SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Ketchikan Borough Officials Advocating For Issues in Washington, D.C.


February 15, 2023

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - It was announced Friday by Ketchikan Borough Clerk Kacie Paxton that Borough Mayor Rodney Dial, Assembly Member Jeremy Bynum, Assembly Member Grant EchoHawk, and Manager Ruben Duran are currently in Washington DC advocating for policies and issues for the citizens of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Pictured: Assembly Member Jeremy Bynum; Borough Mayor Rodney Dial; Assembly Member Grant EchoHawk.
Photo courtesy KGB Clerk

While in Washington DC, the delegation will be meeting with White House staff, our Alaska Congressional Delegation, and multiple Federal agency officials. The delegation will be addressing the following top Ketchikan Borough policy issues:

• Cruise Industry Assistance - urging the Federal government to reform the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) and supporting language or bills that would allow for the safe transportation of passengers to Alaska without interference by foreign countries.

• Secure Rural Schools Funding - urging Congress and the Executive Branch to achieve a long-term solution for continued revenue sharing payments to boroughs and counties that encompass National Forest lands. This program provides assistance to rural counties, boroughs, and school districts affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on Federal lands, and has provided critical funding for Borough schools since 1963.

• Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program - urging Congress to support mandatory full funding of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Since 1976, the PILT program has provided critical funding to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The PILT program funds partially offset losses in tax revenues due to the presence of substantial acreage of Federal land in our jurisdiction.

• Tongass National Forest - supporting an Alaska exemption to the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule and subsequent amendments to the 2016 Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) to return to a sustainable yield limit of 248 million board feet.

• Endangered Species Act - calling on the Alaska Congressional Delegation and State officials to support reform of the ESA to mandate that county and borough governments be treated as cooperating agencies when Federal agencies are deciding to list and de-list species as endangered. ESA listings have the potential to have sweeping economic impacts by imposing undue restrictions on the timber and fishing industries.

• Sea Otter Management – pursuing actionable items that would address the lack of sea otter management by the Fish and Wildlife Service and restriction of management by Alaska Department of Fish and Game due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which is depleting the shellfish and mariculture industry in Southeast Alaska.

In addition to the policy issues above, the Ketchikan Borough Advocacy Team is requesting funding for the Ketchikan International Airport Terminal Expansion. The delegation is also sharing requests for assistance for fuel surcharges for freight services, on behalf of the Ketchikan business community.

It was not announced when the delegation will be returning.

Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

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Ketchikan Gateway Borough

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