Last week something extraordinary happened: the FY2018 omnibus spending package passed, WITHOUT Senator Lisa Murkowski’s two ‘poison-pill’ riders. The first rider would have created an exemption from the Roadless Rule for Alaska’s two National Forests, the Tongass and Chugach. The second would have thrown out the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment which moves management of the Tongass towards a focus on young growth timber. A spending package without Tongass riders was a major win for the Tongass, and we couldn’t have done it without Tongass Stronghearts in Congress, like Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington State.Read more
Early Sunday, the Alaska Legislature voted against the interests of the majority of residents in the Lynn Canal Area who oppose the dangerous and wasteful Juneau Access Project by re-appropriating $21 million to extend the dead end. This reverses the sound decision by Governor Bill Walker who, in December 2016, reallocated over $20 million from the road to other transportation and infrastructure projects in the Lynn Canal.
Governor Walker still has the opportunity to reverse this bad decision by vetoing this section of the Appropriations Bill. Over the next month, he and his staff will be reviewing the bill and they need to hear from the people of Juneau and Southeast that we support his decision and oppose the Juneau Road.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
I 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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
The 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.
‘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.
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.Read more
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.Read more