Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/03/2002 03:40 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                   SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                          April 3, 2002                                                                                         
                            3:40 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Torgerson, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Wilken, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Rick Halford                                                                                                            
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Robin Taylor                                                                                                            
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                                                                      
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 219                                                                                                             
"An Act establishing  and relating to the Joint  Federal and State                                                              
Navigable  Waters  Commission for  Alaska;  and  providing for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 353                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to the labeling of animal and  poultry feeds and                                                              
to  the agriculture  program  coordinator;  and  providing for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSSB 353(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 354                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to the prices paid by milk  processing plants to                                                              
suppliers of fluid milk."                                                                                                       
     MOVED CSSB 219(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 356                                                                                                             
"An  Act   relating  to  the   authority  of  the   Department  of                                                              
Environmental  Conservation   to  issue  general   and  individual                                                              
permits for waste disposal; and providing  for an effective date."                                                              
     MOVED SB 356 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 44(RES)am                                                                                     
Strongly urging  the President  of the  United States,  the United                                                              
States Congress, and appropriate  federal officials to support the                                                              
construction  and  operation of  the  Alaska Highway  Natural  Gas                                                              
Pipeline route.                                                                                                                 
     MOVED SCS HJR 44(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                              
SB 219 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
SB 353 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
SB 354 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
SB 356 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
HJR 44 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Mr. Ron Sommerville                                                                                                             
Consultant to the Senate and House Majority                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 219.                                                                                      
Ms. Carol Carroll, Director                                                                                                     
Division of Support Services                                                                                                    
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
400 Willoughby Ave.                                                                                                             
Juneau, AK  99801-1724                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 219.                                                                                         
Ms. Janey Winegar                                                                                                               
Staff to Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 353 for sponsor.                                                                          
Representative John Harris                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353 and is sponsor of HB 432,                                                                
companion bill.                                                                                                                 
Mr. Michael Purviance                                                                                                           
POB 1656                                                                                                                        
Delta Junction AK 99737                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353.                                                                                         
Ms. Marta Mueller                                                                                                               
516 Auklet Place                                                                                                                
Fairbanks AK 99709                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353.                                                                                         
Mr. River Bean, President                                                                                                       
Alaska Organic Association                                                                                                      
Palmer, AK 99645                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353.                                                                                         
Mr. Larry De Vilbiss                                                                                                            
HC04 Box 9302                                                                                                                   
Palmer AK 99645                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353 and SB 354.                                                                              
Ms. Kelly Langford LaDere                                                                                                       
Secretary, Alaska Livestock Producers' Cooperative                                                                              
Chairperson, Upper Susitna Water and Soil Conservation District                                                                 
No Address Provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 353 and SB 354.                                                                              
Mr. Wayne Brost                                                                                                                 
No Address Provided                                                                                                             
Mackenzie AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 354.                                                                                         
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 356.                                                                                        
Mr. Tom Chapple, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Air and Water Quality                                                                                               
Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                        
555 Cordova St.                                                                                                                 
Anchorage AK 99501                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 356.                                                                                         
Mr. Bill Jeffress                                                                                                               
Manager, Environmental Services, Fairbanks Coal Mining                                                                          
Vice President, Council of Alaska Producers                                                                                     
POB 73726                                                                                                                       
Fairbanks AK 99707                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 356.                                                                                         
Ms. Charlotte McCay, Senior Administrator                                                                                       
Environmental and Regulatory Affairs                                                                                            
Tec-Cominco Alaska/Red Dog Mine                                                                                                 
No Address Provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 356.                                                                                         
Mr. Tad Owens, Executive Director                                                                                               
Resource Development Council                                                                                                    
121 W. Fireweed, No. 207                                                                                                        
Anchorage, AK 99503                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 356.                                                                                         
Ms. Linda Hay                                                                                                                   
Staff to Representative Scott Ogan                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HJR 44.                                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-15, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
               SB 219-NAVIGABLE WATERS COMMISSION                                                                           
CHAIRMAN  JOHN TORGERSON  called  the Senate  Resources  Committee                                                            
meeting  to  order at  3:40  p.m.  Present were  Senators  Wilken,                                                              
Halford,  Stevens  and  Chairman   Torgerson.  He  said  he  would                                                              
probably  not have a  quorum to  take action  on bills today,  but                                                              
would at  least take testimony on  the bills. He announced  SB 219                                                              
to be up for consideration.                                                                                                     
MR. RON SOMMERVILLE, consultant to  the House and Senate Majority,                                                              
said that  SB 219 is  designed for one  purpose - to  expedite the                                                              
process for determination of navigability  in Alaska. He explained                                                              
some background history as follows:                                                                                             
     In  a nutshell  when we got  statehood in  1959 and  the                                                                   
     state inherited title to about  60 million acres of tide                                                                   
     and  submerged  lands,  about  15  million  of  that  is                                                                   
     navigable  waters under  our streams  and, according  to                                                                   
     DNR, about 30 some million acres  lies within our marine                                                                   
     submerged  lands   out  to  three  miles.   The  key  on                                                                   
     navigability is  if it was navigable at  statehood, it's                                                                   
     navigable  today. The  problem has  been -  now I'll  go                                                                   
     through two or three items which  will illustrate why in                                                                   
     fact we  should pursue a  more expeditious process.  The                                                                   
     final  determination,   unfortunately,  has   fallen  in                                                                   
     almost every  case to the  federal courts, which  is not                                                                   
     unusual.  That's the  way almost every  state has  done,                                                                   
     except  Alaska  has a  considerable  amount  of water  -                                                                   
     about 22,000  thousand streams  which could probably  be                                                                   
     litigated  as   being  navigable  or  nonnavigable   and                                                                   
     upwards of  one million or  more of water  bodies, lakes                                                                   
     in particular, that could be litigated as well.                                                                            
     The problem basically is, as  the state has found in the                                                                   
     Quiet Title Act  itself, in summarizing it,  the feds in                                                                   
     essence,  the Court under  the Quiet  Title Act, can  be                                                                   
     defendants  in adjudicating  a disputed  title in  which                                                                   
     the  U.S. claims  an  interest. The  feds  have taken  a                                                                   
     narrow  view of  that and  it  has been  upheld to  some                                                                   
     extent in the  courts. If the feds don't  take an active                                                                   
     interest or  assert an active  interest in a  particular                                                                   
     water body,  then the state  is powerless to  force some                                                                   
     sort of  quiet title  act. I'll give  you an example  of                                                                   
     that in just a second.                                                                                                     
     The second  basic problem  is the navigability  criteria                                                                   
     itself. Although the Utah Lake  decision in 1987 said if                                                                   
     Congress  didn't  explicitly  take  away  the  tide  and                                                                   
     submerged  land estate under  the Equal Footing  Clause,                                                                   
     in essence  when we  became a  state, we inherited  that                                                                   
     The Gulkana  Case in 1987 was  probably the key  case in                                                                   
     Alaska,  which I might  add that  most of the  attorneys                                                                   
     have told  me that navigability  is kind of on  a state-                                                                   
     by-state, case-by-case basis  - particular water body or                                                                   
     stream or whatever. The Gulkana  was specific to Alaska.                                                                   
     In  your  packets  there's  kind  of a  summary  of  the                                                                   
     Gulkana thing.  I could read that if you  desire, but in                                                                   
     essence it  affirmed what the state had  been contending                                                                   
     for a long time - that is a  very broad definition as to                                                                   
     the  navigability  use  or  use  as  a  water  body  for                                                                   
     commerce.  The Gulkana criteria  has been applied  since                                                                   
     1983 to almost  every decision, although be  it very few                                                                   
     of them relating  to navigability. But it  is a standard                                                                   
     by which navigability will be  determined in the future.                                                                   
     There have been  other cases that the Department  of Law                                                                   
     has  pursued   in  order  to  try  to  get   some  clear                                                                   
     definition  from  the courts  as  to what  water  bodies                                                                   
     would qualify.                                                                                                             
     The  third  item, which  is  a  difficulty, is  the  BLM                                                                   
     surveys themselves, one of the  reasons why the state is                                                                   
     now looking at some expeditious  process for determining                                                                   
     that    [indisc.].   It   wasn't    until   1983    when                                                                   
     administratively  BLM  decided to  utilize  its own  BLM                                                                   
     manual  of surveying instructions,  and later  ratified,                                                                   
     by the way,  in 1988 by Congress instructing  them to do                                                                   
     that. But prior  to 1983 a lot of conveyances  were made                                                                   
     to corporations in the state,  Native Corporations under                                                                   
     the Alaska  Native Claims Settlement Act, where  in fact                                                                   
     the BLM did  not determine navigability. As  such, a lot                                                                   
     of  streams  and  water  bodies   were  transferred  and                                                                   
     submerged  lands with them  to the corporations  whereby                                                                   
     the  state said  we think a  lot of  these water  bodies                                                                   
     were in  fact navigable  and thus sets  up a case  where                                                                   
     you have  plotted title and  the potential for  numerous                                                                   
     litigation.  So, there's  never  been an  attempt to  go                                                                   
     back  prior to  1983 and  correct the  errors that  were                                                                   
     made in the conveyances.                                                                                                   
     Since statehood there have been  13 rivers determined by                                                                   
     the federal courts to be navigable  in 40-some years. We                                                                   
     estimate 22,000 rivers and the  cost of about $1 million                                                                   
     went into  a court  case called  the Kandig, Nation  and                                                                   
     the Black  Rivers [in northeast Alaska]. That  was three                                                                   
     rivers  out of two  hundred that  the Department of  Law                                                                   
     had  submitted  in  1992  and   1996  to  Department  of                                                                   
     Interior with  indication on the  Quiet Title Act  - 180                                                                   
     day  notice,  we intend  to  quiet  title to  these  two                                                                   
     hundred water bodies.                                                                                                      
     Nine years  later and $1  million later we  resolved two                                                                   
     of them.  The third  one is the  one I was mentioning  a                                                                   
     while  ago - is  this issue  of the  feds convinced  the                                                                   
     courts that  they had not asserted  title to one  of the                                                                   
     rivers. So, two of them were  resolved and one was left,                                                                   
     in essence, in abeyance. There  was no decision. At this                                                                   
     rate, you can calculate it will  take us 99,000 years to                                                                   
     resolve our title to our navigable  waters and an excess                                                                   
     of $11 billion if the same criteria were applied.                                                                          
     Why do  we need title? If  the state is going  to manage                                                                   
     its water  bodies, which it  more and more needs  to do,                                                                   
     that if you  want to issue leases, you want  to exercise                                                                   
     jurisdiction,  title  becomes important,  because  along                                                                   
     with title  comes the ability  to regulate what  happens                                                                   
     in  the water column.  SB 219  is designed  specifically                                                                   
     for that purpose. The body itself  that is being created                                                                   
     does not  have any  authority, it  won't go into  affect                                                                   
     until  a similar law  is passed  in Congress setting  it                                                                   
     up.    The    individuals     appointed    would    make                                                                   
     recommendations as  to which water bodies  qualify under                                                                   
     the Gulkana  decision or  other criteria established  by                                                                   
     the  courts. It  would provide  a list  of navigable  or                                                                   
     nonnavigable  waters, which  could then  be verified  by                                                                   
     Congress, the administration,  the courts or whatever. I                                                                   
     think Senator  Halford could elaborate more  on a recent                                                                   
     meeting that  he participated in with the  Secretary and                                                                   
     the  delegation.  The  response   was  positive  to  the                                                                   
     concept and  that's why Senator Halford asked  that this                                                                   
     bill is before you.                                                                                                        
SENATOR HALFORD said:                                                                                                           
     We  met with  the Secretary  of  Interior and  suggested                                                                   
     what we were  looking at, as the first draft,  to create                                                                   
     an  entity that  would  make recommendations  for  being                                                                   
     passed  by  state law  and  federal  law and  she  said,                                                                   
     'Well, we have a proposal that  we're considering for RS                                                                   
     2477s  in Utah  where basically  the federal  government                                                                   
     files   a    recordable,   basically,   a    notice   of                                                                   
     nonobjection,  which essentially closes  the case  or as                                                                   
     close as  you can get to  a quit claim on  an easement.'                                                                   
     That  was more  than we had  hoped to  think about  even                                                                   
     asking for.  The draft you have  takes out a lot  of the                                                                   
     formality in the original version,  but it still takes a                                                                   
     working  group  to  come  up   with  those  that  aren't                                                                   
     controversial to  be recommended for solution.  That was                                                                   
     the  conversation.   We  were  very  pleased   with  the                                                                   
MS. CAROL CARROLL, Director, Administrative Services, DNR,                                                                      
     The department  has a navigability  person and  the only                                                                   
     thing that  we are really able  to do is to look  at the                                                                   
     conveyances  that the  federal government  does give  us                                                                   
     and analyze those  to make sure that they  have conveyed                                                                   
     the  land  that  they  are supposed  to  and  that  they                                                                   
     haven't  counted the riverbeds  within that  conveyance.                                                                   
     We  also, with  the one person  that we  have there,  we                                                                   
     make sure  that we take navigability  into consideration                                                                   
     when  we do land  sales by  making sure  that we get  an                                                                   
     easement so  we have public access. For  the committee's                                                                   
     information, on the House side  that person has been cut                                                                   
     out of the  budget. I just wanted you to  know that. The                                                                   
     department on this bill feels it would be a good idea.                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked, "Do you like the bill?"                                                                               
MS. CARROLL replied, "We feel it would be that something really                                                                 
does need to be done and this bill is certainly one way you could                                                               
do that."                                                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON said, "It's the only way I've seen so far.                                                                   
It's a very important bill."                                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said they  would hold  the bill until  Senator                                                              
Wilken could join them.                                                                                                         
          SB 353-AGRICULT. PROG.COORDINATOR/ANIMAL FEED                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced SB 353 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
MS. JANEY  WINEGAR,  staff to Senator  Lyda Green,  sponsor  of SB
353, said that  Pete Fellman, staff to Representative  John Harris                                                              
is  very aware  of  this  issue and  the  bill.  She said  SB  353                                                              
addresses  three areas,  organic crop  inspections, feed  labeling                                                              
and control  of noxious  weeds, and  that she  would see  that the                                                              
committee received  a copy of  "Noxious Invasive  Plant Management                                                              
In  Alaska"  that  was  produced   by  the  University  of  Alaska                                                              
Cooperative Extension Service. She said:                                                                                        
     These  weeds  tend to  impact  our hunting  and  fishing                                                                   
     grounds,  agricultural crops  and  they're getting  more                                                                   
     invasive every  year. Several western states  have spent                                                                   
     millions  and  millions of  dollars  controlling  weeds.                                                                   
     They're at  a point now  that they're very  invasive and                                                                   
     becoming  very destructive. We're  at the crossroads  in                                                                   
     Alaska  where we  can take control  of them  now with  a                                                                   
     little bit of money put into it.                                                                                           
     As far as  the labeling of animal feed, we  are the only                                                                   
     state that doesn't require labeling  of what's in animal                                                                   
     feed and  we think that we need  to do that and  come up                                                                   
     to   national  standards.   Another   area  that   we're                                                                   
     addressing is  the organic label. Federal  labeling laws                                                                   
     require  that organic  food  inspectors may  not have  a                                                                   
     vested   interest  or   participation   in  growing   or                                                                   
     processing the foods being certified.  Either an outside                                                                   
     inspector  or staff  person  will need  to  be hired  to                                                                   
     determine that it is in fact  organic foods and has been                                                                   
     grown and processed within Alaska.                                                                                         
     This  bill speaks  to three  problems  by requiring  the                                                                   
     commissioner  of [the] Department  of Natural  Resources                                                                   
     to  appoint  an  agricultural   program  coordinator  to                                                                   
     oversee management of an organic  crop labeling program,                                                                   
     adopt  animal feed  standards  and implement  this  plan                                                                   
     that  the  University  has   developed  on  noxious  and                                                                   
     invasive   plant  management   as  recommended  by   and                                                                   
     developed in cooperation with  federal, state, local and                                                                   
     private agencies and groups…                                                                                               
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  referred  to  language  on page  1,  line  7,                                                              
"establish requirements  that are compatible with  federal law and                                                              
the laws of other states" and asked  why laws of other states were                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  HARRIS, sponsor of  HB 432, a  companion bill                                                              
to SB  353, responded  that there  is a publication  put out  by a                                                              
federal organization  that coordinated  legislation in  all states                                                              
on  this issue  and  developed model  legislation  so  there is  a                                                              
uniform standard when it comes to weed control.                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  said  he  didn't   know  if  he  wanted  that                                                              
requirement.  He  asked  what  would happen  if  a  state  adopted                                                              
something contradictory  to what  Alaska wants  and Alaska  had to                                                              
abide by their laws.                                                                                                            
MR.  MICHAEL PURVIANCE,  Delta Junction  resident, stated  support                                                              
for SB 353.  He said he started  farming in Delta a few  years ago                                                              
on  virgin ground  and he  is already  beginning  to see  invasive                                                              
weeds like chickweed.  He said if we don't address  these problems                                                              
now, they will become big problems  that would require millions of                                                              
dollars to correct. He urged members to adopt this legislation.                                                                 
MS. MARTA  MUELLER, lifelong  Alaska resident,  said she is  a UAF                                                              
student and supports SB 353 for the following reasons.                                                                          
     The  Agriculture Coordinator  Commission will  [indisc.]                                                                   
     its development  in Alaska.  Working with the  federally                                                                   
     mandated  Organic  Food Regulations  will  help  Alaskan                                                                   
     food  producers   market  organic  foods,   because  the                                                                   
     standards  consumers   can  follow  will  be   in  place                                                                   
     Second, enforcing  the existing state noxious  weed code                                                                   
     and reviewing  DNR regulations  can help development  by                                                                   
     assuring  disturbed  areas,   such  as  mineral  leases,                                                                   
     transportation  corridors, [indisc.], public  recreation                                                                   
     areas and farms remain weed free…                                                                                          
MR. RIVER  BEAN, President, Alaska  Organic Association,  said the                                                              
federal  Natural Organic  Program would  supercede the  certifying                                                              
organic program in Alaska this year. He added:                                                                                  
     While the standards that the  federal government has are                                                                   
     not as stringent as the ones  that we have for the state                                                                   
     of  Alaska, we  still would  like to  see the  [indisc.]                                                                   
     natural   organic   program   standards   be   [indisc.]                                                                   
     What SB 353 does is it removes  the old organic law from                                                                   
     the  [indisc.] book,  which are the  worst standards  in                                                                   
     the  nation…  It  will also  adopt  a  national  organic                                                                   
     program that becomes effective,  I believe October 22 of                                                                   
     this year. And  third, it allows the State  of Alaska to                                                                   
     become  accredited   with  the  federal   government  to                                                                   
     certify  organic  foods and  [indisc].  Without  passing                                                                   
     this  bill, the  farmers are  going to have  to rely  on                                                                   
     out-of-state  certification  and carry  their labels  on                                                                   
     the organic  Alaskan-grown foods  - like certified  with                                                                   
     standards  of  California  or   Washington  state.  It's                                                                   
     unlikely that any organic farmer  in the State of Alaska                                                                   
     would  want  another  state's  label  on  their  Alaskan                                                                   
     organic foods.                                                                                                             
     So, the consumer is left without  a choice. If they have                                                                   
     a preference  for buying  certified organic foods,  they                                                                   
     will be forced  to buy certified organic  foods that are                                                                   
     not grown in this state…                                                                                                   
MR.  LARRY DE  VILBISS, Mat-Su  "carrot  man," said  this bill  is                                                              
important  to his  business. Last  year  he began  the process  of                                                              
transitioning his  entire farm to  organic, including  carrots and                                                              
beets, about 1,000  acres outside of Palmer. If they  are not able                                                              
to  continue with  the  certification  process that  they  started                                                              
about five years ago through the  Alaska Organic Association, they                                                              
can't  continue the  program  or switch  to  the one  from out  of                                                              
MS. KELLY LANGFORD LADERE, Secretary,  Alaska Livestock Producers'                                                              
Cooperative,  said she also  had been President  and that  she was                                                              
Chairperson  for the  Upper Susitna  Water  and Soil  Conservation                                                              
District, a quasi-state  agency that functions within  DNR, and is                                                              
composed  of volunteers  from  within  the district  covering  two                                                              
million  acres in the  Upper Susitna  Valley.  She also makes  her                                                              
living as a farmer and a rancher.                                                                                               
Regarding the labeling  aspect of this legislation,  she said it's                                                              
very  important  for  people  who  have  made  the  investment  in                                                              
livestock in  Alaska that  the feedstuffs that  come out of  a bag                                                              
and go  into the  animals be of  a certain  standard. In  the past                                                              
unlabelled  feed  has come  into  the  state and  has  contributed                                                              
substantially  to the  noxious weed  and  invasive plant  problems                                                              
that are  taking place across  Alaskan farms, roadsides,  railroad                                                              
beds, and  along rivers. She  said, "Accurate labeling  will allow                                                              
the consumer  the option  of choosing a  higher quality  feed that                                                              
may be certified as weed-free. She  plants about 400 acres of oats                                                              
each year and  buys only certified weed-free, however  even it has                                                              
noxious and invasive weeds.                                                                                                     
MS.  LADERE said  that a  number of  people across  the state  are                                                              
trying  to  reach  this  level  of  organic  certification.  "It's                                                              
expensive; they  have to go  through multiple years  of inspection                                                              
of their farm…"                                                                                                                 
She said that most of the noxious  plants that affect livestock in                                                              
this state  have been introduced. For  the first time in  50 years                                                              
on one of  her farms she is going  to have to spray  a chemical to                                                              
control invasive plants and she is not happy about it.                                                                          
SENATOR WILKEN moved on line 7 to  delete the last six words, "and                                                              
the  laws of  other  states". There  were  no  objections and  the                                                              
amendment was adopted.                                                                                                          
SENATOR WILKEN moved  to report CSSB 353(RES)  from committee with                                                              
individual  recommendations and  the attached  fiscal note.  There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
               SB 219-NAVIGABLE WATERS COMMISSION                                                                           
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON   announced   SB  219  to   be  back   up  for                                                              
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved  to  report  SB  219  from  committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations  and the attached fiscal  note. Someone                                                              
noted  that   the  committee   had  not   adopted  the   committee                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN moved and asked unanimous  consent to rescind their                                                              
actions  in  reporting  SB  219  from  committee.  There  were  no                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN moved to adopt the  CS to SB 219, version C, Cooke,                                                              
3/27/02. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                        
SENATOR WILKEN moved  to report CSSB 219(RES)  from committee with                                                              
individual  recommendations and  the attached  fiscal note.  There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
          SB 354-PRICES PAID BY MILK PROCESSING PLANTS                                                                      
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced SB 354 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
MS. JANEY  WINEGAR,  staff to Senator  Lyda Green,  sponsor  of SB
354, said this bill has to do with  farmers receiving fair pricing                                                              
for their milk, which has become  fairly complex in today's market                                                              
place  and  is  based upon  a  combination  of  factors  including                                                              
protein, butter  fat, non-fat solids  and bacteria content  of the                                                              
milk. This  bill injects  fairness into the  milk market  place in                                                              
Alaska by stipulating that if a milk  processor opts to penalize a                                                              
dairy farmer for a low milk fat content,  the processors must also                                                              
reward those farmers whose product has a high milk fat content.                                                                 
MR. WAYNE BROST  said he was from Mackenzie and  supported SB 354.                                                              
He got  a letter from  the processing  plant telling him  that the                                                              
butter  fat  of  his  cows'  milk was  a  little  lower  than  the                                                              
standard, which is  3.25%. In the summer he turns  his cows out to                                                              
graze and they get  a higher volume of high moisture  feed and the                                                              
butter fat drops. Most of the time  it's above 3.25%. He remarked,                                                              
"I was threatened  there to get a dock on my pay  if it was below,                                                              
but I  was never offered  anything when it  was above. So,  I'm in                                                              
support of this bill so there's some  reciprocity and fairness for                                                              
the producer here."                                                                                                             
MR. LARRY  DE VILBISS  said it has  been 20 years  since he  ran a                                                              
dairy, but  he remembered that he  was actually penalized  for too                                                              
much butter  fat. He commented, "But  we're living in  a different                                                              
world and there's  a commercial value there that  I think dairymen                                                              
ought to be getting so I support it."                                                                                           
MS. LADERE  said  she had been  in Alaska  for 55  years and  ever                                                              
since she  was nine  she had been  involved with agriculture.  She                                                              
     Very  simply,  more butter  fat  figures into  a  higher                                                                   
     value product  for the processing plant.  That increased                                                                   
     butter  fat has  a dollar  advantage and  so anyone  who                                                                   
     produces a milk, a dairy product  or milk that goes into                                                                   
     a processing  plant should logically get a  higher price                                                                   
     for his milk and I think it just is that simple.                                                                           
SENATOR  WILKEN  asked  if  a  milk  producing  plant  under  this                                                              
legislation must  pay a  premium for more  than 3.25%  butter fat,                                                              
whether the plant has the option  of buying milk elsewhere so that                                                              
it doesn't have  to pay the premium. He questioned,  "Doesn't that                                                              
give the supplier a reason to go somewhere else?"                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS responded that  there is a national standard                                                              
for whole milk.  If Matanuska Maid purchases that  milk, generally                                                              
it will  skim it  down to  the standard  and buy  it at a  certain                                                              
price. This  bill basically  says if  your milk  has a higher  fat                                                              
content than that standard, then it has a value. He added:                                                                      
     If  the  processing plant  decides  to  dock you  for  a                                                                   
     reduction  in that  value, then  they must  pay you  the                                                                   
     same value on  the other end. So, we're not  saying that                                                                   
     they have  to pay  a premium. All  we're saying  in this                                                                   
     legislation  is that if  the plant  decides to dock  you                                                                   
     for not  having high enough  butter fat, then  they must                                                                   
     also pay you when you are above the national standard.                                                                     
SENATOR WILKEN asked if they also docked the outside supplier.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  explained when they bring milk  in from the                                                              
Lower 48,  generally they specify  what fat content they  want and                                                              
they pay  for that value.  He said, "If  Mat-Maid says  instead of                                                              
3.25%,  we  would  like  3.5%,  then   they  would  pay  for  that                                                              
additional fat when they bring it in."                                                                                          
SENATOR WILKEN  asked if  this bill  jeopardizes their  ability to                                                              
market greater than 3.25% butterfat milk.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS answered no.                                                                                              
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  if  there is  a  relationship  between  a                                                              
standard plate count [SPC] and butterfat content.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS replied:                                                                                                  
     Indirectly. It's  pretty involved and I can  explain it.                                                                   
     Standard  plate  count is  your  bacteria count  and  so                                                                   
     usually  the  standard  plate  count  comes  from  dirty                                                                   
     equipment  and that causes  your plate  count to go  up.                                                                   
     However, dirty equipment can  cause your e-coli to go up                                                                   
     and your e-coli can affect the  quality of your milk and                                                                   
     it  could  reduce  the  percent  of  butterfat  that  is                                                                   
     produced by the milk cow. So, it could have an effect.                                                                     
SENATOR STEVENS  read from  a rate sheet  released by  Mat-Maid on                                                              
January  1, 2001,  about  a quality  bonus  incentive program.  He                                                              
asked  if that  was  based on  the quality  of  the facility,  for                                                              
example the  use of clean  equipment, or  the quality of  the milk                                                              
produced by the animal.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS responded:                                                                                                
     No,  when  the standard  plate  count and  the  coliform                                                                   
     counts  are  indications  of  what's  in  the  milk,  it                                                                   
     doesn't necessarily determine  how it gets there, but it                                                                   
     helps determine  how it  gets there. So,  if you  milk a                                                                   
     cow with some equipment that  hasn't been kept up to the                                                                   
     standard, then your plate count  will go up in your tank                                                                   
     of milk and if your plate count  goes up, then the value                                                                   
     of your  milk drops.  That's why  they have the  quality                                                                   
     bonus. The same  thing with e-coli. If a  cow happens to                                                                   
     have  an e-coli  bacteria in  their  mammary system,  it                                                                   
     comes through and  gets into the whole tank  of milk and                                                                   
     if that's the case, the value of that milk drops.                                                                          
SENATOR STEVENS  said on  the flip  side, if you  had a  lower SPC                                                              
count, the bonus goes up.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said that was right.                                                                                      
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked  if  there   was  no  correlation  between                                                              
butterfat content and the SPC or coliform.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  replied,  "Not  that it  can  be  directly                                                              
proven. Generally, the  SPC and the e-coli counts  have to do with                                                              
either equipment or the health of the mammary system."                                                                          
SENATOR  STEVENS  asked if  the  butter  fat  plan had  ever  been                                                              
revised  from 3.3% for  Grade A,  currently priced  at $19.75  per                                                              
cubic weight ton.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said that was  for a hundred weight of milk.                                                              
SENATOR STEVENS  noted that it said  they would dock a  penalty of                                                              
1/10th of 1% for content under 3.25%.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS replied there  was more documentation  from                                                              
Mat-Maid saying that the standard for whole milk is 3.25.                                                                       
4:25 p.m.                                                                                                                       
TAPE 02-15, SIDE B                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said:                                                                                                     
     In the Lower  48 they have milk marketing  orders, which                                                                   
     is a federal system that helps  provide for guidance and                                                                   
     money for  the farmers to  get together and  establish a                                                                   
     milk  marketing  order  and then  establish  what  these                                                                   
     standards  are. The milk  marketing order  - they  go to                                                                   
     the  processing plant  and say  if you want  all of  our                                                                   
     milk, this is the price that  we need to have. The State                                                                   
     of  Alaska has a  state-owned processing  plant and  one                                                                   
     private plant and we have -  I think we're down to eight                                                                   
     dairy  farms.  So, we  just  don't  have the  volume  of                                                                   
     people  to be  able  to dictate  what  we  have to  get,                                                                   
     because  Matanuska Maid  is already  bringing in 75%  of                                                                   
     the milk  from Outside. So,  it's just as easy  for them                                                                   
     not to negotiate.                                                                                                          
SENATOR STEVENS  asked if the  other cooperatives use  a structure                                                              
so that if you  have high fat content, you're rewarded  and if you                                                              
have  low  content, you're  penalized.  He  asked  if that  is  an                                                              
industry norm.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS replied, "Yes."                                                                                           
SENATOR WILKEN asked if Mat-Maid had commented on this bill.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  said that the Director of  Agriculture, Rob                                                              
Wells, had seen  the bill. Matanuska Maid has  the creamery board,                                                              
which meets and dictates the policy  of the creamers and Mr. Wells                                                              
attends those meetings, but he had nothing in writing.                                                                          
SENATOR  WILKEN  asked  what  will  keep  them  from  buying  milk                                                              
somewhere else where they don't have to pay the premium.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS  replied that there's  no place else  in the                                                              
Lower 48 where they don't have a premium.                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON said  he wanted  to pass this  bill, but  they                                                              
would set it aside for lack of a quorum.                                                                                        
         SB 356-GENERAL PERMIT FOR WATER/WASTE DISPOSAL                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced SB 356 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT,  sponsor of SB 356, said  the legislation                                                              
was  introduced to  assure that  the  Department of  Environmental                                                              
Conservation (DEC) could continue  to issue the general permits as                                                              
it has done for a number of years. He explained:                                                                                
     Legislation  was  passed  a  couple of  years  ago  that                                                                   
     allowed the DEC  to work on a uniform fee  structure for                                                                   
     general permits  that were to  be issued for  ongoing or                                                                   
     basic types  of permitted activities, HB 361.  This bill                                                                   
     is  to  insure  the DEC  has  the  underlying  statutory                                                                   
     authority  to  actually  issue   the  permits  that  the                                                                   
     legislature  approved   the  fee  structure   for  then.                                                                   
     Examples  of the types  of permits  are remote camps  or                                                                   
     lodges,  logging camps, fish  hatcheries, sewer  systems                                                                   
     for communities  with fewer than 1,000 people,  and some                                                                   
     oil well drilling  operations. The value of  the general                                                                   
     permits are that they allow  DEC to avoid duplication by                                                                   
     creating  one  permit  instead   of  multiple  identical                                                                   
     permits for activities  where the risk of  impact to the                                                                   
     environment  is either  low or can  be easily  mitigated                                                                   
     with common  treatment practices.  General permits  save                                                                   
     DEC  and the regulated  community time  and money  while                                                                   
     accomplishing  the  goal  of  environmental  protection.                                                                   
     General  permits go  hand in  hand with  the permit  fee                                                                   
     structure that  was created. General permits  also allow                                                                   
     DEC to allocate more resources  to field site visits and                                                                   
     inspections, because  they don't have to  have personnel                                                                   
     tied up in the department sort  of reinventing the wheel                                                                   
     over and over.                                                                                                             
He  said they  worked with  DEC to  draft this  language and  that                                                              
committee  packets contain  a letter  from DEC  that contains  two                                                              
concerns. The first concern is on page 1:                                                                                       
     First,  general permits,  in our  view, are  appropriate                                                                   
     only  when the  risk and  impact to  the environment  is                                                                   
     either low  or can be  readily and fully mitigated  with                                                                   
     common treatment practices.                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  thought this concern was addressed  in Section                                                              
3 on page 2, lines 23 - 25, of the bill, which reads:                                                                           
     A general permit may be issued  only if the commissioner                                                                   
     determines that  the activities that will  be authorized                                                                   
     under the  permit are similar  in nature and  will cause                                                                   
     only   minimal   adverse  environmental   effects   when                                                                   
     performed separately and in the aggregate.                                                                                 
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  Section  3 gives  the commissioner  wide                                                              
latitude to  determine when  the permit  is appropriate.  He noted                                                              
DEC's second concern reads:                                                                                                     
     The  procedures  for  developing   and  issuing  general                                                                   
     permits  set  out  in statute,  must  describe  how  the                                                                   
     public  can comment  on a  proposed  general permit  and                                                                   
     must   provide  for   a  reasonable   dissemination   of                                                                   
     information  on which the  facilities or activities  are                                                                   
     operating under a general permit.                                                                                          
He believes Section 6 addresses that concern and read:                                                                          
     The commissioner  shall immediately  send copies  of the                                                                   
     application or proposal to the  commissioner of fish and                                                                   
     game,  the   commissioner  of  natural   resources,  the                                                                   
     commissioner of  community and economic  development and                                                                   
     the commissioner of health and social services.                                                                            
Section  6  explains how  the  information  is provided  to  other                                                              
departments that might have a concern.                                                                                          
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  Mr. Chapple,  DEC, if his  department's                                                              
concerns were addressed in the bill.                                                                                            
MR. TOM  CHAPPLE, Director,  Air and Water  Quality, DEC,  said he                                                              
supported SB 356 as written.                                                                                                    
MR.  BILL JEFFRESS,  Manager,  Environmental  Services,  Fairbanks                                                              
Coal  Mining, and  Vice President,  Council  of Alaska  Producers,                                                              
said as  the Vice  President of  the Producers'  Council he  was a                                                              
representative of the  DEC sponsored work group that  came up with                                                              
recommendations  over  the  course  of  a  year  and  a  half.  He                                                              
     One of  the things we  found very important  and crucial                                                                   
     to DEC's credibility as a regulating  community is these                                                                   
     general  permits and, as  Senator Therriault said,  this                                                                   
     is  an  efficient  way  of   minimizing  the  amount  of                                                                   
     resources  DEC  expends on  writing  individual  permits                                                                   
     that  cover  basically  the  same  issues.  The  general                                                                   
     permits cut  down on the  redundancy and what  is really                                                                   
     important  is to  show a  field presence.  I think  it's                                                                   
     good for the regulated community  and the credibility of                                                                   
     DEC's program as far as their  oversight and making sure                                                                   
     that  the resources  of Alaska  are  protected. I  think                                                                   
     Senator   Therriault    did   an   excellent    job   of                                                                   
     characterizing  all  of  the  bill. What  we  wanted  to                                                                   
     emphasize is that  we not only supported HB  361, but SB
     356  clarifies  what  exactly  DEC's  authority  is.  We                                                                   
     support the bill.                                                                                                          
MS.  CHARLOTTE  MCCAY,  Senior  Administrator,  Environmental  and                                                              
Regulatory Affairs,  Tec-Cominco Alaska, operators of  the Red Dog                                                              
Mine, said:                                                                                                                     
     Industry  is  reliant  on  DEC  for  numerous  important                                                                   
     permits.  DEC   can  be  most  effective   by  providing                                                                   
     standardized  general  permits  for  similar  facilities                                                                   
     with similar environmental risks.  This frees DEC's time                                                                   
     and   resources   to  address   more   significant   and                                                                   
     individualized  permits. DEC is  then more efficient  in                                                                   
     fulfilling  their  duties  and  industry  receives  more                                                                   
     timely permits.  At Red Dog,  we had many  permits. That                                                                   
     takes a lot  of time and it's important to  us that they                                                                   
     be available as best possible.                                                                                             
MR. TAD  OWENS, Executive  Director, Resource Development  Council                                                              
(RDC), said the  RDC has worked with the legislature  and DEC over                                                              
the last  several years  on permit streamlining  and this  bill is                                                              
another step in that direction. He elaborated:                                                                                  
     There are two reasons why RDC  is strongly in support of                                                                   
     this legislation.  The first is we feel  general permits                                                                   
     are a  real win-win. It not  only allows DEC  to operate                                                                   
     more  efficiently  and  allocate  their  resources  more                                                                   
     effectively  across  the broad  array  of services  they                                                                   
     need  to provide,  but it  gives industry  a great  deal                                                                   
     more  predictability  and certainty  and  simplicity  in                                                                   
     dealing  with  essentially   repetitive  and  diminimous                                                                   
     activities in terms of environmental impact.                                                                               
     And,  secondly,  as  Senator  Therriault  mentioned,  we                                                                   
     worked very closely  with the legislature on  HB 361 and                                                                   
     are very happy to report that  industry and the agencies                                                                   
     have fared  very well under  that new fee  structure and                                                                   
     this bill essentially  assures that DEC will  be able to                                                                   
     match  up general permits  with the  fixed fees that  HB
     361 supported… We very much support the bill.                                                                              
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  thanked everyone for their testimony  and said                                                              
they would hold the bill for a quorum.                                                                                          
            HJR 44-ALASKA NATURAL GAS PIPELINE ROUTE                                                                        
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced HJR 44 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
MS. LINDA  HAY, staff  to Representative Scott  Ogan, said  HJR 44                                                              
was introduced  to clearly articulate Alaska's  position regarding                                                              
commercialization of  our natural gas reserves.  It was introduced                                                              
at the  request of the Joint  Committee on Natural  Gas Pipelines.                                                              
It received  bi-partisan support  in all  committees in  the House                                                              
and on the floor of the House.                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said he  only had a  problem with  one section                                                              
and he wanted  the committee to  delete language on page  4, lines                                                              
22 and 23, which was added by Representative Green. He added:                                                                   
     I don't  necessarily think  we want to  go out and  tell                                                                   
     the  United States  that we're  going  to stabilize  gas                                                                   
     prices, because  we've already run into  opposition from                                                                   
     some of the  initiatives that have been  brought forward                                                                   
     from  other gas  producing states,  because  in fact  we                                                                   
     might stabilize  prices, but we don't want  to lead with                                                                   
     our chin…                                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  said they  would recess until  he could  get a                                                              
quorum back to take official action.                                                                                            
4:45 - 5:10 p.m.  RECESS                                                                                                        
          SB 354-PRICES PAID BY MILK PROCESSING PLANTS                                                                      
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON  announced  SB  354  to  be  back  before  the                                                              
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved   to  pass  SB  354  from   committee  with                                                              
individual recommendations  and attached  zero fiscal  note. There                                                              
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
         SB 356-GENERAL PERMIT FOR WATER/WASTE DISPOSAL                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON announced SB 356 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved  SB  356  from  committee  with  individual                                                              
recommendations  and zero  fiscal note.  There were no  objections                                                              
and it was so ordered.                                                                                                          
            HJR 44-ALASKA NATURAL GAS PIPELINE ROUTE                                                                        
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON   announced   HJR  44  to   be  back   up  for                                                              
SENATOR WILKEN moved to amend HJR  44 on page 4 to delete lines 22                                                              
and 23 - "WHEREAS  the large volume of gas delivered  to the lower                                                              
48 states  may initially  stabilize gas prices  at a  lower level,                                                              
bringing financial  benefit to the  lower 48 economy;  and". There                                                              
were no objections and it was amended.                                                                                          
SENATOR WILKEN  moved to pass  SCSHJR 44(RES) from  committee with                                                              
individual  recommendations and  zero fiscal  note. There  were no                                                              
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  thanked everyone and adjourned  the meeting at                                                              
5:12 p.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects