Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s version of the Sealaska lands bill has passed out of its only committee of referral.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Alaska Senator Mark Begich, was one of a dozen measures marked up this morning during an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
The bill allows the regional Native corporation to choose about 70 thousand acres of mostly timberlands from the Tongass National Forest.
There’s no guarantee it will move any further in Congress. Its best chance is as part of a lands legislation package.
A similar bill sponsored by Alaska Representative Don Young was marked up last week in the House Natural Resources Committee.
Sealaska already has rights to chose more acreage in the Tongass. But it says logging those lands could damage watersheds and hurt fish and wildlife.
Critics say Sealaska wants to trade marginal acreage for the most valuable timberlands. They also say logging those areas would also hurt fish and wildlife, as well as damage nearby residents’ livelihoods.
- The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, were met by a large crowd, music and dancing in Carcross this week. They event was part of a larger tour around the Yukon after traveling through British Columbia. The visit focused on First Nations issues and culture.
- The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has a new target date for opening its cultural immersion park at the old Thane Ore House. Last year, Central Council officials had hoped it would open this summer. Now, they’re shooting for 2018, after the Juneau Assembly approved a 1.2-acre land lease making it possible Monday evening.
- William Quayle, Jr. is running for the District 1 Juneau Assembly seat. The municipal election is Oct. 4.
- Winds of that speed can uproot trees, knock branches down and damage property, including vessels and aircraft moored and tied down outdoors.