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.
- French President François Hollande was at the White House trying broaden an international coalition to fight the Islamic State.
- Canadian regulators say the Tulsequah Chief Project, near Juneau, has agreed to reduce pollution leaking into a nearby river. But the mine won’t have to restart a shuttered water-treatment plant.
- On the sidewalks, at the stores, at the bars, people have been talking about a loud sound they heard around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Most have never heard anything like it before.
- A pilot program called Alaska Innovative Medicine in Anchorage is rounding out its first year trying to improve that journey for patients while also spending less on health care.