Legislature(2015 - 2016)

2016-01-29 Senate Journal

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2016-01-29                     Senate Journal                      Page 1706
SB 163                                                                                                                        
SENATE BILL NO. 163 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                               
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
            "An Act relating to the nomination and designation of                                                              
           state water as outstanding national resource water; and                                                             
       providing for an effective date."                                                                                        
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance                                                               

2016-01-29                     Senate Journal                      Page 1707
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Environmental                                                                           
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 28:                                                                                 
Dear President Meyer:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18 of the Alaska                                                                    
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to the nomination of state                                                      
water as "outstanding national resource water," also known as "Tier 3"                                                          
water. Once a water body is designated as a Tier 3 water, the only                                                              
additional pollutants from wastewater discharges that can be added to                                                           
that water are temporary and limited. There is currently no Tier 3                                                              
water in Alaska.                                                                                                                
The bill would add a new section, AS 46.03.085, authorizing the                                                                 
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to collect                                                                       
nominations of state water for Tier 3 status and compile a list of                                                              
nominated water for transmittal to the Legislature. The bill also would                                                         
clarify that legislative action would be required to formally designate a                                                       
body of water as a Tier 3 water.                                                                                                
The Clean Water Act requires states to implement a procedure for Tier                                                           
3 designation. DEC does have the authority to set quality and purity                                                            
standards under AS 46.03.080 and has the technical expertise to                                                                 
analyze whether or not a water body meets the criteria for extra                                                                
protection under Tier 3 status. However, currently there is no                                                                  
provision in the Clean Water Act for reversing a Tier 3 designation.                                                            
Thus, such a designation has the potential to permanently limit                                                                 
development. Given the far-reaching consequences, the final authority                                                           
for designation should rest with the Legislature and not with DEC.                                                              
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Bill Walker