The goal of the Alaska Native Village Corporation Association (ANVCA) is to change current federal policy on land clean up and remediation. There are over 600 contaminated sites on land conveyed to Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and additional sites on land pending conveyance. These sites were contaminated under ownership and/or responsibility of the federal government and then transferred to Native ownership.
In 1998 the Department of the Interior issued a report to Congress, entitled Report to Congress Hazardous Substance Contamination 1998 . The report identified the need for a comprehensive fix and six action items to initiate the process.
ANVCA became involved when this report was brought to our attention in 2012 by one of our member Alaska Native Village Corporations. Since 2012, ANVCA has worked to educate Alaska’s Federal delegation, the State Legislature, members of Congress, and others to keep the issue in the forefront. In 2014, Congress asked for an update to the 1998 report, to identify the status of each site, for example, if any remediation had been done, and recommendations going forward. In June of 2016 the update was released, 2016 Update Report to Congress_ Hazardous Substance Contamination of Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act Lands in Alaska.
Contaminated sites contain a variety of toxic materials including:
Arsenic ● Solvents ● PCBs
Asbestos ● Mining Waste Chemicals ● Mercury
Toxic Metals ● Unexploded Ordinances ● Petroleum & Oil
One of ANVCA’s objectives is to work with ANCs, state and federal agencies and other stakeholders to develop criteria to prioritize remediation ANCSA contaminated sites. Potential criteria could include impacts on health and safety, severity of contamination, cultural significance of the site, or economic development potential. Few studies have been conducted on the health and safety impacts of the contamination on human health, however anecdotally villages report higher rates of cancer and other illnesses linked to hazardous substances. Many of the rural contaminated sites are Villages which practice subsistence lifestyles there has been only limited research on the contaminants impacts to fish, berries and wildlife in these areas.
ANCSA Resource Guide – Site Cleanup
In 2016, ANVCA and a strategic task force including state, federal and tribal representatives developed the ANCSA Resource Guide to Cleanup for ANCSA Conveyed sites. This brochure is an overview of the current process from suspected contamination to restoration, list of potential resources, definitions and recommended practices.
To download the brochure, click here.
Legislative Leave Behinds
As part of the 2016 Legislative Fly In event, ANVCA created materials outlining our agency and congressional “asks.” See the 2016 materials below:
To learn more about the ANVCA Legislative Fly In review the 2016 Full Report.
ANCSA Contaminated Land Policy Priorities for ANVCA
See Advocacy page.