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Minutes for SB152 - Committee on Agriculture

Short Title

Authorizing the secretary of health and environment to collect underground injection control program fees and redirecting water well license program fees.

Minutes Content for Mon, Mar 9, 2020

Chair Highland opened the hearing on SB152 at 3:30pm.

Kyle Hamilton, Assistant Revisor, Office of The Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview of SB152 and the statutes that it affects.  (Attachment 1)  Mr Hamilton also submitted information on the KDHE Well Classification as a reference for the fee structure  (Attachment 2)  There is a Fiscal Note for SB152.

PROPONENTS:

William Carr, Assistant Director, Bureau of Water, Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), appeared before the Committee in support of SB152.  (Attachment 3)    The motivation for SB152 is threefold: to provide adequate resources to meet growing needs and challenges in water resource management and pollution control; to stabilize the funding support for the associated programs in the Bureau of Water addressing those needs; and, to reduce the subsidization of several of these programs by the Underground Hydrocarbon Storage Fund. The water and wastewater certified operator program is required under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Kansas water and wastewater statutes. Successful and compliant operations of water and wastewater treatment systems requires a knowledgeable and responsible workforce. The certification program ensures the integrity of that workforce through routine training and testing. The program has historically been supported by State General Funds and Federal grants. Both revenue sources have declined over time. Fees, capped at $25, have not been raised since 1975.      

Mr Carr responded to questions from the Committee.

Michael Gillaspie, Director of Government Relations, ONEOK, appeared before the Committee in support of SB152.  (Attachment 4)   Currently, KDHE pays for the Underground Injection Control program from fees that ONEOK and several other companies pay to the Subsurface Hydrocarbon Storage (SUHS) Fund and other monies dedicated to the department division. ONEOK pays roughly $200,000 annually to KDHE to this fund, which consists of a per storage cavern fee as well as a substantial fee per facility. There are only a few underground storage companies in Kansas, and more than five times that number of Class I injection well companies. The purpose of this legislation from our perspective is to stop the subsidization of the Underground Injection Control from the SUHS fund and to ensure the longevity of the program and regulated operation of our facilities.      

Mr Gillaspie responded to questions from the Committee.

NEUTRALS:

Doug Mays, Kansas Rural Water Association, appeared before the Committee as a neutral of SB152.  (Attachment 5)   The Kansas Rural Water Association supports statutory changes that would allow increases to operator certification fees up to $125. Provided, that changes be made to the certification exam in order to distinguish between groundwater and surface water treatment, and that increases in such fees be gradual.     

Mr Mays stood for questions from the Committee.   

There were no opponents of SB152.

The hearing on SB152 was closed at 4:06pm.