Take Action NOW on the Juneau Road

The House Finance Committee is meeting TOMORROW, May 11, 2018, to discuss the Capital Budget which includes reversing Governor Walker’s decision to reallocate funds away from this dangerous and wasteful project and towards projects to enhance our transportation and infrastructure in the greater Lynn Canal area.

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Stuck on the Juneau Road Roundabout

Well, it looks like we are stuck on the Juneau Road roundabout, circling back to the same old question again -- should we extend a dead end 50 more miles? 

The answer is clearly no. The proposed 50-mile extension is a dangerous and overpriced waste of scarce resources that would ravage the ecologically and culturally important Berners Bay up Lynn Canal to the Katzehin River delta.  This dead end would force drivers to cross 36 avalanche chutes and over 100 “geological hazards,” like rock fall areas, to reach a new ferry terminal. Not only would this be dangerous to travelers, but expensive for taxpayers in Alaska and around the country. Four years ago, state officials estimated the cost at $574 million with an average $5 million in maintenance costs.

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Your Southeast Story - Share What You Love

Sign-up_and_Start_Sharing_Today.jpgI want to tell you about an exciting new project here at SEACC, Tongass Imprints. This app is your opportunity to join with others who love Southeast Alaska and help us protect what we all love, the Tongass National Forest and Inside Passage.

A photo is worth a thousand words, especially when talking to busy policymakers. When you share pictures, they are added to our online map and album (with credit given to you) and used when we talk to policymakers about the Tongass and Inside Passage. There they become part of a powerful collective voice for conservation in Southeast, building a compelling visual story of the places we love and want to protect.

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University of Alaska is Racing to Log its Haines Trust Parcels

The University of Alaska is racing ahead with plans to clearcut their lands in Haines instead of looking at practicable alternatives – like options that keep the forest standing and earn revenue by banking the carbon.   

The sale, proposed on some 13,000 acres of university lands, is a losing deal for the University and residents of Haines and Klukwan. These lands include those bordering both sides of the Klehini River within the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve; the lower Takhin and Kicking Horse Rivers; steep slopes above Pyramid and Taiyasanka Harbors; and Glacier Point. All of these lands are important to locals and visitors who wish to experience the authentic version of a wild Alaska that keeps us here and safeguards our salmon, water, wildlife, and communities.

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Thank You for Staying Strong for the Tongass!

Yesterday, Congressional leadership reached a deal on the FY2018 omnibus spending package that DOES NOT INCLUDE Senator Murkowski’s long-sought Tongass riders!

As you know, these last few months we’ve been watching and engaging lawmakers on Senator Murkowski’s two ‘poison-pill’ riders, which she has been working to attach to the spending bill over the last few weeks. The riders would have created an exclusion for the Tongass and the Chugach National Forests from the Roadless Rule and would have thrown out the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) Amendment, the plan that guides how the Forest Service manages our resources here.

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Juneau Road - An update

Juneau-11_14_(6).jpgThe Juneau Road, also known as the Juneau Access Project has again reared its ugly head, this time in the Alaska State Legislature.

On March 12, 2018, the House voted on H.B. 321, the ‘fast-track supplemental’ which would provide short-term funding for Medicaid, the ferry system, and the department of corrections through the spring. Attached to this was an addition offered by Representatives Pruitt, Millett, Saddler, and Wilson to allocate over $21 million to the Juneau Access Project, a potentially divisive attempt to resurrect this dead-end road.

It is frustrating to see road proponents try and use a bill critical to funding health care for low-income families and the essential services of the ferries to push their agenda forward. 

Fortunately, when it came time to adopt the measure, adding it to the final bill to be passed, it failed by one vote. Both Juneau Representatives Sam Kito and Justin Parish were among the 20 representatives who voted against the inclusion and for the health and well-being of the people of Alaska.

Thank Kito and Parish for voting for Juneau

‘The Road’ as it is known, would allocate millions of state and federal dollars to extend the road here in Juneau north along the Lynn Canal in an attempt to shorten the distance between Juneau’s roads and the Alaska road system in Haines. This would be a bad deal for Juneau and the state, a waste of taxpayer money to fund a dangerous and wasteful project.

We are lucky to have representatives that will stand up for what they believe in and thanks to them this debate has hit another end. This move, however, highlights the importance of staying vigilant on this issue as there are those who would see this pushed through, even at the cost of the people of Alaska.


Speak up for Juneau!

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We love Juneau, this spectacular place that we call home. The current CBJ Mining Ordinance regulates mining in Juneau and gives all of us a voice in protecting this place, our home, and our health and wellbeing. The mining ordinance is currently under threat.

In May 2017, a small group with ties to the mining industry brought the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Committee of the Whole a proposal to gut the ordinance. A subcommittee was created and tasked with investigating the proposal and making a final recommendation for next steps.

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The ANCSA Improvement Act Threatens Lands Previously Protected by Congress

Last week, Senator Murkowski scheduled a legislative hearing for February 7, 2018, before the Senate Energy Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. Senator Mike Lee of Utah chairs this subcommittee and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is the ranking Democrat. The hearing’s purpose is to receive testimony on 15 bills, including S. 1481, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Improvement Act (ANCSA).

As currently drafted, S.1481 perpetuates the problematic and limiting western corporate model originally imposed on Alaska Natives by ANCSA. This model has historically created an economic imperative for Native Corporations in Southeast to pursue short-term resource extraction policies centered on logging corporate lands.

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Taking the Fight for the Tongass to DC!

fullsizeoutput_a8b.jpegA little over a week ago, Buck Lindekugel, Crystal Nelson, and I traveled to Washington, D.C to take the fight for the Tongass to D.C. at this particularly critical moment in time.

During the week we talked to lawmakers from around the country about the role the Tongass National Forest plays in the lives of Southeast Alaskans, and pushed back against the threat posed by two recent Tongass riders included in a Senate Appropriations package – exempting the Chugach and the Tongass National Forests from the Roadless Rule, and rolling back the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment (TLMP) which includes crucial protections for important salmon watersheds.

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Mining Update - Federal Involvement in Transboundary Mines

Taku_Michele_Cornelius-06_2014_(6)_copy.jpgOur transboundary rivers here in Alaska have a new advocate, the U.S. Department of State. After years of petitioning by SEACC, Alaska Native groups, conservation groups, and the Alaska delegation, the federal government has taken the first steps in protecting our clean water, salmon, and the communities that rely on them.

On December 28th Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, who is heading the Alaskan administration’s efforts to address the issues of transboundary mines, released a letter from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. The letter acknowledges our concerns and promises to engage their counterparts at Global Affairs Canada on the issue. They have secured a commitment from Global Affairs Canada to ‘engage in a bilateral review of gaps and limitations in the cooperation frameworks between B.C. and U.S. states.’ The Department of State will lead this interagency review and plans to share their findings at the April 2018 International Joint Commission (IJC) meetings.

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