Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

02/18/2020 03:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
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        HB 74-COMM. VESSEL ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE/FEE                                                                     
3:17:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of                                                                        
business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 74, "An Act repealing the ocean                                                                
rangers program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
[Before the committee was committee substitute (CS) for HB 74,                                                                  
Version 31-GH1117\S, Marx, 2/10/20, adopted on 2/11/20.]                                                                        
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS took a brief at-ease.                                                                                   
3:21:14 PM                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  opened   public  testimony  during  the                                                               
hearing on CSHB 74.                                                                                                             
3:21:44 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRY  HAINES,  Councilmember,  City  of  Kodiak,  expressed  his                                                               
belief that the concept behind CSHB  74 was promising.  Under the                                                               
proposed  legislation  the ocean  rangers  would  be replaced  by                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Conservation  (DEC) personnel,  who                                                               
would have  more authority and  more ability  to do testing.   He                                                               
said  that given  the cost  of the  ocean ranger  contract, there                                                               
would be  "leeway to  get quite  a bit done."   He  expressed his                                                               
interest  in   funds  for   communities  to   improve  wastewater                                                               
treatment systems.   He said that  for Kodiak to comply  with the                                                               
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  mandate, it must construct                                                               
an  ultraviolet plant  to treat  wastewater before  release.   He                                                               
maintained that  anything the  city does  to make  its wastewater                                                               
cleaner  is  an  improvement  and  of  benefit  to  the  business                                                               
community;  the Alaska  brand of  pristine waters  is what  keeps                                                               
people coming  to Alaska on cruise  ships.  He offered  that CSHB
74 would serve a need in Alaska communities.                                                                                    
3:24:18 PM                                                                                                                    
JACK  SLAGHT relayed  that he  holds a  chief engineer  unlimited                                                               
license in the U.S. Merchant  Marine and understands the workings                                                               
of sewage  treatment plants and  oily water separators  on ships.                                                               
He expressed his  concern that cruise ship  companies, which have                                                               
a poor  track record of  caring for American coastal  waters, not                                                               
be allowed  to operate  unmonitored.   He stated  that adequately                                                               
treating water  on shore and on  ships is expensive.   He advised                                                               
lawmakers to  ensure that  if ocean  rangers are  eliminated from                                                               
ships, then DEC personnel should oversee ship operations.                                                                       
MR. SLAGHT confirmed for Representative  Fields that he spent 25-                                                               
30 years  as a  marine engineer.   Before that  he was  a logger,                                                               
timber faller,  diesel mechanic,  and in  other occupations.   He                                                               
maintained  that he  is not  against "people  making profits  and                                                               
corporations  succeeding," but  his concern  is that  Alaska keep                                                               
its waters safe for the marine environment.                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  whether inspectors  should be  limited to                                                               
marine engineers or whether other  potential licenses or training                                                               
would be adequate for that task.                                                                                                
MR.  SLAGHT  responded  that DEC  personnel  probably  would  not                                                               
understand  how the  systems work  as well  as marine  engineers;                                                               
however, they would be able  to test affluent released from ships                                                               
and the  treated sewage, and  they could examine levels  of fecal                                                               
coliform and chlorine.   He suggested that  oily water separators                                                               
would probably  be under the  purview of U.S. Coast  Guard marine                                                               
safety    inspectors;   however,    a   seasoned,    experienced,                                                               
knowledgeable, and  licensed marine engineer officer  would fully                                                               
understand oily water separators and sewage treatment plants.                                                                   
3:29:03 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM NELICK relayed  that he is a career merchant  mariner and has                                                               
been  an Alaska  ocean ranger  since 2012.   He  referred to  the                                                               
proposal under  CSHB 74,  which would  replace the  ocean rangers                                                               
with DEC staff,  and expressed his opinion  that contract workers                                                               
are generally  more efficient and cost-effective  than government                                                               
workers.    He related  his  experience  operating vessels  since                                                               
1970.   He  said that  he knows  how ships  operate, knows  their                                                               
impact  on  the   environment,  understands  maritime  regulatory                                                               
compliance, and understands  the lack of compliance.   He stated,                                                               
"I   would  guarantee   that  without   a  rigorous   regimen  of                                                               
verification, such has  been provided by the  rangers embarked on                                                               
the  passenger vessels  in Alaskan  waters,  regulations will  be                                                               
broken."   He  maintained that  whether  it is  done by  contract                                                               
ocean rangers  or DEC staff,  rigorous regimen is required.   The                                                               
forms  of  pollution  include:   wastewater;  sewage;  oil;  oily                                                               
waste;  exhaust gas;  scrubber discharge;  chemicals from  pools,                                                               
spas, and  barber shops; spillage of  paint; incidental chemicals                                                               
from crew  exterior maintenance;  air pollution from  the engines                                                               
and  incinerators; garbage;  and  other pollutants.   He  stated,                                                               
"There  are no  reliable technical  means for  remotely detecting                                                               
these types of  pollution, particularly when the ship  - unlike a                                                               
stationary  industrial site  - gets  underway, moves  out of  the                                                               
view of  the scrutiny of  shoreside oversight."  He  offered that                                                               
regarding the  technical devices  that have  been mandated  - the                                                               
oily water separators and the  oil content monitors - workarounds                                                               
can  be  devised and  rapidly  implemented.   "Simply  knowing  -                                                               
perhaps remotely -  when valves are open and  closed doesn't tell                                                               
us the  whole story.   What's flowing  through those  valves into                                                               
the waters  of Alaska?"   He maintained that logbook  entries are                                                               
"simply ink on paper."                                                                                                          
MR.  NELICK  relayed that  in  2006,  the  voice of  the  Alaskan                                                               
citizenry  was heard,  and the  Alaska Ocean  Ranger Program  was                                                               
initiated.    Since  then,  opinion  has  not  changed,  and  the                                                               
passengers of the  vessels - from what he had  heard - agree with                                                               
the  mission  of the  program  and  are  willing to  support  the                                                               
program.  He  said, "The rangers are the eyes,  ears, and nose of                                                               
the State of Alaska 24 hours a  day.  Even our presence on board,                                                               
in  and of  itself,  is  a deterrent."    He  offered that  self-                                                               
reporting of violations would likely  decrease substantially as a                                                               
result of  ocean rangers no  longer being  on board vessels.   He                                                               
said  that the  program is  self-funding;  it is  desired by  the                                                               
electorate; it is desired by  the passengers; and technical means                                                               
cannot replace the work of the  ocean rangers.  He suggested that                                                               
only a few vested interests oppose the Ocean Ranger Program.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  whether  the statute  should continue  to                                                               
require  that  a  marine  engineer  conduct  the  inspections  or                                                               
whether other options could be considered.                                                                                      
MR. NELICK emphasized the  importance of environmental protection                                                               
to marine  engineers; others  may not  have that  dedication; and                                                               
there are ways to circumvent the  proper operation of much of the                                                               
[pollution detection]  equipment.   He expressed his  belief that                                                               
qualified marine  engineers are  what is  needed -  whether ocean                                                               
rangers  or  DEC  staff.    He asserted  that  knowledge  of  the                                                               
machines - their operation and how  they can be circumvented - is                                                               
3:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked for  the scope  of expertise  of a                                                               
marine engineer.                                                                                                                
MR. NELICK  replied that marine  engineering is a  skilled trade;                                                               
it  often begins  with a  degree in  engineering, but  on-the-job                                                               
training can be  substituted.  The job of the  marine engineer is                                                               
to operate, maintain, and repair  all the machinery necessary for                                                               
a modern vessel to operate.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS offered  that  the scope  of the  marine                                                               
engineer  is   any  system  on   board  that  keeps   the  vessel                                                               
functional,   including   wastewater   treatment   and   heating,                                                               
ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).                                                                                       
MR.  NELICK  concurred  and added  electrical  power  generation,                                                               
plumbing, and hydraulics;  he concluded that it is  a broad scope                                                               
of practice.                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FIELDS asked for a  listing of the various waste streams                                                               
aboard a ship.                                                                                                                  
MR. NELICK mentioned the following:   wastewater - which includes                                                               
graywater  and  sewage;  wastewater   streams  from  the  galley,                                                               
swimming  pools, spas,  and  barber shops;  oil  and oily  waste;                                                               
incidental waste  streams from  everyday maintenance  - chemicals                                                               
and cleaners; and garbage from the  passengers.  He cited the new                                                               
exhaust  gas requirements  making air  pollution a  consideration                                                               
with engine discharges and the exhaust of the incinerators.                                                                     
3:39:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked Mr. Nelick  whether he is an active                                                               
ocean ranger and  for a description of a typical  day of an ocean                                                               
MR. NELICK answered  that ocean rangers serve as  the eyes, ears,                                                               
and nose of the  State of Alaska.  In a  24-hour day he maintains                                                               
irregular work hours; he meets  with the environmental officer to                                                               
coordinate  operation  of  equipment and  maintain  logbooks;  he                                                               
performs rounds  with the officer  to locations on the  ship from                                                               
which waste  streams are generated.   Waste streams  generated by                                                               
the  engine room  are  of primary  concern.   He  said he  spends                                                               
several hours  with the environmental officer  and other officers                                                               
who are immediately involved with  the operations associated with                                                               
wastewater.   Findings are  consolidated into  a report  which is                                                               
sent to the ocean ranger team leader and on to DEC.                                                                             
MR.  NELICK continued  by saying  that if  there are  signs of  a                                                               
violation  or of  pollution, the  observations will  be reported.                                                               
The observations may  be discoloration of the  water, heavy stack                                                               
emissions,  an unopened  valve, the  smell or  sight of  effluent                                                               
causing concern.   He added that rangers  also observe wastewater                                                               
samplings by the third-party [wastewater] analysis company.                                                                     
3:44:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  for   more  information  on  the                                                               
analysis company.                                                                                                               
MR. NELICK replied that the  company is Admiralty [Environmental]                                                               
in Juneau;  there are 20-plus  parameters that need to  be tested                                                               
in the  ship's wastewater effluent;  testing is beyond  the scope                                                               
of ocean rangers and shipboard  staff, but rangers do witness the                                                               
sampling.  The samples are sent to the company and analyzed.                                                                    
3:46:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  asked how  often the sampling  and tests                                                               
MR. NELICK  responded that it is  common for a sampling  event to                                                               
occur  on every  ship with  an ocean  ranger in  the summer.   He                                                               
estimated that it occurs several  times per month, which includes                                                               
announced samplings.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked what level of  confidence an ocean                                                               
ranger can  have that  rules are  being followed  considering the                                                               
sheer size of  the ships, number of systems on  board, pipes, and                                                               
technology and the  fact that an ocean ranger can  be only at one                                                               
place at a time and must sleep.                                                                                                 
MR. NELICK acknowledged  that the ships are huge,  and one person                                                               
can't be  all places  at one time  every moment of  the day.   He                                                               
offered that  ocean rangers do  the best  they can.   He reminded                                                               
the representative  that they are  observers and  not inspectors.                                                               
He  said  that much  of  what  they  do  relies on  intuition  as                                                               
engineers - judging appearances,  smells, and sounds; interacting                                                               
with  the crew;  assessing  crew  attitudes toward  environmental                                                               
concerns;    hunches   and    gut   feelings;    noticing   small                                                               
irregularities.   He stated  that he tries  to keep  an irregular                                                               
schedule and  be unpredictable in  what he  checks.  He  said, "I                                                               
would be  less than  forthright to suggest  we would  catch every                                                               
single instance of  a bad actor, but I would  suggest to you that                                                               
having us  try to  make the  observations we can,  as many  as we                                                               
can, gives us a better chance at it."                                                                                           
3:50:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked,  "To what extent do  you feel like                                                               
there's a sort of a cat-and-mouse  dynamic with the ship or staff                                                               
on board"  versus the feeling  that everything is  forthright and                                                               
"you're just sort of checking boxes."   He asked for the spectrum                                                               
encountered on different ships and different companies.                                                                         
MR. NELICK answered  that in his experience, much  depends on the                                                               
rapport  he establishes  with the  environmental  officer on  the                                                               
ship.   He relayed that in  his estimation, over the  years these                                                               
officers have  become more  "tuned in"  to sincere  protection of                                                               
the environment.   In  the past they  were assigned  these duties                                                               
but normally had  other duties.  He added that  currently when he                                                               
meets with a dedicated,  professional, environmental officer, the                                                               
officer has  a college level  or graduate level degree  in marine                                                               
sciences and  - in his estimation  - tend not to  be deceptive or                                                               
less than  forthright.  He said  that it could always  change; he                                                               
is  not a  mind-reader.   He  acknowledged there  are times  when                                                               
someone seems to  be hiding something, which  spurs his interest;                                                               
but often  the ship  staff seem  to support  the overall  goal of                                                               
protecting the environment and are putting forth that effort.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked for  confirmation that  the answer                                                               
is, "It's a spectrum; it's a spread."                                                                                           
MR.  NELICK  agreed.    He  offered that  efforts  on  board  are                                                               
improving and ocean ranger scrutiny played a part.                                                                              
3:53:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  referred to Mr. Nelick's  testimony that                                                               
ocean rangers are  observers and asked about the  contents of the                                                               
communication to DEC when reporting a finding.                                                                                  
MR.  NELICK  answered  that  there   are  different  reports  for                                                               
different  events.   A more  impactful observation  would receive                                                               
more prompt attention.   A report of a spill  goes immediately to                                                               
DEC and  to the  U.S. Coast  Guard.   Most of  the time  a report                                                               
would go through the ocean ranger manager.                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to  testimony by  Commissioner                                                               
Jason  Brune  (DEC) that  there  were  six notices  of  violation                                                               
(NOVs)  generated   by  the  Ocean   Ranger  Program   since  its                                                               
inception.   He asked whether six  NOVs reflects a high  level of                                                               
compliance by the industry.                                                                                                     
MR.   NELICK  responded,   "No   ...  that   would   not  be   my                                                               
interpretation."    He  offered  that  the  NOV  process  is  not                                                               
initiated  by  the  ocean rangers;  ocean  rangers  submit  their                                                               
observations; whether  those observations  are processed  as NOVs                                                               
is up to DEC.  He  suggested that the statistic may be misleading                                                               
for  that  reason.    He  offered that  some  ocean  rangers  are                                                               
frustrated  when  their  findings  result   in  no  action.    He                                                               
suggested  the committee  ask that  question of  the other  ocean                                                               
ranger testifiers.                                                                                                              
3:57:09 PM                                                                                                                    
GERSHON COHEN relayed  that his involvement with  the cruise ship                                                               
industry  and  wastewater  discharges  and  violations  spans  20                                                               
years; he  served five years  on the Commercial  Passenger Vessel                                                               
Environmental Compliance task  force in the early  2000s after it                                                               
became  widely  known  that  there  had  been  widespread  felony                                                               
convictions  throughout the  industry in  six U.S.  jurisdictions                                                               
including Alaska.  He stated that  the task force was not able to                                                               
convince  DEC to  pass any  regulations of  note to  control ship                                                               
discharges.   Consequently, the  voter-approved Ballot  Measure 2                                                               
was passed [2006]  creating the Ocean Ranger Program;  he was one                                                               
of its authors.                                                                                                                 
MR. COHEN  maintained that CSHB  74 "hopes" for  oversight rather                                                               
than "requires"  it.  He  stated that currently  statute requires                                                               
ocean rangers to  be on board ships and requires  them to perform                                                               
certain duties.   The proposed legislation:  1)  would repeal the                                                               
Ocean  Ranger Program  in its  entirety; and  2) states  that the                                                               
department can  adopt regulations that  may or may not  result in                                                               
inspections by DEC staff or  independent contractors while a ship                                                               
is underway.   He cited  page 2, lines  25-31, of CSHB  74, which                                                               
          (c)  While   a  commercial  passenger   vessel  is                                                                    
     present in  the marine  waters of the  state, including                                                                
     while  underway,  the  department,  or  an  independent                                                                
     contractor retained by the department, may                                                                                 
               (1)   inspect   systems   that   affect   air                                                                
     emissions or collect, treat,  or dispose of wastewater;                                                                
               (2)   collect  additional   samples  of   the                                                                
     vessel's   treated   sewage,   graywater,   and   other                                                                    
     wastewaters being discharged into  the marine waters of                                                                    
     the state.                                                                                                                 
MR.  COHEN pointed  out  that "may"  presents  a "very  different                                                               
world" from  requiring in statute  that inspections  be performed                                                               
by someone on board.                                                                                                            
4:00:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  COHEN  noted that  Commissioner  Brune  has made  statements                                                               
suggesting  that the  Ocean Ranger  Program  was unnecessary  and                                                               
unfair:  unfair  in the sense that Alaska does  not observe other                                                               
dischargers  in  the  way  that   it  observes  the  cruise  ship                                                               
industry; and unnecessary because of  the low number of NOVs that                                                               
have occurred in the past 12  years.  He responded that "there is                                                               
a  world of  difference" between  a land-based  discharger and  a                                                               
marine  discharger; they  cannot be  compared.   He  said that  a                                                               
land-based  discharger is  stationary; DEC  can visit  it at  any                                                               
time;  and  the  discharge  itself  is fixed.    An  analysis  of                                                               
background conditions  can be performed  to measure  changes over                                                               
time  in  the  area.     A  marine-based  discharger  presents  a                                                               
completely  different situation,  especially  with 30-plus  ships                                                               
traveling up and  down the inside passage over the  course of the                                                               
summer.  Multiple  ships may discharge in the same  waters on the                                                               
same day.  That is why an ocean ranger needs to be on board.                                                                    
MR. COHEN continued by saying  that Commissioner Brune's comments                                                               
also seem to  ignore the history of felony convictions.   He said                                                               
that he  is not aware  of any other  industry in Alaska  with the                                                               
history of  felony convictions like  the cruise ship  industry as                                                               
far   as   purposefully   dumping   pollutants   overboard   that                                                               
contaminate  public waters.   He  mentioned  that although  there                                                               
have been  only six NOVs  over the  course of the  program, there                                                               
have been over 300 incident reports  referred to DEC that did not                                                               
become NOVs.   He relayed  that regarding  electronic monitoring,                                                               
it can  provide information  - when valves  are open,  the system                                                               
with  which the  valve functions,  the ship  with the  valve, the                                                               
length of  time the valve is  open, and the volume  of discharge;                                                               
however, it does not relay  whether the equipment was "hacked" or                                                               
bypassed.  He maintained that  repeatedly members of the industry                                                               
have   bypassed   pollution   control  equipment   to   discharge                                                               
pollutants  and falsified  logbooks.   He said  that happened  20                                                               
years  ago, and  it happened  just  a few  years ago.   In  2016,                                                               
Princess  Cruise Lines  was convicted  of purposefully  bypassing                                                               
oil bilge  water separators and submitting  falsified logbooks to                                                               
the U.S.  Coast Guard.   He emphasized that these  events support                                                               
having ocean rangers on board.                                                                                                  
MR.  COHEN offered  that in  addition to  their duties  as marine                                                               
engineers  looking after  the equipment  on board,  ocean rangers                                                               
are  responsible  for a  broader  set  of public  health  related                                                               
observations.  He mentioned the  recent events with coronaviruses                                                               
on cruise  ships and stressed  the importance of having  an ocean                                                               
ranger  on  board  to  monitor   respiratory  illnesses  and  the                                                               
infirmary.  He  concluded that ocean rangers  perform many duties                                                               
that cannot be replaced by  electronic monitoring; and under CSHB
74, electronic  monitoring is not required  but only incentivized                                                               
by a reduced  fee.  He maintained that the  entire monitoring and                                                               
reporting  system  under  the  Ocean   Ranger  Program  would  be                                                               
eliminated with  repeal of the program;  the proposed legislation                                                               
would  replace the  program with  a "hope"  that DEC  would adopt                                                               
meaningful regulations.   He offered  that public opinion  on the                                                               
program has  not changed; the  program is  paid for by  fees from                                                               
the passengers;  and there is  no reason  to discontinue it.   He                                                               
added that regarding the use  of the passenger fees for shoreside                                                               
facilities,  he doubts  that the  tonnage  clause [requiring  the                                                               
fees be used to benefit ships, not passengers] would allow it.                                                                  
4:07:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked Mr. Cohen's  opinion on the repeal  of the                                                               
opportunity  for   citizens'  suits  [AS  46.03.481]   under  the                                                               
proposed legislation.                                                                                                           
MR. COHEN stated that there have  been no citizen suits since the                                                               
program  started; however,  he maintained  that it  represents an                                                               
opportunity for  the public to  hold the agencies and  ship staff                                                               
accountable.   He  said he  would not  like to  see that  section                                                               
4:08:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS SCHNEIDER  testified that he  has been an ocean  ranger for                                                               
eight  years.   In his  experience the  cruise ship  industry has                                                               
been good for  tourism in Alaska.  He mentioned  the thousands of                                                               
employees  on board  and  said that  mistakes can  be  made.   He                                                               
maintained that  having ocean rangers  on board serves as  a good                                                               
deterrent [to  polluting] and sets  priorities [for  ship staff].                                                               
He  expressed  his   belief  that  there  has   not  been  enough                                                               
transparency with  the Ocean  Ranger Program;  the public  is not                                                               
aware of  the program;  and reports  should be  made public.   He                                                               
stressed that before eliminating a  program that the public voted                                                               
to have, the public should see the product of that program.                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  whether marine  engineers have  the right                                                               
qualifications to do inspections.                                                                                               
MR. SCHNEIDER opined that using  marine engineers is the easy way                                                               
to  administer  the program;  they  are  very familiar  with  the                                                               
equipment.   Other  people  could  be trained,  but  it would  be                                                               
difficult and take a long time.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR FIELDS  asked Mr. Schneider what  percentage of sailings                                                               
should have an  inspector on board - either an  ocean ranger or a                                                               
DEC employee.                                                                                                                   
MR. SCHNEIDER  answered, "The  more the  better."   He maintained                                                               
that having inspectors on board  has been an effective deterrent.                                                               
He suggested that  using only DEC staff would not  be optimal; it                                                               
is difficult traveling  in Southeast Alaska, even  in the summer.                                                               
He mentioned that a mix of  ocean rangers and DEC employees might                                                               
work out well.   He stated that it is  difficult to determine the                                                               
effectiveness  of  the  program.    He  referred  to  the  court-                                                               
appointed  monitors required  by the  U.S. Department  of Justice                                                               
(USDOJ) after Carnival Cruise Lines  was cited [for environmental                                                               
violations and falsifying records]; teams  of auditors flew in to                                                               
perform monitoring.  He maintained  that violations were found to                                                               
have occurred in many places but not in Alaska.                                                                                 
4:13:44 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  LAYKO relayed  that  he  has worked  in  the cruise  ship                                                               
industry  for 40  years -  20 years  as a  marine engineer  and 8                                                               
years as  an ocean ranger.   He maintained that if  ocean rangers                                                               
were  not on  board ships,  there would  be many  more incidents;                                                               
many would  go unnoticed until it  was too late.   He stated that                                                               
as an ocean  ranger, he would meet with  the ship's environmental                                                               
officer and review  the waste streams on ship.   He described the                                                               
treatment of  food waste  on board; it  is pulped  and discharged                                                               
into the  ocean; it  is often  contaminated with  non-food items,                                                               
which  must be  discarded before  discharge.   He also  mentioned                                                               
pollution caused  by paint chips; crews  are continually painting                                                               
the ships;  sometimes they neglect  to use containment  for paint                                                               
chips.   He reviewed  the duties  of the  ocean ranger:   monitor                                                               
wastewater and any  waste, look for pollutant  discharge into the                                                               
ocean, watch for illnesses, check  sanitation practices, note any                                                               
potential hazards, and keep records.   He maintained that without                                                               
ocean rangers on board, ship staff  would just "do what they want                                                               
to do."   He offered  that DEC would  not be able  to effectively                                                               
monitor  the ships,  if inspection  is performed  only while  the                                                               
ship is  in port.   He said that the  program is working;  he has                                                               
confidence that  ocean ranger  presence makes  a difference.   He                                                               
maintained  that [marine  engineer] experience  is important  for                                                               
effective monitoring.   He added that the ships  are only getting                                                               
bigger with  more impact; he  was on  three ships last  year with                                                               
6,000-plus people on  board.  He maintained that the  few NOVs is                                                               
due to  ocean rangers  being on  board ships.   He  mentioned the                                                               
violation  that  occurred  in   Glacier  Bay  National  Park  and                                                               
Preserve  [the illegal  discharge of  gray water  in the  park on                                                               
9/11/18]; there was no ranger  on the ship; electronic monitoring                                                               
would not have  discovered the discharge.  He  emphasized that if                                                               
the program is eliminated, Alaska would have many more problems.                                                                
4:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFF  HOKKANEN testified  that he  was one  of eight  Alaskans in                                                               
last year's Ocean  Ranger Program and has worked  in the maritime                                                               
industry in  Alaska since  1981.  He  stressed the  importance of                                                               
good  salaried  jobs  that the  Ocean  Ranger  Program  provides,                                                               
funded  by passenger  fees at  no cost  to Alaska,  and having  a                                                               
trickledown  effect for  the  Alaska economy.    He stated,  "The                                                               
governor  wants to  repeal  the  program that  I  and many  other                                                               
Alaskans  voted for."    He said,  "Don't be  fooled  by all  the                                                               
reasons that  the commissioner gives for  repealing the program."                                                               
He opined  that Governor [Michael  J. Dunleavy] wants to  use the                                                               
funds to  "grow government."   He offered  that it would  be more                                                               
beneficial to keep the program as  the voters wanted - to produce                                                               
jobs  and   protect  the  safety   of  the  passengers   and  the                                                               
environment.     He  shared  that   ocean  rangers   can  rectify                                                               
situations that can potentially cause problems.                                                                                 
4:23:23 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN CLIFTON  PASSMORE, paraphrased  from his  written testimony,                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
     My name is John Clifton  Passmore and I am representing                                                                    
     myself.  I am  a resident  of Eagle  River, a  US Coast                                                                    
     Guard licensed  master mariner and  an Ocean  ranger. I                                                                    
     watched this Committee's previous  hearing on HB 74 and                                                                    
     I would like to make a few comments.                                                                                       
     First of all,  there are a few good ideas  in the bill.                                                                    
     Requiring  the  cruise  lines  to  submit  data  in  an                                                                    
     approved format  should save the  state time  and money                                                                    
     and is  in line with requirements  for other monitoring                                                                    
     Random inspections  may also  be a  way to  improve the                                                                    
     program,  although   as  I  explained  in   my  written                                                                    
     testimony, the devil will be in the details.                                                                               
     When   voters  including   myself  passed   the  ballot                                                                    
     initiative  in  2006   establishing  the  Ocean  Ranger                                                                    
     program  it  was  out  [sic]   intent  that  the  funds                                                                    
     collected  for the  Ocean Ranger  program  be used  for                                                                    
     onboard   monitoring    by   licensed    engineers   or                                                                    
     equivalently qualified  individuals. Marine engineer[s]                                                                    
     are senior  vessel personnel, ship officers,  that meet                                                                    
     national and  international standards for  training and                                                                    
     competency. Licensed engineers,  together with licensed                                                                    
     deck officers,  are the men  and women who  operate the                                                                    
     ships. We  are, contrary to statements  by Commissioner                                                                    
     Brune, more  than qualified to monitor  cruise vessels.                                                                    
     The  US   Coast  Guard  has  determined   that  we  are                                                                    
     qualified [to] be legally  responsible to operate large                                                                    
     vessels  and  follow  all  applicable  laws,  including                                                                    
     environmental laws.  Most of us have  unlimited tonnage                                                                    
     licenses, in other words, any  vessel, any tonnage, any                                                                    
     waters,  and many  Ocean Ranger[s]  are licensed  chief                                                                    
     engineers, which  is the highest engineering  rating. 2                                                                    
     of us  are master  mariners and  could take  command of                                                                    
     any vessel, including cruise ships.  We are the experts                                                                    
     on  operating large  vessels, and  this  is the  reason                                                                    
     Ocean Ranger[s]  are required to be  licensed engineers                                                                    
     or equivalent.                                                                                                             
     Upgrading sewage treatment  facilities in ports visited                                                                    
     by cruise  ships is  a good  idea, but  diverting funds                                                                    
     from  the   Ocean  Ranger  program  is   not  the  most                                                                    
     appropriate  source. More  appropriate sources  include                                                                    
     revenue  collected  from  cruise   ships  that  is  not                                                                    
     designated for the Ocean Ranger program.                                                                                   
     Princess Cruise lines and  its parent company Carnival,                                                                    
     are on probation for  environmental violations and were                                                                    
     found in  violation of conditions of  probation in June                                                                    
     of  2019 and  fined $20  million. My  written testimony                                                                    
     included  a  link  to  the  Court  Appointed  Monitor's                                                                    
     report  from  December  2019   showing  a  culture  and                                                                    
     pattern of  repeated violations of  environmental laws,                                                                    
     including  using  heavy  fuel  near  Glacier  Bay  last                                                                    
     August. If  there is any  doubt that some  cruise lines                                                                    
     are not  capable of policing  themselves and  cannot be                                                                    
     trusted to do the right  thing, a few minutes of review                                                                    
     of this document will remove  any doubt. Now is not the                                                                    
     time to  remove monitoring requirements  from convicted                                                                    
     felons that repeatedly  violate conditions of probation                                                                    
     and allow  them to police themselves,  which is exactly                                                                    
     what HB 74 proposes.                                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  Mr.  Passmore to  comment  on reports  of                                                               
violations sent to DEC which don't officially become NOVs.                                                                      
MR. PASSMORE replied  that with the exception of a  spill - which                                                               
would require immediate action -  ocean rangers report violations                                                               
to vessel personnel,  send it to the [ocean  ranger] company, and                                                               
the company sends  it on to DEC; it is  DEC's decision whether to                                                               
make it an NOV.  Some incidents are minor.                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR   KREISS-TOMKINS  asked   whether  ocean   rangers  have                                                               
reported more serious violations  that they thought constituted a                                                               
harm to clean water but did not generate an NOV.                                                                                
MR. PASSMORE answered, "I believe  so but I'm hearing them second                                                               
hand so ... I would hate to say for sure."                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE asked  for  confirmation  that most  marine                                                               
engineers have the capacity to take command of any vessel.                                                                      
MR.  PASSMORE  answered  that  one  must be  a  captain  to  take                                                               
command, but  they can be  responsible for all the  machinery and                                                               
all the equipment on the  vessel, including the pollution-related                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE asked  whether at any point  an ocean ranger                                                               
would need to assume authority [as captain].                                                                                    
MR. PASSMORE  replied, "No.  We  have the same licenses  that the                                                               
guys that are operating the vessels  do, so we understand what to                                                               
4:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  asked about  the qualifications to  be an                                                               
ocean ranger and if there is an internship program for it.                                                                      
MR.  PASSMORE answered  that  the process  for  getting a  marine                                                               
engineer's  license  or a  deck  license  is generally  a  4-year                                                               
degree through an academy and a  series of tests; to advance to a                                                               
chief  engineer  takes  another   1,060  days  plus  testing  and                                                               
classes.    He  maintained  that  marine  engineers  become  very                                                               
experienced through the process.                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  about  Mr.  Passmore's  personal                                                               
experience  on board  regarding the  "cat-and-mouse" versus  "boy                                                               
scout" spectrum question that he posed to Mr. Nelick.                                                                           
MR. PASSMORE said that he has  seen less of the cat-and-mouse and                                                               
more of either apathy or ignorance.   He mentioned a discharge of                                                               
spa water  because someone just  started the job and  didn't know                                                               
any better.   In the incident  of the paint chips  going into the                                                               
ocean, the  workers had the  containment available  but neglected                                                               
to move it to where they were working.                                                                                          
4:31:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  suggested   the  possibility  of  "hybrid"                                                               
legislation  to   implement  the  "positives"  in   the  proposed                                                               
legislation.   She stated that the  fiscal note (FN) for  CSHB 74                                                               
[Office of Management & Budget  (OMB) component Number 3204, page                                                               
2]  requests two  new Environmental  Program Specialists  and two                                                               
Engineers; therefore, although the  Ocean Ranger Program would be                                                               
eliminated, the DEC hires would have  the authority of DEC to act                                                               
immediately instead of through the  [third-party] company and DEC                                                               
staff.  She asked if that  scenario offers using the expertise of                                                               
the engineers in a greater capacity.                                                                                            
MR.  PASSMORE responded,  "Possibly" but  added that  there would                                                               
not be  a shipboard presence -  or a shipboard presence  would be                                                               
very rare; a shipboard presence is needed.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE referred again to page  2 of the FN to point                                                               
out that  it states,  "approximately 45  in-state trips  would be                                                               
required  for inspectors".   She  offered that  the hope  is that                                                               
Alaska  would  not  be eliminating  marine  engineers  and  their                                                               
expertise but  giving them  more authority  to act  immediately -                                                               
cutting  out  the  middleman.    She  maintained  that  expertise                                                               
without  authority is  not utilizing  the  personnel for  maximum                                                               
impact.  She  urged the committee to look for  a happy medium and                                                               
accept that  change can  be good.   She  suggested that  there is                                                               
angst  over the  proposed  legislation related  to "something  is                                                               
completely being  lost"; her hope  is to  gain through CS  HB 74;                                                               
more  discussion  is needed  to  determine  what the  regulations                                                               
would be.                                                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  FIELDS asked  for the  number of  ocean rangers  at sea                                                               
doing inspections at any given time during the summer.                                                                          
MR. PASSMORE replied, around 15.                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  asked for the  name of the  company that                                                               
had the Ocean Ranger Program contract.                                                                                          
MR.   PASSMORE   answered   that   it   was   Crowley   [Maritime                                                               
4:36:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE GELDHOF  testified that he  was one of the  principle authors                                                               
of the  [Ballot Measure 2]  initiative; he has been  an Assistant                                                               
Attorney General;  and he  has been on  contract with  the Alaska                                                               
State Senate to  address cruise ship revenue issues.   He relayed                                                               
other work  he has done  relating to  the maritime industry.   He                                                               
stated  that  the  large  passenger  vessels  sailing  in  Alaska                                                               
present   a  significant   regulatory  challenge   in  terms   of                                                               
protecting  Alaska's marine  waters.   Vessels are  mobile; there                                                               
are upwards  of 1.5 million  passengers on  the vessels; it  is a                                                               
dynamic industry; it is a  capital- and labor-intensive industry;                                                               
the industry makes  a great deal of money and  provides many good                                                               
opportunities for Alaskans  and visitors to the state.   He said,                                                               
"I am  not here  to try  to throttle  the large  [passenger ship]                                                               
industry;  they have  been good  to  Alaska; but  they have  real                                                               
problems with their  marine and air discharges."   He pointed out                                                               
that  CSHB  74 focuses  more  on  marine  discharge, which  is  a                                                               
serious  issue.   He said  that  in addition  to the  passengers,                                                               
there is  upward of 400,000 crew,  who also create a  large waste                                                               
MR. GELDHOF stated that DEC has  had a casual attitude in dealing                                                               
with  [waste  discharges];  the  attitude  predates  the  current                                                               
administration; it  is the reason citizens  passed Ballot Measure                                                               
2 in  2006.   He said  that the leading  proponents of  the Ocean                                                               
Ranger  Program  and  onboard monitoring  were  Alaska's  fishing                                                               
fleet and Alaska Native women, out  of concern for what was being                                                               
released into the waters.   He continued by expressing his belief                                                               
that there  is room for  improvement in the existing  program; he                                                               
offered his support  for some electronic monitoring  both to save                                                               
money and  to provide  real-time data  for regulating  industry -                                                               
whether  by  contract or  by  DEC.    He  said that  the  onboard                                                               
observer under the  Ocean Ranger Program is a  vital component of                                                               
enforcing  Alaska's   water  quality  standards.     He  compared                                                               
eliminating  onboard  observers  with  eliminating  Alaska  State                                                               
Troopers  and  relying  on probation  officer  to  do  occasional                                                               
4:40:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GELDHOF  challenged  the  committee  to  make  the  proposed                                                               
legislation  "the best  possible bill."   He  said that  could be                                                               
accomplished   by  requiring   some  limited   monitoring;  video                                                               
monitoring of  the electronic monitoring  is also  a possibility.                                                               
He mentioned  broadband and technical issues  and the possibility                                                               
of legal issues regarding requiring  hardware on ships.  In order                                                               
to get  data from the ships,  the State of Alaska  could offer to                                                               
incentivize  or  pay  for  electronic  monitoring  devices.    He                                                               
maintained that Alaska  needs to know when ship  valves are open;                                                               
Alaska  can  use modern  technology  to  improve enforcement  and                                                               
protection of its  waters.  He emphasized that there  needs to be                                                               
at least  some ocean rangers;  the department has  the discretion                                                               
to put rangers on ships  that have demonstrated repeated patterns                                                               
of abuse.                                                                                                                       
MR.   GELDHOF   maintained   that   it   is   the   legislature's                                                               
responsibility  to establish  in  law the  minimum standards  for                                                               
protecting  Alaska's  waters  and  the  public's  resources;  the                                                               
department's  job is  to determine  how best  to administer  that                                                               
law.  He asserted that CSHB  74 gives DEC too much discretion for                                                               
setting standards through regulations.   He supported unannounced                                                               
inspections and a  layered monitoring approach -  some full, some                                                               
part-time,  some   occasional  through  port  inspections.     He                                                               
recommended   amplification  of   the  existing   penalties  [for                                                               
violations] determined  by reviewing  the reports and  the fines.                                                               
He  said  that by  not  examining  and  evaluating the  value  of                                                               
Alaska's  marine waters,  Alaska is  doing its  visitors and  its                                                               
citizens a  disservice.  He  pointed out the legal  problems with                                                               
using passenger fees  for improvement of shore  sites; there must                                                               
be a  strong nexus.   He recommended that the  existing financial                                                               
framework  be kept  in place  with  the $4  dollar per  passenger                                                               
ocean ranger fee to operate  the program to facilitate budgeting.                                                               
He suggested adding a $3  surcharge to capitalize improvements to                                                               
shore side facilities in places  that experience ship discharges;                                                               
he  suggested  sunsetting the  surcharge  after  ten years.    He                                                               
concluded by saying that the  ocean rangers do look at sanitation                                                               
in  addition to  gray water  and wastewater  [discharges]; giving                                                               
them  additional  authority  to  collect data  for  DEC  and  the                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS)  on pathogens on                                                               
board  is a  good idea.    He said  that the  Center for  Disease                                                               
Control  and  Prevention  (CDC)  monitors  influenza  viruses  in                                                               
Southeast  Alaska because  it is  often one  of the  first places                                                               
they are  detected in Alaska.   He maintained that is  a role for                                                               
inspectors that should be explored.                                                                                             
4:47:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on CSHB 74.                                                                     
[CSHB 74 was held over.]                                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 144 ver. M 2.17.20.PDF HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Sponsor Statement 1.23.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - Photo of Juneau Headstone.jpg HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - U.S. Senate on Energy and Natural Resources press release.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - Alpinist.com article, Walter Harper the First to Reach the Top of Denali.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - Anchorage Daily News article, 12-16-17.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - National Park Service article, A Brief Account of the 1913 Climb of Denali.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - National Park Service article, The Ultimate Triumph and Tragedy Remembering Walter Harper 100 Years Later.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Supporting Document - National Park Service article, Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station Dedication.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 letter of support - Johanna Harper 2.4.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 letter of support - Mary Ehrlander 2.4.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 letter of support - Princess Cruises 2.4.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 144 Fiscal Note DOA-FAC 2.17.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144
HB 239 ver. M 2.17.20.PDF HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Sponsor Statement 2.6.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Sectional Analysis 2.6.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Legislative Research Report Powerball Legislation 2016 2.6.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Where does lottery money go in different states 2.6.2020.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Fiscal Note DOC-IDO 2.17.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 2.17.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Fiscal Note DOR-TAX 2.17.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 239 Fiscal Note DOA-PDA 2.17.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 239
HB 74 Supporting Document John Clifton Testimony 2.18.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
SB 144 Letter of Support - Testimony 2.20.20.pdf HSTA 2/18/2020 3:00:00 PM
SB 144