Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/30/1993 09:03 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  SENATOR   RANDY   PHILLIPS   introduced  SJR   25   (IMPROVE                 
  WATER/SANITATION  IN  RURAL  ALASKA) as  the  next  order of                 
  business.                                                                    
                                                                               
  RUSSELL  HEATH,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Environmental                 
  Lobby,  testifying  in  support  of  SJR  25,  stated  their                 
  organization  considers the  deplorable  drinking water  and                 
  sanitation conditions that exist in the rural communities of                 
  Alaska  to  be  one  of  the  most  egregious  environmental                 
  problems facing the state today.   He said every effort must                 
  be made to bring  rural water and sanitation services  up to                 
  the same standards  that urban  Alaska and the  rest of  the                 
  Nation expect and demand.                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Heath criticized proposed budget  cuts in the Department                 
  of Environmental Conservation, saying that  cuts are so deep                 
  that  its  drinking  water  and  solid  waste  programs  are                 
  threatened.                                                                  
  Number 275                                                                   
                                                                               
  JOHN  SANDOR,  Commissioner,  Department   of  Environmental                 
  Conservation,  stated DEC's support for  SJR 25.  He related                 
  that during the previous week,  the Environmental Protection                 
  Agency  brought together  25  people  from  various  federal                 
  agencies  in  Washington, D.C.  in  support of  dealing with                 
  Alaska's water sanitation problems.  He  said the group will                 
  be  getting  together again  in  four  to six  weeks  and he                 
  believes the state has a strong  commitment from the EPA and                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  will  be  on the  way  to  getting a  partnership  effort of                 
  various federal agencies to deal with the situation.                         
                                                                               
  Number 292                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  ADAMS commended Commissioner Sandor for his efforts                 
  in addressing the problems  in rural Alaska, and said  he is                 
  probably  the  only  commissioner that  is  working  for the                 
  betterment of Alaska.                                                        
                                                                               
  Number 303                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN  asked if it was  likely that the state may be                 
  able to  get a match on the VSW projects on the order of $25                 
  million a year,  over beyond what the  Public Health Service                 
  is  now  investing  in  the   state.    COMMISSIONER  SANDOR                 
  responded  that was  their  objective, and  he has  met with                 
  Senator  Stevens  and  he  endorsed  this proposal  for  $25                 
  million each year  for a five-year  period.  He pointed  out                 
  that this  kind of   investment  over not  just a  five-year                 
  period, but  a  20-year period,  is actually  going to  save                 
  money  in  the  reduction  of  the tremendous  health  costs                 
  associated with the health problems.   He added that the EPA                 
  volunteered to  be the  lead federal  agency in  putting the                 
  program together, and  DEC would be  the lead state  agency,                 
  working with DCRA and with the local communities.                            
                                                                               
  Number 355                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR GEORGIANNA LINCOLN voiced her support for SJR 25 and                 
  stated the improvement of water and sanitation conditions in                 
  rural Alaska has  been one of her very top priorities in her                 
  whole tenure in the legislature.                                             
                                                                               
  Senator Lincoln commended  the Alaska Sanitation Task  Force                 
  on their  report and  final recommendations.   One of  their                 
  recommendations   was  to  develop   new  water   and  sewer                 
  technologies,  which are  adaptable to  conditions in  rural                 
  Alaska,  by   conducting  field  tests   on  innovative  and                 
  decentralized  water  and  waste  disposal  technologies  to                 
  collect   and  analyze  the  housing  related  building  and                 
  infrastructure technology information  from other states and                 
  countries.  She emphasized the importance  of field tests to                 
  see what works and  what doesn't work in different  parts of                 
  Alaska.   She also emphasized the importance of the training                 
  and  certification  for  maintenance  workers  at  the rural                 
  sites.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Senator  Lincoln  encouraged the  legislature,  DEC  and the                 
  federal   government  to   work  closely   with   the  rural                 
  communities throughout this entire effort.  She stressed the                 
  need to work with the communities to plan from the bottom up                 
  on  every project and program that is put in place for their                 
  benefit.                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 500                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR  asked Commissioner Sandor  if his department                 
  is  applying  for  waivers for  these  people  in  the rural                 
  communities so that  a simple  latrine ditch can  be dug  so                 
  that we can start getting some better water and better sewer                 
  conditions out  there.   COMMISSIONER SANDER responded  that                 
  the department is  applying for and has  received assurances                 
  that they will be exempted from  the Safe Drinking Water Act                 
  requirements and that they design systems for drinking water                 
  and sewage that make sense in local communities.                             
                                                                               
  Number 516                                                                   
                                                                               
  BRUCE GERAHTY, Deputy Commissioner,  Department of Community                 
  & Regional Affairs, stated the  department's support for SJR
  25, and said Commissioner Sandor has been doing an exemplary                 
  job  in making the federal  government aware of the problems                 
  in rural Alaska.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 525                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN referred to page 2,  line 23 of the resolution                 
  and suggested deleting the  word "not" and replace  the word                 
  "successful" with  "enhanced" and change the  word "without"                 
  to "with."  He moved the  suggested changes as Amendment No.                 
  1.                                                                           
                                                                               
  On page 2 lines 32 and 33, as Amendment No. 2,  he suggested                 
  deleting the words  "is necessary if"  and replace with  the                 
  phrase "will enable accelerated transformation for" and then                 
  delete the phrase"  are to  no longer to  consigned to"  and                 
  insert the word "from."                                                      
                                                                               
  TAPE 93-17, SIDE B                                                           
                                                                               
  Number 010                                                                   
                                                                               
  There  was  brief  discussion on  Senator  Leman's  proposed                 
  amendments.  COMMISSIONER SANDOR stated  his support for the                 
  changes,  saying  that  what  we  really  are  after  is  an                 
  enhancement of what  we are  doing in this  state.   SENATOR                 
  ZHAROFF said he thought the changes watered the section down                 
  and thought  it should  be left  as is  in order  to send  a                 
  strong message.   He  added that  a state  that spends  $2.5                 
  billion a  year on  an operating  budget and  still has  the                 
  deplorable conditions that we have  in our rural communities                 
  is totally unacceptable.                                                     
                                                                               
  Number 055                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN moved the adoption of Amendment No. 1  Senator                 
  Adams objected.   A hand vote  was taken with the  following                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  result:  Senators  Leman and Phillips voted  "Yea"; Senators                 
  Adams, Taylor and Zharoff voted "Nay."  The Chair stated the                 
  motion failed.                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATOR  LEMAN  moved  and   asked  unanimous  consent  that                 
  Amendment  No. 2  be  adopted.   Hearing  no objection,  the                 
  motion carried.                                                              
                                                                               
  Number 075                                                                   
                                                                               
  WILLIE GOODWIN, Mayor  of Kotzebue,  voiced his support  for                 
  SJR 25.   He said currently, raw  sewage, in some cases,  is                 
  being mixed with chemicals which they didn't have years ago.                 
  In some cases, it is being  dumped by the rivers.  DEC  does                 
  have the ability  to give permits to  municipalities to dump                 
  secondary  sewage.   They  do it  in Kotzebue  because their                 
  sewer lagoon is overflowing every year.                                      
                                                                               
  Mr.  Goodwin also said landfills  are posing a health hazard                 
  in the communities.   In the last forty years,  Kotzebue has                 
  moved  its  dump  three times.    He  said  there are  other                 
  communities in the  state that have  a landfill problem  and                 
  EPA is coming  down hard on them,  and it is very  difficult                 
  for the smaller communities to be  able to even manage their                 
  own dumps.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Goodwin said  his community has worked as  a partnership                 
  with the federal government and with the state government in                 
  the past and they have been successful.                                      
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS proposed a conceptual amendment which                 
  would add sending copies  of the resolution to heads  of the                 
  various federal agencies  involved in  the effort.   SENATOR                 
  TAYLOR moved that Hillary Clinton be  added to that list and                 
  that  the  conceptual  amendment  be  adopted.   Hearing  no                 
  objection, the motion carried.                                               
                                                                               
  Number 145                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SJR 25,  as amended, be passed out                 
  of committee  with individual  recommendations.  Hearing  no                 
  objection, it was so ordered.                                                

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