Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/09/1994 08:15 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 333 - MINING LOCATIONS ON STATE SELECTED LAND                             
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS advised members there was a draft                          
  committee substitute for HB 333 in their folders.                            
  JACK PHELPS, AIDE, REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT, explained that                  
  HB 333 is a simple measure which inserts a definition into                   
  Title 38 with respect to selected lands.  The definition is                  
  important because a large amount of the state is covered by                  
  land selections, many which are mineralized.  He said there                  
  are federal claims on many of the lands.  A federal claim,                   
  unless it has been patented, is often in question as to                      
  whether it is a valid claim.  Federal requirements for a                     
  valid claim include a marketability standard.  When there is                 
  a state selection over the top of a federal claim, it is not                 
  known if the federal claim is valid.  He stated if the claim                 
  is valid, it is a federal inholding and has no capability of                 
  being conveyed to the state.  If it is an invalid federal                    
  claim, there is a state selection over the top of it.                        
  MR. PHELPS said the Minerals Commission reviewed the problem                 
  and felt the way to solve it was to define state selected                    
  lands so that a selection is considered a selection for                      
  mining claim purposes, regardless of the validity or the                     
  effect on any particular piece of the land within that                       
  selection.  For the purpose of staking a claim, the land is                  
  considered selected whether it is validly selected or a                      
  MR. PHELPS said a person with a federal mine claim might                     
  want to convert it to a state claim once the land is                         
  patented to the state.  That is important to the state                       
  because it gets rid of the little pockets of federal                         
  inholdings throughout the state selections.  He pointed out                  
  that the benefits of HB 333 accrue not only to the mining                    
  industry but also to the state.                                              
  Number 080                                                                   
  MR. PHELPS explained the committee substitute was introduced                 
  because there were concerns expressed by the Department of                   
  Natural Resources (DNR) and Native corporations as to how HB
  333 will affect their operations.  The Native corporations                   
  were concerned how HB 333 would affect their Alaska Native                   
  Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) topfilings or selections.  In                  
  many cases, there are state selections and ANCSA selections                  
  which overlap.                                                               
  MR. PHELPS explained to solve the problem, subsection (b)(2)                 
  was added.  It says if there is a pending selection of an                    
  ANCSA corporation, it is exempted.  This raised new                          
  questions.  What if a person already has an at-risk claim on                 
  land which is both selected by the state and ANCSA?  That                    
  question led the sponsor to add Section 2 of the bill, which                 
  says even though ANCSA selections are exempted from the new                  
  definition of state selected lands, any existing at-risk                     
  claims lying in those areas are not affected.  He said if                    
  the ANCSA selection goes away, if the state selection                        
  attaches by conveyance, etc. the person who has an at-risk                   
  claim becomes the first (indiscernible).                                     
  Number 108                                                                   
  MR. PHELPS continued that Section l, subsection (c), lines                   
  five and six, were added because of legitimate concerns                      
  expressed by the Division of Land regarding the division's                   
  ability to decide which lands will be tentatively approved                   
  to the state.                                                                
  REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN said it was his understanding that                  
  in the Statehood Act, land conveyed to the state for the                     
  purpose of making the state solvent had to convey land in                    
  fee and the state had to maintain the mineral rights.  He                    
  asked if there is an attachment on the mineral rights                        
  through a prior federal claim, can land selected be conveyed                 
  with that encumbrance.                                                       
  MR. PHELPS responded that land with a federal claim is not                   
  conveyed to the state and continues to be a federal                          
  inholding as long as the miner maintains the claim.                          
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN questioned if a person holding a                        
  federal mining claim does not want to convert it to a state                  
  claim, could there be legal ramifications at a later date.                   
  MR. PHELPS responded that could happen.  However, the claims                 
  being discussed are very small, 1500 by 660 feet.  He said                   
  realistically it will be a very long time before the state's                 
  land selections are settled.  He added that the longer it                    
  takes, the more likely that the more valuable mineralization                 
  areas will be identified.                                                    
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said he was concerned that a judge may                  
  rule the land cannot be conveyed as long as it is federal                    
  and at some time, the person might lose his claim.                           
  MR. PHELPS responded that once a mechanism is provided for a                 
  miner to convert from a federal to a state claim, the                        
  likelihood for him doing that is increased.                                  
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked Mr. Phelps to again speak to Section                 
  2 and questioned the date of April 14, 1966, contained in                    
  that section.                                                                
  MR. PHELPS said Section 1, subsection (b)(2) exempts                         
  anything which has a pending ANCSA selection over it.  If HB
  333 passes, there will be no ability for a person to go into                 
  an ANCSA selected land until the Native corporation is                       
  satisfied.  He noted the date April 14, 1966, is used                        
  because that is the date AS 38.05.275 was effective.  He                     
  stressed that under CSHB 333(RES), all land which is under a                 
  pending ANCSA selection is protected.                                        
  Number 220                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY made a motion to ADOPT the committee                   
  substitute for HB 333.                                                       
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked for objections to the motion and,                    
  hearing none, CSHB 333(RES) was ADOPTED.                                     
  Number 230                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY made a motion to ADOPT the proposed                    
  amendments to CSHB 333(RES).                                                 
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS read the proposed amendments:                              
  1.  page 1, lines 7-11, delete all material and insert:                      
         "(1) means land for which the state has filed a                       
      selection application with the United States under                       
      Sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act, as amended,                          
      regardless of the validity or effect of the application,                 
      if the selection described in the application has not                    
      been rejected or relinquished;"                                          
  2.  page 1, line 14 - page 2, line 1, delete all material                    
      and insert:                                                              
      "corporation organized under 43 U.S.C. 1607(a), as                       
      amended, a Native group corporation that qualifies for                   
      a land conveyance under 43 U.S.C. 1613(h)(2), as                         
      amended, or a Native urban corporation that qualifies                    
      for a land conveyance under 43 U.S.C. 1613(h)(3), as                     
      amended, has"                                                            
  3.  page 2, line 11:                                                         
      delete [AS 27.10 or AS 38.05.195]                                        
      insert "AS 38.05.185 - 38.05.275 or in the manner                        
             described in AS 27.10"                                            
  4.  page 2, line 16:                                                         
      delete [AS 27.10.050 or AS 38.05.195]                                    
      insert "AS 38.05.185 - 38.05.275 or in the manner                        
             described in AS 27.10"                                            
  Number 245                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections to the                  
  motion.  Hearing none, the AMENDMENTS were ADOPTED.                          
  Number 257                                                                   
  RESOURCES, AND DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF MINING, stressed HB 333                 
  is simple and straightforward.  He expressed support of CSHB
  333.  It allows a miner who has federal mining claims to                     
  change over to state mining claims without having a gap of                   
  time in his title.  He said currently if a person owns a                     
  federal mining claim and the state has topfiled it with a                    
  land selection, that land selection is not real because the                  
  state can only select vacant, unappropriated land.  If a                     
  miner has a federal claim and wants to convert it to a state                 
  claim, that person has to go to the Bureau of Land                           
  Management (BLM), and give them a relinquish document.  Then                 
  the person has to go back out in the field and stake a state                 
  mining claim.  Mr. Gallagher emphasized that CSHB 333(RES)                   
  allows a person to stake a state mining claim on a federal                   
  Number 308                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to MOVE CSHB 333(RES) as                 
  amended with INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS and a zero fiscal                    
  note.  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections                  
  to the motion.  Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED.                             
  CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee will meet Friday,                  
  February 11 at 8:15 a.m. to take up SB 153.                                  
  There being no further business to come before the House                     
  Resources Committee, Chairman Williams adjourned the meeting                 
  at 9:25 a.m.                                                                 

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