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
A 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.Read more
Our 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.Read more
Today SEACC, along with an Alaska Native Tribal Government and two other conservation groups, filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The suit challenges BLM’s failure to consider the cumulative impact of future mine development at Constantine Metals’ Palmer Project when reviewing exploration applications. The Palmer Project encompasses ongoing exploration activities in the Chilkat Watershed, directly upstream of Haines and Klukwan, AK.
An eagle on the Chilkat - Photo by: Josh MillerRead more
Last week, just before families gathered to give thanks for all we share, Senator Lisa Murkowski released her FY 2018 Interior/Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (or ‘Interior Appropriations’ bill for "short"). The proposed spending bill takes aim at one of the things that Southeast Alaskans are most thankful for -- the Tongass National Forest. Senator Murkowski’s targets, the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment and the Roadless Rule, help keep the Tongass the wild place that we all love.Read more
With the new government in British Columbia, now is the time to speak up, be heard, and protect our rivers! Here are some ways that we can address the threat of mines on our transboundary rivers and take action to make sure that our communities continue to thrive.Read more
We need your help today to stop another devastating bill that takes aim at our national forests. The House of Representatives is voting on H.R. 2936, the so-called “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017,” this morning, Alaska time. This bill, introduced in June by Representative Bruce Westerman, sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the health of all our national forests by strangling the public’s ability to influence management of these valuable public lands, completely failing to address the real problem with wildfire funding in our national forests: the growing impact of wildfire suppression on the Forest Service's annual budget.