and a 0.9  cent per gallon refined fuel tax.   As the growth of                                                               
the fund  is insufficient  to sustain SPAR  into the  future, the                                                               
division has  reduced staff  by seven  positions and  seeks other                                                               
means of  funding (slide  20).   Also in 2019,  DEC and  the Cook                                                               
Inlet  Regional  Citizens  Advisory Council  (CIRCAC)  worked  to                                                               
assess  the aging  Cook Inlet  pipeline  infrastructure; a  final                                                               
report will be  issued in spring, 2020 (slide 21).   In an effort                                                               
to reduce  public exposure to  contaminants, in 2019  DEC cleaned                                                               
up  106 contaminated  sites.   He noted  a previous  contaminated                                                               
site in  Ward Cove  has been  approved for use  as a  cruise ship                                                               
dock (slide 22).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:16:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  said in response  to PFAS  (contamination) in                                                               
Alaska, DEC is working with  the Department of Transportation and                                                               
Public  Facilities  and  the  Department  of  Health  and  Social                                                               
Services to  research sites, especially  at state  airports where                                                               
aqueous  film-forming foam  (AFFF) concentrates  have been  used.                                                               
The  Federal Aviation  Administration (FAA),  U.S. Department  of                                                               
Transportation, requires AFFF  to be stationed at  airports - and                                                               
tested  annually  -  which  has   led  to  the  contamination  of                                                               
residents' nearby  water wells.   The prior  state administration                                                               
tested for six PFAS chemicals,  however, DEC is currently testing                                                               
for eighteen  PFAS chemicals; testing  data is posted to  the DEC                                                               
website (slide 23).  He pointed  out DEC has issued the first air                                                               
permit  in the  U.S. to  test the  efficacy of  incinerating PFAS                                                               
contaminated soils;  in fact, the preliminary  results show 99.99                                                               
percent  of PFAS  chemicals  are destroyed  in  the process,  and                                                               
additional  studies  are forthcoming  (slide  23).   Finally,  he                                                               
described efforts to increase DEC's public outreach (slide 25).                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:20:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:20 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DNR Overview 1.29.20.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
DNR Overview
DEC Overview 1.29.20.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
DEC Overview
HB 27 Sponsor Statement.pdf HL&C 3/6/2020 3:15:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Bill Version U 1.11.19.PDF HL&C 3/6/2020 3:15:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Bill Version U 1.11.19Sectional Analysis.pdf HL&C 3/6/2020 3:15:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 CS Version S 1.21.20.pdf HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 DEC Fiscal Note 01.17.20.pdf HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 DOL Fiscal Note 01.17.20.pdf HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Supporting Document - Combined Letters and Emails in Support 1.21.20.pdf HL&C 3/6/2020 3:15:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Supporting Document - Letters of Support from Firefighters 4.2.19.pdf HRES 4/3/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/5/2019 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Explanation of Changes Ver U to Ver S 01.21.20.pdf HL&C 3/6/2020 3:15:00 PM
HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB27 Opposing Document - Letters of Opposition Combined 01.23.20.pdf HRES 1/24/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 v. S Amendment HRES 1.29.2020 #1.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 v. S Amendment HRES 1.29.2020 #2.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 v. S Amendment HRES 1.29.2020 #3.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 v. S Amendment HRES 1.29.2020 #4.pdf HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27
HB 27 Staff Response to Member Questions 1.29.20.pdf HRES 1/27/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/29/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 1/31/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/3/2020 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/5/2020 1:00:00 PM
HB 27