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28th Legislature(2013-2014)

Bill Text 28th Legislature


00 Enrolled SJR 15                                                                                                         
01 Opposing any international designation of Alaska land or water as an international park,                                
02 world heritage site, biosphere reserve, Ramsar site, or other classification of land or water that                      
03 affects the use of land or water by the state or an Alaska Native corporation without approval                          
04 by the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature; requesting the United States                            
05 Department of State and the United States Department of the Interior to cease all further                               
06 action related to an international designation for land and water in the state until the action is                      
07 approved by the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature; requesting that the                            
08 United States Congress pass legislation requiring Congressional approval of any international                           
09 designation that affects the use of land or water by the state or the United States; requesting                         
10 that the governor be involved in the process and development of any joint action plan;                                  
11 requesting that the state, including the departments responsible for the management of fish                             
12 and wildlife and other natural resources, be an integral part of any discussion, agreement,                             
01 understanding, or other process that affects the use or development of fish and wildlife and                            
02 other natural resources in the state; and urging the governor and the attorney general to                               
03 reserve all legal remedies for a taking of the natural resources of the state by an international                       
04 designation of land and water in the state.                                                                             
05                                          _______________                                                                
06 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
07      WHEREAS Alaska and the Russian Far East are close neighbors across the Bering                                    
08 Sea, and archaeologists believe that the area was a migration route used by many peoples                                
09 moving from Asia and populating North and South America; and                                                            
10      WHEREAS some of the indigenous peoples of Western Alaska and the Russian Far                                     
11 East speak the same language and share the same customs and traditions but have, until recent                           
12 times, been separated by political differences between their respective countries; and                                  
13      WHEREAS, in recent years, various events and exchanges have been organized to                                    
14 reconnect the residents of Western Alaska and those of the Russian Far East; and                                        
15      WHEREAS the areas of Western Alaska and the Russian Far East have been referred                                  
16 to as Beringia; and                                                                                                     
17      WHEREAS, in 2010, the United States and Russia began negotiations to develop a                                   
18 Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of establishing an international protected area                             
19 in the Bering Strait region that would include the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, the                            
20 Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and, in the Chukotka region of Russia, the yet-to-be-                               
21 created Beringia International Park; and                                                                                
22      WHEREAS the National Park Service identifies and defines Beringia as the area                                    
23 bounded on the east by the Mackenzie River in Canada, on the west by the Lena River in                                  
24 Russia, on the north by 72 degrees North latitude, and on the south by the southern tip of                              
25 Kamchatka, leaving only the south-central and southeastern limits to be determined; and                                 
26      WHEREAS the federal government historically has attempted to expand the scope of                                 
27 its influence beyond Alaska park boundaries, including the attempt to establish game buffer                             
28 zones around Denali National Park and Preserve; and                                                                     
29      WHEREAS, during the past two decades, the National Park Service has repeatedly                                   
01 expanded the size of the area identified as Beringia; and                                                               
02      WHEREAS the National Park Service manages the Shared Beringian Heritage                                          
03 Program and seeks to foster mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States                              
04 and Russia and between the indigenous peoples of Western Alaska and the Russian Far East                                
05 by promoting cultural exchange, supporting subsistence opportunities, and working toward an                             
06 international designation for the land and water in the area identified as Beringia; and                                
07      WHEREAS, for many years, the National Park Service has pursued a program to                                      
08 establish a Beringia International Park that potentially could evolve into a world heritage site                        
09 or a marine biosphere reserve and would include land and water in Alaska and the Russian                                
10 Far East; and                                                                                                           
11      WHEREAS officials of the United States Department of State and the National Park                                 
12 Service have traveled throughout Russia and spoken before the Russian Duma in Moscow;                                   
13 and                                                                                                                     
14      WHEREAS the international designations contemplated by the National Park Service                               
15 for the areas included in Beringia are an invitation and another means for United States and                            
16 foreign environmental nongovernmental organizations to oppose resource development on                                   
17 public and Alaska Native land and water in the state; and                                                               
18      WHEREAS many Alaskans are concerned that the proposed Beringia International                                     
19 Park would impede future rights of access for the Red Dog Mine, the primary economic                                    
20 engine in Northwest Alaska; and                                                                                         
21      WHEREAS Alaska Native corporations and the state specifically selected much of                                   
22 their land because of the mineral potential and the opportunity to create jobs and other                                
23 economic opportunities for the people of the state; and                                                                 
24      WHEREAS, in September 2012, Governor Sean Parnell sent a letter to then United                                   
25 States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asking for time to conduct a meaningful                                
26 review of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding regarding Beringia and to provide                                    
27 input on the possible effects of the Memorandum of Understanding on the region and the                                  
28 state; and                                                                                                              
29      WHEREAS, on January 17, 2013, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed                                      
30 a decree creating Beringia National Park as a Russian National Park in the Chukotka Region;                             
31 and                                                                                                                     
01      WHEREAS, in October 2013, members of the Alaska State Legislature learned that                                   
02 the United States Department of State, the National Park Service, and the Russian Federation                            
03 were in the final stages of formalizing a Memorandum of Understanding regarding a                                       
04 transboundary protected area in the Bering Strait region; and                                                           
05      WHEREAS the current effort to formalize a transboundary protected area would be                                  
06 the first step in imposing international designations and could reduce the sovereignty of the                           
07 state and the United States over the burdened parts of the state, in violation of the Alaska                            
08 Statehood Compact, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and the Alaska National                                     
09 Interest Lands Conservation Act; and                                                                                    
10      WHEREAS the Department of Fish and Game is responsible for the management,                                       
11 protection, maintenance, enhancement, rehabilitation, and extension of fish and wildlife                                
12 resources in the state, including management responsibilities on National Park Service land;                            
13 and                                                                                                                     
14      WHEREAS, in the 1982 Master Memorandum of Understanding between the                                              
15 Department of Fish and Game and the National Park Service, the parties agreed to "consider                              
16 carefully the impact on the State of Alaska of proposed treaties or international agreements                            
17 relating to fish and wildlife resources which could diminish the jurisdictional authority of the                        
18 State, and to consult freely with the State when such treaties or agreements have a significant                         
19 impact on the State";                                                                                                   
20      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature asserts that any international                                  
21 Memorandum of Understanding or other action to designate land or water in the state as an                               
22 international park, world heritage site, biosphere reserve, Ramsar site, or classification of land                      
23 or water that affects the proper use of the land or water by the state or an Alaska Native                              
24 corporation should require approval by Acts of the Alaska State Legislature and the United                              
25 States Congress before taking effect; and be it                                                                         
26      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests that the United                                      
27 States Department of State and the United States Department of the Interior cease all further                           
28 action to establish an international designation of land or water in the state until the United                         
29 States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature approve; and be it                                                     
30      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests that                                    
31 the United States Congress enact a law that requires Congressional approval of any                                      
01 international designation that affects the use of land or water by the state or the United States;                      
02 and be it                                                                                                               
03      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests that, if the United                                  
04 States Department of State or the United States Department of the Interior nevertheless                                 
05 pursues or proposes the designation of land or water as an international park, world heritage                           
06 site, biosphere reserve, Ramsar site, or classification of land or water that affects the proper                        
07 use of the land or water by the state or an Alaska Native corporation, the governor be actively                         
08 involved in the process and development of any joint action plan; and be it                                             
09      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature requests that the state,                                      
10 including the departments responsible for the management of fish and wildlife and other                                 
11 natural resources, be an integral if not primary part of any discussion, agreement,                                     
12 understanding, or other process or document that affects the use or development of fish and                             
13 wildlife and other natural resources in the state; and be it                                                            
14      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the governor and the                                    
15 attorney general to reserve all legal remedies, including the recovery of damages, for a taking                         
16 of the natural resources of the state in violation of the Alaska Statehood Compact, should a                            
17 designation of land and water in the state as an international park, world heritage site,                               
18 biosphere reserve, Ramsar site, or other classification hamper the use or development of the                            
19 natural resources of the state.                                                                                         
20      COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of                              
21 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and                          
22 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable John F. Kerry, United States Secretary of State;                            
23 the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the Interior; the Honorable Jonathan B.                          
24 Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior; the                            
25 Honorable John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable                                     
26 Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Harry                                 
27 Reid, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader                                
28 of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources                              
29 Committee of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska; the                                       
30 Honorable Michael C. Geraghty, Alaska Attorney General; the Honorable Lisa Murkowski                                    
31 and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S.                                         
01 Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; and all other members of the                              
02 113th United States Congress.                                                                                           
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