Legislature(2019 - 2020)

2019-02-25 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2019-02-25                     House Journal                      Page 0223
HB 74                                                                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 74 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                    
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act repealing the ocean rangers program; and providing for                                                             
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Resources, and                                                       
Finance Committees.                                                                                                             
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Fiscal, Dept. of Environmental Conservation                                                                                 
2.  Fiscal, Dept. of Environmental Conservation                                                                                 
3.  Fiscal, Dept. of Environmental Conservation                                                                                 
4.  Fiscal, Dept. of Environmental Conservation                                                                                 
The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 21 follows:                                                                    
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill repealing the Ocean Rangers                                                              
The Ocean Rangers Program, codified at AS 46.03.476, requires large                                                             
commercial vessels operating in state waters to have independent                                                                
observers, "ocean rangers," on board to monitor compliance with                                                                 
marine discharge and pollution laws. To pay for the program, AS                                                                 
46.03.480(d) imposes a $4 fee for each berth on commercial passenger                                                            
vessels with 250 or more berths. The Department of Environmental                                                                
Conservation (DEC) administers the program indirectly through a                                                                 
contractor that hires and supervises the rangers.                                                                               

2019-02-25                     House Journal                      Page 0224
This program provides limited benefit to residents of the state but                                                             
imposes a $4 fee for each berth on large commercial passenger                                                                   
vessels. Repealing the program will reduce the state's budget by nearly                                                         
$4,000,000.00 each year.                                                                                                        
Eliminating this program does not significantly affect the regulation of                                                        
cruise ships in state water. The program itself does not establish                                                              
substantive environmental standards. Department permitting and                                                                  
compliance staff will still monitor cruise ships for compliance with                                                            
state wastewater and air quality permits and regulations through                                                                
records reviews, inspections in port, opacity monitoring, and vessel                                                            
The existing Ocean Rangers contract expires on October 31, 2019. The                                                            
effective date of January 1, 2020 would allow the program to run                                                                
through the summer 2019 cruise ship season and complete any post-                                                               
season work or fee reconciliation.                                                                                              
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Michael J. Dunleavy