Thanks for Sunday's common-sense editorial opposing the Cape Fox Land Exchange in Berners Bay.
Almost always, I disagree with the Empire's editorial positions on local environmental and natural resource issues. The Empire is pro-Kensington Mine; I'm not. The Cape Fox Land Exchange, though, is such a terrible idea that the Empire and I are able to agree that it shouldn't be allowed to happen.
If the land exchange bill were to pass, the American public would gain a few thousand acres of mostly clearcut land near Ketchikan, but we would lose so much more. Americans would lose wild land in Berners Bay; we'd lose the money our Forest Service would have to spend to rehabilitate Cape Fox's clearcut land; we'd lose the ability we now have to closely review Coeur Alaska's plans for development of the Kensington Mine. We in Juneau would also lose a back yard that provides all of us with a haven for hunting, fishing, kayaking, and breathing.
Americans lose; Cape Fox, Sealaska, and Coeur Alaska win. There is nothing fair about this trade. Anyone who has the best interest of the public at heart can see this clearly.
Lisa Murkowski is still hoping her land exchange bill will pass. Since people from all sides of the political spectrum can see that there is nothing good in this bill for the Americans to whom Berners Bay belongs, Murkowski will have to be pretty crafty to get it through. Luckily, she has Ted Stevens - one crafty politician indeed - on her side, and Stevens can help push the land exchange through as a rider on must-pass federal spending legislation. This less-than-admirable manner of trying to sneak bad legislation through Congress leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
When you go to the polls in November, remember that Lisa Murkowski, the one U.S. Senate candidate who has had a chance to prove herself in Washington, has proven only that she is willing to ignore what's good for the majority of her constituents in favor of what's good for a very few of them.
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