Legislature(1993 - 1994)
1994-02-04 House JournalFull Journal pdf
1994-02-04 House Journal Page 2264 HB 446 HOUSE BILL NO. 446 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to community agreements for environmental conservation purposes; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Community & Regional Affairs and Resources Committees. The following fiscal note applies: Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Environmental Conservation, 2/4/94 1994-02-04 House Journal Page 2265 HB 446 The Governor's transmittal letter, dated February 4, 1994, appears below: "Dear Speaker Barnes: Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to community agreements for environmental conservation purposes. The bill would provide the Department of Environmental Conservation with specific authority to enter into agreements with local governing bodies, Native regional corporations, Native village councils, other similar organizations, and, as appropriate, federal agencies, to jointly assess and prioritize local environmental needs and funding. The bill amends the powers of the Department of Environmental Conservation found in AS46.03.020 to expressly authorize the department to enter into community agreements to best allocate environmental resources. These community agreements have three basic components. First, the community agreement would provide for the joint assessment of environmental needs within a local community or region and the establishment of indicators to track progress in meeting those needs. Second, the parties to the agreement would jointly assess and prioritize those needs by comparative risk to human health and the environment. Third, the parties would work cooperatively to resolve those needs through delegation and cooperative management, to the extent allowable under the law, using local, state, and federal authorities and funding available to meet those identified environmental needs. The bill would allow a federal agency, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to join as a party to the community agreement. Federal government participation would be voluntary and would not prevent the community agreement process from going forward. However, recent policy announcements by the EPA suggest that it may be interested in joining with the state and local communities in fashioning cost-effective cooperative solutions to the local environmental problems envisioned by these agreements. Alaska communities face "unfunded mandates" from the federal government that often exceed a community's financial capabilities. Prioritization is necessary. The information exchange and other activities contemplated by the bill would be structured in law and 1994-02-04 House Journal Page 2266 HB 446 regulations, to meet legal requirements that may not presently be met. Given the serious unmet environmental needs of the villages, local communities, and rural areas throughout our state, I urge prompt passage of this bill. Sincerely, /s/ Walter J. Hickel Governor"