Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/17/2018 01:15 PM House TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:26:05 PM Start
01:26:30 PM SB199
01:44:34 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SB 199 AM Out of Committee
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 199-DALTON HWY: ACCESS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY                                                                      
1:26:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
SENATE BILL  NO. 199,  "An Act  relating to  the use  of off-road                                                               
vehicles within the James Dalton Highway corridor."                                                                             
1:26:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PETE  KELLY, Alaska State  Legislature, presented  SB 199                                                               
as prime sponsor.   He stated SB  199 would allow for  the use of                                                               
off-road  vehicles within  the James  Dalton Highway  corridor to                                                               
access private property  with an established history of  use as a                                                               
homestead,  which   are  adjacent   to  the   pipeline  corridor.                                                               
Currently, [Alaska  Statute] AS  19.40.210 allows access  for oil                                                               
and gas activities  and to [a person who holds  a mining claim in                                                               
the vicinity  of the highway  and who  must use land  within five                                                               
miles of the right-of-way of  the highway corridor to gain access                                                               
to  the mining  claim.]   He  explained that  the issue  is if  a                                                               
person  tried to  access  his  or her  property  from the  Dalton                                                               
Highway, the person would be  in violation because he/she did not                                                               
start  from  outside  the  Dalton Highway  corridor.    The  bill                                                               
references protecting  private property  rights.  He  related his                                                               
understanding that  a concern relating  to Native  property lines                                                               
might be impacted or that it  would allow people to cross private                                                               
property; however,  it does  not.   He cautioned  that ultimately                                                               
without this  bill people  who have  homesteads along  the Dalton                                                               
Highway will only be able to assess their land via airplane.                                                                    
1:28:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  asked  whether  anyone  could  use  four-                                                               
wheelers on these roads or if  it would be restricted just to the                                                               
property owners.                                                                                                                
SENATOR KELLY  responded that  the bill would  only apply  to the                                                               
people who have  homestead land.  The issue SB  199 would address                                                               
is  that  the landowners  can  only  access their  properties  by                                                               
accessing it  from a point  outside of the corridor;  however, if                                                               
people  want  to  drive  the  Dalton  Highway  to  get  to  their                                                               
homestead, they must start within  the corridor because the point                                                               
of access  would be  from the road.   He stated  that he  did not                                                               
believe  this exception  was necessarily  intentionally left  out                                                               
but rather that it had  been overlooked when the statutes related                                                               
to the Dalton Highway were established.                                                                                         
1:29:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked if the  homestead lands were right on                                                               
the Dalton Highway.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  KELLY  answered  no;  that  the  homestead  property  is                                                               
located on the other side of  the [Dalton Highway] corridor.  For                                                               
example,  if someone  was on  the  Dalton Highway  and wanted  to                                                               
access their  homesteads on  the other side  of the  corridor, it                                                               
would  not  be  possible  to  do  so  from  the  Dalton  Highway.                                                               
Instead, they  would have to find  a way outside the  corridor to                                                               
cross the  corridor to their  property.  He surmised  the statute                                                               
specified  that  the  corridor  could only  be  used  for  mining                                                               
activities  and  oil and  gas.    He  said that  essentially  the                                                               
statutes were  written to  allow access  across the  corridor for                                                               
people,  which already  exists,  but it  puts  homesteaders in  a                                                               
"tough situation."                                                                                                              
1:30:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN questioned  whether the language restricted                                                               
access to snow machines only.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  KELLY answered  no; that  the bill  covered all  terrain                                                               
vehicles (ATVs).                                                                                                                
1:30:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN questioned  whether homesteaders could hunt                                                               
in  the  corridor or  if  was  only  to  obtain access  to  their                                                               
SENATOR  KELLY answered  the bill  was  only to  allow access  to                                                               
homesteads and property.                                                                                                        
1:30:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  related his understanding that  anyone observed on                                                               
an off-road vehicle along this  corridor would be in violation of                                                               
current law if they were not accessing a current homestead.                                                                     
SENATOR KELLY  answered that  was correct  if the  person started                                                               
within the corridor.                                                                                                            
1:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  offered his  belief that the  language would                                                               
also apply to someone who had  permission to access the land such                                                               
as  someone  visiting  a  person's  homestead  who  was  lawfully                                                               
entering the land.                                                                                                              
SENATOR KELLY agreed that was correct.                                                                                          
1:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked   for  further  clarification  on                                                               
whether the  corridor was defined  by the [darker blue  lines] on                                                               
the map [in members' packets].                                                                                                  
1:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSEPH   BYRNES,  Staff,   Senator  Pete   Kelly,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  answered yes;  that the  [Dalton Highway]  corridor                                                               
was  established as  five  miles  on either  side  of the  Dalton                                                               
1:31:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  whether the  homesteads were  identified on                                                               
the map and how many homesteads were located within the area.                                                                   
SENATOR   KELLY  answered   that  he   thought  there   were  six                                                               
MR. BYRNES added  that the Department of  Natural Resources (DNR)                                                               
has  identified 16  homesteads  within ten  miles  of the  Dalton                                                               
Highway.   He recalled that  there were three different  types of                                                               
homesteads  established   under  the  Homestead   Act,  including                                                               
homesites, headquarter sites and  homesteads.  He reiterated that                                                               
DNR  was able  to  identify 16  sites within  ten  miles [of  the                                                               
Dalton Highway.]                                                                                                                
1:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked how these  individuals would be identified as                                                               
someone allowed to access the homestead.                                                                                        
MR.  BYRNES  answered  that  only people  who  had  a  historical                                                               
homestead site would  be accessing [the corridor].   A person who                                                               
had a homestead would have a  patent to prove it was historically                                                               
considered a homestead.                                                                                                         
1:33:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY pointed out that  a procedure exists for people who                                                               
have mining claims  or oil and gas transportation  projects and a                                                               
right to access those areas.                                                                                                    
1:33:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  asked if the [original]  homesteaders were                                                               
to sell their homesteads whether  the rights would be transferred                                                               
to the  next owner or their  children.  He further  asked whether                                                               
family members can access the homestead.                                                                                        
SENATOR KELLY related his understanding  that the rights traveled                                                               
with the homestead.                                                                                                             
1:34:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP said  the bill  seemed  like "common  sense                                                                
legislation  designed   to  allow  16  people   to  access  their                                                               
1:34:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  for further  clarification that  if someone                                                               
was  going  from  the  [Dalton  Highway]  to  his/her  homestead,                                                               
traveling across and beyond the  corridor, whether the person was                                                               
authorized to  hunt along  the area or  whether the  bill limited                                                               
access to his/her homestead.                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY answered that it was just for access.                                                                             
1:34:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BYRNES  added that the  Board of Game restrictions  limit the                                                               
use of  off-road vehicles for the  transport of game in  the area                                                               
plus the  BOG also  restricts use  of firearms in  the area.   He                                                               
reiterated that [SB 199] was not for hunting purposes.                                                                          
1:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  STUTES asked  for clarification  on the  Dalton Highway                                                               
SENATOR KELLY  answered that  the Dalton  Highway corridor  was a                                                               
federal corridor created for  the [Trans-Alaska Pipeline System],                                                               
which was heavily restricted.                                                                                                   
1:35:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked  whether homesteaders  could  drive                                                               
their  snow machines  down the  Dalton  Highway or  if they  were                                                               
restricted to adjacent areas.                                                                                                   
SENATOR KELLY  acknowledged these people would  not be considered                                                               
"accessing" their homestead by driving on the Dalton Highway.                                                                   
1:36:10 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON FRENZEL, Lieutenant;  WIU Commander, Headquarters, Division                                                               
of Alaska  Wildlife Troopers, Department of  Public Safety (DPS),                                                               
introduced himself.                                                                                                             
1:36:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked whether someone crossing  the corridor would                                                               
be allowed to hunt on the way to his/her homestead.                                                                             
1:36:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FRENZEL  answered  that regulations  established  in  5  AAC                                                               
92.530  through  the  Board  of  Game  provide  that  hunting  is                                                               
unlawful in the [Dalton Highway] corridor.                                                                                      
1:37:21 PM                                                                                                                    
AL BARETTE,  Member, Alaska  Outdoor Council  (AOC), representing                                                               
the  AOC,   stated  that   the  organization   represents  10,000                                                               
Alaskans.   The  AOC fully  supports Alaskans'  rights to  access                                                               
private  property and  SB 199  would  fulfill the  constitutional                                                               
agreements to settle  Alaska's lands; that without  access to its                                                               
lands  the  state  could  not  settle   or  use  the  land.    He                                                               
characterized SB  199 as a good  bill.  He related  that over the                                                               
years  he has  acquired two  parcels of  land outside  the Dalton                                                               
Highway corridor,  just south  of the Yukon  River.   He recalled                                                               
the DNR provided options to  access the property by using section                                                               
lines  or permitted  roads, which  made  it easy  to develop  the                                                               
property.   He  said  it  was unfortunate  that  the "haul  road"                                                               
corridor  never allowed  access to  private property  that miners                                                               
and oil and gas development were  given.  He reiterated the AOC's                                                               
support for SB 199.                                                                                                             
1:38:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked whether the  map in members'  packets showed                                                               
the  extent of  the  area [covered  by  SB 199]  or  if the  area                                                               
covered was the whole length of the Dalton Highway.                                                                             
MR. BYRNES  answered that  it would  be the  whole length  of the                                                               
[Dalton} Highway beginning at Livengood  where the Dalton Highway                                                               
1:39:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL suggested  that the concern that  people would park                                                               
cars and get on four-wheelers  or snow machines and start hunting                                                               
off the road has been clarified as not being allowed.                                                                           
1:39:45 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
1:40:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony on SB 199.                                                                                
1:40:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REBEKAH VANDERLUGT stated  she is a landowner  outside the Dalton                                                               
Highway  corridor.    She  also   represents  her  family,  which                                                               
includes four  school-age children.   She  stated that  this bill                                                               
means being able to access and  enjoy their property as a family.                                                               
Amending the  statutes to include  private property  owners would                                                               
give  property owners  equal access  alongside those  with mining                                                               
claims in the area.                                                                                                             
1:41:16 PM                                                                                                                    
RUSS VANDERLUGT  stated that he was  representing those residents                                                               
who  are landowners  along  the Dalton  [Highway]  corridor.   He                                                               
reiterated  that  his family  owns  property,  which is  patented                                                               
under  the federal  homestead  laws.   He  acknowledged that  the                                                               
current statute  permits an exception  for mining claims,  but it                                                               
prevents them from  accessing their property via  snow machine in                                                               
the  winter.   This  bill would  allow for  fair  access for  his                                                               
family and other landowners across the corridor.                                                                                
1:41:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  recalled  that  Mr.  Vanderlugt's  father                                                               
originally  homesteaded in  the area.   He  had previously  asked                                                               
whether this  bill allowed family  members such as him  to access                                                               
the  property if  the title  was  in his  dad's name.   He  asked                                                               
whether it  was his  sense that [the  bill] would  include family                                                               
MR. VANDERLUGT  agreed, relating his understanding  that the bill                                                               
would allow his family members to access his property.                                                                          
1:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked  for further clarification on  whether he was                                                               
currently accessing  his property and  if so, how was  he gaining                                                               
getting access.                                                                                                                 
MR. VANDERLUGT answered that his  family has been accessing their                                                               
homestead via an airplane during  the summer.  It typically would                                                               
be  unsafe to  do so  in the  winter due  to snow  depth or  snow                                                               
conditions.  He stated that  accessing the property by land would                                                               
be much  safer for his  family, so he  would propose doing  so by                                                               
snow machine.                                                                                                                   
1:43:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL closed public testimony on SB 199.                                                                                
1:43:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND offered her view  that the bill is simple                                                               
and that the committee should act on the bill.                                                                                  
1:44:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES moved to report  SB 199 AM out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no objection,  SB 199 AM was reported from the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB199 Sponsor Statement 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Summary of Changes 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Sectional Analysis 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 ver. D.A 4.11.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Fiscal Note DOT-NRHA 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Supporting Document - U.S. Dept. of the Interior BLM - History of Alaska Homesteading 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Supporting Document - BLM Map-Coldfoot to Deadhorse 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199
SB199 Supporting Documents - Support Letters 4.12.18.pdf HTRA 4/17/2018 1:15:00 PM
SB 199