Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/12/1999 02:20 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                                         
May 12, 1999                                                                                                                    
2:20 P.M.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 99 - 130, Side 1.                                                                                                      
TAPE HFC 99 - 130, Side 2.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault called the House Finance Committee                                                                          
meeting to order at 2:20 P.M.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault   Representative Foster                                                                                     
Co-Chair Mulder    Representative Grussendorf                                                                                   
Vice Chair Bunde   Representative Kohring                                                                                       
Representative Austerman  Representative Moses                                                                                  
Representative J. Davies  Representative Williams                                                                               
Representative G. Davis                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mike Tibbles, Staff, Representative Gene Therriault; Wilda                                                                      
Rodman, Staff, Representative Gene Therriault; Pat Carter,                                                                      
Staff, Senator Drue Pearce; Representative Joe Green;                                                                           
Representative Jim Whitaker.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Robin Brena, TESORO, Anchorage; Jimmy Jackson, GCI,                                                                             
Anchorage; Robert Mintz, Assistant Attorney General,                                                                            
Department of Law, Anchorage.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 62 An Act relating to the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                            
Commission; and providing for an effective date.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 HB 62 was not heard and was HELD in Committee                                                                                  
until further notice.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HB 183 An Act relating to the powers and duties of the                                                                          
chair of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission;                                                                                
relating to membership on the Alaska Public                                                                                     
Utilities Commission; and relating to the annual                                                                                
report of the Alaska Public Utilities Commission.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 HB 183 was not heard and was HELD in Committee                                                                                 
until further notice.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SB 133 An Act creating and providing for the Alaska                                                                             
Energy Conservation Commission and transferring to                                                                              
it the powers and duties of the Alaska Public                                                                                   
Utilities Commission and the Alaska Oil and Gas                                                                                 
Conservation Commission; repealing the Alaska                                                                                   
Public Utilities Commission and the Alaska Oil and                                                                              
Gas Conservation Commission; relating to                                                                                        
regulation of waste collection and disposal;                                                                                    
relating to the powers of the chair of the Alaska                                                                               
Energy Conservation Commission; relating to the                                                                                 
appellate procedures of the Alaska Energy                                                                                       
Conservation Commission; and providing for an                                                                                   
effective date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 SB 133 was HELD in Committee for further                                                                                       
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SB 134 An Act authorizing the Alaska Oil and Gas                                                                                
Conservation Commission to determine the amount of                                                                              
and to collect a charge for operating wells                                                                                     
subject to the commission's jurisdiction, and to                                                                                
allocate expenses of investigation and hearing,                                                                                 
and repealing the oil and gas conservation tax;                                                                                 
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 SB 134 was HELD in Committee for further                                                                                       
consideration.                                                                                                                  
SB133                                                                                                                           
SENATE BILL NO. 133                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
An Act creating and providing for the Alaska Energy                                                                             
Conservation Commission and transferring to it the                                                                              
powers and duties of the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                                
Commission and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation                                                                              
Commission; repealing the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                               
Commission and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation                                                                              
Commission; relating to regulation of waste collection                                                                          
and disposal; relating to the powers of the chair of                                                                            
the Alaska Energy Conservation Commission; relating to                                                                          
the appellate procedures of the Alaska Energy                                                                                   
Conservation Commission; and providing for an effective                                                                         
date.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault advised that the version before                                                                             
Committee members addressed concerns brought forward in the                                                                     
previous committee hearings.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies MOVED to adopt work draft version                                                                      
1-LS077\T, Cramer, 5/12/99, as the version before the                                                                           
Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WILDA RODMAN, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT,                                                                            
explained the changes made to the committee substitute.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Williams questioned how the commission would                                                                     
understand that there was public interest.  Co-Chair                                                                            
Therriault explained that the Commission would establish a                                                                      
mechanism to determine public interest and then would direct                                                                    
the Chair to request public participation when appropriate.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK CARTER, STAFF, SENATOR DRUE PEARCE, added,                                                                              
currently, the Commissioners on the Alaska Public Utilities                                                                     
Commission (APUC) determine when it is in public interest                                                                       
and they then represent the public before the Commission.                                                                       
He suggested that be a separate section.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if the present appeal                                                                       
process would be dealt with through the Courts.  Ms. Rodman                                                                     
replied that in current regulation, there is an appeal                                                                          
process established by industry. Senator Pearce and                                                                             
Representative Therriault acknowledge that there should be                                                                      
adequate recourse for appeal.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies asked the process.  Mr. Carter                                                                         
explained it would consist of petitioning for                                                                                   
reconsideration and that the Commission at this time does                                                                       
not have the ability to act as a three-commission panel.                                                                        
That was an effort brought forward by Senator Pearce to                                                                         
streamline the process.  The intent is that the Chairman                                                                        
assigns the appropriate number of commissioners to the panel                                                                    
based by the magnitude of the case.  Representative J.                                                                          
Davies cautioned that following the process, it would go to                                                                     
Court.  Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that current                                                                            
regulations allow the appeal of the five-members.  The                                                                          
regulations need to be updated for the interim.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies advised that in current statute, a                                                                     
three commissioner hearing is not allowed, however, it is                                                                       
being proposed in the legislation.  He asked if a matter was                                                                    
heard by three commissioners and then requested                                                                                 
reconsideration, would that occur by the original                                                                               
commissioners or by the entire Commission.  Mr. Carter                                                                          
explained that under current regulation, the full commission                                                                    
makes the reconsideration.  As currently written, it would                                                                      
go to the full commission.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault mentioned his intent that the Committee                                                                     
should consider a two-year sunset.  He understood that some                                                                     
changes would not be fully implemented until that time,                                                                         
although, it would be prudent to revisit them.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies inquired if the proposed                                                                               
legislation intended to have Legislative Budget and Audit                                                                       
Committee (LBA) consider the issues next year.  Co-Chair                                                                        
Therriault replied that the legislation would request LBA to                                                                    
check out AOGCC and present a report of possible merging the                                                                    
two.  That would be separate legislation.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Austerman inquired if the proposed                                                                               
legislation retained any of HB 183.  Ms. Rodman replied that                                                                    
it does, the language for removal for cause.  Current APUC                                                                      
has a different removal clause, and that language was kept.                                                                     
Mr. Carter pointed out that additional language had been                                                                        
added, "inability to serve" to Page 2.  Ms. Rodman advised                                                                      
that HB 183 had substantially changed the powers of the                                                                         
chair, and with the exception of two points, SB 133 assumed                                                                     
those changes.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rodman continued, HB 183 mandated that APUC incorporate                                                                     
a management information system, which SB 133 kept.  An                                                                         
important aspect was the addition of arbitrators, and that                                                                      
industry had noted that they wanted settlement techniques                                                                       
and arbitrators to be added.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bunde understood that HB 183 removed the                                                                         
qualification listed on Page 2, Lines 9-14, which limited                                                                       
the talent pool of available commissioners.  He asked why                                                                       
the language was put back in SB 133.  Co-Chair Therriault                                                                       
explained that there had been a lot of discussion in the                                                                        
House Labor and Commerce Committee regarding qualifications,                                                                    
at which time, Senator Pearce objected to the                                                                                   
qualifications.  However, now she indicated reconsideration                                                                     
on how the qualification should read.  Nothing has been                                                                         
received to date.  Co-Chair Therriault urged that some                                                                          
qualifications are needed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies commented that there had been                                                                          
discussion on the utility meeting concern.  He concurred                                                                        
with the proposed changes and the removal of the category                                                                       
restriction.  He applauded removal of the political party                                                                       
affliction.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #1.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].  Mr. Carter explained that the amendment would                                                                           
include the interest of a public utility or a pipeline                                                                          
carrier.  Representative Bunde noted that was an area of                                                                        
concern.  He questioned if other areas should be limited.                                                                       
He urged that a conflict of interest should address everyone                                                                    
or at least provide a broader prohibition.  Mr. Carter                                                                          
replied that language is in current statute.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bunde MOVED an amendment to the amendment,                                                                       
which would excise language on Page 4, Line 4 (a) through                                                                       
Line 9.  Representative G. Davis stated that would address                                                                      
unrelated information to the amendment.  Co-Chair Therriault                                                                    
explained to Representative Bunde that he would like to                                                                         
adopt Amendment #1 as a technical cleanup and requested that                                                                    
his amendment be handled separately.  Representative Bunde                                                                      
WITHDREW the Amendment to the Amendment.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Austerman asked if the language of the                                                                           
amendment was in current statute.  Mr. Carter stated it is.                                                                     
There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #2.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].  Mr. Carter indicated that the amendment would delete                                                                    
redundant language within the bill.  Representative J.                                                                          
Davies advised that funding had been included in the budget,                                                                    
however, instruction to hire a hearing officer was not                                                                          
included.  He argued that the language be left as a signal                                                                      
of intent.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault voiced his preference of not including                                                                      
that language in statute.  However, intent language could be                                                                    
included within the operating budget.  Representative J.                                                                        
Davies disagreed, noting that the language would be stronger                                                                    
left in.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault WITHDREW Amendment #2.  There being NO                                                                      
OBJECTION, it was withdrawn.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies asked what would happen if HB 40                                                                       
was not adopted.  Co-Chair Therriault considered the                                                                            
possibility if HB 40 was passed and the Committee decided to                                                                    
keep the old departmental names, language would be                                                                              
conformed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MIKE TIBBLES, STAFF, REPRESENTIVE GENE THERRIAULT, explained                                                                    
that a reviser note had been included in HB 40 to catch all                                                                     
references.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #3.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JIM WHITAKER stated that the Amendment would                                                                     
establish that the State has the right to basic information                                                                     
and that the State is an equal partner with industry in                                                                         
relationship to State resources.  Additionally, the                                                                             
amendment provides for a method to resolve intergovernmental                                                                    
disputes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out that one argument against the amendment                                                                          
originated from the industry.  They have indicated that time                                                                    
and effort have been brought forward addressing the issue.                                                                      
He noted he was particularly interested in the argument of                                                                      
sharing information.  Representative Whitaker requested that                                                                    
Amendment #3 be withdrawn until further discussion occurs                                                                       
with industry.  Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to WITHDRAW                                                                           
Amendment #3.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was withdrawn.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN BRENA, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE), TESORO,                                                                            
ANCHORAGE, spoke in support of a portion of SB 133 which                                                                        
separates staff advocacy and advisory roles.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
(Tape Change HFC 99 - 130, Side 2).                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Brena pointed out that the concern for changing staff is                                                                    
more important than ever, as the work of the Commission will                                                                    
be fundamentally restructuring several industries.  He                                                                          
emphasized that this is not a good time to confuse the roles                                                                    
of staffing.  Additionally, TESORO believes that there needs                                                                    
to be a proper public advocacy section.  Currently, there is                                                                    
no policy and it does not flow well.  He reiterated that                                                                        
section should be properly funded and staffed.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies asked if Mr. Brena supports the                                                                        
proposed committee substitute.  Mr. Brena stated that he                                                                        
preferred the previous version, however, does agree with                                                                        
downloading the commission issue and the need to allocate                                                                       
staff resources.  Co-Chair Therriault advised that he had                                                                       
recommended that the prime sponsor offer intent language to                                                                     
adequately address staffing.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIMMY JACKSON, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE), GCI,                                                                             
ANCHORAGE, commented that GCI would withdraw the request                                                                        
that to keep staffing the way it currently exists.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SB 133 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
SENATE BILL NO. 134                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
An Act authorizing the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation                                                                          
Commission to determine the amount of and to collect a                                                                          
charge for operating wells subject to the commission's                                                                          
jurisdiction, and to allocate expenses of investigation                                                                         
and hearing, and repealing the oil and gas conservation                                                                         
tax; and providing for an effective date.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #1.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT MINTZ, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE), ASSISTANT                                                                         
ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, commented that the                                                                         
amendment addresses program receipts.  The bill guarantees                                                                      
that regulatory cost charge receipts would be treated as                                                                        
program receipts. He added, that there are other receipts                                                                       
addressed in Section 1, which should also be addressed with                                                                     
this formula.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #2.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Mintz explained that Amendment #2 would clarify cost                                                                        
charge related to regulatory wells.  Each charge is based on                                                                    
guaranteeing that the well is properly accounted for.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He continued, current language in Subsection A describes                                                                        
only wells with reference to one criterion. As currently                                                                        
written, the second criteria describes a person, not a well.                                                                    
To avoid confusion, the Department is suggesting that the                                                                       
language be written so that the criteria describes a well.                                                                      
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment #2 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to adopt Amendment #3.  [Copy on                                                                      
File].  Mr. Carter explained that language was added in the                                                                     
"spirit of compromise" with industry.  The amendment would                                                                      
obligate AOGCC to attend to all ratepayers within 30 days of                                                                    
their budget.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned the estimated time,                                                                         
voicing concern that this element of the budget would be                                                                        
made public prior to the Governor submitting it.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative G. Davis questioned the number of other                                                                          
statutory receipts, which could begin to "snow-ball".  Mr.                                                                      
Carter pointed out that making the change would be "up to                                                                       
the will of the Committee".                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:  Therriault                                                                                                           
OPPOSED: Austerman, Bunde, J. Davies, G. Davis,                                                                                 
Foster, Grussendorf, Moses, Williams, Mulder                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kohring was not present for the vote.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (1-9).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 133 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The meeting adjourned at 3:35 P.M.                                                                                              
H.F.C. 8 5/12/99 p.m.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects