Enrolled SR 5: Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska.
00Enrolled 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.