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S. 785 - Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act

Sponsor: Dan Sullivan (R)
Introduced: 2017-03-30
Bill Status: Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 710.
 

Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act

This bill amends the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to revise provisions regarding land allotments for Alaska Native Vietnam veterans. Eligibility is expanded to include all Alaska Native veterans who served between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975.

Allotments may be selected from vacant federal lands or lands that have been selected or conveyed to the state of Alaska or an Alaska Native corporation, if the state or corporation relinquishes or conveys the land to the United States for allotment. Land may not be selected from: (1) the right-of-way of the TransAlaska Pipeline; (2) the inner or outer corridor of that right-of-way; or (3) a unit of the National Park System, a National Preserve, or a National Monument.

An heir of a deceased eligible veteran, regardless of the cause of death, may apply for and receive an allotment.

Alaska Native Vietnam veterans who selected an allotment of land before enactment of this bill and who were not conveyed the allotment before the enactment of this bill may reselect land.

Full Text


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 785


    To amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide for equitable allotment of land to Alaska Native veterans.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 30, 2017

    Mr. Sullivan (for himself and Ms. Murkowski) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

    To amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide for equitable allotment of land to Alaska Native veterans.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act”.

SEC. 2. Open season for certain Alaska native veterans for allotments.

Section 41 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1629g) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) in the subsection heading, by striking “In general” and inserting “Alaska Native veteran allotments”;

(B) by striking paragraphs (1) through (4) and inserting the following:

“(1) ALLOTMENTS.—

“(A) ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS.—Any person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b) shall be eligible to receive an allotment under the Act of May 17, 1906 (34 Stat. 197, chapter 2469) (as in effect before December 18, 1971), of not more than 2 parcels of Federal land, the total area of which shall not exceed 160 acres. Any person described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b) who, prior to the date on which the Secretary promulgates regulations pursuant to section 3 of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, received an allotment that has a total area of less than 160 acres shall be eligible to receive an allotment under the Act of May 17, 1906 (34 Stat. 197, chapter 2469) (as in effect before December 18, 1971), of not more than 1 parcel of Federal land, the total area of which shall not exceed the difference in acres between 160 acres and the total area of the allotment that the person previously received under the Act.

“(B) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—The civil action styled ‘Shields v. United States’ (698 F.2d 987 (9th Cir. 1983), cert. denied (104 S. Ct. 73 (1983))) shall not be construed to diminish or modify the eligibility of any person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b).

“(C) FILING DEADLINE.—An allotment shall be filed for an eligible recipient not later than 3 years after the date on which the Secretary promulgates regulations pursuant to section 3 of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act.

“(2) LAND AVAILABLE FOR ALLOTMENTS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Subject to subparagraph (C), an allotment under this section shall be selected from land that is—

“(i)(I) vacant; and

“(II) owned by the United States;

“(ii) selected by, or conveyed to, the State of Alaska, if the State voluntarily relinquishes or conveys to the United States the land for the allotment; or

“(iii) selected by, or conveyed to, a Native Corporation, if the Native Corporation voluntarily relinquishes or conveys to the United States the land for the allotment.

“(B) RELINQUISHMENT BY NATIVE CORPORATION.—If a Native Corporation relinquishes land under subparagraph (A)(iii), the Native Corporation may select appropriate Federal land, as determined by the Secretary, the area of which is equal to the area of the land relinquished by the Native Corporation, to replace the relinquished land.

“(C) EXCLUSIONS.—An allotment under this section shall not be selected from land that is located within—

“(i) a right-of-way of the TransAlaska Pipeline;

“(ii) an inner or outer corridor of such a right-of-way; or

“(iii) a unit of the National Park System, a National Preserve, or a National Monument.

“(D) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—The civil action styled ‘Shields v. United States’ (698 F.2d 987 (9th Cir. 1983), cert. denied (104 S. Ct. 73 (1983))) shall not be construed to limit the land that is eligible for allotment under this paragraph.

“(3) ALTERNATIVE ALLOTMENTS.—A person described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b) who qualifies for an allotment under this section on land described in paragraph (2)(C) may select an alternative allotment from land that is—

“(A) located within the boundaries of land described in paragraph (2)(C);

“(B)(i)(I) withdrawn under section 11(a)(1)(C); and

“(II) not selected, or relinquished after selection, under section 11(a)(3);

“(ii) contiguous to an outer boundary of land withdrawn under section 11(a)(1)(C); or

“(iii) vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved; and

“(C) not a unit of the National Park System, a National Preserve, or a National Monument.”; and

(C) by redesignating paragraphs (5) and (6) as paragraphs (4) and (5), respectively;

(2) in subsection (b)—

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:

“(B) is a veteran who served during the period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975.”;

(B) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

“(2) DECEASED PERSONS.—If an individual who would otherwise have been eligible for an allotment under this section dies before applying for an allotment, an heir of the person may apply for, and receive, an allotment under this section, on behalf of the estate of the person.”; and

(C) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

“(3) LIMITATIONS.—No person who received an allotment or has a pending allotment under the Act of May 17, 1906, may receive an allotment under this section, other than—

“(A) an heir who applies for, and receives, an allotment on behalf of the estate of a deceased person under paragraph (2); and

“(B) a person who, prior to the date on which the Secretary promulgates regulations pursuant to section 3 of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, received an allotment under the Act of May 17, 1906 (34 Stat. 197, chapter 2469), that has a total area of less than 160 acres.”;

(3) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections (f) and (g), respectively;

(4) by inserting after subsection (c) the following:

“(d) Approval of allotments.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to any valid right in existence on the date of enactment of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, and except as provided in paragraph (3), not later than 5 years after the date of the enactment of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, the Secretary shall—

“(A) approve any application for an allotment filed in accordance with subsection (a); and

“(B) issue a certificate of allotment under such terms, conditions, and restrictions as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

“(2) NOTIFICATION.—Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, on receipt of an application for an allotment under this section, the Secretary shall provide to any person or entity that has an interest in land described in subsection (a)(2) that is potentially adverse to the interest of the applicant a notice of the right of the person or entity, by not later than 90 days after the date of receipt of the notice—

“(A) to initiate a private contest of the allotment; or

“(B) to file a protest against the allotment in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary.

“(3) ACTION BY SECRETARY.—If a private contest or protest relating to an application for an allotment is initiated or filed under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall not issue a certificate for the allotment under paragraph (1)(B) until a final determination has been made with respect to the private contest or protest.

“(e) Reselection.—A person that selected an allotment under this section may withdraw that selection and reselect land in accordance with this section after the date of enactment of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act, if the land originally selected—

“(1) was selected before the date of enactment of the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act; and

“(2) as of the date of enactment of that Act, was not conveyed to the person.”; and

(5) by striking subsection (f), as designated by paragraph (3) and inserting:

“(f) Definitions.—For the purposes of this section:

“(1) The term ‘veteran’ means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom.

“(2) The term ‘Vietnam era’ has the meaning given the term by paragraph (29) of section 101 of title 38.”.

SEC. 3. Regulations.

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall promulgate, after consultation with Alaska Native organizations, final regulations to carry out the amendments made by section 2. During the consultation process, the Secretary shall, in coordination with Alaska Native organizations and to the greatest extent possible, identify persons who are eligible to receive an allotment under the amendments made by section 2. Upon promulgation of the final regulations, the Secretary shall contact each of these persons directly to provide an explanation of the process by which the person may apply for an allotment under the amendments made by section 2.


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