Open letter to Senator Bingaman:
By Alan Stein
January 28, 2010
Dear Senator Bingaman,
I submitted testimony for the record when the committee you chair
heard the bill Senators Murkowski and Begich introduced re handing
over Federal Land on Prince of Wales Island to Sealaska Corp,
a private interest.
Over my many decades in Alaska, I both lived on Prince of Wales
and fished in the waters surrounding it. I hiked its mountains
and fished in its streams. I shot geese, ducks, and deer there
and homesteaded on its shores. My son was born and raised on
In addition, I headed the largest commercial fisherman's organization
in Alaska dedicated to protecting salmon streams. With my old
friend and associate Chuck Zieske, I spearheaded an effort that
led to passage of the National Forrest Management Act in 1976.
I am damn well opposed to Sealaska getting any federal lands
transfered to its private ownership. My bones tell me it is wrong
to pander to their entreaties.
Sealaska despoiled its lands.
Denuded mountain sides are bad for all of us.
Nothing they did was sustainable. They export the timber robbing
Americans of jobs.
Nor, considering the recent actions of its Board Member, Albert
Kookesh, is there much hope that things will get better in the
future. Kookesh made it sound as though he was selling brill
cream to teenagers. Kookesh is the guy who appeared to my ears
to be threatening the City of Craig with a cut off in funds in
the Alaska State Legislature if they did not endorse Sealaska's
bill. A move he made in his own private interest apparently.
This brazen public threat by a law maker cannot be condoned,
it will not be condoned, and Congress should not condone it by
considering this bill any further. Not now and certainly not
in an election year. You simply cannot reward Sealaska by allowing
the bill to pass through your committee. .
I urge you to stand tall and block this bill and tell Senators
Murkowski and Begich they are backing the wrong horse. Please
do not let this bill leave your committee. It deserves to be
Received January 27, 2009 -
Published January 28, 2010
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