Legislature(2015 - 2016)BARNES 124
03/30/2015 01:00 PM House RESOURCES
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HJR 18-LIMIT DECLARATION OF NATL. MONUMENTS 1:35:00 PM CO-CHAIR TALERICO announced that the first order of business is HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 18, Urging the United States Congress to pass the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act. 1:35:23 PM JEFF TURNER, Staff, Representative Charisse Millett, Alaska State Legislature, explained that HJR 18 urges the U.S. Congress to pass the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act, S. 437, sponsored by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and co- sponsored by U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan. He said S. 437 creates new requirements and limits the authority of the President of the United States to expand monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act. Passed under the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act grants the President of the United States the power to create national monuments that protect and preserve important landmarks and environmentally sensitive areas using the smallest area necessary to preserve and protect the place under the monument. While the Antiquities Act has been used wisely to preserve some of America's most pristine and important areas, many things have changed over the last 100 years. There are more demands on public lands than ever and state and local economies need to be taken into consideration. Tourism, hunting, commercial and sport fishing, and natural resource development all take place on public lands. The time has come to make the process for creating national monuments more comprehensive. Senator Murkowski's bill, S. 437, makes three significant changes to the Antiquities Act. First, it requires specific authorization by an act of Congress to designate a national monument. Second, it requires approval by the state legislature where the monument would be located and, for marine national monuments, approval by each state legislature within 100 miles of the proposed monument. Third, it must conform to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 1:37:29 PM MR. TURNER said S. 437 is important to Alaska because there are currently 142 national monuments. Ten of these monuments were created, and two more expanded, under the Obama Administration since starting its second term in January 2013. All of that happened without the approval of Congress or of the states where the monument was created. The last monument created in Alaska was by President Carter in 1978. Senator Murkowski filed this legislation because she is concerned about the potential for new monuments in Alaska that restrict or outright prohibit critical economic activity. Two possible sites are the Aleutian Islands and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). It is known that President Obama will be in Alaska this summer, but it is unknown whether the purpose of the trip is to announce the creation of a new national monument. Alaska's two U.S. senators are so worried that this might happen that they have filed S. 437, which is the legislation that HJR 18 supports. MR. TURNER directed attention to two articles in the committee packet, one an editorial from the Deseret News in Utah and the other from the Fairbanks News Miner, in which Senator Murkowski is quoted expressing her fear that President Obama will put the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into permanent wilderness status and lock it up. He pointed out that Alaska does not have a Wall Street or a Silicon Valley, but it does have Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk, Bristol Bay fisheries, Fort Knox, Greens Creek, and other natural resource extraction areas that fuel the state's economy and provide necessary resources like energy, minerals, and nutrition for the entire nation. He said S. 437 and HJR 18 are not seeking to stop new national monuments from being created; they are about improving the process for creating national monuments so the Alaska legislature and everyday Alaskans are made part of the public policy process when a new national monument is considered. 1:40:13 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON recalled Mr. Turner mentioning hunting as one of the diversity of needs. He pointed out that Southeast Alaska's Admiralty Island is a national monument where there is a huge annual brown bear hunt, mostly commercially guided. He therefore surmised that hunts are allowed on some national monuments. MR. TURNER replied he believes there is, but said there is always the potential under National Park Service rules or regulations where additional restrictions could be put in place. REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON pointed out that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) is from 1980, while the Antiquities Act is 1906. He asked whether ANILCA trumps the Antiquities Act given that ANILA is 74 years later and has a "no more" clause. He further asked whether there really is a risk of a monument designation in the 1002 Area within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. MR. TURNER responded that Representative Millett, Senator Murkowski, and Senator Sullivan believe it is a real possibility and that is why they filed S. 437 and HJR 18. Even if it doesn't happen, there has been a lot of discontent in the western states regarding how the national monument process has been going forward. Currently in this country of 300 million people, 1 person can make this decision. While that person is the President of the United States, a lot has changed since the Antiquities Act was put in place in 1906. This seeks to improve the process for creating national monuments. 1:42:53 PM REPRESENTATIVE TARR inquired whether any other U.S. senators have co-sponsored S. 437. MR. TURNER answered it has one co-sponsor, Senator Sullivan. The bill, filed February 10, 2015, was referred to Senator Murkowski's U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, but hasn't yet been scheduled for a hearing. He said he assumes that some other western senators will sign on to the bill once the hearing process starts. 1:43:41 PM REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER drew attention to HJR 18, page 2, line 10, which states: "... in February 2015, United States Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced ...." He inquired what the sponsor's thought would be to recognize that S. 437 was introduced by both Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan. MR. TURNER replied he is sure Representative Millett would be fine with such an amendment. 1:44:39 PM REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 1 to insert language on page 2, line 10, recognizing that S. 437 was introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Dan Sullivan. There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 passed. 1:45:40 PM CO-CHAIR TALERICO opened public testimony on HJR 18, then closed it after ascertaining that no one wished to testify. 1:46:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER moved to report HJR 18, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. 1:46:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON objected for purposes of discussion, saying he agrees with Mr. Turner's statement that logically as the nation's population grows over 300 million there is less land and more economic pressure. Some of these designations don't really impact economic development that severely, he said, and he thinks that this could really politicize passage of those. It is something that began with one of the greatest Republicans, President Theodore Roosevelt, who might see this differently. He recalled that while in law school he spent time studying the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and remarked he would be interested to see what the objection is to that monument now, if any. He said there was objection when the monument was established by President Clinton because it stopped a French-owned coal mine, but he suspects there is a lot of tourism there. This is a special privilege of Presidents, Democrats and Republicans, he continued, and while this power should be used carefully it has been a great power and he thinks the United States is better for it. For example, there is Devil's Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Death Valley, Zion, and Arches. Some of these are now national parks that started as monuments. He said he has mixed feelings about HJR 18. 1:48:52 PM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON pointed out that the second to last paragraph in the sponsor statement states that S. 437 would require approval by each state legislature, and for marine national monuments, approval by each state legislature within 100 miles. However, he noted, this is not included within HJR 18 so it isn't quite parallel with the federal bill. He said he supports moving HJR 18. 1:49:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON withdrew his objection. There being no further objection, CSHJR 18(RES) was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.