Legislature(2013 - 2014)BARNES 124

02/10/2014 01:00 PM RESOURCES


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01:06:21 PM Start
01:06:43 PM HJR15
02:04:24 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HJR 15 FEDERAL CONTAMINATION OF ANCSA LANDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 15(RES) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 10, 2014                                                                                        
                           1:06 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Eric Feige, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Peggy Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Saddler, Co-Chair                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 15                                                                                                   
Supporting the introduction and  enactment of federal legislation                                                               
acknowledging   that  the   federal  government   is  financially                                                               
responsible  under the  Alaska Native  Claims Settlement  Act for                                                               
the remediation of contaminated  land subject to conveyance under                                                               
the Act.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 15(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 15                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FEDERAL CONTAMINATION OF ANCSA LANDS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MILLETT                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
03/27/13       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/27/13       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
02/10/14       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CHARISSE MILLETT                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As the sponsor, introduced HJR 15.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VASILIOS "Akis" GIALOPSOS, Staff                                                                                                
Representative Charisse Millet                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  On behalf Representative Millett, provided                                                               
additional details regarding HJR 15.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JAELEEN ARAUJO, Vice President & General Counsel                                                                                
Sealaska Corporation                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA BERNS, Vice President of Corporate Affairs                                                                              
Old Harbor Native Corporation                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DELBERT REXFORD, Vice President of Land Fulfillment                                                                             
Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation                                                                                                   
Barrow, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY SHOCKLEY, President                                                                                                     
Bean Ridge Corporation                                                                                                          
Manley Hot Springs, Alaska                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MAVER CAREY                                                                                                                     
Chair, Alaska Native Village CEO Association (ANVCA)                                                                            
President & CEO, The Kuskokwim Corporation (TKC)                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRENAN CAIN, Chair, Land Committee                                                                                              
Alaska Native Village CEO Association (ANVCA)                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JULIANNA SHANE                                                                                                                  
Tanadgusix (TDX) Corporation                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HJR 15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:06:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ERIC   FEIGE  called   the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 1:06 p.m.   Representatives Olson,                                                               
Johnson, Seaton,  Hawker, and Feige  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.  Representatives P. Wilson,  Tarr, and Kawasaki arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          HJR 15-FEDERAL CONTAMINATION OF ANCSA LANDS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:06:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FEIGE announced  that  the only  order  of business  is                                                               
HOUSE JOINT  RESOLUTION NO. 15,  Supporting the  introduction and                                                               
enactment of  federal legislation acknowledging that  the federal                                                               
government  is financially  responsible under  the Alaska  Native                                                               
Claims Settlement  Act for the  remediation of  contaminated land                                                               
subject to conveyance under the Act.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:07:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CHARISSE MILLETT,  Alaska State Legislature, noted                                                               
that the [1971]  Alaska Native Claims Settlement  Act (ANCSA) was                                                               
passed  to settle  land  claims between  Alaska  Natives and  the                                                               
federal government.  However, due  diligence on many of the lands                                                               
transferred  to  the  Native  corporations   did  not  include  a                                                               
guarantee that the land was uncontaminated.   Of the lands now in                                                               
custody of  Native corporations, 650 sites  are contaminated; for                                                               
example,  some were  White  Alice sites,  some  were atomic  bomb                                                               
testing sites, and  some were testing for  different oil drilling                                                               
methods.   Liability for  cleanup of  these sites  is now  in the                                                               
hands of  the Native corporations,  which is not just,  right, or                                                               
fair.  This does not embody  what ANCSA was designed to do, which                                                               
was to give  the lands to the Native people  so they could profit                                                               
and  benefit  from  them.     If  Native  corporations  are  held                                                               
responsible for cleaning up these  lands, they will be greatly in                                                               
the hole [financially].                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:09:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  said HJR  15 asks the  federal government                                                               
to take responsibility for the  650 contaminated sites or to make                                                               
the  [corporations] whole  through a  transfer of  uncontaminated                                                               
lands.   Most  of the  village and  tribal corporations  selected                                                               
lands  surrounding the  areas  they were  from  to benefit  their                                                               
shareholders  through subsistence  and  other things.   It  would                                                               
therefore be  tough for some of  the areas to have  a land switch                                                               
because it  would not be  in close  proximity to the  villages or                                                               
corporation  locations.     This  resolution  asks   the  federal                                                               
government  to  take  responsibility, hold  harmless  the  Native                                                               
corporations,  and to  clean  up the  650  contaminated sites  so                                                               
profits can be seen by the shareholders.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  related that last  year she spent  a week                                                               
in  Washington, DC,  with Alaska  Native village  chief executive                                                               
officers  (CEOs).    A  contingent  of  about  25  people  having                                                               
contaminated lands  travelled to  speak with members  of Congress                                                               
as well  as [the new Secretary  of Interior], Sally Jewell.   The                                                               
federal government and  the U.S. Department of  Interior have not                                                               
been too friendly to Alaska.   The federal government has treated                                                               
Alaska as  the bastard child and  she will continue to  fight the                                                               
federal government on  this issue that is  incredibly valuable to                                                               
first  nation people,  she said.   Indigenous  people deserve  to                                                               
have clean  lands to  live on  and to profit  from, as  ANCSA was                                                               
intended to do.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:12:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VASILIOS   "AKIS"  GIALOPSOS,   Staff,  Representative   Charisse                                                               
Millet,   Alaska   State    Legislature,   explained   that   the                                                               
introductory   analysis   states   what  ANCSA   intended,   what                                                               
transpired that brought about the  1998 US Department of Interior                                                               
report that listed the 650  sites, and the quote from Congressman                                                               
Don  Young saying  that  it  was never  the  intent  of ANCSA  to                                                               
extinguish   Native  claims   for   the   purpose  of   conveying                                                               
contaminated sites.   The  "Be It  Resolved" clause  mentions the                                                               
support that  [federal] legislation  would need from  the [Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature]   in  terms   of  urging  Congress   to  pass                                                               
legislation that  would hold  the federal  government financially                                                               
responsible for  the cleanup of  these lands.  Regarding  to whom                                                               
copies of HJR 15 should be  sent (page 2, line 23), Mr. Gialopsos                                                               
pointed  out  that  Sally  Jewell has  replaced  Ken  Salazar  as                                                               
Secretary of Interior.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:14:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  reported that US Senator  Lisa Murkowski,                                                               
US Senator  Mark Begich, and  Congressman Don Young  have written                                                               
letters to  the Department of  Interior urging the  department to                                                               
update its 1998  report in order to ensure  no contaminated sites                                                               
have been overlooked.  She  further reported that Pat Pourchot of                                                               
the  US Bureau  of Land  Management  (BLM) has  promised to  make                                                               
updating the report a priority as soon as funding is received.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:15:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  asked whether  any of the  remediation costs                                                               
incurred  by the  corporations are  available to  share with  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  responded  some corporations  have  done                                                               
some  of  the  cleanup  themselves because  they  were  tired  of                                                               
waiting for  the federal government.   Included in  the committee                                                               
packet is  information about Tanadgusix (TDX)  Corporation of St.                                                               
George and  St. Paul islands  which is doing its  own remediation                                                               
at a cost  so far of $76  million.  A request  has been submitted                                                               
asking the US Department of  Interior to survey sites and provide                                                               
cleanup cost estimates.   However, it is hard to  get an estimate                                                               
of  cleanup costs  because  many  times it  is  unknown what  the                                                               
contamination is, how  widespread it is, and whether  it needs to                                                               
be a  summer or winter cleanup.   Given there are  650 sites, she                                                               
imagined that the cost is in the billions.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:17:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI, regarding  the third  "Whereas" clause,                                                               
understood  the   sponsor  is  not  claiming   that  the  federal                                                               
government knew or intentionally gave contaminated lands.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT replied  she does not believe  it was done                                                               
out of malice; those were  the lands selected by the corporations                                                               
and there  was no due  diligence.  She said  she is not  going to                                                               
say it  is either  the federal government's  fault or  the Native                                                               
corporations' fault for  not doing due diligence.   However, when                                                               
one receives land in an  agreement between the federal government                                                               
and a Native  corporation as a final repayment,  one would expect                                                               
the land to be  useable and in good condition.   While she has no                                                               
reason to believe this was done  knowingly or with malice, it was                                                               
done 650  different times.  She  said she is leaving  judgment to                                                               
committee members  about how serious  the federal  government was                                                               
about fulfilling its promise to the Native corporations.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:18:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FEIGE asked whether it  is fair to say the contamination                                                               
may have occurred  in the 1950s and 1960s,  but the environmental                                                               
laws that require cleanup were changed subsequent to that.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  agreed that technology has  advanced over                                                               
the past  70 years and  that cleanup done  in the 1940s  was much                                                               
different than  what it is  today.   Chemicals may not  have been                                                               
thought of as  being toxic until 30 years later  when the impacts                                                               
were felt by the communities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:19:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  agreed there  is a moral  obligation for                                                               
cleanup by the  federal government, but asked whether  there is a                                                               
legal obligation.   He noted  that in ongoing legal  cases around                                                               
the state,  it is  looking like  the last  landowner is  the most                                                               
responsible party.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT answered the  federal government owned all                                                               
of Alaska prior to the transfer  of lands to the state and Native                                                               
corporations.  There was no other owner prior to the transfer.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI observed that  the third "Whereas" clause                                                               
talks about  the activities  that were  allowed or  permitted [by                                                               
the  federal government].    He  pointed out  that  the State  of                                                               
Alaska  allegedly allowed  certain  activities to  happen on  the                                                               
"Flint Hills"  property, which used  to be "Williams,"  and there                                                               
is a  question about who  is legally responsible for  the cleanup                                                               
in that  case.  On  the transferred  lands there were  spills and                                                               
materials used that are now  being classified as hazardous and he                                                               
therefore wants to understand the legal implications.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  responded all the testing  done in Alaska                                                               
on federal lands was done by  the federal government.  Whether or                                                               
not  that   was  contracted  out,   it  was  still   the  federal                                                               
government.   The  atomic bomb  tests  were done  by the  federal                                                               
government, US Bureau  of Indian Affairs (BIA)  schools were paid                                                               
for by  the federal  government, and the  White Alice  sites were                                                               
paid for by the federal government.   There was no other property                                                               
owner or person involved other  than the federal government doing                                                               
the contamination to those lands prior to transfer.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FEIGE remarked that it is a short title search.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:22:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FEIGE opened public testimony on HJR 15.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:22:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAELEEN  ARAUJO,  Vice  President  &  General  Counsel,  Sealaska                                                               
Corporation, spoke in support of HJR  15 on behalf of Sealaska as                                                               
well as some  of its village corporations in  which Sealaska owns                                                               
the subsurface of  the surface estate in the villages.   She said                                                               
Sealaska does  not know  that it has  any type  of contamination,                                                               
such as  radioactive sites, but  several landfills  were conveyed                                                               
through  ANCSA to  either Sealaska  or its  village corporations.                                                               
Because  the  villages  wanted   to  receive  property  in  their                                                               
villages  they  did  receive landfills.    These  landfills  pre-                                                               
existed ANCSA  and there are  questions about some of  the things                                                               
that  were put  into these  landfills prior  to conveyance.   For                                                               
some  time  Sealaska  has  been  dealing with  this  and  who  is                                                               
responsible  for some  of these  things  that pre-existed  ANCSA.                                                               
Therefore, Sealaska supports HJR 15.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:24:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[CO-CHAIR FEIGE transferred the gavel to Vice Chair P. Wilson.]                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:24:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA BERNS,  Vice President of  Corporate Affairs,  Old Harbor                                                               
Native Corporation, spoke  in support of HJR 15 on  behalf of Old                                                               
Harbor  Native  Corporation  and   Carl  Marrs,  Chief  Executive                                                               
Officer.  She  said the federal government  contaminated the land                                                               
and needs  to be  responsible for  remediation.   The corporation                                                               
expects the federal  government to live by its  own policies that                                                               
it enforces on  states and private industry.   The contaminations                                                               
on  these  lands  are  causing   financial  hardship  and  health                                                               
concerns  to  Alaskans.    This sensitive  issue  should  not  be                                                               
disregarded.   Aboriginal lands have  been contaminated  and must                                                               
be  cleaned up  by the  responsible party,  which is  the federal                                                               
government.     She  offered  Old  Harbor   Native  Corporation's                                                               
appreciation  for  the legislature's  support  of  the people  of                                                               
Alaska to address this sensitive issue.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:25:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DELBERT REXFORD,  Vice President  of Land  Fulfillment, Ukpeagvik                                                               
Inupiat Corporation, noted that  Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation is                                                               
a direct  recipient under ANCSA  and has five  contaminated sites                                                               
that are  under a  monitoring program.   Within the  former Naval                                                               
Petroleum  Reserve Four  that was  received  by the  corporation,                                                               
extensive  exploration was  done,  and  contaminants and  unknown                                                               
substances were left all across the  tundra.  In the mid-1970s to                                                               
early 1980s, he  participated with the labor union  on cleanup of                                                               
the Naval Petroleum  Reserve Four.  Many of  his fellow employees                                                               
over  time have  died from  different cancers  contracted due  to                                                               
exposure  and contact  with the  contaminants.   He is  concerned                                                               
about  the environmental  injustice  of  the contaminated  sites.                                                               
Today the corporation  has 935 acres and is  pursuing the balance                                                               
of   its  land   conveyance   entitlements.     Because  of   the                                                               
contaminated sites,  the BLM will  not release or make  the lands                                                               
available  which   are  in  close   or  immediate   proximity  to                                                               
corporation lands.   These lands include the Navy  runway, the US                                                               
Geological  Survey (USGS)  and National  Oceanic and  Atmospheric                                                               
Administration  (NOAA) facilities,  the  former National  Weather                                                               
Service,  and  the former  Indian  Public  Health Service  lands.                                                               
These  lands  include contaminants  and  are  a continued  health                                                               
threat to  people in  the community and  people working  in those                                                               
environments.    On  behalf  of the  corporation  and  its  2,500                                                               
shareholders, he  strongly urged  the committee  to pass  HJR 15.                                                               
He noted  that tomorrow  evening is the  recognition of  a former                                                               
colleague who  passed away of  pancreatic cancer and who  grew up                                                               
subsisting in  one of the  former legacy  well areas.   These are                                                               
issues of concern in the villages.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:29:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  thanked Mr. Rexford for  pointing out that                                                               
this issue  is far more  than just  selection of the  land itself                                                               
that was subject to contamination.   This systemic and neglectful                                                               
act by  the federal government  has truly affected the  lives and                                                               
health of the Inupiat community.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:29:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR P. WILSON inquired  about the percentage of people who                                                               
have  passed away  from cancers  resulting from  exposure to  the                                                               
contaminants.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. REXFORD  responded that in  the Aiken family, Mrs.  Aiken has                                                               
passed away  of cancer, her  oldest daughter has died  of cancer,                                                               
her  second oldest  daughter is  now fighting  cancer, her  third                                                               
daughter has survived  cancer, Johnny Lee Aiken  passed away last                                                               
summer, and two  other siblings have contracted cancer.   This is                                                               
just one  family that did  a lot  of subsistence in  proximity to                                                               
former legacy  wells.  He  noted he works  for Husky Oil  at Camp                                                               
Lonely.   With  his  labor union  he  has done  a  lot of  tundra                                                               
cleanup and it  is unknown what the workers have  come in contact                                                               
with.  Many of his former  labor union members have passed on and                                                               
he feels fortunate to be here today.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  P. WILSON  thanked Mr. Rexford  for bringing  up this                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY  SHOCKLEY, President,  Bean Ridge  Corporation, said  she                                                               
supported HJR 15  on behalf of Bean Ridge  Corporation, a village                                                               
corporation from Manley Hot Springs.   She requested an amendment                                                               
be added that addresses a  contaminated area located about a mile                                                               
from the village where she grew  up and is an area where children                                                               
used to pick berries.   The Alaska Department of Transportation &                                                               
Public Facilities  (DOT&PF) stored  dioxins there that  were used                                                               
for  killing  weeds  along  the  highways.    The  Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation took  away  the drums,  but the  soil                                                               
remains  and  was  capped  this  last year  because  it  was  too                                                               
expensive to  remove it.   She  said she would  like to  see more                                                               
funding  from either  the  state or  federal  government to  help                                                               
communities in  removing drums.   Over the years  the legislature                                                               
has heard  so many  stories about  the many  people who  are sick                                                               
with cancer or other diseases.   Her father worked for DOT&PF and                                                               
she assumes he sprayed these dioxins  not knowing the danger.  He                                                               
contracted  lung  disease  and  was  gone  within  eight  months.                                                               
Northway, Galena,  and White Alice  are other sites  where people                                                               
have contracted cancer.   Much more needs to be  done to clean up                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:35:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR P.  WILSON asked how many areas have  drums located in                                                               
them in addition to Northway and Galena.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOCKLEY replied  a  lot  of stories  have  been heard  from                                                               
Northway.   People  have been  told  that these  areas have  been                                                               
cleaned and  that tests of the  streams and area are  negative in                                                               
regard  to contamination.   However,  the people  who live  there                                                               
have  stories.   In addition,  there  is Galena  and Fort  Yukon.                                                               
Research  can be  done to  look at  where the  state and  federal                                                               
governments did road  or military activities and  had White Alice                                                               
sites.  People  in these communities did not  realize their areas                                                               
were contaminated and children were playing in them.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:37:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR P.  WILSON  queried  about the  area  cleaned up  and                                                               
capped by DEC.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOCKLEY answered  that Utah  is the  only place  where this                                                               
type  of dioxin  is stored.    Moving the  dirt to  Utah was  too                                                               
expensive and too  dangerous to move.  She said  that the area of                                                               
contaminated dirt  is approximately 40 by  20 feet in size.   She                                                               
related  that personnel  from the  company cleaning  up the  site                                                               
told  her the  contaminated  dirt is  secure,  but she  questions                                                               
whether this  will be so  in 100 years.   She understood  that to                                                               
cap the  soil, the company  dug down about  two feet, put  down a                                                               
sheet, put  the [contaminated] dirt  back in, added more  dirt on                                                               
top  followed by  another sheet,  and then  more dirt  on top  of                                                               
that.  While  she has not been  back to the site  since that work                                                               
was done last  fall, she said she understands it  was going to be                                                               
fenced off.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:40:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR P. WILSON inquired  whether contaminants could run off                                                               
the area if it rains.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHOCKLEY posited the contaminant  could move downhill when it                                                               
rains because  the site is located  on a hill and  has been there                                                               
50 years  or more.   When she  expressed her concerns  to company                                                               
personnel she was  assured that capping would be  safe.  However,                                                               
she  is not  happy about  having  this contaminated  area on  the                                                               
corporation's land.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR  P. WILSON  requested  Ms.  Shockley to  contact  her                                                               
office so she can ask Ms. Shockley further questions.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOCKLEY urged  that HJR  15  be expanded  to include  other                                                               
agencies besides the federal government.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR P.  WILSON replied that since the  resolution is being                                                               
sent  to  the  federal  government,  it should  be  kept  as  is.                                                               
However, a separate bill could perhaps be done for the state.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAVER  CAREY,  Chair,  Alaska   Native  Village  CEO  Association                                                               
(ANVCA);  President  &  CEO,  The  Kuskokwim  Corporation  (TKC),                                                               
stated she is Yupik Eskimo and  Athabaskan Indian, and she is the                                                               
founder and  chair of the  Alaska Native Village  CEO Association                                                               
(ANVCA), a statewide nonprofit  that provides services, training,                                                               
and advocacy for  Alaska Native village corporations.   She noted                                                               
that The Kuskokwim Corporation is  comprised of 10 villages along                                                               
the  upper Kuskokwim  River upriver  from  Bethel and  represents                                                               
3,400  Alaska Native  shareholders.   She thanked  Representative                                                               
Millett  on behalf  of both  organizations,  concurring that  the                                                               
millions of acres  of land conveyed by the  federal government to                                                               
Alaska Native  corporations included  contaminated lands.   These                                                               
lands had  several types of  hazardous waste and  toxic material,                                                               
such  as  arsenic,  asbestos,  polychlorinated  biphenyls (PCBs),                                                               
unexploded  ordinances, mining  waste, chemicals,  spilled diesel                                                               
fuel, petroleum and oil solvents,  mercury, and toxic metals.  As                                                               
ANVCA gathers  more data  about these  contaminated sites,  it is                                                               
clear that these  sites are contaminating drinking  water.  Drums                                                               
of toxics buried in soil  are saturating the tundra and infecting                                                               
the local food  and water sources.  Former White  Alice sites are                                                               
leaking contaminants such  as PCBs and trichloroethylenes (TCEs).                                                               
The known  health effects of  these contaminants  include cancer,                                                               
miscarriages, attacks  on the nervous  system, depression  of the                                                               
immune  system, and  learning disabilities.   These  contaminated                                                               
lands  can  result  in  significant  health  risk  to  residents,                                                               
animals, and environment of the state of Alaska.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CAREY pointed out that  contaminated ANCSA lands have in many                                                               
instances resulted in significant  delays to economic development                                                               
projects   and  business   investments   in   Alaska  by   Native                                                               
corporations.  Almost  20 years after ANCSA was  signed into law,                                                               
the  Alaska Native  community  raised these  concerns  to the  US                                                               
Department of Interior, the department  that conveyed these lands                                                               
to the  Alaska Native corporations.   In 1995,  Congress directed                                                               
the  Secretary  of   Interior  to  prepare  a   report  on  these                                                               
contaminated lands.   Entitled "Hazardous Substance Contamination                                                               
of  Alaska Native  Claims Settlement  Act Lands  in Alaska,"  the                                                               
report was submitted in December  1998 and acknowledged conveying                                                               
approximately   650   contaminated   sites   to   Alaska   Native                                                               
corporations.   It identified numerous types  of hazardous waste,                                                               
such as  carcinogens, on the  conveyed lands.  It  recognized the                                                               
unjustness  of  conveying  contaminated lands  to  Alaska  Native                                                               
corporations and  recommended an approach to  thoroughly identify                                                               
the  sites and  then  clean them  up.   The  report included  six                                                               
specific recommendations  in moving forward, but  after nearly 20                                                               
years none have  been carried out.  The report  has basically sat                                                               
on a shelf collecting dust.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:47:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CAREY   said  the  conveyance  of   significant  amounts  of                                                               
contaminated land to  Alaska Native corporations is  unjust and a                                                               
smack in the  face as to the purpose of  the Alaska Native Claims                                                               
Settlement Act.   Surely Congress did not intend  to stick Alaska                                                               
Natives  with contaminated  lands,  saturating subsistence  foods                                                               
and  compromising  the  health  of  Natives.    She  related  her                                                               
firsthand  experience,  noting that  Red  Devil  is an  abandoned                                                               
cinnabar and mercury mine at the  mouth of Red Devil Creek.  This                                                               
creek  flows  into  the  Kuskokwim  River  where  many  Kuskokwim                                                               
Corporation  shareholders reside.   For  more than  four decades,                                                               
Red Devil's piles  of mine tailings, underground  fuel tanks, and                                                               
abandoned  processing   chemicals  have  been   leaking  mercury,                                                               
arsenic, and  other toxins into  the groundwater  and surrounding                                                               
river systems.   Mercury  can cause brain  damage in  infants and                                                               
young children.   People have been  told not to eat  certain pike                                                               
and  other  fish due  to  the  mercury  they  contain.   In  this                                                               
instance,  the BLM  is  responsible for  cleaning  up Red  Devil,                                                               
which has been sporadic over the  last 20 years.  Despite the BLM                                                               
spending  over $10  million on  cleanup, Red  Devil is  still not                                                               
cleaned  up.   This  cost  would  have bankrupted  The  Kuskokwim                                                               
Corporation,  given its  revenue  of only  $1.2  million just  10                                                               
years  ago.   Assistance of  the Alaska  Congressional Delegation                                                               
has been sought to put pressure on BLM to finalize the cleanup.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:49:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CAREY  said The Kuskokwim  Corporation and the  Alaska Native                                                               
Village  CEO  Association   support  by  HJR  15.     The  Alaska                                                               
Delegation has been very supportive  of this issue, she reported,                                                               
and today she  is seeking the committee's support.   The State of                                                               
Alaska has an important role  in ensuring that these contaminated                                                               
lands  are  cleaned  up.   Specifically,  her  organizations  are                                                               
asking for  five things:   1)  pass HJR 15;  2) push  the federal                                                               
government to  acknowledge its financial responsibility  to clean                                                               
up   the  contaminated   lands  transferred   to  Alaska   Native                                                               
corporations;  3) urge  Alaska's governor  to include  this as  a                                                               
lobbying  priority  of his  Washington,  DC,  office; 4)  conduct                                                               
high-level  meetings  with  all  relevant  federal  agencies  and                                                               
identify a lead agency responsible  for the timely remediation of                                                               
each site; and  5) help ANVCA identify sites  posing the greatest                                                               
health risk to Alaska residents.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:51:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  inquired  whether the  Red  Devil  mine                                                               
operator has  ever been  held responsible or  liable for  some of                                                               
the cleanup.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CAREY responded  she does  not know  who the  operators were                                                               
because the  mine was in  operation between  1933 and 1971.   She                                                               
does know, however, that the  federal government owned that land.                                                               
Conveyance of  that land has  not been  taken because it  has not                                                               
been cleaned up  and ownership will not be taken  until that land                                                               
is cleaned up.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:51:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENAN  CAIN, Chair,  Land Committee,  Alaska Native  Village CEO                                                               
Association (ANVCA), stated  he is testifying in  his capacity as                                                               
chair  of  the  Alaska  Native  Village  CEO  Association's  Land                                                               
Committee, but  is also  Vice President  and General  Counsel for                                                               
the Eyak Corporation.   He said ANVCA supports HJR  15.  The 1998                                                               
Department of  Interior report is  a very significant  report, he                                                               
noted, that  includes several good  recommendations on  pages 35-                                                               
36.    These recommendations  include  establishing  a forum  for                                                               
ANCSA landowners  and federal, state, local,  and tribal entities                                                               
to collaborate on the cleanup  of contaminated sites; compiling a                                                               
comprehensive inventory  of contaminated sites;  and recommending                                                               
further  cleanup  programs  and  actions.    In  the  report  the                                                               
department states  it is going  to coordinate  the implementation                                                               
of those  recommendations.   Yet, 15-20  years later  nothing has                                                               
happened and it  is known nothing happened  because ANVCA decided                                                               
to address the lingering issues of contaminated lands.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:53:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CAIN shared  that during  2012 and  2013, ANVCA  members met                                                               
with  representatives   from  the  Bureau  of   Land  Management,                                                               
Environmental  Protection  Agency,  and Department  of  Interior.                                                               
Those   representatives  candidly   stated  that   none  of   the                                                               
recommendations from the  1998 report had been  implemented.  The                                                               
[federal  employees]  in  Alaska  that ANVCA  has  met  with  and                                                               
continues to  meet with  are solid  people.   The BLM  folks have                                                               
informed  ANVCA that  BLM  is  undertaking a  review  of the  650                                                               
contaminated  sites to  see which  are still  contaminated.   The                                                               
Alaska  Congressional Delegation  has been  very helpful  on this                                                               
issue.  However, this issue has  not been resolved and to get the                                                               
attention it deserves in Washington,  DC, it needs visibility and                                                               
HJR  15 will  provide  visibility.   More  significantly, HJR  15                                                               
addresses  the unjustness  of  Alaska  Native corporations  being                                                               
subject  to  legal  exposure  for  contamination  caused  by  the                                                               
federal government.   Under federal and state  law, Alaska Native                                                               
corporations are  subject to  strict liability  for contamination                                                               
on  their  lands,  even  if the  federal  government  caused  the                                                               
contamination.  Suing  the federal government to clean  up a site                                                               
is very  difficult because  of sovereign immunity.   The  cost to                                                               
clean up  one of  these sites  can very  easily exceed  a million                                                               
dollars, an amount  that can bankrupt most  Alaska Native village                                                               
corporations.  A solution to this  problem is proposed by HJR 15.                                                               
The  federal government  conveyed  contaminated  lands to  Alaska                                                               
Native  corporations through  ANCSA;  the  federal government  is                                                               
financially responsible  for the  remediation of  that land.   He                                                               
reiterated  that   ANVCA  supports  HJR  15   and  believes  this                                                               
resolution will move this issue forward.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR P.  WILSON offered her appreciation  for each person's                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:56:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JULIANNA  SHANE,  Tanadgusix  (TDX) Corporation,  testified  that                                                               
Tanadgusix  (TDX) Corporation  of St.  George Island  was a  good                                                               
part of the agreement to have  its lands cleaned up.  The federal                                                               
government did  not phase out St.  Paul until 1984.   During that                                                               
time,  TDX negotiated  with  NOAA  to have  cleanup  done on  the                                                               
Pribilof Islands prior  to NOAA's leaving; thus,  funds came from                                                               
the federal  government to  clean up  the islands.   So  far, the                                                               
total  cost  for  cleaning  up   both  islands  is  $76  million.                                                               
Contaminants  that   were  cleaned  up  came   from  the  federal                                                               
government as well  as the military and  included PCBs, asbestos,                                                               
lead, buildings,  and buried  equipment.   She reported  that St.                                                               
Paul holds  the record in Alaska  for the highest rate  of cancer                                                               
per capita.   She  personally has lost  family members  to brain,                                                               
stomach, and  kidney cancer.   In  2013 she  lost her  husband to                                                               
lung cancer.   Contamination  on the  islands was  extensive with                                                               
some contamination  found 40 feet  down to bedrock and  some that                                                               
included a  mile of contaminated  soil.  The  corporation trained                                                               
its  own people  to do  the  hazardous waste  cleanup, having  99                                                               
percent local hire.  The  corporation grew companies that started                                                               
on St.  Paul and now  work nationwide cleaning  up contamination.                                                               
Over  this last  year the  corporation is  finally getting  lands                                                               
conveyed back  to it and  is now  potentially able to  offer land                                                               
for  lease in  the Pribilof  Islands for  commercial use.   Major                                                               
cleanup was done  over a period of 12 years  and was completed in                                                               
about 2000.  The reports were completed  in about 2003.  It is an                                                               
extensive  program,  and  TDX Corporation  understands  what  the                                                               
other tribes  and villages  are looking for  and speaks  on their                                                               
behalf that this has to be  done for the benefit of their people.                                                               
The TDX Corporation did its cleanup  on behalf of its tribe which                                                               
is the  Aleut people  of St.  Paul and  St. George.   This  is an                                                               
urgent cause -- work needs to start today, not tomorrow.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:00:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICE  CHAIR P.  WILSON thanked  the witnesses  and closed  public                                                               
testimony after ascertaining no one else wished to testify.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:01:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to adopt Conceptual  Amendment 1 as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Ken Salazar"                                                                                                  
          Insert "Sally Jewell"                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER objected for  discussion purposes.  He said                                                               
he supports  the conceptual amendment  but suggests  expanding it                                                               
to grant Legislative Legal and  Research Services the latitude to                                                               
review all  the names in  the resolution because there  are other                                                               
pending appointments.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON   concurred  and   withdrew   Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:02:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  moved to adopt Conceptual  Amendment 2 as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 23, "Ken  Salazar" be replaced with "Sally                                                                    
     Jewell"  and   that  Legislative  Legal   and  Research                                                                    
     Services make  other conforming amendments in  light of                                                                    
     potential  changes to  the list  [of recipients  of HJR                                                                    
     15].                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER moved to report  HJR 15, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal note.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI objected  for discussion  purposes.   He                                                               
pointed out  Ms. Shockley's statement that  DOT&PF is responsible                                                               
for spilling dioxins.  It is  easy to bash the federal government                                                               
and, while  this is  obviously one of  them, members  should also                                                               
focus on the  state having responsibilities as well.   This could                                                               
be conferred  down the  line; for  example, a  bad operator  of a                                                               
mine that  ceases to operate and  leaves a mess that  needs to be                                                               
cleaned up.   That should  not become  a Superfund site  just for                                                               
taxpayers to eventually pay.  He withdrew his objection.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further objection, HJR 15(RES)  was reported from                                                               
the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:04:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:04 p.m.