By Towns of Thorne Bay, Kupreanof, Edna Bay, Port Protection, Pt. Baker, Hollis, Whale Pass, Naukati, and Cape Pole
February 29, 2012
We are extremely disappointed that after eight months your office was unable to respond to the July 18th, 2011 letter from our Nine Alaska Towns, but hope you will respond to this letter.
New information was made public on Feb. 22, 2012 which answers the questions we asked you last July. We hope you will carefully consider this information contained in the Audubon Report. (Full Report)
In our July 18th letter, we asked you for data that substantiated Mr. Katz's letter to Chairman Ron Wyden in regards to S 730, now stalled in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. (Click here )
Mr. Katz’s letter was the reason you gave for supporting the Sealaska Bill. In it he asserted ‘the in the box lands’ which Sealaska asked BLM to select in 2008 are "inadequate particularly for economic purposes."
We find Mr. Katz's assertion to be entirely without factual justification.
In light of the Audubon report released on Feb. 22nd, it is entirely true that the lands Sealaska received under ANCSA are economic to log, because they contain average Tongass Timber volume. (See Figure 1, page 15 of the Audubon Report.) A copy of the report can be found online.
We also draw your attention to another finding of the report. The vital and rare Class 7 trees necessary to maintain deer herds during extreme high snow fall winters are targeted under S 730. As a result of this high grading, Audubon's scientists found that the designated new selections contain 1200 percent more of these very large-tree stands than the Tongass as a whole. (See page 11, Audubon.)
This high grading of the biggest trees on the Tongass under S 730 and HR 1408 amounts to an unfair and unjust enrichment for Sealaska, whose settlement can be made fair and final by asking BLM to transfer the land they designated in 2008, which are the areas they in fact requested in 1975 through the presentations of John Borbridge, Sealaska's President at the time, to Congress. See BLM letter to the Nine Towns.
By the way, the AFN was divided over whether Southeast Alaska should be included in ANCSA, because the Tlingits and Haida had already sued and won money compensation for their lands in Tlingit and Haida Indians et. al. v U.S., 1959 and 1968. (See Sealaska's Newsletter, 4th Quarter 2011.)
As Governor for all Alaskans, we hope your mandate is to insure fair and not unjust enrichment of Sealaska Corporation in their final selection, and will consequently feel obligated to change your position on S 730.
In light of the new evidence that Audubon has made public, we think it is the duty of the State to oppose S 730. John Katz’s statement, which you based your support on, now has no factual basis.
Therefore, we request you write to the BLM asking them to finalize the selections Sealaska designated in 2008, and inform Senator Murkowski of the lack of justification for her bill.
Please respond to this letter soon.
The towns of Thorne Bay, Kupreanof, Edna Bay, Port Protection, Pt. Baker, Hollis, Whale Pass, Naukati, and Cape Pole
Janes Gould - City of Thorne Bay
Received February 29, 2012 - Published February 29, 2012
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