And the seasonal high ground water table, an additional 2 feet on top of the debris. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So in places like the east where the water table's pretty high, you probably couldn't do this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That might be a question for DNR, but the rules are 2 feet. Whether it would go in a specific location would be up to the hydrology in that location. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll have that question answered when DNR speaks. Any other questions before the committee? Senator Ford. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The question that I have is what specifically in the legislation that would help ensure that the 400 sites that you just described in your area would not become ground fill sites. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll let DNR answer that when they do it. I would say this from a private sector point of view. We're recording a plan. We're on record, the people that demolished these buildings are on record as the property owner. They're recording a plan at the state and at the local level saying we buried something here. You'd have to be pretty mindless to go bury something were you recorded a plan saying you buried something if it didn't actually belong there, so I think historically in our community where we've had problems is not where people admitted they were dumping debris, it just got dumped. But I'll see if Secretary Gillespie is available to answer the questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Secretary, please identify yourself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Rich Gillespie, Assistant Secretary of DNR. Two questions I've heard, one is the question about the groundwater down east. In those cases there, if it could be done you would have the sides raised above higher so you would actually have a mound. If it could be done because the water table would have to be protected and so we've discussed that. When we were negotiating the bill we recognized that and it would be a case similar to that. On the case where the ground has contamination, if there was contamination it would be included as a brown fill site, however we do have a process in place in this bill where we will review that and those we don't think that that will be the case in this instance in this bill. The sponsor of the bill has, like he said, worked with us very closely since January on this. We went through many versions on this bill to make sure that the environment was protected and DNR feels comfortable in the way it's drafted and we fully support the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Ford. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. I did not see within the bill any type of bonding requirement. My concern is that I hear staff clearly, but when you have C and D landfills and you've got MSW landfills all across the state, they are monitored on a regular basis and that there are individuals that you can hold accountable. I'm familiar with the two industries that are looking to take advantage of this legislation. One of the things that makes me uncomfortable is a land owner who may become absent or who gets missing for whatever reason. At the end of the day, with all good intentions, sometimes bad things happen. What is going to be in place to ensure that either that municipality or the state's not going to be on the hook if in the event that one of these sites becomes a brown fill site and that a reclamation or cleanup takes place, is there any type of bonding that would be in place to ensure that some financial stability would be in place to deal with the future loss on these sites. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Ford, I think Secretary Gillespie has an answer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In response to that, currently inert debris, C and D landfills can be done now without the bonding. In this case here, we have very could be very minor traces of paint that could be maybe some other very residue, small amounts of chemicals could be in there so we don't by being able to go in early in the process and look at these facilities and test that, we will know up front whether or not it's inert debris or not and whether they'd be a danger so we don't feel like there would be a concern with that because currently you could do this now as long as it is inert debris and the only difference here in this is like I said because you might have some paint on some of the bricks, so it's not required now. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Last one. With landfills
… you have owners. This is their responsibility. This is what they do every day. You’re going to demo a site, and you’re going to bury the debris in place. And you’re going to walk away. I’m trying to get comfortable with who is going to be responsible, and I hear staff loud and clear, they are not anticipating anything happening, but the only way to know for sure is to monitor it on a regular basis with a criteria to ensure that nothing happens. Because I’m not worried about today, it’s tomorrow and the future that I think that I need to get comfortable with, that these sites will be properly monitored and taken care of. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Clodfelter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman at the appropriate time I was going to move for favorable report on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold that for one second. Senator Kinnaird. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. I have three questions. I’ll start with the earliest one. What do you do, do you dig a hole and then bulldoze this after it’s imploded. How do you, just mechanically how does this work? [SPEAKER CHANGES] A large number of these sites have existing basements or existing foundations that can be filled in around. They just collapse them inside the basement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ok. Thank you. I was going to ask about monitoring, which I wonder if that’s already been asked. What about historic reuse? Are there any potential? The latest trend now is take, of course, these big factories and turn them into housing and retail and office space. Are these really not historically important, and historic reuse would not be appropriate? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Most of these facilities, I’ll speak to my area. Most of these facilities were built by folks that were all about efficiency. These buildings were multi-story, they’re not in a location where anyone would want to live, have an office or go to a restaurant. If there is a significance and they’re in a location, that’s being done. That’s being done in my community right now. But most of these are just junk building that have no use and they’re completely unusable for any current use, residential, retail, anything else. There’s just no value. Which gets to the monitoring issue. We’re not monitoring now. We’ve not gotten to the point in this state where we require people to tear down buildings just because we can. They’re required to be secured. They’re required to not present a nuisance. We’re not debating whether these go to the landfill, we’re debating whether they stand upright as a blight on our community, or whether they disappear and become a greenfield. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, one final question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Maybe you can plant a little garden on top, with your two feet of dirt. But anyway, you said that you’ve been working with ?? and did you also meet with any environmentalists during this process? [SPEAKER CHANGES] We’ll I expected ?? to cover the environmentalist issue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Walters. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. In listening to the bill sponsored, I think it’s a great idea. It gives these communities and small towns the opportunity to clean up these landscapes, and we have to hear from ?? as well as he that this is going to be recorded and plats involved, where future land owners and future property owners will know these demolition sites are there. I think it’s just a great way to clean up our landscape and our small communities. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Craven. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I’d like to start with one question. Has anybody from ?? checked out the sites, along with you who want to dispose of them, to be sure that the two feet is enough and all of that, all of those considerations. Or if they’ve just done it in a lab sort of an environment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Secretary. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. On the two foot depth, on normal landfills four feet is required. We feel very comfortable with the two foot that we’ve put in here. You’ve got to realize these are extremely low risk sites. We would not spend one dime monitoring these sites because they are such a low priority and we have such higher demands elsewhere. So to us this is almost not an issue with us. But, have I been to Catawba County and seen the sites that Representative Wells is talking about? Yes.
You can drive through down town any time you want to or the surrounding areas and you can see it. Have I been to the Colt Fire power plants where these are? No, but I’ve seen pictures of them. I’ve not been on the site myself, personally, I’m sure our division director has been on many of these sites. To us, this is a very low priority, low risk issue, and we’ve done more than adequate enough protections in here to protect the environment, otherwise we would have had this solved in the first meeting we had with these stakeholders. It’s been months coming to where we are now. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, thank you. So we’re satisfied that we’re going to build a mini-landfill, but at less than the landfill requirements now, because we think it’s going to be an okay thing to do. Correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well again, in response to you on that, just remember, seeing the landfills, they’re currently all over the state now. We see this as very similar to that. These mini-landfills exist elsewhere. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just one last statement please - you haven’t convinced that me it’s safe, by your testimony and what you said. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Wayne [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have one quick question. After you demolish this and you cover it, can you not rebuild on it or can you not put a park on top of it? I mean, aren’t there other uses for it after you do this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure, there’d be other uses. How it handles on the site, they may be re-used, there may be a building on the ten acre site. The building only takes up ten acres, so you have the remaining eight acres. You wouldn’t want to put a building on top of any kind of field material that’s not compact with soil, but you could put a parking lot on it. You could absolutely put green space on it. I know of one that comes to mind that’s going to be green space along a major traffic artery. It’s going to be green space. Right now it’s an old boarded up mill. It will be green space. [speaker changes] The reason I’m bringing that up is because I think we’re thinking it’s going to be a landfill out there or a seedy place. This is just to improve the property, build something else on it, and make it more usable for your city, town, whatever – the way I understand it. [speaker changes] This is largely about aesthetics. How do we take what’s looking a ghost town and make it look like something? Open space, parks, new buildings would improve those aesthetics. [speaker changes] Senator Coffelter. [speaker changes] Mr. Chairman, I think representative Wells under-sells his bill. It’s about, as far as I’m concerned, more than aesthetics. It is about that, but it’s also about health and safety. I don’t know how many times you ride past an old, abandoned textile mill that’s literally falling down on the site. The owner right now may have no place to haul the materials to. It’s going to continue to sit there, rot, collapse, collect vermin, create a haven for rats and other undesirable health conditions, and maybe even a place for people to conduct illicit activities; drug dealing or other illegal activities. Cleaning these sites up is more than just aesthetics. I agree with representative Wells, it is that, but it’s also a health and safety issue as well. If the owner can’t find CND landfill space really accessible, or the cost of transporting it is too great, then the building is not only going to be an eye sore, it’s going to be a health and safety hazard too. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Coffelter had a motion for the meeting for a favorable report. Before I take that real quick, any comments from the audience, the public? Let’s get to the vote. Favorable report to house bill 706, all those in favor will say “aye”. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed, no. Ayes have it. Thank you. We’re going to continue to jump around the agenda a little bit. Next, Senator Raven has a bill in another committee. I believe right now senate bill 341, amend intervention transfer law. There’s a PCS. We have a motion from the committee. Senator Jackson moves for the PCS. All those in favor will say “aye”, all those opposed “no”. Ayes have it, two to nothing. Bill is before you, please continue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ladies and gentlemen, a few days ago we went over this bill. There were some questions that came up before the committee, this PCS address…
Those questions, and I will be happy to go over them. I believe at a glance there are four additions or changes on the PCS, and when I hit the pages, if I do, when I do, I will tell you. On page 12, there's one before that, by the way, but on page 12, line 8, section C, we have added updates requested by the certificate holder to a conservation plan, drought management plan, appliance and monitoring plan. That basically is something from the department, but a question arose and so we put that in. And then the, the biggest question and we spent most of our time talking about on this bill is on page 13, and this specifically addresses concerns that Senator Allran and Senator Hartsell and Clodfelter had, and that was about the Catawba River Basin et cetera. And this was put in and it follows the language from the attorney general concerning that issue and the court case. And on page 14, section 4B, this was, line 16 there was an addition there, which section one of this act shall expire if the cumulative volume of water transfers by public water system sharing a single intake. Those are the additions, I believe, to the original bill. Senator Barringer is here to assist me if you have further questions, and Mr. Jeff Hudson is here if you have technical questions concerning anything else, and so, mister Chairman, I will take those. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Questions. Questions from the committee. Senator Hartsell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister Chairman. I'm not sure, it's really sort of a clarification. The fix on the litigation between North and South Carolina I assume is page 13, lines 11-15. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I just, I've gotten this assurance from Mr. Hudson and otherwise, I just want to be absolutely certain that this fix will do absolutely nothing with regard not just to the Catawba, but the Yadkin, and other, and other bistate rivers as it relates to this particular litigation. I just want to be certain that it doesn't, it preserves that resolution. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Mr. Hudson, would you like to address that please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I, I don't think, I think this takes care of Senator Hartsell's concerns. We had looked at some other language that might have specifically referenced the Catawba River Basin, for instance. This language does not do this so, any, any river basin transfer, any river basin, even outside the Catawba that would be inconsistent with this agreement, the commission would not be allowed to grant such modification to a certificate. So I think it takes care of your concerns. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I assume that that resolution of my concern went all the way to China on the internal system here, is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? would say so. There to ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At the appropriate time, I'd like to move for a favorable response. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions for the committee? Anyone from the audience? We have one comment from Jeff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If, if the committee's ready for the motion, if I could also get a direction of staff to make a technical fix. Some of you may have noticed in what we sent out last night, there was still some highlighting left in the PCS. We just need to remove that, so just, if you would direct staff to make the technical fix, we'll do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] There will be a technical change to the bill. Senator Wade, move unfavorable to the original, favorable to the proposed committee substitute. All, all those in favor will say aye. Opposed no. Ayes have it. Thank you Senator Rabon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chairman.
Next Senate Bill 380, Senator Jackson the [??] Landfill Permit Fee Timing. There is a PCS, Senator Jackson moves for the PCS, all those in favor will say Aye, all those opposed no. Ayes’ have it, 1/nothing. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Members of the Committee, this Bill is a recommendation from the Environmental Review Commission that was hailed in the interim. This Bill will codify the cost for [??] sanitary landfill and transfer station design and operational phase permits for both 5 and 10 years. The duration of these landfill and transfer station permits was [ratified] in last year’s short session in Senate Bill 810, the Regulatory Reform Act was 2012. It basically directs the Commission for public health to amend the rules govern the duration of permits for sanitary landfills and transfer stations and the period in which those permits are received. Basically, they’re going to have an option for a 5 year permit or a 10 year permit and if they choose the 10 year permit, they’re going to have some cost savings involved with that but they will also have a review some around the 5 year period. This Bill will basically bring our state statue’s up to date. I’d be glad to entertain any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Question for the Committee? Senator Walters. Comments from the audience? Senator Walters moves unfavorable to the orginal, favorable to the proposed Committee substitute. All those in favor will say Aye, all those no. Ayes’ have it, thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you members. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Stay up there. Next on the agenda, Senate Bill 507, eliminate out dated environmental reports. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is a Bill that basically does exactly what is says. There is a lot of report . . . [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hold on a second Senator Jackson. What I think you’re trying to say is, you move to propose committee substitute, all those in favor for proposed committee substitute will say Aye, all those opposed no. Ayes’ have it, you may continue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, I didn’t realize you were a mind reader. Very good, this bill actually does exactly what is says it does, it eliminates outdated environmental reports. If you would look on your Bill summary you will see a tremendous list of reports, they’re obsolete and unneeded at this point in time. [Deener] has asked me to run this Bill and Secretary Escobara is in the process of making [Deener] more customer friendly as he was directed by the Governor, more efficient and better organized and in doing so the directors of all agencies throughout [Deener] were tasked with finding reports that are wasted tax payer money and/or department time. A lot of these do both, like I said your Bill summar has the report and I will be glad to answer any questions on these reports. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any questions form the Committee? Senator Kinnaird. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What is title 5? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Title 5. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, on page 131, line 31. I just don’t know what it is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is a good question Senator Kinnaird. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I mean, I’m happy with the Bill, I just don’t what that is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It’s a reference to the Title 5 of the Federal Clean Air Act, so it’s a reference to air quality law. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But it pertains to the report that has to be filed and is no longer needed and unnecessary. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions for the Committee? Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Move for favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We’ll hold on for just a second. Any comments from the audience? I see none. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Wade moves unfavorable to the original and favorable to the proposed committee substitute. All those in favor will say Aye, all those [??]. The Ayes’ have it. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Now we have Senate Bill 412 for Senator Hartsell Water Infrastructure Authority Water Grants. We’re going just for discussion only today, hopefully we gave enough time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. First, let me simply say thanks to the Chair for at least placing this on for discussion, which is more than I accrued 2 years ago when I filed the original identical Bill. The Bill itself . . . I genuinely appreciate that, I was serious about that. I would say also this Bill has absolutely nothing to do with the [Atkin] River or [Alcoa], yet.
Now, the bill itself actually arose from a review of our financing and implementation of water and infrastructure-related grants, water and sewer grants, an undertaking that was done by a program evaluation division, and we have members from the program evaluation division here to take care of that, perhaps to answer some other questions and give some explanation. The review that was undertaken and the result of that review were published in a report by PED, the subject of which was and actually the conclusion of which was North Carolina's water and waste water infrastructure funding lacked strategic focus and coordination, and there were very specific recommendations made to take a look at various programs both for the financing and grant programs, long programs, all those kinds of things associated with water and waste water infrastructure in North Carolina. If you look at the report itself, you will have- and these are available downstairs in the program evaluation division and I would commend it to you. We find that there are a tremendous number of locations, both state, federal, and in some cases, local, where financing or funding is available, sometimes by grant, sometimes by loans, for infrastructure- water or waste water infrastructure programs. What we also find that at the time that this was undertaken, some of this has been corrected in the ?? and I will acknowledge that, that there were varying applications. In fact, for each of these various programs, there was an inconsistency in those applications and there was little coordination in terms of where the funding was going for the needs and the priorities associated with the projects. What the bill does is make an effort, utilizing existing, in a sense, programs or entities, to try to put this together in one place. Now I don't mean to look at the grants or loans that might be made but the feasibility of the projects associated with them both independently and together. There is a function that the local government commission would have in at least reviewing some of these so that you got the infrastructure side and the financing side looking at these things in some degree of combination. Without- the program evaluation study suggested three things. That we actually had in 2005, we established a state water infrastructure committee that was to put together some of this, but it hasn't been functioning a great deal, which is not terribly uncommon. They have made some efforts and have done some work since this bill and the study and the finding was made. We're trying to get a little more effort in putting all this together, and that's what the bill is about, to try to coordinate and use our finding and strategically place it in such a way that we can take care of the projects and frankly reduce the overheads associated with the various programs. What program evaluation recommended was to direct the state infrastructure committee to develop a state-wide strategic plan. It needs assessment for water and waste water infrastructure. We did not have such a plan before, we still do not have such a plan. Since 1999 we have spent better than a billion dollars on various and sundry aspects of these various programs. Not to say that the grants and things made weren't good for various specific situations; many of them were. The vast majority of them were, but there's a performance issue associated with trying to put all these things together. We were trying to- they also recommended better oversight of water and waste water funding by this commission or by the authority, something was established, and suggested using loan programs more than grant programs whenever possible for them. We have a revolving loan, we have other kinds of things. One of the things that took place in, for instance, 1988- excuse me, 2008, a lot of money came down from the feds for certain types of program-
Problem is it doesn't do you a whole lot of good to have some of those programs and have those, those grants and other things available if you can't get it on the ground and get some things done. What we're trying to do is to create a situation where we have an entity that has oversight of all of these programs and grants and loans, focusing more on loans so that the folks to receive things have a little more of little more skin in the game quite honestly. We also need to recognize that there are something like 200-plus water entities in the state to provide water, not quite as many that will do sewer, but we probably have too many, and so there is at least some prospect for creating some degree of regionalization with this specific legislation. Mr. Chairman, I'll be glad to go through the specifics. I know that there are some folks who -- I frankly opposed this before because they said they would try to do better, and frankly I think they did do better. But I still think that there needs to be in existence some entity. And what this does is create the authority which would be housed technically in ??, but would have the financial resource working with the local government commission to look at how some of these things are done and create consistent applications across the board, actually simplifies that process in a very significant way because right now we provide a whole lot of work for engineers who have to look at -- to modify the differing kinds of applications in doing these kinds of things, where we have a single program we can actually probably reduce some of that cost associated with it as well. Mr. Chairman, I -- we have Larry from the program evaluation of ?? is here who may be able to address those specific questions. I'll be glad to answer any of those, and I would recommend this study to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So we're gonna do a pop quiz right quick, make sure that everybody read the PED study. I'll ask the members questions, make it more entertaining. We have questions from the committee? Any questions currently? Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell, could you give us an example of how this would work of a municipality or someone ?? the water system and they want to extend something or they're having a problem? How do you foresee this working? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, when they want to -- they can do their own regardless. We're trying to create in effect what is a clearinghouse for these applications for looking into the funds in a single way, a single site in the state so that we can address in a fairly simple way. If they think that they qualify or their going to do something else, I mean, that's useful in terms of delivery of the system in they're area or perhaps coordinating with an adjacent area, which is frankly something that we really need to do particularly in Piedmont, North Carolina. That they have a single source, they can go there, they can make an application there, and it's into -- and we have all sorts of funding preferably on loans, but it could be some grants and very specific situations. We have a lot of situations in North Carolina where without identifying a particular location, we have problems that have developed in terms of frankly adjacent municipalities. Everybody thinks they can do it best themselves. In fact, in the long run, they spend a lot of money on developing, for instance, a water treatment plant, but they don't have enough water to come into the plant to actually treat the quantity of water they're projecting. But they could perhaps go to an adjacent just to get a line to an adjacent municipality, draw the water, and have the water they need, not have more than they need, spend the funds in another way. We actually have somebody with some expertise in the state to kind of look at those kinds of things. That's what it's designed to do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Followup? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell, are you -- I think I'm reading that there would be some problems with -- you're trying to get it towards regionalism and save some money or better equip the cities, towns, and you might have some people that are more in keeping their own water system and they don't want to reach out to other cities and towns that might need it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think that's a fair statement; I think that's a fair statement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions from committee? Any questions or comments from the audience? Senator Kinnaird. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just
Wanna say that Senator Hartsell's been working on this for years, and I'm glad that we're finally gonna be successful, and I wanna more for favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just for discussion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just for discussion today. Secretary ???. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members of the committee, this bill appears to be almost identical to the one that was introduced in 2011, and like Senator Hartsell says, a lot of things that have been done since then that have made this process improved. ??? would have to speak against this bill as it's currently drafted, and be opposed to it for several reasons.. actually, lots of reasons. I have many detailed and specific reasons, but I just want to address a couple of highlights of the way it's currently drafted. The main thing that we'd have concerns about is on our drinking water state revolving fund, where the state puts up 20% of to match and draws down federal funds. Currently, in the governor's budget this year, we're drawing down about $49 million, and we feel if this bill passed, we'd be in violation of the EPA regulations as far as how this bill would allocate the money that's provided by federal folks, and it would be inconsistent with the guidelines, so we feel like we would lose that $49 million that would be coming to us. That, and also there's the state water infrastructure council has certain duties that they do, and in this bill as it's drafted, it would give them the task of doing certain things, but it eliminates their statutory authority to do that, so that's sort of inconsistent. And then also we would question the way that it would be perceived, as far as a top-down approach to funding infrastructure in the state, and that there's nothing in this bill that prioritizes how funding would be done, and I feel like that the cities and the counties would have grave concerns with it, also, because of the grants and loans that are provided to them. And then, over in ???, I don't know how many of you have seen our new missions statement, but we feel strongly about that, and one of the key points in that mission statement is a cost-benefit analysis on anything, and this bill violates that because it doesn't have that cost-benefit analysis, and doesn't analyze whether or not you're creating or solving a problem that exists. So, those, and like I said, the many other, very detailed concerns that we have is why we oppose it, but other than that, we would support it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let.. yes, Senator Hartsell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think I'm gonna have to put something in about ALCOA.. cause that can take care of a lot of the funding issues, but let me.. with regard to the $49 million we're talking about, it seems to me it's a fairly simple task to modify some language to fit something to make that work. With regard to the other issues, I am fully, I am confident the 200 plus units who have independent programs would not like something that we're not, it makes them do something that they might not otherwise want to do, because everybody thinks they can do it themselves and, in fact, in many cases, they cannot. The other thing I would say is this: it is absolutely imperative that we look in these days, this is not designed to be a top-down approach, it's designed as a way to--you know, kind of clear that up, we're more than willing to try do that--, it's designed to create what is in fact an integrated approach. It takes a look at priorities associated with, we have a fixed amount of funding, it can come from any number of sources. That's likely to be the case in the future. We need to have that funding coordinated in such a way that we get the most bang for our buck, and that's what this is designed to do, so that we can take care of that in a realistic way and not, as they saw, pick winners and losers in situations where folks might be losers to begin with, become winners in the short-term, but we don't have the improvements associated with the infrastructure that we actually ultimately need. We designed to try to create an integrated approach to look at these kind of financing needs. I would suggest to this committee it is incumbent upon us to look at these kind of situations as we move forward in the economic environment that we have, because we have
In many cases, in many cities and towns in public infrastructure right now, systems that are in fact 100 years old, particularly sewer systems, where you have infiltration and infill that costs everybody, including the environment and people, an awful lot of money. And those systems were originally designed for 40 year lives. I mean that's true for water, too. And we've got to look at the potential for upgrading it and it's gonna have to be done in terms of, in a strategic way, to try to address that as we go forward. Anything that would do that with DENR, with PED, with anybody, is something that we need to address sooner rather than later. Because otherwise, we're going to have many failures and we want to strategically be able to take care of ourselves in that time. [speaker change] Senator Raymond. [speaker change] Thank you. Senator Hartsell, can you describe real quick how implementation of this bill would affect DENR and what they do in their charter, or can DENR respond, also? [speaker change] I don't know that, I think Secretary Gillespie has addressed one aspect of this, and I've tried to address another. There's no reason we can't marry the two in some reasonable fashion. I'm not, I don't know that it necessarily affects DENR. I don't know that it doesn't. It does look into that there's a factor that we rarely ever look into here, and that's and I look at this, let me explain something. In my other life, which I had once upon a time, as an attorney, I happened to represent a water and sewer authority, locally. It's a regional system primarily ??. We have done all sorts of things to try to reduce the costs associated with the infrastructure and have made it pretty dog gone successful looking at an integrated fashion. We have this tendency to try to preserve things as they are and continue to do the same thing the same way. We've got to look at the way we fund things in a way that we can strategically say that we are improving not just the infrastructure, but the quality and lives of the public as a whole. Now, how would it affect DENR? We all know, and this is no reflection, this is true throughout state governments through local government, everything else. We have a tremendous number of silos. Those silos have built up over the years and folks want to continue to do the same thing the same way. Which is the definition of insanity. It won't work. And we're just trying, there is probably a good range here that we can address that we need to look into. It will take some time to do that, but the time to look at it is now and it's not just to continue punting the ball. And I frankly think that's what Secretary Gillespie said, too. He said the have problems with certain things. That's not to say we can work those things out, but by the same token, if we don't make some effort to do it, we're going to continue to get ourselves deeper and deeper in the hole. [speaker change] Senator Kinnaird. [speaker change] One question and one comment. Did this not, if it didn't come out of program evaluation, was it not informed by program evaluation? [speaker change] This is actually the result of a program evaluation study. Here's the study. [speaker change] If I may comment, Mr. Chair. [speaker change] You may. [speaker change] We set up these things to say how can government work more efficiently and more effectively and then we pay not attention. So, that's my first comment. My second comment is having been a mayor of a little town, and now living in another small town, aging water and sewer systems are very expensive in two ways. The first is leakage and infiltration. You lose a tremendous amount of water in an aging water system and you lose, you have troubles with sewer systems with infiltration. And these are things that are out there probably the quantity is enormous throughout our state and small towns. And that means dollars. Dollars lost, but dollars to fix up. It's a huge cost to go into these aging systems. So if we can find ways to help these systems as well as do regionalism, which I think if you're building new infrastructure you really need to think efficiently and effectively there, so I just feel like this is the way to go. And that if we have a program evaluation commission we ought to pay attention to what they say. Thank you. [speaker change] Thank you, Senator.
That being said, we'll adjourn for the day and thank you Senator Hartsell, thank you.