Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/28/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 93 CREDIT REPORT SECURITY FREEZE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ HB 367 NATIVE CORP. LIABILITY FOR CONTAMINATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 75 GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 367-NATIVE CORP. LIABILITY FOR CONTAMINATION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:59:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  367,  "An Act  relating to  the  liability of  a                                                               
Native  corporation  for the  release  or  threatened release  of                                                               
hazardous substances present on certain lands."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:59:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HANS  RODVICK,  Staff,  Representative Charisse  Millett,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  advised that HB  367 deals with  issues going                                                               
back to  the 1971  Alaska Native  Claims Settlement  Act (ANCSA).                                                               
At that time,  he explained, as those lands were  beginning to be                                                               
conveyed  to  Native  Corporations throughout  the  state,  folks                                                               
realized  that  portions  of  certain  conveyed  lands  contained                                                               
contamination prior  to that conveyance.   These issues  began to                                                               
be  discussed by  the Alaska  Native  communities in  1990s.   In                                                               
1998, the  United States Congress  directed the Secretary  of the                                                               
Interior [Donald P. Hodel] to review  the issue and report.  That                                                               
report  found that  approximately 650  sites were  known to  have                                                               
been conveyed  to Alaska Native Corporations  under ANCSA, except                                                               
the outcome  of that report  "didn't produce much, other  than it                                                               
surveyed  the  issue  well,  but no  action  was  really  taken."                                                               
Approximately one decade  went by and in 2014,  the United States                                                               
Congress  mandated  that  the United  States  Department  of  the                                                               
Interior  update  that  inventory  of  contaminated  lands.    He                                                               
explained  that in  2016,  the United  States  Department of  the                                                               
Interior  completed  its report  and  found  that 500-plus  sites                                                               
required remediation  and cleanup in  order to truly  resolve the                                                               
issue.   The largest party of  those pre-transferred contaminated                                                               
lands was  found to be  the United States Department  of Defense.                                                               
Subsequent  to  the  2016  report,  he  advised,  and  work  with                                                               
organizations,  such as  the  Alaska  Native Village  Corporation                                                               
Association  (ANVCA) drafted  this bill  and also  a bill  at the                                                               
federal  level.   He explained  that HB  367 will  not solve  the                                                               
problem of cleaning  up the lands, but it will  help bring Alaska                                                               
Native Corporations into a place  where they are able to actually                                                               
begin addressing  these matters.   Essentially, the intent  is to                                                               
remove liability  from the Alaska Native  Corporations which were                                                               
transferred contaminated  lands and, he stressed  that the Alaska                                                               
Native Corporations  were unaware of those  contaminations during                                                               
the  process  of  the  conveyance   of  lands.    The  issue,  he                                                               
explained, is  that under  current state  law, the  Alaska Native                                                               
Corporations would be  liable for the cleanup,  cost, and damages                                                               
that  may  arise  from  those  contaminated  lands  of  which  is                                                               
addressed in this legislation to remove that level of liability.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:03:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  offered sympathy for this  issue and asked                                                               
why it  is strictly limited  to Alaska Native  Corporation lands.                                                               
She noted that  Alaska has strict liability  laws wherein someone                                                               
can be completely  innocent when something was  conveyed to them,                                                               
and they  had absolutely  no idea  it was  contaminated.   In the                                                               
event this legislature  addresses this issue for  one category of                                                               
folks, she suggested possibly revisiting the entire law.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RODVICK described  the Alaska  Native Claims  Settlement Act                                                               
(ANCSA) as a monumental piece  of legislation in Alaska's history                                                               
that involved  44 million  acres of conveyed  lands.   He pointed                                                               
out that  it is not just  the Alaska Native Corporations  who are                                                               
affected  with  contaminated  lands,  many of  the  villages  and                                                               
smaller  corporations that,  under  the  current liability  state                                                               
statutes, "could be  honestly decimated" if found  liable and had                                                               
to deal with  the contamination.  Possibly, he  offered, there is                                                               
a conversation  to be  had in  looking at  other parties  who are                                                               
responsible  for  contamination,  but  the  scope  of  this  bill                                                               
focuses on the Alaska Native Corporations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:04:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked how  it would  work under  this bill                                                               
if, for instance, an Alaska  Native Corporation received conveyed                                                               
land through  ANCSA and it then  conveyed some of that  land to a                                                               
second  party,   and  that   party  found   that  the   land  was                                                               
contaminated.   She  asked whether  this  legislation would  also                                                               
immunize the second party.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RODVICK related  that  he  would have  to  get  back to  the                                                               
committee  with   legal  opinions  in  terms   of  Alaska  Native                                                               
Corporations  passing  on  conveyed   lands,  selling  lands,  or                                                               
conveying  it to  other parties,  if that  second party  would be                                                               
relieved  from liability.   The  intent of  this legislation,  he                                                               
explained, is to focus on  the corporations with contamination on                                                               
their  lands because  those corporations  want to  help remediate                                                               
these  environmental  disasters so  they  can  move forward  with                                                               
their communities  with responsible  resource development  or the                                                               
use of their lands.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:06:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  commented that  she would like  to receive                                                               
an answer to her question.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:06:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  when  the  last  land  grant  was                                                               
conveyed under ANCSA.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RODVICK  answered  that  he  would  have  to  research  that                                                               
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:06:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN referred  to the  conveyance of  the last                                                               
land grant  and asked whether  there are any  circumstances where                                                               
an  Alaska  Native  Corporation  or  someone  else  would  be  in                                                               
possession,    control,     or    have     some    administrative                                                               
responsibilities   over  the   land,   prior   to  it   formally,                                                               
officially,  and legally,  granted to  them.   He opined  that if                                                               
that is  the case, rather  than having the immunization  start or                                                               
the  trigger begin  when the  land was  granted, possibly  a more                                                               
appropriate trigger  would be when  the person received  the land                                                               
grant and came to possess or  control or administer or manage the                                                               
land.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RODVICK opined  that the  process of  conveying lands  under                                                               
ANCSA is  ongoing because there is  still land that has  not been                                                               
fully conveyed  to the Alaska  Native Corporations  by particular                                                               
parties.   In  terms of  the word  "grant" versus  "convey," that                                                               
issue was  discussed in the  House Resources  Standing Committee,                                                               
and he  asked Representative Eastman  whether that is what  he is                                                               
considering in terms  of the actual timeframe for  the removal of                                                               
liability.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:08:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  referred to [Section 3,  AS 46.03.822(n),                                                               
page 3, line 1, which read as follows:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     substance was present on the land at the time the land                                                                     
     was granted.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  clarified that he was  asking whether the                                                               
last  three   words  of  the   bill,  "land  was   granted,"  are                                                               
appropriate  and  meet  the  intent  of  this  legislation.    He                                                               
commented that if this only deals  with "at the time the land was                                                               
granted" and there  is still land that has not  yet been granted,                                                               
"maybe  it's  not  right to  absolve  someone  of  responsibility                                                               
because they haven't  been granted the land yet, if  they are the                                                               
ones who may  already be aware or maybe contributed  to some type                                                               
of  contaminants or  something like  that."   In the  event those                                                               
folks are  responsible in some manner,  he said, he did  not know                                                               
whether what "we are trying to  do" is remove them from liability                                                               
simply because they have not yet been granted the land.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RODVICK  answered  that  it comes  back  to  the  difference                                                               
between the definitions of "grant"  and "convey."  The lands were                                                               
granted to the  Alaska Native Corporations under  ANCSA, but they                                                               
have not  yet been conveyed.   He pointed out that  those granted                                                               
lands  containing contamination  before  being actually  conveyed                                                               
are the  lands this legislation addresses  in removing liability,                                                               
and the  sponsor's office worked  in conjunction with  the Alaska                                                               
Native  Village   Corporation  Association  when   crafting  this                                                               
legislation, he said.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:09:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened invited testimony on HB 367.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:10:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HALLIE  BISSETT,   Executive  Director,  Alaska   Native  Village                                                               
Corporation  Association (ANVCA),  described her  background, and                                                               
advised that  she has served on  the board of directors  for Cook                                                               
Inlet Region Incorporated since 2010  and she is clearly aware of                                                               
the various  contaminated lands.   She described that one  bit of                                                               
contaminated  land is  located between  the two  major population                                                               
centers of  the Municipality  of Anchorage  and the  Mat-Su, with                                                               
Camp  Mohawk  in Eklutna  that  is  currently contaminating  Cook                                                               
Inlet  with Polychlorinated  Biphenyls (PCBs).   This  is a  real                                                               
problem "right in  our backyard" she described, and  it cannot be                                                               
ignored any  longer.  On  12/18/1971, the United  States Congress                                                               
passed the Alaska  Native Claims Settlement Act  (ANCSA) into law                                                               
and agreed  to convey to  12 Alaska Native  Regional Corporations                                                               
and  more than  200  village corporations,  44  million acres  of                                                               
land.  To be clear, she  expressed, the Alaska Native people gave                                                               
up  88 percent  of their  traditional lands  through ANCSA.   The                                                               
United   States  Congress   directed  that   the  United   States                                                               
Department of  the Interior oversee  the transfer of  these lands                                                               
(coughing) late  1980s it was  realized that the transfer  was of                                                               
contaminated lands.  The Alaska  Native people did not know those                                                               
lands were contaminated  and the federal government  did not hand                                                               
over  the documentation  "letting  us know  what  was out  there.                                                               
And, what is out there?   We're talking about arsenic, unexploded                                                               
ordinances, PCBs, among many other things."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:12:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BISSET,  in response to  Representative LeDoux's  question as                                                               
to why  this legislation is limited  to ANCSA, opined that  it is                                                               
limited to  ANCSA "for the very  fact that we gave  up 88 percent                                                               
of our traditional  lands" in exchange for this  settlement.  The                                                               
Alaska  Native  people  were  supposed  to  receive  economically                                                               
viable lands  in exchange, and  not lands that they  were legally                                                               
liable to cleanup.  She stressed  that a huge disservice was done                                                               
to  the Alaska  Native  people  over these  many  years and  this                                                               
legislation  is trying  to remedy  the situation  by putting  the                                                               
legal liability shield in place  to complete the inventory of the                                                               
total sites out there.  As  was noted in the report, she offered,                                                               
there are approximately 650 sites  currently, but there are about                                                               
100 more sites  that need to be evaluated to  determine the exact                                                               
condition of  the land.  She  commented that if these  events had                                                               
taken place  20-30 times, she might  think it was a  mistake, but                                                               
this has happened  over 900 times.  Therefore,  something must be                                                               
done about this  and she offered that some of  the effects of the                                                               
contaminations  as follows:  people  living on  one  side of  the                                                               
river  are dying  of  a certain  type of  cancer  and the  people                                                               
living  on the  other side  of the  river are  not dying  of this                                                               
cancer; people  are hanging glow-in-the-dark  fish at  their fish                                                               
camps;  and the  people  living in  Unalakleet  believe they  are                                                               
getting Parkinson's  Disease from  all of  the PCBs  being dumped                                                               
into their water.   This is a very real problem  that needs to be                                                               
cleaned up,  the report identifies  94 "orphan sites,"  an orphan                                                               
site means there  is no intention to clean  up the contamination.                                                               
She  stressed   that  the   Alaska  Native   Village  Corporation                                                               
Association (ANVCA)  would like  to put  the liability  shield in                                                               
place and begin cleaning up these lands.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:14:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked  how this bill assists  in the clean                                                               
up of contaminated lands because  it absolves liability, at least                                                               
in  some situations,  from corporations.   He  noted that  he was                                                               
unsure how that would help the  owners of the land to cleaning up                                                               
the contaminations, and asked that,  if anything, doesn't it make                                                               
it so the  Alaska Native Corporations do not have  to clean it up                                                               
because the contamination is not their fault.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.   BISSETT   responded   that  because   the   Alaska   Native                                                               
Corporations  are  potentially   responsible  parties,  they  are                                                               
unable to apply for, for  EPA ground fill development grants, for                                                               
example, which is one of the  reasons for this legislation.  This                                                               
bill lifts  the liability problem  in order to receive  access to                                                               
federal funds for cleanup, she advised.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:15:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  opened public on  HB 367.  After  ascertaining that                                                               
no one wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 367.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[HB 367 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB093 ver O 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/30/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
SB093 Sponsor Statement 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/30/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
SB093 Sectional Analysis ver O 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
SB093 Supporting Documents 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
SB093 Fiscal Note LAW-CIV 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
HB367 ver A 3.28.18.PDF HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Sponsor Statement 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Sectional Analysis ver A 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-ANCSA-CONTAMINATED-LAND_Congress 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-Inventory of ANCSA Contaminated Lands 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-HRES ANVCA Contaminated Lands Presentation 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-October 2016 ATCEM ANCSA 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-1998 Report to Congress ANSCA Contaminated Lands 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-2016 Report to Congress ANSCA Contaminated Lands 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-US Senate Bill 822 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Supporting Document-Letters 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
HB367 Fiscal Note DEC-SPAR 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 367
SB093 PowerPoint Presentation 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
SB 93
HB075 Work Draft Committee Substitute ver R 3.26.18.pdf HJUD 3/26/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/28/2018 7:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Sectional Analysis ver R 3.26.18.pdf HJUD 3/26/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/28/2018 7:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Additional Document-Firearm Injuries in Alaska, 2009-2015 3.28.18.pdf HJUD 3/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/28/2018 7:00:00 PM
HB 75