FAIRBANKS - Legislation that would give as much as 500,000 acres of federal land to the University of Alaska has only a slim chance of passage this year, according to U.S. Rep. Don Young, but he and others say they aren't giving up on the idea.
The measure has moved through all of its committees and could be poised for approval next year if it finds favor with the new Congress and White House.
Young, an Alaska Republican and chairman of the House Resources Committee, reported the bill to the full House on July 19.
"We're going to try to bring it up on the floor," he said at a meeting with members of the Alaska press corps before leaving Washington, D.C., for the annual August recess.
He described the effort as a long shot, however.
The Clinton administration has promised to veto the bill, so passing it as standalone legislation is all but impossible.
The Alaska delegation also could expect difficulties in ushering the bill through the two houses of Congress, Young said. That task is difficult, "especially when the governor vetoed the state bill," he said.