Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/15/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 19(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved SB 164 Out of Committee
         CSHB  19(FIN)-PESTICIDE & BROADCAST CHEMICALS                                                                      
CHAIR  THOMAS  WAGONER  announced  CSHB  19(FIN)  to  be  up  for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN MEYER  said he  was  looking for  a way  to                                                               
eliminate  the  state  general   fund  obligation  to  the  State                                                               
Pesticide  Program, which  is required  by federal  law. He  also                                                               
wanted to  provide reasonable protections  for public  health for                                                               
when pesticides are used throughout the state.                                                                                  
The way  the program works,  the Environmental  Protection Agency                                                               
(EPA)  approves a  pesticide for  sale in  the United  States and                                                               
then each  state has  to register the  pesticide for  sale within                                                               
the state.  The state agency  in this  case is the  Department of                                                               
Environmental   Conservation  (DEC).   It   is  responsible   for                                                               
registering  the  pesticides  and inspecting  and  enforcing  the                                                               
requirements that  EPA puts on  the handling and  distribution of                                                               
these chemicals.  In Alaska, the  program has been paid  for with                                                               
general funds,  but in other  states the  program is paid  for by                                                               
the chemical manufacturers  in the form of a fee  they pay to the                                                               
When  he first  contacted the  chemical manufacturers,  they were                                                               
not  surprised  nor did  they  resist  being  charged a  fee  for                                                               
chemicals  that  they  sell  in   Alaska.  The  only  thing  they                                                               
requested is  that the state doesn't  try to fill its  fiscal gap                                                               
on their  backs. The department  suggested a  fee of $85  that is                                                               
set  up on  a  sliding  basis so  that  chemicals  that are  used                                                               
infrequently would  be charged less.  This fee would  make Alaska                                                               
the 11 cheapest in the country.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER  explained that when pesticides  are used in                                                               
a  public place  this bill  requires that  they be  applied by  a                                                               
certified applicator. The intent is  to target areas where people                                                               
go  in  masses  and  shouldn't  have  to  worry  about  a  recent                                                               
spraying. The other  requirement is that the  spraying is noticed                                                               
something like a "Wet Paint" sign.                                                                                              
4:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS  asked if  public  schools  were included  in  the                                                               
definition of public place.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER  replied  yes;   it  includes  schools  and                                                               
SENATOR GUESS  asked if it  includes Alaska Native  Hospital, but                                                               
not Providence Hospital.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER responded that he thought she was right.                                                                   
MIKE  PAWLOWSKI,  staff to  Representative  Meyer,  said he  knew                                                               
Providence and  Alaska Regional Hospitals  would not  be included                                                               
in this. He  said they worked on the definition  closely with the                                                               
KRISTIN  RYAN,   Director,  Division  of   Environmental  Health,                                                               
Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  (DEC),   said  the                                                               
definition  is  specific in  the  proposed  legislation, but  she                                                               
would have to  look at other statutes regarding  a definition for                                                               
"government office."  She hadn't considered  government hospitals                                                               
and  since  even the  Native  hospitals  are technically  run  by                                                               
consortiums, she didn't know if  they would be considered a state                                                               
building.   She  thought   they  would   be  considered   federal                                                               
government buildings. "But, I think  our intent here was to cover                                                               
state government buildings."                                                                                                    
4:54:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS  said  if  the intent  is  state  buildings,  that                                                               
wouldn't include schools.                                                                                                       
MS.  RYAN   responded  that  schools  are   covered  by  existing                                                               
regulations that already require public notice.                                                                                 
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  if government-funded  programs  not  in  a                                                               
government facility, like Headstart, are covered.                                                                               
MS. RYAN  interpreted that to  not be included. She  didn't think                                                               
the  department   had  the  authority  to   require  the  federal                                                               
government to post  warnings in their buildings.  She would check                                                               
on that.                                                                                                                        
SENATOR   GUESS  asked   her   to  check   on  requirements   for                                                               
municipalities and local government buildings as well.                                                                          
4:55:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS  asked  if licensing  of  pesticide  applicators                                                               
included spray bottles or people on page 3, line 6.                                                                             
MS. RYAN replied people.                                                                                                        
SENATOR SEEKINS  said he  looked at AS  46.03.320(b) and  it says                                                               
the department may  provide, by regulation, for  the licensing of                                                               
private applicators  and asked  about public  applicators. "Would                                                               
they have to have the same standards as a private applicator?"                                                                  
MS. RYAN  replied that  is existing  statute and  she could  do a                                                               
temporary waiver for  people who couldn't get to  the course, but                                                               
needed  to  do  an  emergency  application.  The  department  has                                                               
interpreted the statutes to require  commercial applicators to be                                                               
certified. That  means you have to  take a test and  go through a                                                               
course that teaches you how to apply the chemicals safely.                                                                      
     It's  against  federal law  to  ever  apply a  chemical                                                                    
     against  the   label.  The  label   is  the   law  with                                                                    
     pesticides. So,  a private applicator  is held  to that                                                                    
     just as  much as  a commercial applicator.  Everyone is                                                                    
     supposed to follow the label.                                                                                              
4:57:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS  asked if  a  Department  of Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities (DOTPF) employee  spraying down a highway would                                                               
be subject to licensing and have to pass the same examination.                                                                  
MS. RYAN replied:                                                                                                               
     There's a  few things  that impact  state applications.                                                                    
     For one  thing, our regulations currently  require them                                                                    
     to get  a permit.  We don't  require permits  for every                                                                    
     type  of  application; we  only  require  a permit  for                                                                    
     aerial spraying -  for spraying over lakes  like a fish                                                                    
     kill  by Fish  and Game  or if  you apply  it to  state                                                                    
     lands. So, DOT and the Railroad  have to come to us for                                                                    
     permits  and if  you're  familiar with  the history  at                                                                    
     all, that's  never been  successful. They  have applied                                                                    
     and not been  able to achieve the permit  due to public                                                                    
     So, through  the permit process, we  would require them                                                                    
     to make  sure they use certified  applicators otherwise                                                                    
     they  aren't using  chemicals on  state land  without a                                                                    
4:58:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                           
     I've always  thought that what  was good for  the goose                                                                    
     was  good for  the  gander and  if  we were  protecting                                                                    
     public  health  and safety  and  we  felt that  it  was                                                                    
     necessary to  certify and license  this group,  then we                                                                    
     ought to certify  and license all people  that do that,                                                                    
     not  as just  a matter  of  fairness, but  a matter  of                                                                    
     public safety. I'm just trying  to see if there are any                                                                    
     loopholes for  people to jump  through here if  we pass                                                                    
     this  legislation  based  on   their  status  or  their                                                                    
MS. RYAN replied  that a stipulation of getting  permits would be                                                               
certification.  The  department   wants  the  pesticides  applied                                                               
correctly. Commercial  applicators are defined in  regulations as                                                               
people who make money doing this.                                                                                               
4:59:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked how many fees  would be in the  $120 range                                                               
in reference  to language about  reasonable fees on page  3, line                                                               
MS. RYAN replied that it's  for simplification of accounting. She                                                               
didn't expect to  have a fee for different  products. There would                                                               
be a waiver  from the fee if the product  hadn't been used before                                                               
in  Alaska,  if  research  is  being   done  on  it  or  if  it's                                                               
     Based on the  money we need to generate  to support the                                                                    
     program, the  people left paying  the fee  would either                                                                    
     pay $85, assuming  40 percent don't pay the  fee, or if                                                                    
     90 percent  pay the  fee, it  would only  be a  $55 fee                                                                    
     across the board.                                                                                                          
5:00:50 PM                                                                                                                    
AL  VEZEY,  Fairbanks,  urged  the   committee  to  proceed  with                                                               
caution. Pesticides is an extremely  complex subject. It includes                                                               
wood  preservatives,  herbicides  and  numerous  other  specialty                                                               
products  that improve  people's lives.  He used  the removal  of                                                               
brush from  highways so drivers can  see moose as an  example. He                                                               
said  the  state has  never  successfully  permitted a  pesticide                                                               
application on state  land as required by state law.  "We need to                                                               
be careful before we take these products away from the public."                                                                 
5:04:50 PM                                                                                                                    
He  said that  a majority  of registered  applicators are  public                                                               
employees  who are  trying  to  do their  jobs  in a  responsible                                                               
manner.  They  currently  pay  a   fee  of  $25  to  the  federal                                                               
Agricultural  Cooperative Extension  Service, a  division of  the                                                               
Department  of  Agriculture.  He   encouraged  the  committee  to                                                               
develop that relationship further  because he thought the federal                                                               
government would  be able  to do  more if  the state  showed more                                                               
support for the program that they  are already doing in the state                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
He said  the people paying the  fee would by and  large be public                                                               
employees and would  probably be reimbursed for it  by the agency                                                               
they work for.  Then the state would be put  back in the position                                                               
of  being asked  to fund  additional  expenses due  to having  to                                                               
register with  the state. He  asked the committee to  compare the                                                               
cost to the public and the harms it would inadvertently cause.                                                                  
MR.  VEZEY asked  if they  are going  to require  the owner  of a                                                               
large public  housing project  to go  through a  registration and                                                               
public notice process before they  implement a program to control                                                               
rats and mice.                                                                                                                  
     Individual apartment owners don't have a chance in the                                                                     
      world of managing a rodent problem in a multi-family                                                                      
     building. It  has to  be done on  a broad  scope basis.                                                                    
     Looking at  the regulations, we don't  really know what                                                                    
     will come  out of it.  Is it going to  encourage public                                                                    
     safety and public health or  just simply discourage the                                                                    
     use of  pesticide in  the consequent  deterioration the                                                                    
     quality of the environment that we all live in?                                                                            
5:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN PERRY, Perry Paratex Pied  Piper, said he also represents the                                                               
Alaska Pesticide Applicators Group,  the National Pest Management                                                               
Association and  a group  called the  Responsible Industry  For A                                                               
Sound  Environment.   He  praised  the  DEC   and  its  pesticide                                                               
division, but said  while it is sorely  under-funded and severely                                                               
criticized,  it  has  shown   remarkable  ability  in  overseeing                                                               
pesticide usage and the current registration program.                                                                           
He said the bill is well-intentioned, but seriously flawed.                                                                     
     It holds  no reasonable  benefit to  the people  of our                                                                    
     state. I  urge you to consider  carefully testimony you                                                                    
     have  and will  be  hearing sponsored  by the  tax-free                                                                    
     outside  supported special  interest groups.  Please do                                                                    
     not  forget that  these  are the  same  people who  are                                                                    
     holding not  just our small Alaska  businesses, but our                                                                    
     major  business interests,  such  as ANWR  and the  gas                                                                    
     pipeline. It  is, therefore, no surprise  that they are                                                                    
     now attacking chemical  manufacturers whose billions of                                                                    
     dollars of  research have  produced safe  and effective                                                                    
     products that  tens of  thousands of  your constituents                                                                    
     have chosen to purchase over  the years - items such as                                                                    
     mosquito  repellant they  put  on their  bodies or  use                                                                    
     around  their  homes  and  lodges,  the  flea  and  tic                                                                    
     collars they put on their  pets, disinfectants they use                                                                    
     to clean their  homes and keep their spas  and hot tubs                                                                    
     safe,  the paints  they use  on their  boats, the  wood                                                                    
     preservatives they use to  protect their structures and                                                                    
     the  agricultural products  that our  farmers in  Delta                                                                    
     and the  Mat-Su use  to need to  have available  to eek                                                                    
     out their livings....                                                                                                      
MR. PERRY said  this is an anti-business bill and  not passing it                                                               
would send a  large message to a large number  of major companies                                                               
that  Alaska is  business  friendly, not  just  a playground  for                                                               
5:13:39 PM                                                                                                                    
VARSHA  MATHRANI,  Environmental   Health  Coordinator,  Alaska's                                                               
Community Action on  Toxics, asked the committee  to consider the                                                               
long-term  affects of  their actions.  Children are  particularly                                                               
sensitive  to negative  health effects  from  exposures to  toxic                                                               
chemicals. Children play  closer to the ground with  lots of hand                                                               
to mouth  behavior; and their  bodies and organs are  growing and                                                               
developing.  Many  pesticides are  known  to  be associated  with                                                               
adverse effects  on the  developing brain  and nervous  system of                                                               
children.  She strongly supported HB 19.                                                                                        
ALAN COLTER,  Anchorage resident,  related how  a good  friend of                                                               
his died two years ago due  to pesticide use in landscaping. They                                                               
worked  together and  used  chemicals  indiscriminately based  on                                                               
what their boss told them. She died a long slow painful death.                                                                  
He said  that many of the  chemicals used by the  public are very                                                               
toxic, especially to  children and older people.  He supported HB                                                               
19 that would promote their responsible use.                                                                                    
5:20:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SHABA  KURTS, Alaska  Pacific University  student, asked  how the                                                               
public is supposed to know what  is dangerous and what is not. He                                                               
trusts that the people  who apply them will do it  to the best of                                                               
their knowledge,  but he  felt there  should be  more regulation,                                                               
especially when it comes to  something that could be dangerous to                                                               
the public health.                                                                                                              
5:22:14 PM                                                                                                                    
COLIN QUENHEARST, Anchorage, supported HB  19. It is valuable for                                                               
all  Alaska residents  because it  gives them  the right  to know                                                               
when  pesticides are  sprayed so  that they  can choose  to avoid                                                               
dangerous substances.  It is  valuable particularly  for children                                                               
as it  pertains to  marking of  playgrounds where  pesticides are                                                               
5:23:50 PM                                                                                                                    
JILL DONALDSON,  Alaska Pacific University student,  supported HB                                                               
19.  She has  an Associates  Degree in  Environmental Technology,                                                               
which includes  30 hours of training  with pesticide application,                                                               
regulation and  uses under DEC and  the New York State  law. This                                                               
has shown her how potentially  dangerous pesticides and broadcast                                                               
chemicals can be.  The state  of Alaska can learn what has worked                                                               
well and what has not worked well in other states.                                                                              
One main concern is that  certified applicators hold the majority                                                               
of responsibility and burdens that  are associated with pesticide                                                               
regulations.   However,   they   agree  that   proper   pesticide                                                               
application  and   the  necessary  precautions   associated  with                                                               
application  go hand  in hand  with ideal  business tactics.  She                                                               
supported  the licensing  of all  pesticide applicators  not only                                                               
for  the safety  of the  individual, but  for the  safety of  all                                                               
Alaskan residents.                                                                                                              
She  said  it is  also  important  to  realize that  the  average                                                               
American  may  be exposed  to  more  hazardous chemicals  through                                                               
household  applications  rather   than  industrial  applications.                                                               
"That's why  public education  is a  key factor  when controlling                                                               
the use of pesticides and broadcast chemicals."                                                                                 
5:26:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. RYAN  commented that  the committee heard  a mix  of comments                                                               
today  and that  her division  receives complaints  on pesticides                                                               
frequently. It  is probably the  things she spends the  most time                                                               
on and yet it's probably the smallest program in her division.                                                                  
     The  four staff  in the  pesticide program  use federal                                                                    
     funds; we  have primacy for pesticides  similar to what                                                                    
     we're trying to do with  NPDES and we use those federal                                                                    
     funds  to  inspect  places   that  sell  pesticides  or                                                                    
     commercial  applicators that  use  them  and make  sure                                                                    
     they are doing them right. That's what we do.                                                                              
     This  bill would  add a  few more  responsibilities. We                                                                    
     would be looking now at  public notice in certain areas                                                                    
     and we'd  be expanding the  certification requirements.                                                                    
     And also, then, it gets  rid of the general fund that's                                                                    
     used to  support the program.  It's the match  with the                                                                    
     federal  funds...I  think,  $49,000  is  just  straight                                                                    
     general fund to the program.                                                                                               
She didn't want  people to be restricted from  using new products                                                               
and expected to waive many fees because of that.                                                                                
     Certification to me  is the real key.  People that know                                                                    
     what  they're  doing  is  what's   going  to  make  the                                                                    
     difference. With  all toxins,  the dose is  the poison.                                                                    
     Even salt and caffeine are toxic at certain levels.                                                                        
5:29:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS asked  what keeps  someone from  bringing in  an                                                               
unregistered pesticide.                                                                                                         
MS. RYAN replied  that that happens all the time  and that's what                                                               
the  division's four  inspectors look  for when  they are  out in                                                               
green  houses or  Fred  Meyers.  They are  making  sure that  the                                                               
chemicals for sale  on the shelves are registered by  EPA and the                                                               
state. When unregistered  chemicals are found, the  store is told                                                               
they can't  sell it here and  they are issued a  stop-sale order.                                                               
Stores comply  easily, because  they can  return the  products to                                                               
the manufacturer  for a refund  and there  is no penalty  at this                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS asked  if an applicator can bring  a pesticide in                                                               
from Washington and apply it with no penalty.                                                                                   
MS. RYAN replied that it would  be illegal and the department can                                                               
issue a notice of violation  and while the pesticide program does                                                               
not  have administrative  penalty  or civil  fine authority,  she                                                               
related  that the  Attorney General's  office  was able  to do  a                                                               
sting a couple of years ago.                                                                                                    
SENATOR   GUESS  asked   who  is   responsible  for   the  public                                                               
notification for spraying in a public place under HB 19.                                                                        
MS.  RYAN  replied  that  the  statute  leaves  that  up  to  the                                                               
department to determine through  regulation. She assumed that the                                                               
responsibility for signage would be on the applicator.                                                                          
5:32:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS asked  if there is a penalty in  regulation for not                                                               
giving public notice.                                                                                                           
MS. RYAN replied  that it would be a violation  of the regulation                                                               
and the division issues a notice of violation.                                                                                  
5:33:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WAGONER asked who does the training.                                                                                      
MS. RYAN replied  that her staff has a  good working relationship                                                               
with the Cooperative Extension Service,  but with this bill there                                                               
would be  an increased demand  for training and she  has proposed                                                               
creating a training  CD for use by remote  communities and people                                                               
who couldn't get to her office easily.                                                                                          
5:34:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS  asked DEC and  the sponsor to  get back to  her on                                                               
the  definitions  of government  office  and  public facility  to                                                               
clarify the record.                                                                                                             
5:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS moved CSHB19 (FIN) from committee with                                                                          
individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. There were                                                                 
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects