Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 17

03/10/2015 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

Audio Topic
01:07:33 PM Start
01:07:49 PM HB53
02:51:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
-- Followed by Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 53-USE OF PESTICIDES AND BROADCAST CHEMICALS                                                                     
1:07:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  53, "An  Act relating  to the  application of                                                               
pesticides and broadcast chemicals  in certain public places near                                                               
fish habitat  or water used  for human consumption and  on state-                                                               
owned land, land  leased by or to the state,  state highways, and                                                               
state-owned rights-of- way."                                                                                                    
1:08:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES asked to recognize  a group of students that will                                                               
be participating via teleconference  from Hollis School on Prince                                                               
of  Wales Island,  including high  school students  Clayton Music                                                               
and Joshua Smith,  and at the intermediate  school level students                                                               
Benjermin Moots and Myles Starkweather  and at the primary school                                                               
level, students  CJ Vasquez, Cloe Vasquez,  Kolton Joseph Tipton,                                                               
Jose Vasquez, Isaac Starkweather and Tyler Musser.                                                                              
1:09:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    JONATHAN     KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  stated that  HB  53 speaks  to  the application  of                                                               
pesticides,  specifically the  application  of pesticides  around                                                               
bodies  of  water and  the  public  process and  public  noticing                                                               
associated with the application of  pesticides.  This bill speaks                                                               
to a broad  concern from north to south in  the panhandle region,                                                               
he relayed, noting the Southeast  Conference of Mayors has passed                                                               
a resolution  and all  communities have taken  a strong  stand in                                                               
expressing  interest  and  concern  on  the  current  regulations                                                               
associated  with the  application of  pesticides as  well as  the                                                               
public process associated with pesticides.                                                                                      
1:10:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS said  this  bill  speaks to  those                                                               
aspects  of  regulation; however,  he  basically  would like  the                                                               
public  to have  their  say.   He offered  his  belief there  are                                                               
several years' worth of public  sentiment that has not really had                                                               
an outlet and  it is important for people to  have an opportunity                                                               
to speak.   He viewed  this bill as a  medium to allow  people an                                                               
opportunity to  testify.  He  thanked the Co-Chairs  for allowing                                                               
this to happen.                                                                                                                 
1:11:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES asked  the sponsor  to provide  more information                                                               
about the bill.                                                                                                                 
1:11:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   highlighted    the   two   main                                                               
provisions in  the bill.   First,  if this  bill passed  it would                                                               
require public notice  in conspicuous areas to  inform the public                                                               
when  pesticides will  be applied  in public  rights-of-way.   It                                                               
would  also allow  the public  an opportunity  to comment  on the                                                               
application of  pesticides in public rights-of-way.   Secondly, a                                                               
portion of the  bill speaks to protections  around water sources,                                                               
specifically,   requiring   the   Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC)  to make  a finding of  no harm  if pesticides                                                               
will be applied  within 150 feet of a salmon  stream and 600 feet                                                               
of  a  drinking   water  source.    This   primarily  relates  to                                                               
glyphosate,  the most  commonly  used pesticide,  which has  been                                                               
found  to be  safe on  land  but is  not  as safe  in an  aquatic                                                               
context.   He stated that  this bill  is intended to  create some                                                               
reasonable protections around water sources.                                                                                    
1:13:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  acknowledged that  this has  been an  issue that                                                               
has continued to build.  He  asked whether there are any specific                                                               
incidents that have occurred.                                                                                                   
1:13:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  answered   that   there  was   a                                                               
regulatory  change a  few years  ago that  took away  some public                                                               
process provisions.   The Department  of Transportation  & Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOT&PF) specifically  announced its  plans to  apply                                                               
pesticides along  public rights-of-way on Prince  of Wales Island                                                               
in   Southeast  Alaska,   which  is   an  island   that  he   and                                                               
Representative  Ortiz represent.    He  said substantial  concern                                                               
arose after DOT&PF's announcement.   Since the regulation changes                                                               
related to public  process were in effect, a  crescendo of public                                                               
concern  occurred   and  DOT&PF  postponed  its   plan  to  apply                                                               
pesticides.   To his knowledge  pesticides have not  been applied                                                               
in a  broad manner since  the regulations were  changed; however,                                                               
many people  live off the  land by hunting, fishing,  and picking                                                               
berries.    At  the  very  least residents  want  to  know  where                                                               
pesticides have been applied so  they can make informed decisions                                                               
on  subsistence   harvests.    In  addition,   having  reasonable                                                               
protections seems appropriate, he said.                                                                                         
1:15:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  said she reviewed  the current  statutes adopted                                                               
in  2013  and  it  appears  as  though  notices  must  be  posted                                                               
regarding  where  pesticides will  be  applied.   She  asked  for                                                               
further clarification on whether  the current regulations require                                                               
advance  notice  of pesticide  application,  as  well as  posting                                                               
signs or notices in media outlets during the application period.                                                                
1:15:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS answered yes;  that is correct.  He                                                               
related a scenario  in which DOT&PF announced its  plans to apply                                                               
pesticides on Prince  of Wales Island and posted a  notice in the                                                               
Ketchikan Daily  News, which was  published a month prior  to the                                                               
DOT&PF's plan.   This  caught peoples'  attention and  the public                                                               
strongly  reacted so  the application  never occurred.   However,                                                               
the absence  of a public comment  period and a means  to formally                                                               
and  officially  express  their concern  has  been  upsetting  to                                                               
people.     This  bill  attempts   to  hone  in  on   the  public                                                               
participation aspect.                                                                                                           
1:16:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES asked whether other  states allow for that public                                                               
comment.    She  observed  one  opposition  letter  charged  that                                                               
Alaska's process was more onerous.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   explained    that   the   state                                                               
historically has had a steady  climate of regulations surrounding                                                               
pesticides;  however,  changes in  the  last  few years  prompted                                                               
concern.    He  expressed  an interest  in  moving  towards  what                                                               
existed  a  few years  ago.    He  was  unsure of  other  states'                                                               
CO-CHAIR HUGHES said that would be helpful information to have.                                                                 
1:17:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked for a  discussion of the three fiscal                                                               
notes, noting one has costs associated with it.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS deferred to staff to respond.                                                                     
1:18:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REID MAGDANZ, Staff, Representative  Kreiss Tomkins, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, on behalf  of one of the joint prime  sponsors of HB
53,  explained   that  the  fiscal  note   from  DEC  [Department                                                               
Environmental Conservation],  Solid Waste Management,  relates to                                                               
costs to  review the  permits and consider  public comments.   He                                                               
said DEC envisions it would require additional staff to do so.                                                                  
1:19:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES  referred to  page  2  [to paragraph  (2)]  that                                                               
states  that notices  must be  posted in  a conspicuous  place or                                                               
places on the application site.   She asked whether costs to post                                                               
signs and notices were considered in the fiscal note.                                                                           
MR.  MAGDANZ answered  that he  did not  believe that  aspect was                                                               
listed in any of the fiscal notes.                                                                                              
1:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES asked  whether posting  notices is  part of  the                                                               
current regulation requirements.                                                                                                
MR.  MAGDANZ  replied  that  in certain  cases  it  is  required;                                                               
however,  he does  not believe  the  current regulations  require                                                               
posting notices along  the highway.  He  suggested the department                                                               
could  correct him,  but he  believes the  DOT&PF is  required to                                                               
post  notices if  spraying occurs  near  a school  or in  certain                                                               
public  areas;   however,  he  does   not  believe  there   is  a                                                               
requirement to post notices on highways.                                                                                        
1:20:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  referred to  Section  2  of the  sectional                                                               
analysis of the bill.  He  recalled the sponsor indicated that if                                                               
the bill passed,  it would establish a 600-foot  buffer zone near                                                               
waterways.  It  would also require a finding  that application of                                                               
the  pesticide will  not harm  the fish,  fish habitat,  or water                                                               
source.   Under the  bill, [page 2,  lines 19-20]  the department                                                               
cannot  apply a  pesticide within  150 feet  of an  anadromous or                                                               
resident  fish habitat  or within  600 feet  of a  drinking water                                                               
source.   He related his  understanding that these  boundaries do                                                               
not currently exist.                                                                                                            
MR.  MAGDANZ answered  that he  is  correct, in  fact, one  major                                                               
concern  expressed by  Southeast  residents is  that spraying  on                                                               
highway shoulders  could easily end  up in water  bodies adjacent                                                               
to the roadways.                                                                                                                
1:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  related  his understanding  that  some  of                                                               
these pesticides have  been deemed safe to use on  land, but some                                                               
safety  concerns  exist  in  terms   of  application  near  water                                                               
MR.  MAGDANZ answered  that there  are different  formulations of                                                               
pesticides,  noting  that some  have  been  approved by  the  EPA                                                               
[Environment Protection Agency] for use  in or near water whereas                                                               
others have not.                                                                                                                
1:22:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  asked for further  clarification on  whether the                                                               
ones approved by the EPA for  use near waterways have undergone a                                                               
rigorous process at the federal level to determine safety.                                                                      
MR.  MAGDANZ answered  that all  pesticides used  in Alaska  have                                                               
been  approved  by  the  EPA.   Based  on  his  discussions  with                                                               
numerous  people, disagreement  exists  on how  rigorous the  EPA                                                               
process is, he said.                                                                                                            
1:23:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES related  her understanding  that the  change was                                                               
made  by regulation  and the  issue could  be remedied  without a                                                               
statute change.   She asked  whether Mr. Coffey had  any thoughts                                                               
on the  bill and  if he  could inform the  committee of  any work                                                               
being done or consideration of the public concerns.                                                                             
1:24:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE   COFFEY,  Chief,   Statewide   Maintenance  &   Operations,                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   &  Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),                                                               
answered  that the  department is  still in  the early  stages of                                                               
reviewing  the  bill.    He   said  the  department's  Integrated                                                               
Vegetation Management  Plan (IVMP)  was updated  in 2014.   Since                                                               
then,  the department  has been  working with  the University  of                                                               
Alaska Fairbanks,  the University  of Alaska Anchorage,  the soil                                                               
water  conservation  districts,  and the  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources'  plant material  center.   This  has  been an  ongoing                                                               
process  and  the department  is  considering  its options.    He                                                               
reported   that  the   DOT&PF  has   only  applied   three  small                                                               
applications  of  herbicides,  although the  department  has  had                                                               
collaborators working to combat  invasive species in the DOT&PF's                                                               
rights-of-way.    These  groups   have  been  working  under  the                                                               
department's  Integrated Vegetation  Management  Plan (IVMP)  and                                                               
have applied  herbicides to invasive  species.   He characterized                                                               
pesticide  use as  being a  learning process  and the  department                                                               
continues to partner with groups.   He stated that the department                                                               
appreciates this opportunity to obtain public comments.                                                                         
1:25:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES related her understanding  that under the current                                                               
regulations  the  IVMP's  management  plan  must  be  posted  and                                                               
available  to  the  public  and the  department  must  publish  a                                                               
notice.   She asked whether  the public has  informally contacted                                                               
the department to weigh in with any concerns.                                                                                   
MR. COFFEY  answered yes; noting  that public comments  have come                                                               
primarily  from Southeast  Alaska,  in  particular, from  several                                                               
communities on  the Prince of Wales  Island.  He said  he has not                                                               
received  any  direct  comments  from  the  rest  of  the  state,                                                               
including  areas  in  which  the   three  small  applications  of                                                               
herbicides were applied.                                                                                                        
1:26:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES  asked whether informal comments  are taken under                                                               
consideration by the department.                                                                                                
MR.  COFFEY  answered  that  the  department  responds  to  every                                                               
comment.   The DOT&PF provides  the department's position  at the                                                               
time in  an effort to provide  as much information to  the public                                                               
as possible.                                                                                                                    
1:26:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   HUGHES  asked   for  further   clarification  on   the                                                               
difference between an herbicide and a pesticide.                                                                                
MR.  COFFEY explained  that an  herbicide  is a  pesticide.   For                                                               
example, pesticides  would be used  for controlling  bedbugs, but                                                               
herbicides are used on vegetation.                                                                                              
1:27:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES asked  for further clarification on  the types of                                                               
invasive species in Alaska.                                                                                                     
MR. COFFEY  responded that it depends  on the area of  the state.                                                               
For  example,   he  stated   that  Japanese   knotweed  [Fallopia                                                               
japonica] has  been a problem  in Southeast Alaska in  Juneau and                                                               
Petersburg.   In fact,  the Southeast  Soil &  Water Conservation                                                               
organization has  worked on eradicating  this species  in Juneau.                                                               
The Prince  of Wales  Island has  problems with  reed canarygrass                                                               
[Phalaris arundinacea L.] and  Anchorage has experienced numerous                                                               
invasions  of  Canadian thistle  [Cirsium  arvense].   The  lower                                                               
portions of  the Dalton  Highway have  been inundated  with white                                                             
sweetclover [Melilotus officinalis].   He expressed  concern that                                                               
if  the  white  sweetclover  reaches the  Yukon  River  that  the                                                               
infestation could spread up and down the river.                                                                                 
1:28:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HUGHES asked  whether  these types  of vegetation  were                                                               
introduced species.                                                                                                             
MR. COFFEY  answered that  invasive species  have been  in Alaska                                                               
for a long time, but  warming temperatures can typically increase                                                               
the  spread  of more  invasive  species,  especially in  Northern                                                               
1:29:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HUGHES passed the gavel to Co-Chair Foster.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  FOSTER asked  whether  there was  a difference  between                                                               
pesticides used for commercial purposes  and products that can be                                                               
purchased  at garden  sections of  Home Depot  for home  use that                                                               
might be a reduced strength.                                                                                                    
MR.  COFFEY answered  that they  are  all considered  pesticides,                                                               
noting the department has 11  herbicides listed in its Integrated                                                               
Vegetation Management  Plan (IVMP).   He offered his  belief that                                                               
many of the  chemicals, if not all, are available  at stores such                                                               
as Home  Depot or Lowe's  Home Improvement  and are the  types of                                                               
chemicals that could be applied in home gardens.                                                                                
1:29:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  asked   whether  the   DOT&PF's  use   of                                                               
herbicides  along roadways  is primarily  to  hold down  invasive                                                               
species or  if it is employed  as a cost savings  measure instead                                                               
of using blade cutters to mow along roadways.                                                                                   
MR. COFFEY  replied it  is all  of the above.   The  DOT&PF finds                                                               
that  herbicides are  an effective  tool  for combating  invasive                                                               
species,   particularly  around   guardrails   and  signs   since                                                               
mechanical  means  just  don't  work.   He  reiterated  that  the                                                               
department  uses  herbicides  as  a  tool  in  areas  to  control                                                               
vegetation in which  mechanical means don't work,  but the DOT&PF                                                               
continues to work on cost effectiveness methods.                                                                                
1:30:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked  for further  clarification  on  the                                                               
types of cost effectiveness measures used.                                                                                      
MR.  COFFEY answered  that the  department is  in the  infancy of                                                               
herbicide use since  the department has only  applied three small                                                               
applications of  herbicides in  the state.   Thus  it is  hard to                                                               
come up  with a  detailed cost analysis  until the  department is                                                               
farther along.  He commented that  the department does not have a                                                               
lot  of  licensed   contractors  yet  and  it   has  had  limited                                                               
experience so far.                                                                                                              
1:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER opened public testimony on HB 53.                                                                               
1:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHEN GIESBRECHT,  Borough Manager, Petersburg  Borough, stated                                                               
that  Petersburg  is a  wet  and  rainy  place, which  makes  the                                                               
application  of chemicals  problematic.   When  it was  announced                                                               
that the  public would  no longer have  an opportunity  to engage                                                               
with  the  state on  specific  chemical  applications, there  was                                                               
significant public  outcry due  to the  impact on  the community.                                                               
Many people in  the community use local streams  and runoff water                                                               
as their  only water supply  for drinking and  household gardens.                                                               
Many others pick berries and  other foods from alongside roadways                                                               
and rely on healthy fish stocks  for their way of life and dinner                                                               
for  their  families.    He  felt  certain  the  committee  would                                                               
understand  that the  thought of  adding chemicals  was not  well                                                               
received in the  community.  Further, the  Petersburg Borough has                                                               
additional concerns  with the potential  impact chemical  use may                                                               
have on wild  Alaska seafood, which is the primary  driver in the                                                               
Petersburg  economy.     The  state  and   community  have  spent                                                               
considerable time advertising the  high value of Alaska's natural                                                               
seafood and the application of  chemicals into Petersburg's rainy                                                               
environment  makes  it very  plausible  that  the fish  could  be                                                               
affected  and  therefore damage  the  reputation  of the  overall                                                               
seafood quality.   He cautioned  that the industry  cannot afford                                                               
this type  of reaction in  the marketplace.  Finally,  many local                                                               
citizens  have given  examples of  how  poorly chemical  spraying                                                               
works in  this climate  since most  chemical application  rely on                                                               
staying in  contact with the weeds  and plants long enough  to be                                                               
absorbed.  In Alaska's climate,  that will rarely be possible, he                                                               
said.   This means even more  of the chemical additives  will not                                                               
be  on  the  target  plants,  but in  the  foods,  wildlife,  and                                                               
environment  that  the Petersburg  community  relies  on for  its                                                               
quality of life.  He concluded  his testimony by stating he hopes                                                               
the  committee understands  the serious  concerns regarding  this                                                               
issue and  it will take steps  to protect the quality  of life in                                                               
Petersburg and the rest of Southeast Alaska.                                                                                    
1:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  JABUSCH, Borough  Manager,  City and  Borough of  Wrangell,                                                               
asked  to speak  in support  of  HB 53.   In  November 2013,  the                                                               
assembly passed  a resolution [11-13-1286]  with two  key points.                                                               
First, the  assembly requested that  the use of  herbicides along                                                               
Alaska's roadways  be amended  to provide  for public  comment so                                                               
people  can have  some input  and discussion  prior to  pesticide                                                               
applications.   He said a  large portion of the  population lives                                                               
along the state  highways and the community has a  bike path that                                                               
is widely  used.  Further, people  pick berries and dig  clams on                                                               
the beaches right  off the roadway so the  community is concerned                                                               
about  the impacts  of  the  use of  herbicides.   Secondly,  the                                                               
resolution  asked the  Department  of Environmental  Conservation                                                               
(DEC)  and  Department  of  Transportation  &  Public  Facilities                                                               
(DOT&PF) to  discuss impacts of  the use of herbicides  along the                                                               
region's roadways that  the department plans to use.   If nothing                                                               
else, it  may help identify chemicals  that were shown not  to be                                                               
harmful, which would be helpful to  the citizens in Wrangell.  He                                                               
said the community  understands and supports the  state doing its                                                               
job  in  an economical  fashion,  but  it  wants to  ensure  that                                                               
Alaska's citizens are safe.                                                                                                     
1:37:50 PM                                                                                                                    
BENJAMIN MIYASATO, Vice-Deputy Mayor,  City and Borough of Sitka;                                                               
Council  Member &  Treasurer,  Sitka Tribe  of  Alaska, asked  to                                                               
speak in support of  HB 53.  He stated that  the City and Borough                                                               
of Sitka  passed a resolution,  [Resolution 14-13],  in September                                                               
2014  in requesting  that  the regulations  covering  the use  of                                                               
herbicides  along Alaska's  roadways  be amended  to provide  for                                                               
public comment.   He stated that [knowledge of  herbicide use and                                                               
the ability to comment] will  be good for the public, subsistence                                                               
berry  gatherers,  and  for  drinking  and  water  sources.    As                                                               
Petersburg  and Wrangell  testified, Sitka,  too, is  a very  wet                                                               
environment  and lots  of people  like to  park and  pick berries                                                               
near the road.   He expressed concern that public  comment is not                                                               
currently  available,  which  he characterized  as  being  highly                                                               
important.   In  terms  of posting  regulations  for notices,  he                                                               
expressed concern  that a lot of  people will miss postings.   He                                                               
said  he was  curious  where  the notices  will  be  posted.   He                                                               
emphasized the importance  of having the tribal  citizens and all                                                               
of Sitka's citizens weigh in and provide public comment.                                                                        
1:40:18 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM SYKES asked  to speak in support  of HB 53 as  a citizen, but                                                               
not  as a  Matanuska-Susitna Borough  assembly member.   He  said                                                               
that  HB   53  takes  a   reasonable  approach,   which  includes                                                               
notification to  the public, opportunity  for local input,  and a                                                               
good  permit review  process.   Further,  he  suggested that  the                                                               
setbacks from water  can help protect water,  fish, and wildlife,                                                               
noting  that he  personally engages  in personal  dipnet fishing.                                                               
His experience with  pesticides began in the mid-1980s  at a time                                                               
when  people initially  became  concerned  about chemicals  being                                                               
used  by the  then federally-owned  railroad.   At  one point  he                                                               
served as an alternate of  the Alaska Railroad Citizen's Advisory                                                               
Committee on Vegetation.  He  reported that during the 1990s, the                                                               
railroad tried alternatives, including  using infrared and steam,                                                               
as  well  as  hand  clearing  by  prisoners  and  more  intensive                                                               
maintenance of the  track ballast.  He  emphasized the importance                                                               
of  keeping an  open  mind  to employing  new  technologies.   He                                                               
referred to  HB 53,  page 3,  line 12,  and suggested  a language                                                               
change,   after   "information,"    to   add   "other   effective                                                               
alternatives."  He  offered his belief that the  public should be                                                               
able  to   consider  and  comment   on  new  developments.     He                                                               
highlighted  that the  permit review  process was  important when                                                               
the  DEC  denied  the Alaska  Railroad  Corporation  (ARRC)  from                                                               
spraying the tracks  from Seward to Fairbanks.  At  the time, the                                                               
ARRC had not  identified many water crossings  or wetlands areas.                                                               
Without  careful review  and action  by the  DEC, these  critical                                                               
areas  could  have been  sprayed.    He expressed  concern  about                                                               
spraying since  Alaska has a  lot of  high water tables  and many                                                               
herbicides  have   not  been  tested  in   Arctic  or  sub-Arctic                                                               
conditions, which  means chemical effects last  longer and travel                                                               
1:43:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SYKES elaborated on some  testing done in Southcentral Alaska                                                               
near  Fairbanks, noting  the  characteristics were  significantly                                                               
different than the Lower 48  testing, which should be considered.                                                               
He  expressed concern  that the  majority of  the ingredients  on                                                               
herbicides are listed as inert, but  he has found that some inert                                                               
ingredients  are  as  poisonous as  the  weed-killing  chemicals.                                                               
Since companies  do not  need to list  the ingredients,  it isn't                                                               
possible  to  know  for  sure  what is  contained  in  the  inert                                                               
ingredients, so reasonable caution is  necessary.  In the past 25                                                               
years, Railbelt communities and  Native Tribal organizations have                                                               
dealt  with  some  of  the   herbicide  issues.    In  2006,  the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna   Borough   Assembly   unanimously   passed   a                                                               
resolution promoting  a healthy railroad  and asked the  ARRC not                                                               
to spray alongside the tracks in  the borough.  In conclusion, he                                                               
acknowledged  there will  be differing  opinions about  where and                                                               
when to  apply herbicides.   However, most people can  agree that                                                               
we need  safe water  and safe  communities and  HB 53  provides a                                                               
straightforward process  for notifying  the public,  hearing from                                                               
the  community, and  evaluating a  permit application  that keeps                                                               
public safety as a priority.  He  offered his belief that it is a                                                               
good idea  to pass  the bill.   He thanked  the committee  for an                                                               
opportunity to comment and for its work on this issue.                                                                          
1:45:53 PM                                                                                                                    
PAMELA  MILLER, Executive  Director, Alaska  Community Action  on                                                               
Toxics (ACAT),  stated she is  also a  biologist.  She  said that                                                               
the  ACAT  organization  is   a  statewide  environmental  health                                                               
organization    comprised    of   scientists,    public    health                                                               
professionals, and  community advocates who conduct  research and                                                               
provide educational programs,  technical assistance and training.                                                               
She asked  to strongly  support HB 53  because it  will establish                                                               
common  sense measures  to  protect  salmon streams,  subsistence                                                               
resources, and drinking water sources  by requiring buffer zones.                                                               
It would also restore public  participation in important decision                                                               
making  about pesticide  uses.   The regulations  adopted by  the                                                               
Department   of   Environmental   Conservation  (DEC)   in   2013                                                               
effectively  removed  regulatory   and  oversight  authority  for                                                               
pesticide use on public lands  and rights-of-way.  The regulation                                                               
changes also  removed the  public's right  to participate  in the                                                               
decision-making  process.   The public  lost its  decision-making                                                               
authority   and   oversight   authority   concerning   particular                                                               
pesticide  products,  application methods,  sensitive  locations,                                                               
and threats to environmental and public health, she said.                                                                       
MS. MILLER  stated that  the aforementioned  regulations weakened                                                               
the  democratic  participation  in decisions  that  affect  water                                                               
quality, fish  habitat, and public  health.  She  emphasized that                                                               
Alaskans  have the  right to  know and  participate in  decisions                                                               
about  pesticide  spraying  on   its  public  lands  since  these                                                               
pesticide applications  will affect  lands, water, and  fish that                                                               
are  public trust  assets and  these decisions  can affect  their                                                               
health.   She  pointed  out that  Alaska has  a  long history  of                                                               
citizen  participation,  dating  back  to the  days  of  Governor                                                               
Hammond  with  constructive  citizen participation  in  decisions                                                               
about pesticide  use.   Alaskans have  long been  concerned about                                                               
protecting water quality and human  health and have been actively                                                               
engaged  in  decisions  about herbicide  and  pesticide  uses  in                                                               
public places.  Further, she  said that these issues have enjoyed                                                               
bipartisan support as evidenced by  a 2005 bill sponsored by then                                                               
Representative  Meyer,  which  successfully passed  and  improved                                                               
notification of pesticide use in public places.                                                                                 
1:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MILLER  agreed  the  state  needs  to  address  problems  of                                                               
invasive  and noxious  weeds; however,  herbicides in  most cases                                                               
are not  needed to  accomplish the  solutions to  these problems.                                                               
In fact, pesticides are toxic  chemicals designed to kill, repel,                                                               
or otherwise harm living organisms, but  are one of the few toxic                                                               
substances intentionally  applied to the environment.   Given the                                                               
inherent  toxicity and  tendency  to disperse  from  the area  of                                                               
application,  the state  should ensure  regulatory oversight  and                                                               
full public  participation in decisions  about herbicide  use and                                                               
it should do everything it  can to minimize harmed drinking water                                                               
sources, salmon streams,  and public health.   This bill includes                                                               
buffer  zones  that will  limit  runoff  of pesticides  and  thus                                                               
provide protection to drinking water sources and salmon streams.                                                                
MS. MILLER stated that a  lot of scientific literature shows that                                                               
pesticides  can  damage  salmonids  and reduce  their  chance  of                                                               
survival  or   kill  them  directly.     Many   pesticides  cause                                                               
reproductive harm  and reduced survival  of young salmon  as they                                                               
transition  to  seawater.    These  chemicals  can  impair  their                                                               
migration,  or   cause  behavioral   changes  that   limit  their                                                               
survival, she said.   Some pesticides and  herbicides also affect                                                               
salmon indirectly  by changing the  abundance of food,  cover, or                                                               
other conditions  in the  aquatic environment.   And as  noted by                                                               
previous  speakers,  these  chemicals   are  more  persistent  in                                                               
northern  environments.   In addition,  there are  also risks  to                                                               
public health from the application  of herbicides on public lands                                                               
and  rights-of-way   and  peer  reviewed   scientific  literature                                                               
supports this  assessment.  Exposure  to the  chemicals currently                                                               
proposed  by   the  DOT&PF  can  result   in  detrimental  health                                                               
outcomes,  such  as   neurological  damage,  hormone  disruption,                                                               
developmental,  reproductive disorders,  and cancers  - sometimes                                                               
from a single exposure.                                                                                                         
1:50:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MILLER   concluded  by  saying  that   public  participation                                                               
improves agency decisions  and provides locally-based information                                                               
that  serves  to identify  and  protect  Alaska's drinking  water                                                               
sources and  sensitive habitat,  as well  as promoting  safer and                                                               
more economical  alternatives.  She  urged members to  support HB
53 because  it ensures the  right of all Alaskans  to participate                                                               
in decisions that affect  their health, subsistence, livelihoods,                                                               
and it establishes protective buffer  zones.  She thanked members                                                               
for the opportunity to testify.                                                                                                 
1:52:09 PM                                                                                                                    
GRACE SINGH, Special Assistant to  the President, Central Council                                                               
Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes  of Alaska, said she  was speaking on                                                               
behalf  of Rick  Peterson, President,  from Kasaan  on Prince  of                                                               
Wales  Island today.   In  addition, she  also spends  summers in                                                               
Hollis  for  subsistence  harvesting so  the  issues  surrounding                                                               
herbicide spraying  are important to  her.  She said  that Prince                                                               
of Wales  Island is  the fourth largest  island consisting  of 10                                                               
communities,  with four  federally-recognized  tribes.   Although                                                               
6,000 people live  on the island, they currently do  not have any                                                               
say  on what  the DOT&PF  does with  the land  and water.   While                                                               
living in rural  Alaska can be very challenging,  the citizens of                                                               
Prince  of  Wales  Island  are  very fortunate  to  have  such  a                                                               
resource abundant  island with fish,  deer and berries  to depend                                                               
upon,  she said.   Subsistence  fishing,  hunting, and  gathering                                                               
helps rural  residents offset  the high price  of gas,  food, and                                                               
transportation.   She  said that  annual herbicide  spraying will                                                               
affect all  residents on the  island who depend on  the important                                                               
natural resources  that Tlingit and  Haida people have  relied on                                                               
since time immemorial.                                                                                                          
1:53:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SINGH suggested  that Alaska  should a  better process  than                                                               
other  states since  Alaska depends  on its  rural resources  for                                                               
subsistence  much  more  than  any other  state.    Further,  she                                                               
cautioned that  tourism and fishing industries  will be adversely                                                               
affected by spraying and it  would be irresponsible for the state                                                               
to do  so since most residents  rely on these industries.   While                                                               
she understands the  budget crisis, it is  unfortunate that local                                                               
knowledge isn't being utilized to  bring viable solutions to best                                                               
combat invasive species.   One major concern  about clear cutting                                                               
by mechanical means  is that it may spread  the invasive species,                                                               
which may be true; however,  herbicides also have limited effects                                                               
and  require annual  applications that  distribute these  harmful                                                               
chemicals into  the ecosystem.   She noted that  invasive species                                                               
are not  regulated, but  come in on  heavy equipment,  hay bales,                                                               
and other  transported goods.   At this point, the  population of                                                               
invasive species is so out  of control that herbicide application                                                               
will  not  deter   them,  but  it  will   contaminate  water  and                                                               
vegetation, she said.                                                                                                           
MS. SINGH  expressed further concern about  contamination of well                                                               
water with  limited filtration  systems in  place.   In addition,                                                               
many  people collect  surface  water from  creeks  to fill  their                                                               
cisterns.     She  emphasized   that  herbicidal   spraying  will                                                               
inevitably  contaminate  water  quality due  to  the  underground                                                               
caves.   She recalled  a study  done on  Prince of  Wales Island,                                                               
such that dyes  distributed on one side of the  island were later                                                               
found everywhere on the island.                                                                                                 
1:56:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SINGH reported  that the  proposed  herbicide spraying  near                                                               
Thorne Bay will  affect eight bodies of  water, including rivers,                                                               
creeks,  lakes, and  flood  zones.   This  issue will  undeniably                                                               
affect residents of Prince of  Wales Island, plus eliminating the                                                               
public comment also  poses a direct threat against  the values of                                                               
a functioning  democracy.  She cautioned  that restricting people                                                               
from commenting on  the use of herbicides was  a clear indication                                                               
of  government overreach  and a  deterioration of  local control.                                                               
In fact, the truth is  that herbicidal spraying doesn't work well                                                               
and   requires  annual   application,  she   said.     When  more                                                               
stakeholders are allowed to participate  in the planning process,                                                               
they can  contribute to  an effective solution  to problems.   In                                                               
conclusion, she thanked the committee  for hearing her, since the                                                               
DOT&PF's public comment  process was removed, in  terms of making                                                               
comments on the proposed use of herbicides.                                                                                     
1:58:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER  recalled her  comments on  traditional knowledge                                                               
and asked Ms. Singh to provide  her thoughts on how that could be                                                               
coupled together.                                                                                                               
1:58:55 PM                                                                                                                    
LESLIE ISAACS, Chair, Prince of  Wales Community Advisory Council                                                               
(POWCAC),  stated that  the POWCAC  membership  consists of  nine                                                               
member communities  and four  tribal members who  try to  look at                                                               
issues that  address Prince  of Wales  Island as  a whole.   This                                                               
organization  represents  a  number   of  communities  with  city                                                               
administrators,  mayors,  and  council members  from  around  the                                                               
island  who  work to  promote  the  island  as  a whole  with  an                                                               
understanding of the interdependence they have.                                                                                 
MR.  ISAACA said  that Prince  of Wales  Island consists  of over                                                               
2,000 miles  of road, and  is the third largest  inhabited island                                                               
in the  U.S., with approximately  6,000 residents.  He  said that                                                               
on any given night  about 30 deer can be seen  in the road right-                                                               
of-way when  driving from Thorne Bay  to Klawock.  He  echoed the                                                               
concern  other testifiers  have  voiced that  pesticide use  will                                                               
have on subsistence use since  the animals traverse the roadways.                                                               
He has  a 26-year-old  son who  hunts and  fishes to  support his                                                               
family and  his son  is concerned  that his  family will  eat the                                                               
deer   that  eat   the  pesticide-laden   foliage,  which   could                                                               
contribute to cancer.                                                                                                           
2:01:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ISAACS  said that  he also serves  as the  city administrator                                                               
for the  City of  Klawock.   He said  he received  numerous calls                                                               
when  the  regulations  were  changed  with  respect  to  keeping                                                               
vehicle headlights  on, because no one  asked them if this  was a                                                               
good idea.   It illustrates  that it  is the most  telling aspect                                                               
since residents hunt, fish, and  gather berries and people of all                                                               
ages   may  eat   contaminated  food   that  have   absorbed  the                                                               
MR. ISAACS  said a  seven-mile lake called  Klawock Lake  has the                                                               
best sockeye run in Alaska, but  seven miles of state highway run                                                               
adjacent to  the lake and  he was concerned that  the tributaries                                                               
will absorb these  pesticides.  He would like to  be able to tell                                                               
his grandchildren that he was  subsistence gathering 30 years ago                                                               
in  the lake  that  they would  use  for the  same  purpose.   He                                                               
emphasized  that is  what culture  means  - the  handing down  of                                                               
subsistence  gathering  to  the  next generation.    However,  he                                                               
expressed concern  that the resources  won't be there.   He wants                                                               
to ensure that he can  teach his great-grandchildren how to fish,                                                               
recalling  the  pride  he  felt  when  he  remembers  his  father                                                               
teaching him how  to be the skiff man in  the subsistence fishing                                                               
operation.  Now  he feels emotional because his son  is now ready                                                               
to take  on that  job.   He stressed  the importance  of ensuring                                                               
that the  resources are available to  the people.  He  would like                                                               
assurances  that   these  resources   will  be   available  seven                                                               
generations from now.                                                                                                           
2:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY MARSHALL,  Director, Craig Public  Library, asked  to testify                                                               
in support of  HB [53] and return public comment  to the projects                                                               
that  have  impacts on  communities  and  the environment.    She                                                               
stated  that the  application of  pesticides on  Prince of  Wales                                                               
Island  is  an area  of  concern  for  island residents  and  the                                                               
absence of public comment has led  to a great deal of frustration                                                               
in the community.   She stated that an  online petition collected                                                               
3,800 signatures, with an additional  300 signatures collected on                                                               
physical  petitions.   She  stated  that  she  has copies  of  37                                                               
letters that were  sent to Department of  Transportation & Public                                                               
Facilities, but she  did not believe that any of  the people have                                                               
received a reply.  She  has watched this grassroots effort evolve                                                               
and has observed  people who have not been political  in the past                                                               
taking  an interest  in this  issue.   She said  that considering                                                               
public  comment in  any undertaking  is a  matter of  good public                                                               
2:06:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MARSHALL  commented  that   she  previously  served  as  the                                                               
Integrated Past  Manager for Wrangell  Saint Elias  National Park                                                               
and  Preserve.   She  suggested that  some  people are  concerned                                                               
because there does  not seem to be any  offered alternatives, but                                                               
it the  decision would  be to  spray herbicides  or not  to spray                                                               
them.    She   was  aware  that  some  people   have  offered  to                                                               
mechanically remove species, but they  do not feel they are being                                                               
taken seriously.  The roads on  Prince of Wales Island cross over                                                               
several bodies of  water, for example, near Thorne  Bay, plus the                                                               
Thorne  River  has runoff  water.    She expressed  concern  that                                                               
pesticide use  will adversely affect tourism  and subsistence due                                                               
to the perception  of contamination.  She  emphasized that public                                                               
comment  is   vital  to  this   process.    She   indicated  that                                                               
Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins mentioned  a notice  was published                                                               
regarding  proposed spraying;  however, it  was published  in the                                                               
Juneau  Empire and  not  in  the Ketchikan  Daily  News, but  the                                                               
Juneau Empire  is not available on  Prince of Wales Island.   She                                                               
urged members to support HB 53.                                                                                                 
2:09:14 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSHUA  SMITH, Student,  Hollis School,  Prince of  Wales Island,                                                               
read from  prepared testimony,  as follows  [original punctuation                                                               
     Good  afternoon Madam  Chair and  honorable members  of                                                                    
     the  House Department  of Transportation  Committee. My                                                                    
     name is Joshua Smith and I  am a High School Student at                                                                    
     Hollis  School on  Prince of  Wales Island.  I am  here                                                                    
     representing myself.                                                                                                       
      Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to present                                                                      
     my testimony about [HB] 53.                                                                                                
     I  support [HB]  53 because  people should  have input.                                                                    
     People who  live on  Prince of  Wales Island  know more                                                                    
     about  the  environment  on the  island  than  decision                                                                    
     makers working in  an office in Juneau. I  think all of                                                                    
     you, and  I can  agree that we  do not  want uninformed                                                                    
     people  to make  decisions  that  adversely impact  the                                                                    
     people and the environment.  We cannot just think about                                                                    
     ourselves; there are also  the animals. Those decisions                                                                    
     could  make it  more  challenging for  the people  that                                                                    
     live  on our  island and  for others  that do  not but,                                                                    
     like tourists and restaurants, rely on our fish.                                                                           
     My mom  makes money  helping to  unload, pack  and ship                                                                    
     seafood to other  places all around the  world. That is                                                                    
     how we are able to make  a living. Working there is her                                                                    
     favorite  job.  If  the   spraying  ruins  the  fishing                                                                    
     industry, innocent workers like  my mom will lose their                                                                    
     jobs. My mom's  goal is to be able to  keep a roof over                                                                    
     my  head, food  on the  table and  clothes on  my back.                                                                    
     During  summers, when  we get  a chance,  my mom  and I                                                                    
     find a  way to pick berries  along the road to  give to                                                                    
     elders for them to make  jam for people. If they spray,                                                                    
     the berries  will be  gone. My  mom also  grows organic                                                                    
     fruit  and  vegetables in  our  garden  for elders  and                                                                    
     local   children.  We   do  not   want  to   give  them                                                                    
     contaminated produce.                                                                                                      
     Our island  is a karst system.  Anything (any chemical)                                                                    
     that  enters  our  water  system   in  any  place  will                                                                    
     contaminate our entire island.                                                                                             
     I  believe it  would be  best  to ask  locals like  the                                                                    
     Forest  Service,  Fish and  Game  and  people who  have                                                                    
     lived here  for a  long time  to find  the best  way to                                                                    
     have  a  more controlled  spray  so  that it  would  do                                                                    
     little  to no  damage  to our  Prince  of Wales  Island                                                                    
     Thank you  for your  kind attention  to my  remarks. Do                                                                    
     you have any questions?                                                                                                    
2:13:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CLAYTON MUSIC, Student, Hollis School, Prince of Wales Island,                                                                  
read from prepared testimony, as follows [original punctuation                                                                  
     Good  afternoon Madam  Chair and  honorable members  of                                                                    
     the  House Department  of Transportation  Committee. My                                                                    
     name is  Clayton Music and  I am a High  School Student                                                                    
     at Hollis School  on Prince of Wales Island.  I am here                                                                    
     representing  myself. Thank  you  for  allowing me  the                                                                    
     opportunity to present my testimony about [HB] 53.                                                                         
     I  support  this  bill because  the  government  should                                                                    
     operate  with citizens'  opinions  instead of  without.                                                                    
     Without people's  opinions, it makes it  not fair. With                                                                    
     input you  can make  better decisions, without  it, you                                                                    
     could destroy  someone's way  of life.  In my  case, my                                                                    
     dad owns the only cab  company on the island. He brings                                                                    
     tourists to and from the  ferry. If there are chemicals                                                                    
     sprayed, tourists that typically  come to see the flora                                                                    
     and  fauna of  our  island will  go  elsewhere. If  the                                                                    
     tourists stop coming,  there will be no way  for my dad                                                                    
     to pay the  bills. If his cab company had  to close, my                                                                    
     dad's workers would  be out of a job.  With more people                                                                    
     out of work,  the stores would have to  reduce hours or                                                                    
     reduce  workers.  Also, it  would  make  it harder  for                                                                    
     people on the island who  rely upon the cab company for                                                                    
     transportation.  Without   input,  people   who  decide                                                                    
     whether to  spray or not  would not know this.  Even if                                                                    
     spraying  is cheaper  in the  short run,  with all  the                                                                    
     jobs lost, it could be  more expensive in the long run.                                                                    
     Thank you  for your  kind attention  to my  remarks. Do                                                                    
     you have any questions?                                                                                                    
2:15:25 PM                                                                                                                    
BENJERMIN MOOTS, Student, Hollis School, Prince of Wales Island,                                                                
read from prepared testimony, as follows [original punctuation                                                                  
     Good  afternoon Madam  Chair and  Honorable Members  of                                                                    
     the House of  Representatives Transportation Committee.                                                                    
     My name  is Benjermin  Moots and  I am  an Intermediate                                                                    
     School  Student at  Hollis School  on  Prince of  Wales                                                                    
     Island. I  am here  representing myself. Thank  you for                                                                    
     allowing  me the  opportunity to  present my  testimony                                                                    
     about [HB] 53.  People should have a voice  so they can                                                                    
     know more  about an issue,  and what  it can do  to the                                                                    
     environment.  State  departments  should  talk  to  the                                                                    
     community so they can get  more information before they                                                                    
     decide to spray or not to spray.                                                                                           
     They need  to know about  my brother Titus. He  came to                                                                    
     speak  to Hollis  School about  commercial fishing  and                                                                    
     why it is  important to the State  of Alaska's economy.                                                                    
     Fishing  is how  he makes  his money.  People will  not                                                                    
     want  to work  on  his  boat because  the  fish may  be                                                                    
     contaminated.  Fisherman  will  lose their  jobs,  they                                                                    
     will not have  money and then the stores  will not make                                                                    
     money,  more  people  will lose  their  jobs  and  more                                                                    
     businesses would close.  Fishing is a huge  part of our                                                                    
     state and  we need  to make sure  that people  who make                                                                    
     decisions like  spraying that could harm  our fish have                                                                    
     information from everyone who  could be involved. Thank                                                                    
     you for your kind attention  to my remarks. Do you have                                                                    
     any questions?                                                                                                             
2:17:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MYLES STARKWEATHER, Student, Hollis School, Prince of Wales                                                                     
Island, read from prepared testimony, as follows [original                                                                      
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Good  afternoon Madam  Chair and  honorable members  of                                                                    
     the  House Department  of Transportation  Committee. My                                                                    
     name  is Myles  Starkweather and  I am  an Intermediate                                                                    
     School  Student at  Hollis School  on  Prince of  Wales                                                                    
     Island. I  am here  representing myself. Thank  you for                                                                    
     allowing  me the  opportunity to  present my  testimony                                                                    
     about [HB] 53.                                                                                                             
     Why  is it  important for  people to  be able  to speak                                                                    
     out, to  be heard? You do  not know if the  person that                                                                    
     has not  been heard has  something that would  help the                                                                    
     State  Department of  Transportation to  make a  better                                                                    
     decision. They  need to know  about families  like mine                                                                    
     who rely on subsistence to  live. We harvest just about                                                                    
     everything  in  the  wild that  people  can  eat.  This                                                                    
     includes  food from  the ocean  and streams  to include                                                                    
     salmon,  halibut, shrimp  and  crab. We  also eat  wild                                                                    
     plants   found  along   the  water's   edge  like   sea                                                                    
     asparagus. We  pick berries  to include  salmon berries                                                                    
     and, my  favorite, thimble berries all  summer long. My                                                                    
     family is  worried that  spraying the  herbicides could                                                                    
     kill all of our food supply.                                                                                               
     Thank you  for your  kind attention  to my  remarks. Do                                                                    
     you have any questions?                                                                                                    
2:19:03 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN  PERRY,  Owner; General  Manager,  Pied  Piper Pest  Control,                                                               
related his  understanding that  the Department  of Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC)  was not allowed  to explain what  happened in                                                               
2013, but he will do  his best to provide background information.                                                               
He said he  attended many of the meetings due  to his interest in                                                               
pesticides even though the prior bill did not affect him.                                                                       
MR. PERRY said the hearings  produced the same testimony over and                                                               
over  again,  but6  the  results  were be  the  same,  which  was                                                               
approval.  He  noticed that this committee chose  to limit public                                                               
testimony to  three minutes and  there is  a reason for  that, he                                                               
said.  Testimony has value only  if the points made are different                                                               
and if it has merit on a  particular aspect that has not yet been                                                               
MR.  PERRY said  he  was  deeply impressed  by  the young  people                                                               
testifying, but much of the  information being shared by those in                                                               
support of  the bill  is off  target.  In  2013, even  though the                                                               
DEC's pesticide  division was bogged  down, staff put  together a                                                               
realistic package,  requested public comment, and  considered it,                                                               
prior to  submitting the  final document for  approval.   At that                                                               
time, the  requirements for  guidance for  the use  of pesticides                                                               
were increased  and clear  and concise  IPM programs  were added.                                                               
He  pointed  out  that  current  law  requires  that  alternative                                                               
methods  must be  considered as  part of  the regulations.   Thus                                                               
many  of the  comments  [provided  today] are  off  target.   One                                                               
common  thread testifiers  have  made  seems to  be  the lack  of                                                               
public comment, which  he argued was not taken  away since people                                                               
can  always make  comments to  the  department.   He offered  his                                                               
belief  that the  DEC makes  decisions on  permits, applications,                                                               
and pesticides based  on science because the  legislature and the                                                               
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require it.                                                                               
2:22:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PERRY  predicted that if HB  53 moves forward the  state will                                                               
hear  the  same  testimony  over  and over  again.    He  further                                                               
predicted  if  the  bill  passes,  it  will  cost  an  additional                                                               
$250,000 per year to implement  and the DOT&PF's budget will need                                                               
to be  increased due  to the  fiscal impact.   In 2013,  the only                                                               
change made was with respect to public comment, he said.                                                                        
MR. PERRY suggested that the  issues being raised today have been                                                               
addressed  at the  federal  level, in  terms  of pesticides  near                                                               
water,  fish, and  endangered  species.   Again,  he said,  these                                                               
restrictions have already been enacted  by the federal government                                                               
and  the EPA  must give  consideration to  product labeling.   He                                                               
concluded that  all of  the concerns that  have been  raised have                                                               
already been  addressed.   He suggested  that if  the legislature                                                               
was going to  spend more money, it should be  spent on addressing                                                               
the major bed bug epidemic instead of on this bill.                                                                             
2:25:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FOSTER referred  to page 1, line 7-8, which  read, " ...                                                               
[A] person may  not apply a pesticide or broadcast  chemical in a                                                               
common area  of a  building that contains  more than  four single                                                           
family  dwellings  or  apartment   building,  to  portions  of  a                                                           
government office  or facility  to which  access is  not normally                                                           
restricted to  employees, or to  plazas, parks, or  public sports                                                           
facilities  ....    He specifically  directed  attention  to  the                                                           
language  "four  single  family  dwellings"  and  asked  for  his                                                               
comments since  this provision  would not apply  to five  or six-                                                               
plex buildings or anything larger.                                                                                              
Mr. PERRY replied  that he was involved in  2005 changes; however                                                               
he  was not  sure of  the purpose  of this  subsection since  the                                                               
definition was simply moved [within  subsection (c) - a technical                                                               
change].      However,   he  works   in   accordance   with   the                                                               
aforementioned language.   He  said the  municipal code  was even                                                               
stronger in the  Municipality of Anchorage in  terms of pesticide                                                               
application in public places.                                                                                                   
2:27:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  "ED"  WOOD, read  from  prepared  testimony, as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     1. My name is Charles  Wood and I'm representing myself                                                                    
     through  these  comments. I  have  been  a resident  of                                                                    
     Alaska  since before  statehood  beginning in  December                                                                    
     1954, and  Petersburg since 1961.  I have been  a self-                                                                    
     employed  commercial fisherman  in Alaska  for over  35                                                                    
     2.  I am  writing in  support of  [HB] 53  in order  to                                                                    
     restore  many  of  the  public  protections  that  were                                                                    
     removed by the 2013 regulatory changes.                                                                                    
     3. HB 53's intended purpose  is to return to the public                                                                    
     an  opportunity to  comment on  their  concerns to  the                                                                    
     potential    impacts    of   roadside    spraying    of                                                                    
     pesticides/herbicides in  areas of importance  to them,                                                                    
     such as  the stream which  my family has held  State of                                                                    
     Alaska  water rights  on since  9 July  1970 while  our                                                                    
     beneficial  usage  began in  1961,  and  which will  be                                                                    
     impacted by any roadside spraying.                                                                                         
     4.  The primary  issue  of concern  over our  permitted                                                                    
     water  supply  is  that  it  flows  through  a  culvert                                                                    
     beneath Mitkof  Highway (State Highway  7) and  will be                                                                    
     contaminated  beyond  any  doubt by  roadside  chemical                                                                    
     applications on  both sides of  the highway and  by the                                                                    
     ditches that drain into our stream.                                                                                        
     5. HB 53  also provides the opportunity  for ADOT&PF to                                                                    
     provide  information  to   the  public  concerning  the                                                                    
     application  of chemical  agents,  or alternatives,  to                                                                    
     control plant  growth along State  owned roadways  in a                                                                    
     public forum.                                                                                                              
     6.  It  is  in  the   public's  interest  to  be  fully                                                                    
     informed,  and  included  in   any  decision  by  State                                                                    
     agencies  that  could   have  potential  long-term  and                                                                    
     accumulative ramifications on  public health and public                                                                    
     safety, two  areas of which  the Alaska  Legislature is                                                                    
     constitutionally (Article VII, Sections  4 and 5) bound                                                                    
     to safeguard.                                                                                                              
     7. I urge you to support HB 53.                                                                                            
MR. WOOD  added that neither DEC  or DOT&PF has responded  to the                                                               
Borough  of  Petersburg's  request  for a  public  hearing.    He                                                               
offered his  belief that there  was not any provision  for public                                                               
comment at this point so it  would be up to the individuals whose                                                               
streams will  be affected to  "meet the truck  at the top  of the                                                               
road."  He said he appreciated the opportunity to comment.                                                                      
2:30:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SUZANNE WOOD, read from prepared testimony, as follows [original                                                                
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     1.  My  name  is  Suzanne  Wood  and  I'm  representing                                                                    
     myself. A resident of  Petersburg, Alaska since October                                                                    
     1993, I have been  a self-employed commercial fisherman                                                                    
     in Southeast Alaska for over 22 years.                                                                                     
     2. I am writing in support of House Bill 53.                                                                               
     3. While  HB 53 may  not, by itself, prevent  the usage                                                                    
     of  chemical  agents  on humans,  fish,  wildlife,  and                                                                    
     other living  organisms, it should  bring to  light the                                                                    
     potential harmful and  long-term ramifications of their                                                                    
     usage  by requiring  public  participation  in an  open                                                                    
     meeting before  any chemical spraying is  authorized by                                                                    
     State of Alaska agency officials.                                                                                          
     4.   Residue  from   roadside  spraying   may,  through                                                                    
     airborne  drift, end  up far  afield from  its intended                                                                    
     point of  ground contact and  is likely  to contaminate                                                                    
     all roadside  streams through runoff  due to  the moist                                                                    
     maritime  climate,  particularly in  Southeast  Alaska.                                                                    
     This  has the  potential  to unintentionally  introduce                                                                    
     harmful toxins,  and have detrimental  long-term impact                                                                    
     on  humans, fish  and wildlife,  beneficial subsistence                                                                    
     vegetation like blueberry bushes, and other organisms.                                                                     
     5. Living out of town in  a more rural location with no                                                                    
     access  to the  Petersburg Borough's  residential water                                                                    
     resource,  the  stream  that   I  use  extensively  for                                                                    
     personal use has been granted  water rights since 1970,                                                                    
     and  back permitted  to 1961.  This stream  flows under                                                                    
     the  Mitkof  Highway,  which   could  be  subjected  to                                                                    
     chemical  applications  on  the  uphill,  and  downhill                                                                    
     sides  of the  right-of-way,  effectively doubling  the                                                                    
     amount of  chemical agent that  my family  is subjected                                                                    
     to by  using my family's state  authorized water usage.                                                                    
     This creek  runs out into  the Wrangell  Narrows amidst                                                                    
     anadromous  salmon,  Dungeness  and  Tanner  crab,  and                                                                    
     other resident  marine mammals including  killer whale,                                                                    
     sea lion, and harbor seal.                                                                                                 
     6.  My   family's  organic  garden  is   watered  using                                                                    
     hillside  runoff authorized  by the  State through  our                                                                    
     long  held  water  rights. Roadside  chemical  spraying                                                                    
     destroys   any  semblance   of  organic   gardening  by                                                                    
     introducing  chemical agents  and toxins  directly into                                                                    
     our  food  chain  by  usage  of  what  is  otherwise  a                                                                    
     pristine, uncontaminated  water source. In  many cases,                                                                    
     herbicides  are  toxic  to beneficial  soil  organisms,                                                                    
     such as  bacteria that  help break  down the  soil, and                                                                    
     help  bring in  the nutrients  plants need.  Herbicides                                                                    
     have been  shown to kill helpful  soil organisms, which                                                                    
     result in too many harmful bacteria and fungi growing.                                                                     
     7.  I urge  you to  support HB  53, which  will restore                                                                    
     many  of the  public protections  that were  removed by                                                                    
     the  2013 regulatory  changes. HB  53  will enable  the                                                                    
     ADOT/PF the opportunity to present  to the public in an                                                                    
     open  forum,  its   proposed  chemical  application-the                                                                    
     wheres,  whys, and  hows  of the  need  for the  Alaska                                                                    
     Department of  Transportation to introduce  toxins into                                                                    
     our lives and property on Mitkof Island.                                                                                   
2:34:38 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUGLAS  FLEMING stated  he has  been an  Alaska resident  for 28                                                               
years and  after graduate studies  in fisheries he worked  for 23                                                               
years as a fisheries biologist  for the Alaska Department of Fish                                                               
&  Game  (ADF&G)  in  research and  management  in  Interior  and                                                               
Southeast Alaska.   At the present  time he said he  was involved                                                               
in commercial fishing.                                                                                                          
MR.  FLEMING asked  to testify  in support  of HB  53 because  it                                                               
offers  a step  in the  right direction.   He  questioned whether                                                               
spraying  could  be  done  without  herbicides  moving  into  the                                                               
aquatic habitats  that provide the machinery  for Alaska's salmon                                                               
production.   He  emphasized  salmon was  very  important to  the                                                               
local and statewide economy.   In fact, these substances can also                                                               
affect animals, but he asked to limit his comments only to fish.                                                                
MR. FLEMING  reported that peer-reviewed research  has documented                                                               
transport  of herbicides  into  streams  from roadside  projects,                                                               
which is  what is  being discussed today.   He  expressed concern                                                               
that spraying could leave Alaska  with big "unknowns" in terms of                                                               
the  harm chemicals  might cause  when  introduced into  wetlands                                                               
crisscrossed by many  small streams used by a  variety of species                                                               
and  life stages.   He  worried that  this could  bruise Alaska's                                                               
earned  reputation  and  taint Alaska's  marketing  of  its  pure                                                               
waters and wild salmon.                                                                                                         
MR.  FLEMING offered  to share  a  particularly troubling  result                                                               
from his son's  controlled experiment on the  exposure of Roundup                                                               
on  the  survival  of  Coho  salmon eggs  for  his  AP  [advanced                                                               
placement] biology class.   When he and his son  tried to explain                                                               
the  heavy mortality  of herbicide-treated  eggs, they  could not                                                               
find reported  research available  to determine the  toxicity for                                                               
early  egg and  sac fry  life stages  for Coho  and other  salmon                                                               
exposed   to    commonly-used   Roundup    with   glyphosate-type                                                               
herbicides.  Given  this lack of important  information, he asked                                                               
what assurances  or proof of  no harm  can DOT&PF &  DEC possibly                                                               
give   without  first   conducting  significant   biological  and                                                               
hydrological  studies.    He further  asked  members  to  closely                                                               
examine  DOT&PF   and  DEC's  roles  and   functions  other  than                                                               
permitting,   announcing,   and   dispensing  herbicides.      He                                                               
questioned  how  a  comprehensive   and  responsible  program  to                                                               
protect clean water, pristine habitats  and sustained high levels                                                               
of  fish production  could be  offered  in light  of the  current                                                               
fiscal problems in Alaska.  He  offered his belief that HB 53 may                                                               
lead to  a better informed public  and better outcome.   He urged                                                               
members  to  support  scientific  studies  in  Alaska  to  better                                                               
understand the  risks to Alaska's  valuable resources  that might                                                               
be traded off for a  perceived efficiency that herbicide spraying                                                               
might  bring.    He  thanked  members  for  their  time  and  the                                                               
opportunity to testify.                                                                                                         
2:38:22 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  LEBA stated  that she  is  a fisheries  biologist.   She                                                               
urged members  to support HB 53  and make the overdue  changes to                                                               
the public  process that  will allow  citizens an  opportunity to                                                               
comment  and voice  their concern  about herbicide  spraying near                                                               
and  in  their  communities.    The  current  permitting  process                                                               
doesn't   identify  critical   waterways,   salmon  streams,   or                                                               
residential  areas  that  might  be affected  by  spraying.    An                                                               
abundance of  scientific literature  documents the  many negative                                                               
effects  of  pesticides  on fish,  amphibians,  and  fresh  water                                                               
invertebrates, she  said.  She  thanked the previous  speaker for                                                               
providing  information  on  the  biology study.    She  said  the                                                               
herbicides  used  by  the   Alaska  Railroad  Corporation  (ARRC)                                                               
contain  glyphosate and  surfactants that  increase the  toxicity                                                               
and impacts fish and other  organisms.  She informed members that                                                               
toxicity to  humans was much  more severe when the  glyphosate is                                                               
mixed with a surfactant, which can  be as mild as skin irritation                                                               
or  as  severe  as  liver   and  kidney  impairment,  respiratory                                                               
distress, and heart arrhythmia.                                                                                                 
MS.  LEBA   observed  that  many   residents  pick   flowers  and                                                               
subsistence food  near the  railroad tracks  and should  be aware                                                               
these  areas may  not be  safe  for harvest,  but residents  have                                                               
limited opportunity to view the  notices.  In addition, residents                                                               
often  fish  in  the  Talkeetna and  Susitna  rivers  and  nearby                                                               
sloughs for salmon  and trout.  She has  personally observed ARRC                                                               
signs  near bridge  trestles crossing  sloughs and  the Talkeetna                                                               
River  and  has observed  evidence  of  herbicides on  vegetation                                                               
directly adjacent to these water bodies.                                                                                        
MS. LEBA  obtained confirmation  that the  ARRC sprayed  from the                                                               
downtown  second  street  crossing  to  the  community  of  Chase                                                               
upstream of the Talkeetna River  and that herbicides were sprayed                                                               
8 feet on  either side of the track, stopping  50-feet before the                                                               
trestle bridge and  resuming 50-feet past the end  of the bridge,                                                               
not the 100  feet stipulated by the DEC.   She offered her belief                                                               
that runoff finds its way  into local waterways, which can impact                                                               
subsistence,   recreational,  and   commercial  fishing   in  and                                                               
downstream  of  Talkeetna.   Her  community  hosts  thousands  of                                                               
visitors  who come  to fish,  hike, and  see Denali,  so she  was                                                               
concerned  that continued  spraying will  affect tourism  and the                                                               
local economy.  She urged members to support HB 53.                                                                             
2:42:24 PM                                                                                                                    
BECKY LONG asked  to testify in support  of HB 53.   She said she                                                               
has  made her  living  from the  commercial  fishing and  tourism                                                               
industry.      She   expressed  her   concern   about   herbicide                                                               
contamination.   She argued that repetitive  comments by citizens                                                               
were okay since  it emphasizes whether a majority  of people were                                                               
either supporting or opposing a bill  or policy.  She offered her                                                               
belief  that   decisions  about  pesticide  use   were  political                                                               
decisions  made by  the  administration.   Prior  administrations                                                               
have   turned  down   pesticide  permits   due  to   overwhelming                                                               
opposition by the  public.  Although she was unsure  of 2014 use,                                                               
she  reported that  in 2013  the ARRC  sprayed 50,000  gallons of                                                               
herbicide and  surfactants.   She emphasized  that uncontaminated                                                               
resources are necessary for the  state's economy since commercial                                                               
fishing, sport fishing, hunting,  tourism, and recreational users                                                               
provide more money to the state than oil does.                                                                                  
MS. LONG offered her belief  that in 2013 the administration took                                                               
a large step  backward in terms of pesticide  management since it                                                               
gutted the public process, which  allowed the worst herbicides to                                                               
be used in the  state.  She offered support for  HB 53 because it                                                               
returned the right to participate  in the decision-making process                                                               
in terms of proposed pesticide  application.  She emphasized that                                                               
Alaska  subsists  on  the natural  resources  that  clean  water,                                                               
healthy salmon, and wildlife provide;  however, it isn't possible                                                               
to control toxic  exposure to these resources.   She specifically                                                               
supported a policy  to ban application of  broadcast chemicals or                                                               
pesticides within 150  feet of streams or 600 feet  of public and                                                               
private  water   sources.    She   concluded  her   testimony  by                                                               
supporting HB  53 to  restore the  public process  since Alaskans                                                               
have a  right to weigh  in and  be informed about  proposed toxic                                                               
herbicide and pesticide use.                                                                                                    
2:45:55 PM                                                                                                                    
STEPHANIE  JURRIES urged  members to  support HB  53 in  order to                                                               
reinstate  the public  comment period  for  proposed spraying  of                                                               
herbicides  along state  roadways.   She  highlighted her  belief                                                               
that  an  epidemic  of  cancer  in the  US  has  been  caused  by                                                               
widespread systemic  use of  government-approved chemicals.   The                                                               
state  needs  a  fundamental  change  in  the  way  Alaskans  can                                                               
interact with their environment.                                                                                                
MR.  JURRIES  stated  that  passing  HB 53  will  not  take  away                                                               
DOT&PF's ability  to use  herbicides, but  it will  reinstate the                                                               
requirement for public comment.                                                                                                 
MS.  JURRIES  suggested  there  may be  other  solutions  to  the                                                               
vegetation management issues that DOT&PF  is attempting to fix by                                                               
using herbicides.   By opening  public comment periods,  it would                                                               
allow for more conversation about  the issue and possibly provide                                                               
solutions   other  than   using   herbicide  applications   along                                                               
roadways.   She offered her  belief that Alaskans need  to change                                                               
the  ways in  which they  interact with  their environment.   She                                                               
worried  that  without public  comment,  the  DOT&PF will  simply                                                               
ignore the legitimate concerns Alaskans  have about herbicide use                                                               
on  lands  where  wild  animals  forage  and  people  subsistence                                                               
harvest.    She  has  repeatedly asked  DOT&PF  to  answer  valid                                                               
questions  about  their plans  to  spray  along the  roadways  on                                                               
Prince of Wales Island; however,  the DOT&PF has never adequately                                                               
answered them.  She attested to  residents having a right to know                                                               
about  long-term  plans for  herbicide  use  on Prince  of  Wales                                                               
Island  roadways and  what a  successful  application would  look                                                               
like.   She said that Alaska  is the most beautiful  place on the                                                               
planet  and Alaskans  deserve to  participate in  when, how,  and                                                               
where  to potentially  dump toxic  chemicals  on the  land.   The                                                               
department  may be  a need  to  find ways  to handle  substantial                                                               
public  comment,  but having  so  many  people upset  about  this                                                               
spraying  herbicides  illustrated it  really  is  a problem  that                                                               
needs  to be  addressed.   She urged  members to  pass HB  53 and                                                               
thanked members for their time.                                                                                                 
2:48:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MARGO REVEIL,  Co-Owner, Jakolof Bay Oyster  Company, stated that                                                               
she  and  her  husband  have  an oyster  farm  in  Kachemak  Bay.                                                               
Although she  also serves  as president  of the  Alaska Shellfish                                                               
Growers Association, she  is speaking on behalf  of herself today                                                               
since the  board has not reviewed  or developed a position  on HB
53, although  individual members  have expressed concerns  to her                                                               
about pesticide use in Alaska.   Decisions about whether to spray                                                               
herbicides  should  include   public  comments  from  potentially                                                               
impacted industries,  including shellfish  growers.   The effects                                                               
of pesticides on  shellfish has been extensively  studied and has                                                               
been  linked   to  increased  diseases  in   shellfish  in  other                                                               
populated areas of the world.   In addition, pesticides are known                                                               
to have a  negative impact on phytoplankton, the  food source for                                                               
shellfish.   She  expressed concern  about the  active and  inert                                                               
ingredients,  specifically since  surfactants  can  be lethal  to                                                               
amphibians, fish,  and mollusks.   Broad general permits  may not                                                               
take  into  consideration  sensitive  or localized  systems.    A                                                               
single pesticide  application in  the wrong  spot with  the wrong                                                               
weather conditions could have a  significant impact on individual                                                               
shellfish growers  in downstream  areas.   She suggested  that an                                                               
open  permitting   process  could  give  shellfish   growers  the                                                               
opportunity  to bring  their concerns  to any  spraying authority                                                               
and  it  would  also  provide information  on  potential  harmful                                                               
impacts  that  may  not  have been  considered  in  local  areas.                                                               
Alaska's bays  have a  reputation for  clean, pristine  water and                                                               
her industry  is 100 percent  reliant on clean water.   Shellfish                                                               
growers  market  clean  water   extensively  when  selling  their                                                               
products, but it  is not just a marketing  tool because shellfish                                                               
are very sensitive creatures and  subtle changes in the chemistry                                                               
of  runoff, especially  during a  rain  event, can  significantly                                                               
harm  them.   She  urged members  to support  HB  53 and  thanked                                                               
members for their time and attention.                                                                                           
2:50:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FOSTER,  after  first  determining  no  one  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 53.                                                                                      
[HB 53 was held over].                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB53 ver E.PDF HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Sectional Analysis.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-18 AAC 90.500 Prior to 2013 Amendments.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Community Resolutions.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Letters.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-New Regulations Adopted March 7, 2013.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-POW Petition Signatures.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Sitka Petition.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Fiscal Note-DEC-SWM-3-6-15.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Fiscal Note-DEC-WQ-3-6-15.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Fiscal Note-DOT-TMS-3-6-15.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Letters 2.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Hollis School.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Opposing Documents - Ken Perry.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Letters 3.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Letters 4.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Miller letter.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Rosenthal letter.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-Holmes letter.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Opposing Documents - Ken Perry (2).pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53
HB53 Supporting Documents-SEC Mayors Resolutions.pdf HTRA 3/10/2015 1:00:00 PM
HB 53