Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2010 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> June 3, 2010

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 1st meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment was held on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> June 3, 2010, 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 Brandon Smith, Co-Chair; Representative Jim Gooch Jr., Co-Chair; Senators David E. Boswell, Ray S. Jones II, Katie Kratz Stine, Robert Stivers II, and Gary Tapp; Representatives Tim Couch, Stan Lee, Tim Moore, Don Pasley, Marie Rader, Kevin Sinnette, Fitz Steele, and Jim Stewart III.

 

Guests:† Tony Hatton and George Gilbert, Division of Waste Management; Sandy Gruzesky, Division of Water.

 

LRC Staff:† Tanya Monsanto, Biff Baker, Tom Middleton, and Kelly Blevins.

 

The committee had a quorum.† Rep. Gooch asked Mr. Tony Hatton, Director Division of Waste Management to present an update on solid waste issues in the Commonwealth.† Mr. Hatton discussed the PRIDE fund and its use in addressing historic landfills, open dumps, household hazardous waste and litter abatement programs. †He also discussed the adequacy of current landfills explaining that there is 271 cubic yards of air space which is sufficient for Kentuckyís disposal rates.† He also discussed the waste tire program and concerns with the future of permitting and enforcement activities within the division. †Mr. Hatton explained that there are 429 facilities under permit and new responsibilities imposed by the federal government and reduced general fund money may make the cabinet less efficient.

 

Mr. Hatton explained the PRIDE fund receives the environmental remediation fee which is statutorily set at $1.75 per ton of household waste disposed of in Kentucky landfills.† Kentucky receives approximately $6 million tons of waste and the fee is paid on both in-state and out-of-state waste.† The fund is statutorily apportioned into five categories: $2.5 million each is paid to historic landfills and to debt service; $5.5 million is paid out in household hazardous waste grants; and $750 thousand is paid out for administrative costs for the cabinet.† In discussing the historic landfill program, Mr. Hatton stated that there are 600 sites that qualify as historic landfills meaning these sites were unable to meet the 1992 federal standards governing solid waste disposal. †

 

In response to a question about in-state and out-of-state waste streams, Mr. Hatton stated that the fee is paid by the disposal site. The disposal site sets the fee, but interstate commerce questions may complicate charging a different fee for in-state and out-of-state waste.† Turning to a question on historic landfills, Mr. Hatton explained that the cost of remediating historic landfills appears very high on paper. The cabinet has paid out $39.5 million already and estimates are that the program is needed for 100 years.† However, the cabinet expects that many sites will not need further action and the outlays for clean-up will go down.† †††††††††

 

Continuing Mr. Hatton described the past process to deal with historic landfills and the adequacy of the environmental remediation fee.† Historic landfill clean ups are very important and allocation of the PRIDE fund could address funding inadequacies.† Two examples were given:† redistribute the environmental remediation fee funds giving priority on historic landfill clean-ups or increase the environmental remediation fee to have more money for cleanups and other solid waste programs.† Mr. Hatton discussed the pros and cons with each approach. †In response to two questions about county contributions towards litter abatement, Mr. Hatton stated that counties have less money overall and reduced outlays may have nothing to do with use of inmate labor. Continuing Mr. Hatton responded that with respect to historic landfills, cities and counties do have financial responsibility but the law precludes cabinet enforcement until all the historic landfills have been subject to remediation under the program.

 

Mr. Hatton then discussed the funding of the waste tire program explaining that reductions in the waste tire program is in response to prioritizing activities of the department.† Solid waste is a federally mandated program that receives no federal funding.†† The reduction in general fund money causes the cabinet to redistribute funding to essential mandated programs.† In response to several questions on the waste tire program, Mr. Hatton stated that tire amnesties go through a cabinet contract and the contract requires that the tires be processed for recycling purposes. The contractee may sell the tires to a chipper who will the grind them for recycling purposes.† The administrative costs for the waste tire program are at roughly 10 percent of total costs and reductions in the waste tire program have been in response to overall general fund cuts within the solid waste program itself. †

 

In response to a question about the adequacy of permitting fees, Mr. Hatton stated that permitting fees were set in 1990 in administrative regulation and there is a need to update those fees.† Raising the fee in regulation is expected to increase division revenues by $450,000.† Mr. Hatton stated that comparative data on tipping fees would be provided to the committee.† In response to another question about special wastes, Mr. Hatton stated that new federal legislation dealing with coal combustion wastes will be more stringent than current statute and will increase the cabinetís costs of permitting those sites.†† In response to a question about monitoring conductivity water standards at landfills, Mr. George Gilbert, Office of Waste Management stated that there is no specific standard for landfills but landfills need a discharge permit.† Mr. Hatton and Mr. Gilbert then identified the number of private, public and semi public landfills.

 

Rep. Gooch thanked the presenters and asked Ms. Sandy Gruzesky, Director for the Division of Water to discuss the 2010 May flooding event.† Ms. Gruzesky identified the Southern areas of the state as the hardest hit by the flooding, but also qualified that river basins in all areas of the state were affected by the unprecedented amount of rainfall.† When the Governor requested disaster assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared 61 counties a disaster for individual assistance and 72 counties for public assistance.† All counties were eligible for hazard mitigation grant program assistance.†

 

Most of the disaster aid came through loans administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Ms. Gruzesky stated.† Grants to governments were in the form of infrastructure assistance aimed at making repairs, debris removal and emergency protection.† Ms. Gruzesky identified several jurisdictional issues associated with high water events in Kentucky such as the effects of flooding on drinking water systems, wastewater systems, and dam failures.

 

Regarding drinking water systems and wastewater systems, the state had to issue boiled water advisories for 46 public drinking water systems.† There were 300,000 people affected by public water system problems.† Eighty-six wastewater systems had combined sewer overflows (CSOs) or sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).† Kentucky has a series of agreed orders to upgrade sewer systems across the Commonwealth, but the high water placed many systems completely under water.† Nineteen systems reported being flooded. Regarding dam failures, Kentucky experienced only one partial failure of an earthen dam.† Finally, Ms. Gruzesky discussed ways to reduce public risk from flooding such as FEMA mapping of floodplain areas, eligibility for and participation in the national flood insurance program, storm water runoff programs, the dam safety program which include state-owned dam repair, and a state program called Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (RISK MAP) that is designed to address gaps in flood hazard data and improve floodplain management.

 

There were no questions by legislative members.† The meeting adjourned.