Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

02/17/2009 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 134(CRA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                       February 17, 2009                                                                                        
                           8:01 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Bob Herron, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Cathy Engstrom Munoz, Co-Chair                                                                                   
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 121                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to a municipal property tax credit for an                                                                      
improvement that aids in improving air quality."                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 121 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 134                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the terms and conditions of commercial                                                                      
vessel permits for the discharge of graywater, treated sewage,                                                                  
and other waste water; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
     - MOVED CSHB 134(CRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 121                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL AIR QUALITY PROPERTY TAX CREDIT                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) COGHILL                                                                                           
02/09/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/09/09       (H)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/17/09       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB 134                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS                                                                           
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) HARRIS                                                                                            
02/13/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/13/09       (H)       CRA, RES                                                                                               
02/17/09       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KAREN LIDSTER, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 121 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                               
LYNN TOMICH KENT, Director                                                                                                      
Division of Water                                                                                                               
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged swift passage of HB 134.                                                                           
JOHN BINKLEY, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Cruise Association                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
CHIP THOMA, President                                                                                                           
Responsible Cruising in Alaska (RCA)                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that HB 134 is premature.                                                                      
BOB WEINSTEIN, Mayor                                                                                                            
City of Ketchikan                                                                                                               
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
WAYNE STEVENS, President/CEO                                                                                                    
Alaska State Chamber of Commerce                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged adoption of HB 134.                                                                                
JENNIFER GIBBINS, Executive Director                                                                                            
Prince William Soundkeeper                                                                                                      
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Characterized HB 134 as premature.                                                                       
STAN STEVENS                                                                                                                    
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support HB 134.                                                                             
KURT HARDCASTLE, Commercial Fisherman                                                                                           
Taku River Red                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing of HB 134, emphasized the                                                                 
need to consider the volume of discharge.                                                                                       
KAREN HESS, Owner                                                                                                               
River Adventures                                                                                                                
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
CHRIS ANDERSON, Co-Owner                                                                                                        
Glacier BrewHouse and Orso                                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
ROBERT SHEER, Owner                                                                                                             
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show                                                                                                   
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
SHAUNA LEE, Manager                                                                                                             
Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show                                                                                                   
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
LEN LAURANCE, Marketing Consultant                                                                                              
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
KATHY WASSERMAN, Executive Director                                                                                             
Alaska Municipal League (AML)                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
JEREMY GIEZER, Member                                                                                                           
Board of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) - Juneau                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
JASON BRUNE, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Resource Development Council (RDC)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 134.                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:01:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  BOB  HERRON called  the  House  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting   to  order  at  8:01  a.m.                                                               
Representatives Herron,  Munoz, Harris, and Millett  were present                                                               
at  the  call to  order.    Representatives Keller,  Cissna,  and                                                               
Gardner arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                 
HB 121 - MUNICIPAL AIR QUALITY PROPERTY TAX CREDIT                                                                            
8:02:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 121, "An Act relating to  a municipal property                                                               
tax  credit  for  an  improvement  that  aids  in  improving  air                                                               
8:03:06 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN LIDSTER,  Staff, Representative John Coghill,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, relayed  that one of  the dynamics of living  in the                                                               
Alaska  is the  cold and  the inversions  that occur.   She  then                                                               
informed the committee that in  2006 the Environmental Protection                                                               
Agency (EPA)  increased the stringency of  the particulate matter                                                               
2.5  standard.   In 2007  the  EPA defined  the requirements  for                                                               
state's  to clean  the air  in areas  where the  fine particulate                                                               
pollution didn't  meet the national  air quality  standard; these                                                               
were  referred to  as nonattainment  areas.   Nonattainment areas                                                               
had  three  years   to  submit  a  plan  to   EPA  that  included                                                               
enforceable measures  to reduce air pollution  emissions and show                                                               
how reasonable  progress would be  made to attain  that standard.                                                               
These standards must be achieved no later than 2015.                                                                            
MS. LIDSTER  explained that as  Fairbanks North Star  Borough and                                                               
other  communities  seek  ways  in  which  to  meet  air  quality                                                               
standards,   they  wanted   more  than   just  restrictions   and                                                               
enforcement-based  options.     This  legislation   provides  the                                                               
aforementioned  in the  form  of  an optional  tax  credit.   The                                                               
legislation   provides  an   incentive   to   citizens  to   make                                                               
improvements  to  their  home  and   business  that  improve  the                                                               
community's air  quality.  The  language in HB 121  requires that                                                               
eligibility  conditions  and  other criteria  be  established  by                                                               
local ordinance  to address local  community needs.   Ms. Lidster                                                               
pointed out that  nonattainment areas are a public as  well as an                                                               
economic issue.   In fact,  Federal Highway  Administration funds                                                               
could  be lost  or new  projects denied.   This  legislation will                                                               
help  communities  provide  incentives  that  promote  a  healthy                                                               
economy for  residents.   In closing,  Ms. Lidster  requested the                                                               
committee's support for HB 121.                                                                                                 
8:05:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  offered his  understanding that HB  121 is                                                               
permissive not mandatory and merely  encourages people to install                                                               
systems that promote healthier air.                                                                                             
MS. LIDSTER concurred on both counts.                                                                                           
8:07:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER   asked  whether   there  has   been  any                                                               
indication that the Fairbanks North  Star Borough would implement                                                               
this if HB 121  passes.  She also asked what  would happen if the                                                               
borough  implemented the  program  and it  was wildly  successful                                                               
with  many  participants,  and   the  property  tax  receipts  in                                                               
Fairbanks decreased.                                                                                                            
MS. LIDSTER  related her understanding  that the  Fairbanks North                                                               
Star Borough  is very  interested in  the passage  of HB  121 and                                                               
having the  option to use  incentives to encourage  its residents                                                               
to help  with air quality.   Ms.  Lidster surmised that  were the                                                               
program to  be wildly  successful, the  borough would  review the                                                               
impact of  a reduction in  the tax at  the local level  since the                                                               
incentive would be a local ordinance.                                                                                           
8:08:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS surmised,  then, that  the portion  of the                                                               
property tax  that is  allowed to  be credited  would be  for the                                                               
expense of  installing a  new system,  which wouldn't  occur each                                                               
year.   He  further surmised  that  an individual  would have  to                                                               
provide proof of  improvements to air quality  that would qualify                                                               
for the proposed credit.                                                                                                        
MS. LIDSTER stated her agreement.                                                                                               
8:09:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ moved  to report  HB  121 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
note.   There being no  objection, HB  121 was reported  from the                                                               
House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                        
HB 134 - CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS                                                                             
8:10:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  134,  "An  Act  relating  to the  terms  and                                                               
conditions  of commercial  vessel  permits for  the discharge  of                                                               
graywater, treated  sewage, and other waste  water; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
8:10:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MUNOZ  moved to adopt the  proposed committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for  HB 134, Version  26-LS0570\E, Bullard, 2/16/09,  as the                                                               
work draft.   There being no objection, Version E  was before the                                                               
8:11:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS, speaking  as the sponsor of  HB 134, began                                                               
by explaining that Version E  was necessary because of the change                                                               
to the  title of the  legislation to  conform to the  language of                                                               
the body  of the  legislation.   Following "commercial"  the word                                                             
"passenger" was inserted.   The intent of this  legislation is to                                                               
provide the  Department of  Environmental Conservation  (DEC) the                                                               
ability to  implement the  law as  it sees  fit.   Currently, the                                                               
cruise ship  initiative restricts DEC's ability  to implement its                                                               
regulations.   He noted  that this isn't  the first  amendment to                                                               
the  initiative.    He  reminded the  committee  that  the  first                                                               
amendment,   House   Bill  217,   to   the   initiative  was   by                                                               
Representative  Lindsey   Holmes  and  amended   the  disclosures                                                               
portion of  the initiative.   The  second amendment,  Senate Bill                                                               
121, to  the initiative  was by Senator  Kim Elton  and addressed                                                               
the  discharge   from  smaller  cruise   ships.    Both   of  the                                                               
aforementioned    amendments    to    the    initiative    passed                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  opined that one  must ask what  the intent                                                               
was when Alaskans passed the  cruise ship initiative.  Certainly,                                                               
everyone would  agree the intent was  to strengthen environmental                                                               
regulations  involving discharges  of large  cruise ships.   This                                                               
proposed  legislation, HB  134, doesn't  diminish the  standards.                                                               
The legislation merely provides DEC  with more tools to implement                                                               
the  standards.   He reminded  the  committee that  prior to  the                                                               
passage of Proposition  2, standards were established  in 2001 by                                                               
House  Bill  260, which  passed  in  both bodies  overwhelmingly.                                                               
Representative  Harris  acknowledged  that some  might  say  that                                                               
there are other  methods by which the [cruise  ship] industry can                                                               
be made to comply.  However,  those methods won't be precluded by                                                               
the  passage  of  HB  134.    This  proposed  legislation  merely                                                               
provides DEC the  ability to test in a  slightly different manner                                                               
than under  the current  initiative.   Furthermore, HB  134 won't                                                               
stop  the  industry  from  having to  implement  new  and  modern                                                               
technology, if DEC so chooses.                                                                                                  
8:16:36 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  noted  a   recent  Anchorage  Daily  News                                                             
article in support  of HB 134.  He assured  the committee that he                                                               
isn't opposed to keeping the  environment clean and is proud that                                                               
Alaskans  have looked  at the  issues and  attempted to  make the                                                               
state a  cleaner and better  place, in relation  to environmental                                                               
standards,  to  live.   From  the  Anchorage Daily  News  article                                                             
entitled "Our View:  Cruise Law Amendment" he  read the following                                                               
     So  we  yes to  the  Harris  amendment, but  with  this                                                                  
     addition --  require both the  cruise industry  and DEC                                                                  
     to report on the  latest practical technologies for the                                                                  
     cleanest  effluent,  and  give  DEC  the  authority  to                                                                  
     require  those, at  least as  pilot programs,  within a                                                                  
     reasonable time frame.                                                                                                     
     Don't let the perfect be  the enemy of the good; cruise                                                                    
     pollution controls  are vastly  improved over 10  to 15                                                                    
     years ago.   What they  discharge is much  cleaner than                                                                    
     what Alaska  cities pour into Alaska  waters every day.                                                                    
     Give the cruise lines some leeway.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS,  in conclusion, asked the  committee for a                                                               
favorable review of HB 134.                                                                                                     
8:19:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  related her understanding  that yesterday                                                               
DEC  published a  report  regarding  the technologies  available.                                                               
She expressed interest  in obtaining that report  prior to voting                                                               
on HB 134.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  offered her understanding that  there is a                                                               
presentation  regarding  the  available  technology  [for  cruise                                                               
ships  to use  with  wastewater  treatment].   She  asked if  the                                                               
committee is planning to report HB 134 from committee today.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON specified  that it's the intent  of the co-chairs                                                               
to  take all  testimony today  and  then consider  [action on  HB
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS interjected that  the presentation to which                                                               
Representative  Cissna is  referring  won't  make any  difference                                                               
because the DEC can still  mandate the best available technology.                                                               
The initiative  bound the hands of  DEC with regard to  where and                                                               
how it  can test.   Tomorrow's  presentation will  likely specify                                                               
what types  are the best  available technologies.   He reiterated                                                               
that HB  134 doesn't keep  DEC from mandating the  best available                                                               
8:22:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA related her  belief that it's important not                                                               
to hurry to obtain forthcoming information.                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HERRON mentioned  that he was going to  request that the                                                               
department provide a preview of  the presentation that will occur                                                               
8:24:17 AM                                                                                                                    
LYNN  TOMICH KENT,  Director, Division  of  Water, Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation  (DEC),  relayed that  DEC  has  been                                                               
implementing  the  cruise ship  initiative  passed  by voters  in                                                               
2006.     The  initiative  included  the   following  three  main                                                               
environmental provisions:   to have an ocean ranger  on board, to                                                               
report  the  vessel's  location  hourly to  DEC,  and  for  those                                                               
vessels wishing  to discharge wastewater  to obtain  a wastewater                                                               
discharge  permit from  DEC.   The initiative  requires an  ocean                                                               
ranger or  a U.S. Coast Guard  licensed marine engineer to  be on                                                               
board all  large cruise  vessels entering  Alaska's waters.   The                                                               
purpose  of  the  ocean  rangers'  presence  is  to  observe  the                                                               
vessel's  compliance   with  state  and   federal  environmental,                                                               
sanitation,  health,  and  safety   rules.    The  aforementioned                                                               
program  is funded  by  a $4  per  birth fee  and  nets about  $4                                                               
million per year, which is  about how much the department invests                                                               
in  the  program  each  year.   She  then  highlighted  that  DEC                                                               
implemented a  pilot program during  the 2007 cruise  ship season                                                               
during which the department tried  to learn about the program and                                                               
what it would  take to implement it.  The  training needs for the                                                               
ocean  rangers  were   reviewed  and  a  check   list  for  their                                                               
observations  was developed.   The  department learned  all about                                                               
making  reservations  for every  cruise  ship  coming to  Alaska,                                                               
scheduling  of  ocean  rangers,   and  how  ocean  rangers  would                                                               
communicate  with  DEC  while  onboard the  vessels.    The  full                                                               
implementation of  the ocean ranger  program began with  the 2008                                                               
cruise ship  season.   She informed the  committee that  an ocean                                                               
ranger was on  board 88 percent of the voyages  in Alaska waters.                                                               
The other vessels  were visited while in port in  Alaska.  During                                                               
that time, over 2,000 daily  reports were received from the ocean                                                               
rangers  through  which  126 incidents  were  learned  about  and                                                               
required follow up.   Almost all of  the aforementioned incidents                                                               
were addressed  by the  vessel when brought  to the  attention of                                                               
the environmental officer onboard the vessels.                                                                                  
MS. TOMICH KENT  then turned to the  vessel tracking requirement.                                                               
All of  the vessels  complied with this  requirement and  DEC has                                                               
used  this  information to  verify  compliance.   The  wastewater                                                               
permit portion of  the initiative required large  cruise ships to                                                               
obtain  a wastewater  permit from  DEC and  comply with  Alaska's                                                               
water  quality  standards  at  the   point  of  discharge.    The                                                               
aforementioned  is  the language  with  which  the department  is                                                               
concerned.    Ms.  Tomich  Kent  explained  that  Alaska's  water                                                               
quality  standards are  regulations that  describe how  clean the                                                               
state's  fresh and  marine waters  must  be in  order to  protect                                                               
various uses.   The department  protects the waters  for drinking                                                               
purposes, contact  recreation, and  aquatic life.   The standards                                                               
apply  to  the  water  body  and not  directly  to  a  wastewater                                                               
discharge, except  in the  case of  discharges from  large cruise                                                               
ships where the discharges must  meet the water quality standards                                                               
at the point of discharge.   Last March, DEC developed and issued                                                               
a  general permit  that contains  long-term  effluent limits  for                                                               
things such as  ammonia, copper, nickel, and zinc  that are based                                                               
on the water  quality standards.  She noted that  by the terms of                                                               
the permit issued, these effluent limits  must be met by the 2010                                                               
cruise  ship  season.   The  permit  also contains  a  compliance                                                               
schedule  and interim  limits  that are  less  stringent for  the                                                               
2008-2009 cruise ship seasons.                                                                                                  
MS.  TOMICH KENT  offered  her understanding  that  HB 134  would                                                               
allow  DEC,  under  certain circumstances,  to  authorize  mixing                                                               
zones  for  treated  wastewater  that's  discharged  from  cruise                                                               
ships.   She explained that a  mixing zone is an  area within the                                                               
receiving water body in which  the water quality standards can be                                                               
exceeded  while the  wastewater  has  a chance  to  mix with  the                                                               
receiving waters.  The water  quality standards, she stated, have                                                               
to be met  at the edge of  that authorized mixing zone.   The DEC                                                               
has  been   researching  the  science  surrounding   cruise  ship                                                               
wastewater for many  years and most recently has  been engaged in                                                               
a series of  studies some of which have been  done in conjunction                                                               
with the  EPA regarding how  cruise ship discharges mix  with the                                                               
receiving waters.                                                                                                               
8:29:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  TOMICH KENT  informed the  committee that  all of  the large                                                               
cruise  ship vessels  that discharge  into  Alaska's waters  have                                                               
installed advanced wastewater treatment  systems, which produce a                                                               
very high quality effluent.   During the 2008 cruise ship season,                                                               
20 of  the 31 large cruise  ships that call on  Alaska discharged                                                               
in  state  waters and  were  covered  under the  state's  general                                                               
permit.   Under  the terms  of the  permit, 206  effluent samples                                                               
were  taken,  each  of  which   was  analyzed  to  determine  the                                                               
concentration of 9  different parameters.  She noted  that DEC is                                                               
most  concerned about  the following  four parameters:   ammonia,                                                               
copper,  nickel, and  zinc.    Of 824  data  points, the  interim                                                               
permit  limits were  exceeded in  36 instances,  which amount  to                                                               
about 4 percent.   The most frequent parameter  that exceeded the                                                               
limits was  for ammonia, 21 of  the 31 samples.   Ms. Tomich Kent                                                               
then  related that  there were  563 instances  in which  the same                                                               
four parameters for  the stricter long-term permits  in 2008 were                                                               
exceeded.   The aforementioned relates  that about 68  percent of                                                               
the data points would exceed  the long-term effluent limits.  The                                                               
long-term effluent limits, she clarified,  are based on the water                                                               
quality standards.                                                                                                              
MS.  TOMICH  KENT  then  expressed the  need  to  understand  the                                                               
effects of  the cruise  ship discharges on  Alaska's waters.   In                                                               
order to do  so, the quality of the  wastewater that's discharged                                                               
must be reviewed as well as  the dilution to which the wastewater                                                               
is  subject  when  it  hits   the  receiving  water  body.    The                                                               
aforementioned  information  is  used  to  estimate  whether  the                                                               
wastewater  would   cause  exceedances   of  the   water  quality                                                               
standards in  the receiving  water body.   A  few years  ago, DEC                                                               
created  a science  advisory panel  to  review the  results of  a                                                               
field study  the EPA conducted  in 2001.   The EPA  was reviewing                                                               
the  impact of  discharges on  Alaska waters  when the  vessel is                                                               
under way.  The science  panel determined, she relayed, that when                                                               
a typical large  cruise ship is moving at a  minimum speed of six                                                               
knots,  the   wastewater  discharge  is  subject   to  tremendous                                                               
dilution.  If  the vessel is discharging at 200  cubic meters per                                                               
hour,  the dilution  factor is  50,000.   Therefore, the  science                                                               
panel concluded that the  wastewater would almost instantaneously                                                               
meet the water quality standards in the receiving water body.                                                                   
MS. TOMICH KENT  noted that during the  last legislative session,                                                               
the legislature directed DEC to  evaluate how treated cruise ship                                                               
effluent mixes  with and dilutes  in the receiving waters.   This                                                               
past season  the study  was conducted  in Skagway  in conjunction                                                               
with an EPA  research vessel.  An interim report  was provided to                                                               
the legislature in  January.  In summary, the  study was designed                                                               
to collect  field data  in order to  calculate the  dilution that                                                               
occurs  to  wastewater when  discharged  through  the worst  case                                                               
scenarios,  which is  from a  stationary vessel  into a  confined                                                               
receiving environment  with very  limited flushing.   The results                                                               
of the study  were mixed, she stated.   Under certain assumptions                                                               
water  quality standards  would  be met  in  the receiving  water                                                               
within  15 meters  of the  vessel and  under other  assumptions a                                                               
greater distance  from the  vessel would  be required  to achieve                                                               
the water  quality standards.   Therefore,  while the  work isn't                                                               
complete,  it  suggests  that in  certain  worst  case  scenarios                                                               
mixing zones may not be appropriate for vessels that are moored.                                                                
MS. TOMICH KENT  confirmed that DEC is  also reviewing wastewater                                                               
treatment  technologies.   She related  that DEC  isn't aware  of                                                               
treatment  systems  that  would produce  effluent  meeting  water                                                               
quality standards  without the use  of mixing zones and  that are                                                               
readily  available to  be installed  on all  vessels by  the 2010                                                               
season.  She  noted that there are  shore-based technologies that                                                               
can achieve the aforementioned.   Currently, DEC is investigating                                                               
the cruise lines  efforts to reduce ammonia,  copper, nickel, and                                                               
zinc  in  their  wastewater  effluent.    The  cruise  lines  are                                                               
reviewing potential  source reduction  and evaluating  what types                                                               
of products brought on board  the vessel that might contain those                                                               
substances and  whether those can  be reduced.  The  cruise lines                                                               
are also reviewing  new treatment technologies.   Ms. Tomich Kent                                                               
highlighted that  DEC has retained  a consultant to  evaluate new                                                               
and emerging technologies that could  potentially be installed on                                                               
cruise ships to meet the water  quality standards at the point of                                                               
discharge.  A  draft report is available for review  and has been                                                               
posted on  DEC's web site.   Tomorrow there will be  a wastewater                                                               
treatment  technology  workshop  in  Juneau at  which  there  are                                                               
expected  to be  national  and international  participants.   The                                                               
information  obtained  from   the  aforementioned  workshop  will                                                               
further refine  the draft report.   The hope, she relayed,  is to                                                               
issue a final report by mid April.                                                                                              
8:35:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. TOMICH KENT  pointed out that in light of  HB 134, DEC looked                                                               
at the  existing regulations.   Currently, there  are regulations                                                               
that  allow  other non-cruise  ship  permittees  to apply  for  a                                                               
mixing zone  with their  permit.  The  regulations include  a 19-                                                               
part test  that must  be met  prior to  DEC authorizing  a mixing                                                               
zone.   The aforementioned test  includes a requirement  that the                                                               
effluent is  first treated  to remove,  reduce, and  disperse the                                                               
pollutants  using   the  most  effective,   technologically,  and                                                               
economically feasible  methods.  The regulations  also include an                                                               
anti-degradation  policy that  requires  the use  of "methods  of                                                               
pollution  prevention,  control,  and   treatment  found  by  the                                                               
department  to  be  the  most effective  and  reasonable."    The                                                               
aforementioned  policy  also  requires   that  wastes  and  other                                                               
substances to be discharged "be  treated and controlled to ensure                                                               
to achieve the highest statutory and regulatory requirements."                                                                  
MS. TOMICH KENT explained that  if mixing zones were allowed, DEC                                                               
would modify the cruise ship  wastewater discharge general permit                                                               
to include  mixing zones where  appropriate.  She noted  that any                                                               
proposed permit  modifications require public notice  and review.                                                               
She related  that mixing  zones may be  prohibited in  some areas                                                               
and  only allowed  in  other areas  under  conditions that  would                                                               
fully protect  aquatic life  and other  uses of  Alaska's waters.                                                               
Furthermore, a  modified permit  would still  require the  use of                                                               
best  available  treatment  technologies.    She  mentioned  that                                                               
current  water   quality  regulations  prohibit   backsliding  in                                                               
treatment   technology   or   decreases  in   effluent   quality.                                                               
Therefore, a  change in  the rule that  would allow  mixing zones                                                               
wouldn't  allow  a  cruise  ship  to remove  the  high  level  of                                                               
treatment  technology that  is already  on board  nor could  they                                                               
reduce the  quality of  the effluent they  produce.   She related                                                               
that every  five years when  the general permit is  reviewed, DEC                                                               
must   reevaluate  what   comprises   best  available   treatment                                                               
technologies.  Any renewed permits  are appropriately modified to                                                               
reflect any  new, commercially available  treatment technologies.                                                               
She noted that HB 134 has no fiscal impact for DEC.                                                                             
8:37:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  posed a scenario  in which HB  134 passed                                                               
as written and  DEC learns at the aforementioned  workshop of new                                                               
technology that is  cost effective and meets  the requirements of                                                               
the initiative.   In  such a  situation, she  asked if  DEC could                                                               
require the use of such technology.                                                                                             
MS. TOMICH KENT replied yes.                                                                                                    
8:38:51 AM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  BINKLEY,  President,  Alaska  Cruise  Association,  related                                                               
support for  HB 134.   The purpose  of HB 134,  he opined,  is to                                                               
correct  an  error  made  in   the  initiative.    Therefore,  he                                                               
characterized  the  legislation  as a  technical  amendment  that                                                               
actually carries out the will of  the people.  Through the public                                                               
record  and statements  by the  initiative sponsors  it was  very                                                               
clear  that  the  intent  of  the  permitting  provision  of  the                                                               
initiative was to  level the playing field.   In fact, initiative                                                               
sponsor Joe  Geldhof said, "This  would make the  cruise industry                                                               
adhere   to   the   same  pollution   standards   as   fisheries,                                                               
municipalities, and  gas and oil  companies."  He then  offered a                                                               
further quote  by Gershon  Cohen, one of  the primary  writers of                                                               
this provision:   "If passed,  the new initiative will  level the                                                               
economic and environmental playing  field between the cruise ship                                                               
industry  and  other major  dischargers  of  polluted waste  into                                                               
Alaska waters."  The aforementioned  is exactly what HB 134 would                                                               
8:40:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BINKLEY offered  his  understanding that  HB  134 gives  the                                                               
authority  [regarding  permitting  decisions]   to  DEC  to  make                                                               
decisions  as  it's  very difficult  to  legislative  complicated                                                               
permitting issues.   He opined that those in  the cruise industry                                                               
have complete confidence  in DEC and the permitting  process.  In                                                               
conclusion, he urged the swift passage of HB 134.                                                                               
8:42:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHIP  THOMA, President,  Responsible  Cruising  in Alaska  (RCA),                                                               
began  by informing  the committee  that yesterday  DEC issued  a                                                               
draft  feasibility  study  on   reducing  the  concentrations  of                                                               
dissolved  metals  and ammonia  in  large  passenger ships.    He                                                               
provided that report as well  as written testimony from Dr. Cohen                                                               
to the  committee.  Mr.  Thoma then  turned to the  amendments to                                                               
the  initiative and  informed  the committee  that  there was  an                                                               
amendment to remove  the ocean rangers' provision  last year, but                                                               
that failed  in the House.   Furthermore, in 2001 House  Bill 260                                                               
occurred in  special session because the  legislature wasn't able                                                               
to  pass legislation  that  year.   Mr.  Thoma  related that  the                                                               
Anchorage Daily News  has always supported the  initiative and is                                                             
trying  the best  it can  to develop  a compromise.   He  related                                                               
agreement  with  yesterday's  editorial in  the  Anchorage  Daily                                                             
News.  Mr.  Thoma then directed the committee's  attention to the                                                             
executive summary of the feasibility  study, which specifies that                                                               
more  information  is  needed,   which  is  what  the  conference                                                               
tomorrow   will  accomplish.     The   feasibility  study   says:                                                               
"However,  this  draft study  finds  that  technologies exist  in                                                               
land-based  applications that  appear  to be  able  to treat  the                                                               
pollutants (ammonia,  nickel, copper,  or zinc) to  the necessary                                                               
levels  for discharge."    Mr.  Thoma stressed  that  he is  only                                                               
interested in ammonia  and copper since those  are the pollutants                                                               
that impact  marine life and  anadromous salmon.  He  related his                                                               
satisfaction  that  the  sewage,   air,  and  other  areas  being                                                               
regulated are  being done well.   The two most  promising systems                                                               
are    reverse    osmosis    (RO)    and    aerobic    biological                                                               
oxidation/nitrification  (MBR),   both  of  which   would  likely                                                               
provide the adaptable systems to achieve the limits.                                                                            
MR.  THOMA   then  turned  to  Dr.   Cohen's  written  testimony,                                                               
specifically  paragraph three  where it  states: "By  definition,                                                               
the  State's  WQS  represent   the  best  scientific  information                                                               
regarding the protection  of aquatic life."   He then highlighted                                                               
paragraph four of  Dr. Cohen's testimony, which  states:  "Mixing                                                               
zones are  not based  on biological  science or  toxicology; they                                                               
are  engineering-based risk  analyses  ...."   Page 2,  paragraph                                                               
five of Dr. Cohen's written  testimony says, "Poor performance by                                                               
other discharges  does not justify  allowing the cruise  lines to                                                               
seek the  lowest common  denominator of waste  treatment.   It is                                                               
important to note that many  of their 'peers' are using equipment                                                               
designed in  the 1950's,  built in  the 1970s,  ...."   Mr. Thoma                                                               
then  highlighted page  2,  paragraph four,  in  which Dr.  Cohen                                                               
says, "... we  heard the same cry from this  industry when Alaska                                                               
demanded they  do a  better job of  removing fecal  bacteria from                                                               
their waste streams.  They  said such performance was impossible.                                                               
...  Today, two  thirds of  the fleet  that comes  to Alaska  has                                                               
these improved  technologies on  board."  Page  3 of  Dr. Cohen's                                                               
testimony  specifies,  "The  authorization  of  mixing  zones  in                                                               
fundamentally illogical.  Our oceans  are finite and putting more                                                               
pollutants  into  our  waters  must   at  some  point  result  in                                                               
deleterious  impacts on  our fisheries."    Mr. Thoma  reiterated                                                               
that   tomorrow's   conference   will   address   the   available                                                               
technologies and the cost to cure cruise ship discharges.                                                                       
MR.  THOMA then  paraphrased  from his  written testimony,  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     The RCA is  an advocacy group that helped  win the 2006                                                                    
     initiative  measure  on  cruise  ship  pollution,  fair                                                                    
     taxes,  and  consumer   protection.    This  initiative                                                                    
     passed 52-48%.  82,000 Alaskans voted yes.                                                                                 
       The Alaska cruise law has been a great success for                                                                       
        state taxes, revenue sharing, capital project in                                                                        
     cruise ports,  pollution controls, monitoring  by Ocean                                                                    
     Rangers, and passenger consumer protection.                                                                                
     To  address HB  134,  my helpful  comment  is that  the                                                                  
     legislation is premature and  likely unnecessary.  Many                                                                  
     ships in  the Alaska  cruise fleet are  already meeting                                                                    
     our Water  Quality Standards on both  ammonia & copper,                                                                    
     those discharged  substances that most  harm anadromous                                                                    
     salmon and marine life.                                                                                                    
     I recently  reviewed the Notices of  Violations (NOV's)                                                                    
     issued by DEC for 2009  cruise ship discharges, and was                                                                    
     amazed to find  that ¾ of the fleet were  not cited for                                                                    
     any  metals violations,  but  that 5  of  the 7  metals                                                                  
     violators  are Princess  ships.   I believe  the copper                                                                    
     problem has now been  identified: those high discharges                                                                    
     are centered  in OLDER ships,  like the  Princes fleet,                                                                    
     whose   copper  plumbing   is  leaching   into  treated                                                                    
     discharge water.   Dissolved  copper is a  big problem:                                                                    
     it  never goes  away, it  builds up  in the  water, and                                                                    
     dis-orients  returning salmon.   But  most other  ships                                                                    
     have  solved  the  on-board copper  problem,  by  using                                                                    
     flex-hose plastic  plumbing, a  21   century fix  for a                                                                    
     20 century problem.                                                                                                        
8:48:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. THOMA continued:                                                                                                            
     Rather than get  into details of ship  plumbing and on-                                                                    
     board water-making  machinery, suffice  it to  say that                                                                    
     copper pipes leach,  and miles and tons  of copper pipe                                                                    
     leach  a  lot.     Copper  leaching  from  cruise  ship                                                                    
     plumbing  will  be  discussed  thoroughly  tomorrow  at                                                                    
     DEC's 2009 conference on new  technologies.  I hope you                                                                    
     can attend.                                                                                                                
     The  gold  sheet in  your  packet  lists the  different                                                                  
     copper  and  ammonia-removing  processes that  will  be                                                                    
     discussed by  industry and DEC, for  both effectiveness                                                                    
     and cost.   This removal  technology is improving  at a                                                                    
     very rapid  pace, pioneered by the  need for absolutely                                                                    
     clean water in US  computer manufacture.  I'm confident                                                                    
     that copper  can soon be  removed from all  cruise ship                                                                    
     discharges.   That's why HB  134 is  premature, because                                                                    
     solutions  are  close at  hand.    DEC and  the  cruise                                                                  
     industry  will start  solving them,  tomorrow, here  in                                                                    
     Regarding ammonia  on board ships,  the sole  source is                                                                    
     urine.   Ammonia  removal has  been achieved,  and this                                                                    
     technology  is  readily  available.    Ironically,  the                                                                    
     relatively high  ammonia counts are likely  due to low-                                                                    
     flow toilet  systems on some ships,  where little water                                                                    
     is  used to  flush.   Since water  dissolves urine  and                                                                    
     ammonia to manageable levels, I  am also confident that                                                                    
     all ammonia  problems will be solved  on-board, as most                                                                  
     ships in the Alaska fleet are doing right now.                                                                           
     In conclusion,  HB 134 is  premature, because  copper &                                                                    
     ammonia discharge  problems will  be solved  soon, with                                                                    
     science,  funding, and  plastic plumbing.   The  cruise                                                                    
     passengers  want  clean  ships.    Alaska  subsistence,                                                                    
     commercial & sport users want  clean ships that take no                                                                    
     chances to  harm Alaska  fish &  marine resources.   We                                                                    
     should  all  agree  to   fully  protect  clean,  marine                                                                    
     waters, by statute.                                                                                                        
     The  cruise  laws  passed   in  2006  accomplish  that.                                                                    
     However,  HB 134,  the Princess  Pollution bill,  rolls                                                                    
     back those  protections and allows  potentially harmful                                                                    
     discharges.  Also, [HB] 134  would primarily exempt one                                                                  
     cruise line from the water  quality standards being met                                                                  
     by most of  the 28 ships in Alaska fleet.   HB 134 thus                                                                    
     financially   penalizes   those  who   make   discharge                                                                    
     improvements, and  now comply  with Alaska  cruise law.                                                                    
     Finally, Alaskans want  these discharge problems solved                                                                  
     on board the  cruise ships, not mixing  in our pristine                                                                  
MR. THOMA,  in response to Representative  Harris, clarified that                                                               
his statement referring to HB  134 as the Princess Pollution bill                                                               
is his  opinion.  He specified  that [his statement] is  based on                                                               
the notices  of violations,  which are  issued by  DEC.   He then                                                               
pointed  out  that the  committee  members'  packets should  also                                                               
include a document  entitled "Key Disciplines" that is  a list of                                                               
sensor devices  that are  utilized with  both medical  and marine                                                               
applications.    The  aforementioned  is the  type  of  equipment                                                               
needed for many of the cruise ships.                                                                                            
8:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  asked  whether  any  of  the  land-based                                                               
technologies are being used in Alaska.                                                                                          
MR. THOMA  said that he would  find that out tomorrow.   However,                                                               
he noted that  Oasis Environmental consultants with  DEC are very                                                               
familiar with [the land-based technologies].                                                                                    
8:52:59 AM                                                                                                                    
BOB  WEINSTEIN, Mayor,  City of  Ketchikan, related  the City  of                                                               
Ketchikan's support  for HB 134.   He noted that in  October 2008                                                               
Ketchikan's  City Counsel  passed  a  resolution which  requested                                                               
legislation to modify, based on  science, the standards governing                                                               
the  discharge  of  cruise  ship  wastewater.    He  related  his                                                               
understanding  that HB  134 is  designed to  remove an  arbitrary                                                               
standard established  by the initiative  process and allow  it to                                                               
be  replaced by  a  scientific standard.    The principal  public                                                               
focus of the  initiative, he reminded members, was on  a $50 head                                                               
tax  not  on  an arcane  environmental-related  provision.    Mr.                                                               
Weinstein  opined   that  water   quality  standards   should  be                                                               
established  by the  application of  principles of  sound science                                                               
not by the application of politics.   While Mr. Weinstein said he                                                               
respected  the  initiative  process,   he  highlighted  that  the                                                               
founding  fathers  of the  state  provided  for an  amendment  or                                                               
repeal  of  an initiative  after  two  years.   If  environmental                                                               
standards  were established  in a  similarly punitive  manner, by                                                               
initiative, for  the oil, fishing,  and other  industries, Alaska                                                               
would hardly have  any industry at all.  "The  application of the                                                               
standard imposed by  initiative, in the absence  of practical and                                                               
readily  available  technology,  will result  in  cruise  vessels                                                               
traveling outside  state waters for discharge  in federal waters.                                                               
This will result in either less  visits or shorter visits to port                                                               
communities like  Ketchikan, with  adverse economic  impacts upon                                                               
us,"  he  said.    In   conclusion,  Mr.  Weinstein  related  his                                                               
observation that the cruise industry  has made great improvements                                                               
and significant  investments in technology  to improve  water and                                                               
air quality standards without the  initiative.  This legislation,                                                               
by removing an arbitrary standard, will  allow DEC to do its job:                                                               
to protect water  quality in state waters.  He  urged support for                                                               
HB 134.                                                                                                                         
8:57:12 AM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE STEVENS,  President/CEO, Alaska State Chamber  of Commerce,                                                               
related the  Alaska State  Chamber of  Commerce's support  of the                                                               
legislature's efforts  to amend  the point of  discharge standard                                                               
governing  cruise ship  wastewater  permits.   To  that end,  the                                                               
Alaska State  Chamber of Commerce has  adopted the aforementioned                                                               
as one  of its top five  priorities and urges the  adoption of HB
134.   Furthermore,  the Alaska  State Chamber  of Commerce  asks                                                               
that the state apply the  best available data and technology when                                                               
setting standards  for cruise ship wastewater  discharge permits.                                                               
The  DEC, he  pointed out,  holds  cruise ships  and the  state's                                                               
ferries to  a different standard  than every other  discharger in                                                               
Alaska.   He further  pointed out that  this new  permit measures                                                               
effluent  at  the  point  of discharge  rather  than  allowing  a                                                               
dilution  zone,  which  every other  state  allows  and  Alaska's                                                               
statutes  contemplate.    Moreover,  this  permit  measure  is  a                                                               
different   standard   than   what  is   required   for   coastal                                                               
communities,  the  fishing industry,  or  oil  platforms in  Cook                                                               
Inlet.   Mr. Stevens said,  "We strongly urge the  legislature to                                                               
give due  consideration to modifying the  standards governing the                                                               
discharge of  our ...  cruise ship wastewater  for a  lower level                                                               
based on science  that will continue to protect  aquatic life and                                                               
the environment  but will not be  technologically and financially                                                               
unreasonable or  impractical."  He echoed  earlier testimony that                                                               
if the cruise  ship industry has to comply with  statutes of this                                                               
permit,  cruise   ships  will  have  to   hold  their  wastewater                                                               
discharge  until outside  of Alaska  waters.   The aforementioned                                                               
will result in  a shortened time in port and  may result in fewer                                                               
ports  of  call,  both  of which  may  negatively  impact  Alaska                                                               
businesses  and  port  communities.    He  suggested  that  small                                                               
businesses  that offer  services to  tour-related businesses  may                                                               
well  go out  of business  without  the suggested  modifications.                                                               
Although voters were told that cruise  ships would be held to the                                                               
same  [discharge]   standard  as   every  other   industrial  and                                                               
municipal   discharger  and   no  new   permitting  program   was                                                               
necessary, the permit  issued by DEC holds the cruise  ships to a                                                               
much different  standard.  Mr. Stevens  highlighted that Alaska's                                                               
water quality standards contemplate  the use of dilution factors,                                                               
such as mixing zones or  short-term variances.  According to DEC,                                                               
without mixing zones  wastewater would have to be  treated to the                                                               
point  at which  it could  serve as  a source  of drinking  water                                                               
before discharge.   The aforementioned  isn't feasible  in Alaska                                                               
or anywhere  else.  Sewage  treatment plants,  seafood processors                                                               
in Alaska  couldn't operate without  mixing zones, which  is also                                                               
true  for cruise  ships, he  opined.   Alaska should  hold cruise                                                               
ships  to the  same  standard as  coastal  communities, he  said.                                                               
Furthermore, it's  not in  the state's  best interest  to shorten                                                               
the time cruise visitors have  ashore or to force the elimination                                                               
of some  ports of call.   In conclusion, Mr.  Stevens highlighted                                                               
that  plastic pipe  comes  from  oil and  gas,  and therefore  if                                                               
copper pipes are eliminated and  replaced with plastic that would                                                               
seem to infer support for additional drilling.                                                                                  
9:01:21 AM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER    GIBBINS,   Executive    Director,   Prince    William                                                               
Soundkeeper, began  by relating  that the  mission of  the Prince                                                               
William  Soundkeeper  is  to  protect  water  quality  in  Prince                                                               
William Sound.   The board  and membership of the  Prince William                                                               
Soundkeeper is comprised of residents  of all five communities in                                                               
Prince  William  Sound.    She opined  that  the  voters  weren't                                                               
confused  when they  passed this  initiative.   The intent  is to                                                               
protect the  water upon which  the state's  environment, culture,                                                               
and  economy  depend.    She stressed  that  the  most  important                                                               
message is that this can be  done.  Ms. Gibbins then reminded the                                                               
committee that Prince William Sound  is still recovering from the                                                               
effects of the  Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.   Furthermore, Alaska has                                                               
recently had  its first  warning about  the consumption  of fish.                                                               
The metals  at issue  are serious and  their accumulation  in the                                                               
environment should  be taken very  seriously.   "Pollution, after                                                               
all, is pollution," she said.                                                                                                   
MS. GIBBINS  opined that  HB 134 isn't  a small  or insignificant                                                               
change to the  law.  She characterized HB 134  as premature.  The                                                               
[initiative] standards  can be met,  and therefore  she suggested                                                               
that the committee's discussions would  be best spent focusing on                                                               
how to motivate  industry to comply.  She related  she asked John                                                               
Binkley and  Bruce Bustamante what  the cruise industry  has done                                                               
since the  initiative to  comply and they  couldn't answer.   Ms.                                                               
Gibbins  informed the  committee  that in  addition  to being  an                                                               
environmentalist,  she serves  on the  local chamber  of commerce                                                               
and   has  a   background  in   destination  marketing   for  the                                                               
hospitality industry.   She opined that she  supports the tourism                                                               
industry,  and  doesn't  believe  the state  should  abandon  the                                                               
standards  that set  Alaska apart.   Perhaps  the new  technology                                                               
would make it possible to comply  by 2010 or perhaps the industry                                                               
needs more time, she remarked.   She then indicated that the head                                                               
tax could be used to incentivize the cruise industry to comply.                                                                 
9:05:10 AM                                                                                                                    
STAN  STEVENS testified  in support  of HB  134, which  he opined                                                               
protects the state's  water quality standards by  allowing DEC to                                                               
still monitor  the cruise ships  and maintain the  best available                                                               
technology through sound science.   The cruise ships have brought                                                               
their air  and water quality  standards to a level  that's better                                                               
than that  in the  state's coastal  communities and  other vessel                                                               
users.   There  are many  vessels,  he pointed  out, that  aren't                                                               
meeting a lot  of these standards.  He opined  that HB 134 allows                                                               
realistic   regulations   while   maintaining  a   clean   marine                                                               
environment.   In conclusion, Mr.  Stevens applauded  the sponsor                                                               
of HB  134 as  it maintains the  state's water  quality standards                                                               
and solves a difficult problem.                                                                                                 
9:06:40 AM                                                                                                                    
KURT HARDCASTLE,  Commercial Fisherman, Taku River  Red, informed                                                               
the committee  that he is a  marine engineer and has  worked with                                                               
marine sanitation systems  from Mexico to Alaska and  Hawaii.  He                                                               
noted  that  he also  has  a  bit  of  experience in  the  marine                                                               
environment and  the discharges  that are  involved.   The cruise                                                               
ship  industry has  its work  cut out  for it,  he opined.   With                                                               
regard  to discharges,  Mr. Hardcastle  said  that [the  concern]                                                               
isn't the concentration  of the discharges but  rather the volume                                                               
of  them.   The  volume of  discharge is  1  million per  season,                                                               
possibly  twice   a  day  in   Southeast  Alaska  waters.     The                                                               
aforementioned  is   more  than   the  entire  State   of  Alaska                                                               
discharging in Southeast Alaska waters.                                                                                         
MR.  HARDCASTLE related  that he  has  been, in,  around, and  on                                                               
cruise  ships for  many years.   In  fact, he  noted that  he has                                                               
worked  in  the  cruise  ship  industry  for  about  four  years.                                                               
Furthermore,  he said  that he  has witnessed  the discharge  and                                                               
believes  that some  cruise ships  discharge within  reason while                                                               
others he would question due to  the three to four foot high foam                                                               
bubble that smells  like sewage.  He reiterated  that the concern                                                               
is the volume  of the discharge.  Mr. Hardcastle  referred to the                                                               
January  2009 edition  of Alaska's  Economic Trends,  which lists                                                             
commercial  fishing  as  the stabilizing  influence  on  Alaska's                                                               
economy  during the  upcoming economic  storm.   He said  that he                                                               
isn't  opposed  to  HB  134,  but would  like  the  committee  to                                                               
consider the  volume of  the discharge  and avoid  jeopardizing a                                                               
food source that is shipped outside the state.                                                                                  
9:11:06 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN HESS, Owner,  River Adventures, related her  support for HB
134 and noted  that the committee packet should  include a letter                                                               
from  her.   She then  relayed that  two years  ago she  was very                                                               
involved   in  the   initiative,   particularly  the   disclosure                                                               
statement.    When  signatures  for  the  initiative  were  first                                                               
gathered,  she  had  a conversation  with  a  signature  gatherer                                                               
regarding  concerns   with  the   disclosure  statement   of  the                                                               
initiative.    The signature  gatherer  said  that if  there  are                                                               
problems with the disclosure statement,  the legislature will fix                                                               
it  if  the  initiative  passes.   Ms.  Hess  then  informed  the                                                               
committee  that  the  2010  cruise  ship  itineraries  are  being                                                               
finalized now.   She  indicated that  HB 134  would allow  DEC to                                                               
implement whatever new  technology or program and  mandate it for                                                               
the  ships, and  thus the  ships can  plan their  itineraries and                                                               
continue to come  to Alaska.  She concluded by  urging passage of                                                               
HB 134.                                                                                                                         
9:14:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS ANDERSON, Co-Owner, Glacier  BrewHouse and Orso, stated his                                                               
support for HB 134.  As one  of the largest sellers of seafood in                                                               
a  restaurant environment  in Anchorage,  he said  he understands                                                               
the  need for  a clean,  safe  marine environment.   However,  he                                                               
expressed  concern over  the  potential loss  of  the cruse  ship                                                               
industry,  which  could  adversely   impact  his  restaurant  and                                                               
employees.  Therefore, Mr. Anderson  requested support for HB 134                                                               
and that  everyone work  together to  ensure Alaska  continues to                                                               
have a clean, safe, and growing visitor industry.                                                                               
9:15:49 AM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  SHEER, Owner,  Great Alaskan  Lumberjack  Show, told  the                                                               
committee that  living in Ketchikan  with its close  proximity to                                                               
the marine environment and being  in the tourism industry for the                                                               
last  10 years  afforded him  the opportunity  to access  certain                                                               
governing rules and regulations of  the industry.  He opined that                                                               
there was  great prejudice in  crafting the head  tax initiative,                                                               
which had unintended consequences for  the tourism industry.  The                                                               
language  of   the  [initiative]  overstepped  what   were  areas                                                               
governed by  DEC.   The impacts to  the [tourism]  industry could                                                               
result in the  loss of thousands of jobs and  tens of millions of                                                               
dollars over  time.  He informed  the committee that he,  for his                                                               
business alone, pays  in excess of $120,000 in  local real estate                                                               
and  sales taxes.   Furthermore,  [the  Great Alaskan  Lumberjack                                                               
Show]  employs  up to  35  individuals  with  a payroll  of  over                                                               
$700,000.  As an owner of  an Alaskan tourism business, Mr. Sheer                                                               
related his support for HB 134.                                                                                                 
9:19:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SHAUNA LEE, Manager, Great Alaskan  Lumberjack Show, related that                                                               
members should  already have a letter  from her in support  of HB
134.   This legislation  will allow the  cruise ship  industry to                                                               
conduct business in a scientifically  reasonable way.  The cruise                                                               
industry  has  made  great  strides  in  cleaning  its  emissions                                                               
standards  to some  of  the  highest in  the  world.   Therefore,                                                               
whatever can be done to make  the industry feel welcome is of the                                                               
utmost  importance to  the economy,  particularly the  economy of                                                               
Southeast Alaska.  By requiring  the cruise ship industry to meet                                                               
standards that are impossible to meet  at this time, the state is                                                               
raising  a   barrier  to  an  industry   that's  supporting  many                                                               
Southeast Alaska towns.                                                                                                         
9:20:08 AM                                                                                                                    
LEN LAURANCE, Marketing Consultant,  explained that he represents                                                               
companies   that  provide   shore  excursions   to  cruise   ship                                                               
passengers.    These  companies  include  Tae  Kwon  Air,  Alaska                                                               
Rainforest   Sanctuary,   Alaska  Canopy   Adventures,   Seahorse                                                               
Ventures,  and   Experience  Alaska  Tours.     Collectively  the                                                               
aforementioned companies  employ 225 people.   The aforementioned                                                               
companies urge  passage of HB 134  as they are very  sensitive to                                                               
the environment and place  environmental concerns before anything                                                               
else.  Over the last 10  years, the cruise ship industry has made                                                               
great  strides in  the handling  of wastewater.   Currently,  the                                                               
cruise  ship industry  is trying  to meet  standards that  aren't                                                               
based on science.   This legislation, HB 134,  he surmised, would                                                               
allow DEC to enforce wastewater  discharge on a scientific basis.                                                               
Therefore, he urged passage of HB 134.                                                                                          
9:21:41 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHY  WASSERMAN,  Executive  Director, Alaska  Municipal  League                                                               
(AML), related support  for HB 134.  She noted  that AML passed a                                                               
resolution   that  requested   modification   of  the   standards                                                               
governing  the   discharge  of  cruise  ship   wastewater.    The                                                               
discussion that took  place during the debate  of that resolution                                                               
centered  on  the  belief  that the  process  should  be  handled                                                               
through DEC,  she related.   The discussion  also focused  on the                                                               
need,  particularly  in  these hard  economic  times,  to  review                                                               
anything   that   might   inhibit  municipalities   from   having                                                               
businesses or industries that help communities survive.                                                                         
9:23:57 AM                                                                                                                    
JEREMY  GIEZER,  Member,  Board of  the  Alaska  Travel  Industry                                                               
Association  (ATIA) -  Juneau Chapter,  related  that the  Juneau                                                               
Chapter of  ATIA, which is  nearly 70 local tourism  and tourism-                                                               
related  businesses in  Juneau,  is in  support of  HB  134.   He                                                               
mentioned that the  statewide chapter of ATIA has  moved a letter                                                               
of  support for  HB  134.   The  organization  believes that  the                                                               
experts should do  the job, and thus it's a  matter of giving the                                                               
control to  DEC to regulate  cruise ship discharge.   The concern                                                               
is that if  the law is allowed  to stand as it is  today, it will                                                               
negatively  affect  business  and  the amount  of  business  that                                                               
occurs.   He  pointed out  that  just because  the technology  is                                                               
available,  it doesn't  mean that  cruise lines  will necessarily                                                               
implement that technology  in Alaska waters.  Some  of the cruise                                                               
ships, he opined, will opt  to [discharge] outside Alaska waters,                                                               
which will reduce the hours in  port and even eliminate some port                                                               
calls.  The aforementioned should be considered, he opined.                                                                     
9:25:59 AM                                                                                                                    
JASON  BRUNE, Executive  Director,  Resource Development  Council                                                               
(RDC),  related that  RDC  is in  support  of HB  134.   He  then                                                               
reminded the  committee that the  RDC is a  statewide, nonprofit,                                                               
membership-funded organization  founded in 1975.   The purpose of                                                               
RDC is to  link the diverse interests of  its membership together                                                               
to  encourage  a strong,  diversified  private  sector in  Alaska                                                               
while   expanding  the   state's   economic   base  through   the                                                               
responsible  development   of  the  state's   natural  resources,                                                               
including tourism  resources.  He  opined that  setting standards                                                               
for discharges through the initiative  process, regardless of the                                                               
industry,  isn't appropriate.   What  was  put in  place by  this                                                               
initiative would have  precluded the discharge of  tap water from                                                               
Anchorage,  Fairbanks,   or  any   other  port  community.     As                                                               
legislators, new investment in the  state should be encouraged by                                                               
allowing reasonable and attainable  standards for all industries.                                                               
By correcting  this error,  DEC will  have the  tools to  use the                                                               
best  available science,  as they  do  with all  agencies in  the                                                               
state, to establish  safe discharge limits.   Mr. Brune concluded                                                               
by encouraging the committee vote in favor of 2009.                                                                             
9:28:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BINKLEY said  that  HB 134  will simply  allow  DEC to  make                                                               
discharge   determinations  based   on  the   best  science   and                                                               
technology  available.     The  industry,  he   assured  members,                                                               
embraces new  technology as well  as decisions based  on science.                                                               
He related  that in  the late  1990s and  early 2000s  the Alaska                                                               
Cruise Association  worked closely with the  scientific panel Ms.                                                               
Tomich  Kent mentioned  earlier.   In  fact,  [the Alaska  Cruise                                                               
Association]  invested  funds  based   on  the  findings  of  the                                                               
scientific panel and decisions by  the legislature.  The industry                                                               
has  invested  over $200  million  to  place the  best  available                                                               
technology  on  the  ships.   This  summer  the  industry  worked                                                               
closely  with  DEC  and  EPA on  further  scientific  testing  in                                                               
Skagway Harbor.  Furthermore, [the  Alaska Cruise Association] is                                                               
working  with  DEC  on  the  technology  conference  to  be  held                                                               
tomorrow.   He  noted that  virtually all  of the  [cruise] lines                                                               
will be represented  at the conference.  He  emphasized that it's                                                               
inappropriate  to have  standards  based on  junk  science.   Mr.                                                               
Binkley, again, encouraged  the committee to move  HB 134 forward                                                               
as it simply allows DEC to do its job.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  HERRON closed  public testimony  with the  exception of                                                               
allowing those who've testified to  respond to questions from the                                                               
committee members.                                                                                                              
9:30:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  requested comment regarding  Ms. Gibbins'                                                               
testimony  that  Alaska  received   its  first  warning  on  fish                                                               
consumption in the  state.  She also  requested comment regarding                                                               
Ms.  Gibbins'  earlier  comment that  the  industry  hasn't  done                                                               
anything in order to comply with the initiative.                                                                                
MS. TOMICH  KENT answered that  although she is not  the director                                                               
in charge of fish advisory,  there was one fish consumption alert                                                               
issued  for  large  flat  white  fish.   She  recalled  that  the                                                               
contaminant  was mercury.   She  offered to  obtain the  specific                                                               
information on  the warning  for the  committee.   Regarding what                                                               
the industry has done [since  the passage of the initiative]; Ms.                                                               
Tomich  Kent  explained  that since  a  compliance  schedule  was                                                               
placed in the  permit, the regulations on  compliance specify the                                                               
need to  do some things along  the way.  Therefore,  the industry                                                               
was asked  to submit  a source reduction  evaluation and  plan to                                                               
DEC.  The  aforementioned required the cruise  industry to review                                                               
the potential sources  of the four contaminants of  concern.  The                                                               
companies   covered  under   the   permit   have  submitted   the                                                               
aforementioned plans to  the department.  The  companies are also                                                               
required  to  provide  the department  with  an  annual  progress                                                               
report on  source reduction  as well  as new  technologies should                                                               
the  companies find  that source  reduction  isn't sufficient  to                                                               
meet the water quality standards at the end of the pipe.                                                                        
9:33:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  asked whether Ms. Tomich  Kent would feel                                                               
comfortable in  saying that the  cruise industry has made  a good                                                               
faith effort to comply to date.                                                                                                 
MS. TOMICH  KENT said  that it's  been a  mixed response  as some                                                               
cruise lines have done more than others.                                                                                        
9:33:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked  whether there is anything  in HB 134                                                               
that  decreases DEC's  ability to  monitor, assess,  and evaluate                                                               
the quality of the discharge at the pipe.                                                                                       
MS. TOMICH KENT  answered that nothing in HB  134 prohibits DEC's                                                               
ability to establish protective  permits, monitor compliance with                                                               
those  permits,   and  nothing  would  change   the  department's                                                               
approach to  technology.  She  clarified that cruise  ships would                                                               
be required  to use the  best available technology and  DEC would                                                               
be  required  to review  that  every  year  when it  reviews  the                                                               
permit.   Furthermore,  DEC would  maintain  existing tools  used                                                               
with permittees  to ensure  the protection  of water  quality and                                                               
aquatic life.  In further response to Representative Harris,                                                                    
Mr. Tomich  Kent confirmed that  HB 134 doesn't  contain anything                                                               
that should "scare" Alaskans regarding water quality.                                                                           
9:35:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT   asked  whether   existing   land-based                                                               
technologies are in use in Alaska.                                                                                              
MS. TOMICH  KENT said that  she wasn't sure whether  they're used                                                               
on  the shore-based  facilities in  Alaska.   She mentioned  that                                                               
perhaps  a  few  small  packaging  plants  may  use  the  reverse                                                               
osmosis.   In  further  response to  Representative Millett,  Ms.                                                               
Tomich Kent  related that  almost all of  the permits  issued for                                                               
the wastewater  discharges from the  community systems  in Alaska                                                               
rely upon mixing zones to achieve water quality standards.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT  inquired   as   to   the  mixing   zone                                                               
measurement for municipalities and other areas.                                                                                 
MS.  TOMICH  KENT explained  that  it  varies from  community  to                                                               
community.  Each  community is reviewed on a  site specific basis                                                               
and the  volumes, concentrations,  and flushing are  reviewed for                                                               
each facility.                                                                                                                  
9:36:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA expressed  interest in  hearing about  the                                                               
science that was used for the original initiative.                                                                              
9:37:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ  recalled  earlier testimony  that  cruise  lines                                                               
employ  advanced  water discharge  systems  that  produce a  high                                                               
quality effluent  and there isn't the  technology available today                                                               
to achieve the  standards proposed in the initiative.   She asked                                                               
if that's indeed the case.                                                                                                      
MS.  TOMICH  KENT said  that  the  advanced wastewater  treatment                                                               
systems  were   designed  primarily  to  treat   fecal  coliform.                                                               
Although  these advanced  wastewater treatment  systems are  very                                                               
effective at treating fecal coliform,  they are less effective at                                                               
treating the  ammonia and metals  that are being  targeted today.                                                               
In  further response  to  Co-Chair Munoz,  Ms.  Tomich Kent  said                                                               
there are  technologies that have  been used in a  laboratory and                                                               
in shore-based facilities, but haven't  yet been sized, designed,                                                               
constructed, installed,  and operated  within the  confined space                                                               
of a cruise ship.                                                                                                               
9:39:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER pointed  out  that  the feasibility  study                                                               
from  Oasis  Environmental  says that  the  available  land-based                                                               
technologies "appear  to be  able to  treat" and  "it's possible"                                                               
[to treat the  pollutants].  He pointed out  that the feasibility                                                               
study also says  that using reverse osmosis "may  be the solution                                                               
that works".  However, some of  the testimony seems to imply that                                                               
the  science and  technology  to achieve  [the  standards in  the                                                               
regulations] is available.                                                                                                      
9:40:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA   inquired  as  to  what   incentives  are                                                               
available for  this technology.   She further inquired as  to why                                                               
technology hasn't been applied, if it does exist.                                                                               
MS.  TOMICH  KENT  opined  that  the  development  of  wastewater                                                               
technology takes  time, and  it also  takes time  to adapt  it to                                                               
various applications.   For example, in a  laboratory clean water                                                               
can be  produced from  almost any  contaminated water.   However,                                                               
implementing the aforementioned in a  very confined space such as                                                               
a cruise  ship would be difficult.   She related her  belief that                                                               
there  are incentives  for cruise  ship companies  and others  to                                                               
continue to improve wastewater treatment technology.                                                                            
9:42:04 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MUNOZ moved  to  report  the proposed  CS  for HB  134,                                                               
Version  26-LS0570\E, Bullard,  2/16/09,  out  of committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  zero  fiscal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA objected.                                                                                                 
9:42:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA offered  her  understanding that  although                                                               
the cruise  ship industry  is under pressure  in relation  to the                                                               
upcoming   season,  there's   no  hurry   when  one   takes  into                                                               
consideration  the  importance of  the  waters  of Alaska.    She                                                               
expressed the  need for  the legislature to  take time  to ensure                                                               
that all  the information  is gathered  and [the  legislature] is                                                               
truly responsible.  Representative  Cissna urged the committee to                                                               
hold HB 134 in order to obtain more information.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  said she  has similar  concerns, although                                                               
she said  she may vote  in favor of HB  134 when it's  before the                                                               
full  body.   She expressed  interest in  hearing the  results of                                                               
tomorrow's conference,  and opined that it's  appropriate to wait                                                               
to hear the results.                                                                                                            
9:44:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS opined that nothing  that comes out of that                                                               
conference  will  change  the  intent   of  HB  134  because  any                                                               
technology  available  can  and  should be  implemented  if  it's                                                               
beneficial to the  environment and the overall  operations of the                                                               
cruise  ships in  the  state.   He  clarified  that  HB 134  does                                                               
provide  DEC  the ability  to  do  its  job, which  the  original                                                               
initiative  should've  achieved.    Representative  Harris  urged                                                               
passage of HB 134.                                                                                                              
9:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Keller, Millett,                                                               
Harris,  Herron,  and  Munoz  voted in  favor  of  reporting  the                                                               
proposed CS  for HB 134,  Version 26-LS0570\E,  Bullard, 2/16/09,                                                               
out  of  committee.   Representatives  Cissna  and Gardner  voted                                                               
against it.   Therefore,  CSHB 134(CRA) was  reported out  of the                                                               
House  Community and  Regional  Affairs Standing  Committee by  a                                                               
vote of 5-2.                                                                                                                    
9:46:15 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee meeting was                                                                   
adjourned at 9:46 a.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Fiscal Note HB121-CED-CRA-02-13-09.pdf HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 121
Fiscal Note HB134-DEC-WQ-2-13-2009.pdf HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB121_FNSB_letter of support_Herron.pdf HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 121
HB 121 Sponsor Statement & Sectional Analysis.doc HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 121
HB121 AML Resolution in Support.pdf HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 121
HB 134 DEC Cruise Ship Tech Conf..pdf HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB134ResponsibleCruisinginAlaska2.17.09Letter.PDF HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB134ResponsibleCruisinginAKLTR.2.2.09.PDF HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB134NYTimes2.15.09.PDF HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB134 Gershon Cohen Testimonry. 2.17.09.doc HCRA 2/17/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 134