Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/30/2009 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHJR 28(RES) Out of Committee
Moved CSHCR 10(RES) Out of Committee
Moved CSHJR 27(RES) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HCR 10-OPPOSE FED. CONTROL OF STATE LAND & WATER                                                                              
1:42:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON announced that the  next order of business would                                                               
be, HOUSE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO.  10, Urging the  Governor to                                                               
file an  action to restrain  the United States Department  of the                                                               
Interior, National Park Service,  from intruding on the sovereign                                                               
right of the state to  exercise jurisdiction over navigable water                                                               
and  submerged   land  and  urging   the  Governor   to  allocate                                                               
sufficient resources to the Department  of Law, the Department of                                                               
Natural Resources, and the Department  of Fish and Game to defend                                                               
the  state's right  to manage  the  public use  of its  navigable                                                               
1:43:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE HAWKER, Alaska  State Legislature, noted that                                                               
the issue addressed by HCR  10 - protecting Alaska's jurisdiction                                                               
over  navigable water  and submerged  land -  was brought  to his                                                               
attention by  a constituent.   He said  his research  of Alaska's                                                               
statehood rights found that the  ownership of submerged lands and                                                               
navigable waters  is guaranteed  to the state  and the  state has                                                               
the providence  over these; however,  the federal  government has                                                               
consistently tried to  usurp those rights.  It  is incumbent upon                                                               
legislators to  defend the  state's land  rights and  land claims                                                               
process   from  federal   government  actions   that  have   been                                                               
infringing upon the right to manage those lands, he said.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER drew  attention  to a  February 13,  2009,                                                               
letter from  the Citizens' Advisory  Commission on  Federal Areas                                                               
to  the state's  acting  attorney  general.   He  read the  first                                                               
sentence of the letter:  "In  1996, over the strong objections of                                                               
the  State  of  Alaska  and others,  the  National  Park  Service                                                               
adopted regulations which improperly  extended its management and                                                               
enforcement authorities over state  owned navigable waters within                                                               
units of  the National Park  System."  This  federal encroachment                                                               
on Alaska's sovereign  right to manage its land  resources is the                                                               
problem, he argued.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  said that  while the  State of  Alaska has                                                               
been pursuing its title to  submerged lands and navigable waters,                                                               
it has  not been  quite as  diligent in  protecting its  right to                                                               
those submerged lands  and navigable waters.  Thus,  HCR 10 urges                                                               
the governor to take legal action  now to stop this preemption of                                                               
Alaska's  rights.   He  pointed  out that  there  is a  technical                                                               
amendment  that would  urge  the  governor to  take  any and  all                                                               
appropriate legal actions, including legal status, he added.                                                                    
1:46:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  understood people were using  submerged lands on                                                               
the Yukon  River for  float planes,  boat launching,  and driving                                                               
four-wheelers  were   issued  citations  by  the   National  Park                                                               
Service.  He asked Representative  Hawker to expand on this point                                                               
of contention.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER deferred to  John Sturgeon, the constituent                                                               
who brought  this issue to  his attention and  who is on  line to                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK inquired  about the  zero fiscal  note given                                                               
that HCR 10 asks for action to be taken.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  replied that there is  a budget allocation                                                               
inside  the  Department  of  Law for  an  entire  section  called                                                               
"Statehood Defense";  therefore it is already  funded through the                                                               
annual  appropriations  process.   He  said  the resolution  will                                                               
remind the staff in this section  of how important this is to the                                                               
legislature and to continue to pursue their work.                                                                               
1:49:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON opened public testimony on HCR 10.                                                                             
JOHN  STURGEON said  he  is  a business  owner  and  has been  in                                                               
Alaska's  forest products  industry for  the last  39 years.   He                                                               
spoke in  support of HCR 10  on behalf of himself  as an outdoors                                                               
sportsman.  He testified as follows:                                                                                            
     The State of Alaska is  incrementally losing one of its                                                                    
     most  cherished and  valuable  sovereign  rights -  the                                                                    
     right to  manage its navigable  waters.   Management of                                                                    
     portions of rivers, such as  the Yukon River, are being                                                                    
     taken away  by the  federal government.   The  State of                                                                    
     Alaska   must   take   strong   and   decisive   action                                                                    
     immediately or  watch while  it loses  forever hundreds                                                                    
     of miles  of rivers, thousands of  lakes, and thousands                                                                    
     of miles of tideland.                                                                                                      
     Under equal footing doctrine, the  statehood act, and a                                                                    
     submerged  land act,  the  state  assumed ownership  at                                                                    
     statehood  of  submerged   lands  of  navigable  waters                                                                    
     between ordinary  high water marks and  below mean high                                                                    
     tide.   The state acquired  the full power  and control                                                                    
     over navigable  waters of the  state regardless  of the                                                                    
     ownership  for  watercraft   use,  mining,  recreation,                                                                    
     commerce,   et  cetera,   except   for  when   Congress                                                                    
     specifically reduces  a state's authority.   An example                                                                    
     of that  would be the  Coast Guard  when it comes  to a                                                                    
     boating regulation  for safety  purposes.   The state's                                                                    
     constitution,  statutes,  and regulations  clearly  say                                                                    
     the state  owns and  manages these submerged  lands and                                                                    
     navigable  waters  and  its   citizens  have  free  and                                                                    
     unrestricted    access,    unless   restricted    under                                                                    
     regulations  authorized   by  the   state  legislature.                                                                    
     Alaska's law could not be clearer on this issue.                                                                           
     In  addition, ANILCA  [Alaska  National Interest  Lands                                                                    
     Conservation  Act], under  section 103(c),  states that                                                                    
     regulations adopted  for national  parks only  apply to                                                                    
     the  federal  lands  and not  state  or  private  lands                                                                    
     within  those designated  areas,  and navigable  waters                                                                    
     are  considered ...  state lands  within those  ANILCA-                                                                    
     designated areas.  Beginning  in 1996, the ... National                                                                    
     Park Service  placed another  layer of  regulation over                                                                    
     the  State of  Alaska's management  on these  navigable                                                                    
MR. STURGEON  cited several examples  of federal  regulation that                                                               
he  personally knows  about  on the  Yukon River.    He said  the                                                               
actions of the National Park  Service are, in effect, voiding the                                                               
state's legitimate  jurisdiction on its navigable  waters, and he                                                               
is therefore urging the legislature  to help stop this by passing                                                               
HCR 10.                                                                                                                         
1:54:07 PM                                                                                                                    
ROD ARNO,  Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor  Council, supported                                                               
HCR 10  on behalf of  the council's 2,500 individual  members and                                                               
48 clubs.   He  related that  in 1996  the National  Park Service                                                               
determined this  was simply a  clarification of a prior  law, and                                                               
since then it has frequently  attempted to use this regulation to                                                               
further restrict access  in numerous areas of the  state.  Alaska                                                               
is a unique area due to  its lack of infrastructure and roads, he                                                               
said,  therefore this  access on  navigable  waters is  extremely                                                               
important to  all Alaskans,  and particularly  to members  of the                                                               
council.   He  applauded Representative  Hawker for  listening to                                                               
his constituent and putting forth HCR 10.                                                                                       
1:56:19 PM                                                                                                                    
STAN LEAPHART, Executive  Director, Citizens' Advisory Commission                                                               
on Federal Areas,  explained that the commission  is charged with                                                               
determining  the impact  of federal  management, agency  actions,                                                               
regulations,  and management  decisions  on the  citizens of  the                                                               
State of Alaska.   He related that Mr.  Sturgeon testified before                                                               
the  commission's  November  [2008]  meeting in  regard  to  this                                                               
issue.     After  subsequent   follow-up  work,   the  commission                                                               
determined it  should recommend to the  attorney general's office                                                               
and the  governor that  the state takes  the necessary  action to                                                               
resolve this issue.                                                                                                             
MR. LEAPHART stated  that ANILCA has some  very specific language                                                               
that allows access  to rivers and lakes.  He  said the commission                                                               
believes the state's authority to  regulate its waters should not                                                               
be  impeded by  the  provisions  of ANILCA,  nor  should they  be                                                               
impeded  by  National  Park  Service regulations.    So  far  the                                                               
National  Park Service  has been  constrained in  enforcing these                                                               
regulations over  the past 12  years, but there is  evidence that                                                               
this  may  be  changing  as  seen by  the  increasing  number  of                                                               
citations issued to people engaged  in activities that are lawful                                                               
under state regulations.                                                                                                        
MR.  LEAPHART  expressed the  commission's  concern  that if  the                                                               
National Park  Service's regulations are allowed  to stand, other                                                               
federal land  management agencies might decide  to promulgate the                                                               
same restrictive regulations.  Such  action would affect millions                                                               
of  acres  of federal  lands  within  national wildlife  refuges,                                                               
national  forests, and  wild  and scenic  river  areas, he  said;                                                               
thus, the commission supports HCR 10.                                                                                           
2:00:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT HAMANN maintained  it is time for Alaskans  to assert their                                                               
rights.   He said he  agrees with  all of the  previous testimony                                                               
and urged that HCR 10 be moved forward.                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON closed public  testimony after ascertaining that                                                               
no one else wished to testify.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  moved  that the  committee  adopt  [Conceptual]                                                               
Amendment 1, as follows:                                                                                                        
     Page 2, line 17, following "by the state,":                                                                                
        Delete "issuing citations to placer miners that                                                                         
     have valid state permits,"                                                                                                 
     Page 2, line 25, following "the Governor to":                                                                              
          Delete "file suit against the United States                                                                           
     Department of the Interior, National Park Service,"                                                                        
          Insert "pursue all available legal options"                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                         
SENATOR OLSON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG objected for discussion purposes.                                                                     
2:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON offered  the following  friendly amendment                                                               
to Amendment 1:                                                                                                                 
     Page 1, line 1, following "Governor to":                                                                                   
          Delete "file an action"                                                                                               
          Insert "pursue all legal options"                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON, after  ascertaining  there  was no  objection,                                                               
announced that  the friendly amendment to  [Conceptual] Amendment                                                               
1  has passed.   [Conceptual]  Amendment 1,  as amended,  was now                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked whether Amendment  1 was offered as a                                                               
conceptual amendment.                                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON understood  Amendment 1  to be  conceptual even                                                               
though Co-Chair Neuman did not state it as such.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON withdrew his objection.                                                                                   
SENATOR OLSON withdrew his objection.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG withdrew his objection.                                                                               
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON, after  ascertaining  there  was no  objection,                                                               
announced that  Conceptual Amendment  1, as amended,  has passed.                                                               
He said HCR 10 was now before the committee.                                                                                    
2:04:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  offered his opinion that  the National                                                               
Park  Service's   long-term  goal  is  to   eliminate  all  human                                                               
habitation from a particular area  along the Yukon River, despite                                                               
there being human presence in this  area since the Gold Rush.  He                                                               
said he therefore thinks HCR 10 is appropriate.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN moved  to  report  HCR 10,  as  amended, out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSHCR  10(RES) was                                                               
reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHCR 10(RES).pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HCR 10
CSHJR 27(RES).pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 27
HJR 28 Packet.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 28
HCR 10 Packet.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HCR 10
HJR 27 Packet.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 27
CSHJR 28(RES).pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 28
HCR 10 NPS Water Regs.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HCR 10
HCR 10 zero fiscal note.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HCR 10
HJR 27 zero fiscal note.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 27
HJR 28 zero fiscal note.pdf HRES 3/30/2009 1:00:00 PM
HJR 28