The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was held on Wednesday, October 10, 2001, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative James Gooch, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representatives James Gooch, Co-Chair, and Roger Thomas, Co-Chair; Senators Paul Herron Jr, Robert Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Joey Pendleton, Ernesto Scorsone, and Ed Worley; Representatives Royce Adams, Rocky Adkins, Adrian Arnold, Scott Brinkman, James Bruce, Dwight Butler, Mike Cherry, Phillip Childers, Hubert Collins, James Comer, Howard Cornett, Keith Hall, Charlie Hoffman, Thomas McKee, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, William Scott, Dottie Sims, Jim Stewart, Gary Tapp, Mark Treesh, Johnnie Turner, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, Robin L. Webb, and Brent Yonts.
Legislative Guest: Senator David Boswell.
Guests: Kathy Trent, Waste Management Inc.; Robert Lee, KY Chapter of the National Solid Waste Management Assoc.; John Steffen, Finance and Administration Cabinet; John Hornback, Division for Air Quality; Bruce Scott, Division of Water; Karyl Stewart, Tennessee Valley Authority; L.D. Cobb, Cobb & Assoc.; Randall Russell, KY Chapter of the National Solid Waste Management Assoc.; David Spainhoward, Big Rivers Electric Corp.; Joe Lancaster, Governor’s Office of Policy and Management; Richard Tanner, KY Magistrates and Commissioners Assoc.; Joe Ewalt, KY League of Cities; Chris Nolan, McBrayer/McGinnis/Leslie/Kirkland; Millie Ellis, Division of Air Quality; Joe Darguzas, EnviroPower; John Tate, EnviroPower; Jeff Harper, Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy; John Cooper, Waste Management Inc.; Tom FitzGerald, KY Resources Council; Tony Sholar; KY Chamber; and John McCarthy, McBrayer/McGinnis/Leslie/Kirkland.
LRC Staff: Dan Risch, Biff Baker, Tanya Monsanto, D. Todd Littlefield, Hank Marks, Rebecca Mullins, and Kelly Blevins.
Representative James Gooch, acting co-chair, asked for and received a motion and second to approve the minutes of the September 12, 2001 meeting. The motion passed.
Representative Gooch then recognized Mr. Frank Delzer the newly appointed Commissioner of the Department of Mines and Minerals. At the table with Mr. Delzer was Mr. Ron McCloud, Secretary of the Public Protection and Regulation Cabinet.
Mr. Delzer reported that the Department has begun to implement HB 258 from the 2001 Regular Session of the General Assembly. The bill set in place changes to improve coal mine safety by bringing about more vigorous prosecution of mine safety law violations. He said the Mine Safety Review Commission, created by HB 258, has been set up.
Mr. Delzer also reported that coal mine accidents have increased over the last year. There have been three fatalities and nineteen serious accidents. He said the Department was responding by increasing inspections.
Representative Hubert Collins asked if the Department had enough inspectors to increase safety inspections. Mr. Delzer said, “yes.”
Representative Keith Hall suggested Kentucky should enter into reciprocity agreements with West Virginia and Virginia in order that a miner licensed in one state can work in another state.
Next, Mr. John Steffen, Counsel for the Finance and Administration Cabinet and Mr. Jeff Mosely, Counsel for the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy explained the administrative regulations 200 KAR 35:020 and 10 KAR 4:020E. The regulations, identical except that the permanent regulation, 200 KAR 35:020, is under the authority of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, relate to a grant program to assist aquaculture operators. A motion was made and seconded to find that the regulations comply with KRS Chapter 13A. The motion passed.
Mr. Hank List, Mr. Bob Logan, and Mr. Bruce Scott of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet explained 401 KAR 5:074. The regulation governs concentrated animal feeding operations. Mr. List said the regulation was essentially the same as a regulation reviewed previously by the committee and found to not comply with statutes. A motion was made and seconded to pass over the regulation. The motion passed.
Chairperson James Gooch opened the next agenda topic on the state’s revision of the State Implementation Plan to control nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. Representative Gooch said that the state should sell the available NOx credits and use the money to reduce pollution. He also said that the method chosen to control NOx emissions and to give credits, which allow existing facilities to emit a set amount of NOx, will enable existing facilities to limit competition.
Mr. Hank List, the Deputy Secretary of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, responded. He said the method chosen to distribute a certain amount of NOx credits to existing facilities, rather than selling them, was in recognition that the existing facilities were built before the present NOx controls were available and it is fair to help them now that federal law requires controls on NOx. He said the General Assembly must decide if a different method of NOx control should be used.
Representative Brent Yonts said a question of fairness is also raised when a new facility wishes to locate in a region where an existing facility is given NOx credits but the new facility must buy credits. Representative Rocky Adkins observed that the present method of allocating NOx credits penalizes new facilities that would use technology that reduces harmful emissions.
Next, Mr. John Tate, and Joe Darguzas, representing EnviroPower, addressed the committee. EnviroPower has applied for permits for three coal fired power plants. A copy of their printed material is available with the meeting folder on file in the LRC library.
Mr. Darguzas pointed out that Illinois has directed that a study be undertaken to determine if a market for trading NOx credits is developing. Mr. Darguzas emphasized that the private marketplace composed of existing facilities and new facilities both bidding on NOx credits should determine who receives credits. He suggested that the state should be the seller of the credits.
Mr. Richard Tanner, Mr. Bob Arnold, and Mr. Joe Ewalt, representing the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association, the Kentucky Association of Counties, and the Kentucky League of Cities, respectfully, spoke to the committee about solid waste management from the perspective of local officials.
Mr. Arnold said the previous legislative session’s proposals for solid waste management place too great of a financial burden on local governments. He also said that in the future local officials intend to be more involved with drafting new proposals.
Mr. Tanner said that local officials would like to see a solid waste legislative proposal that included some form of non-mandatory garbage pick up, litter control mechanisms, support for recycling, addressing open dumps, and providing funding and a collaborative effort between all government and private parties.
Mr. Ewalt added that a key element to be addressed is the interplay between cities and counties and that cities should receive financial help to carry out their solid waste management responsibilities. Senator Paul Herron suggested that a fee paid on solid waste placed in a landfill could be a source of funding.
The next speakers on the solid waste management topic included Ms. Kathy Trent for Waste Management Inc., Mr. Bob Lee for Echotech, and Mr. Rick Brueggemann for Bavarian Waste Services.
Mr. Brueggemann, who operates a locally owned solid waste hauling company, strongly urged that no changes be adopted that would eliminate garbage pick up service areas open to any competitive service provider. Ms. Trent agreed with the positions taken by the local government representatives. Mr. Lee asked that small service companies like his own be allowed to participate in the process to revise the solid waste management laws.
Mr. Tom FitzGerald, the Director of the Kentucky Resources Council, Inc. then spoke about solid waste management. A printed copy of Mr. FitzGerald’s remarks are available with the meeting folder on file in the LRC library. Mr. FitzGerald said several significant solid waste issues must be addressed including: closing and monitoring old waste disposal sites; cleaning up roadside litter; funding environmental education in schools and conducting anti-litter and anti-waste campaigns; stimulating enforcement by local governments of anti-littering and anti-dumping laws; and encouraging consistent performance by counties in achieving mandated recycling, dump abatement, and safe disposal goals. As funding mechanisms to accomplish these goals, Mr. FitzGerald suggested an advanced disposal fee and low interest loans to local governments.
The last speaker was Mr. John-Mark Hack of the Agriculture Development Board. Because the meeting had run late his remarks were very brief. However, Senator Vernie McGaha suggested that the Board should set out in administrative regulations the process to be followed by applicants for funding and the policy and the procedure of the board.
Chairperson Gooch indicated that Executive Order 2001-1215 creating the Office of Financial Management in the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet had been referred to the committee.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 3:40 p.m.