Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/14/2003 01:05 PM House RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 192-DNR LEAD RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS                                                                                 
[Contains discussion of SB 142, the companion bill]]                                                                            
Number 1294                                                                                                                     
CHAIR FATE  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  192,  "An Act  designating  the  Department  of                                                               
Natural  Resources  as  lead   agency  for  resource  development                                                               
projects;  making conforming  amendments;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective  date."   [HB  192  was sponsored  by  the House  Rules                                                               
Standing Committee by request of the governor.]                                                                                 
CHAIR  FATE  invited  Commissioner  Irwin of  the  Department  of                                                               
Natural  Resources   (DNR)  and   Commissioner  Ballard   of  the                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Conservation (DEC)  to explain  the                                                               
Number 1372                                                                                                                     
TOM  IRWIN,   Commissioner,  Department  of   Natural  Resources,                                                               
explained  that HB  192 designates  DNR  as the  lead agency  for                                                               
resource  development  projects.    He  emphasized  how  much  he                                                               
supports the  governor's priority  to develop  natural resources,                                                               
and said  this provides the  wealth for  Alaska and the  hope for                                                               
everyone's future.  He told the committee:                                                                                      
     The  purpose of  this bill  is to  help facilitate  and                                                                    
     expedite  resource   development.    This   bill  would                                                                    
     specifically   provide   the    commissioner   of   the                                                                    
     Department   of   Natural  Resources   with   statutory                                                                    
     authority  under   [AS]  38.05.020(b)  [to]   lead  and                                                                    
     coordinate all  matters relating to the  state's review                                                                    
     and  authorization  of resource  development  projects.                                                                    
     ...  In no  way  do  we ask  for  [or  are] we  wanting                                                                    
     authority to  make decisions  that are  appropriate for                                                                    
     the other commissioner, such as Commissioner Ballard.                                                                      
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN  emphasized  that the  bill  provides  needed                                                               
clarity, noting  that although the  department has served  as the                                                               
lead  for  mining  projects  and  will continue  to  do  so,  its                                                               
authority  to  serve  as  the  lead  agency  for  other  resource                                                               
development projects  isn't as explicit.   He explained  that the                                                               
primary responsibility  within DNR  for carrying  out lead-agency                                                               
coordination  functions  will rest  with  the  Office of  Project                                                               
Management  and Permitting;  this  new office  includes both  the                                                               
project-management  function and  the [Alaska  Coastal Management                                                               
Program (ACMP)], which are being combined for efficiency.                                                                       
Number 1570                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER IRWIN  told members that large  resource development                                                               
projects,  because  of  their  scope  and  complexity,  are  more                                                               
efficiently reviewed and  authorized using a lead  agency for the                                                               
coordination  and integration,  to  the extent  possible, of  the                                                               
various permitting processes of  the agencies involved, using the                                                               
project-team approach.   Smaller projects, normally  less complex                                                               
and  requiring  fewer  permits,   may  benefit  from  lead-agency                                                               
coordination for  review, but may  not require  the establishment                                                               
of a project team;  he said they "may want to  get into this type                                                               
of system  just to get  the information and  get out -  they will                                                               
have  the right  to proceed  as a  large project  or they  can be                                                               
readily funneled  into the appropriate area  where there's single                                                               
permits or simple permits, whichever the case."                                                                                 
Number 1656                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER  IRWIN  highlighted  a  three-phase  approach    for                                                               
resource  development projects  utilizing the  lead-coordinating-                                                               
agency and project-review-team  approach.  Phase 1  will focus on                                                               
evaluating  a proposed  project to  determine if  the lead-agency                                                               
project-team approach  would best  address review  and permitting                                                               
needs of  the project,  he noted.   Indicating he  was addressing                                                               
questions he'd been asked, he continued:                                                                                        
     A  company -  large  or small  -  individual, or  large                                                                    
     group  will come  with their  basic information.   They                                                                    
     will sit  down with the appropriate  agencies assembled                                                                    
     for this review, and they  will have the opportunity to                                                                    
     hear  everyone  around  the   table  talk  about  which                                                                    
     permits are  needed or not  needed.  But,  equally, the                                                                    
     agencies will be  able to have interchange:   "Well, if                                                                    
     you need  to get this,  you're going to need  this from                                                                    
     us," or,  "Gee, if you  get that, we don't  need this."                                                                    
     We  know  there's  multiple variables  in  this.    But                                                                    
     that's  where it  gets started,  and get  a good,  fair                                                                    
     chance up  front to see what's  happening; the agencies                                                                    
     get  the communications  that's  needed,  and then  you                                                                    
COMMISSIONER IRWIN said  Phase 2 results in  establishment of the                                                               
project  team,   development  of  an  integrated   agency  review                                                               
schedule,   delineation   of    information   requirements,   and                                                               
completion  of any  necessary agreements  among the  agencies and                                                               
applicant.     Phase  3   is  the   actual  project   review  and                                                               
authorization  process, including  public participation  tailored                                                               
specifically to the requirements for  permitting the project.  He                                                               
told members:                                                                                                                   
     Additionally, this  bill will assist in  our efforts to                                                                    
     streamline project  review and authorization.   It will                                                                    
     facilitate 1) the state's ability  to pull together ...                                                                    
     agencies to  address project-specific concerns,  and to                                                                    
     facilitate  and expedite  the review  and authorization                                                                    
     process; 2)  it will provide ...  more cohesive working                                                                    
     relationships  among agency  representatives -  I could                                                                    
     simply   call   this    "teamwork";   and   3)   better                                                                    
     communication, more  efficient permitting, consolidated                                                                    
     public  process  where  possible,   and  to  assist  in                                                                    
     integrating  the  state's  process  with  that  of  the                                                                    
     federal agencies.                                                                                                          
Number 1771                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER IRWIN concluded:                                                                                                   
     Speaking from  personal experience, the  laws governing                                                                    
     resource development have proliferated.   And there are                                                                    
     now more  agencies than ever with  permitting authority                                                                    
     over   resource   development   projects.      Resource                                                                    
     development  should  not  be   held  up  by  the  sheer                                                                    
     complexity  of government.   The  bill  is intended  to                                                                    
     help  alleviate  that  problem,   as  this  bill  would                                                                    
     authorize  DNR to  lead and  coordinate the  permitting                                                                    
     activities of all agencies  with jurisdiction over that                                                                    
     project.    Thank  you again  for  the  opportunity  to                                                                    
     present comments in support of this bill.                                                                                  
Number 1810                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER   IRWIN,   in   response    to   a   question   from                                                               
Representative Gatto, said several  groups are merging, including                                                               
the ACMP; although  titles are being created  for five positions,                                                               
they're merged with the other groups.   He then remarked, "In the                                                               
large project  concept, just as  I've worked  in ... on  the mine                                                               
projects, the  project managers  and the  support for  that whole                                                               
process  are  paid for  by  the  company  themselves ...  in  the                                                               
agreement.  It's a pay-as-you-go system."                                                                                       
Number 1851                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO referred to  Commissioner Irwin's mention of                                                               
a  proliferation  of agencies  and  groups  that deal  with  DNR.                                                               
Saying  there must  be  some value  to that  or  some reason  the                                                               
proliferation occurred, he suggested that  if the intention is to                                                               
strike these out of the  process, the legislature should know why                                                               
they were started to begin with  and then should ensure that this                                                               
value is incorporated elsewhere.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN responded:                                                                                                   
     The intent  is not  to strike them  out.   I appreciate                                                                    
     you  asking  that  question,  because  that's  why  I'm                                                                    
     talking  about  "lead  and   coordinate."    All  these                                                                    
     functions remain,  but the  individual doesn't  have to                                                                    
     go  here,  here,   here,  and  here.     And,  as  I've                                                                    
     experienced, through  no fault  of anyone,  when you're                                                                    
     talking back  here to Person  2, Person 5  doesn't know                                                                    
     you've talked with  [Person] 2; you don't  know to tell                                                                    
     them,  "Well, they  need  this."   And  Person 5  says,                                                                    
     "Yeah, we can  ... deal with it this way."   But if you                                                                    
     have everybody at the same  table in the same room, you                                                                    
     find  out these  two groups  can really  work together:                                                                    
     their timelines  can match; their studies,  if altered,                                                                    
     might take care of both situations.                                                                                        
     So it's  the getting  the people -  the functions  - in                                                                    
     the same room,  and then saying, "Here's  what we need.                                                                    
     Does everybody around  the table agree?  Is  it 20, 30,                                                                    
     40, 50 permits?"  And that can  be the case.  As you go                                                                    
     through   this,  each   individual   entity  that   has                                                                    
     knowledge,  decision-making authority,  says, "We  need                                                                    
     this.  [Can]  we supply this out of this  data?  We can                                                                    
     meet  this timeline."  ... As  a  group, you  set up  a                                                                    
     schedule and you can proceed.                                                                                              
     So  we're  not  eliminating.   We're  coordinating  the                                                                    
     functions.   If you can  eliminate, I think  that's the                                                                    
     job of us,  with the legislature, to say,  "We found an                                                                    
     area  we   can  effectively  eliminate."     We're  not                                                                    
     proposing that here.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  FATE said  he  would like  to  get Commissioner  Ballard's                                                               
reaction, since DNR  would be the lead agency.   He asked whether                                                               
she  sees  any  conflicts  with  that  kind  of  an  approach  to                                                               
Number 1986                                                                                                                     
ERNESTA  BALLARD,   Commissioner,  Department   of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation, asked  instead to read  her prepared remarks.   She                                                               
told members  that the  bill is not  about accumulating  power or                                                               
responsibility  in DNR,  but about  "critical path"  planning and                                                               
the organization of responsibility  among and between departments                                                               
of government;  it directs  DNR to  lead and  coordinate resource                                                               
development projects, and it directs  all the permitting agencies                                                               
to sequence their actions and  requirements so that timelines are                                                               
met.  She further said:                                                                                                         
     In  no  way  does   it  alter  the  specific  statutory                                                                    
     requirements  or  ...  regulatory  programs  in  effect                                                                    
     among   and   within   the  separate   departments   of                                                                    
     government   right   now.     You   have   heard   from                                                                    
     Commissioner Irwin about  our coordinated permitting on                                                                    
     large mine projects.   The experience that  we ... have                                                                    
     had  over several  years among  the agencies  in large-                                                                    
     mine  permitting  has  made it  clear  that  there  are                                                                    
     tremendous  efficiencies  that  can   be  gained  in  a                                                                    
     coordinated approach to permitting.                                                                                        
     We,   the  permitting   agencies,   can  identify   our                                                                    
     regulatory  requirements   in  a  systematic   way  and                                                                    
     thereby  ensure  that  the   most  critical  needs  and                                                                    
     timelines  for the  project  are  established and  met.                                                                    
     Also,   for    their   part,   industry,    through   a                                                                    
     [coordinated]  permitting process,  can understand  its                                                                    
     responsibilities and provide  ... needed information on                                                                    
     Key  to this  coordinated process:   the  key input  is                                                                    
     also the  key output, and  it is the foundation  of all                                                                    
     permitting,  and  that  is   data  standards  that  are                                                                    
     acceptable to  all and are common  across permit lines.                                                                    
     One of  the things that  I think drives  industry nuts,                                                                    
     and  appropriately  so,  is  a  different  data-quality                                                                    
     standard  for  each   permit,  a  different  monitoring                                                                    
     regime,  a  different  monitoring  cycle,  a  different                                                                    
     reporting period.                                                                                                          
Number 2095                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER BALLARD continued:                                                                                                 
     We can work together and  assure that the foundation of                                                                    
     resource   protection  is   built  into   the  resource                                                                    
     development from the get go,  and that is, to know what                                                                    
     data  we need,  to  what  degree we  need  it, at  what                                                                    
     quality  level, at  what level  of protection,  and how                                                                    
     will  it be  used to  assure that  the protections  are                                                                    
     there.  And that's really  ... the principal benefit of                                                                    
     this  whole  program, is  that  instead  of having  ten                                                                    
     years  of information  here,  two  orders of  magnitude                                                                    
     over there, three standard  deviations over here, we're                                                                    
     able to sit together and get  a common set of ... input                                                                    
     so we  have a common  set of information output  at the                                                                    
     The state's  citizens benefit from this  approach also.                                                                    
     In  rural  communities,  where   most  of  the  state's                                                                    
     resource development  occurs, it  is more  difficult to                                                                    
     track separate ...  agency processes than it  may be in                                                                    
     urban  Alaska.   With  a coordinated  process, we,  the                                                                    
     agencies, will  ... hold joint public  meetings so that                                                                    
     concerned  citizens  can   see  the  entire  regulatory                                                                    
     In any  regulatory decision, there is  a certain amount                                                                    
     of  discretion available  to the  permitting authority.                                                                    
     It's  important  to me  that  citizens  see that  where                                                                    
     discretion is used  in one aspect of a  project, it may                                                                    
     be   offset  by   another   permitting  decision   made                                                                    
     somewhere  else.    I  think,   for  instance,  of  the                                                                    
     differences  in  outcome  from recycling  water  versus                                                                    
     energy  requirements:   if  we  require  a mine  to  do                                                                    
     recycling  of   water,  we're  expecting   that  diesel                                                                    
     generators will  be on-site to drive  pumps; that means                                                                    
     there may be  more air impacts.  We need  the public to                                                                    
     see the  whole picture,  and not  see the  water permit                                                                    
     separate from  the water resource permit,  which may be                                                                    
     a DNR permit separate from  the air permit, which would                                                                    
     be back to DEC.                                                                                                            
     Without   this   "critical   path"   planning,   public                                                                    
     participation  might  happen  based  on  public  notice                                                                    
     requirements  in  our Administrative  [Procedure]  Act.                                                                    
     For  individual permits,  it could  be months  or years                                                                    
     separating individual  permit presentations  and public                                                                    
     opportunity to comment.                                                                                                    
Number 2221                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER BALLARD continued:                                                                                                 
     I've talked with  many members of this  committee - and                                                                    
     talked  before,  before  the   committee  -  about  the                                                                    
     efforts underway  to review all of  our regulations and                                                                    
     statutes  to ensure  that they  are meaningful  and ...                                                                    
     have not  become the  victims of  "mission creep."   As                                                                    
     part of  that process,  we at  DEC propose  deletion of                                                                    
     AS 46.35,  permit coordination  and extension.   And  I                                                                    
     understand there's [an  assistant attorney general from                                                                    
     the Department of Law] on  the phone that can help walk                                                                    
     us through the deletion of this Act.                                                                                       
     This statute was  enacted in 1977.  In  that same year,                                                                    
     the  legislature  established  the  coastal  management                                                                    
     program,   which   became   the   permit   coordinator.                                                                    
     AS 46.35  has  become a  relic.    There is  one  small                                                                    
     section  of that  that is  being relocated,  and you'll                                                                    
     find  those   responsibilities  in  the  new   bill  in                                                                    
     Sections 2  and 3.   The net effect  ... of that  is an                                                                    
     improvement   in   the  Department   of   Environmental                                                                    
     Conservation's  authority to  use our  appeals process.                                                                    
     The DEC process  is easier to use and well  laid out in                                                                    
     understandable regulations.                                                                                                
     It's also important to understand  what Senate Bill 142                                                                    
     [or HB 192]  does not do.  Senate Bill  142 [or HB 192]                                                                    
     ... does  not change the protective  standards that the                                                                    
     regulatory agencies have  developed and fine-tuned over                                                                    
     the last decade.   It does not  change DEC's permitting                                                                    
     requirements,    our    regulatory   discretion,    our                                                                    
     responsibility for enforcement,  or our appeal process.                                                                    
     The bill  simply ensures "critical path"  planning, and                                                                    
     I think  it's a tremendous  benefit to both  the permit                                                                    
     applicant and to the public.                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said she hoped this addressed some of the                                                                  
issues raised by Representative Gatto.                                                                                          
Number 2326                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked  whether the  concept is  that DNR                                                               
would  be stepping  into  the  role played  by  DGC [Division  of                                                               
Governmental Coordination]  for a  project affecting  the coastal                                                               
zone, for example.                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER IRWIN indicated the goal is consistency and added:                                                                 
     We know how  well it worked on the  mining project, and                                                                    
     if we  want to get into  it further, ... I'll  ask Dick                                                                    
     LeFebvre  because he  was the  project manager  for the                                                                    
     large project  teams.  But  we want  to do it  the same                                                                    
     for all these projects, to  be able to have people come                                                                    
     together   -  and   I'm  talking   about,  first,   the                                                                    
     individual or  the company, like  I said, and  then the                                                                    
     various agencies.  And an  individual has a really hard                                                                    
     time  getting   the  agencies  together.  ...   To  get                                                                    
     somebody  together  on the  same  date  borders on  the                                                                    
     impossible.  But I know  [Mr. LeFebvre] was able to get                                                                    
     the  agencies together  for our  project, and  it saved                                                                    
     innumerable  meetings  and  adjustments  that  wouldn't                                                                    
     have been necessary.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER IRWIN indicated it should  be the same gathering [of                                                               
data]  for the  coastal  zone as  for the  large  mining or  oil-                                                               
related projects.  He suggested Mr. LeFebvre could elaborate.                                                                   
Number 2436                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA said  she doesn't  disagree that  having                                                               
teams and a set schedule is a great  way to treat this.  She also                                                               
agreed that  [the current process]  is confusing  to individuals,                                                               
although perhaps  not so  much if the  coastal zone  [program] is                                                               
the  framework or  for  a large  company that  is  used to  doing                                                               
permits.  She expressed concern,  however, about what will happen                                                               
if DEC  or the Alaska  Department of Fish  & Game (ADF&G)  is the                                                               
agency that  is impacted, for example.   She asked who  will make                                                               
the final decisions  and what happens if there  is a disagreement                                                               
within the team.   Will a regulatory system be  set up to outline                                                               
this?   She also asked whether  only DNR staff will  take on this                                                               
function of coordination and leading.                                                                                           
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  replied  that  HB 192  doesn't  alter  the                                                               
responsibility  that lies  with the  regulatory agencies  to make                                                               
their own decisions,  based on their own  standards and following                                                               
their own regulations.  She explained:                                                                                          
     This  bill  does  not  require  me  to  negotiate  with                                                                    
     [Commissioner  Irwin] about  an  air permit.   It  does                                                                    
     require my air-permitting staff  to coordinate from the                                                                    
     outset on  the development  of a project  to understand                                                                    
     the   choices  that   the  project   manager  has   for                                                                    
     deployment of diesel generators.                                                                                           
     And on any large project  in the state of Alaska, there                                                                    
     are  many   choices  for   the  deployment   of  power-                                                                    
     generating capability.   And if we work  at the outset,                                                                    
     hand in  hand, our air  staff can say, "Look,  here are                                                                    
     two things  that are going  to be very  difficult about                                                                    
     this project:  it's near this  site, or it's ... in the                                                                    
     shadow  of a  canyon and  ... in  the winter  you might                                                                    
     have  an  accumulation  of   contaminated  air,  or  it                                                                    
     doesn't vent  well," or  whatever.   We're able  to sit                                                                    
     down  at the  beginning  and suggest,  at the  project-                                                                    
     design  stage, what  the  major  permitting issues  and                                                                    
     hurdles will  be so that  the project can  be developed                                                                    
     in a way that makes it permittable.                                                                                        
     The  opposite  approach   would  be  for  [Commissioner                                                                    
     Irwin]  and  his  staff  to work  merrily  along  on  a                                                                    
     project  that  conforms  well to  the  geology  or  the                                                                    
     hydrology or to the presence  of the resource, and only                                                                    
     later find out from us that  they have laid it out in a                                                                    
     way that  makes it  extremely difficult to  permit, and                                                                    
     that  if we  could have  been at  the outset,  we could                                                                    
     have suggested  a different approach:   move  the road,                                                                    
     move the generation, handle the water differently.                                                                         
Number 2589                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER BALLARD continued:                                                                                                 
     So it does not, in any  way, require a brokering of the                                                                    
     standards of environmental protection  or of habitat or                                                                    
     other resource protection.   But it does put  us all at                                                                    
     the  table at  the  beginning to  design a  permittable                                                                    
     project.  And in the end,  on all of these projects, it                                                                    
     is   ultimately   the   permitability  of   them   that                                                                    
     determines   the    final   project    design,   right,                                                                    
     [Commissioner Irwin]?   They  can't go forward  if they                                                                    
     can't be permitted.  So  let's get that decision moving                                                                    
     along on the  same track as the  capital decisions, the                                                                    
     marketing decisions, the  project-sizing decisions, the                                                                    
     timing decisions  - 'cause in  the end, if it  can't be                                                                    
     permitted, it's not going to be built.                                                                                     
Number 2628                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF remarked that what he'd just heard sounds                                                                   
fantastic, but asked "which gorilla you're going to get" to                                                                     
bring all those folks together.                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER IRWIN deferred to Mr. LeFebvre.                                                                                    
Number 2658                                                                                                                     
RICHARD LeFEBVRE, Deputy Commissioner, Anchorage Office, Office                                                                 
of the Commissioner, Department of Natural Resources, responded:                                                                
     I'm  not  exactly  a  gorilla.   But  since  1992  I've                                                                    
     coordinated these  projects, and  I've found  that most                                                                    
     of  the  agency personnel  are  very,  very willing  to                                                                    
     participate and  actually quite  thankful that  we have                                                                    
     someone  that's  able  to facilitate,  coordinate,  and                                                                    
     synchronize each of the portions  of ... the integrated                                                                    
     schedule that we develop as a  team.  What that does is                                                                    
     allow  them   to  focus  on  their   actual  permitting                                                                    
     requirements  and review  of the  project, and  ... let                                                                    
     the coordinator  or project manager be  responsible ...                                                                    
     to see that  they get to ... meet  the proper deadlines                                                                    
     and  to attend  the meetings  and have  the information                                                                    
     that they need to develop their decisions. ...                                                                             
     We  do not  have any  authority-making power;  that, as                                                                    
     Commissioner   Ballard   indicated,  rests   with   the                                                                    
     permitting  agencies themselves.   But  I've found  the                                                                    
     process  very  successful.   As  far  as how  ...  it's                                                                    
     integrated with the  ACMP, as we did  on other projects                                                                    
     in Point  Thomson, we do  an integrated  schedule; ACMP                                                                    
     is  a part  of that  schedule, and  they carry  out ...                                                                    
     their functions and responsibility  just like the other                                                                    
     permitting  agencies. ...  The  exception  is that,  as                                                                    
     project   manager,   I   coordinate,   then,   in   the                                                                    
     development of  the schedule, but each  of the agencies                                                                    
     ...,  what they  do is  helped to  develop that  actual                                                                    
     schedule, and then we all carried it out as a team.                                                                        
Number 2736                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER BALLARD added:                                                                                                     
     There's another  way to  look at  the gorilla.  ... The                                                                    
     gorilla  is really  the resource  to begin  with.   The                                                                    
     challenge to  all of us in  Alaska is to find  a way to                                                                    
     get the resource to market,  and it is a true challenge                                                                    
     because  of  the remoteness  and  the  vastness of  our                                                                    
     territory.   And anything we  can do, on  the executive                                                                    
     side  or   on  the  legislative  side,   to  focus  our                                                                    
     attention on the resource, and to focus early enough.                                                                      
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  cited  an example  involving  mining,  the                                                               
detailed steps, and the ultimate pouring of a brick of gold.                                                                    
Number 2794                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF said  this idea  is music  to his  ears, but                                                               
questioned the ability to get  people from state agencies to work                                                               
together well.   He said  he wants to  see who this  "marshal" is                                                               
and how much  weight that marshal will carry in  order to be able                                                               
to get these folks to the table.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER IRWIN responded that there can  and will be a lot of                                                               
issues, but said he'd had the  privilege of seeing how it worked,                                                               
because of  Mr. LeFebvre and  folks in the various  agencies such                                                               
as  [the habitat  division  in  ADF&G] and  DEC.   He  emphasized                                                               
building on that  vision, and cited Mr. LeFebvre's  work on Point                                                               
Thomson as  an example.   Commissioner Irwin said he  himself [if                                                               
DNR is the lead agency]  is ultimately responsible, and will have                                                               
to  face the  legislature a  year from  now; the  legislature can                                                               
hold the  department accountable  as to  how this  is progressing                                                               
then, and the department should  be able to bring forth examples.                                                               
Acknowledging that  it won't be perfect,  he expressed confidence                                                               
in taking the next step and holding on to this vision.                                                                          
Number 2944                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  remarked  that  a  few  years  ago  state                                                               
government was pretty lean; because  of budgetary constraints, it                                                               
has become more so.  She  asked, once this vision is attained and                                                               
working,  that it  not  be  lost over  "not  having a  position."                                                               
Indicating  she foresees  this  as a  finely  tuned machine  that                                                               
works  well,  she  said  she feels  comfortable  because  of  the                                                               
background of the current commissioner;  however, she asked [what                                                               
may happen under] another commissioner.                                                                                         
TAPE 03-30, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2982                                                                                                                     
COMMISSIONER IRWIN replied:                                                                                                     
     I understand  the concern.   I'm  ... frankly  not sure                                                                    
     how to answer  down the road.  But if  we get something                                                                    
     in place and  we know it's worked and  it's starting to                                                                    
     work  again, and  we're starting  to build  on this,  I                                                                    
     think the  agencies themselves  ... protect  their turf                                                                    
     at times;  we all  probably want to  - you  all protect                                                                    
     your  turf.   But as  they see  this becoming  more and                                                                    
     more  efficient, if  nothing  else -  and please  don't                                                                    
     take this  comment wrong  - if  nothing else,  from the                                                                    
     lazy side,  when people  know they  don't have  to redo                                                                    
     work, if  they don't  have to go  to other  meetings, I                                                                    
     think we  have an opportunity to  get something rolling                                                                    
     where people won't want to let it go.                                                                                      
     But what  I've seen  - and you  talk about  enough help                                                                    
     and cutbacks and all those  things - I really think the                                                                    
     agencies I've been  around are ... like you  all:  they                                                                    
     don't  know when  morning starts,  and they  don't know                                                                    
     when  the  end of  the  workday  ends.   I  see  people                                                                    
     working 16,  18 hours a day.   I see people  working on                                                                    
     the weekends,  because they really do  care about their                                                                    
     own areas.  They want to  make this work.  They ... see                                                                    
     an  excitement about  the  state.   And  we can't  keep                                                                    
     doing that to  people.  And if we can  get efficient, I                                                                    
     think that also  should help.  But I don't  know how to                                                                    
     answer all the  "what ifs," but we need to  be aware of                                                                    
Number 2905                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  referred  to   the  wording  "lead  and                                                           
coordinate  all  matters  relating  to  the  state's  review  and                                                           
authorization of  resource development projects"  [paragraph (9),                                                           
page  2,  line  23],  noting  that  it  is  a  strong  statement.                                                               
Acknowledging that  it isn't the  intent of the  legislation, she                                                               
suggested  that the  commissioner's wouldn't  want to  share each                                                               
other's appeals,  and asked Mr.  Kennedy whether there is  a need                                                               
to be clearer.                                                                                                                  
Number 2874                                                                                                                     
CHRISTOPHER  KENNEDY, Assistant  Attorney General,  Environmental                                                               
Section, Civil Division (Anchorage),  Department of Law, answered                                                               
that it  doesn't concern him a  great deal, in part  because this                                                               
is modeled  after a  statute that's  been on  the books  for some                                                               
time, [AS]  27.05.010, which made  DNR the lead agency  in mining                                                               
matters; nobody  has ever tried  to interpret that to  "marry all                                                               
the  appeals together."    He said  it isn't  the  intent of  the                                                               
legislation and  suggested that there  will be  clear legislative                                                               
history with regard to that, as well as the prior model.                                                                        
Number 2828                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG requested an  overview of the effect of                                                               
Section 4, which repeals several portions of statute.                                                                           
MR.  KENNEDY  answered  that it's  the  environmental  procedures                                                               
coordination  Act, adopted  in 1977  as  an effort  to bring  all                                                               
kinds of  environmental permitting  under "one  giant procedure,"                                                               
under  which,  to  his  belief,  some  joint  appeals  have  been                                                               
possible.    He said  it  was  quickly, if  not  instantaneously,                                                               
supplanted by the coastal zone  process in almost every instance,                                                               
so DGC  became the  coordinating body  to bring  permitting under                                                               
one roof in multipermit projects.  He  said as far as he has been                                                               
able to  determine, although one  or two instances may  have been                                                               
missed, AS  46.35 has never been  used in its entire  history; it                                                               
never got off  the ground and is  a vestige in the  statutes.  He                                                               
went on to say  that the purpose is simply to  repeal it to avoid                                                               
any confusion over  which agency is the  coordinating agency when                                                               
permits span several agencies.                                                                                                  
Number 2718                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked,  if  there are  permits from  one                                                               
agency only, whether DNR will "basically shift to that agency."                                                                 
MR. KENNEDY deferred to Mr. LeFebvre.                                                                                           
MR.  LeFEBVRE answered,  "If it's  a  single permit  requirement,                                                               
normally they  would go directly  to the agency involved.  ... We                                                               
wouldn't intend to coordinate that."                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  pointed out that the  language says it's                                                               
for   all  matters.     She   asked  whether   there  should   be                                                               
clarification.   She  suggested there  could be  an appeal  later                                                               
down the road for not having provided coordination.                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD  offered  that  the  enabling  language  is                                                               
"may", not "shall",  and so the commissioner of  DNR retains some                                                               
discretion.   She  said  it  clearly is  a  statute that  enables                                                               
rather than  directs the commissioner, and  that organizes rather                                                               
than mandates the responsibility.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA agreed,  but said there is a  lot of case                                                               
law  on the  fact that  when there  are specific  provisions like                                                               
this set  out, [an  agency] might wind  up being  responsible for                                                               
doing it, even  though the [statutory] language says  "may".  She                                                               
suggested it may be worth thinking about.                                                                                       
Number 2606                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  expressed  concern  about  what  will                                                               
happen  if one  agency doesn't  agree  that a  project should  go                                                               
forward, for example.                                                                                                           
COMMISSIONER BALLARD replied:                                                                                                   
     One  of   the  reasons  we   have  so  many   pages  of                                                                    
     regulations is to make as  clear to both the developing                                                                    
     community  and  the  interested stakeholders  what  the                                                                    
     terms  and conditions  for protective  development will                                                                    
     be. ...  Individuals, whether they  be employed  at DNR                                                                    
     or  DEC,  are  charged   in  their  daily  duties  with                                                                    
     implementing  the  regulations,   not  with  developing                                                                    
     their  personal views  about whether  or not  a project                                                                    
     should or  should not  proceed.   A mixing  zone either                                                                    
     can or cannot be permitted.                                                                                                
     We have  clearly stated regulations  that we  follow to                                                                    
     determine whether  the impacts  and where the  point of                                                                    
     compliance will be,  and so on. ... This  bill does not                                                                    
     change,  at all,  the responsibility  of DEC  to follow                                                                    
     its  own ...  regulations, and  those regulations  make                                                                    
     crystal  clear   -  whether  it's   air  or   water  or                                                                    
     underground injection or whatever it  may be - how that                                                                    
     will proceed.                                                                                                              
COMMISSIONER BALLARD  said employees  and commissioners  come and                                                               
go.   She offered her  belief that  this is a  bipartisan concept                                                               
developed  in   the  previous  administration   and  successfully                                                               
followed, and  said this administration  is proposing  to broaden                                                               
it.  She  added that she sees  it as "an issue  that simply rises                                                               
above  the  beliefs  of  the individuals  who  are  involved  and                                                               
commits the employees to following a coordinated process."                                                                      
Number 2446                                                                                                                     
CHAIR FATE asked whether anyone else  wished to testify.  He then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
Number 2427                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  moved to  report HB  192 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG [objected]  to commend  Representative                                                               
Kerttula's legislation relating to  one-stop permitting, which he                                                               
indicated would mesh with this.  He then withdrew his objection.                                                                
Number 2396                                                                                                                     
CHAIR FATE asked whether there  was any further objection.  There                                                               
being no objection, HB 192  was reported from the House Resources                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

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