Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/14/1995 05:12 PM WTR

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON WORLD TRADE AND                          
                    STATE/FEDERAL RELATIONS                                    
                       February 14, 1995                                       
                           5:12 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Ramona Barnes, Chairman                                        
 Representative Gail Phillips, Vice Chairman                                   
 Representative Eldon Mulder                                                   
 Representative Bill Williams                                                  
 Representative Gary Davis                                                     
 Representative Gene Kubina                                                    
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 Representative Jerry Mackie                                                   
 OTHER HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT                                                   
 Representative Scott Ogan                                                     
 Representative Jeannette James                                                
 Representative Richard Foster                                                 
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 * HJR 22:  Relating to the maritime boundary between Alaska and               
    the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.                            
    PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                    
 * HJR 12:  Supporting line item veto power for the President of               
    the United States.                                                         
    PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                    
 * HJR 26:  Urging the United States Congress to uphold Alaska's               
    right to 90 percent of the royalties from oil, gas and                     
    coal leasing on state land as provided by the                              
    Statehood Compact adopted by a vote of the people on                       
    April 24, 1956.                                                            
    PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                    
 (*  First public hearing)                                                     
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY                                                       
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 216                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone: 465-3719                                                           
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered sponsor statement for HJR 22                     
 MARK SEIDENBERG, Vice Chairman                                                
 State Department WATCH Ltd.                                                   
 66A North Bedford Street                                                      
 Arlington, Virginia 22201                                                     
 Telephone:  (818) 223-8080                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 22                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 521                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  465-3779                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered sponsor statement for HJR 12                     
 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 110                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  465-4968                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered sponsor statement for HJR 26                     
 SARA HANNAN, Executive Director                                               
 Alaska Environmental Lobby, Inc.                                              
 Post Office Box 22151                                                         
 Juneau, Alaska  99802                                                         
 Telephone:  463-3366                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 26                                         
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 22                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA/RUSSIA MARITIME BOUNDARY                                  
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY,Ogan,Toohey                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 01/25/95       129    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/25/95       129    (H)   WTR, STA                                          
 02/14/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
 BILL:  HJR 12                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: LINE ITEM VETO FOR U.S. PRESIDENT                                
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) NAVARRE,Brown,Davies                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 01/16/95        19    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        19    (H)   WTR, STA, JUD                                     
 01/18/95        74    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES                              
 02/14/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
 BILL:  HJR 26                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: OIL & GAS ROYALTIES                                              
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG,Ogan,Navarre                           
 JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                ACTION                                      
 02/01/95       197    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/01/95       197    (H)   WTR, O&G                                          
 02/14/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-4  SIDE A                                                             
 Number 000                                                                    
 The meeting of the House Special Committee on World Trade and                 
 State/Federal Relations was called to order by Chairman Ramona                
 Barnes at 5:12 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were                
 Representatives Barnes, Phillips, Williams, G. Davis and Kubina.              
 Members absent were Representatives Mulder and Mackie.                        
 CHAIRMAN RAMONA BARNES stated there was a quorum present.                     
 HWTR - 02/14/95                                                               
 HJR 22 - ALASKA/RUSSIA MARITIME BOUNDARY                                    
 Number 004                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY, sponsor of the measure, stated that HJR
 22 is not a radical proposal as some have suggested that perhaps              
 Alaska is trying to start a confrontation with the Soviet Union,              
 which is not the case at all.  Until 1984, the policy of the                  
 United States government was that Wrangell Islands, Herald                    
 Islands, and the American De Long Islands were U.S. Territories               
 by virtue of discovery and possession.  The U.S. did have                     
 sovereignty over these islands until the administration of the                
 U.S. State Department unilaterally said that we didn't have                   
 possession.  The U.S. Congress has never concurred in that                    
 statement, there's never been a treaty signed and to this day,                
 the border between the Soviet Union and Alaska is undetermined.               
 Around 1988, there was an offshore oil lease sale in the Navarin              
 Basin.  Ultimately, the federal government gave the purchasers                
 their money back because the leases were never issued because the             
 U.S. could not ascertain that we owned those offshore basins even             
 though they were within our 200-mile limit.                                   
 Number 030                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the claim to this island starts back in             
 1867, when Captain Thomas Long and his crew discovered Wrangell               
 Island in the Chukchi Sea.  Captain Long named the island after               
 the former governor of Russian Alaska, Baron Ferdinand Petrovich              
 von Wrangell.  The island has an area of 1,740 square miles and               
 is located some 270 miles northwest of Cape Lisburne.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER arrived at 5:20 p.m.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated the first recorded landing of the                 
 Wrangell Island wasn't until 1881, when Captain Long raised the               
 American flag and took possession of the island in the name of                
 the U.S.  In 1921, Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an                  
 American, acquired the rights to the island and established a                 
 settlement.  The settlement failed in 1923.                                   
 Number 142                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY added that a year later, Russians captured a             
 few American settlers and sent them to Vladivostok.  Subsequent               
 to that date, the U.S. still asserted its claim to those islands.             
 He went on to say there is much at stake for Alaska.  There's                 
 tens of thousands of square miles of seabed over which we have                
 some rights to, mostly federal rights.  There is a great deal of              
 land.  It wasn't until 1959 that the Soviets finally paid                     
 reparation for the property, not the land they confiscated in                 
 Number 171                                                                    
 MARK SEIDENBERG, Vice Chairman, State Department WATCH Ltd.,                  
 wished to impress upon to the committee just how large a loss                 
 Alaska would suffer if we failed to fight for its rights.                     
 Because of the proposed U.S.-U.S.S.R. maritime boundary, the                  
 federal government is intent on giving away enough seabeds in the             
 Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea nearly equal to the size of Texas.                
 Alaska faces the loss of sovereignty, property, mineral and other             
 resource rights and related businesses and jobs.  This total                  
 could easily range into the billions of dollars.                              
 Number 215                                                                    
 MR. SEIDENBERG stressed the point that there's a good probability             
 that valuable oil and gas deposits exist throughout the Chukchi               
 Sea.  These represent potential revenue sources through direct                
 ownership of the submerged lands and taxing other production.                 
 Number 230                                                                    
 MR. SEIDENBERG read from a prepared statement on behalf of CARL               
 OLSON, Chairman of the State Department WATCH, Ltd.  In the                   
 statement, Mr. Olson said that his group had been fighting the                
 horrendous potential giveaway of Alaskan territory and seabeds to             
 the Russians for over ten years.  For the over 15 years the                   
 federal government has been working on the proposed maritime                  
 boundary, it has never voluntarily allowed Alaska or the general              
 public to participate.  Mr. Olson suggested legal action to                   
 correct this problem.                                                         
 MR. SEIDENBERG continued on Mr. Olson's behalf and recalled at                
 the time the proposed Maritime Boundary Agreement was signed on               
 June 1, 1990, by Secretary of State, James Baker III and Soviet               
 Foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, they signed a secret side              
 agreement.  It states that the two governments would abide by the             
 terms of the proposed agreement regardless of whether it were                 
 ever ratified or put into effect in the normal diplomatic                     
 process.  This amounts to a unilateral amendment to the                       
 Constitution, which gives the Secretary of State the power to                 
 adopt agreements that normally takes a completed treaty to                    
 Several nationwide and local groups have adopted resolutions                  
 opposing the giveaway, including the American Legion, Veterans of             
 Foreign Wars, Daughters of the American Revolution and Young                  
 Americans for Freedom.  The California State Legislature passed a             
 resolution a few years ago backing Alaska's rights in this area,              
 since a threat to one state's sovereignty and borders is a threat             
 to all.                                                                       
 Number 290                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN BARNES acknowledged the fine work of Messrs. Seidenberg              
 and Olson and inquired about a U.S. Senate passed resolution on               
 their behalf.                                                                 
 Number 305                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS inquired of the sponsor as to what               
 Alaska's congressional delegation position was on this                        
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated that from all correspondence, they do             
 not wish the U.S. government to assert any territorial claims                 
 over the area.                                                                
 Number 320                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked what counter action was taken by                
 our delegation after the 1990 agreement.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY was not up-to-date to be able to offer a                 
 qualified answer.                                                             
 Number 320                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked how the breakup of the U.S.S.R.                 
 effect the legality of the agreement.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said that the U.S. State Department would                
 unilaterally abide by that agreement pending ratification by the              
 Russian government and Soviet government and the U.S. Congress.               
 Neither occurred because the Soviet government collapsed and                  
 Congress either didn't take up the agreement or it didn't pass.               
 So, for all intents and purposes the whole boundary question is               
 in limbo.                                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS noted two very differing fiscal notes                 
 (one, a zero fiscal note) accompanying this resolve and asked                 
 about the high fiscal note of $150,000.  Since this has been                  
 researched and researched, to the point of having volumes and                 
 volumes of historical perspective, there wouldn't be any need for             
 the Department of Law to require the services of an international             
 law expert in Washington, D.C. to spend around 500 hours of                   
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY could not see any reason for a high fiscal               
 note and felt that we already have enough research for the state              
 to be able to take a position, and added that all the resolution              
 is asking is that the U.S. not enter into a treaty with the                   
 Soviet Union without allowing a representative from Alaska to                 
 participate in the negotiations.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS stated that a fiscal note from the                    
 Administrative Services Division signed by Richard Pegues, says               
 that HJR 22 would require a study of the maritime boundaries in               
 order to determine the following.  Representative Phillips was                
 incensed at the fact that if this piece of legislation has been               
 introduced and certainly not new to the state of Alaska, that it              
 would have a such an outrageous fiscal note.                                  
 Number 359                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER also was offended by the high fiscal note               
 and understood it to mean the Administration took a dim view of               
 the measure.  He wished to reconstruct a fiscal note.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA did not feel it was a blatant fiscal               
 note.  He suggested that the committee do away with this Resolve              
 and that would resolve the fiscal note.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA moved to amend HJR 22 by deleting lines                 
 15-29 from page 3.                                                            
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there was objection.  Hearing none, the              
 amendment was adopted.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS moved that the committee pass HJR 22(am)              
 out of committee with a zero fiscal note and individual                       
 CHAIRMAN BARNES said the question before the committee is, shall              
 the committee pass HJR 22 amended, with a zero fiscal note.                   
 Hearing no objection, HJR 22 (am) passed out of committee.                    
 HWTR - 02/14/95                                                               
 HJR 12 - LINE ITEM VETO FOR U.S. PRESIDENT                                  
 Number 431                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MIKE NAVARRE, sponsor of the resolution, stated                
 that as the national deficit continues upward, the President is               
 lacking one of the tools to help slow the budget spiral--the                  
 line-item veto.  The item veto for the President has been debated             
 for over 100 years.  The line-item veto first appeared in the                 
 Constitution of the Confederate States in 1861.  On many                      
 occasions line-item veto legislation has been introduced in                   
 Congress, but none has passed.                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE NAVARRE says that Alaska is one of the states                  
 where the Governor's line-item veto has a successful and proven               
 track record.  The line-item veto has assisted the budget process             
 in Alaska and should prove useful on the national level.                      
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS thought it was worth noting that this                 
 issue has been around for over a century and is still being                   
 Number 464                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS made a motion to move HJR 12 out of                 
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there was objection.  Hearing no                     
 objection, the motion passed.                                                 
 HWTR - 02/14/95                                                               
 HJR 26 - OIL & GAS ROYALTIES                                                 
 Number 469                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG, sponsor of the measure, said this             
 legislation serves as a reminder to Congress that they do not                 
 have the unilateral right to amend the Alaska Statehood Act.                  
 Alaska has tried since statehood to avoid a confrontation over                
 issues by working with Congress to ensure that any post-statehood             
 amendments to the Statehood Act did not materially diminish the               
 rights conferred to the state of Alaska by the act of admission               
 into the United States.  Representative Rokeberg pointed out that             
 Section 28 of the Statehood Act clearly states the formula for                
 sharing bonuses, royalties, and rentals under leases will be                  
 distributed 90 percent to Alaska and 10 percent to the U.S.                   
 Treasury.   He added that this resolution seeks to reinforce                  
 Alaska's resolve to protect our right to the 90/10 sharing                    
 formula granted by Congress on July 7, 1958.                                  
 Number 500                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS would like the sponsor to verify the date             
 that Alaskans voted on the Statehood Compact.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he will look into verifying the                  
 April date.                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS was excused from the meeting at 5:55 p.m.             
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked the sponsor if Congress was working               
 on legislation to reduce Alaska's royalty share percentage.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG responded that testimony in committee                 
 hearings was taken that the preference by the congressional                   
 delegation for Committee Substitute for HJR 13 (Oil & Gas) was                
 not have any indication or they preferred not to have the                     
 royalty-share mentioned in that particular resolution.                        
 Objections were raised.  Representative Rokeberg shared the basic             
 premise that we should not diminish any of our revenues.                      
 Number 535                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG indicated that in conversations with all              
 three of Alaska's congressional offices, the feeling in                       
 Washington, D.C. is that if we are going to open up the Arctic                
 National Wildlife Refuge that they would be prepared to revert to             
 a 50-50 split.                                                                
 TAPE 95-4, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER made a motion for a friendly amendment to               
 delete lines 12 and 13 from page 2.                                           
 CHAIRMAN BARNES called for the question.  Hearing no objection,               
 the motion passed.                                                            
 Number 044                                                                    
 SARA HANNAH, Executive Director of the Alaska Environmental                   
 Lobby, Inc., thought that it's not only the state's right but the             
 responsibility of a frugal owner, especially with regard to                   
 nonrenewable resources to oversee responsible, respectable                    
 development and that Alaska deserves 90 percent of the oil and                
 gas royalties due the state in the Statehood Compact.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER made a motion to move HJR 26(am) out of                 
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 CHAIRMAN BARNES called for the question.  Hearing no objection,               
 the resolution passed out of committee.                                       
 There being no further business to come before the House Special              
 Committee on World Trade and State/Federal Relations, CHAIRMAN                
 BARNES adjourned the meeting at 6:05 p.m.                                     

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