Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/05/2000 03:28 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 356-TRACKING OF PESTICIDE USE CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the next order of business would be SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE for HOUSE BILL NO. 356, "An Act relating to pesticide use; and providing for an effective date." Number 0621 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA, speaking as the sponsor of SSHB 356, requested that her staff present the bill and the changes encompassed in the proposed committee substitute (CS) that reflect the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS made a motion to adopt the proposed CS for SSHB 356, Version I [1-LS1360\I, Lauterbach, 4/5/00], as the working document. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0671 ROB EARL, Staff to Representative Cissna, Alaska State Legislature, explained that SSHB 356 establishes a $150 registration fee per pesticide label registered in Alaska. Currently, Alaska is the only state that doesn't charge such a fee. The bill also establishes a $25 per year license fee for all certified pesticide applicators. He pointed out that DEC is planning on charging $75 for a three-year license in order to save in administrative expenses. MR. EARL said Section 4 of Version I establishes a DEC- administered pesticide use tracking system, which will be integrated into a statewide Geographic Information System (GIS) that is designed to reveal the extent of pesticide use in Alaska. Mr. Earl explained that the system would rely upon the applicators to report to the department the pesticide's name, rate, date, amount, location and method of application as well as the crop, commodity or site upon which the pesticide was applied and the target organism. Applicators would be required to keep these records for three years. MR. EARL noted that these records are already required; however, they are not currently submitted to DEC. He pointed out that the bill also allows for civil penalties to be imposed for failure to report pesticide usage. The bill also establishes a nine-member volunteer Pesticide Advisory Board, which will advise the department in regard to the tracking system and research ways to gauge the household use of pesticides as well as research mechanisms to increase public awareness on pesticide issues. He specified that the board will consist of the following membership: two pesticide applicators/dealers; two advocates for protection for pesticides; one agent of the public water supplier; one agent of the University's Cooperative Extension Service; one expert in pest control, epidemiology, fish and wildlife biology [and] children's health issues; and two public members. Number 0782 MR. EARL turned to the changes encompassed in Version I. A new Section 1 designates the receipts collected by DEC in Sections 2 and 3, for the registration and licensing fees, as program receipts. Those program receipts would be accounted for separately from the unrestricted general fund. MR. EARL pointed out that on page 2, line 17, subsection (b) of the proposed CS, formerly part of subsection (a), clarifies that the department will have the discretion to determine which pesticides it will track. This subsection further says that the department should seek and consider the advice of the Pesticide Advisory Board [when determining which pesticides the department will track]. On this point, Mr. Earl informed the committee that there are almost 3,000 different pesticide labels registered in the state. Most of those aren't implicated in serious public health or environmental hazards. Of these 3,000 pesticide labels, 1,114 are disinfectants or sanitizers which are exempt from reporting requirements as specified on page 2, lines 24-25. Therefore, choosing which of the remaining pesticide labels to track will be one of the more difficult aspects. The department has suggested that it will want to track the 49 restricted-use pesticides, which are of particular danger to people and the environment. The department has also indicated that it will add suspect pesticides to the list as they are identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the department, or the Pesticide Advisory Board. MR. EARL directing the committee to page 3, line 9, paragraph (6), which had everything deleted except the location of the application. That is consistent with page 2, line 26, which allows the department to determine the specifics of application location that is to be reported. He indicated it is the sponsor's hope that the location of application is specific enough to differentiate between adjacent watersheds while general enough to preserve the privacy of individuals. MR. EARL then directed the committee to page 3, line 18, where the language "In addition to other civil or criminal penalties that may be applicable," was added to subsection (e). He explained, "Because without this addition, this [sub]section would have inadvertently invalidated DEC's ability to levy applicable sanctions already in statute." MR. EARL moved on to page 4, lines 3-4, which was shortened in order to correct an oversight by the original bill. Without this change, DEC would be required to report a nuisance that wasn't reported to it. Mr. Earl offered to answer any questions. Number 0933 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to page 4, where the membership of the Pesticide Advisory Board is specified. He stated that he did not know what a person would be who has expertise in pest control, epidemiology, fish and wildlife biology and children's health issues. He inquired as to what type of professional would [meet such criteria]. MR. EARL related his assumption that it would be an "or" situation. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE refuted that and read the language on page 4, lines 22-28, which specifies that this member has [to have] some expertise in all of the areas listed. He asked if that was the intent as it seems fairly broad. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA agreed that it seems fairly broad. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE related his assumption that the desire is probably to require membership of an individual that has expertise "in one of the following areas" that is listed. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO directed the committee to page 4, lines 13- 17, paragraph (2), which seems to include the same sort of all- encompassing qualifications in lines 14 and 15. He echoed Representative Brice's earlier comment regarding what type of person this would be. Number 1110 JANICE ADAIR, Director, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, testified via teleconference. She informed the committee that the pesticide program is within the Division of Environmental Health. She also informed the committee that the department supports the concept of this bill. In her ten years with [the division], there has been one application for a pesticide permit. That application was from the [Alaska] railroad, but was withdrawn by the railroad before any action could be taken on the permit application; the application was withdrawn due to the public angst it created. Ms. Adair believes that there is a lot of concern in regard to pesticide use in the state. The CS would give information to the public, information that the public would like to have. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG directed attention to the fiscal note and requested that Ms. Adair explain the fiscal note. MS. ADAIR informed the committee that this bill adds two fees. One of the new fees is a registration fee for pesticide labels. Currently, there are 3,000 pesticides registered in the state and thus $150 fee per label would amount to $450,000. The second fee is the licensing fee, which is currently issued for a three-year period and thus the $25 per year license fee would result in a $75 charge. At this time there are 860 certified applicators. With [those two fees], the revenue is generated. However, she pointed out that these [fees] are added to the list of statutory program receipts and thus wouldn't be considered general funds. This change would have to be made to the fiscal note if the CS is adopted. MS. ADAIR stated that the largest expense in this legislation is the creation of the GIS, for which [the department] has nothing similar. Furthermore, [the department] doesn't have the internal expertise to develop such a system; as a result, that system would have to be developed from scratch with some reliance on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This system would have to be compatible with DEC's computer system, which doesn't tie into the state's mainframe and thus the system would run on individual workstations. Furthermore, this system would have to be acceptable on the Internet in a user-friendly fashion. Moreover, the continuous changes in technology would necessitate the need for the system to function while incorporating technological changes. Ms. Adair anticipated [hiring] someone to work with the board and to perform the public education outreach, which is of extreme importance to the sponsor as well as [to the division]. An environmental technician [position] has been included for data entry, which is time-consuming for remote areas in particular. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG inquired as to what the department currently does in the way of controlling pesticides. Number 1379 MS. ADAIR remarked that it is a small program that is 85 percent funded by the federal government [and thus] the department is only able to do what is required under the federal grant. She explained that [the department] certifies applicators for restricted-use pesticides. [The department] also performs training for those that work around pesticides. [The department] also performs marketplace inspections and in recent years [the department] has (indisc.) the registration program. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG surmised, then, that the department would not enter the field and sample or control for pesticide use unless there is a special request. MS. ADAIR answered that such action would only be taken if there was a complaint, such as a complaint that an illegal pesticide is being used. Such a complaint has occurred. Ms. Adair mentioned that for some pesticide projects, the state requires a permit. Although [the department] doesn't have any state general funds, [the department] does perform that state-mandated work. She pointed out that [the department] issues permits for such things as mosquito control and potato blights. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO pointed out that the sponsor statement says that the fees for registration will generate the revenue to support the program. However, [information in the committee packet] notes that when Oregon initiated this program there was a 20 percent decline in the number of registrations and licenses. Therefore, Representative Halcro inquired as to what would happen if the number of licenses declines, but the department still has the same operating costs with less revenue. MS. ADAIR replied that [the department] would come back before the legislature. Number 1529 DR. PETER NAKAMURA, Director, Division of Public Health, Department of Health & Social Services, noted that his testimony would be in reference to the original bill. He pointed out that neither the Division of Public Health nor the Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) has any oversight responsibility, as identified in the bill. However, this is a health issue and as such, the [department and division] are concerned about the use of pesticides. DR. NAKAMURA remarked that often, after the fact, another effect [of a pesticide] is realized. Therefore, a system that merely monitors the location [that the pesticide] is used and the amount doesn't allow for a cause-and-effect analysis. For example, it was discovered after-the-fact that [due to] MTBE, a chemical used in fuel, practically all the water in California is contaminated. He pointed out that the use of [MTBE] was stopped in Alaska. DR. NAKAMURA agreed that it makes sense to have a register and to know where [these pesticides] are. For [the department and the division,] probably the greatest use [of this system] is to address the concerns of citizens who fear they are being poisoned from some of [these pesticides]. Often, there are concerns regarding cancer, but the information regarding whether the [pesticide] is or is not the cause is often unavailable. With this type of register, a possible cause can be implicated or eliminated. DR. NAKAMURA stated that some of the definitions in the bill should be clarified such as a "custom application." Furthermore, a "commercial use" should be defined as should the reference to a "broadcast chemical," which could include table salt that is used to melt ice or kill slugs. Therefore, the terms in the bill should be identified and clarified. He directed the committee to page 2, subsection (b), of the original bill which read as follows: "(b) The system established under (a) of this section must require all pesticide dealers in the state to report to the department the following information pertaining to the sale of pesticides to end users, including private residents and licensed pesticide applicators". Dr. Nakamura said he understood that language to mean that [DEC] would have to follow every citizen who purchased and applied a pesticide. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA informed Dr. Nakamura that the proposed CS doesn't include that [language] and thus the individual commercial stores aren't part of this bill. DR. NAKAMURA turned to the creation of the board to monitor pesticides, which seemed to be rather challenging as there are many pesticides and chemicals. If a board is created to address each individual chemical, there would be many boards. Therefore, Dr. Nakamura suggested that this function could be included in an existing board. Dr. Nakamura expressed his belief that this is such an important function that it should be adequately funded whether through the collection of fees or bills or through an appropriation. In his nine years as a state health officer, he has found that Alaska is relatively young in this arena and thus the state is still identifying these needs and creating these capabilities. He reiterated the need to provide adequate funding to perform an appropriate job. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA acknowledged that there has been concern in regard to the [connections] between pesticides and cancer. She asked if this would have an application for that type of problem. DR. NAKAMURA replied yes. He indicated that this may eliminate some of the concerns by citizens as well as possibly identifying a cause. Number 2011 KAY BROWN, former Representative, Alaska State Legislature, testified via teleconference. Ms. Brown spoke in favor of HB 356 and thanked Representative Cissna for bringing this forward. She related her belief that pesticide use in Alaska as well as across the country is an urgent public health problem requiring more attention from legislative bodies. Therefore, she supported all efforts to regulate the use of pesticides more tightly. As a cancer survivor, Ms. Brown has become concerned with the toxic chemicals that are used in the environment. Furthermore, it is well established that many of these chemicals are causing serious medical problems, including cancer. Although [these chemicals] are widely used, very little is known about them. She identified this bill as a first step, which she supported. BOB GORMAN, Alaska Cooperative Extension, UAF Anchorage - State Office, testifying via teleconference, informed the committee that he is a Pesticide Applicator and Training Coordinator for the Alaska Cooperative Extension, University of Alaska. He specified that his opinions are based on his professional views and not those of the University of Alaska. Mr. Gorman said that he is cautiously supportive of this bill because there is no current information base with regard to how much of what pesticides are used in what locations. Furthermore, he supported this bill because pesticides are important tools in pest management and thus it is important to ensure that [pesticides] are available in order to maintain the public health of humans and other living things. MR. GORMAN noted that he has two areas of concern. First, there is the need to protect the privacy of landowners who choose to use pesticides. Therefore, he believes that pesticides should be identified at the watershed level and thus collection of the information on a longitude and latitude basis could maintain the privacy of landowners. Second, probably the greatest use of pesticides in Alaska is from commercial applicators and homeowners. In all likelihood, the greatest use of pesticides can be found in urban areas with turf and ornamental applications and structural pest control. Although it may not be possible now to address homeowner use of pesticides, Mr. Gorman said he is more concerned with homeowner misuse of pesticides than commercial misuse. Number 2310 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA acknowledged that the homeowner problem is a large problem and would expand this tracking system to the point at which it would be, as many feel, unwieldy. Therefore, one of the reasons for the tracking board is to work on the educational portion of this matter in order that people understand [what] they are purchasing at a store. She asked if Mr. Gorman felt that would help deal with [the homeowner] problem. MR. GORMAN identified [education] as a start. He mentioned that DEC has just started a new program called the Consumer Label Information [which] rewrites consumer labels in order to make them more readable and user-friendly. That [program] will help. He also mentioned that the Cooperative Extension Service and the Municipality of Anchorage have programs that address homeowner pesticide use. If this bill is enacted, he believes the next effort [should be] to have the retailer, at the point of sale, note the total volume of the pesticides sold to homeowners. Although there would be conjecture as to where those pesticides would be used, it would provide information as to what pesticides are being used and in what volume they are being sold to homeowners. [Due to a tape change, Representative Halcro's question was not recorded and Mr. Johnson's opening remarks were not recorded.] TAPE 00-44, SIDE A Number 0005 TOM JOHNSON, Safety Officer, Aurora Environmental & Safety, Inc., testifying via teleconference, said, "... Aurora Environmental & Safety." Mr. Johnson noted his support of [SSHB 356]. As a Safety Officer who has performed a number of community outreach and education programs on hazardous materials in the home, he has found that there is little awareness with regard to the hazards of pesticides as well as the hazards of general household chemicals. MR. JOHNSON said he would challenge anyone as far as a person's knowledge of what level or degree of poison the EPA warning labels would have - the degree of toxicity of the products that is being referred to. He specified that the EPA warning "Danger, poison" means that a few drops is deadly enough to kill a person, yet there is little awareness with regard to the toxicity. Therefore, Mr. Johnson felt it important that those who bring such a product into the home be more aware of the hazards. He pointed out that currently there is great emphasis being placed on weapon safety; however, these products have more of a potential of being a weapon of terror and are more easily available than any weapon. Therefore, he felt that education should be emphasized. MR. JOHNSON turned to the perspective of his profession, which is to protect workers for employers, who are required to provide safe workplaces for their employees. He said any means that could assist him in identifying potential hazards would create less problems in protecting his clients. Therefore, [SSHB 356] is a good starting point. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked if the average homeowner purchasing weed killer is going to educate him/herself about what he or she is using. MR. JOHNSON replied no, but said that the effort has to be made. From a risk management and liability standpoint, he didn't believe the labels go far enough and thus organizations that sell these items could potentially face liability issues. Number 0329 JOHN CYR, President, National Education Association - Alaska (NEA-AK), testified in favor of [SSHB 356]. Mr. Cyr indicated that he was present due to the products that are used at schools. These are products whose names he could not pronounce nor did he know if these products were good, bad or indifferent. As a parent and a representative of the staff and the children, Mr. Cyr believes that people should know what is being sprayed in public places, especially around children. Therefore, NEA-AK believes this bill is a good start to review the information and establish [a system] in which the community can make decisions as to what should happen where children are. Number 0448 RIVER BEAN, Owner, Market Organics, testified via teleconference. He informed the committee that he and his wife have farmed commercially and organically for 12 years and thus he said that he knows there are alternatives to agricultural chemicals. Mr. Bean supported HB 356 as it is a good start. Although the bill doesn't include agriculture, it should. However, Mr. Bean opposed allowing DEC to determine which pesticides to exempt and which to register and track. MR. BEAN explained that often EPA has instituted a ban on previously authorized chemicals and often these have been chemicals which left residues on the food. He indicated that it may not be too long before the extreme rise in cancer rates and other diseases are directly linked to some of these toxins in the environment. Therefore, Mr. Bean felt that all chemicals should be registered and include the chemicals that farmers use. He indicated the need to be accountable for what one does to the environment as an obligation to the community. MR. BEAN said, "Relying on chemical applications to control pests, weeds and diseases is not sustainable farming on any scale." As an organic farmer, he expressed concern regarding the "drift factor" of chemical applications; a risk of toxic contamination due to drift [of chemicals applied nearby]. Furthermore, he expressed concern with regard to eliminating or killing living organisms in any environment as there is a reaction to every action. He noted that the employees that he has who have worked on chemically-dependent farms tell tales of ill health, neglected disposal practices and unchecked applications of chemicals. In conclusion, Mr. Bean reiterated his support of HB 356, which he identified as a good start. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if Mr. Bean sells some of his produce at the Anchorage Saturday Market. MR. BEAN replied yes. He informed the committee that soon he should be selling to the Ship Creek Market, the Eagle River Market and 100 families. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG remarked that he was sure he had purchased some of Mr. Bean's produce. He felt that organic farming is growing in the [Matanuska-Susitna] Valley, and he hoped that it would continue to grow. Chairman Rokeberg asked if aerial spraying of pesticides is allowed in the Mat-Su Valley area. MR. BEAN related his belief that aerial spraying of pesticides is allowed in the Mat-Su Valley area, which is of concern because of the drift factor and unchecked contamination. In further response to Chairman Rokeberg, Mr. Bean said that aerial spraying of pesticides doesn't occur directly near his farm. However, he knows of other nearby farms that are adjacent to farms that spray chemicals. In further response to Chairman Rokeberg, Mr. Bean said that, to his knowledge, aerial spraying of chemicals is allowed in the state. He mentioned that the EPA authorized aerial spraying for the potato blight two years ago and he indicated that the EPA had authorized it again this year. Mr. Bean pointed out that there are alternatives to [aerial spraying] as well as organic practices that could be utilized. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG noted that the bill title refers to pesticides; however, he was interested in whether the bill would encompass the application of other agricultural chemicals. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA clarified that the bill does not include herbicides. She related her understanding that the farming community has been working on nontoxic solutions and has been performing responsible monitoring. She indicated that this information came from the Cooperative Extension Service. Therefore, [herbicides] were not included in this legislation. Number 0824 NEVA HASSANEIN testified via teleconference from Oregon. She informed the committee that she works with the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and has a doctorate in environmental science. She further informed the committee that in the past three years she has done extensive research and worked with the political system in order to establish a comprehensive system to track the use of pesticides in Oregon. Ms. Hassanein noted her support of this legislation and identified it as a solid first step, although she did have some concerns. She clarified that the term pesticide is an umbrella term which includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, et cetera. She defined the term pesticide as follows: "A product that is designed to kill, damage or repel living organisms." Unless Alaska defines the term pesticide differently than it is in other parts of the country, she would assume that all of those chemicals would be included. MS. HASSANEIN noted that currently, only a few states have established systems to track the use of pesticides. The Oregon program was just signed into law last September and one of the key concepts of Oregon's law was the agreement that it needed to be comprehensive, including all types of applications. However, the current draft of HB 356 only includes commercial applications. In response to Dr. Nakamura's question regarding what is a commercial application, Ms. Hassanein explained that a commercial application is one made by a licensed commercial operator. She related her belief that it is important to include agriculture and governmental use as well as household use. MS. HASSANEIN said that the collection of information regarding pesticide use is essential to understanding how these pesticides move in the environment and how they affect human health. With a good tracking system, one would know where say, water should be monitored for particular chemicals. That is how these systems can be used, which is extremely important. In regard to Dr. Nakamura's comments disputing the need to create a board for every thing, Ms. Hassanein suggested placing a [sunset] on this board. Furthermore, Ms. Hassanein expressed concern with the department's open-ended authority to decide which pesticides would be included. She suggested that a time table should be laid out over the next three years or so. She remarked that Alaska is lucky in that it only has about 1,800 products that would be tracked under this system, while Oregon and California are tracking about 9,000 products. Therefore, she felt there is time to do a top-notch job. Number 1160 BOB SHAVELSON, Executive Director, Cook Inlet Keeper, testified via teleconference from Homer. He informed the committee that Cook Inlet Keeper represents about 650 citizens throughout the Cook Inlet area and beyond. [The Cook Inlet Keeper] is in favor of HB 356, which is a good start. He felt it fitting that the House Labor & Commerce Committee is reviewing this legislation as it is really a worker health issue. For example, last year at Western Homer Elementary there was a pesticide application by some workers, who weren't aware of some of the dangers of the pesticide that they were applying. Subsequent workers maintaining the field where the pesticide had been sprayed were unaware of its presence. Therefore, some of the reporting [requirements] in the bill will resolve such situations. This is a worker's issue in that many people rely on the rich fisheries in Cook Inlet and other areas for their livelihood and thus this legislation will help protect some of the commercial, recreational and subsistence fish resources. MR. SHAVELSON informed the committee that about a year and a half ago, a study for Cook Inlet was performed by the EPA. One remarkable finding was that many fish resources there have high levels of pesticides; no one is certain whether these pesticides are coming in via the Asian current or are draining off Alaska's land. Therefore, he felt that this legislation would help resolve some of those issues. Number 1297 REGINA MANTEUFEL testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She began by thanking Representative Cissna for HB 356, specifically the language referring to the total amount of product applied. Ms. Manteufel related a personal story from the time she lived in Salinas, California. At the time, there were no notices when there was aerial spraying of pesticides and because of this her brother is mentally retarded. When her brother was in his twenties, the pesticides stored in his fat cells resulted in the loss of control of his bladder. MS. MANTEUFEL related a story in which a boyfriend of hers, who sprayed pesticides for a living, died of cancer even though he wore all the safety gear. Furthermore, a friend of hers - due to exposure to pesticides as a field worker - had a miscarriage. Ms. Manteufel informed the committee that due to the water situation resulting from farms using pesticides in Salinas, California, she left. She also related a situation in her elementary school that she believes indicated that exposure to pesticides affected brain development. In conclusion, she expressed her belief that Alaska has the chance to do what is right, which is to pass this legislation in order that people don't go through the pain and suffering she has had to go through. Number 1551 GERAN TARR, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She testified in support of HB 356, which is a necessary and important first step in providing Alaskans the right to know about their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in their daily lives. As the Pesticide Coordinator for the Right to Know Campaign, she has discussed this bill with many individuals and thus has found broad public support for this bill. She informed the committee that a poll conducted for the Alaska Conservation Alliance found that 93 percent of registered Alaskan voters support requiring disclosure and reporting of pesticide use. MS. TARR noted that people support this legislation for various reasons such as: public health and water quality protection, subsistence food safety and worker safety. She informed the committee that the following organizations support HB 356, the version in which all pesticides would have been tracked: the Alaska Action Center, the Alaska Center for the Environment, the Alaska CFIDS/FMS/GWS Association which is the Chronic Fatigue and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Support Group, the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the Alaska Conservation Alliance, the Alaska Public Interest Research Group, the American Lung Association of Alaska, Arctic Organic, the Brain Injury Association of Alaska, the Center for Marine Conservation, the Cook Inlet Keeper, the Injured Workers' Alliance, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, the Mental Health Association of Alaska, the National Wildlife Federation of Alaska, the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society and the Northern Alaskan Environmental Center. She indicated that due to the timing of the legislation, some organizations have been unable to sign statements of support yet and thus she expected more broad support. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA acknowledged that Ms. Tarr was very active in putting together some of the ideas for this legislation. She referred to the section in the CS regarding the membership of the Pesticide Advisory Board and asked if Ms. Tarr had any ideas with regard to the type of person that would fulfill the qualifications specified in paragraphs (2) and (5) on page 4, lines 13-17 and 22-24, respectively. MS. TARR said that there are many individuals that could fill those positions. She said that there are individuals who work for state or federal agencies, whose job description would cover this category. For example, there are individuals at both U.S. Fish & Game and Alaska Department of Fish & Wildlife who research the potential affects pesticides are having on wildlife in the state as well as water quality issues. Through that work, these individuals have dealt with alternatives to pesticides, pest management and the public's right to know. In regard to paragraph (5), she noted that many of the people with whom she works in ACAT have expertise in many of the categories listed. Although there may be people who aren't an expert in all the categories, they could certainly fulfill the need to have a broad base of knowledge to address the issue. Number 1818 STACEY MARZ, Resource Coordinator, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, testifying via teleconference from Anchorage, informed the committee that Barbara Williams had to leave and thus Ms. Marz wanted to read Ms. Williams' testimony and then submit her own. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG suggested that Ms. Marz provide the teleconference moderator with Ms. Williams' written testimony, which would become part of the record. He then requested that Ms. Marz proceed with her testimony. MS. MARZ informed the committee that ACAT has begun to attempt to collect information regarding pesticide use in Alaska. This has proven to be a [difficult] task as the information is not readily available and must be systematically collected from all pesticide users. Much of the information collected thus far is from different sectors of the government. She noted that this information was collected because it is the easiest to collect due to public record laws which require disclosure. However, public record requests result in varying results due to the different record keeping systems within the institutions contacted. Although some of the institutions maintain comprehensive records regarding pesticide application, that was not the norm. Unfortunately, some [institutions] maintain nothing at all or merely note that an exterminator visited a premises. Ms. Marz pointed out that information about private pesticide use is very difficult to obtain as the only way to obtain such information is if there is voluntary disclosure by the private institution using pesticides. MS. MARZ stated that [ACAT] has found that use of pesticides in Alaska is widespread and occurs in many places that people frequent in daily life. She informed the committee that there is regular pesticide use in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Palmer and Kenai. Pesticides are applied in locations such as private homes and yards, restaurants, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, airports, parks, gardens, greenhouse, the universities and farms. She noted that the target organism varies from different types of insects to different types of weeds. Ms. Marz stated that it is virtually impossible for an average citizen to access information, in an expedient and comprehensive manner, about pesticide use and exposure in Alaska. Furthermore, no one has the time or energy to systematically call all potential pesticide users in order to create a big picture perspective in regard to personal exposure. Therefore, a pesticide tracking system on the Internet would allow individuals to evaluate their own risks and minimize their exposure to toxic chemicals as well as decide how best to protect himself/herself and their family. Number 2002 PAM MILLER, Biologist and Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), testified via teleconference from Anchorage. The mission of ACAT "is to protect human health and the environment from the toxic effects of contaminants and we also work to enhance public access to information about toxics and to build community action capabilities," she said. The ACAT strongly supports HB 356 as introduced by Representative Cissna. However, she had some recommendations that would strengthen the bill. MS. MILLER said enactment of this bill will be an important first step in ensuring the public's and workers' right to know about pesticide applications. Furthermore, this bill will provide necessary data for people to evaluate their risks and take whatever protective actions they deem necessary. [The ACAT] has worked with a number of chemically injured people, who are particularly susceptible to the health effects of pesticide exposure. Ms. Miller pointed out that a number of people are particularly vulnerable to pesticides, including pregnant women, children, adolescents, people with immune illnesses and women in menopause. MS. MILLER explained that ACAT's support for this bill stems from the group's research and experience working with the Anchorage School District regarding the use of pesticides in schools. The group's research demonstrated that the Anchorage School District used pesticides that are linked to serious health problems and, the group thinks, pose a special risk to children. However, teachers, parents and students were not notified about pesticide application. She noted that a group of parents, teachers and students worked with ACAT for nearly a year in order to address this problem, which culminated in a February 2000 decision of the Anchorage School Board to implement a policy requiring notification procedures and implementation of least toxic pest management. The organization believes it to be one of the most progressive in the country. MS. MILLER turned to specific recommendations of ACAT, which it believes will strengthen and ensure public health in the environment. Ms. Miller proposed the following amendments to CSSSHB 356. First, she recommended that on page 2, line 9, the word "shall" should be substituted for the word "may" and thus DEC would be required to charge registration fees, which would ensure annual income from pesticide label registration. She reminded the committee that Alaska is the only state that does not require such registration fees, which are generally paid by pesticide managers in other states. The second recommendation is on page 2, line 22, to remove the language "based in part on the frequency of pesticide application" and add a provision requiring all pesticide users to report all pesticides that are applied. She said it will be inefficient and costly to allow DEC to determine which pesticides require reporting. MS. MILLER noted that her written testimony included a series of justifications for this recommendation, which she urged committee members to review. She returned to Section 4 of the CS and referred the committee to Section 4(c) regarding the reporting requirement to DEC. While ACAT supports a pesticide use tracking system, ACAT urges the committee to make the reporting requirement apply to all pesticide applicators. Additionally, the word "shall" should be substituted for the word "may" in Section 4(b), which would require DEC to "establish regulations for the submission and dissemination of accurate data for the tracking system." Ms. Miller explained that the only way to have an accurate picture of pesticide use and exposure is with complete information - readily available to the public - provided by all pesticide applicators. MS. MILLER turned to Section 3(b) and again recommended that the word "shall" be substituted for the word "may" in order to require DEC to regulate the licensing of restricted-use pesticide applicators and custom, commercial and contract applicators of pesticides and broadcast chemicals. Although ACAT supports the imposition of civil penalties for applicators who fail to comply with the reporting requirement established in Section 3 of the proposed CS, it requests the addition of a citizen suit provision such as the one in the Federal Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. She explained that this federal Act allows lawsuits to be filed for noncompliance with the reporting requirement. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked who the Alaska Community Action on Toxics is. Number 2266 MS. MILLER responded that the Alaska Community Action on Toxics is a statewide membership organization that has over 300 individual members as well as Alaska tribes. It has been in existence approximately three years. She described its mission: The mission of Alaska Community Action on Toxics is to protect human health and the environment from the toxic effects of contaminants. We are dedicated to achieving environmental justice through a collaborative work with affected communities, tribes, environmental organizations and individual activists. We work to ensure responsible cleanup of contaminated sites and empower community involvement in cleanup decisions. We strive to stop the production, proliferation and release of toxic chemicals and work to enhance public access to information about toxics and to build community action capabilities. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if ACAT has full-time employees. MS. MILLER replied yes. Currently, ACAT has two full-time employees and some contract employees. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA mentioned that ACAT was one of the citizen groups that worked to develop this bill. She Cissna thanked those who had testified today. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if anyone else wished to testify. There being no one, Chairman Rokeberg announced that HB 356 would be held.