Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/11/1996 03:37 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
            SJR 38 TOXINS RELEASE INVENTORY PROGRAM                           
   CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to           
 order at 3:37 p.m. and announced  SJR 38  to be up for consideration.         
 He explained this is a result of information he and Senator Pearce            
 found at the Energy Council meeting in Washington, D.C.                       
                                                                               
 Mark Rubin, American Petroleum Institute, informed them that the              
 EPA is proposing to expand the TRI Program to include oil and gas             
 exploration and production as well as some other categories.  The             
 downside to this is that it will likely make oil and gas producers            
 the biggest polluters in the state because they are pulling from a            
 formation and treat the oil and the gas and separate it and take              
 the produced water and produced gas and reinject it.  It doesn't              
 make any sense to have to monitor, test, and report that as a toxic           
 release.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 44                                                                     
                                                                               
 MARK RUBIN testified that Toxins Release Program currently requires           
 that a number of manufacturing industries report for 651 toxic                
 chemicals.  The EPA is considering whether to put additional                  
 industries into this program including the oil and gas exploration            
 and production industry. They would have to report for about 80               
 chemicals, some of which occur naturally in oil, gas, and produced            
 water, like benzene or tylene.  If they expand this to the                    
 exploration and production (E&P) industry, API estimates about                
 4,700 or more facilities would have to report.  The first year cost           
 to the industry would be about $228 million; annual costs                     
 thereafter would be about $110 million per year.  The average cost            
 for offshore oil and gas would be about $58,000 in the first year             
 and about $8,000 each year thereafter.                                        
                                                                               
 They believe strongly that the TRI Program is not really designed             
 for the E&P industries.  It is designed more for businesses that              
 are in close proximity to communities and most E&P facilities are             
 away from communities or offshore and they have very few releases             
 to the environment.                                                           
                                                                               
 EPA believes that the TRI Program has been a great success and one            
 of the reasons because there was a voluntary reduction in releases            
 from some of the facilities that report.  The largest releases from           
 E&P would be naturally occurring constituents of oil, gas, and                
 water.  Reducing those releases would be close to impossible                  
 without shutting in wells.                                                    
                                                                               
 The industry is not opposed to providing more information to the              
 public, and they have recommended to the EPA that instead of                  
 expanding the TRI Program that they look at what type of                      
 information is really needed by the public working with the                   
 Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the State Regulators               
 Commission, and include EPA officials.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 128                                                                    
 FAYE SULLIVAN, Environmental Scientist, UNOCAL, said they support             
 SJR 38.  She said the original TRI was established to provide                 
 information to the public about potential chemical releases as a              
 risk of these releases to the local community.  It's not                      
 appropriate to expand TRI reporting to the oil and gas industry               
 which generally operates in remote areas or offshore.  Oil and gas            
 facilities have limited release potential and present a very low              
 risk to the public.  Typical oil and gas reportable releases would            
 include discharges of produced water, underground injection of                
 waste, and air emissions from combustion sources.                             
                                                                               
 All of these activities are currently strictly regulated by                   
 existing federal and state programs.  Use of chemicals can vary in            
 the oil and gas industry from day to day and week to week.                    
 Expanding the TRI Program would force operators to conduct regular            
 expensive waste removal tests with very little environmental                  
 benefit.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Many old fields are marginal now and their expected life is                   
 decreased with each additional regulatory burden placed on them.              
                                                                               
 MARK WHEELER, Alaska Environmental Lobby, said they support free              
 and easy access to information on toxic chemical releases.  They              
 commend EPA's efforts to increase the scope of their reports to               
 include other industries with high potential for toxic pollution              
 including mining facilities, waste management facilities, and                 
 electric utilities.  He urged the legislature to reject this                  
 resolution and to help the public gain more knowledge, not less               
 about toxic releases into our air and water.                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR PEARCE moved to pass SJR 38 with individual recommendations           
 and a $0 fiscal note.  There were no objections and it was so                 
 ordered.                                                                      

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