Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/17/2020 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
03:30:23 PM Start
03:30:54 PM SB145
03:32:58 PM SB70
04:36:44 PM Presentation: Spill Prevention and Response (spar) Program by the Department of Environmental Conservation
05:07:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
The Spill Prevention & Response (SPAR) Program
by the Department of Environmental Conservation
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           SB 70-REPEAL OCEAN POLLUTION MONITORS/FEE                                                                        
3:32:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE announced  the next  order of  business would  be                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 70, "An  Act repealing the ocean rangers program;                                                               
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
CHAIR MICCICHE said the  Department of Environmental Conservation                                                               
(DEC) has asked for a change  to SB 70 and a committee substitute                                                               
was drafted. He solicited a motion.                                                                                             
3:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL moved to adopt  the committee substitute (CS) for                                                               
SB 70, work order 31-GS1117\U, as the working document.                                                                         
CHAIR MICCICHE objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                
3:34:01 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON  BRUNE, Commissioner,  Alaska  Department of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation  (DEC),  Juneau,  Alaska, stated  that  the  initial                                                               
draft of SB  70 eliminated the Ocean Ranger  Program, whereas the                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute would  reinvent  it.  He began  a                                                               
PowerPoint on  the cruise  ship environmental  monitoring program                                                               
that is proposed in the committee substitute.                                                                                   
COMMISIONER BRUNE  said the goal  is to modernize  DEC's approach                                                               
to  monitor  cruise  ship emissions  and  discharges,  which  was                                                               
modified by an  initiative process 12 years ago.  The program put                                                               
in  statute  significant  specificity  that normally  is  set  by                                                               
regulation.   The   changes   will  incorporate   a   number   of                                                               
recommendations the department received  from legislators and the                                                               
public.  It  will incorporate  new  technology  and upgrade  some                                                               
community wastewater discharge systems  in communities visited by                                                               
the cruise industry.                                                                                                            
COMMISIONER BRUNE reviewed slide 2, A Modernized Approach:                                                                      
     bright This bill clarifies that the cruise industry will                                                                   
     be regulated in a similar manner to other industries                                                                       
     bright Existing statutes   limit   DEC's   ability   to                                                                    
     effectively   monitor   cruise   ship   emissions   and                                                                    
     bright This CS maintains  DEC's current  authority  and                                                                    
     adds flexibility for how it is used.                                                                                       
COMMISIONER BRUNE  reviewed slide  3, Current  Program Challenges                                                               
and Inefficiencies:                                                                                                             
     bright There were typically 22 ocean rangers on vessels                                                                    
     throughout a summer season                                                                                                 
     bright Ocean rangers performed   in-port  and  underway                                                                    
     bright DEC staff spent majority of  time going  through                                                                    
     ocean ranger reports                                                                                                       
     bright Ocean rangers looked for potential non-compliance                                                                   
     with  marine discharge  and pollution  requirements and                                                                    
     to  ensure   proper  sanitation,  health,   and  safety                                                                    
     practices for passengers and crew                                                                                          
     bright Ocean rangers were observers, not inspectors, and                                                                   
     passed concerns to DEC for further investigation                                                                           
He  explained that  between  3  and 5  of  the  22 ocean  rangers                                                               
employed   throughout  a   summer  season   were  Alaskans.   One                                                               
requirement was that ocean rangers  must be marine engineers, but                                                               
there were insufficient numbers  of residents who were qualified,                                                               
so DEC hired retired marine engineers from the Lower 48.                                                                        
COMMISIONER BRUNE  noted that  the ocean  rangers also  looked at                                                               
sanitation and  health practices,  such as pools,  sneeze guards,                                                               
and nail salons.                                                                                                                
COMMISIONER BRUNE  reviewed slide  4, Current  Program Challenges                                                               
and Inefficiencies:                                                                                                             
    bright Over 12 years, DEC has spent roughly $40 million                                                                     
     on the ocean ranger contract. During that time, six of                                                                     
        the DEC issued Notices of Violation (NOVs) were                                                                         
      attributable to ocean ranger observations.                                                                                
He reported that $1 million of  the roughly $3.5 million per year                                                               
was paid  to cruise ships  for ocean  ranger berths. Only  six of                                                               
264  NOVs  [notice  of violations]  were  attributable  to  ocean                                                               
ranger observations,  whereas a  number of violations  were self-                                                               
reported  by  the industry  He  suggested  that  if this  were  a                                                               
general fund program,  the state would have eliminated  it a long                                                               
time ago. He said DEC hopes to make it a much better program.                                                                   
In  response  to Senator  Coghill,  he  explained that  NOVs  are                                                               
notice of  violations that  are typically  exceedances in  air or                                                               
water emissions or  discharges. Most of the NOVs  were not formal                                                               
because   the  proposed   violations  either   lacked  sufficient                                                               
information to  make a  determination or  the issues  are covered                                                               
under federal or other jurisdictions.                                                                                           
3:39:26 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE reviewed slide 5, CS Bill Overview:                                                                          
     bright Simplified fee structure                                                                                            
 bright Moving detailed  statutes   to    regulation   multiply                                                                 
        Incorporating technology                                                                                                
     bright Updating wastewater systems in port communities                                                                     
        through a grant or loan program                                                                                         
He  reiterated   that  the  department  will   be  using  current                                                               
technology  in  its  program  and  will  update  some  wastewater                                                               
systems  in  port  communities through  grant  or  loan  programs                                                               
similar to the Village Safe Water (VSW) program.                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  turned to  slide  6,  Current Fee  Structure                                                               
[This slide also  contained a table that  illustrated the current                                                               
fee structure]:                                                                                                                 
  bright Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance                                                                   
        Fee (CPVEC) funds DEC's work overseeing cruise ships                                                                    
   bright Ocean ranger fee funds management and operation of                                                                    
        the ocean ranger program                                                                                                
3:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  turned to slide  7, which listed  the current                                                               
passenger vessel  fee structure in [AS  46.03.480(b)(1)-(10)]. He                                                               
said the  fee schedule  was confusing  and tedious.  For example,                                                               
the per berth fee is $750 for  vessels with a capacity of 500 but                                                               
not more  than 999 passengers.  The fee schedule in  this statute                                                               
sets  fees depending  on vessel  berths  that range  up to  3,500                                                               
He read  the current fee structure  in the table on  slide 6 that                                                               
showed that the  fees for the CPVEC program are  scaled per lower                                                               
berth fee based on range of berths at $.070 to $1.75.                                                                           
3:41:30 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE reviewed slide 8, Proposed Fee Structure:                                                                    
     bright New fee would take effect in 2021 cruise season                                                                     
    bright All vessels over 50 berths pay $5 per berth Large                                                                    
        vessels pay roughly the same, small vessels will see                                                                    
        an increase in fees and an increase in oversight                                                                        
    bright The fee would be reduced by $1 per berth for any                                                                     
        ship that maintains a DEC-approved electronic                                                                           
        wastewater monitoring system                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE said  the new,  simpler  fee structure  would                                                               
become effective  for the 2021  cruise season. All  vessels would                                                               
pay  the same  fee per  berth  to fund  the Commercial  Passenger                                                               
Vessel Environmental  Compliance (CPVEC) program.  The department                                                               
performed an  analysis of the  cost, and the large  vessels would                                                               
pay about the  same and the smaller ones will  see an increase in                                                               
fees and oversight. He said DEC  will reduce fees by $1 per berth                                                               
as  an  incentive for  any  ship  that maintains  a  DEC-approved                                                               
electronic  wastewater   monitoring.  DEC   considered  requiring                                                               
electronic  wastewater  monitoring,  but the  federal  government                                                               
informed the department that it could only incentivize it.                                                                      
3:43:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  asked how many vessels  would currently qualify                                                               
as over 50 berths.                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  responded that he  would follow up  with that                                                               
information  but   the  newer  systems  are   incorporating  this                                                               
technology.  He  remarked that  if  it's  possible to  tell  from                                                               
Houston,  Texas whether  valve 485  of the  Trans-Alaska Pipeline                                                               
System  (TAPS) is  open or  not, the  DEC should  be able  to use                                                               
technology to know whether a valve  is open on a cruise ship from                                                               
Miami  or somewhere  else. He  reported  that some  of the  older                                                               
ships  do not  have  that  technology built  in  and have  manual                                                               
systems. He offered to report back to the committee.                                                                            
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked if the  DEC approved electronic wastewater                                                               
monitoring system would be in regulation.                                                                                       
COMMISIONER BRUNE  answered yes.  Incorporating it  in regulation                                                               
would give the department more  flexibility as technology evolves                                                               
than  having  to  come  back to  the  legislature  for  statutory                                                               
3:44:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked if  vessels with less  than 50  berths were                                                               
previously exempt.                                                                                                              
3:44:39 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMA  POKON,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), Juneau, Alaska,  answered yes. She said there                                                               
is a definition  for commercial passenger vessel  that makes that                                                               
CHAIR MICCICHE  said it was  interesting to see that  the changes                                                               
resulted in one lost berth.  This language relates to all vessels                                                               
over  50 berths  whereas  the previous  language  applied to  all                                                               
vessels under 50 berths. He asked the DEC to review this.                                                                       
3:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL   calculated  that  the  incentive   for  a  2,400                                                               
passenger  vessel  operating  15  trips would  yield  $35,000  to                                                               
$38,000 per  year at $1  per berth. He said  he had no  sense for                                                               
what it  would cost  to outfit a  ship like that  or how  long it                                                               
would take to recover those  costs, but he questioned whether the                                                               
incentive was adequate.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER BRUNE answered  that he posed that  question to Mike                                                               
Tibbles,  Alaska representative  from Cruise  Lines International                                                               
Association  (CLIA),  who  will   report  the  answers  from  its                                                               
3:46:53 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  reviewed  slide   9,  Staying  Current  with                                                               
Technology and Environmental Standards:                                                                                         
     bright This CS removes sections of statute that are overly                                                                 
        detailed and do not allow for changing technology                                                                       
        and environmental standards                                                                                             
     bright Requires DEC write regulations that address  the                                                                    
        items removed from statute                                                                                              
     bright Putting requirements in regulation allows DEC to                                                                    
        respond to future improvements in waste treatment                                                                       
        and monitoring technologies                                                                                             
     bright New technology could provide for 24/7 electronic                                                                    
        monitoring of ships' discharge ports                                                                                    
He said the  deputy commissioner will cover this  in more detail.                                                               
He  stated   that  when  the  initiative   passed,  it  contained                                                               
specifics   not  normally   contained  in   regulation.  As   the                                                               
technology evolves,  the department  will potentially be  able to                                                               
monitor 24/7 without people on board the vessels.                                                                               
3:48:16 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  reviewed  slide   10,  Local  Water  Quality                                                               
     bright Large cruise ship permit allows up to  40  fecal                                                                    
        colony forming units per 100 ml.                                                                                        
     bright Local wastewater treatment facility permit allows up                                                                
        to 1.5 million fecal colony forming units per 100                                                                       
     bright Many of the over one million yearly cruise  ship                                                                    
        passengers will use onshore restrooms when visiting                                                                     
        Alaska ports                                                                                                            
He said  he believes in consistency  and if the state  has a high                                                               
standard for  industry, it should  also have a high  standard for                                                               
itself. Currently  the allowances  for cruise  ships is  40 fecal                                                               
colony  forming  units  (cfu)  per   100  ml,  but  some  coastal                                                               
communities can discharge 1.5 million  cfu/100 ml. Even though he                                                               
does  not  propose increasing  the  cruise  ship allowances,  the                                                               
state must  address the disparity  in local communities.  Many of                                                               
the systems  were built  long before  the tourism  industry grew.                                                               
The cruise industry had 1.2  million passengers in 2019, and this                                                               
year projects that figure to  grow to 1.5 million. These visitors                                                               
must  either use  boat or  shoreside  facilities, so  communities                                                               
need to upgrade their shoreside systems.                                                                                        
COMMISIONER BRUNE reviewed a table on  slide 11. He said the bill                                                               
would create a program similar  to other systems, such as Village                                                               
Safe Water (VSW). Communities will  submit a proposal and show it                                                               
has "skin  in the game" by  raising resident utility rates  or by                                                               
showing contributions  made by their  local assemblies.  DEC will                                                               
rank  the proposals  by their  impact on  the environment,  so an                                                               
older system will score higher.                                                                                                 
He explained that  DEC estimates it has $10 million  in funds and                                                               
will use  roughly half the  annual receipts of $12-13  million to                                                               
assist  communities. It  does not  sound  like a  lot since  many                                                               
Southeast  Alaska  communities'  systems  will cost  $40  to  $50                                                               
million.  This  would not  pay  for  the  systems, but  it  could                                                               
provide  an incentive  for system  upgrades through  low interest                                                               
loans or grants, he said.                                                                                                       
3:51:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  recalled a few  years ago the state  repealed the                                                               
zero  discharge  rule  for  vessels.   At  the  time,  the  state                                                               
struggled  when  it realized  how  many  301(h) waivers  were  in                                                               
Alaska. He  asked if the  department has long-term goals  to move                                                               
beyond waivers in Alaska.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  responded that  slide  11  provides a  cross                                                               
section of  some communities with  waivers. He noted  Juneau does                                                               
not have a  waiver. He explained that the Clean  Water Act 301(h)                                                               
waivers  allow communities,  including Anchorage,  to only  treat                                                               
their sewage  at the  primary level. A  number of  communities in                                                               
the U.S.  with 301(h) waivers,  such as Honolulu, San  Diego, and                                                               
San Francisco  have all  upgraded their  systems to  secondary or                                                               
tertiary treatment. Ideally, the state  should treat its water at                                                               
a tertiary  level. However, the  estimated cost for  Anchorage to                                                               
upgrade its  system is $1.5 to  $ 2 billion. He  related that the                                                               
science  shows that  there is  a very  large natural  mixing zone                                                               
with  the  huge  tides  in   Anchorage.  He  did  not  anticipate                                                               
Anchorage would  use these funds  to upgrade its  treatment plan.                                                               
For  now, DEC  will  focus on  Southeast  Alaska communities,  he                                                               
3:54:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE agreed that it was  time for the state to begin to                                                               
hold  discussions  with  communities. He  expressed  interest  in                                                               
emphasizing  the consistency  discussion  rather  than in  having                                                               
Anchorage convert.                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  remarked he often  has heard that  DEC closes                                                               
beaches  due to  fecal coliform  issues. People  mistakenly think                                                               
the problem is  coming from the cruise ships  when DEC scientists                                                               
identify  the sources  are from  the  local wastewater  treatment                                                               
plants in those communities.                                                                                                    
3:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  recalled that five years  ago, the Environmental                                                               
Protection  Agency   (EPA)  required  Unalaska  to   upgrade  its                                                               
facility. She asked  why these other communities did  not need to                                                               
do so.                                                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said the EPA  has an interest in upgrading the                                                               
301(h) waivers  throughout the  U.S. He  was unsure  why Unalaska                                                               
was targeted,  but the  organization is  working its  way through                                                               
its list. Anchorage  is one of the  larger communities remaining.                                                               
He suggested  that the EPA  is ticking off communities  that have                                                               
the largest  risk to  human health. He  offered to  research this                                                               
and follow up with more information.                                                                                            
CHAIR  MICCICHE  asked  him  to   send  the  information  to  the                                                               
3:57:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI expressed interest in  the volumes coming out of                                                               
local communities and the cruise ship industry.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE   agreed  to  provide  the   information.  He                                                               
acknowledged  that  the  overall  impact of  discharge  in  water                                                               
3:57:49 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER   BRUNE  reviewed   slide  12,   Shoreside  Facility                                                               
     bright A portion of the collected fees will be used to                                                                     
        support improvements to shore-based wastewater                                                                          
        treatment facilities in port communities                                                                                
   bright DEC will establish a grant/loan program to provide                                                                    
        financial assistance (i.e., maybe in the form of a                                                                      
        revolving loan fund)                                                                                                    
3:58:16 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE reviewed  slide 13,  2020 Cruise  Ship Season                                                               
and Beyond:                                                                                                                     
    bright Marine engineers (DEC staff and contractors) will                                                                    
        perform initial and annual inspections on ships                                                                         
        operating in Alaska as early in the season as                                                                           
   bright Marine engineers and/or DEC inspectors will perform                                                                   
        both random and targeted inspections in-port and                                                                        
He  reported that  the department's  $900,000  fiscal note  would                                                               
allow  it to  provide  marine engineers  to  perform initial  and                                                               
annual inspections.  He compared it  to an as-built survey  for a                                                               
house, such that  the inspectors would assess the  ship to verify                                                               
systems and  identify any  "magic pipes" the  ships may  have. He                                                               
said early season inspections will provide consistency.                                                                         
COMMISIONER BRUNE said the deterrent  factor of having someone on                                                               
the  ship does  not play  out since  a company  that wants  to do                                                               
something  nefarious  will  do  so  while  the  ocean  ranger  is                                                               
sleeping or  inspecting the galley. He  envisioned the department                                                               
would conduct its  inspections the same way as it  does for other                                                               
state  regulated   industries  such  as  mining,   oil  and  gas,                                                               
community  wastewater treatment  facilities, and  fish processing                                                               
4:00:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL recalled that  Commissioner Brune previously stated                                                               
one of  the weaknesses of  the ocean  ranger program is  that the                                                               
rangers were observers and not  inspectors, in part, because they                                                               
were contractors. He asked if  the contractors performing initial                                                               
inspections  will be  inspectors or  if  DEC staff  will need  to                                                               
follow up.                                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  responded that  the department  currently has                                                               
one  marine engineer  on staff  and hopes  to add  one more.  DEC                                                               
staff inspectors  will conduct initial inspections  and they will                                                               
have the ability to issue  Notice of Violations (NOVs). Also, DEC                                                               
will have  staff in  close proximity  to immediately  address any                                                               
issues that arise for inspections not done by staff.                                                                            
SENATOR KIEHL asked what he meant by close proximity.                                                                           
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  said he envisioned that  the inspectors would                                                               
be in  Juneau to  inspect the  three to five  ships per  day. The                                                               
marine engineer on staff in  Juneau would oversee the inspection.                                                               
However, DEC staff will conduct inspections throughout the year.                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE reviewed  slide 14,  2020 Cruise  Ship Season                                                               
and Beyond:                                                                                                                     
     bright DEC Inspection, Monitoring, and Compliance                                                                          
     bright 4 new DEC positions                                                                                                 
  bright 10 DEC staff available for the cruise ship season to                                                                   
        review reports and conduct in-port and underway                                                                         
        inspections, compliance and enforcement actions                                                                         
     bright Inspections will be random and targeted                                                                             
He  explained that  the  department would  replace  the 22  ocean                                                               
ranger positions with four new  positions or the equivalent of 10                                                               
fulltime positions.  This staff  would conduct  inspections under                                                               
the marine engineer's  supervision. He offered to  flesh this out                                                               
a little more and provide the information to the committee.                                                                     
COMMISIONER  BRUNE  said he  anticipated  that  ships with  newer                                                               
technology  would  not  need  inspections   as  often  since  the                                                               
department  will have  more information  from them.  However, the                                                               
new technology will not happen in  the first year or two. He said                                                               
DEC inspects good actors less, and bad actors more frequently.                                                                  
4:04:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE asked  what kinds  of  responsibilities the  four                                                               
positions would have in the off season.                                                                                         
COMMISIONER BRUNE  replied the inspectors  would inspect  oil and                                                               
gas, fish processing, and wastewater  facilities in the state and                                                               
he  hoped  these employees  would  be  cross  trained to  do  so.                                                               
Similarly,  since   the  department  will  only   hire  four  new                                                               
positions,  the other  six employees  would be  cross trained  to                                                               
conduct inspections on cruise ships.                                                                                            
4:05:03 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE reviewed slide 15, Additional Changes:                                                                       
    bright Repeals and re-enacts 46.03.480(c) addressing fee                                                                    
        schedule for State of Alaska vessels                                                                                    
     bright Repeals citizens' suits                                                                                             
     bright Conforming changes                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONDER BRUNE said AS  46.03.480(c) gives the commissioners                                                               
of  the Department  of Environmental  Conservation (DEC)  and the                                                               
Department of  Transportation and  Public Facilities  (DOTPF) the                                                               
authority to negotiate  fees to charge ferries  for their berths.                                                               
To date,  that amount has  been zero and  he proposes to  keep it                                                               
the  same, but  Legislative  Legal Services  attorneys wanted  to                                                               
repeal and reenact the provisions as part of this bill.                                                                         
COMMISIONER  BRUNE said  the citizens'  suit provision  was never                                                               
4:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  reviewed slide  16, Effective Dates.  He said                                                               
the bill  has staggered  effective dates.  There is  an immediate                                                               
effective date or retroactive to April  1, 2020 for the repeal of                                                               
the ocean ranger statute and  fees for DEC's activities. DEC will                                                               
transfer those fees to its  activities immediately. The single $5                                                               
fee and new regulations would be in place by January 1, 2021.                                                                   
   bright Staggered effective dates will allow for continuity                                                                   
        over the summer of 2020, and give DEC time to draft                                                                     
        necessary regulations.                                                                                                  
He  explained  that DEC  considered  both  this season  and  next                                                               
season when it set the effective dates to provide consistency.                                                                  
CHAIR MICCICHE  restated that DEC  will keep its current  fees in                                                               
place this summer and implement new fees on January 1, 2021.                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  clarified that  the current fees  are roughly                                                               
$5 and next year's fee switches to the flat $5 fee.                                                                             
4:07:39 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE recapped fees in slide 17, Fiscal Impacts:                                                                   
   bright Revenue: Large ships see little change, fees go up                                                                    
        for small vessels in 2021                                                                                               
    bright Contract for marine engineer inspections will be                                                                     
        considerably lower than for ocean rangers                                                                               
   bright Attached fiscal note includes expenditure authority                                                                   
        for the 2020 cruise season                                                                                              
   bright Personal services and other support costs for four                                                                    
        new positions add to DEC's baseline budget                                                                              
      bright  Expect future capital appropriation in grant                                                                      
      authority to improve water quality near communities                                                                       
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE recalled  that the  fees for  smaller vessels                                                               
was  $60,000.   The  fiscal  note   for  DEC   requests  $900,000                                                               
supplemental   authority  for   the   2020   cruise  season.   He                                                               
anticipated that  DEC would  submit future  capital appropriation                                                               
requests for the low-interest loans created in the program.                                                                     
4:09:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP asked  if  the four  new  positions were  lateral                                                               
transfers or if the plan was  to hire new staff. He further asked                                                               
if DEC has started recruiting.                                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  answered  that  he does  not  yet  have  the                                                               
authority to  recruit. Once the  bill passes the  department will                                                               
hire from within or hire new staff.                                                                                             
SENATOR BISHOP asked for his projection  on how long it will take                                                               
to fill the new positions.                                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said current  staff has significant expertise,                                                               
but will  need some training. He  offered to follow up  with more                                                               
4:10:50 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE reviewed slide 18, What will Not Change:                                                                     
  bright DEC's authority to conduct inspections at reasonable                                                                   
        times and ability to get a warrant if necessary                                                                         
   bright DEC's vessel registration system, which is required                                                                   
        for all passenger vessels with over 50 overnight                                                                        
     bright Air emission monitoring program                                                                                     
   bright The large cruise ship wastewater discharge general                                                                    
    bright  The small cruise ship and ferry best management                                                                     
        plan requirements                                                                                                       
     bright Sampling or reporting requirements                                                                                  
     bright What may not be discharged to Alaska's environment                                                                  
COMMISSIONER BRUNE said  the agency has the  authority to conduct                                                               
inspections and it  uses a system, method 9, to  take shore based                                                               
records for  the air  emission monitoring  program. They  plan to                                                               
move  this component  to  the  air division  where  it is  better                                                               
4:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMA  POKON,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation  (DEC), Juneau,  Alaska,  paraphrased the  sectional                                                               
analysis for  the proposed committee  substitute (CS) for  SB 70,                                                               
version U:                                                                                                                      
     Section 1    Amends  AS 46.03.460  to clarify  that DEC                                                                    
     has  organizational  flexibility   to  regulate  cruise                                                                    
     ships  with  personnel  from  different  DEC  divisions                                                                    
     (air,  water,   etc.)  and   directing  DEC   to  adopt                                                                    
     regulations  implementing the  simplified environmental                                                                    
     compliance statutes.                                                                                                       
     Section  2     Repeals  and reenacts  AS  46.03.463  to                                                                    
     simplify and  broadly consolidate  existing subsections                                                                    
     (a)     (c),  (e),  and  (f)  and  (h)  into  a  single                                                                    
     subsection,  enabling  DEC  to set  specific  discharge                                                                    
     limits and requirements in regulation.                                                                                     
She said Section 2 broadly  consolidates a lot of the specificity                                                               
currently in AS 46.03.462 and 46.03.463. She continued:                                                                         
     Section 3   Amends AS  46.03.465(a) to provide DEC with                                                                    
     flexibility  to  establish  the  form  and  timing  for                                                                    
     cruise ships to report to DEC.                                                                                             
     Section  4    Amends AS  46.03.465(c) to  clarify DEC's                                                                    
     authority   to  inspect   vessel  wastewater   and  air                                                                    
     emissions systems.                                                                                                         
MS. POKON  said that to  the extent  there is any  question about                                                               
the authority, this provision will add clarity.                                                                                 
     Section 5  Conforming amendments to AS 46.03.465(d).                                                                       
     Section 6   Amends AS  46.03.465(d) to authorize DEC to                                                                    
     require  certain reports  in a  particular form  (e.g.,                                                                    
     Section 7  Conforming amendment to AS 46.03.465(h).                                                                        
     Section 8  Conforming amendment to AS 46.03.465(i).                                                                        
4:14:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. POKON reviewed Section 9, that establishes the simplified                                                                   
fee structure, setting up a $5 per berth fee, with a $1                                                                         
reduction for vessels with an electronic monitoring system.                                                                     
     Section  9    Amends  AS  46.03.480(a)  to establish  a                                                                    
     simplified  environmental  compliance  fee  of  $5  per                                                                    
     berth per  voyage on  all commercial  passenger vessels                                                                    
     operating in  state waters. This  replaces both  the $4                                                                    
     fee for  the ocean  rangers and  the matrix  of general                                                                    
     environmental  compliance  fees.  This  amendment  also                                                                    
     reduces  the  $5  fee  by   $1  for  vessels  that  use                                                                    
     electronic monitoring  systems that will  improve DEC's                                                                    
     ability    to    efficiently   oversee    environmental                                                                    
     compliance. As  noted in Section 19,  this amendment to                                                                    
     the  fee structure  would become  effective January  1,                                                                    
     Section  10    Repeals  and  re-enacts 46.03.480(c)  to                                                                    
     conform  to  changes  created  by  deleting  clarifying                                                                    
     language  included  with  the   fee  structure  in  the                                                                    
     repealed version of 46.03.480(b).  This does not change                                                                    
     the effect of (c) as it currently exists in statute.                                                                       
She said this gives DEC some discretion when working with the                                                                   
Alaska Marine Highway System.                                                                                                   
4:15:22 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 11   Amends  AS 46.03.482(c) to remove obsolete                                                                    
     language and  to broaden the stated  purposes for which                                                                    
     the  legislature might  appropriate the  collected fees                                                                    
     to include a  grant or loan program  created by Section                                                                    
     Section  12     Adds   a  new  section,  AS  46.03.483,                                                                    
     authorizing DEC  to create a  grant or loan  program to                                                                    
     support   improvements    to   shore-based   wastewater                                                                    
     treatment  facilities   necessary  to   serve  visiting                                                                    
     cruise ships and cruise ship passengers.                                                                                   
     Section  13    Repeals  a number  of detailed  statutes                                                                    
     governing commercial passenger vessels.                                                                                    
     Section  14    Repeals  the  ocean  ranger statute,  AS                                                                    
     46.03.476, separately  so that it may  have a different                                                                    
     effective  date. This  repeal  will  be retroactive  to                                                                    
     April 2020 (see Section 17)  so that DEC can transition                                                                    
     to staff inspections this season.                                                                                          
     Section  15      Transition   language  added   to  the                                                                    
     uncodified law to authorize DEC  to work on regulations                                                                    
     before the  majority of the  bill becomes  effective in                                                                    
     January 2021.                                                                                                              
4:16:17 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 16   Includes  language that clarifies that the                                                                    
     $4 fee collected under AS  46.03.480(d) may be used for                                                                    
     funding  services   to  passenger   vessels,  including                                                                    
     regulatory services.  This ensures DEC can  collect the                                                                    
     established  fee  this  year to  support  the  agency's                                                                    
     cruise     ship    environmental     compliance    work                                                                    
     notwithstanding  the   repeal  of  the   ocean  rangers                                                                    
MS.  POKON  reviewed  Section  16,  which  includes  language  to                                                               
clarify that  fees collected  under AS  46.03.480(d) can  be used                                                               
more broadly for  the cruise ship compliance  records rather than                                                               
for ocean rangers.                                                                                                              
     Section  17     Section  14 (repeal  of  ocean  rangers                                                                    
     requirement) is retroactive to April 2020.                                                                                 
     Section 18    Provides an immediate  effective date for                                                                    
     Sections   14        17   including   intent   language                                                                    
     specifically   for  the   summer  2020   cruise  season                                                                    
     (Section   16)   and  transition   language   providing                                                                    
     authority to work on regulations (Section 15).                                                                             
     Section  19    Provides  a  special  effective date  of                                                                    
     January  1, 2021  for the  majority of  the bill;  this                                                                    
     ensures that  DEC has time to  adopt regulations before                                                                    
     the repeals  in Section 13 and  other amendments become                                                                    
4:17:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  referred to Section 13  and asked for a  list of                                                               
repealed statutes and what they repeal.                                                                                         
MS. POKON  said AS 46.03.460(b)  is repealed and it  provided the                                                               
DEC authority  to adopt regulations with  specific language about                                                               
negotiated rulemaking.  The revisions in AS  46.40.460(a) require                                                               
DEC  to  put  regulations  in   place.  In  terms  of  negotiated                                                               
rulemaking, this  is already  available under  the Administrative                                                               
Procedures Act (APA).                                                                                                           
She explained  that AS  46.03.461 provides  detailed requirements                                                               
for vessel  registration, but these  requirements are  located in                                                               
the bill under 46.03.460(a)(3). DEC  plans to put the details for                                                               
vessel registration in regulation.                                                                                              
MS. POKON  continued with  AS 46.03.462,  which relates  to terms                                                               
and  conditions of  discharge permits  now found  in the  revised                                                               
language in AS 46.03.463. DEC  will require the vessel permit for                                                               
larger vessels  or best management practices  for smaller vessels                                                               
consistent with current practice.                                                                                               
4:19:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   POKON  said   AS  46.03.480(b)   repeals  the   matrix  the                                                               
commissioner   referred  to   in  his   presentation.  She   said                                                               
46.03.480(d)  refers  to  the  $4  fee  for  large  vessels  that                                                               
currently goes for  the ocean ranger program.  DEC combined those                                                               
two sections into a flat $5 fee.                                                                                                
The next  repealed section is  AS 46.03.480(e), which  places the                                                               
liability for  the fee on  the cruise  ship. The bill  places the                                                               
responsibility on DEC to adopt regulations.                                                                                     
MS.  POKON said  AS  46.03.481 refers  to  the citizens'  lawsuit                                                               
section that  the commissioner referred  to earlier. She  said AS                                                               
46.03.482(e)   states  that   the  commercial   passenger  vessel                                                               
environmental  compliance  fund  is  not a  dedicated  fund.  She                                                               
explained  that there  are limitations  on how  that fund  can be                                                               
used under federal law. DEC  repealed this statute to reflect the                                                               
department's understanding of those limitations.                                                                                
She  said AS  46.03.485  relates to  a  recognition program  that                                                               
authorizes DEC's  permissive language. The department  has not in                                                               
recent history had  an explicit effort towards  that, but nothing                                                               
prevents it from recognizing environmental compliance.                                                                          
MS. POKON  said DEC repealed  definitions in AS  46.03.490(1) and                                                               
AS 46.03.490(15) for agents for  service of process and untreated                                                               
sewage. These terms are no longer in the bill.                                                                                  
4:21:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  requested she  provide the  detailed list  and an                                                               
explanation of the repealed statutes to the committee.                                                                          
4:21:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE   said  that  the  program   primarily  addresses                                                               
effluent  discharge.  He  related   his  understanding  that  DEC                                                               
monitors air  quality electronically more commonly  than effluent                                                               
COMMISSIONER BRUNE answered that  the monitoring of air emissions                                                               
is via Method  9, which he did not  think happens electronically.                                                               
He noted  people in Juneau  install certain systems  that provide                                                               
data, but  it is  neither quality data  nor the  methodology used                                                               
for the  big cruise ships.  He said it  is more likely  that very                                                               
little electronic monitoring currently happens on air emissions.                                                                
CHAIR MICCICHE,  noting that  he said the  EPA was  interested in                                                               
fewer  EPA 301(h)  waivers, asked  whether  he has  heard of  any                                                               
programs  that would  stretch state  dollars,  such as  obtaining                                                               
significant federal match to move in that direction.                                                                            
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  indicated his  intention to look  for federal                                                               
funding opportunities.                                                                                                          
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked whether  DEC has  tried to  reward offshore                                                               
operators  in the  electronic monitoring  program since  it could                                                               
have a positive impact on water quality in state waters.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE replied  he has  not thought  about that.  He                                                               
agreed  that the  standards should  be  the same  in federal  and                                                               
state waters. He was unsure  of what jurisdiction the state would                                                               
have in outside state waters.                                                                                                   
MS.  POKON  advised that  it  would  difficult to  enforce  water                                                               
quality outside state waters.                                                                                                   
4:24:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE pointed out that  jurisdiction only matters if the                                                               
department regulates  the activity,  but not if  DEC incentivizes                                                               
it. He suggested that may be something to further evaluate.                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  offered  to   think  about  that  issue.  He                                                               
reported that  in 2019, 14  of the  20 notices of  violation that                                                               
DEC staff  or contractors issued were  for wastewater discharges,                                                               
six were exceedances and six were air NOVs.                                                                                     
4:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE asked  for the  nature  of the  six ocean  ranger                                                               
MS. POKON  said she  thought she might  have that  information in                                                               
her e-mail.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR MICCICHE  responded that she  could provide it at  the next                                                               
4:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked for a  breakdown of how many times someone                                                               
made a complaint or observation to  alert DEC, and not solely the                                                               
number of official NOVs.                                                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE  said  that  if  an  exceedance  occurs  that                                                               
requires a  Notice of  Violation (NOV), one  is issued.  It would                                                               
not matter who made the observation.                                                                                            
SENATOR KAWASAKI  clarified his interest  is in knowing  how many                                                               
times  someone  observed something,  but  a  formal NOV  was  not                                                               
issued, such that perhaps it was unfounded.                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  answered that the ocean  ranger annual report                                                               
should   have  that   information  and   he  would   provide  the                                                               
information to the committee.                                                                                                   
4:27:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked  if  the  department  could  complete  the                                                               
regulations in time to meet the current effective date.                                                                         
COMMISSIONER BRUNE answered yes.                                                                                                
SENATOR  BISHOP  recalled  that  DEC  has  the  authority  to  do                                                               
unannounced inspections while the  vessels are underway. He asked                                                               
whether this would be by boat or helicopter.                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER BRUNE  answered that  DEC has  several opportunities                                                               
to  conduct  unannounced  inspections. For  example,  they  could                                                               
board at  Glacier Bay with  National Park Service staff  who give                                                               
tours, or with  marine pilots when they board the  ships. He said                                                               
DEC might  show up and  announce that  the inspectors will  be on                                                               
board to Skagway.                                                                                                               
4:30:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL acknowledged that  some inspections performed while                                                               
underway  are good.  He  asked  if DEC  will  be  able to  obtain                                                               
maritime credentials  for all  inspection staff,  or if  it would                                                               
always mean  tying up vessel  staff for  the duration of  time on                                                               
COMMISSIONER BRUNE related his  understanding that companies want                                                               
DEC  staff escorted  while on  board  their vessels.  He said  he                                                               
needs to work these details out with the companies.                                                                             
SENATOR KIEHL said the commissioner  described a good program but                                                               
these details are  not in the bill. The bill  would authorize DEC                                                               
to carry  out its program and  it provides the funding.  He asked                                                               
how the legislature can provide that much latitude.                                                                             
MS.  POKON  replied this  approach  is  consistent with  how  the                                                               
department  conducts   its  business  for  other   regulated  and                                                               
permitted   industries,   including    mining   and   shore-based                                                               
wastewater facilities.  She explained  that there is  a directive                                                               
for DEC to  protect water quality. She advised  that DEC performs                                                               
much  of  this  work  through  a  permitting  system.  Thus,  the                                                               
inspection  schedule  or  exact  standards are  not  set  out  in                                                               
statute.  DEC's  enforcement   staff  schedules  inspections  and                                                               
reviews  the  facilities  self-reporting   and  follows  up  with                                                               
enforcement  when necessary.  She agreed  that the  statutes lack                                                               
specificity but are consistent with DEC's authority.                                                                            
4:33:09 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  BRUNE added  that  the department  could provide  a                                                               
report  if the  legislature  would  like to  review  how the  new                                                               
approach and  program has worked for  the first year. He  did not                                                               
recommend  requiring  DEC  to inspect  a  certain  percentage  of                                                               
vessels.  He said  there is  not any  precedent for  it in  other                                                               
industries.  Further,  having 10  DEC  staff  dedicated to  early                                                               
season  and  random  inspections   should  give  the  legislature                                                               
confidence in this group.                                                                                                       
4:34:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  said it's a bit  of a checks and  balances notion,                                                               
but some  of the  things the  legislature has  previously written                                                               
have  cut the  other  way,  so he  was  concerned about  removing                                                               
sideboards.  For example,  with the  plans for  small ships,  DEC                                                               
currently cannot  require anything that would  impose relicensing                                                               
of a vessel or a new  stability test. This bill would repeal that                                                               
4:35:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI  said one  of the  repealed statutes  relates to                                                               
citizen  lawsuits. He  read a  portion of  the ballot  initiative                                                               
language, "It  would authorize citizen lawsuits  against an owner                                                               
or operator of a large cruise  ship, or against the Department of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation,  for  an alleged  violation  of  any                                                               
permit   condition,  provision   of  environmental   statutes  or                                                               
performance  of  duties."  He  asked   if  anyone  has  used  the                                                               
provision since 2006.                                                                                                           
MS. POKON  answered no; DEC  is not  aware of any  instance where                                                               
someone used that provision.                                                                                                    
4:35:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE removed  his objection.  There  being no  further                                                               
objection, version U was adopted.                                                                                               
CHAIR MICCICHE encouraged members to consider their concerns.                                                                   
He said the  original repeal did not contain a  lot of solutions.                                                               
He  said he  likes DEC's  approach and  believes it  will improve                                                               
water quality.                                                                                                                  
[SB 70 was held in committee.]