Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/10/2004 01:39 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                         March 10, 2004                                                                                         
                           1:39 p.m.                                                                                            
TAPE (S) 04-7                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas Wagoner, Vice Chair                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 335                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to enhanced 911 surcharges and to emergency                                                                    
services dispatch systems of municipalities, certain villages,                                                                  
and public corporations established by municipalities."                                                                         
          HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 355                                                                                                             
"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 SB 355 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 335                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH/911 SURCHARGE                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/16/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (S)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
03/10/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 355                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WASTE MANAGEMENT/DISPOSAL                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/27/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/27/04       (S)       CRA, RES                                                                                               
03/10/04       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP 203                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Joe Michel                                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 335 for sponsor                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Patrick Cole                                                                                                                    
Representing the Mayor of Fairbanks                                                                                             
800 Cushman Street                                                                                                              
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 335                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Eric Mohrmann                                                                                                                   
Interior Fire Chiefs Association                                                                                                
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 335                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Paul Harris                                                                                                                     
Fairbanks Police Department Representative                                                                                      
800 Cushman Street                                                                                                              
Fairbanks, AK 99701                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 335                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner Ernesta Ballard                                                                                                    
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
410 Willoughby                                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1795                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 355                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Marilyn Crockett                                                                                                                
Alaska Oil & Gas Representative                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 355                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Steve Borell                                                                                                                    
Alaska Miners Association                                                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 355                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Rich Heig                                                                                                                       
Council of Alaska Producers                                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 355                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-7, SIDE A                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BERT  STEDMAN called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 1:39 p.m. Present                                                               
were  Senators  Gary Stevens,  Elton  and  Chair Stedman.  Before                                                               
turning to  the bill calendar,  he introduced three  students and                                                               
two young adults who were visiting from Sitka.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
        SB 335-EMERGENCY SERVICES DISPATCH/911 SURCHARGE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BERT STEDMAN  announced SB 335 to be  up for consideration.                                                               
He asked Senator Seekins to proceed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  RALPH  SEEKINS,  sponsor,  asked  his  staff  member  to                                                               
present the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JOE MICHEL,  legislative aide to Senator  Seekins, explained that                                                               
the bill relates to enhanced  911 surcharges. Enhanced 911, or E-                                                               
911,  shows  the  physical  location  and name  of  a  caller  to                                                               
emergency service dispatchers.  The purpose of SB 335  is to give                                                               
municipalities  more freedom  to  recover some  of  the costs  of                                                               
providing E-911 service to their community.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Currently  there  is   a  statutory  ceiling  on   the  amount  a                                                               
municipality may collect  to pay for E-911  services. That amount                                                               
isn't  enough  to pay  the  overhead  so municipalities  have  to                                                               
recover those  costs from the  people through increased  taxes of                                                               
some sort.  SB 335  amends the statute  by raising  the surcharge                                                               
ceiling and by  instituting a surcharge for the  operation of the                                                               
E-911 service.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The final change  this bill makes occurs on page  3, lines 18-20.                                                               
It says,  "The municipality may  only use the  emergency services                                                               
dispatch surcharge  for the  actual labor  and equipment  used to                                                               
provide emergency services dispatch."  That addition is to ensure                                                               
that municipalities  recover no more that  their operation costs.                                                               
Also, an annual review of the actual costs is required.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS noted that  municipalities with  fewer than                                                               
100,000 people  could charge up  to $2.15 for E-911  services and                                                               
asked for verification  that they wouldn't recover  more than the                                                               
actual costs up to that limit.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL  agreed and  reiterated that the  goal is  to transfer                                                               
the cost burden from the taxpayers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN told of an experience  he had recently, in which he                                                               
was  asked  to return  a  missed  call  to  someone in  a  nearby                                                               
community. When  he made  the call, he  discovered that  the cell                                                               
number was from the state of  Washington. He asked if that caller                                                               
would be paying the proposed fees  or would they be able to avoid                                                               
them.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL replied  they would avoid the fees.  He explained that                                                               
his  cell  phone  service  comes   from  Fairbanks  and  if  that                                                               
municipality instituted  a fee he  would pay that  fee regardless                                                               
of the fact  that he was using his phone  in Juneau. Furthermore,                                                               
the difference  between phases  I and II,  E-911 service  is that                                                               
911  calls  from  cell  phones   in  Alaska  can't  currently  be                                                               
triangulated. Unlike  a landline,  emergency cell phone  calls in                                                               
Alaska don't register a physical location.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIM  ELTON noted that  this is  a per line  charge rather                                                               
than a per  household charge and asked whether  the sponsor might                                                               
consider the  latter rather than  the former. He reasoned  that a                                                               
number of  households have separate  computer and fax  lines that                                                               
wouldn't be  used to make  emergency calls.  "How did you  get to                                                               
the point  where you do it  per line rather than  per household,"                                                               
he asked.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL  responded by  saying that  the Fairbanks  mayor asked                                                               
the sponsor  to introduce the  bill, which  is a companion  to HB                                                               
461. As  written, the charge would  be per line, but  the sponsor                                                               
is open  to the change.  "The idea  was presented that  you could                                                               
provide evidence  that you  have a  fax line  and then  you'll be                                                               
able to take  that surcharge off your phone line.  So it would be                                                               
by household. It  would be the responsibility of  the resident to                                                               
turn that in to the phone  company. Those ideas have been brought                                                               
forward by different representatives."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS remarked that  this bill attempts to recover                                                               
some  of  the  costs,  but  there  are  inequities  to  consider.                                                               
Referring to his  community, he said the City  of Kodiak provides                                                               
E-911 service  to the city  and a  much larger portion  of Kodiak                                                               
Island that is outside the city.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MICHEL said  this  bill  is trying  to  address that.  Using                                                               
Fairbanks as  an example,  he said that  this would  transfer the                                                               
burden from  those paying property  tax to those with  phones who                                                               
therefore have the capability of dialing 911.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS asked  if 911  service extends  outside the                                                               
city or borough of Fairbanks.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL deferred to Mr. Harris, director of police.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON assumed  that there is no  distinction made between                                                               
a business phone and a residential phone.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL agreed  there is no distinction. "If you  can dial 911                                                               
from it, the surcharges apply."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  wanted to make  sure he understood  correctly that                                                               
the surcharge  would apply  to all lines,  but the  sponsor would                                                               
consider  change to  exclude lines  that weren't  used for  voice                                                               
calls.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MICHEL said  the sponsor would consider change  in that area,                                                               
but currently the surcharge would apply to fax and modem lines.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK COLE,  representative for the Fairbanks  mayor, testified                                                               
via  teleconference to  express support  for the  bill. Fairbanks                                                               
has been  working with  both the  borough and  the City  of North                                                               
Pole in  an effort  to find  ways to control  and or  recover the                                                               
cost of dispatch centers.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Referencing  an   earlier  question   about  service   areas,  he                                                               
explained that  under current law  a dispatch center  could serve                                                               
an area  that stretches beyond its  own boundaries. Specifically,                                                               
Kodiak may  serve beyond the  city boundaries, which  would allow                                                               
them  to   recover  some  cost   of  providing  service   to  the                                                               
surrounding area.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
For at least  the last ten years  the law has provided  for a per                                                               
line charge. They have discussed  the possibility of not charging                                                               
for more  than one line, but  "this bill, as written,  solves our                                                               
short term  problem," he said.  It would enable  the municipality                                                               
to broaden  service and take  the burden off taxpayers  and place                                                               
it on users.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON asked,  "If the bill is amended  to allow customers                                                               
to check off and not pay for  modem or fax lines, would that make                                                               
us  need to  revisit the  85 cents  per month  surcharge? I  mean                                                               
would you need to go up to 87 cents?"                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLE said he didn't know, but  he did know that the number of                                                               
landlines have  declined in the  last few years in  Fairbanks. "I                                                               
don't think  that allowing  a per  household [charge]  would hurt                                                               
things terribly, but we really don't know."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS asked if  the City of  Fairbanks subsidizes                                                               
their 911 services and if so, how much does it every year.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLE  said they spend  about $1 million  a year to  run their                                                               
center. "That includes  all our dispatch services.  Right now the                                                               
current surcharge only pays for the software and the equipment."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ERIC  MOHRMANN testified  via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  to                                                               
represent the Interior Fire Chiefs  Association in support of the                                                               
bill. His department  is one of nine within the  borough and this                                                               
bill would help address their high and escalating costs.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  HARRIS,  Fairbanks  Police Department  director,  spoke  in                                                               
support of the bill.                                                                                                            
     Fairbanks Police  Department currently runs  a dispatch                                                                    
     center and  provides services  to the  Fairbanks Police                                                                    
     Department,  fire  department,  and  emergency  medical                                                                    
     services. We've just signed a  contract with North Pole                                                                    
     and we will  be providing those same  services to North                                                                    
     Pole and  we're working on contracts  with Delta, Delta                                                                    
     Rescue,  and  Deltana  to provide  services  out  there                                                                    
     along with the Salcha Rescue.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     We support  this bill....  We think it  will help  us a                                                                    
     lot in  covering the  cost of  the dispatch  center. It                                                                    
     will provide funding  for the dispatch center  as we go                                                                    
     together. And  even if  we don't end  up in  a regional                                                                    
     dispatch center, we would end  up in that place like we                                                                    
     are now with five  different dispatch centers. Each one                                                                    
     of  those dispatch  centers would  receive funding  for                                                                    
     their operation from this bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The 911  surcharge is certainly  not a new  concept. AS                                                                    
     29.35.131 already provides for a  surcharge of up to 75                                                                    
     cents  on  every  telephone line  and  cell  phones  if                                                                    
     enhanced 911  services are offered. In  the [Fairbanks]                                                                    
     North  Star Borough,  we  haven't  charged against  the                                                                    
     cell phones.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     If you're  in Fairbanks and  you dial 911 on  your cell                                                                    
     phone, it  doesn't make  any difference  whether you're                                                                    
     inside  the  city  limits or  outside  in  the  borough                                                                    
     someplace.  It  all  rings into  the  Fairbanks  Police                                                                    
     Department  dispatch center.  So every  cell phone  911                                                                    
     [call] that is made rings  in. We have an operator that                                                                    
     picks  it  up  and  answers it,  finds  out  where  the                                                                    
     problem is and sends it to the right agency.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     There was a  comment made about what if  somebody has a                                                                    
     cell  phone in  Fairbanks and  is in  Juneau and  dials                                                                    
     911.  What  actually  happens  is   that  911  call  is                                                                    
     answered at the  Juneau 911 center and  they would know                                                                    
     that it  is in  the area. They  would not  know exactly                                                                    
     where that phone was located.  That's the same thing we                                                                    
     deal  with in  Fairbanks. The  911 rings  into us  from                                                                    
     Delta all the way down to past Nenana.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The surcharged  provided in the  current law  is barely                                                                    
     enough   just  to   cover  the   equipment  costs   for                                                                    
     maintenance  and  replacement. The  proposed  amendment                                                                    
     provides  money necessary  for  equipment upgrades  and                                                                    
     replacement  up to  85 cents  and additional  monies to                                                                    
     pay  for the  actual  operation  of emergency  dispatch                                                                    
     center up to $2.15.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I don't believe that in  the North Star Borough that we                                                                    
     would  ever charge  the maximum  amount that's  allowed                                                                    
     under  this  proposed  amendment.  It's  possible  some                                                                    
     other jurisdictions  might do  that, but  as previously                                                                    
     stated, there's  language in the bill  that causes each                                                                    
     municipality to  go back and  look at it every  year so                                                                    
     that ... the surcharge then  can then be adjusted up or                                                                    
     down to cover the actual costs of the dispatch center.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The current  surcharge that  we have  does not  pay for                                                                    
     the cost  of a well-trained  dispatcher 24/7  to answer                                                                    
     the call. Right now the  money that is collected on the                                                                    
     surcharge  simply   pays  for   you  to  pick   up  the                                                                    
     telephone,  dial  911,  it  to  ring  into  a  dispatch                                                                    
     center.  That's  all that's  paid  for  at this  point.                                                                    
     There's  nothing  provided  to   pay  for  somebody  to                                                                    
     actually lean  down and  pick up  the headset  and say,                                                                    
     "Hello  this is  the Fairbanks  Dispatch Center."  That                                                                    
     cost is all covered by the local governments.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I think  it's also important to  recognize that there's                                                                    
     nothing in  this proposed  legislation that  requires a                                                                    
     municipality  to   charge  the  maximum   amount.  That                                                                    
     question has come  up several times and it  needs to be                                                                    
     made clear that the amount  that's put into this is the                                                                    
     maximum  amount that  can be  charged, but  it's not  a                                                                    
     requirement that anybody charge that amount.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     We  feel  that   now,  especially  with  municipalities                                                                    
     having  difficult  times  financially,  this  amendment                                                                    
     allows  the opportunity  to pay  for critical  services                                                                    
     without going  back to the  property owners  and laying                                                                    
     it on the  taxpayers. We support this  amendment and we                                                                    
     encourage you to support it.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON thanked  Mr. Harris for extending  him the courtesy                                                               
of  meeting with  him prior  to  the hearing  and apologized  for                                                               
neglecting to ask about the  following: Consider a small business                                                               
owner with  a couple  of employees. When  you consider  that they                                                               
might have  a fax line, a  modem line, employee lines  and a cell                                                               
phone at  work and nearly  as many lines at  home. I can  see the                                                               
monthly surcharge for this one  small businessperson amounting to                                                               
$8.50 if  they have 10  different lines. In comparison,  he said,                                                               
someone else  pays for my  work phone and at  home I pay  for one                                                               
landline and  my cell phone.  "And so my  bill is $1.60.  I'm one                                                               
person and  that is  one person and  yet they're  supporting this                                                               
enhanced 911  service and the dispatch  call service at a  rate 3                                                               
to 4 times what I'm paying. And how do you get around that?"                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARRIS  replied you  have to  justify it  by saying  that any                                                               
time  there is  a  phone  line with  voice  call capability  it's                                                               
available  for  a  911  call  24/7 and  you're  paying  for  that                                                               
service. He  runs a dispatch  center and can easily  justify that                                                               
in his own  mind because he knows the kinds  and numbers of calls                                                               
that  come  in. He  understood  the  concern,  but he  asked  for                                                               
recognition of the  fact that most fax phones have  a handset and                                                               
are therefore available  for voice communication. If  the bill is                                                               
amended   to  exempt   phones  that   aren't   meant  for   voice                                                               
communication,  he  didn't  know   that  they  would  be  greatly                                                               
impacted. The reason he can say  that is because of the increased                                                               
cell phone  usage. "Cell phones  are getting  to be used  so much                                                               
that that's what we need to charge it to."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON  said  you're  looking  at  that  from  a  logical                                                               
perspective and  "the thing  is, we sometimes  think too  much in                                                               
this building  and there are  several logical  perspectives." One                                                               
such perspective  is that the person  who pays a surcharge  on 10                                                               
lines and the  one who pays a surcharge on  two lines are equally                                                               
likely to  call 911. From  that perspective, one  person's access                                                               
is worth  more per month  than another's, particularly  when it's                                                               
more and more  likely that both individuals would  use their cell                                                               
phone to place a 911 call.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARRIS reasoned  that the  cost of  the equipment  for those                                                               
phones  to have  access doesn't  go down  if there  are two  less                                                               
phones, which is justification for  spreading the cost over every                                                               
phone.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN  asked whether  there were  any other  questions or                                                               
comments and if not he was ready for a motion.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  remarked that  a lot of  the issues  the committee                                                               
raised  could be  addressed at  the local  level where  decisions                                                               
could  be made  regarding  how  to assess  the  charge and  which                                                               
phones would be  exempt. Although that has  a certain attraction,                                                               
he asked  whether the committee  should consider an  amendment to                                                               
exempt  certain kinds  of lines.  The  sponsor's staff  indicated                                                               
that  they  are  open  to  the change.  The  change  wouldn't  be                                                               
dramatic and  the phone owner would  still have to apply  for the                                                               
exemption.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
"I  don't know  what the  rest of  the committee  feels about  an                                                               
amendment  like that,  but I  think in  Finance they'll  probably                                                               
just be looking  at the numbers. They're not going  to be looking                                                               
at the policy  in general so I'd like to  hear from other members                                                               
of the committee about it."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS agreed that  the committee  should consider                                                               
such  an  amendment and  there  was  time to  do  so  in the  CRA                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN commented  that in his previous life  he dealt with                                                               
bringing phone  systems into  the Municipality  of Sitka  and the                                                               
issue of surcharges for multiple  lines came up. They decided not                                                               
to exclude any phones so the  cost was spread over all phones. At                                                               
that time it  was an inconsequential expense, but  that isn't the                                                               
case here.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
With  that, he  announced he  would hold  SB 335  until the  next                                                               
meeting to allow time for an amendment.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON suggested  that the sponsor has  already spent time                                                               
considering  this change  and perhaps  he would  consider working                                                               
with the Chair's office to draft an amendment.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                SB 355-WASTE MANAGEMENT/DISPOSAL                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR BERT  STEDMAN announced SB  355 to be up  for consideration                                                               
and asked Commissioner Ballard to come forward.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   ERNESTA  BALLARD,   Department  of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC),  explained that  the bill doesn't  change the                                                               
department's authority;  it simply provides new  regulatory tools                                                               
and improves some definitions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
In  Administrative  Order  202   issued  in  December  2002,  the                                                               
governor  asked   the  department   to  review   their  statutory                                                               
authorities and current regulatory  programs to determine whether                                                               
improvements could save  money and time while  achieving the same                                                               
regulatory  effect. SB  355 is  the result  and is  an effort  to                                                               
better protect  land and water  from waste disposal.  The changes                                                               
have no fiscal impact on DEC.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The bill is risk based and  allows DEC to use different tools for                                                               
different  risks "so  we  are saving  the  most professional  and                                                               
site-specific staff time for the  most impacting activities." For                                                               
less  risky  activities,  she  assured  the  committee  that  DEC                                                               
continues to provide protection.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She  said, "I'm  proud  to point  out that  the  governor has  as                                                               
aggressive a program for environmental  protection as he does for                                                               
resource  development  and, in  fact,  he  expects excellence  in                                                               
both." DEC's  role is  clearly defined and  they provide  most of                                                               
the environmental protection for the  state and they also fulfill                                                               
the  state's obligation  under the  federal clean  air and  water                                                               
acts.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The first change  the bill makes is to replace  the word "permit"                                                               
with   "prior  authorization."   Currently   DEC  has   statutory                                                               
authorization  to issue  permits  to control  pollution and  this                                                               
broadens the concept and will allow  the use of tools more suited                                                               
to the different risks that DEC confronts.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  noted that  the different tool  options are                                                               
identified  on the  blue handout.  The tools  include: individual                                                               
permits, general  permits, permits  by rule, plan  approvals, and                                                               
integrated permits.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Individual permits are issued for  large higher risk projects and                                                               
are site specific. They include  activities such as large seafood                                                               
processors,    municipal    wastewater    discharges,    refinery                                                               
discharges, ballast water  treatment discharges, large landfills,                                                               
oil and gas drilling waste disposal and asbestos monofills.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
General  permits are  used for  lower risk  activities and  for a                                                               
number of  similar activities in  a geographic area.  Examples of                                                               
such activities  include: placer mines, log  transfer facilities,                                                               
storm  water  discharge,  remote  camp  sewage  and  solid  waste                                                               
disposal,  oil  and gas  exploration  and  development and  small                                                               
seafood processors.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Permits by rule are used to  authorize low risk activity that has                                                               
the  potential for  real impact.  They require  DEC to  establish                                                               
rules to tell  the public the kinds of  best management practices                                                               
they   believe  are   appropriate.   This   tool  also   provides                                                               
enforcement   authority    without   requiring    an   individual                                                               
relationship with  the entity engaged  in the  activity. Examples                                                               
of the activities include:  rural landfills, residential domestic                                                               
wastewater  systems that  discharge  to marine  waters, coal  bed                                                               
methane    exploration,    non-jurisdictional    wetland    fill,                                                               
construction dewatering,  oil and water separators,  small animal                                                               
confinement operations,  construction debris landfills,  and wood                                                               
waste monofills.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Plan  approvals are  a prior  authorization mechanism  for a  low                                                               
risk  activity.  Examples of  this  type  activity include  zero-                                                               
discharge  sewage  treatment  lagoons,  zero-discharge  temporary                                                               
storage  of  oil  and  gas  drilling  waste,  and  zero-discharge                                                               
temporary storage for some coal bed methane projects.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Integrated waste  management permits  are for  complex facilities                                                               
and  operations  that  need  more than  one  DEC  waste  disposal                                                               
authorization.  Mining  companies  are enthusiastic  about  these                                                               
permits. Those likely to use  integrated waste management permits                                                               
include:  complex  mining  operations   and  major  oil  and  gas                                                               
development and production projects.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The  bill expands  DEC's authority  to require  proof that  there                                                               
will be  the financial  resources available to  clean up  a waste                                                               
pile  at the  end of  the life  of a  project. Finally,  the bill                                                               
calls  for  definition changes  that  are  important to  DEC.  Of                                                               
particular  importance is  the  clarification  of the  difference                                                               
between municipal  solid waste  and other  solid waste.  "We have                                                               
hundreds, literally, of small land  fills in rural Alaska that we                                                               
would like to  differentiate from other waste  generators so that                                                               
we could  use the  new permit  by rule powers  that we  would get                                                               
through  this bill  to give  them  clear guidance  about what  is                                                               
required in siting and management of their waste facility."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:25 pm                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR STEDMAN asked  for the record to show  that Senator Lincoln                                                               
joined the meeting. He then  asked Commissioner Ballard to expand                                                               
on the fees and associated costs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  replied there is  no fiscal note.  The fees                                                               
that are currently  in place will still pertain  and although she                                                               
isn't projecting  any savings, she  is hoping the bill  will make                                                               
the department more efficient.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS thanked her  for stopping by his office then                                                               
noted that there is a lot  more direct marketing by fishermen who                                                               
sell fresh  or headed and  gutted product. He  questioned whether                                                               
such activity would fall under a general permit.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said that  would require  a food-processing                                                               
permit.  Furthermore,  she  said,  "As you  know,  we  have  been                                                               
working hard with  that industry to try and offer  the same risk-                                                               
based spectrum of permitting  opportunities for people processing                                                               
seafood so  that the individual  single boat processor can  get a                                                               
permit and have the protection he needs to sell his fish."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIM  ELTON referred to the  blue sheet and asked  what is                                                               
involved in moving from a  general permit to an individual permit                                                               
or from  a permit by  rule to a  general permit. For  example you                                                               
might  start  with one  application  for  a residential  domestic                                                               
waste  water  system  that discharges  into  marine  waters,  but                                                               
within five years there might  be 30 residences, which could have                                                               
a large impact on the adjacent marine waters.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SIDE B                                                                                                                        
2:30 pm                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Another example would be one  small fish processor operating in a                                                               
certain  area that  is eventually  joined  by a  number of  small                                                               
processors all  of which may have  a larger impact than  a single                                                               
large processor.  "Is there movement  between the  categories and                                                               
how do you handle that," he asked.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD replied  there is  movement. She  explained                                                               
that a permit is  specific to what comes out the  end of the pipe                                                               
so the  permitting regime  focuses on  the source,  the effluent,                                                               
and  the receiving  water.  And because  there  are no  automatic                                                               
renewals, DEC  reconsiders the circumstances associated  with the                                                               
activity  every five  years.  If the  capacity  of the  receiving                                                               
water  is  strained by  the  discharge  then  there would  be  an                                                               
allocation on  a maximum load  basis, but you  try not to  get to                                                               
that point.  As designed, the  individual permit tool is  used to                                                               
keep from stressing the receiving  water beyond the accommodation                                                               
point.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   ELTON  noted   that  Section   5  changes   the  public                                                               
notification  requirements. The  previous  requirement calls  for                                                               
two  notices   to  be  published   in  a  newspaper   of  general                                                               
circulation and the  proposed change is to publish  one notice in                                                               
a  local newspaper  with general  circulation.  Referring to  the                                                               
coal bed  methane leases that were  let in Homer, he  pointed out                                                               
that the public notice was  made in the Kenai newspaper. Although                                                               
the notice  fit the definition and  letter of the law,  the local                                                               
residents felt aggrieved because the  notice wasn't placed in the                                                               
local Homer paper.  He remarked that the language  didn't seem as                                                               
though it  would avoid  a similar  sort of  problem. "We  have to                                                               
trust the judgment of somebody who  may or may not understand the                                                               
local dynamics when they're placing  the local advertisement," he                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  said there  are  several  answers to  that                                                               
question. First DEC would like to  see more members of the public                                                               
who  are interested  in government  activities use  the Internet.                                                               
DEC  already has  the capability  to electronically  notify large                                                               
groups of  people and they are  trying to increase that  means of                                                               
communication and notification.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
As  part of  AO 202  DEC is  trying to  assure that  they do  not                                                               
impose  additional  administrative   procedures  requirements  on                                                               
themselves.  However,  "When  we  are  involved  in  a  difficult                                                               
communication, we  generally tend  to over communicate  not under                                                               
communicate." Generally  they use the Anchorage  paper because it                                                               
is  the  one   in  general  circulation  and   people  are  often                                                               
interested in  DEC issues  regardless of where  they live  in the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Continuing she said, "Let us get  back to you on exactly why that                                                               
language appears there. I believe it  is in response to a general                                                               
request  of the  governor's that  we have  a consistent  approach                                                               
across  government  that  at  least   sets  what  the  floor  for                                                               
communication will be."  But she could assure him  that DEC looks                                                               
at  the  subject of  a  communication  before  they decide  on  a                                                               
communication plan.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Stressing the importance of using  the Internet, she said the DEC                                                               
web page  had been reworded  and the broken links  fixed. "People                                                               
can go  to our web page,  they can click on  regulation, they can                                                               
get pending  regulation, it  is simple, you  can do  it anywhere.                                                               
You can do it  from a cabin with a satellite, you  can do it with                                                               
a modem,  you can  do it anywhere  in the state  and I  feel more                                                               
comfortable knowing  that you don't  have to be  able to go  to a                                                               
public meeting  or to read a  newspaper in order to  know what is                                                               
going on  at DEC.  We're able  to reach  a much  broader audience                                                               
electronically than we  could ever have dreamed  of reaching with                                                               
a single or two box ads in a newspaper."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON said he appreciates  the answer and although he's a                                                               
policy kind  of person,  he's unlikely  to bookmark  a regulatory                                                               
page  and  generally, he  didn't  believe  that homeowners  would                                                               
either. He  was pleased to hear  her say that these  were minimum                                                               
standards  but minimum  standards were  met in  Homer and  that's                                                               
become  a  complex  and potentially  expensive  problem  for  the                                                               
state. He said he looks forward  to further dialog on ways to use                                                               
common sense to get beyond the minimum.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  responded by telling him  that summary fact                                                               
sheets are  on the  DEC web page  if you don't  want to  read the                                                               
regulations.  "In  this state  the  challenge  of reaching  every                                                               
community is  horrendous and I'm very  ambitious about electronic                                                               
communication," she stated conclusively.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GEORGIANNA   LINCOLN  asked   how  landfills   would  be                                                               
monitored out in Bush Alaska.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD replied that isn't  the exact subject of the                                                               
bill,  but they  have worked  hard to  provide rural  communities                                                               
with tools they can afford and  will use to site and manage their                                                               
landfills in  the safest way. For  that program their goal  is to                                                               
issue permits  by rule, which  would be  a set of  best practices                                                               
guidelines and a  risk calculator. The latter is  a worksheet for                                                               
siting and management.  DEC's activity will be  to promulgate the                                                               
rules and  do field  inspections. The  current regime  requires a                                                               
permit application, which is an  individual specific permit under                                                               
DEC's solid waste program.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There were no further questions asked of Commissioner Ballard.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN  CROCKETT, deputy  director  of the  Alaska  Oil and  Gas                                                               
Association testified  via teleconference  in support of  SB 355.                                                               
"This legislation  is an excellent  example of DEC  continuing to                                                               
pursue  opportunities to  streamline its  processes while  at the                                                               
same   time  ensuring   that  its   assigned  responsibility   of                                                               
protecting Alaska's environment is carried out."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  bill  also  gives DEC  the  authority  to  administratively                                                               
extend permits that are due  to expire. This is important because                                                               
it  gives  the department  additional  time  it  may need  to  go                                                               
through  the  renewal  process.   It  gives  the  department  the                                                               
flexibility to prioritize its limited permitting resources.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVE   BORELL,  executive   director   of   the  Alaska   Miners                                                               
Association testified  via teleconference  in support of  SB 355.                                                               
They are particularly  pleased with the new authority  for DEC to                                                               
administratively  extend  permits  to deal  with  the  occasional                                                               
times that it isn't possible for  DEC to process a permit renewal                                                               
prior to the expiration of a permit.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
RICH  HEIG, president  of the  Counsel of  Alaska Procedures  and                                                               
general  manager  of  Greens  Creek   Mining  Company  spoke  via                                                               
teleconference  in  support  of  SB 355.  They  appreciate  DEC's                                                               
approach to  streamline the permitting process.  They concur with                                                               
the  benefits  set  forth  by the  commissioner  and  others  who                                                               
testified.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There were no further questions or comments.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS made a motion  to move SB 355 from committee                                                               
with the  zero fiscal note and  individual recommendations. There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN adjourned the meeting at 2:45 pm.                                                                                 

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