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Rep. Young's Sealaska land bill passes House

Murkowski and Young pushing bills to finalize Sealaska's ANCSA claims

Posted: June 24, 2012 - 12:09am

A bill to finalize Sealaska Corporation’s Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act land claims passed the U.S. House of Representatives, Tuesday.

Rep. Young’s H.R. 1408, the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act, passed as part of an omnibus bill sponsored by California Rep. Jeff Dunham - R. The Conservation and Economic Growth, H.R. 2578, passed the House with a vote of 232 to 188.

The legislation would allow Sealaska to select from federal lands that are not available under the original agreement

Sealaska Native Corporation would be entitled to the revenue derived from the sale of harvested timber.

Sealaska is a private Alaska Native Regional Corporation. Created in 1971 as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Sealaska has claim to certain lands in Southeast Alaska. Young’s bill would grant Sealaska choice of lands outside of ANCSA boundaries.

Sealaska Corporation owns more than 290,000 acres of surface lands.

Senator Lisa Murkowski also sponsored a Sealaska land claims bill, S. 730 the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization and Jobs Protection Act. Murkowski’s bill is currently in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – of which she is a ranking member.

Young said in a press release that the Conservation and Economic Growth Act is an effort to boost Southeast Alaska’s timber industry.

The Act could have a broader impact on Southeast Alaska.

A recent Reuters article said the omnibus bill would place control of lands within 100 miles of Mexico or Canada under the control of U.S. board patrol agents (goo.gl/otdgs).

H.R. 2578 would “prohibit the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture from impeding or restricting activities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection on land under their respective jurisdiction within 100 miles of an international U.S. border,” according to bill language.

If passed, the bill would give precedence to border protection over the Endangered Species Act and the Wilderness Act. U.S. Customs and Border Protection could construct and maintain roads, fences temporary structures and surveillance equipment on land under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture.

H.R. 2578 now moves to the Senate.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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