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115th Congress     }                                  {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session        }                                  {       115-1058

======================================================================

 
   AMENDING THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT TO PROVIDE THAT 
  ALEXANDER CREEK, ALASKA, IS AND SHALL BE RECOGNIZED AS AN ELIGIBLE 
         NATIVE VILLAGE UNDER THAT ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

 November 30, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1418]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1418) to amend the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act to provide that Alexander Creek, Alaska, is and 
shall be recognized as an eligible Native village under that 
Act, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill 
do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 1418 is to amend the Alaska Native 
Claims Settlement Act to provide that Alexander Creek, Alaska, 
is and shall be recognized as an eligible Native village under 
that Act.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA, 43 
U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), extinguished all claims of Native people 
based on aboriginal title to lands and waters in Alaska. Under 
the Act, fee title to 44 million acres of public lands in 
Alaska and nearly $1 billion were conveyed and paid to Alaska 
Natives. Section 7 divided the State into twelve geographic 
regions, approximated by twelve regional Native associations, 
``composed as far as practicable of Natives having a common 
heritage and sharing common interests.'' Section 11 listed 
approximately 200 villages with 25 or more Native residents 
where they formed a majority of the population. The Regional 
Associations and Native Villages were authorized to form for-
profit business corporations organized under the laws of Alaska 
to manage the settlement lands and funds. Fee title to the 
surface estate to the lands was divided among the Regional and 
Village Corporations, while the Regional Corporations obtained 
fee title to the subsurface estate of most Regional and Village 
Corporation lands.
    The Act prescribed a host of conditions under which Native 
Corporations must operate. For example, settlement lands 
conveyed to the ANCSA Corporations are treated as private 
property subject to State regulation, but they are nontaxable 
until developed. While ANCSA Corporations may buy, sell or 
trade their lands like any private landowner, shares issued by 
the Corporations are not publicly traded or sold. Importantly, 
section 7 of ANCSA requires that 70% of revenues derived by a 
Regional Corporation from the development of timber and mineral 
resources on its settlement land be shared with the other 
Regional Corporations, which must in turn redistribute these 
benefits to Village Corporations in their regions and to at-
large shareholders (at-large shareholders of a Regional 
Corporation do not own shares in a Village Corporation).
    Depending on its population, each Alaska Native Village of 
25 or more residents is entitled to the surface estate between 
69,120 and 161,280 acres of public land for its Village 
Corporation. Relevant to Alexander Creek, ANCSA provides that a 
Village of fewer than 25 Native residents may form a ``Group 
Corporation'' entitled to a maximum of 7,680 acres.

Alexander Creek

    Alexander Creek is located 27 miles northwest of Alaska's 
largest city of Anchorage. Though not specifically listed as a 
Native Village in ANCSA, Alexander Creek secured recognition as 
a Village under administrative procedures authorized under 
section 11 of that Act. Its recognition as a Village was 
challenged through administrative appeals and lawsuits, 
precipitated by (among other things) concerns that it would 
obtain the right to select public lands to which the State of 
Alaska and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough sought to select 
pursuant to other acts.
    In 1974 the Department of the Interior Alaska Native Claims 
Appeals Board (ANCAB) resolved appeals challenging Alexander 
Creek's designation as a Village. The ANCAB decided there were 
only 22 Native people properly enrolled to Alexander Creek, 
three short of meeting the eligibility requirements for a 
Village. Alexander Creek contends that not all of its enrollees 
were properly counted because the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
(BIA) failed to notify residents of the administrative 
proceedings where they could have testified as to their status.
    Alexander Creek filed a lawsuit that resulted in protracted 
litigation. The case eventually went to the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which reversed 
the Department of the Interior's determination but remanded the 
case to a lower court for further proceedings. This led to 
negotiations that resulted in Alexander Creek organizing as a 
Group Corporation rather than a Village Corporation. Subsequent 
leadership of Alexander Creek petitioned Congress for Village 
status.
    On March 20, 2012, the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska 
Native Affairs held a hearing on a predecessor bill to H.R. 
1418 (H.R. 4194), and heard testimony from Stephanie Thompson, 
the President of Alexander Creek, and the Obama Administration. 
Ms. Thompson submitted materials demonstrating that a number of 
Natives (who have since passed away) were not given a fair 
opportunity to testify before the BIA as to their membership in 
Alexander Creek. At the time, the Interior Department opposed 
the bill on the grounds that a final settlement over the 
Group's status was struck and that it should not be reopened.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 1418 was introduced on March 7, 2017, by Congressman 
Don Young (R-AK). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. On July 25, 2017, 
the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by unanimous consent on July 26, 
2017.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

           Compliance With House Rule XIII and Congressional 
                               Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 22, 2107.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1418, a bill to 
amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide that 
Alexander Creek, Alaska, is and shall be recognized as an 
eligible Native village under that Act, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1418--A bill to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to 
        provide that Alexander Creek, Alaska, is and shall be 
        recognized as an eligible Native village under that Act, and 
        for other purposes

    Summary: H.R. 1418 would amend the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) to recognize the Alexander Creek 
community in Alaska as an eligible Native village under the 
act, which would entitle the community to receive additional 
federal land in Alaska. Under the bill the Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior (DOI) would have 13 months following 
enactment to reach an agreement with the Alexander Creek Native 
village to settle land and other claims against the federal 
government.
    The cost of a settlement agreement is uncertain because the 
components of the proposed agreement are unknown. Whether or 
not such an agreement could become final under H.R. 1418, or if 
additional legislation would be needed to implement an 
agreement, is also unknown. CBO expects that DOI would probably 
propose a monetary settlement with the village with an 
estimated value of about $32 million. The settlement of such a 
monetary claim could be accomplished under the authority 
provided by H.R. 1418; alternatively, DOI might seek a specific 
appropriation in subsequent legislation to pay that claim and 
to enact any other settlement terms into law.
    To account for the uncertainty about how the proposed 
settlement would become final, CBO assumed that there is a 50 
percent chance that the claim would be settled directly as a 
result of this bill, resulting in direct spending of $16 
million over the 2018-2022 period and a 50 percent chance that 
a settlement would require future appropriations totaling $16 
million over that period.
    Because enacting H.R. 1418 would increase direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not 
affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting the bill would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1418 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. Enacting the bill would benefit the community of 
Alexander Creek by designating land as a native village and 
potentially entitle members of Alexander Creek to increased 
land holdings or other federal benefits.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 1418 is shown in the table below. The 
costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 450 
(community and regional development) and 800 (general 
government).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025   2026   2027  2017-2022  2017-2027
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               INCREASE IN DIRECT SPENDING
 
Estimated Budget Authority...........................      0      0     16      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0        16         16
Estimated Outlays....................................      0      0     16      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0        16         16
 
                                                      INCREASE IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level........................      0      0     16      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0        16         16
Estimated Outlays....................................      0      0     16      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0        16         16
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
1418 will be enacted near the end of 2017, that DOI will reach 
a monetary settlement with the Alexander Creek village within a 
year and that any amounts necessary to finalize the settlement 
will be provided in fiscal year 2019.

Background

    ANCSA established a process to classify Native Alaskan 
communities as Native corporations and withdrew nearly 44 
million acres of federal land in Alaska for the purpose of 
conveying land to those communities. Under ANCSA, Native 
villages are entitled to receive about 69,000 acres from that 
withdrawn land, and Native groups can receive up to about 8,000 
acres. The Alexander Creek community was classified as a Native 
group in 1974, and that classification was affirmed and 
codified in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 
of 1980 (ANILCA). In that agreement, the Alexander Creek 
community was entitled to receive almost 8,000 acres of the 44 
million acres of federal land withdrawn under ANCSA.

Alexander Creek reclassification

    H.R. 1418 would designate the Alexander Creek community as 
a Native village under ANCSA, which would require DOI, in 
conjunction with the General Services Administration (GSA), to 
settle land and other claims with the newly designated Native 
village. Under the bill, part of the settlement could involve 
transferring some of the government's excess personal property, 
such as office equipment and furniture, to Alexander Creek. 
(The disposition of excess personal property is administered by 
the GSA.)
    Because H.R. 1418 would supersede the ANILCA agreement and 
classify the Alexander Creek community as a Native village, 
they would be entitled to receive an additional 61,000 acres of 
the federal land withdrawn under ANCSA. According to DOI, 
nearly all of that land has been or is in the process of being 
conveyed to other Alaska Native corporations. Under the bill, 
DOI would be required to enter into negotiations with Alexander 
Creek to settle the community's land claims by providing the 
community with some combination of other land in the public 
domain, personal property held by GSA, or other compensation. 
H.R. 1418 would require the settlement to be reached within 13 
months of the bill's enactment.
    Based on the value of undeveloped acreage in the vicinity 
of the Alexander Creek community, CBO estimates that 61,000 
acres of land in this area of Alaska would have an appraised 
value of about $32 million. Because there is little land 
available to settle the claim CBO expects that the settlement 
under H.R. 1418 would be in the form of a monetary settlement 
to the community. That settlement could come from amounts 
appropriated to DOI for that purpose; however, if the amounts 
required to settle the community's claim are not appropriated 
to DOI, CBO expects the settlement could also be made from the 
Treasury's Judgment Fund (a permanent, indefinite appropriation 
available to pay judicially and administratively ordered 
monetary awards against the United States). A federal agency 
may request that payment of an award be made on its behalf from 
the Judgment Fund when no other funds are available to pay an 
obligation of the government.
    The timing and the amount of a settlement are uncertain and 
would ultimately depend on the terms agreed upon by DOI and the 
Alexander Creek Native Village. DOI indicates that there are 
insufficient amounts of land in the region to compensate the 
village, and GSA notes that there is not enough surplus federal 
personal property to compensate the village in a reasonable 
amount of time.
    CBO expects that under H.R. 1418 there is a 50 percent 
chance that a settlement agreement could be reached that would 
need to be funded and finalized through subsequent legislation 
(at a discretionary cost of $16 million) and a 50 percent 
chance that a settlement could be agreed to directly under H.R. 
1418, which would result in direct spending totaling $16 
million that would be paid by the Judgment Fund.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 1418, A BILL TO AMEND THE ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT TO PROVIDE THAT ALEXANDER CREEK, ALASKA, IS
           AND SHALL BE RECOGNIZED AS AN ELIGIBLE NATIVE VILLAGE UNDER THAT ACT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, AS ORDERED REPORTED ON JULY 26, 2017
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2017   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023   2024   2025   2026   2027  2017-2022  2017-2027
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               NET INCREASE IN THE DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact.......................      0     16      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0      0        16         16
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 1418 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1418 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Enacting the bill would benefit the 
community of Alexander Creek by designating land as a native 
village and potentially entitle members of Alexander Creek to 
increased land holdings and other federal benefits.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Robert Reese and 
Matthew Pickford; Impact on State, local, and tribal 
governments: Rachel Austin; Impact on the private-sector: Amy 
Petz.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act to provide that Alexander Creek, Alaska, is and 
shall be recognized as an eligible Native village under that 
Act.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                  ALASKA NATIVE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
SEC. 43. ALEXANDER CREEK VILLAGE RECOGNITION.

  (a) Recognition of the Village of Alexander Creek.--Subject 
to the limitations of this section and notwithstanding section 
1432(d) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act 
(Public Law 96-487) and any conveyance or agreement in 
furtherance thereof or thereto, to the contrary, Alexander 
Creek, located within Township 15N, Range 7W, Seward Meridian, 
Alaska, is and shall be recognized as an eligible Native 
village under section 11(b)(3) of this Act.
  (b) Definitions.--For the purposes of this section, the 
following terms apply:
          (1) The term ``agency'' includes--
                  (A) any instrumentality of the United States;
                  (B) any element of an agency; and
                  (C) any wholly owned or mixed-owned 
                corporation of the United States Government 
                identified in chapter 91 of title 31, United 
                States Code.
          (2) The term ``Alexander Creek'' means Alexander 
        Creek, Incorporated, an Alaska Native Group corporation 
        organized pursuant to this Act prior to the enactment 
        of this section, but subsequent to enactment of this 
        section means Alexander Creek, Incorporated, an Alaska 
        Native Village corporation recognized and organized 
        pursuant to section (a).
          (3) The term ``Region'' means Cook Inlet Region 
        Incorporated, an Alaska Native Regional Corporation, 
        which is the appropriate Regional Corporation for 
        Alexander Creek under section 1613(h) of this Act.
  (c) Organization of Alexander Creek.--As soon as practicable 
after enactment of this section, Alexander Creek shall cause to 
be filed--
          (1) any amendments to its corporate charter in the 
        State of Alaska necessary to convert from a Native 
        group to a Native Village corporation; and
          (2) if necessary, any amendments to its corporate 
        charter and governing business documents that fulfill 
        the terms of the agreement authorized under this Act.
  (d) Negotiations.--Not later than 30 days after the date of 
the enactment of this section, the Secretary shall open 
negotiations with Alexander Creek and, not later than 13 months 
after the date of the enactment of this section, reach an 
agreement with Alexander Creek to fairly and equitably settle 
Alexander Creek's aboriginal land claims and any other claims 
of Alexander Creek against the United States. An agreement 
under this section shall be in approximate value parity with 
those of other Alaska Native Village Corporations, 
notwithstanding Alexander Creek's prior status as a Group 
Corporation. The Secretary shall effectuate such agreement 
under the authority in this section, other existing 
authorities, and in coordination with the Administrator 
pursuant to 40 U.S.C. 549 with respect to property to be 
transferred to Alexander Creek pursuant to such agreement. 
Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 549(a) of 
title 40, United States Code, Alexander Creek is hereby 
considered both a ``State'' and a ``State agency'' under that 
section for the sole purpose of the Secretary effectuating an 
agreement under this section.
  (e) Shareholder Participation.--Alexander Creek shall notify 
each member of the Native village recognized under this section 
that, upon the effective date of this section, such members 
shall cease to receive benefits from the Region as at-large 
shareholders pursuant to section 7(m), and that all future 
resource payments from the Region shall be made to the Village 
Corporation pursuant to section 7(j). The Region shall not be 
liable under any State, Federal, or local law, or under State 
or Federal common law, for damages arising out of or related to 
the cessation of payments to such individuals under section 
7(m) pursuant to this section.
  (f) Construction.--Except as provided in this section with 
respect to Alexander Creek, nothing in this section shall be 
construed to modify or amend land conveyance entitlements or 
conveyance agreements between the Region and village 
corporations other than Alexander Creek in such region, nor 
between the Region and the Federal Government, nor between any 
such parties and the State of Alaska.
  (g) Construction Regarding Current Alexander Creek Land.--
Nothing in this section shall be construed to reduce the land 
entitlement to which Alexander Creek became entitled as a Group 
Corporation, including the land selected by and conveyed to 
Alexander Creek at the time of enactment of this section.

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    I am deeply disappointed in the Congressional Budget 
Office's (CBO) unprofessionalism and lack of consistency during 
their efforts throughout the last three Congresses to analyze 
this legislation. CBO's failure to provide accurate, timely 
feedback to my office and produce a report that reflects the 
realities of the impact of this bill has been a significant 
roadblock to the bill's advancement. Ultimately, this has 
perpetuated historic injustices faced by the people of 
Alexander Creek, Alaska.
    My office has sought advice from CBO with the goal of 
producing language for the legislation that does not score. 
During the 113th Congress, CBO made recommendations to this end 
(after long delays) regarding including provisions specifying 
that the bill does not authorize funds for a settlement or 
create a federal liability through the Indian Tribal Judgment 
Funds Use or Distribution Act (25 U.S.C. 1401). After my office 
made CBO's recommended changes, CBO reversed their position and 
issued a report that found the bill scored. In addition, 
further legal analysis determined that CBO's recommended 
language regarding the Tribal Judgement Fund was based on a 
flawed understanding of Indian policy and did not make sense.
    During the 114th Congress, my office sought to develop 
further changes to the legislation to ensure it did not score. 
Understanding the significant amount of time required to move a 
bill to final passage, my staff requested CBO analyze the 
proposed changes as the first step in the process. After more 
than three months of delay, a CBO staffer informed my staff 
that the revised bill language would not score. At this point, 
based on input from the committee, my staff brought the revised 
language to Leadership staff for review to ensure the language 
did not violate the earmark ban.
    This review was a long process but resulted in a finding 
that the revised language did not violate the earmark ban. 
Because of the elapsed time, it was not possible to move the 
bill in the 114th Congress, and I introduced the revised 
version at the beginning of the 115th Congress. After the bill 
was ordered reported by the committee this Congress, I was 
surprised when CBO issued its official report and reversed its 
position on the language, assigning it a significant score.
    When my staff met with CBO staff to discuss the report, CBO 
staff was evasive and refused to reveal their methodology and 
documentation behind their determination. CBO staff also 
refused reveal the name or names of staff at the Department of 
Interior that they had consulted prior to making the 
determination. This is particularly troublesome given that some 
career staff at the Department had a history of opposing the 
bill, and I suspect their input to CBO regarding costs was 
politically motivated.
    CBO's delays, lack of transparency and accountability, and 
fluctuating positions have undermined the prospects for passing 
this legislation over the last six years. Beyond H.R. 1418, 
these problems at CBO are harmful to the legislative process as 
a whole. It is my hope that they can be addressed in the 116th 
Congress.

                                   Don Young,
                                           Congressman for all Alaska.

                                  [all]