Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/15/1993 08:35 AM House FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 167 An Act relating to air quality control and the prevention, abatement, and control of air pollution; relating to civil and criminal penalties, damages, and other remedies for air quality control violations; clarifying the definition of `hazardous substance' to include releases and threatened releases to the atmosphere; amending the lien provisions relating to the oil and hazardous substance release response fund; relating to inspection and enforcement powers of the Department of Environmental Conservation; and providing for an effective date. HB 167 was held in Committee for further discussion. Co-Chair Larson placed HB 167 into Subcommittee with Representative Therriault as Chair and with members Representative Hanley, Representative Parnell and 1 Representative Brown. STEVE PANONE, (teleconference), PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT HILL COMMUNITY COUNCIL, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, provided the Committee background information regarding previous benzene gas fumes on Government Hill. The Department of Environmental Conservation captured air samples of the gas to verify that there was a problem. At this time, the vapors have been eliminated. He added, Government Hill Community Council supports the amendments provided by Representative Kay Brown. Representative Brown indicated that the Department of Law will address their concerns with the bill in the Subcommittee. ROBERT REGES, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CIVIL SERVICE SECTION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, explained the amendment provided by the Department of Law address Sections #.010 and #.015. He provided the Committee with a copy of the Department of Law concerns addressing proposed sections and amendments included with other minor changes sought by the Department. [Attachment #5]. Representative Brown provided the Committee with a packet of amendments addressing both the technical and substantive issues. [Attachment #3]. She provided the Committee with a brief history of the bill process. Representative Brown introduced HB 39 on 1/11/93. At the request of the Department of Environmental Conservation, she introduced a sponsor substitute on 2/03/93, incorporating the working group's proposal. On 2/19/93, Representative Hanley introduced HB 167 which incorporated HB 39 as well as other elements from the old SB 383, which was never adopted. HB 39 was referred to the House Labor and Commerce, House Resources and House Finance Committees. HB 167 was not referred to the House Resources Committee. The House Judiciary Committee held two meetings on HB 167. At the first meeting, copies of the bill were not available for members or public. There was little opportunity for the public to review or comment on the bill. The major standing committee for the bill, House Resources Committee, which should have done the work on the bill has not been involved. Consequently, the public has not had an opportunity to review the provisions of the bill which is before the House Finance Committee. She offered her appreciation to the House Finance Committee for the time allotted to air concerns with the bill. 2 Representative Brown pointed out that the bill has not adequately addressed the budgetary aspects of the fiscal impact. Also, the criminal penalties indicated in the proposed legislation are not appropriately handled. Felony penalties should be reinstated for the most serious emissions. These can harm or damage public health. Representative Brown distributed a letter from Alan Schuler concerning "Emissions During the Cleaning of Petroleum Storage Tanks". [Attachment #2]. Co-Chair MacLean echoed R. Brown's concerns. She added that the State should apply more stringent regulations to the recommended federal guidelines. Additionally, the application and emission fees are not fairly regulated. The services rendered by DEC would include costs of the time in transit to rural areas which will create prohibitive costs to the rural utilities. Representative Brown provided the Committee with a handout from the Government Hill Community Council regarding air quality for the Port of Anchorage. [Attachment #1]. The community remains deeply concerned about the health danger posed by the amount of benzene in the air. Co-Chair Larson placed the bill into subcommittee. The bill was HELD in Committee for further discussion.