Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/03/2004 01:50 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 3, 2004                                                                                          
                           1:50 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Beverly Masek, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Cheryll Heinze, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Nick Stepovich                                                                                                   
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 28                                                                                              
Relating  to  the  socioeconomic  impacts  of  salmon  harvesting                                                               
cooperatives.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCR 28 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 522                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to discharges  from small  commercial passenger                                                               
vessels; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 524                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to the protection of land and  water from waste                                                               
disposal;  providing  for  the regulation  of  waste  management;                                                               
making  conforming amendments;  and  providing  for an  effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 524 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 442                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the  Big Game Commercial Services  Board and                                                               
to   the   regulation   of  big   game   hunting   services   and                                                               
transportation services; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 28                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STUDIES OF SALMON HARVESTING COOPERATIVES                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SEATON BY REQUEST OF SALMON                                                                       
INDUSTRY TASK FORCE                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
01/28/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/28/04       (H)       EDT, RES                                                                                               
02/12/04       (H)       EDT AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
02/12/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/12/04       (H)       MINUTE(EDT)                                                                                            
02/19/04       (H)       EDT AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
02/19/04       (H)       Mvd Out of Committee w/new fiscal notes                                                                
02/23/04       (H)       EDT RPT 4DP                                                                                            
02/23/04       (H)       DP: MCGUIRE, CISSNA, CRAWFORD, HEINZE                                                                  
02/23/04       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER RES                                                                           
03/01/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
03/01/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/03/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 522                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SMALL CRUISE SHIP DISCHARGES                                                                                       
SPONSOR(S): STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
02/26/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/26/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/03/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 524                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WASTE MANAGEMENT/DISPOSAL                                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/26/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/26/04       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/03/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 442                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BIG GAME GUIDE BOARD & SERVICES                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEG BUDGET & AUDIT                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/09/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/09/04       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
02/20/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/20/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/20/04       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/03/04       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL SEATON                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As sponsor of HCR 28, provided the                                                                         
committee with a letter addressing fiscal impacts of the bill.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
LINDA SYLVESTER, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of Representative                                                                      
Weyhrauch, Chair of the House State Affairs Standing Committee,                                                                 
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DAN EASTON, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Facility Construction and Operation                                                                                 
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 522.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN MICHAEL JONES (ph), Director                                                                                            
Marine Operations                                                                                                               
Lindblad Expeditions (LEX)                                                                                                      
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 522 on behalf of the Alaska                                                                
Small Cruise Vessel Association.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE BROCKWAY, Vice President                                                                                                  
Operations                                                                                                                      
Cruise West                                                                                                                     
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing on HB 522, provided                                                                         
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHIP THOMA                                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 522; suggested ways to                                                                     
improve the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ERNESTA BALLARD, Commissioner                                                                                                   
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 524.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN CROCKETT, Deputy Director                                                                                               
Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 524.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STEVE BORELL, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Miners Association                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 524.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MYRL THOMPSON, Ogan is So Gone                                                                                                  
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   During hearing  on HB 524,  asked questions                                                               
about exemptions relating to coal bed methane drilling.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-11, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NANCY DAHLSTROM  called  the  House Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   1:50  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Dahlstrom,  Masek,  Gatto,  Heinze,  Wolf,  and  Guttenberg  were                                                               
present at the  call to order.   Representatives Lynn, Stepovich,                                                               
and Kerttula arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HCR 28-STUDIES OF SALMON HARVESTING COOPERATIVES                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0158                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that the  first order  of business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION  NO. 28,  Relating to  the                                                               
socioeconomic impacts of salmon harvesting cooperatives.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM reminded the members  that at the last hearing                                                               
there were some  questions related to the fiscal note.   She said                                                               
she sent  Representative Paul  Seaton, sponsor of  HCR 28,  an e-                                                               
mail requesting  clarification on a  couple of points  and copies                                                               
of that  response have  been provided to  the members.   Co-Chair                                                               
Dahlstrom  said  she  believes Representative  Seaton's  response                                                               
[memorandum dated  March 3,  2004] was  adequate and  any further                                                               
questions related to  financial issues are best  addressed in the                                                               
next committee of referral, the House Finance Committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0229                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF commented  that he  did not  receive the  e-                                                               
mail.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM replied that all  offices were supplied with a                                                               
copy of  the response this  morning, but an additional  copy will                                                               
be provided.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:55 p.m. to 1:56 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0300                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK  said that it is  pretty clear that it  is not the                                                               
intent  of  the  Joint  Legislative Salmon  Industry  Task  Force                                                               
(JLSITF) or the  sponsor to fund the request made  in HCR 28 with                                                               
general funds.  She said she  believes that was the major concern                                                               
members had and it has now been addressed.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0345                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK moved to report HCR  28 out of the House Resources                                                               
Standing  Committee  with   individual  recommendations  and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF objected.  He said  he has a problem with the                                                               
University of  Alaska's involvement in  the report.  In  the past                                                               
the  socioeconomic  studies that  the  university  has done  have                                                               
created  concerns on  both sides  of the  issue.   Representative                                                               
Wolf told the members that he cannot support the resolution.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0420                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO clarified that this resolution is HCR 28.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Heinze,  Gatto,                                                               
Lynn, Stepovich, Guttenberg, Dahlstrom,  and Masek voted in favor                                                               
of HCR  28.  Representatives  Wolf voted against it.   Therefore,                                                               
HCR  28  was  reported  out   of  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                               
Committee by a vote of 7-1.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON thanked the committee for their efforts.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB 522-SMALL CRUISE SHIP DISCHARGES                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE BILL NO. 522,  "An Act relating to discharges from                                                               
small  commercial   passenger  vessels;  and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0545                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LINDA SYLVESTER, Staff to  Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, testified, and noted  that HB 522 is sponsored                                                               
by the House  State Affairs Standing Committee.  She  said HB 522                                                               
was brought  forward by the  small commercial  passenger vessels.                                                               
She explained  that in  2001, the  legislature passed  the Alaska                                                               
Commercial Vessel  Environmental Compliance Program, which  was a                                                               
collaborative  effort that  was  initiated by  the Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation (DEC),  Representative Kerttula,  and                                                               
the  cruise ship  industry itself.   It  was a  program that  was                                                               
designed to minimize  discharges into the waters of  Alaska.  The                                                               
program itself involved requirements  in which technologies would                                                               
be brought  on line and  wastewater would be processed  on board,                                                               
in  addition, the  small vessels  were  included in  this.   This                                                               
included the  large 3,000 passenger  cruise ship vessels  and the                                                               
smaller vessels,  which are defined as  passenger vessels between                                                               
50 and 249 passengers.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SYLVESTER   said  the  idea   behind  including   the  small                                                               
commercial  passenger  vessels  was   that  technology  would  be                                                               
developed  for processing  wastewater  and  the technology  would                                                               
filter  down  to the  smaller  vessel,  which  would be  able  to                                                               
implement those  and then comply with  the Act.  The  idea didn't                                                               
exactly  happen  that  way.     There  are  technologies  but  to                                                               
implement those  technologies, the small passenger  vessels would                                                               
be required  to undergo major  modifications, excess  holding, or                                                               
would have to  modify the structure to increase  the capacity for                                                               
storage  of  the  wastewater  and other  reasons,  which  is  not                                                               
practical for  this group  of vessels, she  said.   Ms. Sylvester                                                               
said the  total amount of discharge  from this group of  boats is                                                               
about 3  percent.  She  said the  Alaska Marine Highways  and the                                                               
small  passenger  vessels  combined  is the  total  amount  of  6                                                               
percent  of  wastewater  in Alaska,  and  Alaska  Marine  Highway                                                               
vessels are exempt  from this Act.  She said  this would only net                                                               
in the small vessels.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SYLVESTER  said the group was  waiting for a report  from the                                                               
DEC on  how the industry has  been doing and the  report was that                                                               
the industry  is doing  very well.   The large  passenger vessels                                                               
have done a great job and  Alaska is a true star in environmental                                                               
protection for  its waterways, she  said.  The small  vessels are                                                               
fine at sea  but have troubles when in port  and stationary.  She                                                               
said the group got together with  the department and worked out a                                                               
plan and  decided that if  the group  can't be perfect  and their                                                               
impact on the  environment is very minimal, the best  thing to do                                                               
would be  to work towards  best management practices and  come up                                                               
with  a regulatory  scheme in  which the  department can  oversee                                                               
what's going on  and still protect the environment.   The bill is                                                               
the regulatory scheme.  She  said essentially the department will                                                               
work  with each  individual operator  and eventually  a plan  for                                                               
best management practices  would be approved for  each vessel for                                                               
3 years and  "they would touch bases  in 3 years."   She said the                                                               
idea  is  that  the  department   would  have  latitude  to  make                                                               
determinations if there is technology  that comes on line, and in                                                               
its discretion,  the department might  feel they want  to require                                                               
the  small vessels  to  implement  those.   She  said the  3-year                                                               
period is technology based.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SYLVESTER said BMPs [Best  Management Practices] aren't going                                                               
to really change;  the thought is to ensure there  is latitude to                                                               
require the small vessels to  comply if technology develops.  She                                                               
said  this  bill  ultimately  sunsets,  which  is  structured  to                                                               
essentially grandfather the vessels  that are currently operating                                                               
in the  waters of  Alaska and to  control the  vessel's emissions                                                               
into the  water.   In 2016,  she said this  bill will  sunset and                                                               
those  small  vessels won't  be  allowed  to discharge  water  in                                                               
Alaska.     She  explained  that   any  vessel   currently  under                                                               
construction  would be  required  to  implement technologies  and                                                               
wouldn't be covered under this plan.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0988                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  asked  if   the  parameter  for  a  small                                                               
commercial passenger vessel is from 50 to 249 passengers.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SYLVESTER said  according to  the definitions,  a commercial                                                               
passenger vessel means a vessel  that carries passengers for hire                                                               
except  that  commercial  passenger  vessel does  not  include  a                                                               
vessel that's authorized to carry  fewer than 50 passengers.  She                                                               
said  the  Act  doesn't  concern itself  with  vessels  that  are                                                               
smaller than  50 passengers, so by  default it is between  50 and                                                               
249.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  asked Ms. Sylvester  if she knew  how much                                                               
the compliance fee would be.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SYLVESTER said she didn't know.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE asked Ms. Sylvester to find out.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1120                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAN  EASTON,  Director,  Division of  Facility  Construction  and                                                               
Operation, Department  of Environmental  Conservation, testified.                                                               
Mr. Easton told  the committee when DEC started  talking with the                                                               
industry about  the concept of  pulling the small vessels  out of                                                               
the full coverage of the  2001 legislation, it was suggested that                                                               
the department look for four things  in a bill, as follows:  One,                                                               
that the bill  applied only to existing vessels;  all new vessels                                                               
would be  expected to comply  with the  full force and  effect of                                                               
the  2001  legislation.   Second,  that  new and  existing  small                                                               
vessels would  comply with the registration  sampling, reporting,                                                               
and inspection  requirements.  The  bill includes more  than just                                                               
limits  on discharge  quality, it  includes these  other sort  of                                                               
requirements, and it  is thought that the  existing small vessels                                                               
could  comply with  those.    Third, it  is  thought [DEC]  could                                                               
develop regulations  specifying best management  practices (BMP).                                                               
Fourth,  [DEC]  saw  the  finite   end  point  in  time  to  this                                                               
arrangement,  and the  bill does  include  a 2016  deadline.   In                                                               
summary,  he said  this bill  includes everything  that [DEC]  is                                                               
looking for in a bill, and [DEC]  does support it.  He noted that                                                               
a zero fiscal note had been provided.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1242                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN   MICHAEL  JONES   (ph),  Director,   Marine  Operations,                                                               
Lindblad Expeditions  (LEX), testified.   Captain Jones  told the                                                               
committee  that he  was speaking  on behalf  of the  Alaska Small                                                               
Cruise  Vessel Association,  which  represents  3 companies  that                                                               
operate 10 small  vessels in Alaska.  Those  companies are Cruise                                                               
West, Clipper Cruise Line/New World  Ship Management Company, and                                                               
Linblad Expeditions.   He  said LEX  consists of  charter vessels                                                               
operating  natural history  voyages  in Alaska  since  1982.   In                                                               
1989,  LEX had  the opportunity  to purchase  the vessels  it was                                                               
chartering and  as such  are operating the  vessels Sea  Lion and                                                               
Sea Bird, to  date.  He said those vessels  are sister ships, 152                                                               
feet in length, and carry 70  passengers and 24 crewmembers.  The                                                               
ships operate between  Sitka and Juneau taking in  ports in areas                                                               
such as  Tracy Arm, Glacier  Bay National Park and  Preserve, and                                                               
Petersburg.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  JONES  provided  the  contact  information  for  Clipper                                                               
Cruise Line/New World  Ship Management Company.   He said Clipper                                                               
Cruise  Line/New  World  Ship  Management  Company  operates  the                                                               
Yorktown Clipper,  a 257 vessel  that carries 138  passengers and                                                               
42  crewmembers,  and the  Clipper  Odyssey,  a 300  vessel  that                                                               
carries  122 passengers  and  72 crewmembers.    He said  Clipper                                                               
Cruise Line/New World Ship Management  Company has been operating                                                               
in Alaska  since 1990,  starting with the  Yorktown Clipper.   He                                                               
said  Yorktown Clipper  has itineraries  similar to  that of  LEX                                                               
vessels, and the Clipper Odyssey  operates farther out.  He noted                                                               
that the  bill packet contained some  economic impact information                                                               
from each  of the  companies.  Captain  Jones talked  about LEX's                                                               
economic  impact  for 2004,  the  information  pertaining to  the                                                               
company's operations  in Alaska, and the  company's promotions of                                                               
Alaska  through  direct mailings  and  brochures.   He  said  one                                                               
brochure  goes to  over half  a million  households, and  another                                                               
brochure  in  which Alaska  is  featured  goes to  about  890,000                                                               
households.   He  concurred with  previously provided  testimony.                                                               
Captain Jones remarked:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  regulations  as  stated  and  in  the  term  small                                                                    
     passenger vessel,  we don't have  a lot of room  to add                                                                    
     things.   Over the  years, we've maintained  our marine                                                                    
     sanitation  devices.   In some  instances holding  out;                                                                    
     last year,  waiting for this new  technology to ideally                                                                    
     come  down in  size  to fit  within  the envelope,  the                                                                    
     footprint  of our  vessels, so  we could  actually take                                                                    
     out existing equipment and put in.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Unfortunately, the  footprint of this new  equipment is                                                                    
     too large, and the  process involves separating liquids                                                                    
     and solids, which requires  an immense holding capacity                                                                    
     to get  to another area to  pump out or in  the case of                                                                    
     larger vessels  where they actually dry  the solids and                                                                    
     burn it in there  incinerators, which the small vessels                                                                    
     just don't have ... that time.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1602                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  JONES  mentioned  a   letter  entitled  "Limitations  on                                                               
Modifying   Small  Commercial   Passenger   Vessels"  from   John                                                               
Waterhouse, P.E.,  President, Elliott Bay Design  Group, Ltd, who                                                               
helps  to articulate  the  situation of  the  small cruise  ships                                                               
trying to add new technology into existing vessels.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1655                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE   BROCKWAY,  Vice   President,  Operations,   Cruise  West,                                                               
testified.    He  noted that  his  responsibilities  include  the                                                               
oversight of  all marine, hotel,  and technical operations.   Mr.                                                               
Brockway  explained that  Cruise West  operates six  small cruise                                                               
vessels in Alaskan waters, which  range in size from 78 passenger                                                               
vessels  to 114  passenger vessels.    He mentioned  many of  the                                                               
small  communities  that  Cruise West  vessels  visit  throughout                                                               
Alaska, and  he explained that  Cruise West was founded  by Chuck                                                               
West (ph)  in 1946,  in Fairbanks.   Mr. Brockway  explained that                                                               
Mr. West  started with some  tours out  into the Arctic  and over                                                               
the  years it's  transformed to  Alaska sightseeing  and then  to                                                               
what it  is today, Cruise  West.   He talked about  the financial                                                               
impact  information contained  in  the bill  packets that  Cruise                                                               
West had provided,  and explained that it  is essentially similar                                                               
to what  the other two  companies had  provided.  He  pointed out                                                               
the Cruise  West does employee  many Alaska residents  because it                                                               
does  have an  "over  the  road operation"  as  well through  the                                                               
Interior, and land offices in  Juneau, Ketchikan, and Petersburg.                                                               
Mr. Brockway said he intended  to provide his testimony in person                                                               
but conflict wouldn't allow it.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1821                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHIP THOMA  testified.  He said  he had the opportunity  a couple                                                               
of years  ago to sit on  the cruise ship initiative  as a member.                                                               
Mr. Thoma said  what precipitated it is The  Anchorage Daily News                                                             
and  The New  York Times  uncovered instances  of [cruise  ships]                                                             
dumping  [in] "doughnut  holes."   He said  [doughnut holes]  are                                                               
large areas  3 miles from  shore, and there  are two or  three of                                                               
them in  Southeast.   Mr. Thoma said  large ships  were targeting                                                               
these areas,  actually dumping  waste in  them because  the ships                                                               
did not  comply, and they figured  this was outside the  realm of                                                               
state waters, and they could do  so.  He said legally they could,                                                               
and  that  brought on  the  actions  by then-U.S.  Senator  Frank                                                               
Murkowski, which  resulted in  the cruise  ship initiative.   The                                                               
results of  that were outstanding.   It took  a long time  to get                                                               
the  ships  tested  and  to  identify that  in  many  cases,  the                                                               
maintenance to the  systems on board had not been  done, he said.                                                               
Had the maintenance been done,  these systems would have worked a                                                               
lot better  than that.   He said there  were very high  levels of                                                               
discharge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA  said this  came about because  the large  cruise ships                                                               
insisted that state  ferries and small ships be  included in this                                                               
program, and this  was an attempt to  do that.  He  said both the                                                               
small ships  and the ferries were  given a 3-year variance  to do                                                               
it, which he  thought was adequate at the time.   Since then it's                                                               
been stated that  the new equipment doesn't fit and  is not ready                                                               
to go, but he is not sure if  that's the case, and he hadn't seen                                                               
anything to  that affect yet, he  said.  Mr. Thoma  said it won't                                                               
replace  what's in  here.   He said  he did  appreciate the  work                                                               
that's been  done on  HB 522  and thought  it was  a well-written                                                               
bill, but  to say that the  ships can't feasibly comply  with the                                                               
program is questionable.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA said the bill  packet contains a marine engineer report                                                               
which  states that  the systems  cannot be  added, and  cannot be                                                               
readily changed; the combination  of U.S. Coastguard regulations,                                                               
licensing requirements,  and vessel construction  practices makes                                                               
the  addition  of  new  treatment  equipment  and  holding  tanks                                                               
technically  infeasible adding  additional volume  and increasing                                                               
the capacity  of wastewater tanks below  the main deck.   He said                                                               
he would  agree that adding  things to  small ships is  a problem                                                               
but  the possibility  of replacing  them had  not been  looked at                                                               
yet.   He said he  thought that's what  the state should  look at                                                               
and that  is why  it has  a good 3-year  program to  review these                                                               
things, so DEC can look at  the systems that are available to see                                                               
if some  of them can  be replaced.  He  said the only  problem he                                                               
has with  the bill  is on  page 3, [lines  20-24], which  read in                                                               
part:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The department may adopt  regulations to implement this                                                                    
     subsection but may not require  an owner or operator to                                                                    
     retrofit  a  vessel solely  for  the  purpose of  waste                                                                    
     treatment  if  the   retrofitting  requires  additional                                                                    
     stability testing  or relicensing by the  United States                                                                    
     Coast Guard.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2043                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA said he believes that  this is basically a "poison pill                                                               
clause"  for  the bill  that  negates  the  ability to  move  on,                                                               
actually  get  some changes,  and  then  retrofit some  of  these                                                               
ships.   He remarked,  "To say  that whatever we  do is  going to                                                               
require this,  we just  don't know  that."  Mr.  Thoma said  if a                                                               
marine  engineer  says it  is  going  to require  relicensing  or                                                               
retesting,  then [the  vessel operator]  is "off  the hook."   He                                                               
suggested  that it  should be  looked at.   Mr.  Thoma, directing                                                               
attention to  page 6, said  he thought [paragraphs]  (1)-(4) were                                                               
very good.  He referred to paragraphs (1) and (2), which read:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
        (1)  the vessel is underway and proceeding at a                                                                         
     speed of not less than six knots;                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
             (2)  the vessel is at least one nautical mile                                                                      
     from the  nearest shore, except in  areas designated by                                                                    
     the department;                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA remarked:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I  went to  the web  sites  for all  these companies  -                                                                    
     Lindblad, Cruise  West - all  the companies  that we're                                                                    
     talking  about   today.    Each  one   of  these  ships                                                                    
     specifically  targets wildlife  areas.   They're  going                                                                    
     exactly to  these doughnut holes; they're  going to the                                                                    
     Brothers Island,  and Frederick  Sound.   They're going                                                                    
     to Point Adolphus, and they're  going to Neka Sound off                                                                    
     of  Sitka  to look  at  Sea  Otters.   So  that's  what                                                                    
     they're doing is targeting wildlife.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMA said  he  thought this  [paragraph],  except in  those                                                               
areas  designated by  the department,  should be  looked at  very                                                               
closely  to see  if  "that can  actually  expand these  discharge                                                               
areas."   He  said there  really should  be a  two or  three mile                                                               
buffer  around the  Brothers Island,  which  is a  huge sea  lion                                                               
rookery that whales  coming in from Mexico and Hawaii  go to.  He                                                               
said  the same  [should be  done]  with Point  Adolphus and  Neka                                                               
Sound.   Mr. Thoma said he  thought there are some  special areas                                                               
that need some further work by DEC,  and if that could be done to                                                               
"bring this  bill up to  snuff," he was  very much in  support of                                                               
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2115                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  if the big ships  insisted that small                                                               
ferries be included.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA said correct; into the program.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked,  "Who   says  they  can  insist  on                                                               
anything?"                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMA said  the [cruise  ship industry]  was a  part of  the                                                               
cruise ship initiative, and as  far as the consensus process that                                                               
was worked  up, it had  a very big  part in determining  how [the                                                               
initiative] was going  to proceed.  He indicated  that the cruise                                                               
ship  industry was  not  going to  cooperate  unless the  state's                                                               
ferry  system and  small ships  also  complied.   Mr. Thoma  said                                                               
there  was  a lot  of  testimony  given  that the  smaller  ships                                                               
couldn't add the  extra tanks.  On the bigger  ships it was found                                                               
that the  ballast tanks  could be  converted into  holding tanks,                                                               
and it wasn't  necessary to have them all for  ballasts.  He said                                                               
the small  ships just didn't  have that,  which is why  they were                                                               
given three years to look at further technology and changes.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GATTO   expressed   concern  about   the   words                                                               
"consensus" and "insisted" almost being used together.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA  said in a  consensus situation, a consensus  cannot be                                                               
reached unless  there are  some parameters.   He said  he guessed                                                               
that the parameters  were set up so that small  ships and ferries                                                               
be  included, and  that's what  everybody agreed  to.   Mr. Thoma                                                               
said "we" wanted to address  all of the problems, especially, the                                                               
large  boat's  problems, which  have  hundreds  of passengers  on                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2187                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  asked Mr. Thoma  what he would  suggest to                                                               
take the "poison out of the pill."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA said by  taking out this clause, so the  onus is not on                                                               
DEC that  every time  it comes  up with  an idea  that it  is not                                                               
going to  "fly" because  it's going  to require a  new test.   He                                                               
said   he  thought   DEC  and   the  small   ships  should   work                                                               
cooperatively,  which he  thought they  are.   He said  he didn't                                                               
think there is any animosity at  all, and there is certainly none                                                               
on his part.  Mr. Thoma noted  that he thought [DEC and the small                                                               
ships] should work more collaboratively together.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2227                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA thanked  Mr. Thoma  for his  work.   She                                                               
asked what stability testing and relicensing encompasses.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMA replied that he didn't know.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  asked why  the section was  drafted this                                                               
way to say  that the department couldn't  require retrofitting if                                                               
it   was  going   to  cause   additional  stability   testing  or                                                               
relicensing.   She  asked about  the  kinds of  testing and  what                                                               
relicensing encompasses.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN JONES  referred to Mr.  Waterhouse's letter, and  he said                                                               
he thought  Mr. Waterhouse did a  pretty good job on  the section                                                               
entitled   "Regulatory   environment",   which   read   [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Small Commercial  Passenger vessels that  operate under                                                                    
     the U.S.  flag are  regulated by  the U.S.  Coast Guard                                                                    
     and   carry  a   certificate   of  inspection   showing                                                                    
     compliance with  all safety  requirements.   To qualify                                                                    
     as a  small passenger  vessel they must  admeasure less                                                                    
     than 100  gross tons.   Please note that  gross tonnage                                                                    
     is a measure of internal  volume and not weight.  Their                                                                    
     design  and  construction   are  principally  regulated                                                                    
     under  Subchapter  K  of  Chapter 46  of  the  Code  of                                                                    
     Federal  Regulations  which  applies  to  vessels  that                                                                    
     carry  50 or  more passengers  in overnight  service or                                                                    
     more than  150 passengers in  day service.   If changes                                                                    
     are made  to a vessel that  increase its admeasurements                                                                    
     to more  than 100 Gross  Tons, the vessel is  no longer                                                                    
     considered a  small passenger vessel by  the U.S. Coast                                                                    
     Guard  and  is  subject  to a  different  "license"  or                                                                    
     certification.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN JONES remarked:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     When we say additional  stability testing and licensing                                                                    
     that  the  Coast Guard  ...  may  require, is  sort  of                                                                    
     what's  encapsulated here  in  this ...  letter is  the                                                                    
     vessel  now becomes  a  different  animal, a  different                                                                    
     ship, [and] is no longer  a small passenger vessel.  It                                                                    
     would  then   potentially  become  a   large  passenger                                                                    
     vessel, which  would have a regulator  under subchapter                                                                    
     H,  which  requires ...  a  whole  lot more  equipment,                                                                    
     space,  [and] personnel  on board;  the  licenses is  a                                                                    
     certification  itself for  the  vessel and  potentially                                                                    
     people operating the vessel.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     ...  It just  becomes a  whole different  vessel, so  I                                                                    
     think that's why,  in the bill, that  provision was put                                                                    
     there,  because  of  the major  modification  that  was                                                                    
     discussed  earlier   [it]  certainly  ...   wasn't  the                                                                    
     intention  when  we  worked with  ADEC  [Department  of                                                                    
     Environmental Conservation]  and the industry  to draft                                                                    
     this bill that we're going to  be ... forced to cut the                                                                    
     ship  in half  to  stretch it  lengthen  it, [and]  put                                                                    
     sponson on it.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Those  sort of  issues that  would then  kick in.   ...                                                                    
     Virtually,  what  it  would  mean is  we'd  be  out  of                                                                    
     business.  ... We wouldn't  be able to spend the money,                                                                    
     take  the ship  out of  revenue, lose  passenger space,                                                                    
     and add all this.   It'd be multi-million dollars to do                                                                    
     that.   ... In  the letter,  it's pretty  unfeasible to                                                                    
     think  that you  would  be able  to  have subchapter  K                                                                    
     vessel  and operate  under the  existing licensing;  it                                                                    
     would  become something  different,  which  is not  our                                                                    
     business.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2267                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  related   her  understanding  that  the                                                               
requirement to  do stability  testing means  that the  vessel has                                                               
dramatically changed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  JONES  replied  yes.    He  said  he  thought  stability                                                               
modeling and  different testing are  things that can be  done and                                                               
is something that goes on within the parameters.  He remarked:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     In  this  bill  is   this  something  that's  going  to                                                                    
     drastically  turn this  ship into  something that  then                                                                    
     kicks  in  the  major modification  clause  within  the                                                                    
     regulations,  which then  again  makes it  a ...  whole                                                                    
     different vessel.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked if  stability testing would only be                                                               
done for something major rather than for minor changes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  JONES  said  correct.   Under  this  context  there  are                                                               
different stability tests and models  that are done all the time.                                                               
There are  stability booklets  and letters  for the  operation of                                                               
the vessel as it is built.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROCKWAY said basically the  vessels are fixed tonnage and if                                                               
anything is adjusted  or taken off and replaced with  a new piece                                                               
of equipment  that is the  same weight, stability testing  is not                                                               
required.  He  said the plan is to keep  looking at new equipment                                                               
as Mr.  Thoma suggested.   As long as  the new equipment  used to                                                               
replace the  old equipment  doesn't change the  weight.   He said                                                               
changing weights is a "whole  new game" because the weight change                                                               
has  to  be overcome  by  adding  more  buoyancy.   He  said  Mr.                                                               
Waterhouse's  letter explains  what  the  buoyancy and  stability                                                               
means  to the  small vessel.   The  large ship  was able  to take                                                               
"tankage"  that  was  used  for ballasts  and  change  them  into                                                               
graywater and black  water storage.  He said in  order for [small                                                               
vessels] to  do that,  the weight  has to  be overcome  by adding                                                               
buoyancy, and by doing that, in  most cases, vessels will have to                                                               
add "sponsity"  or be lengthened.   Mr. Brockway noted  that this                                                               
clause was put in the bill to explain that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2590                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM  noted  that  the committee  was  under  time                                                               
constraints due to commitments to hear  other bills.  She said it                                                               
is apparent that  the committee has some work to  do on this bill                                                               
and that  it is the  last committee of  referral.  She  asked the                                                               
sponsor  to  continue  to  work  on  the  issues  that  had  been                                                               
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2626                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  asked  how  often  vessels  go  into  the                                                               
doughnut holes during a summer and how much waste is dumped.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN JONES  said he  didn't think the  doughnut hole  issue is                                                               
and  issue for  [LEX].   He suggested  the issue  was brought  up                                                               
because  of  untreated  sewage   being  dumped  in  those  areas.                                                               
Furthermore,  he  said  [LEX's]  waste  is  treated  and  can  be                                                               
discharged anywhere.   Captain Jones  said [LEX] does  not target                                                               
doughnut holes and "we may very  well, trying to get from point A                                                               
to  point  B, be  in  different  areas,  but an  itinerary  isn't                                                               
designed because  of a doughnut  hole."  He reiterated  that this                                                               
is not  really an issue for  these vessels.  Captain  Jones noted                                                               
that 3 percent  is the total discharge for this  group of vessels                                                               
and is a factual number in the report.  He remarked:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     To try to look at it in  the case of my two vessels ...                                                                    
     in the entire  Alaska season where I  have 14 seven-day                                                                    
     trips on one vessels and  16 seven-day trips on another                                                                    
     vessel, I'll be carrying  probably just over a thousand                                                                    
     passengers total for  the entire summer, so  if you put                                                                    
     that against one  that's doing a thousand or  more at a                                                                    
     time.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN JONES referred to a graph,  and he said saltwater is used                                                               
to flush  the toilets  on the ship,  which includes  seawater and                                                               
graywater.   He  said his  vessels  were using  2,000 gallons  of                                                               
graywater and 3,000  gallons of black water for  a 24-hour period                                                               
of time.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   DAHLSTROM  asked   Captain  Jones   to  provide   that                                                               
information  to Representative  Weyhrauch's staff,  and she  said                                                               
she thought  having that  information will  answer some  of these                                                               
questions, which can be addressed during the next bill hearing.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CAPTAIN  JONES said  the information  was already  in the  report                                                               
contained in the bill packets.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2785                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  said  3  percent  sounded  like  a  small                                                               
number, but she was trying to define what was really going on.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM said  the bill would be brought up  as soon as                                                               
possible.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[HB 522 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 524-WASTE MANAGEMENT/DISPOSAL                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2802                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 524, "An Act relating  to the protection                                                               
of  land  and  water  from  waste  disposal;  providing  for  the                                                               
regulation  of waste  management;  making conforming  amendments;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ERNESTA  BALLARD,   Commissioner,  Department   of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), testified.  She  said the governor has a very                                                               
ambitious  program  for  environmental  protection  and  resource                                                               
development.  She  remarked, "They compliment each  other and the                                                               
governor expects excellence in both."   Commissioner Ballard said                                                               
this bill  is an  essential piece of  [DEC's] ability  to support                                                               
any  resource   development  program  and  to   assure  that  the                                                               
environment  is protected  at  the time  that  the resources  are                                                               
developed.  She  said she is proud to report  to the committee in                                                               
support  of  the governor's  overall  program  that each  of  the                                                               
budgets that have  been presented to the  legislature by Governor                                                               
Murkowski has  increased DEC's  core capabilities  with additions                                                               
to its permit staff.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 2888                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said DEC's  environmental protection role is                                                               
defined  by legislation  passed  over  many legislative  sessions                                                               
over the last  30 years that assigns clear  responsibility to DEC                                                               
control  water, land,  and air  pollution in  Alaska and  to also                                                               
fulfill the  state's obligations under  the Clean Water  Act, the                                                               
Clean Air Act,  and other federal legislation,  which establish a                                                               
two-tiered approach to protecting  the nation's environment.  The                                                               
first  tier is  national air  and water  quality standards.   The                                                               
second tier  is state  implementation that  is responsive  to the                                                               
unique needs of each state.   She stated that she is a relentless                                                               
advocate of a strong state budget  and a strong state program for                                                               
environmental   protection  and   the  comprehensive   regulatory                                                               
program necessary  to carry that out.   She said the  Clean Water                                                               
Act  is ultimately  the  subject of  HB 524  and  is designed  to                                                               
provide  states  with  the  latitude  to  shape  water  pollution                                                               
control  programs to  fit their  own unique  circumstances.   The                                                               
Alaska Legislature,  following the  opportunity presented  by the                                                               
Clean Water Act,  has charted a course in state  law that governs                                                               
water, as well as air, energy, and environmental conservation.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD said  HB 524  expands the  responsibilities                                                               
already designated by the legislature  for DEC.  It expands DEC's                                                               
ability to control  pollution and it refocuses  DEC's approach to                                                               
the complex  issues of solid  and mine wastes.   She said  HB 524                                                               
provides important  "tools" DEC will  use to authorize  its waste                                                               
disposal activities.   She said  "the tools are arrayed  by risk"                                                               
and there  are "different tools  for different risks."   She said                                                               
this bill grew from [DEC's]  comprehensive review of its programs                                                               
that followed Administrative Order  202, the first administrative                                                               
order passed by  Governor Murkowski when he first  took office in                                                               
December 2002.   She said  Administrative Order 202  directed all                                                               
departments of state  government to do a  comprehensive review of                                                               
their  statutory authorities  and their  programs to  assure that                                                               
they  are  using  state resources  efficiently  and  effectively.                                                               
Commissioner Ballard said HB 524  is part of DEC's overall effort                                                               
to  clarify,   streamline,  and  adhere  to   federal  and  state                                                               
statutes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-11, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD it  is DEC's  goal  with its  environmental                                                               
protection  program to  assure that  all program  components from                                                               
legislative budgeting and oversight  to fieldwork and enforcement                                                               
are  conducted   in  the  state,  with   Alaskan  solutions,  and                                                               
specifically addressing Alaskan  challenges.  She said  HB 524 is                                                               
an essential piece of bringing  Alaskan program home to Alaska to                                                               
assure that  the priorities negotiated  between the  governor and                                                               
the  legislature,  at the  time  the  budgets are  approved,  are                                                               
translated into "on  the ground" programs to  protect the state's                                                               
resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2950                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said [HB 524] clarifies  [DEC's] "statutory                                                               
foundation," and  she called attention  to handout in  the packet                                                               
provided by DEC.   She said the handout begins  by asserting that                                                               
this is  a key piece of  [DEC's] statutory foundation.   The bill                                                               
has  a  zero fiscal  note  because  it  is clarification  of  the                                                               
department's authorities  and does  not add any  additional staff                                                               
or expenses.   She said  [the bill] is  part of a  rational water                                                               
protection program  that the  state has not  enjoyed over  the 30                                                               
years as  it has developed its  environmental protection program.                                                               
Commissioner Ballard  said DEC calls  that program  "raindrops to                                                               
oceans" and the  term is used because water  begins as condensate                                                               
in the air  and ultimately falls to the earth  as rain; it cycles                                                               
through surface water,  ground water, and ultimately  goes out to                                                               
the sea.   She remarked, "If we don't have  a comprehensive and a                                                               
rational approach  to it,  we're going  to miss  the boat."   She                                                               
said if  it is protected in  one area and not  another area, "we"                                                               
haven't done ourselves any good.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD explained  that the water is looked  at as a                                                               
continuum  from  raindrops to  ocean,  and  this  bill is  a  key                                                               
component of filling  in gaps that [DEC] feels it  has now in its                                                               
statutory foundation  to protect  the water.   She  said it  is a                                                               
bill   that   primarily  gives   [DEC]   a   set  of   risk-based                                                               
authorizations,  which  can  be  used  to  address  the  riskiest                                                               
impacts to water  with the "sharpest tools."   She said remarked,                                                               
"We can  still by rule  and therefore, with public  comment, with                                                               
opportunity for all  stakeholders to participate; by  rule we can                                                               
address even  the most  minimal risks."   She  said the  bill has                                                               
five components  of authorization  for waste  disposal activities                                                               
depending on  risks, which are  identified in the handout  by the                                                               
bullet  points.   This  an extremely  important  change from  the                                                               
current  authority  DEC  has.     The  current  authority  simply                                                               
references a permit;  it doesn't make clear that a  permit may be                                                               
a different type of authorization  then an individual permit with                                                               
the name  of the discharger  on it, and developing  an individual                                                               
relationship with DEC.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  said  the  tool  DEC  would  use  for  the                                                               
riskiest impacts to water would  be an individual permit in which                                                               
DEC  would  negotiate  specific  discharge  requirements  for  an                                                               
individual discharger.  The next  tool in reduction of risk would                                                               
be a general  permit in which DEC would authorize  one permit for                                                               
a  number of  similar  activities  in a  geographic  area.   Each                                                               
individual discharger  would still need  to contact DEC,  and DEC                                                               
would still have an individual  relationship with them, but would                                                               
not negotiate independent or  promulgate independent permit terms                                                               
for them.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2812                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  called attention the third  bullet, and she                                                               
said this  tool is  one that  DEC is  very eager  to have.   It's                                                               
called  "permit  by  rule"  or  sometimes  "regulatory  rule"  or                                                               
"permission by regulation," she said.   She said the best example                                                               
she can  give for  people who  are unfamiliar  with environmental                                                               
regulations  is a  building permit.   In  some communities,  if a                                                               
person is doing simple remodeling at  a cost of less than $5,000,                                                               
that individual does not need an  individual permit.  She said if                                                               
the remodeling does not include  moving a bearing wall or putting                                                               
in  plumbing,  the  home  owner would  simply  conform  to  "best                                                               
practices," which  are usually  listed in a  sheet that  the city                                                               
can provide.  She said this is a  permit by rule, and the rule is                                                               
that person  complies with the  conditions that are on  the sheet                                                               
of paper,  but does not need  an individual permit or  a building                                                               
inspector.  She said the difference  between a permit by rule and                                                               
nothing   is,  first,   [DEC]  goes   through  rule   making  and                                                               
promulgates the  terms and conditions under  which, for instance,                                                               
bilges could be pumped.  She offered some examples.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said if [DEC]  goes through rule  making to                                                               
identify the best practices for a  low risk activity, then it has                                                               
the opportunity  for stakeholder comment, and  equally important,                                                               
DEC would have the opportunity to  enforce.  She said if there is                                                               
a  blatant violation  and somebody  observes somebody  else doing                                                               
wrong and points it  out to DEC, and if DEC  had done nothing and                                                               
had no  regulatory relationship  with the  general public,  it is                                                               
helpless.   He said  if DEC  has a permit  by rule,  it is  a low                                                               
impact risk  and a  very low impact  regulatory activity,  but it                                                               
provides the  protection [DEC] believes the  environment deserves                                                               
and needs.   She  turned attention to  "plan approvals,"  and she                                                               
said [DEC]  has many  places, in both  statute and  regulation in                                                               
state  law  and state  code,  in  which  plans are  submitted  to                                                               
various  agencies for  review.   Commissioner  Ballard said  this                                                               
bill  gives [DEC]  specific  authority to  not  just review,  but                                                               
approve  a  plan when  it's  necessary,  and that  approval  step                                                               
provides   the  control   [DEC]  thinks   it  needs   to  achieve                                                               
environmental protection.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said something  extremely important to large                                                               
mines is  the opportunity for  DEC to issue a  consolidated waste                                                               
management permit  for complex facilities which  now require more                                                               
than one permit.  She said  this is permit streamlining, and this                                                               
administration had talked  a lot about it and this  is an example                                                               
of it.   She said HB 524 also allows  an administrative extension                                                               
of DEC  permits, and she  remarked, "We  are good, but  we're not                                                               
perfect."  She  said DEC sometimes doesn't have the  staff or the                                                               
resources to renew a permit at the time the permit has expired.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said it is  extremely important for  DEC to                                                               
have  the  permits  administratively extended  so  the  regulated                                                               
community, municipalities, and industrial  permit holders are not                                                               
out of  compliance because [DEC]  does not have the  resources to                                                               
get  to the  permits.    She said  the  next  issue is  extremely                                                               
important to stakeholders and developers  because it allows [DEC]                                                               
to require proof of financial  responsibility under certain waste                                                               
circumstances.     She   said  DEC   uses   proof  of   financial                                                               
responsibilities in several  places in DEC regulation,  and it is                                                               
the tool  by which DEC  assures that financial resources  are set                                                               
aside and  dedicated to  long-term clean up  or maintenance  of a                                                               
long-term treatment system  for a solid waste facility  or a mine                                                               
waste facility.   This assures  citizens in the future  that when                                                               
an undertaking  is over and there  is a residual waste  system or                                                               
pile in place,  that financial resources are  available to assure                                                               
that it is maintained.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said  the last major component of  HB 524 is                                                               
modification  to the  definitions  of solid  waste and  municipal                                                               
solid waste.   It is important for DEC to  be able to distinguish                                                               
between municipal  wastes and  industrial wastes.   She  said DEC                                                               
has  different  provisions  in  law  and  in  regulation  and  it                                                               
ultimately needs the  ability to allow the  small municipal waste                                                               
facilities that are operated in  Alaska's many small villages and                                                               
communities  to operate  under a  much  less rigorous  regulatory                                                               
regime than  more large  and complex facilities.   She  said this                                                               
changes  to  the definition  makes  DEC's  authority to  do  that                                                               
clear.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2579                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM  asked that  testimony  be  limited to  three                                                               
minutes each.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 2542                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN   CROCKETT,  Deputy   Director,   Alaska   Oil  and   Gas                                                               
Association (AOGA),  testified, and stated  she is in  support of                                                               
HB 524.   She  said the  bill is a  very important  and necessary                                                               
streamlining  mechanism that  the department  has proposed.   The                                                               
ability  to   use  the  additional   regulatory  tools   is  very                                                               
important,  not only  to the  applicants but  to the  department,                                                               
which has to operate with limited  resources, she said.  She said                                                               
the other component  of the bill that AOGA is  very interested in                                                               
and is  strongly supporting is  the ability of the  department to                                                               
administratively  present permits  when they  expire.   That does                                                               
allow DEC to  focus and prioritize on the  authorizations and the                                                               
permits  that  have  the  higher  risk,  and  it  allows  DEC  to                                                               
prioritize those activities.  She  said it provides protection to                                                               
the regulated community,  as well, in the event that  a permit or                                                               
an authorization  that is currently  held is about to  expire and                                                               
there  is not  time  to get  it  renewed.   She  said  this is  a                                                               
procedure  that  is  routinely used  by  the  federal  government                                                               
through  the  Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA),  and  AOGA                                                               
commends the department for including it in this provision.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2463                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  BORELL,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Miners  Association                                                               
(AMA), testified.   He said  AMA supports this bill,  which would                                                               
make   important   changes,  specifically,   the   administrative                                                               
extension of  permits, which [AMA]  believes is crucial  and will                                                               
help both  industry and DEC in  that situation.  He  said the use                                                               
of permit  by rule  was well  described, and  he suggested  it is                                                               
much simpler  for all [parties] involved  to have a set  of rules                                                               
"and  if  a  person  follows  those rules,  they  are  indeed  in                                                               
compliance with  the law and they  don't need to actually  go and                                                               
apply  for a  permit, wait  for the  processing, worry  about not                                                               
getting the permit on time, and  then ... they need to review the                                                               
permit."  He said he believes  these are all important changes to                                                               
the law, and AMA supports them.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2386                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MYRL  THOMPSON,  Ogan  Is  So   Gone,  testified.    He  directed                                                               
attention to  Section 3, subparagraph  (C), and asked if  this is                                                               
an exemption for coal bed methane drilling.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said this  language is in  existing statute                                                               
and  there is  no change  proposed.   She  said subparagraph  (C)                                                               
refers  to "exploratory  drilling  the produced  water," and  the                                                               
exemption was  put in by the  legislature a number of  years ago.                                                               
She stated that DEC is not proposing any change.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  asked how that  exemption would affect  drilling in                                                               
the Matanuska Valley with respect to [HB 524].                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  said  there  would be  no  change  to  the                                                               
current regulatory  regime since there  is no change  proposed to                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  said he didn't have  any problem with the  bill per                                                               
se, but  he does  have a problem  with that  particular exemption                                                               
due to the ongoing process in the Matanuska Valley.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2263                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HEINZE  asked   how  the   proof  of   financial                                                               
responsibility   integrate  with   reclamation  and   reclamation                                                               
bonding or funds.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD mentioned  that the  Department of  Natural                                                               
Resources  had   recently  presented  the  committee   with  some                                                               
statutory language.   She noted  that it  was pointed out  in the                                                               
handout  that DEC  will coordinate  with  a "financial  assurance                                                               
vehicle," which is  provided through DNR requirements.   She said                                                               
both requirements  are important and "their"  reclamation bonding                                                               
is extremely important for the physical acts of reclamation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said DEC's proof of  financial assurance is                                                               
important  for the  environmental  protection that  it seeks  for                                                               
future potential waste  management issues.  She said  if a mining                                                               
developer offers a financial instrument  which has adequate asset                                                               
depth to cover both requirements,  [DEC and DNR] will both accept                                                               
the same  instrument but can't put  up the same assets  to pledge                                                               
for two different responsibilities.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2191                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG turned attention  to page 2, [paragraph                                                               
2], and  he asked if that  section would have been  dealt with if                                                               
Fairbanks  had  made  a  different   determination  on  its  last                                                               
election.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said that language  will not have any impact                                                               
on the I/M program in Fairbanks.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG turned attention  to page 5, Section 4,                                                               
and  he said  it looks  like the  bill is  changing who  does the                                                               
forms from  the EPA  to the state.   He asked  if it  was assumed                                                               
that could be done with no cost.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD answered in the affirmative.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2140                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  moved to  report HB  524 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 524 was reported  from the                                                               
House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR DAHLSTROM turned the gavel over to Co-Chair Masek.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 442-BIG GAME GUIDE BOARD & SERVICES                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2106                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  442,  "An Act  relating  to  the  Big  Game                                                               
Commercial  Services Board  and  to the  regulation  of big  game                                                               
hunting services  and transportation services; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  DAHLSTROM   moved  to  adopt  CSHB   442,  23-LS1398\Q,                                                               
Utermohle,  2/26/04, as  the working  document.   There being  no                                                               
objection,  CSHB  442,  version  Q,  was  adopted  by  the  House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced the bill will be held in committee.                                                                    
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:57 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

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