Legislature(2003 - 2004)
03/29/2004 03:30 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.