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30th Legislature(2017-2018)

Bill Text 30th Legislature

00 Enrolled SR 5                                                                                                           
01 Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska.                                                            
02                                         _______________                                                                 
03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE:                                                                                         
04      WHEREAS it is important to recognize that Alaska has been inhabited by Native                                      
05 peoples since the beginning of recorded history and more than 10,000 years before Alaska's                              
06 discovery by Russia; and                                                                                                
07      WHEREAS Alaska's European discovery was by Russia in 1741, the first Russian                                       
08 colony was established in 1784, and Alaska was a Russian colony for 83 years before its                                 
09 purchase by the United States; and                                                                                      
10      WHEREAS, on March 30, 1867, United States Secretary of State William Seward                                        
11 agreed to purchase Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000, which amounts to $123,000,000 in                                  
12 today's dollars, and increased the size of the United States by almost 20 percent; and                                  
13      WHEREAS Secretary Seward was convinced that Alaska was strategically located                                       
14 and held abundant natural resources; and                                                                                
15      WHEREAS Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner shepherded the treaty with                                            
16 Russia through Senate ratification because he believed Alaska was critical to accessing Asian                           
17 markets; and                                                                                                            
01      WHEREAS residents of Alaska were ignored by the federal government until the                                       
02 United States Congress, on May 17, 1884, passed the First Organic Act, which created the                                
03 District of Alaska and provided for the appointment by the federal government of judges,                                
04 clerks, marshals, and limited government officials to administer the district under the laws of                         
05 the State of Oregon, and for the appointment by the President of the United States of four                              
06 commissioners to be located in Juneau, Sitka, Wrangell, and Unalaska; and                                               
07      WHEREAS, in 1880, the first big gold strike near Juneau started a migration of                                     
08 people to Alaska, and subsequent gold discoveries near Nome in 1898 and in the Interior in                              
09 brought people inland, resulting in the settlement of population centers in places such as                              
10 Manley Hot Springs and Fairbanks; and                                                                                   
11      WHEREAS Fairbanks, because of its large commercial gold mining operations, grew                                    
12 to become the largest city in Alaska, after Nome, and continued to prosper for many years,                              
13 with jobs, a growing middle class, churches, schools, and cultural opportunities; and                                   
14      WHEREAS, in 1901, Lieutenant Billy Mitchell, a young army lieutenant in the                                        
15 Signal Corps, was sent to Alaska to supervise the construction of a telegraph line from Valdez                          
16 to Eagle, near where the Yukon River flows into Alaska from Canada, and, although building                              
17 a 1,500-mile telegraph line across the rugged wilderness and two major mountain ranges was                              
18 no simple feat, on June 27, 1903, he personally completed the line's last connection; and                               
19      WHEREAS the Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, enacted on May 17, 1906,                                          
20 permitted individual Alaska Natives to acquire title to up to 160 acres of land in a manner                             
21 similar to that afforded to Native Americans; and                                                                       
22      WHEREAS the Second Organic Act of 1912 made Alaska a territory of the United                                       
23 States with an elected legislature; and                                                                                 
24      WHEREAS, although the territory of Alaska gained representation in the federal                                     
25 government through a congressional delegate, the federal government retained much control                               
26 over the laws in Alaska regarding fishing, hunting, and natural resource management, and the                            
27 President of the United States appointed the governor; and                                                              
28      WHEREAS, on March 12, 1914, the United States Congress passed the Alaska                                           
29 Railroad Act and funded a project to build a railroad of not longer than 1,000 miles to connect                         
30 "one or more of the open Pacific Ocean harbors on the southern coast of Alaska with the                                 
31 navigable waters in the interior of Alaska"; and                                                                        
01      WHEREAS, in 1915, the United States Congress reserved approximately 268,800                                        
02 acres of land for the support of a territorial agricultural college and school of mines to be                           
03 established by the Alaska Territorial Legislature; the land available for selection included                            
04 every surveyed and unclaimed section 33 parcel, with 640 acres a section in each township                               
05 between, generally, Fairbanks and the foothills of the Alaska Range; because of the incredibly                          
06 slow pace of federal land surveys, except for 2,250 acres granted for the University of Alaska                          
07 Fairbanks campus, the Territory of Alaska received less than 9,000 acres, or about three                                
08 percent of the original entitlement from the 1915 land grant before the Act was extinguished                            
09 at statehood; and                                                                                                       
10      WHEREAS, in 1916, James Wickersham, Alaska's delegate to Congress, proposed                                        
11 the first bill for Alaska statehood; and                                                                                
12      WHEREAS the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed the federal government to                                          
13 retain mineral rights for coal, oil, gas, and other hydrocarbons on federal land and to share                           
14 royalties from those leases with the states; and                                                                        
15      WHEREAS, in 1929, the United States Congress granted an additional 100,000 acres                                   
16 of land to the Territory of Alaska for the exclusive use and benefit of the Alaska Agricultural                         
17 College and School of Mines, which allowed for the selection of parcels of land throughout                              
18 the state, as long as they were surveyed, unappropriated, and unreserved; the University of                             
19 Alaska is still entitled to 960 acres from the 1929 land grant; and                                                     
20      WHEREAS, in 1935, General Billy Mitchell testified before the United States House                                  
21 of Representatives and its Committee on Military Affairs to plead with the United States                                
22 Congress to recognize the strategic importance of Alaska, saying, "I believe that in the future,                        
23 whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in                           
24 the world"; and                                                                                                         
25      WHEREAS, in 1935, as part of the New Deal resettlement plan and in response to the                                 
26 Great Depression, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration created an experimental                                   
27 farming community known as the Matanuska Valley Colony; and                                                             
28      WHEREAS the 1942 invasion by Japan of Attu and Kiska islands on the Aleutian                                       
29 chain resulted in significant investment in Alaska for military operations during World War                             
30 II; and                                                                                                                 
31      WHEREAS, on February 11, 1942, the United States Congress and President                                            
01 Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the United States Army to begin construction of the                                
02 Alaska Highway for the purpose of defending and resupplying World War II airfields in                                   
03 Fairbanks and along the coast of Alaska; construction of the 1,600-mile pioneer road from                               
04 Dawson Creek to Delta Junction began in March 1942 and was completed on November 20,                                    
05 1942; wartime restrictions on road use were lifted in 1948; and                                                         
06      WHEREAS, because of the construction of military installations in Alaska, the                                      
07 population of Alaska nearly doubled from 1940 to 1950; and                                                              
08      WHEREAS, in 1946, a referendum in favor of statehood passed by a margin of three                                   
09 to two, and an ad hoc group of citizens formed the Alaska Statehood Association to lobby the                            
10 United States Congress for statehood; and                                                                               
11      WHEREAS bills for statehood repeatedly failed to pass the United States Congress;                                  
12 in April 1948, a bill introduced by Delegate Bob Bartlett died in the Rules Committee; in                               
13 1950, a bill passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 186-146 but failed                          
14 to pass the United States Senate; and, in 1951 and 1952, statehood bills also failed to pass the                        
15 United States Senate; and                                                                                               
16      WHEREAS, in the early 1950s, Alaskans believed that drafting a constitution before                                 
17 the United States Congress approved statehood would jeopardize Congressional approval;                                  
18 however, after many failed efforts to pass statehood bills, Alaskans decided to take history                            
19 into their own hands; and                                                                                               
20      WHEREAS, on November 8, 1955, 55 delegates elected from all over the state                                         
21 gathered in Fairbanks to begin drafting a constitution, and Bill Egan was chosen as the                                 
22 convention's presiding officer; and                                                                                     
23      WHEREAS, when the United States Congress reconvened in January 1958, President                                     
24 Dwight D. Eisenhower fully endorsed Alaska statehood; the United States House of                                        
25 Representatives passed the statehood bill by a vote of 210-166, and the United States Senate                            
26 passed the House version by a vote of 64-20; and                                                                        
27      WHEREAS, on July 7, 1958, President Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act,                                    
28 and, in August of 1958, Alaskans voted to approve the terms of statehood, establishing a                                
29 compact between the United States Congress and the people of Alaska; and                                                
30      WHEREAS, on January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the United States of                                  
31 America; and                                                                                                            
01      WHEREAS Alaskans who led the battle for statehood thought becoming a state                                         
02 would free Alaska from federal control; however, economic freedom moved slowly, with                                    
03 much federal overreach preventing the development of a diverse economy based on the rich                                
04 natural resources available in the state; and                                                                           
05      WHEREAS, in 1968, Atlantic Richfield Company discovered the largest oil field in                                   
06 United States history at Prudhoe Bay, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle; and                                         
07       WHEREAS, in 1971, President Richard M. Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims                                      
08 Settlement Act, which paved the way for the construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline                                   
09 System and awarded 44,000,000 acres and nearly $1,000,000,000 to newly established Native                               
10 Regional and Village Corporations; and                                                                                  
11      WHEREAS, in 1973, Vice-President Spiro Agnew broke a tie in the United States                                      
12 Senate on a vote to approve the construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System; and                                   
13      WHEREAS, in 1976, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management                                         
14 Act was passed to extend control of United States water out to 200 nautical miles from shore,                           
15 to phase out foreign fishing activities within that zone, prevent overfishing, allow overfished                         
16 stocks to recover, and conserve and manage fisheries resources; and                                                     
17      WHEREAS, in 1976, the Constitution of the State of Alaska was amended to direct a                                  
18 portion of oil revenue to the permanent fund; and                                                                       
19  WHEREAS, on June 20, 1977, the first barrel of Prudhoe Bay oil flowed through the                                      
20 Trans Alaska Pipeline System; and                                                                                       
21  WHEREAS the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act passed the United                                          
22 States Congress in November 1980 and was signed into law December 2, 1980; that Act                                     
23 provided varying degrees of special protection to over 157,000,000 acres of land, including                             
24 new national park land, additional acreage to the National Wildlife Refuge System,                                      
25 designation of 25 wild and scenic rivers, national forests, and other benefits to the United                            
26 States in exchange for the "No More" clause; and                                                                        
27  WHEREAS, in 1995, the United States Congress passed H.R. 2491, the fiscal year                                         
28 budget reconciliation bill, with provisions to open the 1002 area of the Arctic National                                
29 Wildlife Refuge to energy development, but President Bill Clinton vetoed the measure; and                               
30  WHEREAS, on April 4, 2017, President Donald Trump signed H.J.R. 69, nullifying                                         
31 the final rule of the decision of the United States Department of the Interior relating to "Non-                        
01 Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National                              
02 Wildlife Refuges in Alaska"; and                                                                                        
03  WHEREAS the state is still largely funded by oil revenue, and challenges and                                           
04 opportunities await Alaskans as the military presence in the state increases and the nation                             
05 recognizes the state's importance;                                                                                      
06  BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate celebrates the 150th anniversary of the historic                                        
07 purchase of Alaska and encourages the federal government to recognize the significant                                   
08 contributions Alaska has made and will continue to make to the energy needs, economic                                   
09 stability, and national security of the United States; and be it                                                        
10  FURTHER RESOLVED that Alaska, the lone Arctic state, will have a beautiful and                                         
11 prosperous future if allowed the freedom to pursue it.                                                                  
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