Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/19/2001 01:18 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 22-MARINE PASSENGER VESSELS [Contains discussion of HB 183 and SB 134, the governor's proposed legislation on the same topic] Number 1055 CHAIR KOHRING announced that the next order of business would be SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 22, "An Act relating to certain passenger vessels operating in the marine waters of the state; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR KOHRING noted that there was a proposed committee substitute (CS) [Version O] that was worked on with the cruise ship industry and Representative Kerttula. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH expressed his desire to pass the proposed CS out that day. He noted that he had worked hard with the committee staff to get Version O before the committee. CHAIR KOHRING reported that [Version O] was acceptable to all parties involved. Number 0892 REPRESENTATIVE BETH KERTTULA, Alaska State Legislature, testifying as the sponsor of SSHB 22, related her belief that this is the vehicle to move forward. The fundamentals behind the bill and the proposed CS are to protect the state's right to know what is being emitted in the state's waters, in order that reasonable action with the industry to step forward can occur. At the House Transportation Standing Committee's April 12, 2001, work session, the committee had heard a presentation that identified the problems with cruise ship discharges based on last summer's sampling. For those living in downtown Juneau, the past summer was surprising due to the identification of high discharges of fecal coliform bacteria in graywater. She pointed out that the committee as well as the public have heard this information; thus the public expects the legislature to do something about this. Number 0741 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA reiterated that SSHB 22 is a vehicle for addressing the cruise ship issues. Furthermore, this legislation complements U.S. Senator Murkowski's legislation, which took a great step forward in dealing with some of these problems. She said U.S. Senator Murkowski didn't preempt the state [with his federal legislation], but specifically allowed the state to work with the federal government in order to accomplish good changes for Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA noted that [Version O] places modest state requirements on the cruise ship industry. For example, cruise ships would have to register with the state, not only allowing a better relationship between the state and the industry, but also providing the state with the ability to get service [of process] on the industry, should the need arise. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA explained that cruise ships would conduct sampling and testing, which would go directly to the state. She said this is somewhat of a state's rights issue in that the state can receive this information directly. There would also be a requirement for the industry to collect graywater samples and conduct routine tests for fecal coliform bacteria and other conventional pollutants at least twice during the cruise season. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA explained that if a cruise ship doesn't discharge wastewater while in state waters, the ship doesn't have to report to the state. However, those that do discharge wastewater must report what, when, where, and how much they discharge; this information will be used to make decisions. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA related her belief that the industry has made great steps forward to try to control this itself. Without a comprehensive picture, however, the appropriate path is not clear. She believes SSHB 22 moves the state where it needs to be, and that the proposed CS accomplishes what should happen in most of the important areas. Therefore, she encouraged Chair Kohring to move SSHB 22 forward today. Number 0579 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI moved to adopt the proposed CS, version 22-LS0238\O, Lauterbach, 4/19/01, as the working document. There being no objection, Version O was before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI offered as an amendment to page 3, lines 7 and 15, that "20" be replaced with "200 parts per [100 milliliters]". Number 0460 SPENCER WOOD, Lieutenant Commander, Seventeenth District Coast Guard Office - Juneau, U.S. Coast Guard, clarified that it wouldn't be "parts per milliliters"; rather, it would be "200 colonies [of] fecal coliform per 100 milliliters," which is the current federal standard for marine sanitation devices. Number 0387 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI moved that the committee adopt the following amendment: Page 3, lines 7 and 15: Delete "20" Insert "200 colonies" There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA thanked Representative Kohring and his staff, the House Transportation Standing Committee members, as well as the cruise ship industry. She also thanked those on teleconference. Number 0304 RANDY RAY, U.S. Cruise Ship Association, testified via teleconference. He noted that he and the association's lobbyist, Ray Gillespie, have been working on this issue for two years. He expressed interest in seeing this bill move forward. Not having the proposed CS in front of him, he said he would not comment. However, he looked forward to working with everyone on this legislation as it moved forward. Number 0134 PAULA TERREL, Southeast Program Director, Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC), testified via teleconference in support of SSHB 22 and requested that the committee forward this bill from committee. She informed the committee that AMCC is a statewide, community-based organization with a diverse membership. The AMCC considers SSHB 22 to be a right-to-know piece of legislation, which it strongly supports. One of AMCC's guiding principles is the promotion of sustainable and healthy fisheries, which is part of having sustainable communities [with healthy economies]. TAPE 01-31, SIDE A MS. TERREL mentioned the [AMCC principles] of sound science, local and community input, and traditional knowledge. Such principles depend on the continued health of Alaska's marine waters. This legislation would ensure that the public has the information as well as the state. Number 0155 JOHN HANSEN, President, North West CruiseShip Association, explained that the North West CruiseShip Association is an association of the nine cruise lines that operate in the Pacific Northwest. This year the association has 22 ships operating in the region. Since the committee has already heard much of the background, he said he would skip that portion of his testimony. Furthermore, the proposed CS changes some of the association's response to some things. MR. HANSEN reported that the association recommends the following. First, the [legislation] should be carefully crafted in order to avoid ambiguity and overlapping with federal legislation or existing state law. Second, the standards expected of the industry should be clearly established. Third, there should be clear penalties for breach. Fourth, [the legislation] should contain provisions for state record keeping of ship discharges, and the records should be available. Fifth, there should be a program of monitoring and testing. Sixth, the industry should pay for reasonable monitoring, testing, and research, which is consistent with industry practice. The association believes the proposed CS incorporates the aforementioned six principles, he said, and thus supports it. Number 0461 JOLENE RIELLY, National Ocean and Sciences Bowl, Juneau-Douglas High School, came forth and informed the committee that the group has been researching the cruise ship waste, its history, and how it ties in with Alaska and the cruise ship industry. Ms. Rielly spoke in favor of SSHB 22 because she feels that it covers many of the areas in which cruise ships should comply. Number 0560 ADRIANA RODRIGUEZ, National Ocean and Sciences Bowl, Juneau- Douglas High School, came forth and informed the committee that the group consisted of a team of four people who researched the topics included in SSHB 22. This bill is a major step forward in propelling the cruise industry and the state into a partnership. Ms. Rodriquez noted her support of SSHB 22 and expressed her hope that this will help the industry and Alaska. CHAIR KOHRING asked if the students recognize the other side of this issue: the economic benefits that tourism brings to Alaska. He acknowledged that the students were present to achieve a balance between the economic and environmental sides. MS. RIELLY and MS. RODRIGUEZ agreed that both sides of the issue should be reviewed. MS. RODRIGUEZ, in response to Representative Kookesh, noted that she and Ms. Rielly are seniors at Juneau-Douglas High School. Number 0751 ROBERT REGES, Member, Cruise Control, Inc., came forth and informed the committee that Cruise Control is working towards ensuring that the cruise industry mitigates its impacts. While Cruise Control recognizes the economic benefits of the cruise industry, it also recognizes the economic and social burdens this industry brings. Cruise Control's task is to ensure that those burdens are internalized and paid for by the operators. Although Cruise Control doesn't wish to diminish cruising in Alaska, it does want the industry to tell [the public] what it leaves behind; he believes providing such information is the purpose of SSHB 22. Furthermore, [Cruise Control] believes the cruise industry should mitigate any impacts where feasible, and should pay for impacts that can't be mitigated. MR. REGES acknowledged that the title change in the proposed CS will eliminate permits, which are included in the governor's bill [HB 183 and SB 134]. The title also "effectively eliminates discussions of head taxes," Mr. Reges noted, but indicated [Cruise Control] is working with others on an initiative. The title change sets up contention on certain issues for another time. MR. REGES noted that [AS 46.03].463 speaks to "a person", while the remainder of the bill addresses an "owner or operator". For consistency, he suggested that "person" be changed to "owner or operator" on page 2, line 30, and on page 3, lines 1, 12, and 17. Mr. Reges informed the committee that he is an environmental attorney and has worked with the state and federal environmental statutes for years. He explained that ["owner or operator"] is the term of art that is used to describe all the persons who may be responsible for the operation of a vessel. MR. REGES recalled discussion regarding whether existing laws are already satisfactory; to that, he replied no. From a business perspective, he told members, the cruise industry is one of the few industries in Alaska that isn't required to register or have an agent for service of process. For example, a carpenter from out of state can't come up and put a cabinet together without registering and getting an agent for service of process. Although this is not problematic when companies or their offices are based in the United States, that isn't the case with all cruise companies. Mr. Reges related his experience during his time with the Office of the Attorney General when he attempted to serve [process on] a cruise company with no office in the United States. Those provisions requiring registration and an agent for service of process don't exist elsewhere in statute for cruise owners and operators. Number 1156 MR. REGES turned to the environmental section of the bill, the right to know provision. He acknowledged the possibility that an individual could, through the Freedom of Information Act and/or litigation discovery, secure the type of information being sought [in the right-to-know provision]. He informed the committee that he has been working with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) steering committee since its inception. On numerous occasions, Mr. Reges said, he has requested that he be able to review the opacity readings from the mid-1990s to last year. He has yet to see those readings. Mr. Reges characterized this as fundamental information that isn't readily available. MR. REGES referred to the April 18, 2001, Anchorage Daily News article entitled, "Bush Backs Rule on Lead Emission." He quoted the following from that article: The Bush Administration announced Tuesday that it would go forward with a regulation proposed by former president Bill Clinton to require thousands of businesses to make public the details of their emissions of lead into the environment. EPA Administrator Christine Whitman, in announcing the lead emission rules - ["again, a public right to know rule," Mr. Reges observed] - said that public scrutiny has helped reduce emissions of other toxic substances. MR. REGES pointed out that this right to know is a tried and true rule. Therefore, Mr. Reges urged the committee to move this bill from committee. Number 1346 JOE LeBEAU, Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE), testified via teleconference. Mr. LeBeau acknowledged that the committee supports clean air and water. However, everyone was surprised with last summer's [sampling] results. This bill will go further to increase the knowledge of the pollutants emitted into the environment. Mr. LeBeau urged the committee to move this bill forward. Number 1401 MICHELE BROWN, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), testified via teleconference, reporting that DEC supports this legislation as a "right-to-know" bill. Thus far, the cruise ship industry is the only industry DEC knows of that operates in Alaska with such potential to pollute, although there is virtually no oversight by the state. COMMISSIONER BROWN characterized the reporting and gathering of information included in this bill as an important first step. However, she expressed hope that the committee would hear the governor's bill next week. The governor's bill includes a more comprehensive monitoring and oversight program that goes beyond information gathering. COMMISSIONER BROWN pointed out that all other industries operating in Alaska have to report, make information available, and follow clean air and water rules. She echoed Mr. Hansen's earlier testimony regarding the need to have a program in place that would perform future verification, record keeping, systematic monitoring and testing, establish a way to pay for that activity and state oversight, as well as establish clear penalties for breach of the standards. Commissioner Brown reiterated DEC's support of [CSSSHB 22] and noted her hope that the committee would forward the bill today. Number 1567 MICHAEL KRIEBER, Staff to Representative Vic Kohring, Alaska State Legislature, speaking as the committee aide for the House Transportation Standing Committee, pointed out that the key change included [Version O] is the requirement for the treatment of graywater. If this legislation passes, Alaska would be the only place that would require the treatment of graywater. MR. KRIEBER continued with the other changes. The title has changed in order to reflect the particular sections of the bill. Furthermore, language concerning the graywater treatment requirements and the monitoring have been added. Any reference to air-monitoring requirements has been deleted because existing state statutes and regulations cover that matter. CHAIR KOHRING recognized concern that passage of legislation could result in an agency's interpreting the legislation differently from the intent of the legislation. He asked how that possibility can be addressed. MR. KRIEBER pointed out that statute cites particular treatment levels. Therefore, the legislation states what the requirements would be; thus there would be no need for regulations. Mr. Krieber referred to page 8, [AS] 46.03.485, entitled "Regulations." In the prior bill, language directed DEC to propose, review, and implement regulations. A good portion of that language was taken out because the treatment requirements were directly addressed. MR. KRIEBER said the elimination of the regulations drafting process, coupled with an implementation date of 2003, will allow the treatment requirements to be in effect sooner than if the regulatory process were in place. However, the bill does include the ability for the department to adopt regulations for the implementation of exemptions. He noted that there is the potential that various operators may not be "up to snuff" yet, although they are working with the department; the department should have flexibility to work with the industry in those circumstances. Number 1804 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH thanked Mr. Krieber for his help on this issue. He mentioned that his district includes communities throughout Southeast Alaska, which is where the impact of the cruise ship industry could be the greatest if there were a major problem. CHAIR KOHRING noted that initially he didn't want to move this legislation; however, now that there is a proposed CS that is acceptable to the industry and seems to [alleviate] some of the environmental and economic concerns, he was open to advancing it. He said he was trying to listen to all sides and come to a consensus, to put forth something that is acceptable to the cruise ship industry, but not onerous with regard to prospective regulations and taxes. He mentioned that this legislation could return from the Senate in the form of a tax bill to which he is adamantly opposed; however, the title has been tightened so that a tax couldn't be added. Number 1975 REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI noted his concern with any legislation that takes the monitoring agency out of the loop. He related his belief that the U.S. Coast Guard should perform the monitoring, whether it is oil-related or graywater discharge. He said that he is very satisfied with the modifications that resulted in the CS. However, he maintained that the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will still be involved with this because of the federal legislation. REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI, in regard to Mr. Reges's suggestion for language changes, reminded members that this legislation has two more committee referrals where amendments could be addressed. Furthermore, three of the House Transportation Standing Committee members also sit on the House Resources Standing Committee, the next committee of referral. REPRESENTATIVE SCALZI turned to the issue of a fee, which he felt would have been cumbersome and open to more debate. Now that this legislation strictly addresses monitoring, there is a modest fiscal note. Furthermore, the deletion of the air control language [was appropriate] because the issue of air quality would take an inordinate amount of time and testimony. Therefore, Representative Scalzi expressed his satisfaction with [Version O] and noted his desire to move it forward. Number 2122 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said having two other committee referrals and the need to deal with this issue before the end of session make it incumbent upon the committee to forward this bill out of committee today. She, too, believes that the proposed CS is a step in the appropriate direction and can be further worked on in the other two committees of referral. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK moved to report CSSSHB 22, Version O [22- LS0238\O, Lauterbach, 4/19/01], as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSSSHB 22(TRA) was reported from the House Transportation Standing Committee.