Alaska: Senators introduce same old bill giving away 80,000 acres of public land

Senators Murkowski (R) and Begich (D) of Alaska came out Friday on an
Alaska radio station announcing their intent to reintroduce S 3561
from the last session that would give 80,000 acres of public land in
the Tongass National Forest to a private corporation, Sealaska Native
Corp. This is the first time this session either Senator has committed
themselves to reintroduction.

Under ANILCA (1980), SA bargained for 280,000 acres of land for
logging, of which only 80,000 acres have not been clearcut. Now
Sealaska wants to break the deal and the Murkowski/ Begich bill will
do just that by giving them land on Northern Prince of Wales Island
where half of the old growth trees have already been clearcut.
Residents there have sent both Senators a petition signed by virtually
all the community members dead set against this land give way on
Northern Prince of Wales.

The Senators have yet to contact the community. If it comes to pass, Sealaska will log all the remaining old growth trees exporting by ship the majority of unsawn Red and Yellow Cedar logs to Asia without sawing them first, thus providing little economic benefit to Alaska. The bill is being sold as an economic stimulus. Meanwhile, last Sunday the South East ALASKA
Conservation Council passed a resolution opposing logging on the N end
of POW Island. The resolution instructed staff, Lindekugel lawyer, to
negotiate with Sealaska specifically to not allow logging on the N end.
See attached for pic of what logging now looks like at Pt Baker/ Port
Protection before Sealaska gets it.

Simulated elevation of 9000′. sat. data. Look W. The pic covers only 16 square miles. The northern part of the island is well over 100 sq miles. The 9200 year old man was discovered in cave in this pic and the deepest cave in N America is suspected of being in this area as well. In addition, in the Sierra
Club’s Alaska Report Vol 35 n1, Feb 2009, the Club noted that it ‘does
not support privatization of our national forests” as this bill would
do. Vicki Hoover,(415)977-5500 – Alan Stein, former director of the
Salmon Bay Protective Association and President of the Pt. Baker
Association (707)964-6514

Comments (50)

growthy (D. Angersbach)February 8th, 2009 at 11:16 am

Alaska: Senators introduce same old bill giving away 80,000 acres of public land – http://bit.ly/4qULos

luciaorth (lucia orth)February 8th, 2009 at 11:37 am

RT @growthy Alaska: Senators introduce same old bill giving away 80,000 acres of public land – http://bit.ly/4qULos

Deane RimermanFebruary 8th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

For Immediate Release: February 8,2009

for further information contact:

Chuck Zieske 907 559 2211
or
Alan Stein 707 964 6514
former President of the Pt Baker Association and the Director of the Salmon Bay Protective Association

Will CONGRESS authorize clearcutting of the remaining native & old growth trees around the Alaska villages of POINT BAKER AND PORT PROTECTION– by privatizing parts of the Tongass National Forest?

Not if these two villages’ voices are heard.

Chuck Zieske is a life long Alaskan born in 1949 in Pt Baker , a tiny fishing village .

A commercial salmon fisherman and subsistence hunter, Chuck, aged 60, has seen the mountainous Prince of Wales Island wilderness forest surrounding POINT BAKER and PORT PROTECTION despoiled by the US Forest Service.

Half the old growth timber on the 150 square miles around the community was clearcut between 1962-2000.

ZIESKE, his father, and ALAN STEIN tried to stop the original logging back in 1975 and won a landmark federal lawsuit ( Zieske v Butz, 1975) which ushered in the National Forest Management Act (1976) which, in turn, overturned the protections they won in court.

Again in 1989 they, their fellow Alaskan fishermen, and the canneries tried to stop the logging of the headwaters of an important salmon lake on the island from being clear cut but failed. They did win buffer strip protection for all the streams in the Tongass (Stein v Barton, 1990).

Now they are aghast at the latest attempt of the Alaska Congressional delegation to transfer 70,000 acres of this part of the Tongass National Forest over to the hands of a private corporation which has a record of cutting almost all the trees on its property.

Chuck knows the hills and bays around his home well. He has hunted and fished them all his life.

He said:

“When I was growing up here, everyone’s grocery store was the forest. There was enough deer to go around. The salmon streams flowed with fish. But after the FS logged about 50% of the old growth forest, the deer are way down and so are the fish. This bill would assure that the further logging of all the old growth here would diminish out the remaining populations severley. That’s not fair and it is not wise.

” Our communities sent Senators Murkowski and Begich petitions completely opposed to Sealaska getting private ownership of Northern Prince of Wales Island. But on Friday, we were suprised to hear her (SENATOR MURKOWSKI) on the radio announcing she would go ahead with introducing the bill transfering land to SEALASKA CORPORATION. And neither she nor Begich contacted us first.

“It is disappointing that only two enviormental groups have stood up against this bill.

One is the SOUTHEAST ALASKA CONSERVATION COUNCIL whose Board went on record last week against any more cutting here. The other is the Sierra Club which went on record this week against the transfer of public land to private interests. Neither the AUDUBON SOCIETY nor NATURE CONSERVANCY– which have significant staffs in Alaska— nor the PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS which helps funds the latter, has tried to head off logging here.

” While Murkowski calls this aN economic stimulus, it isn’t.

” All the real domestic jobs downstream, from the saw mill workers to the furniture makers, will be in Asia, because Sealaska will export whole logs without further processing.

In the long term, the land will loose most of its recreational and subsistence values. Wildlife and fish will suffer.

“We cannot sit idily by while a private corporation tries to cherry pick the best of the remaining old growth trees in the Tongass National Forest.

morton salty dogFebruary 12th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Alaska Senators Murkowski and Begich would love to hear what you have to say about this Sealaska land rip off of the public domain.

Her number is 202 224 6605.

Just say no to Sealaska’s request for more land.

Dana FowlerFebruary 20th, 2009 at 11:11 am

Form a non-profit organization and get it funded, to out bid the Sealaska’s request.

This is outrageous, and you guys better get some lobbyist on your side to lobby against this, I have seen stranger things happen in Congress….but since when do we privatize Federal Forest. Watch out that they do not tag it on to another bill, and slip it through.

What about the National Federation of Wildlife, surely they could help!!You guys need some big organization with lobbyist. Let me know if I can help.
Write the Presidents Wife! Call National Federation of Wildlife and ALL other LARGE organizations that care!

My website is under contruction, but should be up by next week. http://www.rockymtnfundaisers.com

Sandy PowersMarch 22nd, 2009 at 10:54 pm

This whole thing is totally wrong in so many ways. The Native corporations have ravaged the lands they already have, and now they want the roaded, managed National Forest System lands so they do not have to pay for roadbuilding when they go in and log the remaining timber on this already extensively logged area. The public hears all about “don’t log in our traditional subsistence areas” from Native interests, but when it is turned around and two small non-Native communities who TRULY depend on this area ask that this area not be taken and turned into private corporation ownership, Sealaska and our elected officials apparently turn a deaf ear and inexplicably continue to insist on this very special area to somehow just give to the Native corporation who can manage it however they want since it will become “private land”. Just look at any huge clearcut Native tracts as an example of corporation short-term, profit-now “management”.
I am mystified as to why our elected officials, Murkowski and Begich, are willing to try to change the original ANILCA sideboards and cater to a single interest, Sealaska, at the expense of the greater public. I certainly wasn’t aware that Sealaska could wait for the public investment of roads built on public National Forest lands, roads not only used for subsistence but also recreation, free use timber, and public access for a variety of uses, and then think they can somehow throw down a map of Southeast Alaska and cherry pick the spots that looked good to them. At the same time making it sound like the “pristine unroaded unlogged areas” they are “giving up” instead is some kind of good deal for the public. Baloney! The only people this incredibly brazen land grab benefits are the corporation shareholders, and the public and the nearby communities be d*mned.
At least the public National Forest can be used and enjoyed by everyone. Not so Native corporation land. It’s a one-way street. Even IF the public was “allowed” to continue to use the road to access the communities on the north end, it would be tightly regulated and other uses such as hunting, fishing, free use timber, camping and so on would undoubtably not be “allowed”….remaining old-growth would be logged…how long before we see a huge fishing lodge, or maybe a casino, in Lab Bay?
In addition, but the State and the Forest Service recently signed off on the Amended Tongass Forest Plan, a little over a year ago. A potential land give-away of this type throws that Plan into a tailspin. I have not heard anything from the State dissenting with this legislation by Murkowski. I recently wrote Murkowski and brought up many of these same points and was told only that my comments had been passed on.
This legislation needs a lot more media coverage. It’s obvious that Sealaska, Murkowski, and now Begich, would love to see this get put though with as little publicity as possible. The environmental groups love to hound and litigate the Forest Service for their management of public land, but this legislation has much more horrifying ramifications than any FS timber sales. These groups should put their lobbying effort and funding into an outcry against this Sealaska legislation until these bills are permanently silenced and Sealaska goes back to playing by the rules, the original ANILCA selection areas, instead of trying to high-grade any public lands they want.

pterophileMarch 29th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

As long as SEACC participates in the Tongass Futures Roundtable (TFR), it will remain confined to weak tea environmentalism, as evidenced by the nominal action taken, resolving to keep Sealaska off of north POW.
Thus, the light green patina becomes manifest as does SEACC’s sanction, by its half-measures, the privatization of 80,000 acres of the Crown Jewel of our national forest system– the Tongass National Forest– obliquely gifted to the most rapacious native corporation in the Alexander Archipelago– Sealaska.
Having accepted well over a million dollars to participate in the TFR process, SEACC’s sudden shift towards TFR’s Free Market Environmentalism rules: “market based solutions”, is then easily explained. As is, their strange disinterest with Sealaska’s short rotation,”intensive management” intentions to wring every cent’s-worth of “Biomass” per acre they can from these 80,000 acres. Add to that, SEACC’s strange disinterest in said biomass feeding a “Biofuel Industry” on the Tongass, and a pattern emerges.

“Houston, we have a problem”. Our little blue planet’s immune system is in total collapse.

It should come as no surprise. Environmental nonprofits have been breathing through a thin funding straw for a long time now. A new wave of philanthropy has arrived on the Tongass– the straw just got way bigger. But with strings attached.

Kinda like congress these days ain’t it? Our democracy doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell in surviving if corporate campaign contributions eclipse the best interests of the people. Same goes with our environment and the practice of foundation neo-philanthropy referred to as “project related investments (PRI).”

Without discussing SEACC’s strange disinterest in the biological effects of unleashing Sealaska on 80,000 MORE acres of the Tongass and the consequent acceleration of Climate Change and Ocean Acidification, or abandoning its support for the Roadless Rule on the Tongass, suffice to say, money is power, and power corrupts, and absolute power, corrupts, absolutely.

morton salty dogMarch 31st, 2009 at 9:47 am

Weak tea environmentalism is perhaps the wrong metaphor. Perhaps lame duck is a better handle for SEACC.

What was supposed to be a grass roots organization now seems chained to a stake while all around the wolves move in for the kill.

Who gave SEACC that million bucks and what chains were attached to it?

pterophileMarch 31st, 2009 at 9:49 pm

You’re right, these matters go far beyond “weak tea”metaphors. There’s always the risk of understatement on such issues. The process has been painful to watch, especially as it relates to the foundation agenda SEACC is being paid to accomplish at the Tongass Futures Roundtable.

Ah, the money…
The TFR represents an incredibly tangled web, fascinating in its depth and dimensions. The principle foundation players (keep in mind, not all foundations are bad players) who are clearly driving this process are approaching “philanthropy” as an “investment”(PRI). Who gave SEACC that million bucks (actually, far more than that)? There are many foundation players involved. Some stand out though.

At a past Seattle meeting of TFR (“Tongass”– Seattle? uh-huh) the representative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), Eileen Lee, proudly announced to the assembled voting members that GBMF intended to model TFR after their smashing success with the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement(GBR).

Actually, we’re talking about a coastal temperate rainforest representing a biological continuum. The Great Bear, were it not for the international boundary at Dixon Entrance, would be the Tongass (or vice versa).

GBMF’s smashing environmental success there is highly debatable. If you ask the unprincipled environmental sell-outs who prospered by the receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars each, sure enough, the GBR Agreement was a “Promise to protect Great Bear Rainforest becomes reality”. Uh-huh.

If you were to ask the David Suzuki Foundation, a very different reality exists. According to their 4 year old independent biological report, GBR was an environmental disaster. They should know, because they received over $450,000 from GBMF to warm up to the GBR roundtable but saw through the rigged collaboration game that it was.

They walked away realizing as long as there is no definition of a key term, (ecosystem based management, EBM, or Adaptive Management) it was a useless exercise. Sure enough, before they even had a definition of EBM the timber companies went into a two and a half year long accelerated timber disposal program cutting like there was no tomorrow.

That’s one of the small problems with being paid to sit at a poker game, one doesn’t really care how the deck get’s cut or whether the cards are marked. Like the cutting of the deck, once the trees are cut, there’s really nothing left to argue about except “Restoration”(which is precisely what the greens are touting as their great achievement at TFR). Whether TFR or GBR, the suckers at the roundtable can shrug, claiming they didn’t know it was gonna turn out that way.

Well, it’s too late, because we already know it was a disaster on GBR and will be at TFR:
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Campaigns_and_Programs/Canadian_Rainforests/News_Releases/newsforestry04300501.asp

So either a whole bunch of stumps healed-over in the GBR and re-sprouted centuries-old trees in the last 4 years, or, maybe some literary license is continuing to be funded. Beyond the fact that the GBR environmental sell-outs crow about “promises” becoming “reality” you’ll also find hints of their disappointments if you look closely.

If you check out http://savethegreatbear.org/solutions/progressblog you’ll find,

March 18, 2009

“With just two weeks left to the March 31 deadline there are several outstanding pieces that require urgent attention:

Legislated revisions to logging regulations that set aside 50% of the natural levels of old growth forest
A detailed plan for maintaining 70% of the natural levels of old growth of the region by 2014
A Policy Framework for a reserve network outside of protected areas;
A credible Adaptive Management framework
Funding for collaborative planning into the future – in particular for reserve network planning – as well as monitoring and adaptive management
Ongoing support for transition to a thriving conservation-based economy.”

This site (savethegreatbear.org) until just recently (like two days ago), showed a vivid graphic that demonstrated major failures of the GBR Agreement. That has been scrubbed clean just in time for April Fools Day.

The other major foundations rigging the game at TFR?
The Campion Foundation
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The Wilburforce Foundation
The National Forest Foundation
The Pew Charitable Trust Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The Rasmuson Foundation

Special thanks to Zoe Blunt for spilling much of these beans!!!:
http://www.counterpunch.org/blunt12062006.html

morton salty dogApril 1st, 2009 at 11:05 am

But surely the personal integrity of SEACC is not at issue. In fact, their staff did get marching orders to oppose the 80,000 transfer, though public acknowledgment seems to be mighty thin?

As to the other provisions of the Roundtable for the Tongass– the first attempt to regulate the future of our nation’s largest National Forest through a private fiat by self appointed bio-Gods– have we heard any resistance in public from Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, or American Natives for PeaceJustice / Spirituality for profit to say nothing of Audubon, kings of the last frontier?

Not a word?
What then has sealed their lips too?

And will the recent chit chats behind the closed doors of Senators back in the political heartland soon create a fait accompli?

morton salty dogApril 1st, 2009 at 12:19 pm

well then. here is something upon which to meditate.

Whoever takes no thought for the kavod [HONOR] of the Creator, it would be fitting if that person had not entered the world.. (Hag. 16a)

http://www.kavod.org/Kavodtexts.pdf

pterophileApril 1st, 2009 at 2:41 pm

integrity |in?tegrit?| noun
1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

At issue is what did they know (grant seeker, executive director, campaign director, and board of directors) and when did they know it. Knowledge, awareness, learning, provides an opportunity to recognize moral implications of an honest mistake, or course correct from a misunderstanding or a ruse from deliberate obfuscation.

Unfortunately, much water, information, and incriminating disclosures have passed under SEACC’s bridge.

As for the extraordinary pressure applied upon the board by the SEACC staff,

It is difficult to get a man to understand
something when his salary depends upon his
not understanding it.
-Upton Sinclair

Ditto for AWL,NRDC,TU,TNC,AS,TWS,WWF,CI,DOW,NWF,EDF, and many others.

morton salty dogApril 1st, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Aye lad.

The Tongass is on the gangplank while down below the captains of foundations click glasses with the corporate leaders of Sealaska even as the shareholders in the villages hold their collective noses.

Pat Kennedy and George Miller too sit round the table with the newly minted Alaskan Senator, who, but for prosecutoral overreaching would be still the mayor Begich of Anchorage. No doubt the alphabet soup of orgs are more or less in the same room if not at the table.

What will it cost Sealaska to try to privatize a forest owned by the people of all America and renowned around the world? And who will be the first Senator to grap the coin offered? Treasure is the forest and treasure will it cost to hand it over.

pterophileApril 2nd, 2009 at 3:14 pm

And there’s the rub.

In this tangled web they weave, ’tis those with most to lose, whom deal-cutters intend to deceive.

Such are the ethical dimensions of cutting deals in secret, at the Tongass Futures Roundtable while NO ONE ever understands what the actual true cost will be. This is an identical predicament as the Great Bear Rainforest Roundtable disaster. (See other links on this site from Valhalla Wilderness Society about the Great Bear Rainforest.)

SEACC’s cryptic hints are unmistakeable– “Sealaska’s entitlement is only one piece of the Tongass puzzle. Addressing it in isolation will only lead to more problems.” (from their latest weak tea action alert goading the membership to empower SEACC to make good on funding commitments tied to their receipt of over a million dollars). The action alert indicates:

1) SEACC is announcing it will roll on meaningful contestation of Sealaska’s privatization of the Tongass– Sealaska’s bogus “entitlement”, thus forming a more perfect union (Seaccalaska?) with their TFR brethren (state/feds/etc.) as per foundation funder’s directives.

2) SEACC openly admits directly “addressing” Sealaska’s land grab is a “problem” for them. Problematic, because they came to TFR with an undisclosed foundation agenda which prohibits SEACC from exercising their moral obligation to uphold their membership’s best long term interests.

3) SEACC, et al, is hoping no one will notice the “irreversible and irretrievable consequences” already admitted by the USFS in their planning documents. For citizens who depend upon SEACC to protect their future access to huntable populations of deer, SEACC will shrug, “We did what we could!” uh huh.

Meet the new boss: BIOMASS(ter) — Same as the old boss: 50year PULP Contracts

What’s the difference between pulp and pellets? Well, nothing.
What’s the difference between taxpayers subsidizing pulp and subsidizing pellets? Well, nothing.

Already, SEACC and their paid-off brethren have signed off-on biomass, and Sealaska will thus be not only saved from bankruptcy by connecting with a whole new federal (think: taxpayer dollars) funding stream — SEACC will have enabled a whole new industry to explode on the Tongass in the name of “renewable energy”, without caring a whit as to the climate change acceleration it unleashes, nor the ecosystem destruction that will inevitably ensue.

The real costs will never be disclosed until long after the timber gets reduced to chips as an exported commodity or is ostensibly sold locally as pellets for a $3000 pellet stove requiring full-time hookup to an electrical grid.

Long term ramifications of this are crystal clear: there’s two decades of science demonstrating one cannot simply take, and take, and take elemental nutrients and structural habitat from an ecosystem without disabling that system.
If deer and fish are dependent upon an intact system and citizens (who were once owners of that system) are dependent upon deer and fish, then one must inexorably conclude SEACC’s acceptance of strings-attached millions from foundation agendas is ethically corrupt, biologically bankrupt, and represents the height of duplicitous representation of the public’s best interests.

By their participation at TFR, SEACC is complicit in the subversion of the public process.

This is no small matter as we teeter on the brink of a global economic collapse while the citizen-owned Tongass may well be our only survival back-up plan. Certainly, the Tongass represents the planet’s survival back-up plan. That the Tongass stores the highest concentration of carbon per hectare of all the world’s forests matters not to SEACC.

That the Tongass is among the largest remnants of the functional lungs of the planet which, if cared for, could help save us from irreversible climate change and ocean acidification, and from catastrophic tipping points being triggered, matters not to SEACC.

aa wolfApril 13th, 2009 at 7:21 am

I think pterophile has it right – I also picked up on SEACC’s cryptic reference to a comprehensive solution. In December a public radio article said that the TFR, and participating so-called greenies, had previously agreed to a settlement of Sealaska’s claims but the sticking point was another 180,000 acres to be managed by Palin’s DNR for large-scale private clearcuts.. I would like to support environmental protections for the Tongass, but the Nature Conservancy, Audubon, SEACC et al seem to be waffling a lot, and its hard to tell whether these repeated Sealaska notices are sincere or just for the purpose of making sure that the TFR gets to negotiate the settlement rather than Congress. There just don’t seem to be many environmental groups that have much credibility anymore – all the grassroots activists seem to have been replaced by used car salesmen. Either way, of course, there seems to be nobody left to speak up for fishery and wildlife resources as nearly all of the TFR groups have blindly committed to the odd requests to subsidize and develop a large scale biofuel industry and the notions of “stewardship” contracting whereby old-growth forest is degraded for the purpose of “fixing” past problems. This type of contracting creates a perpetual cycle where you have to continually cut forests to pay for marginally effective fixes. There is no doubt the Tongass needs to be preserved for its carbon storage capacity, and obviously a sensible solution is not likely to be arrived at locally. Can we get the IPCC involved here?

morton salty dogMay 14th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

SEACC thinks S. 881 has a lot of potential. HOG WASH.

It is sponsored by Sen. Murkowski R Alaska
and co-sponsored by
Sens. Begich, D Akaka, and Inouye D Hawaii.

Rep. Don Young R Alaska has also introduced a companion bill in the House, HR 2099, which is cosponsored by Reps. Neil Abercrombie D, Dan Boren, Eni F.H. Faleomavaega D, Patrick Kennedy D, Pedro Pierluisi, and Heath Shuler.

Note that the majority of sponsers are Democrats showing that when it comes to taking pork, political parties are no obstacle.

Sealaska Corporation is the main beneficiary of this bill . While many of the Indians in Sealaska are opposed to any more logging, especially around their villages, they have not shouted their opposition to S811.

Here are some of the seedier aspects of S811. Sealaska and the villages got a lot of land in the Tongass as a result of ANILCA almost three decades ago. They got millions of dollars and a little under a half a million acres of land. They logged most of it.

Between the tops of mountains three to four miles apart, they cut all the trees down to the streams in the valleys. One huge vast clearcut where no wildlife could live–because they controlled the Alaska legislature which gave them a virtual free hand to maximize profit and minimize environmental protections.

Their lobbyist from that era got thrown in jail subsequently.

When Sealaska’s members raised hell with the corporate leadership about not wanting any more logging near their homes, Sealaska got the bright idea to transfer the misery resulting from their shameful logging practices to some other area. In the case of S 811, to the white people who live in Pt Baker, Port Protection, and Edna Bay.

That is to Northern Prince of Wales which is the property of all the citizens of the United States right now. The taxpayers paid for hundreds of miles of roads to be built in these areas. Now Sealaska wants the taxpayers to fork over their investment in roads and it wants to own 80,000 of the public domain.

Murkowski claims in her news release that Sealaska is giving back land in exchange. Like hell. What Sealaska wants to give back is the land they already dispoiled by clearcutting it and the land their members have blocked them from cutting. Sealaska made a deal which it is renigging on right now.

And who is enabling this travisty? Why none other than the SouthEast Alaska Conservation Council which is getting money from national foundations. The whip is being cracked at the NGO headquarters of the donors, not in Alaska by the locals.

Why is this? A bunch of biostitutes who should know better but are enamoured by their wisdom thinks this tradeoff will benefit the entire Tongass. So they are going to sell out Northern Prince of Wales for their grad scheme which they think will protect the land for all time. What they are missing and what was pointed out above is that you cannot allow the second growth to be cut again in this forest. They want all the second growth to be cut again over time. In exchange they think they can get more wilderness set aside.

Yet the weakness of this argument is that the soil will not support repeated cuttings in a rain forest like the Tongass which is mostly limestone karst that has developed over 18,000 years since the last ice age covered these islands. Yet the grand schemers ignore this fact and let their egos propel them into a grand blunder called the Tongass Round Table Plan.

Some on the SEACC staff may be supporting this. Here is what the idiot Gnat spokesman of Seacc said yesterday to a newspaper in Juneau:

‘ “The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council has been involved in many lawsuits to stop timber sales and protect Tongass old-growth, and now says it supports sustainable timber harvest on the Tongass. Spokesman Mark Gnadt said that might include this retooling bill. The bill is brief about whom and what it would allow.

SEACC hasn’t taken an official position yet on the bill. Gnadt said he is asking around to gauge whether it will help the little guys.

“Are they really going to use that money to get into second growth and higher-value-added products?” he said. “We do think it has a lot of potential.” ‘

In case you missed it, Gnat says S 881 “has a lot of potential.” Or at least the foundation money will keep rolling in and pay his salary if he says this.

A lot of potential. Bilge swill.

Sealaska is the seventh largest contributor among logging companies in the country. See who lobbies for them at
http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?lname=SeAlaska+Corp&year=2009

morton salty dogMay 15th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

this is Congressional Bill S 785, a 45 million dollar give away to the timber industry of SE Alaska

Southeast Alaska Timber Industry Retooling and Restructuring Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 785 IS

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 785

To establish a grant program to encourage retooling of entities in the timber industry in Alaska, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 2, 2009

Ms. MURKOWSKI (for herself and Mr. BEGICH) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To establish a grant program to encourage retooling of entities in the timber industry in Alaska, and for other purposes.

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 `Southeast Alaska Timber Industry Retooling and Restructuring Act’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

The purpose of this Act is to assist entities involved in the timber industry in Alaska–

(1) to deal with the adverse impacts of Federal timber policy;

(2) to facilitate the economic adjustment of those entities; and

(3) to retain jobs and lessen the impact of unemployment in communities where those entities are located.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) FEDERAL TIMBER POLICY- The term `Federal timber policy’ means any law or regulation of the United States relating to the timber industry, including any policy of the United States Forest Service and any land management plans related to the timber industry.

(2) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary’ means the Secretary of Agriculture.

SEC. 4. GRANTS AUTHORIZED.

The Secretary, through an economic development program carried out by the Chief of the Forest Service, may provide grants to eligible entities described in section 5 for retooling projects described in section 6.

SEC. 5. ELIGIBLE ENTITIES DESCRIBED.

An eligible entity described in this section is any entity, including sawmills, logging companies, and road construction companies, that–

(1) operated in the timber industry in Alaska on January 1, 2009; and

(2) prior to the date described in paragraph (1), operated in the timber industry in Alaska for not less than 10 years.

SEC. 6. RETOOLING PROJECTS DESCRIBED.

(a) In General- A retooling project described in this section is a project designed to facilitate the economic adjustment of an eligible entity by allowing the eligible entity–

(1) to improve or alter the business and practices of the eligible entity to allow the eligible entity to become more competitive within the timber industry; or

(2) to shift to a type of business that is not related to the timber industry.

(b) Additional Requirement- An eligible entity seeking a grant for a retooling project shall commit, to the extent practicable, to continue to employ substantially the same number of employees employed by the eligible entity on January 1, 2009, for a reasonable period after the completion of the retooling project, as determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 7. APPLICATION PROCESS.

(a) In General- An eligible entity seeking a grant under this Act shall submit an application to the Secretary in such form and in such manner as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(b) Contents- An application submitted under subsection (a) shall include–

(1) a description of the retooling project for which the eligible entity is seeking a grant;

(2) a business plan and budget, including start-up costs, for the retooling project; and

(3) a demonstration of the likelihood of success of the retooling project.

(c) Approval- Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Secretary receives an application under subsection (a) from an eligible entity, the Secretary shall determine whether to award a grant to the eligible entity.

(d) Denial- If the Secretary determines not to award a grant to an eligible entity that submitted an application under subsection (a), the Secretary shall afford the eligible entity a reasonable opportunity to address any deficiencies in the application.

SEC. 8. AMOUNT OF GRANT.

(a) In General- Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Secretary determines to award a grant to an eligible entity, the Secretary shall–

(1) approve the business plan and the budget for the retooling project of the eligible entity; and

(2) determine the amount of the grant to award the eligible entity.

(b) Determination- In determining the amount of the grant to award to an eligible entity, the Secretary shall consider the budget for the retooling plan approved under subsection (a)(1). The amount of the grant–

(1) shall cover 75 percent of the cost of the budget, not including any debt reimbursement costs; and

(2) may cover up to 100 percent of the cost of the budget if the Secretary determines appropriate based on the extent of unemployment in the community in which the retooling project will be based.

SEC. 9. USE OF GRANT FUNDS.

(a) In General- An eligible entity receiving a grant under this Act–

(1) may use the grant–

(A) to pay for start-up costs necessary for the retooling project, including equipment, worker training, facility acquisition, technical assistance, and raw materials; and

(B) to reimburse the eligible entity for the unamortized portion of debt described in subsection (b); and

(2) may not use the grant for the ongoing operational and maintenance costs of the eligible entity.

(b) Reimbursement of Debt-

(1) IN GENERAL- An eligible entity may use a grant under this Act for the reimbursement of debt under subsection (a)(1)(B), without regard to whether the debt is held by Federal or private lenders, if–

(A) the eligible entity demonstrates that the debt was incurred–

(i) to acquire or improve infrastructure or equipment related to the timber industry, including sawmills, logging equipment, and road construction equipment, as a result of Federal timber policy; and

(ii) on or after January 1, 1998, and before January 1, 2009; and

(B) the lender certifies and notarizes the amount of unamortized debt.

(2) REDUCTION- The amount of a grant to be used for the reimbursement of debt under subsection (a)(1)(B) shall be reduced by the amount of any proceeds from the sale by the eligible entity of any infrastructure or equipment described in paragraph (1)(A).

SEC. 10. DURATION OF GRANT PROGRAM.

The grant program under this Act shall be carried out during the 2-year period beginning on the date on which the Secretary prescribes the regulations under section 12.

SEC. 11. TREATMENT AS A MINORITY SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN UNDER THE SMALL BUSINESS ACT.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an eligible entity receiving a grant under this Act shall be treated as a small business concern owned or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (as that term is defined in section 8(d)(3)(C) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(3)(C))) for purposes of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.) for 3 years after the date on which the Secretary approves the application of the eligible entity for a grant under section 7.

SEC. 12. REGULATIONS.

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out the grant program under this Act.

SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $40,000,000 to carry out the grant program under this Act for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

morton salty dogMay 15th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

this is the link to text of Murkowski’s S 881– the Give away of public lands to a private corporation which is going to build a casino in Cloverdale California with the proceeds.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.881:

pterophileMay 18th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

The return on investment in campaign contributions is the surest bet on Wall St.

It’s the full force of corporate/foundation money at work, the FME way (free market environmentalism). FME aims to turn every environmental problem (usually as a result of corporate profiteering) into an opportunity to corporatize the “solution” to guarantee more corporate profiteering. This is especially true for all resources contained upon, within or below all the lands and waters owned by all the citizens of the United States.

FME is also a Trojan Horse. While the troops are sleeping and the staff sniffs the low hanging fruit of foundation coinage, a divide and conquer strategy gets implemented. The rules are simple. Foundation money gets lavished upon only the environmental players willing to read the foundation script. In the grantmaking world, the script contains “deliverables”– expected outcomes. ( Thus turning the board of directors into rubberstamping sychophants until someone suggests environmental principles are being violated.)

At that point, “divide” begins in earnest, and the conquering of principles usually ends it — unless — enough of the board wakes up from this bad dream before major commitments are made.

The forum consists of a Roundtable where stakeholders (voting alongside the same foundation reps funding this charade of democratic process, get to play “collaboration”. Which starts by filtering out the “radicals”, then converting the “Idealists”, then enlisting the “Realists” and finally collecting the “Opportunists”. This streamlines the greenies voting membership into a nice, DIVIDED bunch, where many voices/concerns/points of view are not allowed to interrupt the proceedings of the approved voting membership dedicated to a specific objective.

In this case, the expected outcome is an omnibus QPQ Wilderness bill. Full knowledge of what such Wilderness might cost is unknowable but early indications are, SEACC is expected to cave
to Lisa’s Landless Natives Privatization of public lands scam; cave to Reinflate the Timber Industry Doll (S 785) with freshly-minted play money until it briefly booms and then it and everything else busts; cave to a Greenwash stamp of approval to a biomass/biofuel industry hell bent on converting Tongass trees to ethanol gasoline blends, and pellet stove fuel; cave to the notion of condemning whole islands into sacrificial plantations on endemism-prone landscape in what little remains of the world’s last climate-regulating temperate rainforest; and cave, by faint protest, and weak tea environmentalism to Sealaska Corp’s Welfare-through-privatization-of-public-lands Bill, ; and finally, cave to Silence despite the paramount necessity of addressing climate change and ocean acidification in the policy products of the roundtable.

If this violates the trust we’ve extended to SEACC to argue on behalf of our best interests, I suggest you let SEACC know all about it, because they’re proceeding with an inflated budget and an eager staff which is on a mission to cut a deal by selling the farm. Actually, the farm shall become a corporate plantation when the Biomassters arrive on the Tongass.

That way all residents of SEACC’s sacrificial islands become sharecroppers.

morton salty dogMay 20th, 2009 at 10:11 am

About S 881/HR 2099

Up until now, no one has published this factoid. It has huge implications for all of Alaska.

Tucked into the bill is a provision which will remove the protective covenants that protected any cultural site from commercial development.

A cultural site is an old village, a cave where ancient human remains were found, or a petroglyph site where rocks were carved with symbols etc.

So you could not build a fishing lodge on these small sites of 10-20 acres.

These covenants were established in ANCSA in 1971 to protect all of these sites of which there are thousands in Alaska.

Now Sealaska has gotten such luminaries of Indian rights as Rep Pat Kennedy to sponser a bill that would remove the protective covenants, for now on the Tongass. But once this precedent is law, all the other regional corporations will come back to Congress to get more commercial land to develop thus making a mockery of ANCSA, the Alaska Native Claims [final] Settlement Act which keeps on getting ammended at any opportunity.

This provision alone stinks to high heaven, yet there is only one enviornmental group in the country which has so far rung the alarm bell. But… now… the cat is out of the bag.

pterophileMay 20th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for this vitally important disclosure of hidden native corporate intentions, Morton Salty Dog.
What’s the name of the environmental group that raised this concern?

morton salty dogMay 24th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

you are welcome Pterophile. It is Trout Unlimited I think.

jellyrollAugust 31st, 2009 at 2:01 am

http://web.archive.org/web/20000127224947/www.tongass.com/shoaf.html

what kinda hanky panky is com’n down DC way. A guy could get stabbed in the back in that hood. Is those guys gonna cut a deal to give away Prince of Wales? Petro told us they did not oppose Logjam? So what they gonna do now that Northern Prince a Wales is on the chopping block.

Are they gonna give it away to Sealaska? Or are they gonna tell em where to shove it?

jellyrollSeptember 25th, 2009 at 12:15 am

re s 881

Attorney Jonathan Tillinghast ( on the staff of Patton Boggs, the high powered Washington DC lobbyist law firm which also represented Exxon after The Spill) has his office in the Sealaska building in Juneau where he collected five thousand dollars in 2004 from Sealaska Corporation for lobbying according to Alaska state records http://www.state.ak.us/apoc/pdf/04empyesum.pdf page 18.

We have not determined how much others in his firm have taken in from Sealaska, but we were taken by some other interesting connections.

To wit, this year Patton Boggs, in a suprise move, deposited $35,000 into US Senator Marry Landrieu’s pocket, her third largest campaign contribution or whatever you want to call it . http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?type=I&cid=n00005395&newMem=N&recs=20&cycle=2010

In June of this year, Senator Landrieu joined the only other Senator outside of Alaska who cosigned the Sealaska Bill S 881. Senator Murkowski introduced the bill originally cosponsered by Senator Begich.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resouces Committee, Landrieu will vote on the the Sealaska Bill when it comes before her committee in early in November. Hopefully, she is the only aye vote provided no more lobbyists have been stuffing pockets or making side deals having nothing to do with Northern Prince of Wales Island where, if this bill passes, Sealaska is sure to strip the trees like it has everywhere else it has operated.

We haven’t yet inquired whether Wall Street firm JP Morgan helps finance Sealaska, but trust Alaska Public Radio will do the work for us. Here’s a hint. Landrieu got $ 45,000 from JP Morgan this year.

We know that the people of Louisiana, where the star of All the Kings Men was defeated by Hale Boggs, have a deep interest in whether public land is transferred in Alaska to the for profit Sealaska Corporation, so maybe that is why the Louisiana Senator takes such a deep and abiding interest in this bill? Or maybe it is payback for the help the Louisana Senator got from Senator Murkowski when she wanted to drill for oil off of Florida. But it is nice to see such bipartisan cooperation, albiet with a total of three Democrats and one Republican backing this popular bill.

Or maybe Senator Mark Begich was able to round up Landrieu. Begich’s father and Hale Boggs perished over the Gulf of Alaska while flying to Juneau. Hale was the father of Thomas Boggs, who is the Chairman of Patton Boggs.

morton salty dogOctober 9th, 2009 at 12:54 am

S 811

SACREDNESS GONE HOG WILD
10/9/2009

Like a Monument without a Tomb, the hearing Thursday before the US Senate was not of an age but for all time.

The Senate’s Lands and Forests Subcommittee took up a bill to transfer part of America’s largest national forest over to a for profit corporation in Alaska— 60,000 to 80,000 acres.

The Chair of the subcommittee, Ron Wyden, and the full committee Chair, Jeff Binghaman, left “to go vote” leaving as the acting chair Alaska Senator Murkowski, the sponsor of the special interest bill, S 881, and her side kick, junior Senator Mark Begich .

The latter bid farewell soon after saying hi y’all, leaving the senior Alaskan Senator to preside, albiet without any of her cosponsors as back up, there being three cosponsors in the entire Senate and they being from the states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Louisiana.

Like many of his predecessors who have come before Congress over the last 38 years looking for revisions to the final settlement of the 1971 Alaska Native Land Claims Act , Byron Malot, Sealaska board member , appeared in quasi Native American regalia. Today Byron appear in a beaded vest which is going to be pictured in Vanity Fair next month, you betcha.

Behind Byron could be seen Angoonian and Alaska State Senator Al Kookesh, about to go to trail for a fishing violation in his home town of Angoon (population about 1000), where he is, you got it, a big mucky muck. He too sat or sits on the Sealaska Board.

In the past, Angoonians presented Jimmy Carter with a head dress, eventhough that is not part of their wardrobe.
After getting the headdress, Jimmy Carter declared all the land around Kookesh’s home a National Monument. So the Angoonian Natives had to go more than a hunded miles south of their sacred home island to Prince of Wales Island to mow down thousands of acres of old growth forest, not to disturb their sacred sites don’t you know.

Sacred sites were targeted by Malot who does not think Federal Law keeps them safe. At least he put forth that argument in asking that Congress modify the 38 year old Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act which prohibits the use of cemeteries etc for anything but burying dead people. Malot assured Murkowski, under ferocious cross examination, that by golly they were not going to log or mine in cemeteries. To which the audience breathed a great sigh of relief. That and knowing language keeping chain saws out of cemeteries is in Sealaska’s bill.

Whether Sealaska wants to bring tourists to its cemeteries and other sacred sites, like stone carvings on the beach, was hotly debated. The concern expressed by a Mr Jesen of the US Department of Agriculture and a Ms. Burke from the Bureau of Land Management is that revoking clause h1 of ANCSA, ( so Sealaska can run tourists into Wilderness areas/cemetaries), would be “bad precedent.”

Revoking h1 could open all the Alaska National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, and Wilderness Areas to purposes for which they were not created. Byron, again under careful scrutiny from Senator Murkowski, denied he knew of any other Native Corporations trying to change ANCSA. Of course he didn’t promise this wasn’t the case. And he claimed ANCSA has been modified about 40 times–about once a year. So much for finality of contracts.

While former Alaska State Trooper Claus ( who never met Sarah Palin’s sister), testified on behalf of the South East Alaska Conservation Council that Sealaska’s environmental track record for logging has not been good, Malot stated for the record that Sealaska practices “good silviculture”— why they even plant new trees he stated. That would surprise the herds of deer now extirpated when Sealaska logged from the tops of mountains down to the valley bottom.

As to whether Sealaska was willing to opt for a place other than the northern portion of Prince of Wales Island, where half the trees have been cut already, Malot indicated his corporation would be good to the enviornment. The communities of Pt. Baker and Port Protection submitted petitions signed by 98% of the residenents opposing the transfer of land to Sealaska.

When Congress passed ANILCA in 1981, it set aside 100 million acres of majestic Alaska landscapes as a monument for all time.

But in Sealaska’s world, Congress should rename the Nation’s first national forest, the Tongass, after the Tlingit, Haida, and Simpsian Indians . Claus had another view. This national forest was established for all the citizens of this country, not just the thousands who get dividend checks from Sealaska Corporations logging operations.

morton salty dogOctober 9th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

an commentary on the Senate Hearing Oct 9, 09 is here
http://alaskareport.com/news109/x71326_land_grab.htm

morton salty dogFebruary 7th, 2010 at 10:58 pm

This is from testimony by the Department of Interior on the S 811. Call Senator Bingaman and ask him to let this bill die in committee.

S. 881 would amend ANCSA to allow Sealaska to receive conveyance of lands outside of the original withdrawal areas established by the Act in 1971, and would create new and unique categories of selections not available to other regional corporations. Specifically, it would allow Sealaska to select and receive conveyance from Forest Service-administered lands in the Tongass National Forest other than those that were originally available for selection. The Department defers to the Forest Service regarding the effects of the bill on Forest Service-administered lands. However, the Department notes the undesirable precedent of substituting new lands for one of the corporations at this stage in the land transfer program. Doing so would in effect postpone deadlines and permit new selections. The bill would also impose timelines for the Secretary of the Interior to complete the conveyance of land, would remove restrictive covenants on historic and cemetery sites, and would require the National Park Service (NPS) to enter into a cooperative management agreement with Sealaska and others with cultural and historical ties to Glacier Bay National Park.

As noted, the Department supports finalizing entitlements under ANCSA and the BLM is maintaining the accelerated pace of the program while ensuring that the intent of ANCSA is implemented. By the end of FY 09, BLM has surveyed and patented 58 percent of lands to the native Corporations, and has granted interim conveyance on an additional 34 percent. The Department is concerned that S. 881 would provide an impetus for other regional corporations to attempt to reopen land claims at this critical final stage in the land transfer program. If this occurs, it would obstruct the progress of the program, and prolong the process of completing ANCSA entitlements. Provisions of S. 881, such as future selections, would also create uncertainty regarding the boundaries of federally-managed public lands in Alaska.

In addition, the Department is very concerned with the deadlines for conveyance set in S. 881. These deadlines would put the completion of Sealaska conveyances ahead of all other regional corporations, individual Alaskan Natives, and the State. This “front of the line” approach would set a negative precedent of preferential treatment and interrupt progress on conveyances to other entities. The BLM has made significant progress since the enactment of the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act of 2004, which gave the BLM the tools it needed to expedite these land transfers. An amendment such as S. 881, which would change fundamental provisions of this statute, would serve to reverse much of the progress we have made thus far.

S. 881 would also remove existing covenants on historic and cemetery sites conveyed under ANCSA Section 14(h)(1), which restrict activity that is incompatible with these sites’ cultural or historic values. The Department believes this would provide an opportunity for other regional corporations to request removal of similar restrictions from other Native corporation sites, further negatively impacting the land transfer program.

PterophileFebruary 10th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

RECENT VOTE BY SEACC BOARD TO SECRETLY CUT A DEAL ON S.881 WITH SEALASKA CORP.

Fish habitat and subsistence are key concerns to Southeast’s communities, but have nothing to do with SEACC’s obligation to fulfill terms of restricted grant funding, so those old concerns have been sidelined.

The new SEACC now regards the application and enforcement of environmental law, the protection of fish habitat and rural community subsistence rights, as tradeable commodities in quid pro quo backroom dealmaking. This, evidenced by a recent secret vote of their board to agree to the majority of Sealaska’s requests in return for Sealaska’s agreement for allowing permanent protection of other areas of the Tongass.

By their media campaign, SEACC appears to be against the Sealaska land grab (S.881). But behind the scenes, SEACC has been trying to cut a secret deal. The “deal” is nothing more than their publicly rejected “Wild Idea” (cheerleading privatization in trade for setting aside 4.6 million ac.) now has been scaled back to what is dubbed by critics as, the “Mild Idea” (800K ac.)

The questions remain, “Are these public lands SEACC’s to give away?” and, “Who gives Sealaska the power to sign-off on Wilderness designations?” Neither of these entities arguably represent the best interests of present and future generations of Americans.

At stake, are island ecosystems already fragmented in their natural state, with already vulnerable, genetically isolated populations of plants and animals. The hundreds of thousands of acres of industrial clearcutting of these island ecosystems has created further, more serious fragmentation as have thousands of miles of taxpayer funded logging roads. These biologically compromised landscapes are now what SEACC is compromising even further by striking secret deals with the worst corporate practitioners of unsustainable clearcutting in the history of the Tongass.

SEACC, having received hundreds of thousands of dollars in restricted grant funding dedicated to privatization, deregulation, and corporate outsourcing is not only failing to represent the long term best interests of Southeast, but is engaging in outright duplicity. SEACC clearly doesn’t care what the ramifications of S.881 will unleash as other native corporations realize they want a special sweetheart deal too.

D. SalvatoFebruary 16th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Sealaska shareholders average 68cents per day in dividends from Operations, never achieving $2 per day including ANCSA.
Chris McNeil Sealaska’s CEO averages $2,000 per day in salary.
This deal if it is passed or not passed will have very little impact in a shareholders life. Sealaska’s management will lose millions for shareholders and make millions for themselves.

morton salty dogFebruary 17th, 2010 at 10:20 am

from yesterday’s Juneau Empire here is an op ed. Local resident’s of Prince of Wales Island are being insulted by Senator Begich’s letter replying to their concerns. S 881 will be the subject of the RoundTable Meeting in Juneau starting on the 24th. Groups like the Pew are going to push for a trade off. Sealaska is likely to reject all offers. Instead they will push for the Committee of Energy in the Senate to mark up the bill. What they don’t understand is that standing in the wings is a big lobbying group they know nothing about which will be raising caine in the home states of the Senators.

The Alaska Senators, including Mark Begich, are getting roundly chewed out by the people who live on these islands in the Tongass and just going on with business as usual.

So fax Senator Bingaman and tell him what you think.

Stop Sealaska’s land billBy Myla Poelstra | Juneau Empire
Senate Bill 881, the Sealaska landbill, should die in committee. Sealaska’s selections should only occur within the area specified by ANCSA in 1971.

This bill in front of the Senate Natural Resources Committee stands to devastate the transitioning economy of Southeast Alaska.

S.B. 881: Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act does not represent the future for Southeast Alaska. It represents a dying industry that should be relegated to the past. While Sealaska is requesting access to new lands to support its declining timber base, the rest of Southeast Alaska is looking to more sustainable avenues for their future economy.

Just like the “gold rush” days of the late 1800’s, the timber industry’s time in Southeast Alaska has clearly come and gone. The main reason for this are changing attitudes toward conservation and sustainable resource use. The economy of the world has changed, and it is no longer acceptable to destroy irreplaceable resources to profit small numbers of people. Sealaska’s methods of clear-cut harvesting can never be represented as sustainable, as evidenced by their selections in this bill.

They already are the largest private landowner in Southeast Alaska, yet here they are asking Congress to allow them to step outside the boundaries established by ANCSA to pursue economic rewards that are clearly not sustainable.

The remote community of Edna Bay, on Kosciusko Island, has found itself drug into the middle of a land conveyance process that should never have affected it. We are literally fighting for our survival. Sealaska’s selection of almost 32,000 acres of public lands surrounding our community threatens to upend nearly 30 years of hard work and development. Our hard work and investment has resulted in a growing community that includes a school, church, general store, and post office. This community has developed because of continued open access to the extensive road system and public lands surrounding it.

Transferring those public lands into private ownership will destroy any chance we have for a future.

Originally a logging camp, Edna Bay has transitioned over the years to support a wide variety of economic opportunities that include commercial fishing, guiding, eco-tourism, cabin rentals and small sawmills that produce locally available lumber. Thanks to investment by USDA, the recent addition of broadband Internet has opened the door to an even wider array of business opportunities that are clearly more sustainable than the one that brought us into existence. We have developed an interwoven economy that will continue to offer prosperity to the region far into the future.

Everyone clearly supports swift completion of ANCSA. Sealaska’s looming legislation has affected migration to the area for almost a decade. Several families who have purchased property in Edna Bay are waiting for the outcome of this bill before making the decision to relocate here. We need continued management by the U.S. Forest Service for people to have access to resources they will need to develop their land. We depend on personal use timber, sand and gravel from the public lands around our community to build here. The cost of importing these materials is more than any of us could bear, and would stop all development in Edna Bay.

If Sealaska had not fought so long against the directive laid out for them by Congress during the establishment of ANCSA, they could already have their land conveyance completed and be pursuing economic opportunities around native communities as they were supposed to. Congress clearly intended for them to benefit their own communities with their endeavors, not destroy already established communities in areas that should never have been threatened by their entitlement.

Sealaska needs to use their resources to develop sustainable economic opportunities for its corporation from within the boundaries established by ANCSA, and allow the rest of Southeast Alaska to continue developing a more sustainable economy based on a balanced use of the forest and wise conservation of our natural resources.

This bill should never pass out of committee, and certainly not without a formal hearing held on Prince of Wales Island, where its effects will be devastating.

• Myla Poelstra is a resident of Edna Bay.

http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/021610/opi_563672598.shtml

morton salty dogFebruary 20th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

The is the Statement Approved by the Council Board Members,Point Baker Community Associated, which invites the other villages and towns throughout Southeastern to join us.

The following communities on Prince of Wales and Kosciusko Islands in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest are opposed to passage of S. 881.

No other organization is authorized to represent our position.

We oppose Congress granting any land on Prince of Wales, Kosciusko , and Tuxekan Islands to the Sealaska Corporation outside of the boundaries set by statute by Congress in 1971 known as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

ANCSA fairly designated a large amount of land for Sealaska which is now available off of the Prince of Wales Archipelago where they can complete their final land selections.

morton salty dogFebruary 20th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

A RESOLUTION FROM EDNA BAY COMMUNITY INSISTING THAT AN HONORABLE APPROACH TO
OUR CONCERNS WITH S.881- SOUTHEAST ALASKA NATIVE LAND ENTITLEMENT ACT, CAN ONLY
BE SATISFIED BY A PUBLIC FIELD HEARING ON PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND.
Resolution #10-04:02-19
WHEREAS, the visits from Sealaska representatives were informative, but did not adequately address
our concerns; and
WHEREAS, despite intensive efforts made by this community over the last seven years seeking
equitable representation for the impact Sealaska’s proposed selections in out of withdrawal areas on
Kosciusko Island would have on our developing community; and
WHEREAS, all of our elected representatives are directly involved in the sponsorship and completion
of this legislation, which has limited their ability to provide equal and fair representation; and
NOW THEREFOR, BE IT RESOLVED: that the Community of Edna Bay has formed a resolution
requesting Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Mark Begich personally hold public field hearings on
Prince of Wales Island.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED BY THE EDNA BAY COMMUNITY, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
THIS 19TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2010.

_____________________________________________________________
A RESOLUTION FROM EDNA BAY COMMUNITY IN OPPOSITION TO OUT OF WITHDRAWAL AREA
SELECTIONS IN S.881 – SOUTHEAST ALASKA NATIVE LAND ENTITLEMENT FINALIZATION ACT.
Resolution #10-03:02-19
WHEREAS, the community of Edna Bay is a state established subsistence community that depends on
continued access to the public lands on Kosciusko Island to support the development and economy of
the community; such as free use timber, firewood, commercial timber sales, sand and gravel, and wild
food harvesting; and
WHEREAS, the community of Edna Bay is a remote, isolated community with no road access
connecting it to the main island of Prince of Wales for economic or development support; and
WHEREAS, the out of withdrawal area selections proposed in S.881 encompass three fourths of the
drivable road system and over two thirds of the accessible parts of the island; and
WHEREAS, the loss of such an extensive amount of the public lands on Kosciusko would stop all
future development of the community, thereby effectively ending the community’s existence; and
WHEREAS, the transfer to private ownership of such an extensive amount of the public land currently
used by the community for subsistence resources would suspend guarantees provided them by
ANILCA; and
WHEREAS, the community’s emergency water supply lies within the boundaries of the out of
withdrawal area selections proposed on Kosciusko Island in S.881 – Southeast Alaska Native Land
Entitlement Finalization Act; and
WHEREAS, the effects of the proposed selection on Kosciusko Island in S.881 would demolish the
integrity and future viability of the community, and depreciate the value of properties within the
community; and
NOW THEREFOR, BE IT RESOLVED: that the Community of Edna Bay has formed a resolution in
opposition to S.881-Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act as currently written,
including amendments that propose out of withdrawal area selection of any public lands on Kosciusko
Island.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED BY THE EDNA BAY COMMUNITY, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
THIS 19TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2010.
P.

morton salty dogFebruary 20th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

PORT PROTECTION COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

PO BOX 68

Point Baker AK, 99927

The community of Port Protection on the north end of Prince Of Wales Island in South East Alaska is strongly opposed to the Senate bill that would give the private corporation of Sealaska the land surrounding our community. We have worked for decades in good faith with the U.S. Forest Service to protect our most crucial subsistence areas that are within this land that Sealaska wants to grab. Sealaska is entitled to select their remaining lands , but their right to select it outside the area that they originally helped to select and which has been set aside for them these last 38 years is the problem. Their wish to obtain the lands that we have worked to protect and helped manage all these years is not right and if given to them would be a betrayal to all of us who trusted the system and worked with it. Port Protection has actively worked with the USFS for at least 30 years to protect our main subsistence areas, we worked in good faith that this was a important process to participate in, to ensure our local communities survival with a healthy forest environment intact. We succeeded in preserving a fraction of the old growth forest in our area, a multiple use forest used and enjoyed by many regardless of race. With a decision to give this land to a private corporation so that they can clear cut or mine it for short term shareholder profits, the U.S. Senate would turn our many years of participation and trust into a devastating loss and betrayal of that trust.

This is a very unpopular bill here on Prince of Wales Is., with even the main community within Sealaska’s entitlement area opposed to it. The thinly veiled threats to the Craig City Council by Senator Kookesh shows how impossible it is to get any support from our legislators against a large corporation with money to spend and weight to throw around. We have written many letters opposed to this bill over the last few years, to the House of Representatives and the Senate, stating the many reasons against it. Many here who have written in the past have given up, as no one seems to be listening, certainly not our representatives who are heavily lobbied by Sealaska Corporation. ANILCA was included by Congress to protect local subsistence land use against such corporate incursion. Title VIII guarantees subsistence rights of Federal land. Section 802 states that the policy of Congress is to cause the least adverse impact possible on rural residents who depend on subsistence uses of the resources of such land. Our community depends on these lands for subsistence , our fisheries depend also on a healthy forest habitat, and our other major business in the area of tourism depends on a surrounding area that is not wall to wall clear cuts.

Sealaska has targeted the most environmentally sensitive topography to clear cut when they chose karst for their enterprise areas. Karst with it’s many caves and large hydrological systems is a environmentally fragile ecosystem, it needs the protection of the Federal Cave Resources Act that it now has as Federal land. Karstlands tend to grow bigger trees and more salmon ,consequently developed karst areas like this have a long history of timber production. The USFS panel of karst experts in 1993 found karst on North Prince of Wales to be significant at both National and International scales , and concluded that karst was being degraded by timber harvest. In addition their analysis showed karstlands to be critically important to fisheries. This valuable and fragile resource needs to be protected for the future, we do not fully understand the aquatic ecosystem processes in karst landscapes. We know for a fact that scientists and National cave groups have written in opposition to this bill with many good reasons why this bill should not pass because of the karst involved , these are experts on this resource and there fears about logging this area should be taken seriously. Logging does not bring prosperity or jobs , only destruction and loss. When the trees are gone so are the jobs, unless Sealaska will then open a mine and cart the land away also, which could happen.

We are a small community , our main source of income is from fishing. We don’t have the money to compete against a large corporation like Sealaska, they don’t even acknowledge our existence here adjacent to their selected land and the impacts that logging that land would have on our community. Sealaska does not need this area to provide profit to their shareholders, but we desperately need it for our community to survive . Sealaska corporation has not received all the land they are entitled to because they chose not to select it, not because they could not select it . They wish to make it seem as though this land was kept from them unjustly and now they only seek reparation. In the past 38 years other areas not set aside for them have become utilized by others, fought for by others, and depended upon by others , the injustice is in taking that land away from those who have worked so long and hard to protect the vital habitat that they depend on. It would be a major betrayal to our community if this bill is passed.

We are dependent on the Congress to protect our rights in this as our Alaska Senators and Representative have no desire to say NO to a powerful native corporations lobbying.

Sincerely

Secretary

Port Protection Community Association

Port Protection , Alaska

D. SalvatoFebruary 20th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

As a Sealaska shareholder I don’t need this land. Ive been a shareholder for almost 40 years in all that time Sealaska has never averaged $2 per day in dividends including ANCSA, based on 100 shares.
The money this deal will provide will go into the pockets of the most corrupt Management in Native history.
I warn you these are Corporate Attorney’s that will stop at nothing, including breaking the laws of this State. I’ve known it since June. Now we all no since Kookesh’s meltdown.
Don’t let this deal go into hearings, it’s their end run. Deal with Kookesh first, demand his resignation or his impeachment before this deal goes any further.
I know my people, they don’t want to hurt innocent people for any amount of money.
Good Luck, may the spirit of our people go with you.

morton salty dogFebruary 21st, 2010 at 1:04 am

Edna Bay Community
A RESOLUTION FROM EDNA BAY COMMUNITY IN OPPOSITION TO OUT OF WITHDRAWAL AREA
SELECTIONS IN S.881 – SOUTHEAST ALASKA NATIVE LAND ENTITLEMENT FINALIZATION ACT.
Resolution #10-05:02-19
WHEREAS, the community of Edna Bay is opposed to passage of out of withdrawal area selections on
Prince of Wales, and Kosciusko Island in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest proposed in S.881; and
WHEREAS, no other organization is authorized to represent us; and
WHEREAS, we oppose Congress granting any land on Prince of Wales, Kosciusko, and Tuxecan
Islands to the Sealaska Corporation outside of the boundaries set by statute by Congress in 1971 known
as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; and
WHEREAS, ANCSA fairly designated a large amount of land for Sealaska which is now available off
of Prince of Wales Archipelago where they can complete their final land selections; and
NOW THEREFOR, BE IT RESOLVED: that the Community of Edna Bay has formed a resolution in
support of united opposition with other Prince of Wales communities against Sealaska’s request to
make out of withdrawal area selections proposed in S.881 – Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement
Finalization Act.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED BY THE EDNA BAY COMMUNITY, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
THIS 19TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2010.

morton salty dogFebruary 21st, 2010 at 4:16 pm

February 21, 2010
Senator Mark Begich
144 Russell Senate Office Bldg
Washington, D.C. 20510
Re: S.881 – Withdraw Your Support for Sealaska’s Land Grab
Dear Honorable Senator,
Have you been following the news and letters coming out of Southeast Alaska in the last few days?
Are you watching as city after city, town after town come forward against this contentious legislation?
Don’t you wonder why so many people are unhappy with what this proposes? If S.881 is the wonderful
answer its supposed to be for Southeast Alaska and it’s economy, why is the chorus of voices arising
out of affected areas demanding justice and fair representation growing louder and louder each day?
More of more examples of corrupt behavior and misguided intentions are coming out in the papers.
People and communities are uniting against this bad idea. The word is spreading across the nation.
There will be an uprising and calls for federal investigation if some equitable answer does not come
soon. Sealaska’s real intentions are being exposed. The open greed and underhanded strong arm tactics
are turning people against S.881 and it’s attempt to take lands all Americans feel should remain in the
public domain.
Do you want to be caught in the fallout that is coming over the decision of our representatives to
totally disregard the needs of their constituents? Are you reading the stories and letters folks are
sending you? How can so many people be overreacting?
You still have a chance to come forward and stop this legislation. You signed on to this at the
very end of the game. I have a feeling this was totally misrepresented to get you to come on board. Do
the right thing Senator Begich, STOP S.881 in committee. Withdraw your support for this travesty
today. How can you possibly hope to adequately mark up a bill that is totally unwarranted? How can
you defend it? And against the rest of the people living and working in Southeast Alaska. Can you risk
the political fallout? What could Sealaska have put on the table to get so many of our representatives to
give them unqualified support? How can you not hear what people in these “economic development”
areas are saying? Don’t you wonder why they are so upset and distraught?
Sealaska agreed to areas for their entitlement selections during the development of ANCSA. They
need to stick to what they originally asked for. I have looked very closely at what they were provided
to choose from. There is no justification for what they are trying to do, other than unbridled greed.
Many families and businesses will be financially ruined if this bill becomes law. Do you want that on
your conscience? Sealaska will not be harmed if this legislation dies in committee. They still have
adequate lands to complete their conveyance from. The people of Southeast Alaska have no where else
to go. Do the right Senator Begich. Withdraw your support today, before it is too late for all of us.
Sincerely,
Myla Poelstra
Edna Bay, Alaska

morton salty dogFebruary 22nd, 2010 at 10:52 am

S 881 A BAD HISTORY FOR A BAD BILL

If S 881 passes out of committee next month, Southeast Alaska and the nation will be worse off. Here is an untold story.

Back in 1977, Sealaska got Congress to change ANCSA, then six years old. The 1977 amendment required Governor Hammond to consent to transfer of 76,600 acres in Yakutat, and others in Saxman. Also removed from transfer were Sealaska lands around Angoon.

Byron Mallot, chief of Yakutat and powerful Board Member of Sealaska, pulled off a coups. In one sentence, Sealaska insured the lands around these communities were saved from logging.

But by saving his own village, he concentrated the logging around the remaining Native villages of Hoonah, Klawock, Kake, and Hydaburg.

In 1978, Hammond consented to Yakutat lands being transferred to Sealaska if they could exchange these lands to the US Forest Service. As far as I can tell, nothing happened until 2002 when negotiations began between Sealaska and the US Forest Service.

Sealaska was offered lands “of equal value” to the lands in Yakutat. The Forest Service offered: Cleveland Peninsula, Sitko, Neko, E Gunnick Bays,Seal and Chicken Creeks, Alice Lake, and E Spaski, Hoonah, Hobart and Whitestone.

Sealaska rejected the offer. Instead, they began to push for legislation to get in Congress what they could not get from the agency managing the Tongass for all users. S 881 is the latest reincarnation.

Instead of seeking a mere land exchange for the 76,600 Yakutat acres, Sealaska saw an opportunity to reach way beyond anything Congress gave in 1971.

Now 39 years latter, Sealaska wants Congress to give it parcels in bays up and down the 350 miles of the Tongass, and Federal land developed at huge cost to US taxpayers , most of which are in the hunting and fishing grounds heavlily used by the public and none of which were contemplated by Congress long ago.

This bold overreaching beyond the scope of ANCSA is what has ignited a fury among the people living in bush Alaska who made investments of hard labor and money to live next to Federal Land protected by the US Forest Service. A bill so far reaching, should be aired in public.

A public hearing was held in DC but none are scheduled for Alaska despite the clamor to be heard by votes of Craig, Petersburg, Port Protection, Pt Baker, and Edna Bay, with Sitka holding one on Tuesday. A measure that impacts so many lives throughout SE Alaska deserves to be aired in front of Senators Murkowski, Begich, and Bingaman— but popcorn and a tape recorder is the best Senator Murkowski can do.

To refuse to hold hearings and put the brakes on the rush to complete this land grab is to reinforce the public perception of Congress. And it ain’t too good right now.

Landgrabs and worse do pass Congress. But now is not the time to change the face of Southeast Alaska with this terrible bill. If Senator Al Kookesh can issue public threats before the city council of Craig, there is no telling what is going on behind closed doors.

morton salty dogFebruary 22nd, 2010 at 2:08 pm

here is the langauge from PL 95-178, the 1977 amendment to ANCSA

lands shall be selected and conveyed from lands withdrawn by section 16a and not given to the villages except “without the consent of the Governor of the State of Alasaka …lands in Saxman and Yakutat are not avail able for selection or conveyance.”

so then the Gov gave his consent in 1978– this was the wessel op back then– but Sealaska did not negotiate until 2002.

so then sealaska rejected the following areas offered to them by the Forest Service. hence the land grab handle.

clevland, sitko, neka, e spaski, hobart, hoonah, whitestone, e gunnick, chiken creek, alice

morton salty dogFebruary 23rd, 2010 at 11:19 am

The San Jose Mercury News reported this week that six of the top 10 largest donors to political causes nationwide were Indian casino tribes, spending a total of $160 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics study.

sealaska is a big casino invester and gets some bang for its buck as a result. note its purchase of acres in sonoma county california for a casino

morton salty dogFebruary 24th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

ALASKA WILDERNESS LEAGUE – CLEAN WATER ACTION – DEFENDERS OF
WILDLIFE – EARTHJUSTICE – GREENPEACE – LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS
– NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY – NATIONAL CENTER FOR CONSERVATION
SCIENCE AND POLICY – NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION –
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION – PEW ENVIRONMENT GROUP – SIERRA CLUB –
SITKA CONSERVATION SOCIETY – THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY
February 23, 2010
The Honorable Senator Jeff Bingaman
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-5521
Dear Senator Bingaman,
The purpose of this letter is to express our strong opposition to S. 881, legislation proposing
the transfer of public lands from the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corporation. If
enacted as proposed this legislation would have widespread and far-reaching impacts on the
national interest lands of the Tongass National Forest.
While our organizations respect Sealaska’s right to secure its remaining land entitlement,
consistent with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the proposed legislation
would alter the terms of the original settlement legislation and effectively eliminate previous
boundaries defining the area from which Sealaska would make selections. As you can
appreciate, the ANCSA legislation required a complicated balancing of public and private
interests. The land transfers proposed by S. 881 threaten this careful balance and present a
number of serious concerns:
• Many of the lands that Sealaska proposes to select in S. 881, which are outside of the
ANCSA selection area, are located within watersheds that have extremely important public
interest fishery and wildlife habitat values that would be substantially impacted by the
intensive logging practices permitted on privately owned lands.
• The legislation would transfer scores of small parcels throughout the Tongass National
Forest from public ownership to private control resulting in widespread user conflicts,
including management concerns within Glacier Bay National Park, as well as with
established guiding and outfitting businesses, lodges, and the general public.
• The legislation is extremely controversial within Southeast Alaska, numerous local
governments have expressed concerns and opposition to the legislation, and despite
claims to the contrary, there has been no public process to engage communities in
Southeast Alaska that would be directly impacted by the proposed land transfers.
While the total acreage involved may appear small relative to the overall size of the Tongass,
the legislation would have disproportionate impacts on important conservation and public use
values throughout the region. Furthermore, congressional action is not needed to resolve the
remaining land entitlements. It should also be recognized that, S.1738/H.R.3692 “The
National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2009”, which would provide permanent
protection for large portions of the Tongass, conflicts substantially with the land transfers
envisioned in S.881.
For all of these reasons, we oppose S. 881 and urge that the bill not advance further in
the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Again, our organizations respect
the importance of fulfilling Sealaska’s unsatisfied land entitlement; however we believe this
can be done without additional legislation. Any future legislation regarding the Tongass must
consider other important public interests including the conservation and protection of fish and
wildlife resources, fishing, recreation, tourism, subsistence, and other public uses of the
Tongass National Forest.
Sincerely,
Frank Gill Cindy Shogan
President Executive Director
National Audubon Society Alaska Wilderness League
Bill Meadows Larry Schweiger
President President, Chief Executive Officer
The Wilderness Society National Wildlife Federation
Carl Pope Tom Kiernan
Executive Director President
Sierra Club National Parks Conservation
Association
Andrew Thoms Trip Van Noppen
Executive Director President
Sitka Conservation Society Earthjustice
Joshua Reichert Philip D. Radford
Managing Director Chief Executive Officer
Pew Environment Group Greenpeace
Rodger Schlickeisen John DeCock
President, Chief Executive Officer President
Defenders of Wildlife Clean Water Action
Dominick DellaSala, Ph.D. Gene Karpinski
President, Chief Scientist President
National Center for Conservation Science and Policy League of Conservation Voters
cc:

morton salty dogFebruary 26th, 2010 at 10:51 am

February 26, 2010
Friday AM

The opening paragraph of Mr. McNeil’s letter clearly sets the tone for the Sealaska/ congressional delegation’s attitude toward the rest of us who do NOT stand to benefit from Sealaska land bill S881. To state, “The Tongass National Forest is a Native Place” clearly implies that those of us who are non-natives do not belong here, should not have a say, and our opinions are dismissible. As far as this land bill “enabl(ing) the government to complete the contract that it made with Sealaska and other Alaska Natives when it enacted ANCSA in 1971”, one of the biggest issues is that the public lands they are now trying to take WERE NOT a part of the “contract”! These are public lands we have, as individuals, communities, and taxpayers to the federal government poured years and money into roading and managing, and built our very livelihoods around. Surprise! These value-added, roaded, multiple-use, highly used public areas are now the very areas they want to grab.

The worn-out line of “The Sealaska land legislation not giving Sealaska any more land than it was entitled to under ANCSA” defies logic as well. On whose spreadsheet do the “pristine unroaded lands” acres have the same value to the public as the roaded public lands on which we drive, hunt, fish, recreate, cut firewood, support small logging sales, and access our communities? It sounds very noble to “preserve over 270,000 acres of inventoried roadless and over 112,000 acres of productive old-growth stands” but Sealaska knows and we know that means nothing when it’s time to put food on our tables. As a private corporation, Sealaska has much fewer restrictions than the federal government on how it manages its lands; it can export logs in the round, and no expensive lawsuits or requisite public accountability and NEPA process. If THEY can’t make money – or as high a profit as they’d like – on their unroaded lands, then it’s egregious to expect anyone else to, and it’s callously unconscionable to instead take away the very land base which communities need to eke out a living in these tough economic times.

Do not be fooled. The “jobs” Sealaska creates are for Sealaska’s beneficiaries and come at the expense of the communities and public at large. How often have we seen notices for employment opportunities with native entities, with the qualifier, “Native Preference Applies”? The truth is, there is hardly enough to go around now. Individuals and communities on Prince of Wales and Kosiousko Islands are barely hanging on, and looking for creative ways to diversify out of old-growth-centric industry, and rebuild flagging economies. The glory days of big timber profits are gone. The glory days of big corporation dividend checks are gone too! Instead, there is a delicate, and hopefully recovering, balance of communities involving small mills, wood products, commercial fishing, some tourism, some civic employment, public lands management, and subsistence and cottage industries for which the public lands and multiple-use management are critical components of survival. In order for everyone to survive, everyone is now trying to make do with less than we may have enjoyed in the past. More for Sealaska, of our critical public lands, means less for communities and families who are right now only hanging on by their fingernails. You can’t rob from Peter to pay Paul, without Peter starving to death. And that is a fact to which Sealaska and, inexplicably, our own elected officials are apparently turning a deaf ear.

As for Sealaska’s leadership making “nearly 200 visits to communities across the region” to try to sell the idea of the “land grab”, why are we then hearing more and more opposition to this bill? I believe they only visited Point Baker/Port Protection once. By the public and municipal comments I have seen, spanning the past few years, this has not been a well-received proposal. Whatever major compromises Sealaska claims to have incorporated don’t seem to have won the buy-in of the affected communities or individuals. The same roaded public land base they’ve had in their gunsights has changed little if at all. That is the core issue. How is it that a proposal of such magnitude, basically a land disposal of some 85,000 acres of the most used and valued public land base, is not the subject of widely publicized public hearings in every affected community, public scoping and input, and extensive environmental and economic analysis? It would appear that the proponents would prefer quite the opposite, but now at last the cat is well out of the bag and the outcry is growing.

I own property in Point Baker. My father has lived there for 50 years. It is one of the communities, along with Port Protection and Edna Bay, to be the most immediately devastated by this land bill. If this bill passes, I probably will forego planning to ever build on my property. The only road that approaches Point Baker/Port Protection would become private road. Surrounding these tiny communities with private native corporation land will soon squeeze them out of existence. I don’t know which communities Sealaska’s “goals” are “in alignment with”, but it certainly is none of those three. For Mr. McNeil to imply that their “surveys” show buy-in from the public merely highlights the fact they have not, are not, and don’t intend to, address the concerns of these communities, which is, do not take away the public roads and public land our communities need to survive. How many times is this repeated before Sealaska hears us? Before our elected representatives listen to us?

Mr. McNeil sounds like he expects us “critics” of their land bill to provide alternatives for their corporation’s economic sustainability. Well, we all want economic sustainability. There is no miracle cure. No one has ever guaranteed MY economic sustainability. We all have equal opportunity to work hard and succeed. I grew up financially poor but determined to work hard, and that I have done. As to the question about how many more people will lose their jobs, well, if Sealaska’s bill passes, it will surely be a lot! And when he talks about “job prospects for our youth”, does he just mean native youth? What about my kid? I do know he doesn’t get native preference for jobs. I know he isn’t allowed to hunt or fish on corporation land. I guess they weren’t talking about my kid. At least on public land, they can all hunt and fish…native and non-native equally.

Mr. McNeil insults the communities and individuals who have serious issues and concerns over this land bill by accusing us of “misrepresenting the legislation” into “sound bites”. Like many of the “critics” I have lived in Southeast a long time – 35 years. I have hiked, hunted and fished on public lands, I have driven up and down the length of Prince of Wales many times. The north end is in particular a public treasure. We all love these lands and we are fighting for our livelihoods and the continued full use of our public lands. No one is out to deny the legitimate settlement of the ANCSA issue. While this should have been done 40 years ago, it was not, but waiting for huge public investments such as roads in order to gain value-added benefits at the public’s expense is just plain wrong. Sealaska needs to settle ANCSA based on the land selection areas authorized by the original Act and let us ALL get on with building an economically strong Southeast Alaska together. Our
accessible public lands are PUBLIC LANDS, to benefit ALL OF US, not just a select private group.

Anyone concerned about stopping this Sealaska land bill S.881 once and for all needs to contact Senator Bingaman, Sen. Murkowski, and Sen. Begich, as well as local elected officials, to voice their concerns.

Sandy Powers
Ketchikan, AK

About: “35-year resident of Southeast Alaska, POW property owner, directly affected by bill S.881.”

morton salty dogMarch 6th, 2010 at 10:51 am

http://juneauempire.com/stories/022310/opi_566537417.shtml#mdw-comments

THERE IS A RECALL EFFORT UNDER WAY AGAINST ALASKA SENATOR ALBERT KOOKESH
IF YOU LIVE IN SENATE DISTRICT C, GET THE PETITION HERE.
http://www.ednabayalaska.net
INSTRUCTIONS WHERE TO MAIL ARE AT THAT LINK
Kookese tried to “extort” in the words of the Anchorage Daily News one of the communities which was considering S 881. The ethics committee found he was guilty and admonished him. Admonishment is not enough for a lot of his voters who want him out of office.

please fax Senator Bingaham today US SENATE

morton salty dogMarch 6th, 2010 at 10:56 am

tell Bingaman you want S 881 to die, no compromise. kill S 881 in committee

morton salty dogMarch 6th, 2010 at 11:57 am

op ed from an alaskan
http://juneauempire.com/stories/030110/opi_569280308.shtml

morton salty dogMarch 6th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/022310/opi_566537417.shtml

morton salty dogMarch 15th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Here is what Sealaska logging around Hoonah looks like– done around 1997.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRQre80IVj4

You must watch this. Buffers on private land in Alaska are half the size of Forest Service 100 foot buffers on salmon streams and can be logged selectively. Bad for salmon.

This reminds me of what Wisconsin looked like in the 1870s when most of it had been slashed and burned.

Write US Senators to stop S 881
http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=About.Members

Watch the hearing on 3/15/2010 before the US House Natural Resources Committee on their web site

omm

morton salty dogMarch 15th, 2010 at 9:07 am

Chuck Kleeschulte who helped write this bill for Senators Murkowski/Begich came to SE Alaska last week to “record” what people had to say. He ran into heavy oppposition in Ketchikan and Sitka and Petersburg.

He never visited the places most affected: Edna Bay, Point Baker, Port Protection. And will not. They are nearly all opposed.

As an aside for history, he ran into snow storms with winds up to 70 mph and on the trip back to Ketchikan on Friday had waves 14-17 foot high hit his boat. Somewhat upsetting.

morton salty dogMarch 15th, 2010 at 9:26 am

and then there is this about Senator Murkowski who has partnered with the junior Senator Begich on this bill as well as Mary Landrieu of Health Care fame.

http://alaskareport.com/news/z46514_lisa_crime.htm

Deane RimermanJanuary 27th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hey Salty Dog and everyone else… I lost my Forest Policy Research blog to someone who bought up my domain name. But I just got the site back online under the website address of http://forestpolicyresearch.com

If you’d like to use the site or post to please go for it!!!

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