Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/15/2010 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
04:16:01 PM Start
04:16:16 PM HJR49
04:26:26 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Rescheduled from 4/14/10 --
< RES Referral Waived>
Moved CSHJR 49(RES) Out of Committee
< RES Referral Waived>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HJR 49-OPPOSING EPA CLEAN AIR ACT REGULATIONS                                                                      
4:16:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  MCGUIRE announced  HJR 49  to be  up for  consideration                                                               
[CSHJR 49(RES) was before the committee].                                                                                       
ESTHER  CHA, Staff  to Senator  McGuire, said  that unfortunately                                                               
the sponsor of HJR 49,  Representative Stoltze, wasn't able to be                                                               
here to  introduce the bill;  so she  is doing it.  She explained                                                               
that HJR  49 is  a resolution  disapproving the  US Environmental                                                               
Protection Agencies' (EPA) intention to  use the Clean Air Act to                                                               
impose climate regulations. It urges  the US Congress to enact US                                                               
Senator  Lisa Murkowski's  SJR 26  that would  disapprove the  US                                                               
EPA's   rule   relating   to  the   endangerment   finding.   The                                                               
endangerment finding  is a  scientific study  based on  six green                                                               
house gas emissions;  the EPA is using it  to create economy-wide                                                               
command  and control  regulations  to force  reductions in  green                                                               
house gas  emissions that could  stifle the  economic development                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
She explained that while the EPA  set out to regulate only mobile                                                               
sources, the  Clean Air Act  will extend the  agencies' authority                                                               
to  regulate  all  green  house   gas  emissions  including  from                                                               
stationary  sources.  Many  believe  this   is  not  the  way  to                                                               
accomplish  this  regulation  and   that  it  should  be  through                                                               
congressional legislation rather than through bureaucracy.                                                                      
The  resolution also  states  that  the Clean  Air  Act does  not                                                               
account   for  Alaska's   unique   circumstances  including   its                                                               
population,  physical   size,  geographic  location   and  Arctic                                                               
climate.  The regulations  would  affect many  economic areas  of                                                               
Alaska  and would  include  any areas  that  produce green  house                                                               
gases  such  as  Alaska's refineries,  pipelines,  hospitals  and                                                               
other entities.  The sponsor  is worried that  many of  the major                                                               
economic  drivers of  the state  would be  impacted by  any green                                                               
house gas and environmental regulations imposed by the EPA.                                                                     
MS.  CHA  said  that  Senator Murkowski's  resolution  has  drawn                                                               
strong  support  and is  co-sponsored  by  40 of  her  colleagues                                                               
including three Democratic senators.                                                                                            
SENATOR FRENCH joined the committee.                                                                                            
4:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS asked why Congress doesn't pass something.                                                                      
MS.  CHA answered  that  the Congress  has not  had  the time  to                                                               
develop a policy.                                                                                                               
SENATOR MCGUIRE said Senator Murkowski's  broader concern is that                                                               
because the  climate change bills  that were being  considered by                                                               
the Senate  and the House  didn't pass,  EPA decided to  go ahead                                                               
and  use  its  regulatory  authority to  create,  essentially,  a                                                               
legislative  construct.  Some  people  have signed  on  with  the                                                               
belief that  the policies  themselves are a  bad idea;  some have                                                               
signed on  with the belief  that the federal government  is over-                                                               
reaching in terms of its regulatory authority.                                                                                  
SENATOR STEVENS  said HJR 49 makes  sense, but he wanted  to know                                                               
how it interacts with the  Governor's news release that the State                                                               
of Alaska filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit.                                                                           
4:21:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CHA  replied  that  she  had not  discussed  that  with  the                                                               
sponsor, but she  assumed it is his intent to  work together with                                                               
the Governor.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH asked if they know  what form the EPA's rules will                                                               
take. Have they been drafted so  they know what they are opposing                                                               
and supporting?                                                                                                                 
MS. CHA  replied that she  wasn't 100  percent sure of  that, but                                                               
she would find out.                                                                                                             
SENATOR FRENCH  said the reason  he asked is because  it occurred                                                               
to him that  it's possible that Alaska could get  a big boost out                                                               
of the  right climate change bill.  If the right rules  put tight                                                               
restrictions on  coal burning  and make  natural gas  a preferred                                                               
fuel that would suddenly put Alaska "in the catbird seat."                                                                      
SENATOR MCGUIRE  responded that the  broader point is  who should                                                               
be in the driver's seat on making climate change policy.                                                                        
4:23:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  said  he  hoped  all  of  them  would  be  very                                                               
concerned  if  for  some reason  the  legislature  couldn't  pass                                                               
something and the Department  of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                               
whose people are not elected would be in the driver's seat.                                                                     
SENATOR MCGUIRE agreed.                                                                                                         
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  stated there  is a case,  Massachusetts vs.                                                               
EPA,  in which  the  US  Supreme Court  ruled  that  the EPA  can                                                               
regulate  green  house  gases.  The  issue is  does  the  EPA  do                                                               
something  that the  federal  government has  not  done when  the                                                               
Supreme Court  said they have the  authority to do so?  This is a                                                               
policy decision and it is a good discussion to have.                                                                            
SENATOR  STEVENS  said  he  discovered  the  answer  to  his  own                                                               
question,  which is  that  the  Office of  the  Governor filed  a                                                               
motion  to  intervene in  the  lawsuit  and this  resolution  has                                                               
nothing to do with it. This resolution just urges Congress to                                                                   
enact its own legislation, and he supports that.                                                                                
4:26:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MCGUIRE found no further comments and closed public                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  moved  to  report   CS  for  HJR  49  from                                                               
committee with  individual recommendations and zero  fiscal note.                                                               
There being  no objection,  CSHJR 49(RES)  moved from  the Senate                                                               
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   

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