Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

04/26/2021 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 135 GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 171 PFAS USE & REMEDIATION; FIRE/WATER SAFETY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 171-PFAS USE & REMEDIATION; FIRE/WATER SAFETY                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:40:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 171, "An Act relating  to pollutants; relating                                                               
to  perfluoroalkyl and  polyfluoroalkyl  substances; relating  to                                                               
the  duties  of  the Department  of  Environmental  Conservation;                                                               
relating   to  firefighting   substances;  relating   to  thermal                                                               
remediation  of  perfluoroalkyl   and  polyfluoroalkyl  substance                                                               
contamination; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:41:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN,  as prime  sponsor, introduced HB  171 and                                                               
paraphrased  the   sponsor  statement,  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances  (PFAS) are a group                                                                    
     of chemicals  harmful to human health.  They are linked                                                                    
     to  serious  health   conditions  including  low  birth                                                                    
     weight,  thyroid disease,  and  cancer.  Low levels  of                                                                    
     exposure  are  common  because PFAS  can  be  found  in                                                                    
     products   from   non-stick  cookware   to   waterproof                                                                    
     jackets.   But  large-scale   exposures  happen   where                                                                    
     certain   firefighting   foams   or   other   compounds                                                                    
     containing  PFAS seep  into drinking  water and  linger                                                                    
     for years.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska's   Department  of   Environmental  Conservation                                                                    
     declared PFAS hazardous substances several years ago.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 171:                                                                                                            
     ? sets  health-protective limits on the  amount of PFAS                                                                    
     in drinking water                                                                                                          
     ?  guarantees Alaskans  in areas  with  high levels  of                                                                    
     PFAS contamination  get clean drinking water  and their                                                                    
     blood levels checked                                                                                                       
     ? bans  PFAS foams  in October of  2021, which  is when                                                                    
     the   Federal   Aviation   Administration   will   stop                                                                    
     requiring airports to use them                                                                                             
     ?  prohibits  thermal  remediation (i.e.,  burning)  of                                                                    
     PFAS contamination  unless a facility obtains  a permit                                                                    
     from the Department  of Environmental Conservation that                                                                    
     ensures the process  will not result in  the release of                                                                    
     more  than a  minimal  amount of  an airborne  compound                                                                    
     with a carbon-fluorine bond.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The bill  carves out an exemption  for those producing,                                                                    
     transporting, or  refining oil and gas  until the State                                                                    
     Fire  Marshal determines  effective alternatives  exist                                                                    
     for  the  intensity  of  the fire  threats  oil  &  gas                                                                    
     operations face.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:48:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS asked  Representative  Hannan to  clarify                                                               
whether HB 171 would prevent the  use of PFAS at airports or just                                                               
stop the testing.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN   said  that  the  Alaska   Department  of                                                               
Transportation & Public Facilities  (DOT&PF) has told airports in                                                               
the state to  not test [using PFAS].  While  the Federal Aviation                                                               
Administration (FAA) regulations on  PFAS will change in October,                                                               
she said,  PFAS has not been  used in annual testing  in Alaska's                                                               
airports "for about a year."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:49:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  CLARK,  Staff,  Representative  Sara  Hannan,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  clarified that  HB 171  would ban  the use  of PFAS                                                               
foams  at airports  in Alaska,  but only  after FAA  rescinds its                                                               
requirement, which  is scheduled  for October 1,  2021.   He then                                                               
detailed the  Sectional Summary, which read  as follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 1 of  the bill creates several new  sections in AS                                                                    
     46.03:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.340(a):  Directs   the  Department  of                                                                    
          Environmental Conservation to  test drinking water                                                                    
          near PFAS spills. Requires  the department to make                                                                    
          sure anyone with  contaminated drinking water gets                                                                    
          clean drinking  water and  at least  one voluntary                                                                    
          test of their blood to determine PFAS levels.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
               Sec. 46.03.340(b):  Sets health-based maximum                                                                    
               levels of contamination in drinking water                                                                        
               for seven PFAS  chemicals and maintains DEC's                                                                    
               authority to set more protective thresholds.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
               Sec. 46.03.340(c): Requires  DEC to make sure                                                                    
               a responder exposed to PFAS contamination                                                                        
               gets and at least one voluntary test of                                                                          
               their blood to determine PFAS levels.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 46.03.345(a) states that  a person who causes                                                                    
          a  fire  that  results  in the  release  of  PFAS-                                                                    
          containing  foams  is  liable  for  the  costs  of                                                                    
          providing drinking water,  drinking water testing,                                                                    
          and blood testing under AS 46.03.340 of the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.345(b)  states  that persons  who  use                                                                    
          PFAS-containing  substances to  extinguish a  fire                                                                    
          (i.e.  fire   departments)  are  not   liable  for                                                                    
          providing drinking water,  drinking water testing,                                                                    
          blood testing,  and cleanup costs.  This exemption                                                                    
          from  liability  does not  extend  to  the use  of                                                                    
          PFAS-containing   substances   for   training   or                                                                    
          testing purposes.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.345(c) states  that the  liability for                                                                    
          these  costs is  in  addition  to other  liability                                                                    
          existing  in areas  of state  law relevant  to the                                                                    
          release of PFAS substances.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.345   (d)  provides   definitions  for                                                                    
          "motor  vehicle"  and  "residential  building"  as                                                                    
          they are used in this section.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.350(a) exempts  oil &  gas production,                                                                    
          transmission,    transportation,   and    refining                                                                    
          businesses from  the prohibition from  using PFAS-                                                                    
          containing  firefighting  foams unless  the  state                                                                    
          fire marshal publishes  notice that an alternative                                                                    
          firefighting substance must be used.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 46.03.350(b)  states that  if the  state fire                                                                    
          marshal  determines  that  a  safe  and  effective                                                                    
          alternative  firefighting  substance is  available                                                                    
          for use by oil &  gas businesses, the fire marshal                                                                    
          must   immediately   publish   notice   that   the                                                                    
          alternative   substance  must   be  used   by  the                                                                    
          industry.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 46.03.350(c): DEC must  take up to 25 gallons                                                                    
          per  year  of  PFAS-containing  firefighting  foam                                                                    
          from Alaskans for disposal.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.350(d): With  the exception  of oil  &                                                                    
          gas businesses, this  subsection prohibits the use                                                                    
          of  PFAS-containing   firefighting  substances  by                                                                    
          persons in  the state  unless the use  is required                                                                    
          by federal  law. (Sec. 5  of the bill  provides an                                                                    
          effective date for this  prohibition of October 4,                                                                    
          2021.)                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          Sec.  46.03.355  states  that  a  facility  cannot                                                                    
          thermally  remediate  (that  is, burn  away)  PFAS                                                                    
          contamination  unless it  has  a permit  to do  so                                                                    
          from the Department  of Environmental Conservation                                                                    
          that is  compliant with  sections 501  through 507                                                                    
          of  the  Clean  Air  Act.  To  be  permitted,  the                                                                    
          thermal  remediation process  must  not result  in                                                                    
          the release  of more than  a minimal amount  of an                                                                    
          airborne compound with a carbonfluorine bond.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          Sec. 46.03.359:  Lists the PFAS  compounds covered                                                                    
          by  this bill  and  maintains  DEC's authority  to                                                                    
          list more.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Sec.   2  of   the  bill   addresses  the   retroactive                                                                    
     applicability of  the liability sections of  the act in                                                                    
     uncodified law.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 3 adds transition  language regarding the adoption                                                                    
     of  regulations  for  implementing   the  act  and  the                                                                    
     effective date of those regulations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 4 provides an effective  date of October 4th, 2021                                                                    
     to the prohibition  on the use of PFAS in  section 1 of                                                                    
     the bill.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 5 gives an immediate  effective date to sections 2                                                                    
     and 3 of the act.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 6  provides for  an effective  date of  January 1,                                                                    
     2022, except  for those sections  of the  bill provided                                                                    
     an immediate or other effective date.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:01:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS asked for more details on the cutoff                                                                      
concentrations as enumerated on page 2, lines 12-20, of HB 171.                                                                 
He also  asked for  more information on  the science  of studying                                                               
PFAS.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN noted  that one of the  invited speakers is                                                               
a constituent who first brought the issue to her attention.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK responded that he  could only speak generally about the                                                               
science but that it has been  unfolding over the past decade.  He                                                               
compared the cutoff concentration of  the seven PFAS named in the                                                               
proposed  legislation with  the  Environmental Protection  Agency                                                               
(EPA)  recommendations  and stressed  that  the  EPA lists  every                                                               
substance at either a much  higher recommended concentration than                                                               
proposed  under   HB  171,  or   with  no   concentration  cutoff                                                               
recommendations at all.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS asked  whether the  [EPA] regulations  are                                                               
under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK said that he doesn't know.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  opined that TSCA  is widely regarded  as a                                                               
failure, which emphasizes the importance of HB 171.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:07:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked whether  HB 171 is  "homegrown" or                                                               
modeled after legislation in the Lower 48.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK replied  that the proposed legislation is  based on the                                                               
work  of  Michigan's PFAS  Action  Response  Team Working  Group,                                                               
which was  assembled in 2018.   He said that the  findings of the                                                               
working  group, released  in 2019,  were subsequently  adopted by                                                               
the Michigan State Legislature.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  whether representatives  from the                                                               
military or  oil industry collaborated  on drafting  the proposed                                                               
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN explained that  state law doesn't allow the                                                               
legislature  to  regulate  actions  taken  by  federal  agencies;                                                               
however,  the   military  first   notified  the  state   of  PFAS                                                               
pollution.      She   said    that   Michigan,   New   Hampshire,                                                               
Massachusetts, and Minnesota have  been working on PFAS pollution                                                               
stemming  from  industry; in  Alaska,  however,  PFAS is  largely                                                               
limited  to military  installations, airports,  and petrochemical                                                               
refining   because    Alaska   doesn't   have    the   industrial                                                               
manufacturing sector  that would be using  it.  She said  that in                                                               
the  spring of  2018 DOT&PF  notified the  residents of  Gustavus                                                               
that their  water was  toxic from PFAS  runoff from  the airport.                                                               
She  clarified that  several pieces  of the  proposed legislation                                                               
are "homegrown" because, unlike  Alaska, other states have layers                                                               
of  government  overseeing   municipal  organizations  like  fire                                                               
departments which,  in Alaskan communities, are  largely composed                                                               
of volunteers.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER followed up to  ask about the oil and gas                                                               
industry involvement.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  replied that  the  oil  and gas  industry                                                               
engaged early in the development  of the proposed legislation and                                                               
have  been given  a  "carve out"  because,  unlike airports  with                                                               
alternative  firefighting substances,  the oil  and gas  industry                                                               
has no feasible substitute for fighting high temperature fires.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  whether  any  penalties would  be                                                               
address in the proposed legislation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK explained  that penalties would be focused  on the cost                                                               
of remediation such as blood  testing, environmental texting, and                                                               
providing clean water.  He  said that the administration's recent                                                               
announcement  regarding  litigation  against  PFAS  manufacturers                                                               
indicates   the  intention   for   active   remediation  of   the                                                               
contaminated sites.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked where the liability  could lie, if                                                               
not with  the fire  departments, or whether  every case  would be                                                               
different.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK  replied  that  it   would  be  a  challenge  for  the                                                               
Department  of  Environmental  Conservation  (DEC)  to  determine                                                               
liability.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:17:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  said he  would like more  information on  the EPA                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:18:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCKAY asked  whether  a  person who  accidentally                                                               
starts a  fire would  be held  liable.  He  then asked  about the                                                               
"alternative firefighting  substances" referred  to on page  2 of                                                               
the Sectional Analysis.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK said that if an  accidental fire led to a PFAS release,                                                               
a "person"  could be  defined as  a commercial  entity.   He said                                                               
liability  would  be  determined   according  to  the  degree  of                                                               
negligence on the part of the entity.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  clarified that  the intent  is to  hold an                                                               
arsonist liable,  but not  a person who  has an  accidental fire.                                                               
She said that  they don't want to discourage  anyone from calling                                                               
the  fire  department  but  that   wildfires  can  be  caused  by                                                               
negligence, thereby  requiring the  use of PFAS  and subsequently                                                               
affecting the water system over a large area.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:22:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCKAY said  that  it seems  PFAS  sites could  be                                                               
candidates  for  the  federal  "Superfund"  law  [officially  the                                                               
Comprehensive    Environmental   Response,    Compensation,   and                                                               
Liability Act of 1980(CERCLA)] program.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK, addressing  Representative McKay's  earlier question,                                                               
said  that  there  is  not   100  percent  consensus  on  whether                                                               
alternative  firefighting substances  are as  effective as  PFAS,                                                               
but referred to the March 13,  2020, hearing on HB 240 during the                                                               
House Resources  Standing Committee, in  which the Fire  Chief of                                                               
the  [Port of  Seattle  Fire Department]  testified  that he  was                                                               
highly confident that  the new substances are  safe and effective                                                               
alternatives to  PFAS.  He then  addressed Representative McKay's                                                               
mention of  the Superfund program  and expressed the  belief that                                                               
many people  hope the pollution  issues are  addressed rigorously                                                               
at the federal level.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  said that  FAA  and  airports have  found                                                               
satisfactory  alternative foam  compounds; however,  the oil  and                                                               
gas  industry  have not  found  something  that works  for  their                                                               
fires.  She  then discussed the Superfund program  and said that,                                                               
because EPA  regulation on the  different PFAS is  so fragmented,                                                               
sites in Alaska wouldn't qualify  until studies were done on each                                                               
level  of pollution.   She  said  there is  speculation that  the                                                               
industrial sites in other states  will likely be deemed Superfund                                                               
sites, but they don't currently meet the criteria.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:27:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  asked whether  there are  new technologies                                                               
that  show  promise  for  replacing  PFAS  in  the  oil  and  gas                                                               
industry.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN replied that she doesn't know.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:28:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLY MCLAUGHLIN,  Chair, Gustavus PFAS Action  Coalition (GPAC),                                                               
testified  in  support  of  HB 171.    She  discussed  litigation                                                               
against 3M  Company and  said that  HB 171  would be  a temporary                                                               
solution until national  assistance is available.   She said that                                                               
there are  some alternative  substances used in  the oil  and gas                                                               
industry   in  other   countries  and   that  the   International                                                               
Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN)  has a comprehensive report                                                               
obtainable through  either the Alaska Community  Action on Toxics                                                               
(ACAT) or  GPAC.  She expressed  the belief that the  oil and gas                                                               
industry  could move  to using  nontoxic substances  in the  near                                                               
future.   She  explained  that  while HB  171  uses the  Michigan                                                               
report, because  the class of  chemicals is large,  several other                                                               
states have  used a different  approach and regulated use  of the                                                               
fluorine-carbon bond.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MCLAUGHLIN described  becoming aware  of PFAS  in 2018  upon                                                               
receipt of a  letter from DOT&PF informing  residents of Gustavus                                                               
that the school's water and  several airport drinking water wells                                                               
were contaminated.  She said that  even a small amount of aqueous                                                               
film  forming foam  (AFFF)  can contaminate  soil  and water  for                                                               
miles, it  doesn't biodegrade or  break down, and  remediation is                                                               
difficult.    She  said  that many  states  are  identifying  the                                                               
fluorine-carbon  bond and  regulating  PFAS as  a  class of  that                                                               
bond.   She  said  that  the GPAC  has  led  and collaborated  on                                                               
testing  Gustavus residents'  blood  serum levels,  locally-grown                                                               
plants, livestock, wild  foods, and fish and game  and is working                                                               
with the  Alaska Department  of Fish  & Game  (ADF&G).   She said                                                               
that testing has  found a direct correlation  between PFAS levels                                                               
in  water samples  and  the  blood samples  of  the residents  of                                                               
Gustavus.   She  expressed concern  that she  would be  knowingly                                                               
contributing  to  the ill  health  of  an  animal raised  on  her                                                               
property in Gustavus.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:35:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER referred  to  page 2,  line 31,  through                                                               
page 3, line 10, of HB 171, which read as follows:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Sec. 46.03.345. Liability  for drinking water, drinking                                                                  
     water testing,  and blood testing  costs. (a)  A person                                                                  
     who  causes a  fire  that  results in  a  release of  a                                                                    
     firefighting  substance   containing  a  perfluoroalkyl                                                                    
     substance  or polyfluoroalkyl  substance is  liable for                                                                    
     the costs  of providing drinking water,  drinking water                                                                    
     testing,  and blood  testing under  AS 46.03.340.  This                                                                    
     subsection   does  not   apply  to   a  release   of  a                                                                    
     firefighting  substance  to  extinguish  a  fire  in  a                                                                    
     residential building or motor vehicle.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          (b) A person who  extinguishes a fire by releasing                                                                    
     a    firefighting    substance    that    contains    a                                                                    
     perfluoroalkyl  substance or  polyfluoroalkyl substance                                                                    
     is  not  liable for  the  costs  of providing  drinking                                                                    
     water, drinking water testing,  and blood testing under                                                                    
     AS  46.03.340 or  site cleanup  under this  chapter, AS                                                                    
     46.08,  AS  46.09,  or another  state  law  unless  the                                                                    
     firefighting  substance was  released  for training  or                                                                    
     testing purposes.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked what kind  of fire would have to be                                                               
burning in order for PFAS to be deployed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN explained that  Gustavus has two "pollution                                                               
plumes" of  PFAS.  One  is from  mandatory FAA annual  testing in                                                               
which  the  foam was  sprayed  off  the runway  and  subsequently                                                               
contaminated the  groundwater and wells.   The second  plume, she                                                               
said, is  from a  wildland fire on  which the  Gustavus volunteer                                                               
fire  department  sprayed  PFAS  foam   from  a  fire  truck  the                                                               
department  had  gotten  from  the  state.   Under  HB  171,  the                                                               
landowner  would  not  be  liable   for  damages  unless  it  was                                                               
determined that  the he  or she  was an  arsonist; for  the plume                                                               
resulting from the airport testing,  cleanup costs would be borne                                                               
by DOT&PF.   Representative  Hannan explained  that HB  171 would                                                               
mandate  that whoever  causes a  fire on  which PFAS  is used  is                                                               
responsible for the costs of pollution cleanup and remediation.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked,  "What fire did I  start that PFAS                                                               
had to come and kill?"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  reiterated  her earlier  explanation  and                                                               
added  that fire  departments in  communities across  Alaska have                                                               
inherited  equipment from  the state  which contains  PFAS.   She                                                               
said that Gustavus has no  centralized water system, so there are                                                               
no fire hydrants for fire engines to hook up to.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK asked  whether  it's  fair to  say  that PFAS  is                                                               
predominantly used in chemical or fuel fires.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  replied that  a volunteer  fire department                                                               
probably won't know  what's in the fire truck  unless it's hooked                                                               
up to a hydrant.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:40:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE said  it  seems that  PFAS chemicals  are                                                               
being used incidentally  rather than in response  to any specific                                                               
type of fire.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK clarified that under  HB 171, the liabilities come down                                                               
to  basic, immediate  health and  wellness concerns  of providing                                                               
drinking water, blood testing, and  water testing.  He emphasized                                                               
that language  referring to a  "person" is focused  on industrial                                                               
entities.    It's noted  that  a  residential fire  or  passenger                                                               
vehicle  fire  would  be  exempt  from  the  liability  sections,                                                               
because  those  types  of  fires  wouldn't  be  arising  from  an                                                               
industrial incident.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:43:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked, "Are we  getting rid of the reason                                                               
for PFAS being  in any fire truck other than  on a military base,                                                               
or in the oil field, or at an airport?"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK  responded  that, in  instances  where  a  community's                                                               
firefighting equipment was  found to have PFAS after  using it on                                                               
a fire,  the effort would be  to remove the PFAS  and prepare the                                                               
truck for conventional firefighting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:45:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked whether  the  language  in HB  171                                                               
referring to a "person" is using the definition in statute.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK replied, "Yes, that's correct."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS said  that it's  only until  October that                                                               
the existence of PFAS in  firefighting equipment would be a known                                                               
use, since it will then be banned at airports.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK responded, "Yes."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:46:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GILLHAM  asked whether PFAS is  only in industrial                                                               
fire retardant  or if  it could  be in a  fire retardant  used in                                                               
homes.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  said that he  is unaware  of any residence  that would                                                               
keep   a  PFAS   fire   extinguisher,  and   said   that  it   is                                                               
"overwhelmingly" for industrial use.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:47:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE stated  his  understanding  that PFAS  in                                                               
firefighting is used only for extremely hot fuel fires.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN replied, "That's my understanding."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE  asked  whether  the  chemicals  will  be                                                               
banned  in October,  or if  the FAA  is stopping  the requirement                                                               
that PFAS be used for testing or training purposes.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK said  that HB 171 would ban the  use of PFAS-containing                                                               
firefighting  foams after  October 1,  2021, in  all applications                                                               
within  the  state  except  for  those within  the  oil  and  gas                                                               
industry, because it's  presumed that the decision of  the FAA is                                                               
stipulating that other safe firefighting foam can be used.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE referred  to page  2, lines  6-10, of  HB
171, which read as follows:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     (b) A  person who  extinguishes a  fire by  releasing a                                                                    
     firefighting substance  that contains  a perfluoroalkyl                                                                    
     substance  or polyfluoroalkyl  substance is  not liable                                                                    
     for  the costs  of providing  drinking water,  drinking                                                                    
     water testing, and blood testing  under AS 46.03.340 or                                                                    
     site cleanup  under this chapter,  AS 46.08,  AS 46.09,                                                                    
     or another state law  unless the firefighting substance                                                                    
     was released for training or testing purposes.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  asked whether  this section  would create                                                               
liability  retroactive to  past training  and testing,  and asked                                                               
whether  an  explicit exemption  for  past  activities should  be                                                               
added.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK replied  that he  would need  to look  into that  more                                                               
carefully.  He  said that the intention of that  subsection is to                                                               
specifically not  hold firefighters  liable for doing  their best                                                               
to save  lives and property.   The testing and  drilling language                                                               
is because  the chemicals  should not  be used  unless absolutely                                                               
necessary,  he  explained, and  it  is  possible to  train  using                                                               
nontoxic substances.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:51:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK opened public testimony on HB 171.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:52:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAMELA  MILLER, Executive  Director, Alaska  Community Action  on                                                               
Toxics  (ACAT), shared  that she  was recently  appointed to  the                                                               
National Academy  of Sciences as  a community liaison  to develop                                                               
guidance on PFAS testing and  health outcomes.  She paraphrased a                                                               
portion  of  her written  testimony  [included  in the  committee                                                               
packet] in  support of  HB 171, which  read as  follows [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  health and  safety of  our water  is critical  for                                                                    
     Alaskans. HB 171 would  require greater protections for                                                                    
     communities   in   preventing   and   addressing   PFAS                                                                    
     contamination,   including   setting   of   enforceable                                                                    
     drinking water standards  for a number of  PFAS as well                                                                    
     as requirements for polluters to  pay for safe drinking                                                                    
     water  and  blood tests  for  people  affected by  PFAS                                                                    
     contamination.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     In Alaska, the dispersive  use of PFAS-based industrial                                                                    
     firefighting foams  on military bases and  airports has                                                                    
     contaminated  the drinking  water  of communities  from                                                                    
     the  North Slope  to southeast  Alaska. PFAS  have been                                                                    
     found  at  over  100  individual  sites  in  nearly  30                                                                    
     locations   across   Alaska.   At  least   ten   Alaska                                                                    
     communities  have  PFAS  in  their  drinking  water  at                                                                    
     levels   deemed  unsafe   by  the   U.S.  Environmental                                                                    
     Protection  Agency  (EPA) and  it  is  likely that  the                                                                    
     number  of  communities  with contaminated  water  will                                                                    
     grow  as  more  sampling is  conducted  throughout  the                                                                    
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     PFAS are contaminating  groundwater and surface waters,                                                                    
     fish, wild  game, garden produce and  backyard chickens                                                                    
     in  Alaska.  Several Alaska  lakes  are  now closed  to                                                                    
     fishing  as  a result  of  PFAS  contamination and  yet                                                                    
     there  is  no  cohesive  plan for  testing  of  waters,                                                                    
     produce,  or fish  and wildlife  in  areas affected  by                                                                    
     PFAS.  The   public  water  supply  in   Fairbanks  and                                                                    
     hundreds of  private wells in the  Fairbanks North Star                                                                    
     Borough  are contaminated  with PFAS.  In 2019,  Golden                                                                    
     Heart  Utilities in  Fairbanks suspended  all sales  of                                                                    
     its compost that has been  sold annually for many years                                                                    
     to   local   farmers   and  gardeners   due   to   PFAS                                                                    
     contaminants  in  the   compost  stockpiles.  Recently,                                                                    
     residents near  Sand Lake in Anchorage  are calling for                                                                    
     testing  of  residential  wells  and  2  lakes  in  the                                                                    
     vicinity of  the former Kulis  Air National  Guard Base                                                                    
     where high levels of PFAS have been found.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MILLER  said  there  are serious  health  effects  of  these                                                               
chemicals  at  low  levels  of   exposure,  and  there  are  safe                                                               
alternatives.  She  said she had submitted to  the committee some                                                               
information on alternatives  to PFAS.  She noted  that many other                                                               
states are "taking action on these  chemicals as a class at lower                                                               
levels  than the  Michigan standards."   She  concluded, "So,  we                                                               
would  like  to  see  the bill  strenghtened  but  very  strongly                                                               
support it."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:55:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN KENNISH testified  in support of HB 171.   He expressed that                                                               
it's clear  that PFAS will pose  a major problem for  the future,                                                               
and that  the toxicity of  the compounds have only  been recently                                                               
recognized.    He  stressed  the  importance  of  protecting  the                                                               
residents of  Alaska, as well as  the fish and game  harvested by                                                               
those living a subsistence lifestyle.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:57:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KRISTINE BENSON  testified in support of  HB 171.  She  said that                                                               
there  are  a  dozen  communities  in  Alaska  with  contaminated                                                               
drinking  water and  that it's  imperative  that the  legislature                                                               
step in  to set a drinking  water standard based on  health.  She                                                               
said that the  EPA is not protective of health  and is moving too                                                               
slowly  in  updating  water  safety  standards.    She  expressed                                                               
approval that  HB 171  would provide for  safe disposal  for PFAS                                                               
still in storage.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:59:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  RISOTTO,  Senior  Director,  American  Chemistry  Council,                                                               
testified in opposition  to HB 171.  He said  HB 171 would create                                                               
standards for  PFAS without going through  the regulatory process                                                               
and asked for  consideration of the actions taken  at the federal                                                               
level.    He  paraphrased  a section  of  his  written  testimony                                                               
[included  in  the  committee  packet],  which  read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In  seeking to  assign responsibility  for releases  of                                                                    
     PFAS  near a  water  supply, the  proposal will  likely                                                                    
     result   in    significant   unintended   consequences.                                                                    
     Although Section  345 would exempt releases  of aqueous                                                                    
     film  forming  foam (AFFF)  to  extinguish  fires in  a                                                                    
     residence or motor vehicle, it  does not exempt the use                                                                    
     of  AFFF   for  testing  or  training   by  local  fire                                                                    
     departments.  Nor  does  the proposal  exempt  publicly                                                                    
     owned  landfills   that  may  have  released   PFAS  or                                                                    
     wastewater   treatment   plants  that   have   provided                                                                    
     biosolids containing PFAS  for agriculture. Farmers who                                                                    
     have  applied those  biosolids on  their land  also are                                                                    
     potentially  liable under  the  bill. These  activities                                                                    
     have been identified as contributing  to PFAS levels in                                                                    
     groundwater   elsewhere  in   the   country.  This   is                                                                    
     particularly  relevant given  the extremely  low levels                                                                    
     that have been proposed for some of the substances.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:01:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA  THOMAS testified  in  support of  HB 171.    She noted  the                                                               
cancer   and  thyroid   issues  posed   by  ingesting   PFAS  and                                                               
characterized the use of PFAS  as "the biggest cover-up since big                                                               
tobacco."  She  opined that 3M Company, the  manufacturer of some                                                               
PFAS, chose  to suppress  the toxicity of  the chemical,  and she                                                               
urged the committee to "look at accountability."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK,  after ascertaining  that no  one else  wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 171.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:04:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK announced that HB 171 was held over.                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 135 Sponsor Statement 4.23.2021.pdf HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 135
HB 135 Sectional Analysis Version A 4.23.2021.pdf HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 135
HB 135 DNR Presentation 4.23.2021.pdf HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 135
HB 171 Sponsor Statement 4.12.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Sectional Summary 4.12.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 PFAS-FAQs-Fact-Sheet-ATSDR and CDC.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 PFAS Reference Sheet 4.12.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter Deborah Hemenway 4.23.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Executive Summary - Michigan Report on PFAS Health Effect 4.12.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 EPA PFAS Information Sheet 4.12.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter American Chemistry 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter Melanie Lesh 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter Janet Neilson 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Draft Fiscal Note DEC EH 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Draft Fiscal Note DOT COM 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Draft Fiscal Note DEC SPAR 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Draft Fiscal Note DEC AQ 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter ACAT 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 171 Letter AKPIRG 4.26.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 171
HB 135 Example Geothermal Facilities 4.27.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 135
HB 135 Support University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems 4.27.2021.pdf HRES 4/26/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 135