Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/25/2009 01:00 PM RESOURCES


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01:01:59 PM Start
01:02:48 PM HB134
02:58:34 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
+ Overview: Large Mine Permit Process by TELECONFERENCED
Ed Fogels, Director, Office of Project
Management & Permitting, DNR
+ Briefing on the Endangered Species Act by TELECONFERENCED
Matt Cronin, Ph.D. Research Associate
Professor, UAF
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 134 CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
HB 134-CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
1:02:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  134,  "An  Act  relating  to the  terms  and                                                               
conditions  of commercial  vessel  permits for  the discharge  of                                                               
graywater, treated  sewage, and other waste  water; and providing                                                               
for  an  effective  date."     [Before  the  committee  was  CSHB
134(CRA).]                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  said much hard work  was done over the  past two                                                               
weeks to come  up with a solution that everyone  could work with.                                                               
On  behalf  of Representative  Harris,  he  offered Amendment  3,                                                               
labeled  26-LS0570\E.6, Bullard,  3/25/09,  which read  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2, following "water;":                                                                                      
          Insert "establishing a science advisory panel on                                                                    
     wastewater    treatment    in   the    Department    of                                                                  
     Environmental Conservation;"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 4:                                                                                                  
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
        "* Section  1. The  uncodified law  of the  State of                                                                
     Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                         
          LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the                                                                           
     legislature that  the minimum  standards for  the terms                                                                    
     and  conditions  of  wastewater discharge  permits  for                                                                    
     large commercial passenger  vessels meet all applicable                                                                    
     state  and   federal  effluent  limits   or  standards,                                                                    
     including  Alaska  Water Quality  Standards,  governing                                                                    
     pollution at  the point of discharge  if the Department                                                                    
     of  Environmental  Conservation, in  consultation  with                                                                    
     its  science advisory  panel  on wastewater  treatment,                                                                    
     determines  that   compliance  with  those   limits  or                                                                    
     standards    is   technologically    and   economically                                                                    
     feasible."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Section 1"                                                                                                  
          Insert "Sec. 2"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 11:                                                                                                           
          Delete "[AT THE POINT OF DISCHARGE]"                                                                                  
          Insert "at the point of discharge, except as                                                                      
     provided in 46.03.462(e)."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "*  Sec. 3.  AS 46.03.462 is  amended by  adding new                                                                
     subsections to read:                                                                                                       
          (e)  When issuing, reissuing, renewing or                                                                             
     modifying  a  permit  required  under  (a)(1)  of  this                                                                    
     section, the department may  include effluent limits or                                                                    
     standards  less  stringent  than those  required  under                                                                    
     (b)(1) of this  section if the department  finds that a                                                                    
     permittee  is using  methods  of pollution  prevention,                                                                    
     control  and treatment  found by  the department  to be                                                                    
     the  most effective,  technologically and  economically                                                                    
     feasible   in   controlling   all  wastes   and   other                                                                    
     substances in  the discharge but  is unable  to achieve                                                                    
     compliance with  Alaska Water Quality Standards  at the                                                                    
     point of discharge.                                                                                                        
          (f)  In developing an effluent limit or standard                                                                      
     under (e) of this section, the department shall                                                                            
               (1)  require use of methods of pollution                                                                         
     prevention,   control  and   treatment  found   by  the                                                                    
     department  to be  the most  effective, technologically                                                                    
     economically feasible; and                                                                                                 
               (2)  apply all other applicable provisions                                                                       
     of state law and this section.                                                                                             
          (g)  When reissuing, renewing or modifying a                                                                          
     permit  required under  this  section  that was  issued                                                                    
     after  the effective  date of  this  bill section,  the                                                                    
     department   may  not   include   effluent  limits   or                                                                    
     standards less  stringent than the  comparable effluent                                                                    
     limitations  in a  previous  permit  issued under  this                                                                    
     section.                                                                                                                   
          (h)  Nothing in this section shall be construed                                                                       
     to limit the authority of the department to                                                                                
               (1)  restrict the areas in which discharges                                                                      
     permitted under this section may occur; or                                                                                 
               (2)  impose additional terms and conditions                                                                      
     on the manner in  which discharges permitted under this                                                                    
     section may be made in a specific area.                                                                                    
        *  Sec.  4. AS 46.03  is  amended  by adding  a  new                                                                  
     section to read:                                                                                                           
          Sec. 46.03.464 Advisory panel on wastewater                                                                         
     treatment; commissioner's  reports to  the legislature.                                                                  
     (a)  A science  advisory  panel is  established in  the                                                                    
     department. The  panel consists of members  selected by                                                                    
     the commissioner.  Members of  the panel  serve without                                                                    
     compensation   but  are   entitled  to   transportation                                                                    
     expenses  and per  diem as  authorized  for members  of                                                                    
     boards and commissions under AS 39.20.180.                                                                                 
          (b)  The panel shall                                                                                                  
               (1)  meet at the call of the commissioner                                                                        
     and  give public  notice of  meetings of  the panel  as                                                                    
     required under AS 44.62.310 and 44.62.312;                                                                                 
               (2)  hold one or more public conferences or                                                                      
     workshops; and                                                                                                             
               (3)  assist and advise the commissioner in                                                                       
     conducting  the  analyses  and  preparing  the  reports                                                                    
     required in (c) and (d) of this section.                                                                                   
          (c)  On or before January 1, 2012, the                                                                                
     commissioner,  in consultation  with  the panel,  shall                                                                    
     provide a  preliminary report  to the  legislature that                                                                    
     summarizes                                                                                                                 
               (1)  methods of pollution prevention,                                                                            
     control and treatment in use  and the level of effluent                                                                    
     quality achieved by commercial passenger vessels;                                                                          
               (2)  additional methods of pollution                                                                             
     prevention,  control   and  treatment  that   could  be                                                                    
     employed    to    provide     the    most    effective,                                                                    
     technologically and  economically feasible  measures to                                                                    
     control  all   wastes  and  other  substances   in  the                                                                    
     discharge; and                                                                                                             
               (3)  the environmental benefit and cost of                                                                       
     implementing    additional    methods   of    pollution                                                                    
     prevention, control and  treatment identified in (c)(2)                                                                    
     of this section.                                                                                                           
          (d)  On or before January 1, 2014, the                                                                                
     commissioner,  in consultation  with  the panel,  shall                                                                    
     provide  a   final  report  to  the   legislature  that                                                                    
     includes the topics identified in  (c)(1) - (3) of this                                                                    
     section.                                                                                                                   
        * Sec.  5. AS 46.03.465 is  amended by adding  a new                                                                  
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (h)  On request, the owner or operator of a                                                                           
     commercial  passenger   vessel  discharging  wastewater                                                                    
     under  AS 46.03.462(b)  shall  provide  the  department                                                                    
     with  information  relating  to  wastewater  treatment,                                                                    
     pollution avoidance,  and pollution  reduction measures                                                                    
     used on  the vessel,  including testing  and evaluation                                                                    
     procedures  and  economic   and  technical  feasibility                                                                    
     analyses.                                                                                                                  
        * Sec. 6.  AS 46.03.464 is repealed.                                                                                
        *  Sec. 7.    Section  6 of  this  Act takes  effect                                                                  
     June 1, 2014.                                                                                                              
        * Sec.  8.  Sections  1 through  5 of this  Act take                                                                  
     effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c)."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:03:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor of                                                               
HB 134, explained that Amendment  3 was developed in consort with                                                               
the  Department  of Environmental  Conservation,  as  well as  in                                                               
consultation  with  the  governor  and  the  Department  of  Law.                                                               
Amendment  3  would  ensure  through statute  that  there  is  no                                                               
backsliding  by  the cruise  ship  industry  and would  encourage                                                               
ongoing development of science.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  said HB  134  does  not advocate  for  or                                                               
tolerate a worsening  of the current water  quality standards for                                                               
cruise  ships.     Rather,  it   advocates  for   more  stringent                                                               
regulation  up  to  the 2010  standard  when  those  technologies                                                               
become available and  can be economically installed  on board the                                                               
ships.  Amendment  3 gets the state  where it wants to  go.  Both                                                               
the  cruise ship  industry and  the  Department of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation would  be in  compliance with  the statute,  and the                                                               
ships can stay  in port longer, allowing crews  and passengers to                                                               
spend money  in the port  communities.  He  urged that HB  134 be                                                               
amended and moved out of committee today.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  read from  a March 19,  2009, letter  written to                                                               
Representative Harris  by Governor Palin.   The full text  of the                                                               
letter is as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          Thank you for your letter requesting my help                                                                          
     clarifying   expectations   for   the   Department   of                                                                    
     Environmental    Conservation    (DEC)   should    your                                                                    
     legislation, known as HB 134,  pass the Legislature and                                                                    
     become law.  I share  your confidence index's abilities                                                                    
     and efforts,  and agree that DEC  officials are working                                                                    
     hard  to implement  the  best  treatment technology  as                                                                    
     quickly as possible.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
          I would like to assure you, and anyone else                                                                           
     interested in this  issue, that in the  event that this                                                                    
     legislation  passes, DEC  will  retain  the ability  to                                                                    
     preserve  and  protect   water  quality  through  their                                                                    
     existing   permitting  authority.     While   discharge                                                                    
     permits  could  be  modified to  include  mixing  zones                                                                    
     where  appropriate, cruise  ships would  still have  to                                                                    
     obtain and comply with permits  that will fully protect                                                                    
     aquatic  life  and  other   uses  of  Alaska's  waters.                                                                    
     Permits  could  include  a  variety  of  conditions  to                                                                    
     ensure water quality is protected.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
          DEC would retain the authority to prevent                                                                             
     backsliding by reassuring  that any standards currently                                                                    
     achieved must  continue to  be met  and would  have the                                                                    
     ability  to mandate  that the  best  and most  feasible                                                                    
     treatment technology be used.   As you may know, DEC is                                                                    
     aware  of  no   technologies  currently  available  for                                                                    
     widespread shipboard use that  would allow standards to                                                                    
     be  met.   From DEC's  technology conference  held last                                                                    
     month,  it appears  there are  new waste  reduction and                                                                    
     treatment  options   that  could   become  commercially                                                                    
     available  in  the  future.     We  want  to  encourage                                                                    
     improvement, and continue to explore these options.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          I appreciate your interest and efforts in this                                                                        
     issue  and  hope this  information  is  helpful as  you                                                                    
     continue hearings on this legislation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:09:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  whether  Amendment  2 [which  he                                                               
offered on March 16, 2009] was still on the table.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  said Amendment  2 had been  tabled, but  that it                                                               
could be addressed, pulled, or left as tabled.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON agreed to leave Amendment 2 tabled.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN noted  that DEC  Commissioner Hartig  has worked                                                               
hard on Amendment 3 and supports the amendment.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:10:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY   HARTIG,   Commissioner,   Department   of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation,  thanked the  committee  and Representative  Harris                                                               
for the  opportunity to  work on possible  amendments to  HB 134.                                                               
Amendment 3 addresses  some of the issues that DEC  had, he said,                                                               
and is hopefully something that everyone can agree on.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG recognized that  under the 2006 Alaska Cruise                                                               
Ship Initiative  voters called for  a higher level  of treatment.                                                               
However,  he   explained,  at  DEC's  February   2009  technology                                                               
conference it was  determined that the technology  for vessels is                                                               
not yet  there for meeting  all state water quality  standards in                                                               
the pipe.   It was therefore  recognized that there needed  to be                                                               
some kind  of relief to  the requirements of the  initiative that                                                               
had been embodied in state law.   The question was how to provide                                                               
that relief, and  over what time period, and how  to proceed, and                                                               
this  is the  substance of  the  amended bill.   He  said HB  134                                                               
retains  the at-the-point-of-discharge  requirement,  but in  the                                                               
interim vessels would be allowed  relief from the standard if DEC                                                               
finds that the  most effective technology is  being employed that                                                               
is both technically and economically feasible.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:12:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG explained  that in  addition to  the minimum                                                               
treatment standard,  Amendment 3 would create  a science advisory                                                               
panel.  This  panel would work with DEC to  review both on-vessel                                                               
and on-shore  technologies that would  provide a higher  level of                                                               
treatment.   The  panel would  provide an  interim report  to the                                                               
legislature in two  years and a final report in  four years as to                                                               
what advances in technology had  been achieved during that period                                                               
of time.   These reports and  input would allow DEC  to apply the                                                               
latest technology and standards when  the permit for cruise ships                                                               
next comes up for renewal.   Thus, if cruise ships could not meet                                                               
the  at-the-point-of-discharge standard  for certain  pollutants,                                                               
DEC would know  what technology is available  and could implement                                                               
that into the permit.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  noted  that  a  technology-forcing  element                                                               
already exists  in DEC's  powers, so  it is  not included  in the                                                               
amended bill.  If a  permittee cannot achieve the effluent limits                                                               
in a permit, DEC can  require a compliance schedule with specific                                                               
steps  and  deadlines  by  which a  permittee  must  install  new                                                               
equipment or  take other action to  reduce pollution.  If  HB 134                                                               
passes,  DEC will  evaluate the  technology information  from the                                                               
conference  and  the  source  reduction  evaluation  reports  and                                                               
monthly  discharge monitoring  reports filed  by the  cruise ship                                                               
companies to determine  what the technology standard  would be in                                                               
the  new modified  permit.   The  department  would then  develop                                                               
compliance  schedules  for  those  ships  that  are  not  already                                                               
achieving  the  standards, thus  implementing  technology-forcing                                                               
vessel  by vessel.   At  the end  of that  period, the  four year                                                               
final  report would  be complete  and DEC  would see  whether the                                                               
standard  could be  raised again  five  years from  now when  the                                                               
permit comes up for renewal.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  pointed out  that Amendment  3 has  an anti-                                                               
backsliding  provision that  prevents DEC  from issuing  a permit                                                               
that loosens the standard.  Given the aforementioned technology-                                                                
forcing,  this  means  the  standard can  only  get  tighter  and                                                               
tighter over the permit cycles.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:15:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN inquired  whether  Commissioner Hartig  believes                                                               
that  Alaska's  waters and  fisheries  would  be protected  under                                                               
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG answered yes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG,  in response  to Co-Chair Johnson,  said DEC                                                               
envisions  the  science advisory  panel  being  made up  of  some                                                               
government   members   such  as   the   U.S.   Coast  Guard   and                                                               
Environmental  Protection Agency  (EPA).   The  U.S. Coast  Guard                                                               
currently  regulates   treatment  systems  on  vessels   and  EPA                                                               
regulates  certain discharges  that are  covered by  this permit.                                                               
The  department also  envisions members  from the  public sector,                                                               
primarily  people with  an  expertise in  water  treatment as  it                                                               
relates to vessels  or on shore where vessels  can use treatment,                                                               
chemical  and  environmental  engineers,  marine  architects  and                                                               
others   who  understand   the  modification   of  vessels,   key                                                               
stakeholders with  an interest and  expertise in this  issue, and                                                               
operational  people.   It  is  important for  the  panel to  have                                                               
technical   people  as   well  as   people  who   understand  the                                                               
implementation issues, he said.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG, in  further response  to Co-Chair  Johnson,                                                               
explained that vessel treatment systems  is a fairly narrow area,                                                               
so there  would be  few experts  available for  such a  long time                                                               
period.   Thus,  a  large group  would be  needed  for the  panel                                                               
because only  half the members  would likely  be able to  show up                                                               
for  each meeting.   He  said he  therefore anticipates  that the                                                               
panel would have eight to twelve members.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  surmised that the DEC  commissioner would decide                                                               
the panel members.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG responded correct.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON inquired whether  having a science advisory                                                               
panel would change the zero fiscal note.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG said there is  no fiscal note because this is                                                               
already in  DEC's base budget.   The department has  been relying                                                               
on  the  cruise  ship  registration  fees  to  fund  its  current                                                               
studies, so  these fees would  be used  to support the  panel and                                                               
the additional studies that DEC has in mind.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON requested  Commissioner Hartig  to discuss                                                               
the term "economically  feasible" as written on page  1, line 15,                                                               
in Amendment 3.   She expressed her concern that  this could be a                                                               
loophole.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG answered  that this is not unique  and is the                                                               
standard that  DEC expects any industry  to be held to.   He said                                                               
he envisions  getting everyone  together in  the room  - vendors,                                                               
academics, EPA,  U.S. Coast Guard,  and so  forth - to  get their                                                               
thoughts.   The language says it  has to be the  "most effective"                                                               
technology  that is  technologically  and economically  feasible.                                                               
The department would  then use its best  professional judgment to                                                               
set the  standard.  For  those that cannot immediately  meet that                                                               
standard,  DEC would  use its  existing authorities  to set  up a                                                               
schedule for attainment under the permit.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:22:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON remarked that the  date of January 1, 2014,                                                               
on page 3, line  20, of Amendment 3, seems like  a long time [for                                                               
receipt  of the  final report  by  the legislature].   She  asked                                                               
whether the timeline could instead be every other year.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN pointed  out that page 3, line 9,  of Amendment 3                                                               
requires a preliminary  report be provided to  the legislature by                                                               
January 1, 2012.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG added that DEC  will be issuing a report this                                                               
April from  the [February 2009]  technology conference, so  it is                                                               
pretty  much  a  two-year  cycle.     It  was  reported  at  this                                                               
conference  that  there may  be  some  new technologies,  one  in                                                               
particular that  would address  ammonia, but  that these  are two                                                               
years out;  so this is one  reason why the department  picked two                                                               
year intervals.  The second  two-year interval would end one year                                                               
prior to the end of the next normal five-year permit cycle.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:24:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  inquired  how   DEC  determines  what  is                                                               
economically feasible  from an agency  standpoint, as  opposed to                                                               
what the cruise ships would say is economically feasible.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG explained  that under  the Clean  Water Act,                                                               
the EPA  sets regulations for  what technology should be  able to                                                               
achieve  for different  industries.   However, EPA  has not  done                                                               
that for  the cruise ship industry.   Normally, DEC looks  to the                                                               
EPA   technology   requirements,   called   effluent   limitation                                                               
guidelines, to see what EPA  prescribes for a particular industry                                                               
sector and  then relies on  that.   Therefore, since EPA  has not                                                               
set  a standard  for this  industry, DEC  must rely  on its  best                                                               
professional judgment.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:26:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked whether  DEC's science  advisor will                                                               
be  determining   what  is  economically  feasible   or  what  is                                                               
technologically feasible.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  responded that he  does not know  that those                                                               
two can be  split apart.  He reiterated that  this is not unique,                                                               
and the cruise  ships are not being treated  differently or given                                                               
a  break  because  the  term  economically  is  included  in  the                                                               
language.    These   sorts  of  evaluations  apply   to  all  the                                                               
industries in  the state.   The department  looks at  the various                                                               
technologies and evaluates  and compares the options  to see what                                                               
can be achieved at what cost.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:29:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN interjected  that Commissioner  Hartig has  been                                                               
put in the  hard spot of the cruise ship  industry saying this is                                                               
either  not achievable  or not  economically feasible  along with                                                               
the  financial impacts  to Alaska's  communities if  there is  no                                                               
cruise industry.   The commissioner  has to make the  decision of                                                               
where economically feasible  starts and stops and  he must depend                                                               
on the best advice that he can get to distinguish that.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  countered  that  there  is  a  difference                                                               
between  what  an  industry  player  might  say  is  economically                                                               
feasible.   He said he  interprets DEC's  support of a  bill that                                                               
would eliminate  the point-of-discharge requirement to  mean that                                                               
the department thinks mixing zones are clean enough.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN disagreed.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:31:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  for  further  definition  of  what                                                               
constitutes economically feasible.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  clarified  that  DEC  does  want  point  of                                                               
discharge in  the legislation and  this language is  in Amendment                                                               
3.    He explained  that  DEC  can relax  the  point-of-discharge                                                               
standard  only if  the  cruise ships  cannot  achieve it  despite                                                               
using the  most effective treatment that  is both technologically                                                               
and  economically  feasible.   Right  now  the cruise  ships  are                                                               
meeting  that standard  for the  majority of  the pollutants,  he                                                               
said.   Only a handful of  ships are not achieving  this and even                                                               
those  are pretty  close.   Whether it  is the  state or  the EPA                                                               
implementing  the  Clean Water  Act,  there  must still  be  some                                                               
reliance on  judgment calls in  terms of evaluating  the economic                                                               
aspects of various  treatment technologies.  There  is nothing in                                                               
either state  or federal  law that pins  down what  is considered                                                               
economic.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  continued, explaining that Amendment  3 adds                                                               
even  more checks  and  balances  than there  already  are.   The                                                               
department will implement this by  evaluating the technologies as                                                               
part of  a permit  modification, which is  a public  process that                                                               
allows the public  to review the information and weigh  in on it.                                                               
If the  public disagrees  with DEC's decision,  an appeal  can be                                                               
filed  through  the  courts.   The  science  advisory  panel  and                                                               
technology  conferences  provided by  Amendment  3  add two  more                                                               
levels  of review.   The  conferences already  have a  successful                                                               
track record, he pointed out.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:35:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  added that the  purpose of the  science advisory                                                               
panel is to take the politics  out of it, provide advice from all                                                               
interested parties,  and bring everything to  the legislature for                                                               
a final decision.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG agreed that  taking out the politics is                                                               
an important  role.  He  noted that  Amendment 3 spans  more than                                                               
just  the  next  election  and  is  needed  to  ensure  that  the                                                               
legislature's   direction   is   known  to   whoever   might   be                                                               
commissioner of  DEC.   Thus, the panel's  membership will  be an                                                               
important part  of HB 134.   He requested Commissioner  Hartig to                                                               
walk the  committee through  the provisions  of Amendment  3 that                                                               
prevent backsliding.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG advised that  Section 3, subsection (g), must                                                               
be read  in context with  all of  Amendment 3 and  DEC's existing                                                               
authority.   The  idea is  to progress  as quickly  as technology                                                               
will  allow toward  meeting at  the  point of  discharge for  all                                                               
pollutants,  he  said.   The  technology  conference showed  this                                                               
cannot be achieved now, but  Amendment 3 addresses getting there.                                                               
Over  the  five-year  life  of  this next  permit,  DEC  will  be                                                               
investigating all the technology options  to find those that will                                                               
get closer  to, or all the  way to, the  goal of at the  point of                                                               
discharge.   Those options  would then  be implemented  in either                                                               
the next  modified permit  or the renewed  permit.   Although the                                                               
permit is on  a five-year cycle, DEC has the  authority to modify                                                               
the  permit prior  to the  next  renewal should  a technology  be                                                               
found  sooner.   Subsection  (g) prevents  DEC from  backtracking                                                               
below the  standard that is  in place  today.  The  assumption is                                                               
that technology will always advance,  so the permit standard will                                                               
either  stay where  it is  or get  tighter.   Thus, over  time as                                                               
technology  advances,  it  can  only   go  in  the  direction  of                                                               
ultimately being at the point of discharge for all pollutants.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:38:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON inquired  whether the backsliding provision                                                               
is already in federal law and state regulations.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered that  the backsliding  provision is                                                               
in the  federal Clean Water  Act as  well as in  Alaska Pollutant                                                               
Discharge  Elimination  System  (APDES)  regulations,  where  the                                                               
state is  now getting primacy  to issue Clean Water  Act permits.                                                               
However, commercial passenger  vessels do not need  a Clean Water                                                               
Act  permit  for  their  wastewater   discharges,  so  the  APDES                                                               
regulations  and the  Clean Water  Act  requirements relating  to                                                               
that  program do  not  apply here.    This is  why  the state  is                                                               
putting  in its  own provision  and adapting  it specifically  to                                                               
this situation.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON removed his objection to Amendment 3.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected to Amendment 3.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:40:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   asked  whether  there  is   anything  in                                                               
Amendment 3 that  would prevent the DEC  commissioner from having                                                               
only three people on the science advisory panel.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG replied  that DEC did not  prescribe that and                                                               
does not have a minimum in  mind, but the legislature could weigh                                                               
in.  He  said the department is interested in  getting good input                                                               
from  a  variety  of  people  with  science,  technological,  and                                                               
implementation  knowledge, as  well as  key people  interested in                                                               
this issue and the initiative.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG, in  response to  Co-Chair Neuman,  said DEC                                                               
will make sure this is an effective panel.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:41:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  noted that Amendment 3  does not mention                                                               
qualifications  for members  of the  science advisory  panel, how                                                               
many  members   the  panel   must  have,   or  whether   the  DEC                                                               
commissioner must listen to the panel's recommendations.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  agreed  that  the  qualifications  are  not                                                               
spelled out.   He said  his vision for  this language is  that he                                                               
would  convene  a  panel  that would  include  experts  in  water                                                               
treatment for  both on-shore and on-vessel  systems, chemical and                                                               
environmental engineers with  understanding of treatment systems,                                                               
people who  understand implementation  issues on vessels  such as                                                               
weight  and balance,  people who  understand regulatory  programs                                                               
like the  EPA and U.S.  Coast Guard,  and people from  the public                                                               
with  a technical  background and  a particular  interest in  the                                                               
purposes of the initiative and the panel.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI observed that  all other state boards and                                                               
commissions have  specific definitions  for how many  people, who                                                               
the people would be, and what their  actual jobs are.  He said he                                                               
does not know the value of this science advisory panel.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   NEUMAN  interjected   that  the   value  is   the  DEC                                                               
commissioner  testifying  before  the  House  Resources  Standing                                                               
Committee on  what the intent  is, and passing this  amendment is                                                               
the legislative intent of what was heard.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI pointed out that  the reports will not be                                                               
until  2012  and 2014  and  this  particular  person may  not  be                                                               
commissioner at that point in time.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:44:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said he  shares  the  same concern  about                                                               
establishing a panel that has  no defined makeup, qualifications,                                                               
or number  of meetings.   The only requirement is  one conference                                                               
before  2012.     This  is  not  to  say   that  this  particular                                                               
commissioner  will not  work  to make  this  panel effective,  he                                                               
said, but this  issue is of concern because it  is being put into                                                               
a  law for  resolving this  water quality  issue.   He asked  for                                                               
Commissioner  Hartig's  definition  of how  many  meetings  there                                                               
would be.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG noted  that the idea of  the science advisory                                                               
panel  stems  from  2004  when  such  a  panel  was  successfully                                                               
convened to  look at  DEC's initial  dilution studies  for cruise                                                               
ships.   This panel of  public and private members  discussed the                                                               
information publicly.  People were  generally satisfied with what                                                               
came out of this and that  the information had been peer reviewed                                                               
from  a  technical standpoint,  thus  filtering  out any  biases.                                                               
This is what DEC  is looking to achieve here, he  said.  When the                                                               
legislature  gets  the  reports  it will  be  clear  whether  the                                                               
reports are  biased or good  peer-reviewed products.   The number                                                               
of meetings depends  on when there is  the background information                                                               
to make  a meeting productive,  coupled with  where DEC is  at in                                                               
the cycle of its  own work.  Right now DEC  staff is busy gearing                                                               
up for  this cruise  season, so  the first  meeting will  be this                                                               
fall to  identify the key  issues and  then another meeting  in a                                                               
matter of months.   He said he envisions one  to two meetings per                                                               
year, with probably  two meetings the first  year, although there                                                               
could be more.   The idea is  to have a group that  is helpful to                                                               
the department, that  provides peer review, and  that screens out                                                               
any  potential   for  bias  so   the  report  is   something  the                                                               
legislature can rely on.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  added that there  will be  a report in  2012, so                                                               
the legislature would have a second  shot if it does not like the                                                               
report  it receives.   This  is trying  to allow  the flexibility                                                               
that the commissioner needs, he said.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:50:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS recommended that  a minimum number of panel                                                               
members should  be spelled  out for  the comfort  of legislators.                                                               
He  offered  to  work with  Representative  Seaton,  Commissioner                                                               
Hartig, and  others to come  up with  an amendment for  the floor                                                               
that  spells out  a  minimum  number of  panel  members and  that                                                               
directs the  panel to report  to the  legislature as well  as the                                                               
commissioner.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN responded that the  intent is to continue working                                                               
on this with the commissioner even if the bill passes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS   said  he  is  hearing   members  of  the                                                               
legislature  expressing  concerns.   There  should  be a  minimum                                                               
number of people  representing certain agencies on  the panel, he                                                               
advised.   The panel will  not set the  policy, but it  will make                                                               
recommendations  to  the  commissioner  and  to  the  legislature                                                               
through the  reports.   In regard to  the concern  about economic                                                               
feasibility, he said that is  a tough issue because sometimes the                                                               
answer  is unknown  until the  technology  becomes available  for                                                               
sale and because  feasibility can be different  for each company.                                                               
Representative Harris said  he sees the advisory  panel as having                                                               
two purposes for  its reports to the commissioner:   to determine                                                               
the cost and effectiveness of  the products available and whether                                                               
the product  will meet the  standards.   The people on  the panel                                                               
need to have those qualifications to do this.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:53:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  stated that  this bill needs  to be  moved along                                                               
and discussion  will continue to  happen and  the recommendations                                                               
will  happen  for   the  floor.    He  expressed   his  trust  in                                                               
Commissioner Hartig  to set up  the appropriate  science advisory                                                               
panel in consultation with Representatives Harris and Seaton.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he  believes the  legislative process                                                               
is that  legislators offer their opinions  through amendments and                                                               
through  committee.   A law  is being  passed; this  is not  just                                                               
giving the  administration the flexibility  to do what  it wants.                                                               
Amendment 3  was not seen  until 11:00  a.m. today, he  added, so                                                               
there was no time to review it and work on the issues.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:57:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referenced Sections 6  and 7 of Amendment 3                                                               
which  would  repeal  AS  46.03.464  as of  June  1,  2014.    He                                                               
understood this  repeal to mean  that the science  advisory panel                                                               
would  be  eliminated,  while  Section   3,  subsection  (e),  of                                                               
Amendment  3,  which  provides an  exception  for  allowing  less                                                               
stringent effluent standards, would remain in effect.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered correct.   He said DEC's  belief is                                                               
that the  panel would have  served its purpose after  five years.                                                               
By  the panel's  2014 sunset  date, a  minimum of  two technology                                                               
conferences would have  been held and there would  be seven years                                                               
of data and  source evaluation reports from the  cruise ships, so                                                               
the technology would be understood by that point.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:58:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON surmised that after  2014 the law would not                                                               
require  meeting the  standards  at the  point  of discharge  but                                                               
rather meeting them in mixing zones.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG replied that this  is incorrect.  The at-the-                                                               
point-of-discharge  requirement  is  the  expectation,  he  said.                                                               
Right now a handful of pollutants  are close but not quite there.                                                               
Last month's  technology conference  found that the  cruise ships                                                               
would be  able to get closer  to that standard, if  not there, if                                                               
given more time.   So, what is being said is  that, at a minimum,                                                               
the cruise ships must achieve what  can be achieved with the most                                                               
effective pollution reduction  technology that is technologically                                                               
and  economically feasible  at  each  point in  time.   When  new                                                               
technology is  available the  bar will be  raised and  the cruise                                                               
ships will  have to meet that  new standard.  This  will continue                                                               
until  the at-the-point-of-discharge  requirement is  met and  at                                                               
which point  there will  be no  ability to  get an  exception and                                                               
backslide.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:00:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON understood that this  is DEC's goal, but he                                                               
pointed out that  Amendment 3 only repeals the  science panel and                                                               
not the  exception granted under  Section 3, subsection (e).   He                                                               
asked for further clarification.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG explained that subsection (e) "is a self-                                                                   
executing  sunset  provision".     The  at-the-point-of-discharge                                                               
requirement must be met.   Relaxation from this standard can only                                                               
be   done  if   the  available   technologies  cannot   meet  the                                                               
requirement.  However, once the  technology is there, there is no                                                               
exception.  There is no date  included because it is unknown when                                                               
the  technology that  can  meet the  requirement  will be  there.                                                               
Once there is technology that achieves the at-the-point-of-                                                                     
discharge  requirement   for  all  parameters,  it   becomes  the                                                               
standard and there are no exceptions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:03:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  inquired  whether  Commissioner  Hartig                                                               
thinks the  2006 Alaska Cruise  Ship Initiative had an  impact on                                                               
the industry as far as effluent discharge.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG responded  that he has not  had discussion in                                                               
this regard with  the industry or anyone else, but  DEC is seeing                                                               
consistent improvement in the treatment.   However, he continued,                                                               
that  is not  unique  because this  improvement  happens in  most                                                               
industries as  technology advances  and standards  are tightened.                                                               
He said  he is  therefore unable to  say whether  the improvement                                                               
relates specifically to the initiative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:04:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KAWASAKI  offered   his  belief   that  previous                                                               
testimony  indicated the  advancements were  due in  part to  the                                                               
initiative's requirements.  He asked  what the incentive would be                                                               
for  the  cruise industry  to  keep  moving forward  in  pursuing                                                               
technology if the  standard is reduced by  allowing the exception                                                               
provided by Section 3, subsection (e).                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered that  there are  several technology                                                               
forcing measures in  the amendment.  The  department is satisfied                                                               
that these  measures will  be sufficient to  move this  along, he                                                               
said.   If they  are insufficient, DEC  will know  pretty quickly                                                               
given  the science  advisory panel,  public conferences,  and the                                                               
first report due to the legislature  in two years.  If technology                                                               
advances and is available for use  on cruise ships, DEC will know                                                               
and the public  will know, and the cruise companies  will have to                                                               
respond  to  that.    If  a company  drags  its  feet,  then  the                                                               
legislature or the courts will step in.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:06:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG,  in response  to Co-Chair  Neuman, clarified                                                               
that it is  not the constitution but the federal  Clean Water Act                                                               
and  Alaska  law that  require  DEC  to  review the  state  Water                                                               
Quality  Standards every  three years  to determine  whether they                                                               
adequately protect aquatic  life and other uses.   This review is                                                               
different than  the technology forcing  being talked  about here,                                                               
he explained,  but DEC does  look at the  technologies regularly,                                                               
as  does  EPA.    When  DEC writes  permits,  it  looks  at  what                                                               
technology can achieve.  For  any water quality permit it issues,                                                               
whether for cruise ships, a mine,  or oil and gas facilities, DEC                                                               
starts  with  at  the  point  of discharge.    If  the  point  of                                                               
discharge cannot be  achieved, then DEC looks  at what technology                                                               
can achieve.  Therefore, this is not unique.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  as to  how many  permits with  a                                                               
reduced mixing  zone standard  have been issued  to mines  by DEC                                                               
and that have not been re-permitted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN said  today's discussion is not  about mines, but                                                               
about HB 134 and cruise ships.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON responded that  the testimony was about how                                                               
business is  done, but agreed  to refrain from  further questions                                                               
related to mining.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN added  that this topic could  be discussed during                                                               
the  presentation  on  the  large mine  permit  process  that  is                                                               
scheduled next.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:08:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  asked   whether  onshore   treatment  of                                                               
effluent,  as would  be provided  under the  tabled Amendment  2,                                                               
would be economically  feasible, given there would  be no capital                                                               
outlay by the cruise ships for this type of treatment.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG answered that DEC  was mindful of Amendment 2                                                               
when  it was  looking at  Amendment  3.   Therefore, the  options                                                               
described  in   Amendment  3  were   left  broad  enough   to  be                                                               
interpreted as treatment on-shore, on-vessel, or a combination.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  whether Amendment  3 looks  at a                                                               
funding source or  would the ships be required  to capitalize the                                                               
treatment facility regardless  of whether it is  on-vessel or on-                                                               
shore.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  said  this  type of  information  would  be                                                               
included in  DEC's report to  the legislature.  The  report would                                                               
present the  option that DEC thinks  is best, as well  as discuss                                                               
the  pros and  cons of  the other  options that  were considered.                                                               
Thus, the  report would identify any  on-shore opportunities that                                                               
required legislative or economic incentive.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  whether  Commissioner Hartig  still                                                               
stands by  the following  statement made by  his department  in a                                                               
request  for an  adjudication on  the large  commercial passenger                                                               
vessel wastewater discharge general permit:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  staff   believes  that   there  may   be  existing                                                                    
     technology,  developing technology,  and other  actions                                                                    
     including   treatment  process,   source,  and   source                                                                    
     reductions  that could  potentially  and reasonably  be                                                                    
     applied to resolve the  cruise ship compliance problems                                                                    
     with long-term  effluent limits  set under  the general                                                                    
     permit.    However,  staff also  believes  that  it  is                                                                    
     equally reasonable to allow the  cruise ship lines more                                                                    
     time to explore and  obtain technology or other actions                                                                    
     by  extending the  stay through  December 31,  2009, as                                                                    
     long  as   the  cruise  industry's   efforts,  progress                                                                    
     reports,  and  answers  to   DEC  inquiries  reflect  a                                                                    
     genuine intent to pursue compliance solutions.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  said the aforementioned statement  is from a                                                               
report that came to him from  the department in the context of an                                                               
adjudication.    He  said  he  cannot  take  a  position  on  the                                                               
statement  because  he is  basically  sitting  separate from  the                                                               
department as the judge in  that adjudication.  He explained that                                                               
he  was asking  for  a  status report  as  to  whether he  should                                                               
proceed with that adjudication to  a decision or continue to stay                                                               
it as the  parties tried to work it out.   The statement reflects                                                               
the conclusions of the Division of  Water, which then came to him                                                               
as the adjudicator, he said.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:13:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON inquired  why Amendment  3 provides  for a                                                               
five year extension,  given that the position of DEC  staff is to                                                               
consider a one-year  extension as long as progress  is being made                                                               
toward compliance with the standards.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG reiterated  that the aforementioned statement                                                               
is  in a  status  report dealing  with the  issue  of whether  he                                                               
should continue  the stay  of that  adjudicatory appeal;  it does                                                               
not  go toward  staying permit  compliance and  it does  not have                                                               
anything to  do with  permit compliance.   The appellant  in that                                                               
matter was raising certain legal  questions regarding the general                                                               
permit that DEC  had issued, he explained.  The  stay was whether                                                               
DEC should stay  the consideration of those issues  raised by the                                                               
appellant,  pending resolution  of some  of those  issues through                                                               
this  legislation  or  some other  matter.    The  aforementioned                                                               
statement is a  response to the concern that was  raised by those                                                               
on the  other side  of the appeal  that staying  the adjudication                                                               
would slow  down the effort of  the cruise ship companies  to try                                                               
to come into compliance.  So, it is in a different context.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:15:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK offered  his thanks  for the  work that  was                                                               
done to address  the committee's concerns.  He noted  that he did                                                               
not  receive Amendment  3 until  11:00 today.   He  asked whether                                                               
Amendment  3 would  permit  ships individually  and,  if so,  how                                                               
often those permits would be reviewed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered that  right now  DEC has  a general                                                               
permit and any  vessel can ask to be authorized  for discharge by                                                               
the  general permit  or  an  individual permit.    If the  vessel                                                               
decides to be  authorized under the general permit,  then it must                                                               
meet all of those standards.   Regardless of this, DEC can decide                                                               
to issue  an individual permit  if it decides that  an individual                                                               
vessel is different  enough.  The department also  has the option                                                               
to issue  a general permit  but still require  special conditions                                                               
that are applicable to particular  vessels, such as defined steps                                                               
for the  compliance schedule.   He said he envisions  that within                                                               
the next  year DEC will  be issuing  a modified permit  and could                                                               
require special conditions for  particular vessels, if warranted,                                                               
or do individual permits.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  surmised  that  the general  permit  is  by                                                               
classification of ship and not by cruise line industry.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG replied correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK inquired  whether it  was DEC's  forecast at                                                               
the  time   the  deadline  was   previously  extended   from  the                                                               
initiative that the cruise industry would meet the standards.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  responded that when the  original permit was                                                               
extended he did  not know what the schedule would  be so he chose                                                               
the minimum possible.  He explained  that this was one of several                                                               
purposes for  the February 2009 technology  conference because he                                                               
knew that DEC would probably  need to extend that deadline again.                                                               
However, under DEC's existing  statutory and regulatory authority                                                               
a compliance  deadline can only  be extended  if there is  a plan                                                               
and a  schedule for getting  the permittee into compliance.   So,                                                               
DEC needed  to have a  handle on  whether there was  a technology                                                               
that would  get the cruise  ships there  and how long  that might                                                               
take so that the schedule could be lawfully extended.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:19:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked  whether Amendment 3 will  give DEC the                                                               
plan and schedule to do that.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  said DEC  will  look  at doing  a  modified                                                               
permit  within the  year.   In issuing  the modified  permit, DEC                                                               
would  consider   what  it  has   learned  from   the  technology                                                               
conference  and  what  it  has  learned  from  the  cruise  ships                                                               
existing  reports.     Under  the  current   general  permit,  he                                                               
explained,  the  cruise  ship companies  must  provide  DEC  with                                                               
source reduction evaluation reports  which identify pollutants on                                                               
the  vessels,  whether  the  ship   is  achieving  water  quality                                                               
criteria at  the point  of discharge, what  efforts the  ship has                                                               
made, and  what efforts  the ship  thinks it  can make  to reduce                                                               
pollutants  to  come into  compliance.    The cruise  ships  also                                                               
supply  DEC with  monthly monitoring  data as  to what  they have                                                               
been able to achieve.  He  noted that in the modified permit, DEC                                                               
would set  a minimum  standard for what  technology can  meet for                                                               
only  those parameters  that the  ships  are not  meeting at  the                                                               
point  of discharge.   This  would continue  to be  revisited and                                                               
included in modified permits.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:21:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK,  in  regard  to  the  [zero]  fiscal  note,                                                               
understood that DEC already has  revenues coming in that could be                                                               
used to meet the parameters of Amendment 3.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG deferred to Director Kent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
LYNN  TOMICH KENT,  Director, Division  of  Water, Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation,  explained  that DEC's  base  budget                                                               
contains a  certain amount of  funding to  fund a portion  of the                                                               
cruise   ship  program.     This   funding  was   established  by                                                               
legislative direction as  a per berth fee and the  funds are used                                                               
for annual cruise  ship registration.  When the  2006 cruise ship                                                               
initiative passed,  DEC said it  would transfer the work  that it                                                               
was doing  under the prior  rules for  cruise ships, and  how DEC                                                               
regulated  them, to  the permitting  process.   So,  in its  base                                                               
budget,  DEC  has  money  in  contractual  funds  to  enable  the                                                               
department to  conduct various  studies, such  as looking  at the                                                               
opacity from  vessels, testing any  new pollutants that  might be                                                               
identified,  or addressing  any  changes there  might  be in  the                                                               
potential for  discharges.   Over the past  year, DEC  used those                                                               
funds to  hire a  contractor to help  with the  technology review                                                               
conference and  to produce a  report on that conference,  as well                                                               
as  to  hire   a  contractor  to  review   the  source  reduction                                                               
evaluation  reports submitted  by the  cruise ships.   If  HB 134                                                               
passes,  DEC will  use  some  of those  funds  next  year to  get                                                               
started on  the next technology  review and the  science advisory                                                               
panel.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK   inquired  as  to  whether   the  standards                                                               
established by the initiative will be met by 2014.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  said that  is  difficult  to answer.    The                                                               
cruise ships  have come a long  way, and some of  the vendors and                                                               
academics  at  the  technology  conference  were  optimistic  for                                                               
ammonia  and a  little less  optimistic for  copper.   Things are                                                               
really close  on nickel and  zinc; an improvement in  copper will                                                               
also improve the  other metals.  He pointed  out that percentage-                                                               
wise  it may  sound larger,  but when  looking at  the difference                                                               
between what the Water Quality  Standard is and what is currently                                                               
being achieved,  the difference for  copper is measured  in parts                                                               
per billion, so it is very  close already.  Even if the standards                                                               
are not met by 2015, he said, it will be very, very close.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:25:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK asked  whether  some cruise  ships would  be                                                               
unable to get a permit should Amendment 3 become law.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered that some  ships may choose  not to                                                               
apply, but  based on current DEC  data there are no  cruise ships                                                               
that are  so far  off that  DEC would be  unable to  permit them.                                                               
Some  ships  may  have  different  compliance  requirements  than                                                               
others if DEC thinks more needs to  be done to reach a level that                                                               
technology can  achieve for  the handful  of parameters  that are                                                               
not currently meeting  the at-the-point-of-discharge requirement.                                                               
He anticipated that anyone wanting to  get a permit would get it,                                                               
but some may have more strings attached.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:27:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  inquired what gives  DEC the meat  to ensure                                                               
that any technology advancements are really implemented.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG urged  that  members not  look  at this  too                                                               
narrowly  because  the  treatment technologies  that  the  cruise                                                               
ships  would  employ are  not  unique  to  cruise ships.    These                                                               
technologies  are being  used  in  a lot  of  other contexts,  he                                                               
explained.   The pollutants  are not unique  and the  systems are                                                               
not unique.   People are already looking  at putting technologies                                                               
into  smaller packages  and making  them more  efficient, so  the                                                               
technology is  advancing outside  the cruise ship  world.   It is                                                               
just a  matter of when  developing technology can  be transferred                                                               
to a cruise ship.  There  are vendors interested in getting their                                                               
systems to  a point where  they can be  sold to cruise  ships, so                                                               
there  is pressure  moving  this  along.   All  DEC  is doing  is                                                               
shining  a  light so  that  the  vendors  and  ships know  it  is                                                               
important to keep advancing.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK asked how often  the permits will be reviewed                                                               
and re-permitted.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG replied that the  normal permit cycle is five                                                               
years, but DEC  has the discretion to issue a  modified permit at                                                               
any point in time if the  laws change or there is new technology.                                                               
Currently,  DEC is  on  a two  year  technology review  schedule,                                                               
having just  finished the February  2009 conference and  two more                                                               
conferences scheduled, each two years apart.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:29:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON asked  whether  the economically  feasible                                                               
standard is  built into other  permits for mixing zones  that are                                                               
under the Alaska Water Quality Standards.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  responded  that this  standard  appears  in                                                               
several  places,  such  as  DEC's  anti-degradation  policy  that                                                               
applies to all  discharges in the state.  When  the water quality                                                               
of the  receiving water is of  a higher quality than  is required                                                               
to  protect aquatic  life and  other  uses, the  anti-degradation                                                               
policy allows that water to  be degraded only if certain findings                                                               
are made  by the  department, and  one of  those is  a technology                                                               
requirement.  The  standard similarly comes up in  the context of                                                               
authorizing a mixing  zone.  In this regard, the  19 factors that                                                               
were  previously discussed  before  the committee  must meet  the                                                               
technology standards.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  commented that  in  terms  of having  the                                                               
expertise within DEC to measure  economically feasible, the realm                                                               
is very different in this context.   He said he supports the bill                                                               
sponsor coming  forward to work  with the committee to  reach the                                                               
middle  ground that  everyone  is interested  in  achieving.   He                                                               
urged  that someone  with expertise  in the  economic feasibility                                                               
standard be included on the science advisory panel.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  remarked that no  one is more skeptical  of the                                                               
various state departments than he.   However, there comes a point                                                               
where  a  department  can  be  micro-managed  to  death  and  the                                                               
committee is  almost at that point.   He said he  trusts that the                                                               
sponsor  will  work  to  solve the  problems  the  committee  has                                                               
regarding the  number of  people on  the science  advisory panel.                                                               
The bill  can go to the  House Rules Committee for  amendments so                                                               
that committee  work is not being  done on the floor.   He called                                                               
the vote on Amendment 3.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:33 p.m. to 2:39 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  specified that since  there has been a  call for                                                               
the amendment, a vote must be taken on the amendment.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON asked for  clarification as to what exactly                                                               
is being voted on.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN responded  that the vote is on  whether to accept                                                               
Amendment 3.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Neuman, Guttenberg,                                                               
Johnson, Tuck, Wilson,  and Olson voted in favor  of Amendment 3.                                                               
Representatives Edgmon,  Kawasaki, and  Seaton voted  against it.                                                               
Therefore, Amendment 3 was adopted by a vote of 6-3.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:40:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  noted that  in Amendment  3 the  three terms                                                               
"the most  effective, technologically and  economically feasible"                                                               
appear together on  page 2, line 9,  and on page 3,  line 14; but                                                               
not on  page 1, line 14.   To provide consistency,  he moved that                                                               
the committee  adopt [Conceptual] Amendment  4 to Amendment  3 as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 14, of Amendment 3, following "is"                                                                            
          Insert "the most effective,"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Thus, page 1, lines 13-15 of Amendment 3 would read as follows:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Environmental  Conservation, in  consultation with  its                                                                    
     science   advisory  panel   on  wastewater   treatment,                                                                    
     determines  that   compliance  with  those   limits  or                                                                    
     standards  is the  most effective,  technologically and                                                                    
     economically feasible."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI objected.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG objected and asked for clarification                                                                  
on whether "most effective" or "effective" would be inserted.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said "the most effective".                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON suggested adding a comma after effective.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN restated Conceptual Amendment 4 [see above].                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:43:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG withdrew his objection.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[Representative Kawasaki's objection was treated as withdrawn.]                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There being no further objection, Amendment 4 was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON asked for clarification that Representative                                                                    
Tuck's amendment is Amendment 4.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN responded yes.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  noted that he  thought the call of  the vote                                                               
was to put Amendment 3 on the  table, but instead the vote was to                                                               
pass  Amendment  3.    He  said  he  therefore  agrees  that  his                                                               
amendment would be Amendment 4.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:44:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved that the committee adopt Conceptual                                                                 
Amendment 5 to Amendment 3 as follows:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 7, of Amendment 3, following "section"                                                                        
          Insert "for no more than two years duration"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Thus, page 2, line 7, of Amendment 3, would read as follows:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
       stringent than those required under (b)(1) of this                                                                       
       section for no more than two years duration if the                                                                       
     department finds that a                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN noted that Amendment 3 replaces [CSHB 134(CRA)].                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:45:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON objected in order  to hear Commissioner Hartig's                                                               
opinion.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN requested  Commissioner  Hartig  to address  how                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 5 would impact DEC.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG said  DEC typically  issues water  discharge                                                               
permits  on  a five-year  basis,  unless  there  is a  change  in                                                               
circumstances, statutes,  or a big  change in technology.   These                                                               
permits take  a lot of time  and effort to put  together and they                                                               
go through an  extensive public process, he explained.   While he                                                               
understood there  is a high  degree of interest in  achieving the                                                               
at-the-point-of-discharge standard for all  pollutants as soon as                                                               
possible, he  said it would  be very difficult and  burdensome to                                                               
make  it less  than  a  five-year rotation  period.   In  further                                                               
response to Co-Chair Neuman, Commissioner  Hartig agreed that the                                                               
department already has the ability  to shorten the time period if                                                               
needed.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:47:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON understood  that  under  Amendment 3,  DEC                                                               
would already  be looking  at things every  two years,  given the                                                               
schedule of the future technology conferences.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG answered correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  maintained that  the  bill  does not  say                                                               
this.   He cited page  3, line 6,  of Amendment 3,  which states,                                                               
"hold one or more public conferences  or workshops".  It does not                                                               
say that  there will be two  conferences, he argued, and  it does                                                               
not say that  there will be one conference every  two years.  Nor                                                               
does  it  say  that  there   will  be  a  conference  before  the                                                               
preliminary permit and one before the  final report.  So, if that                                                               
is the desire, then there needs  to be an amendment.  Speaking to                                                               
Amendment 5,  he said  the committee has  heard that  progress is                                                               
being made,  that technology will have  to be used as  it becomes                                                               
available, and  that backsliding cannot  occur at the end  of the                                                               
permit  but  this backsliding  is  not  on  an ongoing  basis  in                                                               
between permit  cycles without  revoking the  permit.   Thus, the                                                               
logical thing is  to make sure there is a  mechanism that ensures                                                               
the two-year schedule rather than  leaving it on an ad-hoc basis.                                                               
The  permit does  not  provide  that it  can  be  revoked if  the                                                               
commissioner decides that better technology has come along.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  said Commissioner Hartig testified  that this is                                                               
provided by other statutes.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  surmised that  Amendment 3 does  mean that                                                               
these  things need  to be  done  because page  3, line  9 of  the                                                               
amendment   states,  "On   or  before   January   1,  2012,   the                                                               
commissioner,  in consultation  with the  panel, shall  provide a                                                               
preliminary report to the legislature that summarizes....".                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:50:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  when the  permits will  next be                                                               
renewed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  explained each individual permit  is renewed                                                               
every five  years, so all  of them do not  come up at  once every                                                               
five years.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  inquired  how many  permits  will  be                                                               
coming up in the next cycle that  would be affected by HB 134 and                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 5.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  responded that right  now all of  the cruise                                                               
ships  are discharging  under  one general  permit.   Ships  that                                                               
choose not  to discharge  under this one  general permit  go more                                                               
than  three miles  out to  discharge.   Although it  is just  one                                                               
permit  for  cruise ships,  DEC  administers  thousands of  other                                                               
water discharge  permits, he explained.   When DEC looks  at this                                                               
individual permit, it  looks at the permit in the  context of all                                                               
of the department's permits.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:52:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  pointed out that Amendment  5 would affect                                                               
the  special subsection  related to  cruise ships  that is  being                                                               
added  to AS  46.03.462.   Amendment 5  would be  for a  two-year                                                               
permit, he said,  and then if technology improves  there would be                                                               
a re-issuance  of the permit  to incorporate the  new technology.                                                               
Otherwise, under  the current five-year  cycle, the  permit would                                                               
have  to  be  revoked  to incorporate  the  new  technology  that                                                               
testimony has indicated is moving quickly.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG explained that while  two years is the number                                                               
used [in Amendment  3], it is still a guess  as to when treatment                                                               
might  be  available  to  bring   ammonia  to  at  the  point  of                                                               
discharge;  however,  he has  not  heard  that  for metals.    He                                                               
further explained  that two  years is  the guess  as to  when the                                                               
technology might  become available and  then it would  still have                                                               
to  be  implemented.    The  ships  already  have  schedules  and                                                               
implementation   means   bringing   them  into   dry   dock   for                                                               
modification.    Additionally,  a  modification  can  affect  the                                                               
vessel  in other  ways  due to  the  weight and  so  forth.   The                                                               
department thought this five year  period was realistic, he said.                                                               
Consideration was not  about what was convenient for  DEC and its                                                               
workload  and  what  is  fair to  other  permittees  waiting  for                                                               
permits, it was  about what DEC thought was feasible  in terms of                                                               
reviewing and vetting, and getting it implemented.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:54:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON understood  that AS  46.03.462 applies  to                                                               
cruise ship discharges at the point of discharge.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER HARTIG  answered correct, AS 46.03.462  applies just                                                               
to  cruise  ships  and  addresses  the  at-the-point-of-discharge                                                               
requirement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  maintained that AS 46.03.462  affects only                                                               
the one general permit for cruise  ships and not the thousands of                                                               
other water quality permits.   He said he therefore believes that                                                               
Amendment 5 is in line with  the testimony that has been received                                                               
about technological upgrades.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN offered  his belief  that DEC  already has  this                                                               
ability.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  HARTIG  replied  correct.   The  permit  issued  to                                                               
cruise  ships under  AS 46.03.462  has  a cross  reference to  AS                                                               
46.03.100, which  is DEC's general  permitting authority.   Under                                                               
this general  permitting authority,  DEC can modify  and re-issue                                                               
permits when it deems this to be appropriate.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Kawasaki, Edgmon,                                                               
Tuck, Seaton, Guttenberg, and Wilson  voted in favor of Amendment                                                               
5 to  Amendment 3.   Representatives  Olson, Neuman,  and Johnson                                                               
voted against it.  Therefore, Amendment  5 passed by a vote of 6-                                                               
3.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[CSHB 134(CRA), as amended, was held over.]                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
AK Large Mine Permit Process Presentation.pdf HRES 3/25/2009 1:00:00 PM
Governor Palin Ltr - 19 Mar 2009.pdf HRES 3/25/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134
HB 134 Amend 3.pdf HRES 3/25/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 134