Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/15/2002 03:32 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                         March 15, 2002                                                                                         
                            3:32 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Torgerson, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Wilken, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Rick Halford                                                                                                            
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 205                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to control of nuisance wild animals; and                                                                       
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 326                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to evaluating state assumption of the wastewater                                                               
discharge program under the federal Clean Water Act; and                                                                        
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
SB 205 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
SB 326 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Mr. Robert Doran                                                                                                                
HC 31, Box 5213                                                                                                                 
Wasilla AK 99654                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
Mr. Wayne Regelin, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Department of Fish and Game                                                                                                     
P.O. Box 25526                                                                                                                  
Juneau AK 99802                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 205.                                                                                         
Mr. Frank Richards                                                                                                              
Statewide Maintenance                                                                                                           
Department of Transportation &                                                                                                  
  Public Facilities                                                                                                             
3132 Channel Dr.                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK  99801-7898                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSSB 205.                                                                                       
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau AK 99801-1182                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 205 and SB 326.                                                                             
Mr. Tom Chapple, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Air and Water Quality                                                                                               
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
555 Cordova St.                                                                                                                 
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 326.                                                                                      
Ms. Pamela Miller, Director                                                                                                     
Alaska Community Action On Toxics                                                                                               
135 Christensen Dr.                                                                                                             
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 326.                                                                                           
Mr. Charlie Broddy, Vice President                                                                                              
Governmental Relations                                                                                                          
Usibelli Coal Mine                                                                                                              
100 Cushman Ste. #210                                                                                                           
Fairbanks AK 99701                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 326.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-10, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
             SB 205-CONTROL OF NUISANCE WILD ANIMALS                                                                        
CHAIRMAN JOHN TORGERSON called the Senate Resources Committee                                                                 
meeting to order at 3:32 p.m. and announced SB 205 to be up for                                                                 
MS. JANEY  WINEINGER, staff to  Senator Green, sponsor,  explained                                                              
that  this  legislation  would provide  authority  to  the  Alaska                                                              
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)  to issue permits and licenses                                                              
for the control of nuisance wild  birds and other mammals. Senator                                                              
Green fully  supports the proposed  committee substitute  (CS) and                                                              
amendment.  This  legislation  would   provide  for  licenses  for                                                              
commercial    exterminators    and   permits    for    homeowners,                                                              
corporations, agricultural enterprises  and other entities who are                                                              
plagued  by  nuisance  wildlife.  It would  also  allow  ADF&G  to                                                              
collect bivalves for  use in connection with aquatic  farms and to                                                              
collect wild  fur animals  for the  improvement of genetic  stock.                                                              
Sometimes  senior citizens  or others  want to  control pests  but                                                              
want  to hire someone  else  to do the  job. This  bill gives  the                                                              
authority to ADF&G to issue permits or licenses for such work.                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  asked for examples of nuisance  wild birds and                                                              
nuisance small mammals.                                                                                                         
MR. ROBERT DORAN,  Wasilla resident, said that he  supports SB 205                                                              
because it  gives ADF&G the authority  he believes it  should have                                                              
had from  the time the department  was established  to effectively                                                              
manage wildlife  in Alaska.  It also  provides an opportunity  for                                                              
those wishing to pursue a career  in animal damage control, a fast                                                              
growing business in  the Lower 48. Based on population  growth and                                                              
development in  Alaska, he sees a  real need for this  service. As                                                              
an  example,  Mr.  Doran  said  that  beavers  construct  dams  in                                                              
culverts,  which has resulted  in flooded  rights-of-way.  He told                                                              
     In  no way  whatsoever do  I  wish to  give anybody  the                                                                   
     impression  that I simply desire  free reign  to capture                                                                   
     anything  and  everything  365   days  a  year.  My  own                                                                   
     personal business  would be conducted based  on specific                                                                   
     requests of  companies, etc. who for whatever  reason do                                                                   
     not wish to deal with conflicts  involving wild animals.                                                                   
     Again,  these  conflicts  range  from  property  damage,                                                                   
     possible  threats to  public health  and safety or  even                                                                   
     cases in  which a bird  or animal becomes  inadvertently                                                                   
     caught in a structure or within a confined area.                                                                           
MR. WAYNE  REGELIN, Director,  Division of Wildlife  Conservation,                                                              
Alaska Department  of Fish and Game, said the  department supports                                                              
this legislation.  It provides ADF&G with the  statutory authority                                                              
to provide  a license to  a person for  a commercial  operation to                                                              
take  care  of nuisance  wildlife  or  to  issue  a permit  to  an                                                              
individual  or another  agency to  control  nuisance wildlife.  He                                                              
     It corrects  a deficiency in our permit  system, because                                                                   
     right now we  can't issue a permit for this  purpose. We                                                                   
     can for  science or education  or public safety,  but we                                                                   
     are prohibited  from doing it  and there [are]  not many                                                                   
     loopholes for  us to do it  where wildlife is  causing a                                                                   
     real problem  for some people.  We like the idea  that a                                                                   
     person that might  need some help doing this  that's old                                                                   
     or  just  doesn't want  to  do  it themselves  can  hire                                                                   
     someone  to do it.  Maybe someone can  make a living  or                                                                   
     supplement their income at least.                                                                                          
He said he was  referring to small animals, birds  and porcupines,                                                              
beaver, squirrels in attics and that  type of thing. The effective                                                              
date would  allow the  Board of Game  time to provide  definitions                                                              
and guidance. He  said the proposed amendment will  allow ADF&G to                                                              
give  the  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities                                                              
(DOTPF) a blanket permit for a season  or area if it has continual                                                              
problems  that ADF&G  can't resolve.  He remarked,  "I think  it's                                                              
probably wise to keep wildlife permits  under the purview of ADF&G                                                              
and work real closely with DOT on  where they need [to use them.]"                                                              
3:45 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he has heard  that DOTPF is tired  of the                                                              
bureaucratic  tangle it  has to  go through  now to  take care  of                                                              
damage caused  by beavers alongside  the road "that ADF&G  has put                                                              
on them."                                                                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON asked how the process works now.                                                                                  
MR. REGELIN  replied that  many people take  care of  the problems                                                              
themselves, but  a lot of them  call ADF&G and ask  for permission                                                              
to get  rid of nuisance animals.  ADF&G can't give  permission (to                                                              
kill a squirrel, for instance) and  has to send a biologist out to                                                              
do it.                                                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON  said this  bill didn't  seem to  take care  of that                                                              
problem. He  questioned, "This authorizes  somebody to do  it, but                                                              
who authorizes the act in the first place?"                                                                                     
MR. REGELIN replied  that ADF&G usually sends a  biologist to take                                                              
care of the problem;  this bill would allow ADF&G  to call someone                                                              
with a license  to take care of  it. He explained, "We  don't have                                                              
to get involved  and they probably  have to pay a couple  of bucks                                                              
and the squirrel or bat or whatever it is is out of their life."                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked, for the  purpose of clarification, if he                                                              
could  call  the  commercial  guy  directly  to  shoot  a  problem                                                              
squirrel or would he have to apply  for a permit at ADF&G and then                                                              
hire the guy to do it.                                                                                                          
MR. REGELIN replied that ADF&G's intent is:                                                                                     
     The person that has the license  to do this commercially                                                                   
     would have  broad authority  to do it within  guidelines                                                                   
     that we provide so we won't  have to be in the equation.                                                                   
     You would just call the person…                                                                                            
He  said  that  this  would  probably  only  happen  in  the  more                                                              
populated areas.                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON continued to try and clarify and said:                                                                            
     I guess what I'm hearing is  you can pop a porcupine any                                                                   
     time you want.  The only issue that this  bill addresses                                                                   
     is who pops the porcupine.                                                                                                 
MR. REGELIN replied,  "Right now there is no season  or bag limits                                                              
on porcupines and you're not supposed  to shoot them. You only let                                                              
people shoot them if they're causing a real problem…"                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON said,  "It allows  a private individual  to  make a                                                              
decision on whether  you take out the porcupine,  whether you move                                                              
the porcupine, so the department wouldn't make that."                                                                           
MR. REGELIN said  that an individual can hire a person  or come to                                                              
ADF&G for  a permit. If  the individual  asks for a  permit, ADF&G                                                              
will provide advice. The department  does not want to kill animals                                                              
unnecessarily. He added:                                                                                                        
     But an individual  has to call us and say  I've got this                                                                   
     problem;  how can  I fix  it? And  then we  give them  a                                                                   
     permit  to do it.  The people  who are  in this to  earn                                                                   
     money,  we would give  them some  broad authorities  and                                                                   
     work closely  with to make sure  they could do  this and                                                                   
     we  would urge  them - like  with porcupines  - you  can                                                                   
     usually move them a ways down  the road and be done with                                                                   
     it.  Beavers -  you usually  have to  kill them.  That's                                                                   
     part  of the reason  to keep  the department  in it.  It                                                                   
     becomes an issue  of what do you do with  the animal and                                                                   
     the fur.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if a definition  of small  mammals would  be                                                              
included in the regulations and whether it would include wolves.                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied  that ADF&G will make sure  it doesn't include                                                              
wolves and coyotes,  because that gets into a  different arena. He                                                              
said he is reluctant to list all  the species because one could be                                                              
inadvertently forgotten.  The definition could say,  "species like                                                              
squirrels" or "nothing bigger than a beaver."                                                                                   
SENATOR WILKEN moved to adopt the  committee substitute to SB 205,                                                              
(Utermohle, 3/14/02,  Version C). There were no  objections and it                                                              
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved  to  adopt  amendment  1,  which  reads  as                                                              
MR. FRANK  RICHARDS, an engineer  at DOTPF, informed  members that                                                              
articles  in the Daily  News Miner  said that  road crews  spend a                                                              
considerable amount of time in the  summer and fall taking care of                                                              
culverts  that are  blocked by  mammals.  This is  a big  concern,                                                              
because  when  beavers  block  culverts,   water  dams  up  allows                                                              
infiltration,  ice growth  and degradation  of the embankment  and                                                              
the surface.                                                                                                                    
DOTPF  supports  the amendment  but  is concerned  about  granting                                                              
authority  to  the commissioner  for  the  control and  taking  of                                                              
beavers only. In state-owned airports,  DOTPF has fairly extensive                                                              
hazing programs  for wildlife, primarily  birds. He said,  "I hope                                                              
this bill would  not prevent us from continuing  with our wildlife                                                              
hazing programs,  because that  is a major  safety concern  to the                                                              
FAA and the department as an airport operator."                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON noted that Mr.  Regelin said DOTPF doesn't need                                                              
this amendment;  it can  just get  a blanket  permit. He  asked if                                                              
that  is how  it would  work or  whether the  committee should  go                                                              
forward with the amendment.                                                                                                     
MR.  RICHARDS  responded  that  currently  DOTPF  gets  individual                                                              
permits, including permits for the  airports. DOTPF must first get                                                              
a  federal permit  for  airport work  before  it can  get a  state                                                              
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  Mr.  Regelin if  this  will affect  the                                                              
airport bird situation.                                                                                                         
MR.  REGELIN replied  that the  way the  bill is  now it  wouldn't                                                              
affect  airports. He  explained, "As  soon as  they get a  federal                                                              
permit, we  issue one.  We have the  authority to  do that  now in                                                              
Public Safety and we do it in each airport."                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  asked how  ADF&G  could raise  Mr.  Richards'                                                              
comfort  level  about being  able  to  handle the  beaver  problem                                                              
without going through what DOTPF had to before.                                                                                 
MR.  REGELIN  replied  that  now   ADF&G  sort  of  stretches  its                                                              
authority on beaver. It doesn't have  authority but issues permits                                                              
because of the public safety issue with flooding. He noted:                                                                     
     This  gives us  the authority  we  need and  now we  can                                                                   
     issue by region or by however  you want it organized and                                                                   
     do it  one-year at a time.  I don't think  they're going                                                                   
     to abuse it  and if he sends me a letter  asking for it,                                                                   
     we'll issue him a permit.                                                                                                  
MR.  RICHARDS said  DOTPF's  working  relationship  with ADF&G  on                                                              
permits  is good.  He stated,  "As  he indicated  for the  federal                                                              
permits for the airports it is pretty much a rubber stamp."                                                                     
He stated  if DOTPF can  easily get a permit,  whether it be  on a                                                              
yearly   basis  or   for  individual   actions,   that  would   be                                                              
satisfactory for beaver control.                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON   asked  if  the  committee   should  consider                                                              
changing the  language to authorize  the commissioner of  ADF&G to                                                              
issue  the commissioner  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities                                                              
the right to take beavers that interfere with culverts.                                                                         
MR. REGELIN  replied that  would be fine  and, "That way  when I'm                                                              
gone, it still happens."                                                                                                        
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  one of  his concerns  is that often  the                                                              
Fairbanks person who  would issue the permit in ADF&G  is out on a                                                              
field trip for a week. He explained:                                                                                            
     It's just  near impossible.  When you're trying  to deal                                                                   
     with this in  the fall before freezing, before  the dams                                                                   
     are frozen  in the culverts,  you have a limited  window                                                                   
     of time.                                                                                                                   
He also expressed concern about getting a carcass to ADF&G.                                                                     
MR.  REGELIN  said they  could  do it  region  by region,  but  he                                                              
worries about having  a permit that will say to  bring the carcass                                                              
to ADF&G if possible. He clarified:                                                                                             
     I  think we  all  need to  be  very cautious  about  the                                                                   
     wanton  waste of wildlife  and just  killing beaver  and                                                                   
     not using  the fur  and some people  like the meat.  You                                                                   
     know, sometimes  you just can't do it. So,  we would ask                                                                   
     them to do that if it was possible….                                                                                       
     Part  of the  reason  we've done  it  on a  case-by-case                                                                   
     basis through  the area biologist  is because  we didn't                                                                   
     have  the blanket  authority. We'll  issue these out  of                                                                   
     the Juneau office just to DOT.                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked, "Fish and  Game may issue yearly permits                                                              
and then go on with authorizing the commissioner of DOT…"                                                                       
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  said  that  would  be a  step  in  the  right                                                              
direction, but he is still concerned.  He related how he has tried                                                              
to find people to  give beaver meat and pelts to,  but the problem                                                              
is if you get  the beavers before the dams freeze  up, the pelt is                                                              
not  in a  usable condition.  You have  to find  a trapper  that's                                                              
willing to  take the  animal, freeze  it and  use the carcass  for                                                              
other  trapping  purposes,  but  that's  limited  too,  because  a                                                              
trapper needs the freezer capacity to do that. He said:                                                                         
     What  you end up  with is  DOT personnel  standing in  a                                                                   
     five-foot  culvert pulling  the brush  out knowing  full                                                                   
     well  that the  beaver will  be back that  night and  it                                                                   
     will be even fuller the next day.                                                                                          
MR. RICHARDS commented, in regard  to wanton waste, when DOTPF has                                                              
received  permits from  ADF&G, it  would do the  trapping or  have                                                              
someone do  it for them.  DOTPF has been  able to provide  for the                                                              
disposal of  the pelts.  Senator Therriault's  concern would  be a                                                              
problem  in  rural  areas.  It  would  then be  a  burden  on  the                                                              
department to have  to bring a carcass back to  a central location                                                              
for disposal.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  ELTON said  he was  still  struggling with  the issue  of                                                              
having a permit, but getting the  authority from the department to                                                              
do it. He explained:                                                                                                            
     We're  focusing   now  on   giving  the  Department   of                                                                   
     Transportation the  ability to do this when  it seems to                                                                   
     me  if we  create  a system  like  this,  why should  we                                                                   
     expect the department to do  it. Why shouldn't we expect                                                                   
     them to act  like any other private landowner  - pick up                                                                   
     the phone  and call  somebody that's  licensed to  do it                                                                   
     and have them do it.                                                                                                       
MR. RICHARDS  responded that in  certain locations DOTPF  can hire                                                              
others to come in and take the animal under their permit.                                                                       
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON said  he wanted  to  hold this  bill with  the                                                              
amendment pending to provide more time to work on the language.                                                                 
               SB 326-WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PROGRAM                                                                          
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced SB 326 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT,  sponsor or  SB 326,  said he introduced  this                                                              
bill  to  spur  the  state into  looking  at  the  possibility  of                                                              
assuming the  authority for  issuing National Pollution  Discharge                                                              
Elimination System)  NPDES permits.  The evaluation of  whether it                                                              
makes  sense  for  the  state  to do  so  fiscally  and  from  the                                                              
standpoint of its  ability to promote development in  the state of                                                              
Alaska  is  complicated.  There  are  a  lot  of  expenses  to  be                                                              
considered  and  it's not  something  the state  should  undertake                                                              
lightly.   He noted that  the proposed committee  substitute would                                                              
need one  modification with  regard to when  the report  should be                                                              
completed. The  bill now says, "The  first regular session  of the                                                              
24th legislature."  It should say, "The second  regular session of                                                              
the 23rd legislature."                                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked why a fiscal note was needed.                                                                          
SENATOR THERRIAULT  explained that it  reflects the cost  of doing                                                              
an evaluation on which to base the decision.                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON said this bill only  authorizes a study and it seems                                                              
that there  should be other  ways of doing  it. He asked  what the                                                              
thought process was in using this approach.                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT replied that state  agency personnel need to be                                                              
involved,  plus individuals  from industry,  whatever it  takes to                                                              
enable the next  legislature to decide if this is  a good move for                                                              
the state to make. Currently, 44  other states and the U.S. Virgin                                                              
Islands administer this program themselves.  The State of Idaho is                                                              
in  the process  of  evaluating it  and he  thought  it is  moving                                                              
toward the adoption. He said he was  open to discussing other ways                                                              
of getting to that decision-making point.                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he  has mixed  emotions about  whether or                                                              
not the  state should run  it. He cautioned,  "I think  it becomes                                                              
too  political... I'm  not sure  this wouldn't  be detrimental  to                                                              
getting permits, because it becomes way too political."                                                                         
MR.  TOM CHAPPLE,  Director, Division  of Air  and Water  Quality,                                                              
DEC,  said he  didn't  have  much more  to  add and  would  answer                                                              
questions.  He told  members this  effort  is the  outgrowth of  a                                                              
workgroup that was  started a couple of years ago.  DEC is looking                                                              
at redesigning  its  wastewater discharge  permitting process.  He                                                              
explained, "Right  now we certify  federal permits and  issue some                                                              
state permits to smaller entities…"                                                                                             
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked if he supports the study.                                                                              
MR. CHAPPLE  replied that  it's an  issue that  has been  raised a                                                              
number of  times in  the past and  if this  work went forward,  it                                                              
would be done around January of 2004.                                                                                           
4:07 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  ELTON  asked what  impact  state  primacy would  have  on                                                              
municipalities in  the context of  what municipalities pay  to EPA                                                              
for wastewater  discharge permits now  and what the cost  would be                                                              
in the future if the state has primacy.                                                                                         
MR. CHAPPLE replied:                                                                                                            
     Right  now when  EPA reviews  and issues  a permit,  the                                                                   
     municipalities  are almost all  renewals of the  federal                                                                   
     permit. They don't  charge a fee. EPA does  not charge a                                                                   
     fee. They have about 10 staff  people that are dedicated                                                                   
     to Alaska permits.  Under a bill that was  passed by the                                                                   
     legislature a  couple of years ago, HB 361,  the state's                                                                   
     role  in   discharge  permitting  is  partially   offset                                                                   
     through user fees right now.  So, municipalities pay for                                                                   
     the state's  role in issuing  that permit now,  which is                                                                   
     defining mixing zones, establishing  where the discharge                                                                   
     is, how big  the mixing zone should be, what  other site                                                                   
     specific issues  come up, setting limits for  where they                                                                   
     meet the water  quality standards, etc. That  cost is in                                                                   
     the range  of $500 up to maybe  $3 - $4,000 for  some of                                                                   
     the  larger municipalities.  What the  cost would be  in                                                                   
     the future is  really unknown. It depends  on whether we                                                                   
     can  bring   federal  dollars   to  make  this   program                                                                   
     work…This project  would lay out those costs,  look hard                                                                   
     at what  funding sources,  talk about  what mix of  user                                                                   
     fees and state  or federal funds would be a  way to make                                                                   
     the program work.                                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON asked Mr. Chapple if he thinks the state could do                                                                 
the work faster or slower than the EPA.                                                                                         
MR. CHAPPLE replied that he hoped the state would be faster.                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON asked, "To get to be faster, would you need a                                                                     
budget increase?"                                                                                                               
MR. CHAPPLE answered:                                                                                                           
     I think  to be faster you  would certainly have  to have                                                                   
     more  resources  doing  this  work  in  Alaska  than  we                                                                   
     currently do now. Whether it's  more than what the state                                                                   
     is now, plus a federal...                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said that isn't a fair question because DEC                                                                  
doesn't have a budget for this program now.                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  asked to rephrase  his concern because  he believes                                                              
it is important:                                                                                                                
     If,  in  fact,  speed  is  contingent  upon  having  the                                                                   
     resources available  to do the  work, I could  see there                                                                   
     would be  a disadvantage in  moving it from EPA  to DEC,                                                                   
     given the budget history the department has had.                                                                           
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said members do  not have DEC's  budget before                                                              
SENATOR ELTON responded that members  know DEC has fewer resources                                                              
now than  it did 10  years ago. If  it needs additional  resources                                                              
the  question is,  "Are  we going  to  accompany  the transfer  of                                                              
primacy with additional budget resources?"                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON retorted,  "That will  be something they  will                                                              
have to include in their study..."                                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  asked if  there had been  an instance in  which EPA                                                              
denied state primacy.                                                                                                           
MR. CHAPPLE  replied, to his knowledge,  no, but he  hadn't looked                                                              
at that thoroughly.                                                                                                             
MS. PAMELA  MILLER, Director, Alaska  Community Action  on Toxics,                                                              
said the  stakeholders  group for wastewater  permitting  that she                                                              
served on discussed policies, resources  and staffing needs for an                                                              
effective permitting program for  the ADEC. The group included oil                                                              
and  gas,  mining,   local  government,  seafood   processing  and                                                              
conservation representatives. She commented:                                                                                    
     Throughout the more than one  year of meetings the group                                                                   
     did not  consider the possibility  that the  state would                                                                   
     assume  primacy. This  bill I believe  is premature  and                                                                   
She said the stakeholders group did  not reach consensus that ADEC                                                              
should  assume primacy  of the  wastewater  discharge program  for                                                              
several  reasons. The  assumption  was that  it  would take  years                                                              
before consideration of primacy would  even be on the table. There                                                              
is   no  reasonable   assurance   of  the   agency's   competency,                                                              
established track record, adequate  enforcement of monitoring, and                                                              
certainly  there is  a perpetual  problem  of a  lack of  adequate                                                              
funding for staff  and a lack of expertise among  the department's                                                              
MR. CHARLIE BRODDY, Vice President,  Usibelli Coal Mine, supported                                                              
SB 326. He told the committee:                                                                                                  
     Currently,  the major permit  we have to get  especially                                                                   
     in the water arena has to be  done through EPA Region 10                                                                   
     in  Seattle,  Washington.  If   you  read  the  [indisc]                                                                   
     reports for  Region 10, they consistently  have probably                                                                   
     one of  the most massive backlogs  of any region  in the                                                                   
     United States,  which means  that to put  a new  mine or                                                                   
     section of a mine on line, you  were probably looking at                                                                   
     a 3 to 5 year time period to secure an NPDES permit.                                                                       
     The bill  allows the state to  take the look  that we've                                                                   
     all talked about  for probably well over a  decade and a                                                                   
     half - that is four federal  programs that allow partial                                                                   
     or  in  their   entirety  the  state  to   take  primary                                                                   
     responsibility for  should a state exercise  that right.                                                                   
     Currently,  the state  does  on a  majority  of the  air                                                                   
     programs that  are federally  mandated and on  a certain                                                                   
     coal mining reclamation program [indisc.].                                                                                 
     I think that in deference to  the prior speaker, I would                                                                   
     say  the state  DEC, and  I'm speaking  from a  regional                                                                   
     basis  in  Fairbanks,  has  very  confident  well-heeled                                                                   
     individuals  within  their organization  who  can do  an                                                                   
     adequate  job,  a  more than  adequate  job  of  issuing                                                                   
     permits... We have somewhat  of an unknown. It's hard to                                                                   
     give the committee hard facts  and numbers because we're                                                                   
     all just guessing without this report.                                                                                     
He said they like to work with state people whenever possible                                                                   
within their organization and outside.                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON thanked everyone for their testimony and said                                                                
they would hold the bill for further work and adjourned the                                                                     
meeting at 4:20 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects