Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2004-02-27 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2004-02-27                     Senate Journal                      Page 2317
SB 355                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 355 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act relating to the protection of land and water                                      
          from waste disposal; providing for the regulation of                                      
          waste management; making conforming                                                       
          amendments; and providing for an effective date."                                         
was read the first time and referred to the Community and Regional                                  
Affairs and Resources Committees.                                                                   
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Environmental                                               
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 25:                                                    

2004-02-27                     Senate Journal                      Page 2318
Dear President Therriault:                                                                          
Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska                                       
Constitution, and in the interest of reducing duplication in and                                    
otherwise improving regulatory processes, I am transmitting a bill                                  
relating to regulation of waste management and disposal that would:                                 
     1. reorganize and supplement existing statutory authority to                                   
          provide flexibility in the regulatory tools used to control the                           
          treatment and disposal of waste;                                                          
     2. streamline certain aspects of the permitting process; and                                   
     3. provide explicit statutory authority for proof of financial                                 
          responsibility for certain types of municipal solid waste and                             
          mining waste treatment and disposal facilities.                                           
Under existing state law, the Department of Environmental                                           
Conservation (DEC) regulates a broad universe of waste and                                          
wastewater disposal activities. In addition to regulating discharges to                             
surface waters, the DEC regulates discharges to groundwater and the                                 
disposal of solid and liquid wastes on land. The existing statutory                                 
authority for these regulatory programs is drawn from several sections                              
of AS 46.03, some providing broad, general powers and others                                        
prescribing detailed requirements. These statutory authorities do not                               
provide adequate regulatory tools for efficient regulation of waste                                 
treatment and disposal.                                                                             
This bill would change the existing statutory authority for a waste                                 
disposal permit program (AS 46.03.100) by reorganizing and                                          
supplementing it. That reorganized section would preserve the                                       
essential requirement to obtain authorization before conducting an                                  
operation that results in waste disposal. The bill would allow for the                              
needed authorization to take one of several forms, providing flexibility                            
to use regulatory tools other than the individual and general permits                               
contemplated by the current law, in addition to those permits. The bill                             
would provide for stakeholder participation in that even the simplest of                            
the regulatory tools would include notice and comment regulation                                    

2004-02-27                     Senate Journal                      Page 2319
The changes proposed to existing AS 46.03.100 would address                                         
requirements for proof of financial responsibility for certain types of                             
waste treatment or disposal facilities. Current law explicitly requires                             
such proof only for permits to dispose of hazardous waste. This bill                                
would refocus the requirement on solid waste disposal facilities that                               
accept hazardous waste and on mine waste treatment and disposal                                     
facilities that use chemical processing or have acid generation                                     
potential. For mines that do not use chemical processing or produce                                 
waste with acid generation potential, proof of financial responsibility                             
would not be required as a condition for the waste treatment or                                     
disposal authorization, but this would not affect the separate                                      
reclamation-related financial responsibility requirements administered                              
by the Department of Natural Resources. The bill would provide for                                  
DEC to accept proof of financial responsibility provided to the                                     
Department of Natural Resources or a federal land manager agency for                                
mine reclamation instead of requiring duplicative bonding.                                          
The bill would clarify that the proof of financial responsibility must                              
cover managing and closing the facility to control or minimize the risk                             
of release of unauthorized levels of pollutants to waters. The bill also                            
would allow for the possibility that this financial responsibility                                  
requirement may need to be extended to some municipal solid waste                                   
disposal facilities.                                                                                
The changes proposed to AS 46.03.100 would modify the requirement                                   
for a solid waste permit applicant to demonstrate consideration of all                              
solid waste management options and consistency with the waste                                       
reduction practices and priorities of AS 46.06.021. As modified, those                              
requirements would apply only to non-municipal solid waste disposal                                 
The bill also would reorder the components of the waste disposal                                    
authorization provisions so that they flow from the prohibition against                             
unauthorized waste disposal, to the basic regulatory tools available for                            
authorizing the disposal, to provisions for plan reviews and integrated                             
waste management permits, to the exemptions, and finally to specific                                
requirements that must be met by certain categories of disposers.                                   

2004-02-27                     Senate Journal                      Page 2320
This bill would amend some existing permit processing requirements                                  
related to application submittals, public notice and comment                                        
opportunities, the maximum term of permits, and the causes for                                      
termination or modification of an authorization.                                                    
This bill would add a definition for "municipal solid waste" and would                              
amend the definition of "solid waste." It also would repeal the plan                                
submittal, review, and approval provisions of AS 46.03.090 and                                      
46.03.720(a) as superfluous in light of the changes proposed to AS                                  
46.03.100 (which makes written plan approvals one of the tools                                      
available for authorizing activities covered by the repealed sections). It                          
also would make conforming amendments in AS 16.05.782(e),                                           
AS 44.46.025(a), and 46.03.833(a), to reflect citation or terminology                               
changes caused by other amendments and repealers in the bill.                                       
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
Sincerely yours,                                                                                    
Frank H. Murkowski