Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2005 Interim


<MeetMDY1> July 13, 2005


The<MeetNo2> 2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was held on<Day> Wednesday,<MeetMDY2> July 13, 2005, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Jim Gooch Jr, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Tom Jensen, Co-Chair; Representatives Jim Gooch Jr, Co-Chair, and Thomas M McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Ernie Harris, Robert J (Bob) Leeper, Joey Pendleton, J Dorsey Ridley, Ernesto Scorsone, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W Adams, Adrian K Arnold, Dwight D Butler, James Carr, Mike Cherry, Hubert Collins, Tim Couch, Mike Denham, C B Embry Jr, Charlie Hoffman, Charles E Meade, Reginald K Meeks, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, Don R Pasley, Marie L Rader, Rick W Rand, Steven Rudy, Terry Shelton, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Susan Westrom.


Guests:  Secretary LaJuana Wilcher, Karen Wilson, Sean Alteri, Bob Bickner, Bruce Scott, and George Gilbert, Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet; Henry Curtis, John Kington, and Dan Maenza, Commerce Cabinet Parks; Commissioner Jon Gassett, Colonel David Casey, and Benjy Kinman, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Michael Auslander, Kentucky Department of Public Health; April Truitt, Primate Rescue Center; Pam Rogers, HSUS; Eric Blair, Louisville Metro Animal Control; Jared Carpenter, James Simmons, and Mark Owens, Sport Anglers; and Eric Gregory, East Kentucky Power.


LRC Staff:  Hank Marks, Biff Baker, Lowell Atchley, Carl Frazier, and Kelly Blevins.


Rep. Gooch asked for approval of the minutes from the June meeting, which were approved by voice vote.  Then, Rep. Denham gave a report of the Rural Issues Subcommittee.  He discussed the potential crisis of financing rural health care.  Then, Sen. Harris gave the report of the Natural Resources Subcommittee.  He discussed two working groups which are promoting coordination between the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet and the Cabinet for Public Health.  Then, Rep. Westrom gave the report of the Horse Farming Subcommittee.  She stated diseases affecting horses are devastating and the state must support the institutions that are involved in safeguarding the industry.  All three reports were approved by voice vote.


Then, Rep. Gooch stated the committee will not act on administrative regulations, and welcomed representatives from the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (DFWR).  He mentioned that representatives from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Corp) Louisville District Office had been invited to provide testimony. Rep. Gooch then read a letter of declination dated July 11, 2005 from the Corp addressed to the committee.


Next, Commissioner John Gassett discussed the development of a policy prohibiting fishing 150 feet from moored structures established by the Corp and enforced by DFWR  He explained why anglers desire to fish in marinas around the moored structures and the conflict between rights granted under common law and the Corp's policy.


Then Colonel Casey discussed the uneven application of the policy and how the application restricts access to coves that should be open to fishing.  Currently no citations have been issued for violations of the setback. Rep. Cherry asked about Illinois and Indiana bass contests.  Anglers come to the Kentucky tributaries to catch fish and then take them back to their home state.  Is there anything we can do to prevent their anglers from releasing our fish in their home state? Commissioner Gassett stated that small tournaments do not have the ability to use release boats and there is a system of reciprocity where we actually trade fish.


Rep. Collins asked for a definition of sport fishing and whether fishing on the bank is prohibited?  Commissioner Gassett stated sport fishing is any type of fishing for noncommercial methods.  If the person is fishing on the bank in proximity to a gas pump or utility line then it is prohibited, and the marina owner has the right to prohibit fishing around moored structures.


Rep. Gooch asked DFWR to be more specific about the setbacks. Commissioner Gassett said the setback is a 150 foot arc from a floating structure. Then, Rep. Gooch invited Mr. Jareed Carpenter, Mr. Richard Bowlin, and Mr. James Simmons to speak on behalf of the sport anglers. Mr. Carpenter discussed the growth of big tournaments in rural communities and its impact on the local economy. Prohibited fishing near the moored structure prevents anglers from accessing some of the best habitat for fish. Mr. Bowlin desired a change in the policy to prohibit fishing slips but not the banks behind the slips. Mr. Simmons stated that the policy has become restrictive, feared an extension of the policy, and desired uniformity in the application of the policy.  For example, campers and slip renters can fish, but those who buy a parking permit cannot fish.  This policy seems unfair.


Sen. Harris asked why the distance has to be 150 feet and are there places where it is different than 150 feet?  Mr. Bowlin stated that most apply the 150 foot distance, but the anglers desire it be shorter without casting toward the slip.


Rep. Meeks asked about the small structures that are extending the setback.  Mr. Bowlin stated the structures could be walkways or paths and are considered floating structures for the application of the fishing setback.


Rep. Gooch reiterated that the Corp does have enforcement jurisdiction, but the committee can file a concurrent resolution asking the Corp to revisit the policy. Sen. Harris described a situation involving the Corp that resulted in school closures and a problem with blue line streams in his district.


Rep. Gooch invited Mr. John Kington, Mr. Dan Manza, and Mr. Henry Curtis with the Parks Department to discuss the fee imposed on boat ramps. Mr. Kington discussed the development of a policy to impose boat launch fees and  plans for the revenues collected from those fees. Then, he discussed user fees, entrance fees and launch fees in surrounding states.


Mr. Kington explained the revenue would be used to maintain the ramps, make the facilities handicap accessible, and add additional facilities such as port a johns, security, clean-up, and parking lot expansion.  The program is new and Parks plans on removing the fees from certain lakes including those in Western Kentucky. There is no planned increases in launch fees for 2006.

Rep. Collins asked about fees in Tennessee?  Mr. Kington stated they have a park entrance fee but no ramp fee. Rep. McKee asked if revenue is going to be used to make improvements?  Mr. Kington replied the revenue will go to the general fund, but would like to earmark it for parks. 


Rep. Gooch stated there is no public input in this policy and should be since there is the imposition of fees.  There is no public awareness of how the funds will be used.  Mr. Henry stated that Parks is in the process of developing the policy, and after additional review and change, Parks would promulgate an administrative regulation.


Sen. Leeper asked if the annual fee is uniform across all the parks?  Mr. Kington replied it is the same across all the parks.  Rep. Butler asked how much revenue has been collected.  Mr. Kington replied that Parks has raised $226,000 since the end of June.


Rep. Westrom asked if Parks would consider charging an entrance fee on users from out of state?  Mr. Kington stated no. We don't want to discourage attendance. Sen. Jensen asked if Parks would work with the Corp to apply the fees to all facilities uniformly throughout Kentucky. He also asked for a justification for charging fees in Eastern Kentucky and not in Western Kentucky. Mr. Kincaid said that they would talk to the Corp, and that the removal of fees from Western Kentucky is still under consideration. Sen. Jensen added that fees are only charged on ramps paid for by Parks and should be imposed uniformly. 


Rep. Meade asked if the annual fee notice is on the slip or on the statement that you fill out at the box? Mr. Kington replied the fee is imposed on those using the ramps and facilities.  Parks gives public notice, but it is not on the envelope at the drop box.  Rep. Carr asked about parking.  A facility at Barkley lake has poor parking.  Will there be improved parking at this park or will the money go to the lodge or the marina? Mr. Kington replied that these areas need more parking space


Rep. Pasley asked when regulations would be forthcoming. Mr. Curtis stated they would be promulgated in a reasonable amount of time.


Rep. Gooch introduced Secretary Wilcher and Mr. Bruce Scott with the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC).  Rep. Gooch talked briefly about a situation in Hopkins County where human sludge was going to be transported to Hopkins County and deposited into pits.  The question was whether this human sludge is a special waste and would be exempt from permitting requirements to hold a public hearing.


Secretary Wilcher stated that as a matter of policy, the cabinet can require a public hearing.  Normal, registered, permit-by-rule does not require a public hearing. But as a matter of future policy, the cabinet would require a public hearing on special waste permits dealing with the treatment and storage of sewage sludge.


Then, Secretary Wilcher discussed the value of biosolids and the federal regulations for beneficial reuse. In Kentucky there is about 60% beneficial reuse currently. Then Mr. Bruce Scott discussed and differentiated the statutory requirements for solid and special wastes. The notice procedures for solid waste requires both public notice and a public determination.  Special wastes have lower standards for public notice.


Rep. Rand asked what is a land farm and what happens to the waste from pumped septic systems.  Mr. Scott replied a land farm is when you take sludge, process it, and then spread it across a pasture land.  Most of the sludge from septic goes to the landfill and of course some may be improperly disposed.

Rep. Gooch stated that he is in favor of beneficial reuse of sludge but partially or untreated human waste shouldn't be deemed a special waste. Secretary Wilcher replied that the sludge must meet a performance standards. 


Rep. Gooch legislation may be needed to differentiate human slugde to prevent permitting a waste that is untreated or doesn't meet the cabinet's performance standard. The committee then adjourned.