MINUTES OF THE

SENATE Committee on Natural Resources

Seventieth Session

May 10, 1999

 

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources was called to order by Chairman Dean A. Rhoads, at 3:00 p.m., on Monday, May 10, 1999, in Room 2144 of the Legislative Building, Carson City, Nevada. Exhibit A is the Agenda. Exhibit B is the Attendance Roster. All Exhibits are available and on file at the Research Library of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:

Senator Dean A. Rhoads, Chairman

Senator Lawrence E. Jacobsen, Vice Chairman

Senator Mike McGinness

Senator Mark A. James

Senator Bob Coffin

Senator Maggie Carlton

COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT:

Senator Raymond C. Shaffer (Excused)

GUEST LEGISLATORS PRESENT:

Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, Clark County Assembly District No. 42

STAFF MEMBERS PRESENT:

Fred Welden, Committee Policy Analyst

Scott Corbett, Committee Secretary

OTHERS PRESENT:

Verne Rosse, Deputy Administrator, Corrective Actions, Federal Facilities and Waste Management Programs, Division of Environmental Protection, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Scott Craige, Lobbyist, Chemical Specialty Manufacturing Association

Ray E. Bacon, Lobbyist, Nevada Manufacturers Association

Drennan A. Clark, Major General, The Adjutant General of Nevada, Office of the Military

Marvin Carr, State Fire Marshal, State Fire Marshal Division, Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety

Tom Stoneburner, Director, Northern Nevada Chapter, Alliance for Workerís Rights

Allen Biaggi, Administrator, Division of Environmental Protection, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Russ Fields, Lobbyist, Nevada Mining Association

Bob Schoser, Concerned Citizen

Doug Busselman, Lobbyist, Nevada Farm Bureau

 

Chairman Rhoads opened the hearing on Assembly Bill (A.B.) 173.

Assembly Bill 173: Makes various changes concerning regulation of hazardous waste. (BDR 40-434)

Verne Rosse, Deputy Administrator, Corrective Actions, Federal Facilities and Waste Management Programs, Division of Environmental Protection, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, spoke from prepared comments (Exhibit C), and stated that A.B. 173 amends the statutory list of regulated chemicals established in 1991 that will include additional chemicals, threshold levels, and technical corrections. Mr. Rosse added that only three additional facilities will be regulated due to this change, and these facilities relate to formaldehyde.

Senator McGinness asked for further explanation of the additional three facilities to be regulated. Mr. Rosse explained they would principally be embalmers.

Senator Jacobsen asked if the hazardous wastes in question are labeled. Mr. Rosse explained that all the referenced chemicals are on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) list, and added that household items would not be affected because of the large amounts needed for regulation.

Scott Craige, Lobbyist, Chemical Specialty Manufacturing Association, testified that the association he represents is attempting to remove household wastes from regulations that hazardous materials are under, as well as homemade products. Mr. Craige stated the suggested amendment, which would codify regulation into law, defines household waste as not being hazardous waste. Mr. Craige explained that section 1 defines materials and standards that would not deregulate, but adds a second tier of regulation for household waste. Mr. Craige also commented on section 5 of the bill, which would give the authority to the Division of Environmental Protection to regulate homemade products.

Senator James asked if the redefinition of household waste pertains to waste haulers, and what can they transport. Mr. Craige replied that it could affect businesses that haul waste that is not considered hazardous, but the people who oversee this process in Clark County have signed off the language. Senator James asked if this would impact Silver State Disposal, and Mr. Craige replied that it would not. Senator James stated that he would not vote on A.B. 173 because his firm is affiliated with Silver State Disposal.

Senator Carlton inquired if the language in section 5, relating to homemade products, would allow for the "mom and pop" operations to be regulated. Mr. Craige reiterated that section 5 is not mandated, but optional for the division to enforce, if problems arise.

Ray E. Bacon, Lobbyist, Nevada Manufacturers Association, spoke from prepared comments (Exhibit D) in support of A.B. 173.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.B. 173 and opened the hearing on A.B. 451.

Assembly Bill 451: Requires inspections of certain regulated facilities where certain explosives are manufactured, used, processed, handled, transported or stored to be conducted jointly by various state and local agencies. (BDR 40-777)

Drennan A. Clark, Major General, The Adjutant General of Nevada, Office of the Military, testified he served as the chairman of the Governorís commission on work place safety that looked into the deadly explosion at Sierra Chemical Company. General Clark stated that A.B. 451 is one of the bills that was introduced to adopt the recommendations of the commission to ensure regular inspections, and commented that mining operations are excluded.

Mr. Rosse suggested an amendment to A.B. 451 (Exhibit E).

Senator Jacobsen asked how dynamite storage and sales are conducted. Mr. Rosse replied that there are already provisions for storage and sales, and the measures coming out, because of the Sierra Chemical Company explosion, deal with the manufacture of dynamite.

Mr. Bacon commented that of all the bills being introduced because of the Sierra Chemical Company explosion he believes this is the most important. Mr. Bacon explained that this measure would result in a consolidated team from the state and local fire agencies that will administer one complete inspection instead of numerous ineffective inspections.

Chairman Rhoads asked if the fiscal note would remain the same after the amendment. Mr. Rosse replied that he did not recall putting a fiscal note on the bill. Chairman Rhoads stated that it looked like the fiscal note came from the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety and the State Fire Marshal.

Marvin Carr, State Fire Marshal, State Fire Marshal Division, Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety, testified that with the joint concept of the bill there will not be a fiscal impact. Chairman Rhoads asked if the fiscal note will be changed back to its original state. Mr. Carr reiterated that it will not have a fiscal impact.

Chairman Rhoads asked Mr. Bacon if he wanted the word "transported" deleted from the bill and replaced with "moved on site," and Mr. Bacon concurred.

Tom Stoneburner, Director, Northern Nevada Chapter, Alliance for Workerís Rights, testified in support of A.B. 451, and commented that this bill along with the others that came about because of the Sierra Chemical Company explosion, are a good step.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.B. 451 and opened the hearing on A.B. 535.

Assembly Bill 535: Expands and revises provisions governing regulation of facilities where highly hazardous substances are produced, used, stored or handled. (BDR 40-779)

General Clark testified that A.B. 535 is another bill that arose from a recommendation from the Governorís commission on workplace safety.

Mr. Bacon stated the Nevada Manufacturers Association is in support of A.B. 535 because it would place explosive facilities under the Chemical Accident Prevention Program (CAPP).

Senator McGinness asked how many facilities in the state this bill would affect. Mr. Bacon replied there would be only three facilities affected in Nevada. Senator McGinness queried if mining operations would have enough quantity on hand to be affected by this bill. Mr. Bacon replied that mining is specifically exempted from A.B. 535.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.B. 535 and opened the hearing on A.B. 536.

Assembly Bill 536: Requires certain permits to be obtained by facility or place of employment where highly hazardous substances or explosives are located. (BDR 40-781)

General Clark repeated that this is another bill that came out of the Governorís commission on workplace safety, and would require a permittee to comply with all of the requirements and regulations set forth by the Division of Industrial Relations.

Mr. Bacon spoke in support of A.B. 536, and commented this bill addresses the issue of having adequate safety zones between explosive facilities and other structures.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.B. 536 and opened the hearing on Assembly Joint Resolution (A.J.R.) 20.

Assembly Joint Resolution 20: Urges United States Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider certain recent regulatory actions regarding Toxics Release Inventory. (BDR R-1647)

Allen Biaggi, Administrator, Division of Environmental Protection, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, spoke from prepared comments in support of A.J.R. 20 (Exhibit F), and testified they support community right-to-know legislation.

Russ Fields, Lobbyist, Nevada Mining Association, spoke in support of A.J.R. 20, and stated the mining industry is working to complete its reporting requirements under Toxic Release Inventory.

Senator Carlton inquired what kinds of toxins are in the ore deposits. Mr. Fields replied the ore deposits, for example gold, when extracted are accompanied by elements including arsenic, bismuth and barium, which are naturally occurring.

Senator Jacobsen asked Mr. Fields what the most common hazardous or toxic elements are used in mining today. Mr. Fields responded that in the precious metals mining cyanide is the most common, and is only in permitted facilities with heavy regulation. Senator Jacobsen asked if there are any naturally hazardous products mined, like mercury. Mr. Fields answered that mercury is recovered and is a marketable mineral that is not released.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.J.R. 20 and opened the hearing on A.B. 179.

Assembly Bill 179: Prohibits sale or use of certain highly flammable hazardous materials. (BDR 40-1096)

Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, Clark County Assembly District No. 42, testified that Freon 12, an automotive refrigerant, has been banned in the United States since 1996 and some of the new refrigerants replacing Freon 12 are flammable. Assemblyman Mortenson pointed out that A.B. 179 does not ban any specific product, and only requires a refrigerant to be deemed safe by one of the following: Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, Underwriters Laboratory, or American Society for Testing Materials.

Chairman Rhoads inquired how these refrigerants are sold and regulated. Assemblyman Mortenson replied that as far as he knows legal refrigerants can be sold, and A.B. 179 is modeled after an Arizona bill (Exhibit G).

Assemblyman Mortenson related an experience he and his wife had when they stopped to help a motorist whose car had caught fire due to one of these refrigerants causing the fire. Mr. Mortenson submitted photos of the vehicle for inspection (Exhibit H).

Senator McGinness stated that he has an older vehicle that has been converted to this newer type of refrigerant, and it was quite an expensive endeavor. Assemblyman Mortenson commented that the new types of refrigerants are fine. Senator McGinness asked if A.B. 179 passed if it would require people to convert their older vehicles to this new type of refrigerant. Assemblyman Mortenson replied that A.B. 179 would only affect the flammable refrigerants now being sold.

Bob Schoser, Concerned Citizen, spoke in opposition to A.B. 179 and referred to a packet of information supporting his opinion (Exhibit I). Mr. Schoser used examples of household products as well as statistics, to show these refrigerants in question are safe and the fear of them causing a fire is not substantiated by scientific fact. Mr. Schoser clarified that if A.B. 179 is passed the residents of Nevada will be able to use only 134A refrigerants instead of any kind of hydrocarbon refrigerant. Mr. Schoser added that in the event of a refrigerant fire any refrigerant would emit toxic fumes causing death or serious injury. Mr. Schoser asked that a letter, included in Exhibit I, be added to the record from Ross Bradshaw, Manager, Esanty Refrigerants. Mr. Schoser expounded on his point, by saying the lubricating oil present in an automobile air-conditioning system could be vaporized and directly cause any refrigerant fire because of its lower flammability point.

Senator Coffin asked if there are any vehicles in Nevada, which are currently using the refrigerant that is in question of being flammable, and how many accidents have been recorded. Mr. Schoser replied there are approximately 75,000 vehicles in Nevada, and there have only been 4 confirmed fires, including all refrigerants, in the world since 1996.

Chairman Rhoads asked Mr. Schoser how he is related to this issue. Mr. Schoser replied that his wife was the President of Nevada Refrigerants that closed in 1998 because of this measure.

Assemblyman Mortenson reiterated that this bill is only for refrigerants that are flammable, and hydrocarbon refrigerants are a good thing, but should be used in appropriate circumstances.

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.B. 179 and opened the work session on A.B. 509.

Assembly Bill 509: Authorizes county to institute court action on behalf of landowner to require enforcement of federal law requiring removal of wild horses from private property. (BDR 20-1587)

SENATOR MCGINNESS MOVED TO DO PASS A.B. 509.

SENATOR JACOBSEN SECONDED THE MOTION.

THE MOTION CARRIED. (SENATORS COFFIN AND CARLTON VOTED NO. SENATOR SHAFFER WAS ABSENT FOR THE VOTE.)

*****

Chairman Rhoads opened the work session on A.J.R. 2.

Assembly Joint Resolution 2: Urges Congress to amend provisions of Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to require population of wild horses to be maintained at certain level. (BDR R-1018)

SENATOR JACOBSEN MOVED TO DO PASS A.J.R. 2.

SENATOR MCGINNESS SECONDED THE MOTION.

THE MOTION CARRIED. (SENATOR CARLTON VOTED NO. SENATOR SHAFFER WAS ABSENT FOR THE VOTE.)

*****

Chairman Rhoads opened the hearing on A.J.R. 21.

Assembly Joint Resolution 21: Urges United States Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider certain proposed regulations for animal feeding operations. (BDR R-1649)

Mr. Biaggi stated that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering newer stringent regulations regarding confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which include dairies, cattle lots, and hog and chicken operations. Mr. Biaggi explained that the EPA believes that CAFOs contribute significantly to surface water contamination, but Nevada does not have such problems, due to the arid climate. Mr. Biaggi outlined that A.J.R. 21 urges the EPA to reconsider the CAFO regulations and provide the states flexibility to each unique condition of said state, and added that Nevada has had its own regulations for 25 years. Mr. Biaggi noted that there are approximately nine operations currently in the state that need permits under the existing regulations, but would increase by four or more if these newer, more stringent regulations are mandated.

Senator Jacobsen asked if chicken farms have the same regulations as cattle. Mr. Biaggi answered that these initiatives are coming out of the East Coast because of outbreaks of disease and contamination of water.

Senator McGinness stated that a large dairy farm in Pahrump is concerned about this initiative because of the impact it will have on that business.

Senator James asked what the chances are that the EPA will even consider the request to look at the unique situations on the West Coast. Mr. Biaggi commented that it will be very difficult to have a federal agency back off, but this situation is still in the very early stages of proposal. Mr. Biaggi added that if a CAFO does not discharge anything in excess of a 20- or 25-year storm then a permit will not be required and the state can take over. Mr. Biaggi referred to the large dairy farm in Pahrump saying they had a discharge that entered California because of an unusually large storm.

Senator Coffin mentioned that he thought the discharge was around a 4-million gallon spill, and asked if anything has been contaminated. Mr. Biaggi replied that there has been no detection of any contamination of well water because the spill was dispersed over the desert.

Doug Busselman, Lobbyist, Nevada Farm Bureau, stated their concern is with the new stringent regulations being forced upon an animal-feeding operation, compared to a CAFO.

 

 

Chairman Rhoads closed the hearing on A.J.R. 21, and with no further business before the committee the meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

 

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:

 

 

Scott Corbett,

Committee Secretary

 

APPROVED BY:

 

 

Senator Dean A. Rhoads, Chairman

 

DATE:

 

A.B.173 Makes various changes concerning regulation of hazardous waste. (BDR 40-434)

A.B.451 Provides for inspections by various state and local agencies of certain regulated facilities where certain explosives are manufactured, used, processed, handled, moved on site or stored. (BDR 40-777)

A.B.535 Expands and revises provisions governing regulation of facilities where highly hazardous substances are produced, used, stored or handled. (BDR 40-779)

A.B.536 Requires certain permits to be obtained by facility or place of employment where highly hazardous substances or explosives are located. (BDR 40-781)

A.B.179 Prohibits sale or use of certain highly flammable hazardous materials. (BDR 40-1096)

A.J.R.20 Urges United States Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider certain recent regulatory actions regarding Toxics Release Inventory. (BDR R-1647)

A.J.R.21 Urges United States Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider certain proposed regulations for animal feeding operations. (BDR R-1649)

A.B.509 Authorizes county to institute court action on behalf of landowner to require enforcement of federal law requiring removal of wild horses from private property. (BDR 20-1587)

A.J.R.2 Urges Congress to amend provisions of Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to require population of wild horses to be maintained at certain level. (BDR R-1018)