House panel to hold off on university lands bill

Testimony indicates large-scale opposition, especially in Kodiak, Ketchikan, SE villages

Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Alaska House Resources Committee co-chairman Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, has decided to hold until March a controversial bill granting the University of Alaska 260,000 acres of state land.

Recent testimony on the bill has shown large-scale opposition from communities across Alaska - especially in Kodiak, Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska villages.

Ramras said he has discussed concerns about the bill with the state Department of Natural Resources and the university and "we have agreed to go back and take a closer look at the overall plan before reopening public testimony," he said in a written statement on Tuesday.

Ramras said, "What we want to do now is step back and let those involved work out the particulars for a compromise. Some changes will involve amendments ... others can be handled by agreements between the university and the stakeholders.

The bill is not expected to appear again on the House Resources Committee schedule for testimony until at least March 2.

Ramras said proposed changes to the bill will be released for public review.

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