Legislature(2009 - 2010)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/15/2009 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Moved SCS CSHB 199(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 134(RES)                                                                                                
     "An  Act  relating  to  the   terms  and  conditions  of                                                                   
     commercial  passenger vessel  permits for the  discharge                                                                   
     of  graywater,  treated sewage,  and  other  wastewater;                                                                   
     establishing  a  science  advisory panel  on  wastewater                                                                   
     treatment  and effluent  quality  in  the Department  of                                                                   
     Environmental   Conservation;  and   providing  for   an                                                                   
     effective date."                                                                                                           
10:22:00 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Hoffman  MOVED  to ADOPT  work  draft  26-LS0570\D,                                                                   
Bullard,  4/14/09.  There  being  NO  OBJECTION,  it  was  so                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN  HARRIS, spoke about the  legislation and                                                                   
the  Committee  Substitute (CS).  He  explained  that the  CS                                                                   
eliminates   five   words.   He  revealed   that   the   last                                                                   
modification addresses  the quality of water  discharged from                                                                   
the  ships  into  Alaska  waters. He  informed  that  the  CS                                                                   
includes a six  year sunset and allows a scientific  panel to                                                                   
meet  every three  years in  a  six year  period rather  than                                                                   
every two.                                                                                                                      
10:24:17 AM                                                                                                                   
LARRY  HARTIG,  COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL                                                                   
CONSERVATION,  testified on  SCSCSHB 134  (FIN). He  informed                                                                   
that  the  goal  is to  maintain  Alaska's  clean  water.  He                                                                   
expressed appreciation  from the Department  of Environmental                                                                   
Conservation  (DEC) over  the  last few  weeks  to work  with                                                                   
Representative Harris  on the bill. With the  bill's passage,                                                                   
DEC will  be able  to protect  Alaska waters while  providing                                                                   
temporary relief  to the cruise ship industry.  One important                                                                   
decision requires  the cruise ships  to reduce the  amount of                                                                   
pollutants in  their waste before  they discharge it  so that                                                                   
they  meet  state water  quality  criteria  at the  point  of                                                                   
discharge or as soon as it leaves  the vessel. He mentioned a                                                                   
technology conference several  months ago sponsored by DEC to                                                                   
review the potential  technologies available to  treat cruise                                                                   
ship waste. He  explained that the conference  confirmed that                                                                   
technologies  are unavailable  at this  time to allow  cruise                                                                   
ships   to  consistently   meet   the  point   of   discharge                                                                   
requirement.  He  noted  that   the  quality  of  the  ship's                                                                   
effluent  is high  relative to  other  dischargers, but  they                                                                   
have  not  yet  achieved  the  goal  of  the  initiative.  He                                                                   
explained  that  the  legislation  allows  the  cruise  ships                                                                   
additional time (six years) to  achieve the goal with interim                                                                   
steps. The steps  include a science advisory  panel of eleven                                                                   
experts who  would work with DEC  to review the  records that                                                                   
the  cruise  ship   companies  present.  A  report   will  be                                                                   
presented to  the legislature following the  conferences. The                                                                   
six year sunset date will be readdressed  through the process                                                                   
to assess the necessary time span.                                                                                              
10:28:02 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Hartig  provided a  sectional analysis  of the  bill. The                                                                   
intent section  (Section 1) states the initiative  to achieve                                                                   
the at the point of discharge  requirements. Section 2 allows                                                                   
"the   waiver  provision"   from  the   point  of   discharge                                                                   
requirement   stating  that  cruise   ships  must   meet  the                                                                   
requirement except as provided  in Section E below the waiver                                                                   
provision.  Section 3  eliminates the  waiver provision  with                                                                   
the idea that Section 2 becomes  effective on passage of this                                                                   
act after  the six year sunset  allowing Section 3  to remove                                                                   
the waiver.                                                                                                                     
10:29:29 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Hartig revealed  that Section 4 describes  the waiver and                                                                   
how the  cruise ship companies  comply. The conditions  state                                                                   
that the  companies must employ  the treatment  measures that                                                                   
are technologically effective  and economically achievable in                                                                   
waste reduction.  The waiver  can only  be granted  for three                                                                   
years at a time. With the six  year sunset, DEC would issue a                                                                   
new permit in  the spring of 2010 followed  by the technology                                                                   
conference  to review  the information  from  the last  three                                                                   
10:33:21 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Hardig informed  that Section  5  addresses the  science                                                                   
advisory panel described  earlier. He shared a  story about a                                                                   
dilution study  assisted by a science panel.  Representatives                                                                   
from   various   interested  groups   comprise   the   panel,                                                                   
particularly  from  coastal  groups with  interest  in  water                                                                   
quality matters.                                                                                                                
Subsection B under Section 5 described  the reports presented                                                                   
to  the legislature  from  DEC with  input  from the  science                                                                   
panel.  The  reports  allow the  legislature  to  assess  the                                                                   
science panel's findings prior  to issuing the new three year                                                                   
permit.  He noted  the  final report  due  2015 allowing  the                                                                   
sunset  provision to  "kick in"  or to take  other action  if                                                                   
10:35:05 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Hartig noted that the sunset  provisions are contained in                                                                   
Section 7  and 8. Section  8 provides  that Sections 3  and 7                                                                   
take effect December 31, 2015.                                                                                                  
Senator Ellis MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1:                                                                                       
     Page 3, line 11                                                                                                            
        Insert after "using" "economically feasible"                                                                            
     Page 3, line 13                                                                                                            
          Delete "and economically feasible"                                                                                    
     Page 3, line 18                                                                                                            
       Insert after "use of" "economically feasible"                                                                            
     Page 3, lines 19-20                                                                                                        
          Delete "and economically feasible"                                                                                    
     Page 4, line 29                                                                                                            
          Insert after "additional" "economically feasible"                                                                     
     Page 4, lines 30-31                                                                                                        
          Delete "and economically feasible"                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion.                                                                        
Senator Ellis explained the amendment.  He clarified that the                                                                   
amendment does  technically comport  and is accurate  for the                                                                   
finance  CS.   This  amendment  makes  small   but  important                                                                   
language changes  to the bill. He explained  that the current                                                                   
language  requires  DEC to  impose  cruise ship  waste  water                                                                   
technologies  that  are both  technologically  effective  and                                                                   
economically feasible.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Stedman  WITHDREW  his OBJECTION.  There  being  NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Amendment 1 was ADOPTED.                                                                          
10:37:50 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator  Olson   asked  about  infective  particles   in  the                                                                   
discharge  such  as  living  viruses.  Representative  Harris                                                                   
asked for clarification of the  question. Senator Olson asked                                                                   
if  particles  such  as  living   viruses  and  bacteria  are                                                                   
neutralized.  His question  was  whether  these bacteria  and                                                                   
viruses are discharged into the water from the cruise ship.                                                                     
Mr. Hartig  stated that  when a  cruise ship company  applies                                                                   
for a permit, they must disclose  the content of their waste.                                                                   
The DEC  then reviews the  application and compares  the data                                                                   
with state  water quality  standards including provisions  to                                                                   
protect human  health. If some  portion of the data  does not                                                                   
meet  the  standard,  DEC  sets   a  permit  limit  or  other                                                                   
conditions  that  preclude or  limit  the discharge  of  that                                                                   
particular pollutant. A cruise  ship's permit includes a list                                                                   
of prohibitions.                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  asked about ballast  water. Mr.  Hartig stated                                                                   
that  ballast water  is not  addressed  in this  legislation,                                                                   
which only concerns water discharged from the ships.                                                                            
10:40:47 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman opened public testimony.                                                                                       
CHIP  THOMA,  PRESIDENT,  RESPONSIBLE   CRUISING  IN  ALASKA,                                                                   
testified in support of HB 134.  He maintained that discharge                                                                   
from the cruise ships is caustic.  He noted that the soap and                                                                   
other  products discharged  are  the reason  for the  caustic                                                                   
discharge.  He addressed  the six  year sunset  based on  the                                                                   
year 2009.  He compared  the difference  between the  federal                                                                   
standards  and the  sunset. He  announced  that Princess  and                                                                   
Holland America  cruise lines have serious problems  with the                                                                   
piping  on  board the  ships.  The  other cruise  ship  lines                                                                   
operating  in  Alaska  are  close  to  achieving  full  water                                                                   
quality  standards  as  defined  by  the  2010  limits.  Only                                                                   
Princess and Holland  America have refused to  exchange their                                                                   
pipes, which is the stem root  of the problem. He opined that                                                                   
the sunset could be shorter while remaining effective.                                                                          
10:44:23 AM                                                                                                                   
JOE  GELDOHOF,  LAW  OFFICE OF  J.W.  GELDHOF,  testified  in                                                                   
support of HB 134. He noted that  he was one of the principle                                                                   
authors  of  the  initiative  that became  law  in  2006.  He                                                                   
complimented the  compromises in this legislation.  He opined                                                                   
that   the    bill   was    acceptable   to   industry    and                                                                   
environmentalists alike.                                                                                                        
BRUCE BUSTAMANTE,  VICE PRESIDENT, PRINCESS  TOURS (testified                                                                   
via teleconference)  in support of  HB 134. He  commended the                                                                   
process  and the time  given to  work on  the issue  with the                                                                   
science  panel.  He  stated  that   the  point  of  discharge                                                                   
component is  unfair to the  cruise industry. He  stated that                                                                   
the allegations  regarding the  replacement of copper  piping                                                                   
are not  true. The allegations  result from accusations  that                                                                   
Princess Cruise Line has older  ships and he stated that this                                                                   
is  not true.  He  stated that  the  piping  on the  Princess                                                                   
cruise ships is comprised of stainless  steel and not copper.                                                                   
10:49:08 AM                                                                                                                   
JENNIFER   GIBBENS,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,   PRINCE   WILLIAM                                                                   
SOUNDKEEPER,  CORDOVA  (testified   via  teleconference),  in                                                                   
support  of  the  legislation.  She opined  that  the  sunset                                                                   
granted was generous. She encounters  many citizens concerned                                                                   
about the  clean water  issue. She stated  that she  can view                                                                   
the issue  from both  environmental and tourism  standpoints.                                                                   
She opined  that the  legislation was crafted  in a  fair and                                                                   
generous fashion including an important deadline.                                                                               
10:51:12 AM                                                                                                                   
SCSCSHB134  was  HEARD  and HELD  in  Committee  for  further                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
ACA backup.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
4 9 9 Supplemental.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 113
HB026 Background Materials.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 26
HB026 Sectional Analysis.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 26
HB026 Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 26
HB026 Testimony.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 26
Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
Governor's reponse to Harris 19 March 2009.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
Harris letter to governor 11 March 2009.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
Hearing Request and Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB134 Letters.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
HB 134 Amendment 1 SFC.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
SCS CSHB 134 (FIN) Version D.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134
SFC HB 199 Amendment 1 PA 1.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 199
SFC HB 199 Amendment 2 PA 3.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 199
SFC HB 199 Amendment 3 PA.2.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 199
Timeline by DEC.pdf SFIN 4/15/2009 9:00:00 AM
HB 134