Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/29/2004 03:30 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HB 524am-WASTE MANAGEMENT/DISPOSAL                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR   WAGONER  announced   HB  524  am   to  be   up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   ERNESTA  BALLARD,   Department  of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), said she introduced  this bill before, but it                                                               
had been amended.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR WAGONER asked her to explain the amendments.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER BALLARD said there  were three amendments. The first                                                               
one  had  to  do  with publications  guiding  the  department  in                                                               
noticing  action  for  public review.  The  department  suggested                                                               
streamlining  the   process,  but  a  House   amendment  restored                                                               
language  to   its  current  status,   which  provides   for  two                                                               
publications on the event of their noticing a permit.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I have  reviewed with the  Department of Law  right now                                                                    
     as  to  what  constitutes   a  publication  of  general                                                                    
     circulation,  but   it's  my  understanding   that  the                                                                    
     amended language  which came  down from the  House will                                                                    
     provide  the  department  with  the  flexibility  in  a                                                                    
     remote  community,   if  there  is  a   publication  of                                                                    
     circulation in that  community of specific interest....                                                                    
     If there  is no publication,  then we could use  a more                                                                    
     centralized one  such as the Anchorage  Daily News. So,                                                                    
     I  think that  we have  complete flexibility  with this                                                                    
     amended language.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   BALLARD  explained   that  the   second  amendment                                                               
conformed  her bill  to the  language  of another  bill that  was                                                               
going  through  Resources so  that  references  to the  financial                                                               
instruments, which  a permit applicant  could use to  verify that                                                               
they had the  financial wherewithal to carry out, in  the case of                                                               
Department   of  Natural   Resources  (DNR),   their  reclamation                                                               
responsibilities and, in the case  of Department of Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC), their  waste management responsibilities. The                                                               
same description  of financial  instruments would  be in  the two                                                               
bills.  "The  House,  in  its  zeal to  put  this  amendment  in,                                                               
actually put it in  an odd place and we need to  move it to where                                                               
it actually belongs."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The  third amendment  was  a  bit of  a  conforming amendment  in                                                               
another  House bill.  Language referring  to the  coalbed methane                                                               
exemption had already been removed  and that removal was repeated                                                               
in the  amendment on the  House floor. The Legislature,  over the                                                               
last several  years, has  put exemptions  into AS  46.03.100. The                                                               
exemptions  covered activities  such as  bilge pumping  and water                                                               
drilling.  One   of  those  exemptions   was  in  the   event  of                                                               
exploration  drilling for  coalbed  methane.  The department  has                                                               
other authorities,  particularly in  the waste  regulations, like                                                               
planning approval authority,  which it has been  using to address                                                               
those  waters.  The House  amended  AS  46.03.100 to  remove  any                                                               
reference to  coalbed methane  drilling and  this issue  has been                                                               
discussed widely with no objections to its removal.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIM  ELTON moved  to adopt HB  524 am  for consideration.                                                               
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON offered amendment 1  suggested by the department as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     On page 4, line 31, through page 5, line 1:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Delete  "after  a  financial review  under  regulations                                                                    
     adopted  by the  department; regulations  adopted under                                                                    
     this paragraph"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Insert ". Regulations adopted under this subsection"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 5, line 10, following "demonstration":                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Insert  "after  a  financial review  under  regulations                                                                    
     adopted by the department".                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He   related   that  he   had   discussed   the  amendment   with                                                               
Representative Heinze's staff who  explained that the House floor                                                               
amendment  was made  to  the wrong  part of  the  bill. So,  this                                                               
amendment that  deals with regulations for  financial review that                                                               
will be  adopted by the  department, is  moved from page  4, line                                                               
31, to  page 5, line  10. "The net effect  of this is  it doesn't                                                               
change the  intent of the  amendment; it just puts  the amendment                                                               
in the appropriate section."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEN  STEVENS  said  it looked  like  the  amendment  was                                                               
redundant.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TERRY THURBAN,  Assistant Attorney  General, explained  that                                                               
the   lawyer  who   drafted  the   amendment  chose   that  style                                                               
specifically to change "paragraph" to "subsection".                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The simple  answer is  that the  change would  have the                                                                    
     effect  of leaving  this language  in place:  'Proof of                                                                    
     financial responsibility  may be demonstrated  by self-                                                                    
     insurance,    insurance,    surety   bond,    corporate                                                                    
     guarantee, letter of credit,  certificate of deposit or                                                                    
     other  proof of  financial  responsibility approved  by                                                                    
     the  department   under  regulations  adopted   by  the                                                                    
     department.'                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS remarked  that he  didn't see  that language                                                               
anywhere.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THURBAN pointed  out that  the lead-in  sentence started  on                                                               
line  28  and  the  next sentence  would  pick  up:  "Regulations                                                               
adopted under  this subsection". This  is where the  first insert                                                               
is  needed. It  goes on  to  conform this  bill to  the DNR  mine                                                               
reclamation  bill so  that regulations  for corporate  guarantees                                                               
and  other  forms  of  financial  responsibility  would  have  to                                                               
prescribe  a financial  test. The  second part  of the  change on                                                               
page  5,  line 10,  is  simply  to  insert  a phrase  saying  the                                                               
department  will  have  to  do   a  financial  review  for  self-                                                               
insurance.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS pointed out that  the amendment didn't make sense                                                               
without a period in it.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THURBIN  pointed  out  a period  in  front  of  "Regulations                                                               
adopted under this subsection".                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS conceded.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  WAGONER noted that  there were no  further objections                                                               
to amendment 1  and it was adopted. He stated  that he would hold                                                               
the bill over until next Wednesday's meeting.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  asked Commissioner Ballard if  the amendments that                                                               
were  made on  the  House floor  and amendment  1  would have  an                                                               
impact on the fiscal note.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  BALLARD answered  that currently  HB 524  am has  a                                                               
zero fiscal note and there would be no changes to it.                                                                           

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