SENATE COMMITTEE ON

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

 

March 12, 2003                                                                                                       Hearing Room B

8:30 a.m.                                                                                                                       Tapes 35 - 36

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:         Sen. Frank Shields, Chair

Sen. Roger Beyer, Vice-Chair

Sen. Tony Corcoran

Sen. Bill Fisher

 

STAFF PRESENT:                 Judith Callens, Committee Administrator

Patricia Nielsen, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURE/ISSUES HEARD:           SB 817 – Public Hearing

SB 671 – Public Hearing

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 35, A

005

Chair Shields

Calls meeting to order at 8:33 a.m.  Opens a public hearing on SB 817.

SB 817 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Judith Callens

Committee Administrator.  Presents overview of SB 817, which requires the Environmental Quality Commission to direct issuance of $10 million in general obligation bonds for pollution control. 

015

Chair Shields

Refers to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fact sheet regarding effluent from abandoned mines (EXHIBIT A).

030

Bob Danko

DEQ.  Testifies as neutral on SB 817.  Submits written material (EXHIBITS A, B).  Provides background on abandoned gold and mercury mines.  Agrees that cleanup of abandoned mines is a high priority.  Offers to work with proponents to resolve issues.

070

Sen. Corcoran

Raises concern over downgrading of Oregon’s bond rating and asks about impact on these bonds.

075

Danko

Defers to financial experts.

080

Keith Johnson

Manager, Cross-program Activities, DEQ.  Presents slide show demonstrating background and cleanup of abandoned mines in Oregon (EXHIBIT B).  Describes gold mining process and use of mercury in refining. 

240

Johnson

Continues and discusses specific cleanup activities in hard rock mines.

250

Chair Shields

Asks about effluent from gold mines.

255

Johnson

Explains it is acid mine drainage, which contains high concentrations of heavy metals.

270

Sen. Corcoran

Asks about chemical analysis of effluent.

275

Johnson

Confirms how analysis is done.  Continues discussing pollution of streams by mine effluent and mine tailing piles.

400

Johnson

Continues discussing copper and zinc mining process and acid mine drainage.

405

Sen. Fisher

Asks how aluminum is produced.

407

Johnson

Explains it is a naturally occurring element present in mine ore.

410

Sen. Corcoran

Comments further on aluminum production.

TAPE 36, A

005

Johnson

Continues discussing copper and zinc mine cleanup.  Describes funding of cleanup efforts.  Discusses agency coordination and cooperative work including community involvement.

070

Johnson

Summarizes and discusses cleanup costs if SB 817 passes.  Asks for opportunity to work with stakeholders to refine language.

095

Sen. Fisher

Asks how mercury becomes methylmercury.

100

Johnson

Explains biological process where mercury combines with algae to become the most toxic form of mercury.

105

Chair Shields

Asks about proposed amendment.

110

Danko

Explains proposed amendment to use money to clean up mines with heavy metal, as well as mercury and gold mines with mercury pollution.  Proposes changing reporting requirements and clarifying funding.

130

Sen. Fisher

Asks about effect of forest fires heating ground and vaporizing mercury.

160

Johnson

Agrees there could be an effect but defers to others for details.

175

Sen. Richard Devlin

District 19.  Appears and testifies in favor of SB 817.  Describes dedicated fund created to allow DEQ to clean up the hazardous materials left behind at abandoned mining sites.  Raises concerns:

·         Discusses fiscal impact of bill and suggests modifications to use other funds or federal funds if they become available

·         Minimize resources needed for the actual cleanup

255

Gary Lynch

Assistant Director, Mineland Reclamation Program, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).  Testifies as neutral on SB 817.  Offers agency assistance in the cleanup efforts.  Discusses chemistry of mercury pollution.  Points out the contributions of natural as well as man-made mercury sources.

290

Chair Shields

Asks about presence of mercury in soil.

295

Lynch

Describes “mercury halo” which surrounds a mine and which also contains high concentrations of mercury.  Recommends investing in the cleanup efforts.

320

Chair Shields

Clarifies the difficulty of determining sources of mercury pollution.

336

Lynch

Discusses what measures can be taken.

340

Matt Blevins

Oregon Environmental Council (OEC).  Testifies in support of SB 817.  Submits written material (EXHIBIT C).  Confirms there are no responsible parties to pay for the cleanup, so public funds will be needed.  Expresses willingness to participate in working out details.

TAPE 35, B

005

Chair Shields

Comments on issues raised by the presentation.  Closes public hearing on SB 817.  Opens public hearing on SB 671.

SB 671 – PUBLIC HEARING

010

Callens

Presents overview of SB 671, which requires State Department of Agriculture to develop separate type of pesticide applicator license and separate examinations, programs of instruction and educational courses for persons who trim trees and apply pesticides to tree stumps on behalf of utility.  Discusses -1 amendments dated 3-4-03 (EXHIBIT D).

025

Marc Anderson

IBEW Local 125, Portland; IBEW Local 659, Medford.  Testifies in support of SB 671 and -1 amendments.  Discusses large number of utility tree trimmers in Oregon.  Explains need for limited license for trimmers who need to treat stumps with herbicides.

070

Bill Stone

Northwest Line, Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).  Discusses qualifications of utility tree trimmers and need to provide specific certification for treating stumps after utility tree trimming.

100

Sen. Fisher

Expresses support and discusses need for narrow category of licensing.

135

Sen. Beyer

Asks about current licensing requirements.

140

Stone

Explains a right-of-way license is now required.  Describes requirements for activities the tree trimmers do not perform.  Agrees a few need the specific licensing.

165

Sen. Beyer

Asks if right-of-way is commercial or private applicator’s license.

167

Stone

Explains.

170

Sen. Beyer

Asks if some could have the commercial applicator’s license and the others not.

172

Stone

Discuss crew requirements and union decision to train and license everyone to avoid too much moving of personnel.

190

Marc Anderson

Discusses cost of doing business of utility tree trimming.  Points out the rest of the training is much more important, such as handling high-voltage lines and not studying pesticide use.

210

Lisa Hanson

Assistant Director, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA).  Testifies as neutral and submits written testimony (EXHIBIT E).  Discusses process of meeting with IBEW to discuss interest in creating category for stump-cut treatments.  Describes licensing test covering laws and safety, as well as specific application area.

260

Sen. Fisher

Asks if Tordon is a restricted-use pesticide.

265

Hanson

Describes one product.  Continues discussing activities allowed under various licenses.

300

Sen. Corcoran

Points out the proponents only want to treat cut stumps.

305

Hanson

Answers there could be other species in treatment areas.

310

Stone

Explains the trimmers only deal with vegetation which grows up into power lines.  Advises trimmers do treat other types of vegetation near power stations or on major rights of way, covered under right-of-way license.  Asks for more restrictive license.

330

Sen. Beyer

Asks about examination for right-of-way licensing.

335

Chris Kirby

Administrator, Pesticides Division, ODA.  Describes training available at community colleges and through the union.

350

Sen. Beyer

Asks about the different levels of testing.

355

Kirby

Clarifies requirements for private versus commercial applications.

370

Sen. Beyer

Asks about term of commercial applicator’s license.

375

Kirby

Advises the certification is five years for both private and commercial:

·         Private applicator license issued for five years

·         Commercial license issued annually

·         Both require recertification after five years, either through training sessions or re-examination

390

Sen. Beyer

Asks about public applicator license.

395

Kirby

Describes requirements.

TAPE 36, B

005

Sen. Beyer

Asks about main chemicals used.

010

Kirby

Explains there are many.

015

Stone

Responds they use Garlon 3, which is not a restricted-use pesticide.  Asserts continuing education requirements for re-licensing are not appropriate.  Asks for a more limited test so licensees can simply re- test.

030

Kirby

Discusses definition of pesticides and herbicides.

035

Sen. Beyer

Asks if they would want to use a restricted-use pesticide under a limited license.

040

Stone

Answers they would use whatever the licensing allows but would not want to use any restricted pesticides.

060

Sen. Fisher

Asks whether ODA could issue step-type licenses.

065

Kirby

Describes Oregon law requiring licensing, and three types of licenses available.

100

Sen. Fisher

Suggests considering the entire question of licensing instead of one small portion.

110

Terry Witt

Oregonians for Food and Shelter.  Testifies as neutral and suggests some ideas about compromise.  Raises concerns:

·         Dilute efforts of ODA in developing limited license

·         Certification allows purchase of restricted-use pesticides and this license could create confusion within dealer community

·         Enforcement concern with more types of licenses

·         Reciprocity with state of Washington is based on equivalency, and this would lower the standards in Oregon in one area

·         Allowing limited licenses is a policy issue, for the legislature to decide whether it wants to require ODA to accommodate

·         There is disparity between what homeowners can do and what licensed applicators can do.  Recommends not changing the commercial applicator’s license because of that.

225

Chair Shields

Asks about idea of step-type licensing.

245

Witt

Discusses potential changes to licensing structure.  Comments a work group might be useful.

295

Chair Shields

Asks whether he would participate in a work group.

300

Witt

Agrees.  Explains experience in Washington state.

330

Chair Shields

Suggests membership of work group.

340

Sen. Fisher

Asks about buying power of operators with different licensing now.

360

Witt

Advises the public applicators were restricted last session.

370

Kirby

Describes differences between public and commercial applicator licensing requirements.

410

Chair Shields

Summarizes.  Closes public hearing on SB 671.  Adjourns the meeting at 10:23 a.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – SB 817, DEQ fact sheet on mine cleanup, Bob Danko, 8 pp

B – SB 817, slide presentation, Keith Johnson, 8 pp

C – SB 817, written testimony, Matt Blevins, 2 pp

D – SB 671, -1 amendments (3-4-03), staff, 1 p

E – SB 671, written testimony, Lisa Hanson, 3 pp