Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/13/2019 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
03:30:28 PM Start
03:31:03 PM SB70
04:49:24 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 70 REPEAL IND. OCEAN POLLUTION MONITORS/FEE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony - Sign Up by 4:30 p.m. --
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         SB 70-REPEAL IND. OCEAN POLLUTION MONITORS/FEE                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:31:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH  announced the  consideration of  Senate Bill  70 (SB                                                               
70).  He said  SB 70  is an  act that  repeals the  Ocean Rangers                                                               
program  by the  Senate Rules  Committee  at the  request of  the                                                               
governor.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:32:00 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON  BRUNE, Commissioner,  Alaska  Department of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation, Juneau,  Alaska, explained  that the  Ocean Rangers                                                               
program  was implemented  as  part of  a  ballot initiative  that                                                               
passed by a slim margin on August  22, 2006. He said when he took                                                               
on  the  role  of  commissioner  for  the  Alaska  Department  of                                                               
Environmental Conservation  (DEC), Governor Dunleavy  tasked each                                                               
of his  commissioners to make  Alaska open for business.  He said                                                               
based  on  the governor's  request,  he  asked  his DEC  team  to                                                               
identify overly  burdensome regulations  that are  inefficient at                                                               
meeting  DEC's  mission  of  protecting   human  health  and  the                                                               
environment,  that  treat  some  industries  inconsistently  with                                                               
other  industries, and  ones that  are disproportionate  with the                                                               
risks  posed.  The Ocean  Ranger  program  was  top on  the  list                                                               
because of its high relative cost to its value.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  pointed out  that Major industries  in Alaska                                                               
with   air  emissions,   wastewater  discharges,   potential  for                                                               
significant oil  spills, and  solid waste  disposal requirements,                                                               
are  regulated   via  DEC  authorizations  that   includes  self-                                                               
monitoring  and reporting,  and  both  announced and  unannounced                                                               
inspections by DEC.  No other industry in the  state is subjected                                                               
to  24/7  onsite observers,  despite  other  industries posing  a                                                               
potentially  greater  human  health and  environmental  risk.  In                                                               
Alaska,  there   are  no  mining   rangers,  oil   rangers,  fish                                                               
processing rangers, or timber rangers.  He asked why there should                                                               
be cruise ship ocean rangers.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He explained  that today's large  cruise ships that  visit Alaska                                                               
either  don't discharge  in Alaskan  waters or  have an  advanced                                                               
wastewater  treatment   system  that   intermittently  discharges                                                               
cleaner   wastewater   than   most   community-based   wastewater                                                               
treatment  systems   the  discharges   24/7;  for   example,  the                                                               
discharges  that cruise  ships have  in Alaskan  waters can  only                                                               
contain 40-fecal-coliform  bacteria per  one-third cup  of water.                                                               
He  noted  that  one  wastewater  treatment  plant  in  one  port                                                               
community  is permitted  to  discharge 1.5  million  of the  same                                                               
fecal  coliform bacteria  per  one-third cup  of  water. DEC  has                                                               
sufficient  latitude and  authority  to inspect  any property  or                                                               
premises with  suspected sources  of pollution  or contamination,                                                               
or to  ascertain compliance or  noncompliance with  a regulation.                                                               
DEC  does not  need the  statute establishing  Ocean Rangers  for                                                               
inspections.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He detailed that  the Ocean Ranger program is funded  by a $4 per                                                               
lower  berth  fee  which  results  in  approximately  $4  million                                                               
annually in Ocean  Ranger receipts. The Ocean Ranger  fee is used                                                               
to  hire a  contractor  that  employs predominantly  out-of-state                                                               
marine engineers. Ocean Rangers have  made 6 observations over 11                                                               
years  that have  led to  state-issued notices  of violation.  He                                                               
pointed  out  that  the  Ocean  Rangers'  presence  onboard  does                                                               
provide  some deterrent  value, but  the  value to  the state  of                                                               
Alaska is  not commensurate  with the money  that is  being spent                                                               
nor the  risk posed. If the  Ocean Ranger was funded  entirely by                                                               
general  fund dollars,  the program  would  have been  eliminated                                                               
years ago.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He said  the argument has been  made that since the  Ocean Ranger                                                               
program  does not  have an  impact  on the  state's coffers,  DEC                                                               
should not be  dealing with SB 70, a sentiment  that he disagrees                                                               
with. To  show that Alaska  is open for business  and encouraging                                                               
new investment into  the state, Alaska must  treat its industries                                                               
firmly but  fairly and be good  stewards not only to  the state's                                                               
money, but  also of the cruise  ship passengers who pay  the fees                                                               
and are significant contributors to Alaska's tourism industry.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He said Andrew Sayers-Fay, DEC's  Director of Water, will address                                                               
the specifics of SB 70.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:32:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL joined the committee meeting.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:32:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP joined the committee meeting.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW   SAYERS-FAY,   Director,   Division  of   Water,   Alaska                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Conservation, Juneau,  Alaska, said                                                               
the  department believes  SB 70  is legislation  that shows  good                                                               
stewardship of other  people's money, whether given  by the state                                                               
or  collected  from  cruise  ship   passengers.  He  provided  an                                                               
overview for the repeal of the Ocean Ranger program as follows:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
   • Identified as a non-essential program in the governor's                                                                    
     amended FY2020 budget.                                                                                                     
   • Ocean Ranger program is costly for its outcomes:                                                                           
        o $3.8 million per year in Ocean Ranger fees.                                                                           
   • No other permitted industry is subject to 24/7 onsite                                                                      
     observers including:                                                                                                       
        o Wastewater discharges to land and water.                                                                              
        o Domestic, industrial, mining, oil & gas, seafood, etc.                                                                
        o Air emissions.                                                                                                        
        o Regulated mobile and stationary sources.                                                                              
        o Hazardous and solid waste facilities.                                                                                 
        o Food establishments, tattoo parlors, pools, and spas.                                                                 
   • Department has other resources and authorities to regulate                                                                 
     cruise ships:                                                                                                              
        o $748,300 funded by cruise industry through non-Ocean                                                                  
          Ranger fees.                                                                                                          
        o Four department staff positions:                                                                                      
             square4 Register cruise ships and review submittals:                                                               
                  • Example: best management plans for small                                                                    
                    cruise ships and vessel specific sampling                                                                   
                    plan.                                                                                                       
                  • Issue wastewater discharge authorizations                                                                   
                    under larger cruise ship general permit.                                                                    
                  • Conduct inspections,   issue   notices   of                                                                 
                    violations,    and    with    Law    initiate                                                               
                    enforcement actions and fines.                                                                              
        o Additional opacity monitoring conducted by contractors                                                                
          in multiple port cities to distinguish what is steam                                                                  
         and what exceeds DEC's air quality standards.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY  reiterated that  the  Ocean  Ranger program  was                                                               
identified  as non-essential  primarily  due to  its cost  versus                                                               
outcome. The  $3.8 million  per year  in Ocean  Ranger fees  is 3                                                               
times  the cost  of the  department's overall  wastewater program                                                               
permitted through the Division of Water.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He specified that DEC is  addressing the Ocean Ranger program and                                                               
not the department's  cruise ship program. There  are other funds                                                               
from  cruise  ships  that  are collected,  and  other  DEC  staff                                                               
members  dedicated  for inspecting  and  looking  at cruise  ship                                                               
issues regarding compliance.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He  emphasized  that there  is  no  other permitted  industry  in                                                               
Alaska that has 24/7 onsite  observers. Most industries have some                                                               
combination  of self-monitoring,  reporting  the  results to  the                                                               
agency, or keeping copies of  records to show documented evidence                                                               
for  inspections  that  shows training,  sample  collection,  and                                                               
results received.  Facilities authorized  to discharge  under the                                                               
Alaska  Pollutant Discharge  Elimination  System  are visited  at                                                               
least once  over a range  of two to five  years. There is  a very                                                               
large  difference between  the frequency  of coverage  with Ocean                                                               
Rangers onboard cruise ships where  65 percent of the voyages are                                                               
covered  in Alaskan  waters where  a Ranger  is onboard  for some                                                               
portion of a sailing.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:40:10 PM                                                                                                                    
He  summarized  that  separate from  the  Ocean  Ranger  program,                                                               
$750,000 in  fees is  collected annually to  run the  Division of                                                               
Water's cruise ship program.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BISHOP  asked if  the department  hires a  contractor for                                                               
opacity monitoring.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY  answered yes,  separate  from  the Ocean  Ranger                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked  if  the  department  still  does  opacity                                                               
testing for asphalt plant operators.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY replied  that Division  of  Air monitors  asphalt                                                               
plants. Cruise ship monitoring is  centralized under the Division                                                               
of Water to cover both air and water issues.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BISHOP  explained  that  the  reason  for  his  question                                                               
related  to asphalt  operations  is his  recollection that  plant                                                               
operators   could   annually   receive  their   opacity   testing                                                               
certification so that smoke could  be self-monitored. He asked if                                                               
self-monitoring was still allowed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  answered that he cannot  directly address Senator                                                               
Bishop's   question   regarding   all   the   ways   to   receive                                                               
certification. The Division of Water  has annual training for its                                                               
staff and contractors used for opacity monitoring.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:43:45 PM                                                                                                                    
He  addressed  "Outcomes  for the  Ocean  Ranger  program's  $3.8                                                               
million per year cost" as follows:                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • Potential non-compliance identified by Ocean Rangers may                                                                   
     not reflect actual non-compliance:                                                                                         
        o There may not be enough information to make the                                                                       
          determination;                                                                                                        
        o It may be under federal or other agency jurisdiction;                                                                 
        o The   issue   is   resolved   quickly   such   that   a                                                               
          determination is no longer needed.                                                                                    
   • Ocean Rangers look for potential non-compliance with state                                                                 
     and federal  authorities pertaining to marine  discharge and                                                               
     pollution requirements and to  insure that passengers, crew,                                                               
     and  residents   at  ports   are  protected   from  improper                                                               
     sanitation, health, and safety practices.                                                                                  
   • Most issues identified by Ocean Rangers on daily reports                                                                   
     turn out not to be formal violations:                                                                                      
        o Ocean Rangers are not the experts on what constitutes                                                                 
          non-compliance over the vast array of state and                                                                       
          federal statutes and regulations.                                                                                     
   • Six notices of violation (NOV) over 11 years attributable                                                                  
     to Ocean Ranger observations:                                                                                              
        o 238 NOVs over the same period attributable to                                                                         
          permittee   self-reporting,   staff   inspections   and                                                               
         review, and opacity monitoring by contractors.                                                                         
        o All NOVs supported by other evidence supplied by                                                                      
          vessel operators.                                                                                                     
        o NOVs may include more than one violation.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He  reiterated  that the  department  looked  at what  the  state                                                               
receives in return for the  annual $3.8 million investment in the                                                               
Ocean  Ranger  program. DEC  typically  reports  through OMB  the                                                               
number  of   potential  compliance  issues  that   Ocean  Rangers                                                               
identify via  their broad authority.  DEC looked  more thoroughly                                                               
as to  how many issues  identified by the Ocean  Rangers actually                                                               
end up becoming a NOV.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY emphasized  that Ocean Rangers are  not experts in                                                               
all inspection  areas. Ocean  Rangers look  at bilge  water; fuel                                                               
handling  practices; air  emissions;  wastewater discharges  that                                                               
includes  sewage, graywater;  and  pools or  spas who  accidently                                                               
discharge chlorinated  water overboard.  Ocean Rangers  also look                                                               
at  food  preparation  practices, hazardous  materials  including                                                               
batteries moved on  and off a ship. Ocean Rangers  are looking at                                                               
solid waste  which is a  very broad area. Ocean  Rangers identify                                                               
many things  that look to  them like  issues, but DEC  staff must                                                               
follow up  on their observations to  determine if a NOV  has been                                                               
observed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:46:21 PM                                                                                                                    
He addressed the large cruise ship NOVs table.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
   • Large cruise ship annual notices of violation from 2008 to                                                                 
     2018:                                                                                                                      
        o Wastewater:                                                                                                           
             square4 Average: 16.8,                                                                                             
             square4 Minimum: 8,                                                                                                
             square4 Maximum: 33,                                                                                               
             square4 Total: 185.                                                                                                
        o Air opacity:                                                                                                          
             square4 Average: 4.7,                                                                                              
             square4 Minimum: 0,                                                                                                
             square4 Maximum: 11,                                                                                               
             square4 Total: 52.                                                                                                 
        o Other:                                                                                                                
             square4 Average: 0.1,                                                                                              
             square4 Minimum: 0,                                                                                                
             square4 Maximum: 1,                                                                                                
             square4 Total: 1.                                                                                                  
        o Ocean Ranger attributable:                                                                                            
             square4 Average: 0.55,                                                                                             
             square4 Minimum: 0,                                                                                                
             square4 Maximum: 2,                                                                                                
             square4 Total: 6.                                                                                                  
        o Total: 244.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  disclosed  that  over  the  11  years  of  the  program,  DEC                                                               
identified 6 NOVs that are  directly attributable to observations                                                               
made  by Ocean  Rangers, the  remaining  238 NOVs  issued by  the                                                               
department  over the  same period  either have  to do  with staff                                                               
inspections  responding  to  complaints, doing  periodic  opacity                                                               
monitoring, or  following up on observations  that were initially                                                               
made by contractors doing opacity monitoring.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY noted  that the wastewater field  for large cruise                                                               
ships exhibits  more NOVs  because the  permit has  more explicit                                                               
requirements  and  it  is  easy  to  identify  whether  a  vessel                                                               
complies   or   not,   plus  the   vessel   has   self-monitoring                                                               
requirements that must be reported to the department.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI  addressed Mr. Sayers-Fay's overview  that talks                                                               
about   potential   non-compliance   with   state   and   federal                                                               
authorities. He asked  if the department would be  able to assume                                                               
the Ocean Ranger role regarding federal regulations.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  explained that  DEC is trying  to show  that most                                                               
NOVs do  not come from the  Ocean Rangers. If DEC  maintains what                                                               
the  division's  cruise ship  staff  currently  does without  any                                                               
changes, the expectation  is for a similar level  of possible NOV                                                               
observations. Discontinuation  of the Ranger program  would allow                                                               
a staff member  to do additional onboard  inspections rather than                                                               
reviewing reports by Ocean Rangers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked if the same  amount of time could be freed up                                                               
by computerizing reports.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered  that the program is  reviewed every year                                                               
and the  intent over time has  been to make things  as electronic                                                               
as possible in terms of the  forms Ocean Rangers fill out and how                                                               
the reports are  e-mailed to the department. DEC does  not have a                                                               
system that  is completely  automated, but  the department  is in                                                               
the process of moving in that direction.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He addressed "Bill background" for SB 70 as follows:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
   • Would repeal Ocean Ranger program (AS 46.03.476).                                                                          
   • Would repeal the $4/lower berth fee which is separately                                                                    
     paid below the line directly by the passenger, not the                                                                     
     cruise agency (AS 46.03.480(d)).                                                                                           
   • Originally created by ballot initiative in 2006, which                                                                     
     included other regulatory changes which are not affected by                                                                
     SB 70.                                                                                                                     
 • Program not required by state constitution or federal law.                                                                   
   • Program conducted by out-of-state contractor primarily with                                                                
     non-Alaskan employees.                                                                                                     
   • Reduction of $3,846,800 of Ocean Ranger fee receipts.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  specified that due  to the number of  voyages and                                                               
the number  of large  cruise ships that  visit Alaska,  having an                                                               
Ocean Ranger on  a ship at all times is  difficult. Every ship is                                                               
covered   at  some   point  when   the  vessel   is  in   Alaska,                                                               
approximately 65 percent of the voyages are covered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He noted that  passengers directly pay fees that  includes the $4                                                               
charge for the Ocean Ranger  program. The Port of Seattle charges                                                               
approximately $16  per passenger  when the individual  boards and                                                               
disembarks, approximately  $33 in total charges.  Passengers fees                                                               
add up, total per-person fees for  a typical cruise to Alaska can                                                               
add up to approximately $150 is passenger fees.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
He reiterated that the Ocean Ranger  program was part of a ballot                                                               
initiative and  funding for  the program  is separate  from other                                                               
aspects  of the  initiative which  created the  head tax  that is                                                               
separate from  the Ocean Ranger  fee. Changes were made  to DEC's                                                               
statutorial  authority that  SB 70  does not  roll back.  DEC was                                                               
granted some additional authority in  terms of data collection in                                                               
dealing with  cruise ships,  none of that  has changed,  the only                                                               
portion of  the program that  SB 70  addresses is not  having the                                                               
Ocean Rangers and repealing the fee for the program.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:51:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked if  AS 46.03.480(d)  repeals only  the fee                                                               
that goes  to the Ocean Ranger  program and the fee  does not pay                                                               
for any  other aspect  of taxes that  the cruise  ship passengers                                                               
pay or other monitoring functions.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered  that AS 46.03.480 covers  the entire set                                                               
of  fees  that  DEC  receives.   A  separate  fee  that  will  be                                                               
unaffected   is   called    the   Commercial   Passenger   Vessel                                                               
Environmental Compliance  fee that is covered  in AS 46.03.480(a)                                                               
through  AS  46.03.480(c)  and AS  46.03.480(e).  The  Commercial                                                               
Passenger Vessel  Environmental Compliance fee is  the additional                                                               
funding  that  DEC  uses  for monitoring  cruise  ships  that  is                                                               
separate from the Ocean Rangers program.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He summarized  that the Ocean  Ranger program is not  required by                                                               
the  Alaska Constitution  or federal  law, it  is conducted  by a                                                               
contractor that is paid approximately  $3.8 million per year, and                                                               
the  Ocean Rangers  are  primarily  out-of-state marine  licensed                                                               
engineers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY addressed  "Department Authorities Remaining after                                                               
SB 70" as follows:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • AS 46.03.710 Pollution Prohibited: a person may not pollute                                                                
     or add to  the pollution of the air,  land, subsurface land,                                                               
     or water of the state.                                                                                                     
   • AS 46.03.020 Powers of the Department: DEC may at                                                                          
     reasonable times, enter and inspect  with the consent of the                                                               
     owner or  occupier any property  or premises  to investigate                                                               
     either  actual   or  suspected   sources  of   pollution  or                                                               
     contamination  or to  ascertain compliance  or noncompliance                                                               
     with a regulation.                                                                                                         
   • Authorities for Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental                                                                  
     Compliance Program  (AS 46.03.460    475 and AS  46.03.480                                                                 
     488).                                                                                                                      
   • Authorities for pollution standards, waste and wastewater                                                                  
     discharge management (AS 46.03.070 - 120).                                                                                 
   • Authorities for civil and criminal inspection, enforcement,                                                                
     and liability (AS 46.03.760 - 890).                                                                                        
   • Authorities for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and                                                                    
     response  (AS  46.03.740  -  865; AS  46.04;  AS  46.08;  AS                                                               
     46.09).                                                                                                                    
   • Authorities for air quality (AS 46.14.010 - 030).                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:54:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI addressed AS 46.03.020  regarding the "Powers of                                                               
the Department"  and asked him  to specify what Ocean  Rangers do                                                               
when they  are onboard. He inquired  if Ocean Rangers do  more in                                                               
regulation  than  what   is  stated  in  the   statute  that  the                                                               
department can do.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  answered that the  main difference is  that staff                                                               
members are  credentialed inspectors and enforcement  officers of                                                               
the department and  they go through a training  program to obtain                                                               
their credentials. When staff members  are onboard in contrast to                                                               
an  Ocean  Ranger,  the  difference  is training,  and  it  is  a                                                               
difference being  able to be  called into  court to backup  a NOV                                                               
that is contested.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KAWASAKI said  he  expected that  DEC  staff members  do                                                               
their  inspections while  a  vessel  is in  port.  He asked  what                                                               
happens when a vessel is between  ports, would a DEC staff member                                                               
be onboard as an Ocean Ranger would.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  specified that  staff members  are not  riding on                                                               
the  cruise ships  between ports,  inspections  are done  onshore                                                               
when the  vessel is docked. DEC  does not have the  same coverage                                                               
as an Ocean Ranger. When an  Ocean Ranger is onboard, they have a                                                               
certain  amount of  time for  paperwork, mandatory  requirements,                                                               
and inspections. There is a  difference in coverage between ports                                                               
and in terms of the amount of time spent.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:56:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  him to  confirm that  Ocean Rangers  are                                                               
monitoring  vessels while  in port  and at  sea where  ending the                                                               
program  will result  in not  having someone  permanently onboard                                                               
between ports.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY answered  correct. He  explained that  the result                                                               
would  be  the   cruise  ships  are  regulated   like  all  other                                                               
industries where DEC does not have 24/7 presence.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BISHOP asked if his  earlier statement that coverage with                                                               
Ocean Rangers at any one time is 65 percent.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY  answered  yes.   He  explained  that  there  are                                                               
approximately 34-large  cruise ships in  any given year  that are                                                               
sailing  in  Alaskan  waters.  Every  cruise  ship  making  their                                                               
multiple trips will  have an Ocean Ranger  onboard multiple times                                                               
during a  cruise ship season, but  of the number of  trips that a                                                               
given vessel  takes, approximately 18  to 20, an Ocean  Ranger is                                                               
onboard 65 percent of the sailings.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BISHOP  asked him  to confirm that  coverage is  not 100-                                                               
percent right now.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered correct.  He specified that 24/7 coverage                                                               
means when an Ocean Ranger is present.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:58:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  referenced his statement about  enforceability and                                                               
asked if  he said that an  Ocean Ranger who spots  a violation at                                                               
sea does  not have the authority  to issue a notice  of violation                                                               
(NOV).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY answered  that an  Ocean Ranger  cannot submit  a                                                               
report that  automatically turns into  a NOV. A DEC  staff member                                                               
must  become involved  where  the report  is  reviewed, an  Ocean                                                               
Ranger  is questioned  if  necessary,  additional information  is                                                               
gathered  from the  cruise  ship, and  based  on the  information                                                               
gathered the  DEC staff member  determines whether to write  up a                                                               
NOV.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  asked if an  Ocean Ranger not having  authority is                                                               
effective.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  answered that  an Ocean Ranger  would have  to be                                                               
deputized to confer departmental  authority to be more effective.                                                               
The reason  for the bill is  because the Ocean Ranger  program is                                                               
not  an effective  way to  regulate due  to the  cost and  excess                                                               
coverage that  no other industry  faces. There is  an appropriate                                                               
deterrence and  regulation of other industries  without the level                                                               
of Ocean Ranger involvement with cruise ships.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL asked if contractors do opacity monitoring.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered correct.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL asked if the  same issue applies to the contractors                                                               
for opacity monitoring.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY explained  that  opacity readers  go through  the                                                               
same training  the DEC  staff does  to be  able to  properly read                                                               
opacity  using EPA  Method 9  requirements.  Opacity readers  are                                                               
providing readings  of interest  where the information  is double                                                               
checked by a  DEC staff member before consideration  is given for                                                               
a formal  violation. Due  to opacity  readers being  trained with                                                               
DEC staff,  the department is  more comfortable working  with the                                                               
opacity readers.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
He  addressed "Significance  of remaining  authorities" if  SB 70                                                               
passed as follows:                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
   • Department staff have authority to conduct inspections at                                                                  
     reasonable times:                                                                                                          
        o Staff can obtain a warrant to inspect if denied                                                                       
          reasonable access.                                                                                                    
   • No change in the standard of what is legal or illegal.                                                                     
   • No change in enforcement or emergency authority because                                                                    
     those are primarily activities of the department.                                                                          
   • Does not change the large cruise ship wastewater discharge                                                                 
     general permit.                                                                                                            
   • Does not change the small cruise ship and ferry best                                                                       
     management plan requirements.                                                                                              
   • Does not change sampling or reporting requirements.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL noted  that Commissioner  Brune spent  significant                                                               
time  on the  difference in  discharge standards  for fixed-point                                                               
discharges  versus  cruise  ship   standards.  He  asked  if  his                                                               
argument was against mixing zones.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  explained that  he brought up  the comparison                                                               
to show  the disparity  of the requirements  for the  cruise ship                                                               
industry versus  the host-port communities. He  admitted that the                                                               
relevance to SB 70 is probably inappropriate.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:03:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL recalled when the  Ocean Rangers were put in that                                                               
the  cruise  ships  were  in   the  process  of  upgrading  their                                                               
wastewater treatment systems.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered correct. He  explained that in 2001 there                                                               
was a federal  bill that changed the  wastewater requirements for                                                               
the cruise  ships, and the  requirements were phased in.  He said                                                               
his understanding  is that all  of ships now operating  in Alaska                                                               
that  are discharging  are  using  advanced wastewater  treatment                                                               
systems.  There are  some ships  that have  the holding  capacity                                                               
that  they do  not discharge  in Alaskan  waters because  if they                                                               
did, they would have to follow DEC's requirements.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked if  the  cruise  ships can  do  high-seas                                                               
mixing.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY asked if he meant mixing or discharge                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL replied discharge outside of Alaska waters.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY answered  yes. He  explained that  all the  ships                                                               
that DEC regulates  under the state's authority  is within three-                                                               
nautical miles from shore. The  previously noted federal bill has                                                               
specific  language  that  covers  donut holes  in  the  Alexander                                                               
Archipelago in Southeast  Alaska where a vessel can  be more than                                                               
three miles  from shore  but still be  in Alaskan  waters. Permit                                                               
coverage  applies within  the  entire  Alexander Archipelago  and                                                               
three-nautical miles from shore.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  how  many ships  venture  outside of  the                                                               
Alexander Archipelago.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered that a lot  of ships start out of Seattle                                                               
or Vancouver, so a portion of  their travel is outside of Alaskan                                                               
waters. The  vast majority of  the ships are operating  such that                                                               
once  they enter  Alaskan  waters, they  stay  in Alaskan  waters                                                               
until they leave.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI noted that the  DEC website reported cruise ship                                                               
findings   or  discoveries   that  involved   74  oil   pollution                                                               
incidences in  2018 and 87 in  2017 in addition to  19 wastewater                                                               
incidences  in 2018  and 22  in 2017.  He asked  how many  of the                                                               
incidents  that  Ocean   Rangers  find  reach  the   level  of  a                                                               
violation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:07:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SAYERS-FAY  explained that Senator Kawasaki  was referring to                                                               
DEC's  report to  OMB  that showed  different  things that  Ocean                                                               
Rangers  found potential  non-compliance  for safety,  petroleum,                                                               
air quality,  and water quality.  He said  that over the  life of                                                               
the  Ocean Ranger  program, there  have only  been six  NOVs that                                                               
have been directly attributable to  the Ocean Rangers. The 6 NOVs                                                               
by the Ocean Rangers may  have involved an oil sheen, off-loading                                                               
wastewater where  there may  have been a  spill, a  sampling plan                                                               
that was  not followed, or  an unauthorized discharge;  those are                                                               
some of the items in the 6  NOVs that were identified over the 11                                                               
years from 2008 through 2018.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked how many  times incidences are reported by                                                               
Ocean  Rangers and  DEC follows  up  and identifies  at the  next                                                               
port.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY said  he asked the program manager  for the cruise                                                               
ship program  explained that NOVs  are attributable to  the Ocean                                                               
Rangers   when  it   is  their   report   that  initiates   DEC's                                                               
investigation. Reports  of potential  violations could  also come                                                               
from DEC staff,  an opacity contractor, or the  cruise ship self-                                                               
reporting an incident.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:09:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked  how an NOV inspection happens  when a DEC                                                               
staff member is involved.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAYERS-FAY answered  that if  an Ocean  Ranger initiates  an                                                               
activity  and whatever  follow up  results in  a NOV,  that would                                                               
become  one   of  the   six  notices   of  violations   that  are                                                               
attributable to  Ocean Rangers.  Because of the  nature of  a NOV                                                               
and because that  is the formal enforcement step,  there is never                                                               
a situation where  only based on the Ocean Ranger  report does it                                                               
go  automatically   to  a   NOV,  there   is  always   DEC  staff                                                               
involvement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL asked  if DEC  staff  follows up  on Ocean  Ranger                                                               
reports 100  percent of the time  or are adjustments made  due to                                                               
DEC's workload issues.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered that by the  end of the season or shortly                                                               
thereafter, the coverage  rate is 100 percent;  however, when the                                                               
reports come in the DEC staff  will response first to the reports                                                               
that are most egregious.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
He addressed "Transition and timing" if SB 70 passed as follows:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
   • Ocean Rangers will operate during Summer 2019 under FY2019                                                                 
     budget authority and fee receipts.                                                                                         
   • Governor has proposed HB74/SB70 to repeal the Ocean Ranger                                                                 
     program and associated fees.                                                                                               
   • If Ocean Ranger budget authority is eliminated but                                                                         
    statutory program is not repealed, then the Department:                                                                     
        o Would be required to collect the $4/berth fee in                                                                      
          Summer 2020;                                                                                                          
        o But, would not have the budget authority to implement                                                                 
          the program during that season.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL noted  the fiscal notes and pointed  out that three                                                               
notes reflected a  fund change if SB 70 passes.  He said $421,000                                                               
would  come  out  of  the  Cruise  and  Environmental  Compliance                                                               
account. He asked  if the fund is $421,000 a  year in surplus and                                                               
if so, what is being done with the built-up money.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:14:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF   ROGERS,   Director,    Administrative   Services,   Alaska                                                               
Department   of  Environmental   Conservation,  Juneau,   Alaska,                                                               
replied  that  Senator  Kiehl  is  correct  to  some  degree.  He                                                               
specified  that the  department has  not had  in the  Cruise Ship                                                               
program  in  the Division  of  Water  the amount  of  legislative                                                               
authorization to spend what the  department has in revenue. DEC's                                                               
revenue  numbers in  recent  years have  varied,  but the  amount                                                               
hovers in the  range of $3.5 million-plus. There  are some timing                                                               
issues because  the revenue spans  the department's  fiscal year.                                                               
The  department  estimates  that  in the  current  year  and  the                                                               
following  year that  the department  will receive  more than  $5                                                               
million in  Ocean Ranger receipts,  a progression  that naturally                                                               
follows the  increase in  cruise ship  passengers. He  noted that                                                               
the legislature  decided two  years ago to  fund the  Fish Tissue                                                               
Monitoring program at the Environmental  Health lab with receipts                                                               
from the Ocean Ranger program. He  added that a couple of hundred                                                               
thousand  dollars  supports  the  Ocean  Rangers'  administrative                                                               
costs  as well.  He summarized  that DEC  spends funds  that were                                                               
appropriated to  the department by  the legislature  on something                                                               
other than the Ocean Ranger program.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:16:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL specified  that his  question was  related to  the                                                               
replacement fund source.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROGERS explained  that the $420,800 that  is currently funded                                                               
by the  Ocean Rangers' receipts  will be sufficiently  covered by                                                               
the  Commercial Passenger  Vessel Environmental  Compliance fees.                                                               
He added that  the Fish Tissue Monitoring program  will be funded                                                               
by the same fees.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BIRCH asked  if technological  changes have  occurred that                                                               
can improve program monitoring.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered  yes. He said there has been  a change in                                                               
technology  that provides  opportunities  to  consider in  adding                                                               
functionality to  monitoring where reporting can  be automatic or                                                               
downloaded to provide a greater breadth of information.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:18:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI inquired if current  statutory law allows DEC to                                                               
do remote monitoring.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY  answered that DEC's  authority to do so  would be                                                               
the  department's overall  objective of  properly monitoring  but                                                               
cost and purpose for the regulated community must be considered.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  who  would cover  the  cost  for  advanced                                                               
monitoring systems if the fee  is repealed, the passenger or ship                                                               
owner.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SAYERS-FAY answered that funds  from the Commercial Passenger                                                               
Vessel Environmental Compliance fees would be used.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  noted that Mr. Rogers  had said the fund  from the                                                               
Commercial Passenger  Vessel Environmental Compliance  fees would                                                               
have to be watched very carefully for sustainability.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH opened public testimony.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:21:17 PM                                                                                                                    
JOESPH W.  GELDHOF, representing self, Juneau,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in opposition of  SB 70. He opined that the  $4 passenger fee for                                                               
the  Ocean Ranger  program  came about  because  the cruise  ship                                                               
industry  earned the  scrutiny.  He suggested  that  the bill  be                                                               
reconfigured in a manner that works  and makes sense both for the                                                               
industry and  the citizens of Alaska.  He noted that the  idea of                                                               
putting an onboard  observer on cruise ships  was originated from                                                               
discussions with  the fishing  community who  are used  to having                                                               
onboard observers in the federal fisheries.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:25:02 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBB  ARNOLD, representing  self,  Juneau,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
opposition of SB  70. He said his biggest concern  was related to                                                               
several  incidences that  occurred near  Ketchikan in  2018 where                                                               
excessive fecal  levels in the  water were reported. He  said the                                                               
Ocean  Ranger program  is a  small price  to pay  for independent                                                               
monitoring and  there is no cost  to the state. He  added that he                                                               
is concerned  that four  permits were  issued for  discharging at                                                               
the dock. He  said no where in the world  is discharging at docks                                                               
allowed. He  opined that more  instate Ocean Rangers be  hired to                                                               
allow for additional monitoring.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:27:23 PM                                                                                                                    
LYNDA GIGURE,  representing self,  Douglas, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition of SB  70. She said to throw the  Ocean Ranger program                                                               
out does not  make sense. She opined that fewer  NOVs reported by                                                               
Ocean Rangers means the program is working.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:28:45 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  EVOY,  Indigenous   Engagement  Lead,  Southeast  Alaska                                                               
Conservation Council, Juneau, Alaska,  testified in opposition of                                                               
SB 70.  She stated that cutting  the Ocean Ranger program  has no                                                               
benefit and only  does harm to the safety,  health, and wellbeing                                                               
of Alaskan  residents, ecosystems, and economy.  The Ocean Ranger                                                               
program is  an effective monitoring and  enforcement mechanism in                                                               
Alaska  to   ensure  cruise  ships   are  not   damaging  Alaskan                                                               
waterways.  There is  no financial  cost  to the  state, but  the                                                               
program provides a much-needed protective service.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:31:46 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIC   CLOCK,  Ocean   Ranger,  Seward,   Alaska,  testified   in                                                               
opposition of SB 70. He  opined that Ocean Rangers onboard cruise                                                               
ships  provide valuable  oversight to  the cruise  industry, DEC,                                                               
and the  U.S. Coast Guard.  Ocean Rangers provide  reassurance to                                                               
Alaskans  who  drafted  and  voted  on  the  initiative  in  2006                                                               
creating the program. The Ocean  Ranger program is covered by the                                                               
$4-per-cruise-ship-passenger  fee and  does  not affect  Alaska's                                                               
budget. He noted the importance  of having an independent monitor                                                               
onboard cruise ships.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:35:07 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY BERG,  representing self, Petersburg, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition  of  SB 70.  She  noted  that the  Petersburg  fishing                                                               
fleet's most  frequent comment  on tourism  is the  importance of                                                               
having  clean air  and water  for commercial  fishing activities.                                                               
She pointed  out that  cruise ship  passenger counts  continue to                                                               
grow and having a beautiful environment  in Alaska is an asset to                                                               
the cruise  ship industry. She  pointed out that the  cruise ship                                                               
industry  has  not asked  for  the  Ocean  Ranger program  to  be                                                               
repealed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
RONN BUSCHMANN, representing  self, Petersburg, Alaska, testified                                                               
in opposition  of SB 70.  He said  the state should  not overlook                                                               
the  deterrent  effect  of Ocean  Rangers,  especially  with  the                                                               
increase in  Alaska cruise  ship travel  and noted  violations in                                                               
the past.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:38:30 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  HOKKANEN,   Ocean  Ranger,  Homer,  Alaska,   testified  in                                                               
opposition of SB 70. He opined  that the Ocean Ranger program has                                                               
been successful at doing what  the citizens of Alaska wanted with                                                               
the ballot measure  passed in 2006. Ocean Rangers  have been able                                                               
to supply DEC  with information that could be  obtained by having                                                               
Ocean   Rangers   onboard   cruise   ships   versus   shore-based                                                               
monitoring.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:40:56 PM                                                                                                                    
DANIEL LYNCH,  representing self, Soldotna, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition of  SB 70.  He emphasized  that the  ballot initiative                                                               
that passed for the Ocean Ranger program is the people's intent.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  NELICK,   Ocean  Ranger,  Galveston,  Texas,   testified  in                                                               
opposition of SB  70. He noted that any  Ocean Ranger interaction                                                               
with  cruise ship  passengers is  typically met  with substantial                                                               
gratitude  and  appreciation  to  preserve  the  Alaska  cruising                                                               
environment. Alaska tourism is eco-tourism.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:43:55 PM                                                                                                                    
GERSHON COHEN,  representing self,  Haines, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
opposition of SB 70. He disclosed  that he was one of the authors                                                               
of  the ballot  measure in  2006  that created  the Ocean  Ranger                                                               
program. He emphasized  that the cruise ship  industry has earned                                                               
its  scrutiny  due  to  wastewater  violations.  He  opined  that                                                               
violations outside  of Alaska are  due to not  having independent                                                               
monitors onboard. He said the  Ocean Ranger program should not be                                                               
repealed  especially when  independent monitoring  is so  clearly                                                               
needed, especially  when the  program is  paid for  by passengers                                                               
and not Alaskans.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:46:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  SCHNEIDER,  Ocean  Ranger, Seward,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
opposition  of  SB 70.  He  noted  the importance  of  monitoring                                                               
because a  ship is not  stationary versus a  wastewater treatment                                                               
facility. He  opined that  the six noted  NOVs reported  by Ocean                                                               
Rangers shows that the program is effective.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:48:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH closed public testimony.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:48:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BIRCH held SB 70 in committee.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB70 DEC SRES Presentation 3.13.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Fiscal Note DEC-ENVH 2.19.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Fiscal Note DEC-SSS 2.19.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Fiscal Note DEC-VASV 2.19.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Fiscal Note DEC-WIF 2.19.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Transmittal Letter 2.21.19.pdf SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70
SB70 Version A.PDF SRES 3/13/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 70