HJR 27: Requesting the United States Congress to accommodate Alaska's wetlands circumstances in the federal Clean Water Act reauthorization by increasing statutory flexibility on wetlands use in Alaska, and to recognize Alaska's unique and outstanding history of wetlands conservation.
00HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 27 01 Requesting the United States Congress to accommodate Alaska's wetlands 02 circumstances in the federal Clean Water Act reauthorization by increasing 03 statutory flexibility on wetlands use in Alaska, and to recognize Alaska's unique 04 and outstanding history of wetlands conservation. 05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 WHEREAS, in 1972, the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251-1387) allowed a 07 broad expansion of federal jurisdiction over wetlands by modifying the definition of navigable 08 waters to include all waters of the United States; and 09 WHEREAS, in 1975, the United States Army Corps of Engineers expanded wetlands 10 regulations to prohibit the discharge of dredged and fill material into wetlands; and 11 WHEREAS wetlands regulations have been expanded further to include isolated 12 wetlands and those not adjacent to navigable waters; and 13 WHEREAS the expansion of the regulations governing wetlands by federal agencies 14 exceeds what the Congress intended when it enacted the federal Clean Water Act; and
01 WHEREAS Alaska contains more wetlands than all other states combined; and 02 WHEREAS, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 03 170,200,000 acres of wetlands existed in Alaska in the 1780s and approximately 170,000,000 04 acres of wetlands exist today, representing a loss rate of less than 1/10th of one percent in a 05 decade through human and natural processes; and 06 WHEREAS approximately 98 percent of all Alaska communities, including 200 of 209 07 remote villages in Alaska, are located in or adjacent to wetlands; and 08 WHEREAS with negligible benefit to the environment in Alaska, the expansion of 09 wetlands regulations has placed an increasing and unnecessary burden on private landowners, 10 Native organizations, and local and state governments by inhibiting reasonable community 11 growth and environmentally benign, sensitive resource development; and 12 WHEREAS 88 percent of Alaska's wetlands are publicly owned, while only 26 13 percent of wetlands in the contiguous 48 states are in public ownership; and 14 WHEREAS more than 60,000,000 acres of Alaska's wetlands are known to be 15 conserved in some form of land designation, including federally designated wilderness land, 16 federal park and refuge land, and state park and refuge land, that restrict utilization or 17 degradation of wetlands; 18 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the United 19 States Congress to exclude Alaska from a "no net loss" policy associated with the federal 20 Clean Water Act, and to amend the federal Clean Water Act to modify the wetlands regulatory 21 program 22 (1) to provide flexibility in Alaska wetlands permitting commensurate with the 23 large amount of wetlands set aside in Alaska and the low historic rate of wetlands loss in 24 Alaska; and 25 (2) to relax the restrictions on the use of wetlands in Alaska; and be it 26 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the 27 United States Congress to recognize the unique contribution the citizens of Alaska have made 28 to wetlands conservation and Alaska's outstanding record of wetlands conservation. 29 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the 30 United States; to the Honorable Al Gore, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and President 31 of the U.S. Senate; to the Honorable Strom Thurmond, President Pro Tempore of the U.S.
01 Senate; to the Honorable Bob Dole, Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate; to the Honorable 02 Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; to the Honorable Dick Armey, 03 Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; to the Honorable Tom Daschle, 04 Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate; to the Honorable Richard A. Gephardt, Minority Leader 05 of the U.S. House of Representatives; to the Honorable John N. Chafee, Chair of the Senate 06 Committee on Environment and Public Works; to the Honorable Bud Shuster, Chair of the 07 House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; to the chairs of the following 08 subcommittees of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: the 09 Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure; the Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste 10 Control, and Risk Assessment; the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property, 11 and Nuclear Safety; and the Subcommittee on Drinking Water, Fisheries, and Wildlife; and 12 to the Honorable Ted Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senators, and the 13 Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.