Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/08/1997 01:12 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 144 - DEC FEES:  PESTICIDES AND CHEMICALS                                
                                                                               
 Number 0380                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON announced the next order of business was House             
 Bill No. 144, "An Act authorizing the Department of Environmental             
 Conservation to charge certain fees relating to registration of               
 pesticides and broadcast chemicals; and providing for an effective            
 date."                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0416                                                                   
                                                                               
 BARBARA COTTING, Legislative Assistant to Representative Jeannette            
 James, presented the sponsor statement.  Representative James had             
 submitted HB 144 at the request of the Alaska Department of                   
 Environmental Conservation (ADEC), Division of Environmental                  
 Health.  The ADEC oversees pesticide use in Alaska.  Services                 
 consist of applicator training and certification, issuing permits             
 for public use projects and ensuring pesticides are used properly.            
 This includes requiring manufacturers to register their products              
 with the state.  The program is funded in part by the federal                 
 government, with a state match.                                               
                                                                               
 MS. COTTING said every other state pays for its share of the                  
 pesticide program through a registration fee levied against the               
 chemical manufacturers.  The ADEC would like to do the same in                
 Alaska, but statutory authority is needed.  No Alaskan would pay              
 this fee, since there are no chemical manufacturers in Alaska.  The           
 ADEC proposes to charge a $100 fee per label.  At that low rate, it           
 should not even impact these large manufacturers' bottom lines in             
 any meaningful way, but it will have a positive impact on Alaska's            
 general fund, with an expected annual savings of more than $56,000,           
 to be replaced with program receipts.  She invited Janice Adair to            
 answer technical questions.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0481                                                                   
                                                                               
 JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health,                     
 Department of Environmental Conservation, came forward to testify.            
 Alaska has an active but small pesticide program, doing primarily             
 training and certification of applicators.  Since pesticides are              
 chemicals intended to kill living things, it is important they be             
 used properly.  "We have great success, actually, and have very few           
 problems with misuse of pesticides," she commented.                           
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR said the registration requirement is fairly important,              
 not only to track which pesticides are being used in Alaska, but              
 also because if the ADEC knows a certain pesticide has not been               
 used in Alaska, it is easy to waive the monitoring requirement                
 relating to drinking water.                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR said every other state pays for its pesticide program               
 through a combination of a federal grant and fees charged to                  
 manufacturers.  This bill would allow the state to charge chemical            
 manufacturers such as Dow Chemical and Corning for registration of            
 their products in Alaska.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0559                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked how change would be handled as far as              
 labels, for example.                                                          
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR replied that the registration requirement applies to the            
 approved use of the chemical.  She noted that herbicides are                  
 included in the category of pesticides.  She said there is a                  
 certain "block use" the chemical is good for; she would not expect            
 much change in that after registration.  Because a company sends              
 its labels, the ADEC knows the ingredients.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what happens when a formula changes.               
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR said it depends how dramatic the formula change is.                 
 Addition of a different ingredient would probably require a new               
 registration, because it would require watching for an ancillary              
 impact not expected under the prior formula.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0647                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether, in addition to herbicides,                
 fungicides and so forth are included.                                         
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR replied, "All those `cides' are pesticides, because                 
 they're all intended to kill a living organism.  And that's                   
 essentially what a pesticide is."                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0676                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked who pays for this.                                     
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR said the large chemical manufacturers that make the                 
 pesticides pay.                                                               
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN OGAN asked for confirmation that farmers would not pay            
 for it.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR said theoretically, this $56,000 will impact these multi-           
 million dollar corporations' bottom lines in some fashion.                    
 However, the farmers also pay for programs in 49 other states,                
 which fund it in exactly the same way.  She doubts that farmers               
 would see an increase, although certainly it could be passed along            
 to the consumer, as she assumed already occurs in the other 49                
 states.  "But I will tell you that the farmers in your district do            
 take advantage of this program and, I would think, want to see it             
 continue," she said.  "Certainly that's the comments we've                    
 received, when we just recently did an update to our regulations."            
                                                                               
 Number 0736                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Ms. Adair whether the ADEC had informed            
 the "Dow Chemicals" of the world that this was impending.                     
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR replied that the companies have been surprised it has not           
 happened yet.  She said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)             
 had done a couple of reports to Congress on the pesticide programs            
 operating in the states.  In each of those, Alaska stands out as              
 the only state that does not do this.  She said the companies are             
 aware and have not commented on it specifically.                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked whether it is fair to conclude the                 
 companies had an opportunity to testify that day.                             
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR indicated it would not have been appropriate for her to             
 set that up.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0787                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN HUDSON commented, "We didn't call them."  He asked Ms.            
 Adair whether the $100 was a standard fee used by other states.  He           
 suggested Dow Chemical could come up with $1,000.                             
                                                                               
 MS. ADAIR explained that most other states have a much larger                 
 pesticide program, especially in agricultural areas.  Their fees              
 are based not only on numbers of products, but also on the amount             
 of certain chemicals by weight, for example.  She offered to                  
 provide one of the EPA's reports; however, she did not have it with           
 her.  Those reports address different funding mechanisms adopted by           
 other states.  Few have only a flat, per-label fee.  Almost all               
 have something in addition because they have bigger programs to               
 support.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0941                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to move HB 144 from committee              
 with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note.  There being            
 no objection, HB 144 moved from the House Resources Standing                  
 Committee.                                                                    

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