SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Taxpayers asked again to bail out a Corporation
By Judy Magnuson


April 05, 2010

Why is the taxpayer again being asked to bail out a corporation? Why are small communities, the public, and businesses that depend upon public lands for their livelihood and recreation being asked to give it up for a private corporation? Sealaska's Vice President spoke in Ketchikan on March 31st , stating the Corporations need for S-881 to pass quickly, because they only have two years of timber harvest lands left. Whose fault is that?

The corporation picked its final lands from the entitlement areas in June of 2008, they requested the conveyance be delayed. They have put all their effort into this Bill's hoped for results instead of planning for what they could have had at any time they needed it. Whose fault is that? Sealaska says they need this Bill to save water sheds and subsistence areas, but instead they want to clear cut someone else's water sheds and subsistence areas.

Maybe because we are three small communities this means to them that we are insignificant, easily disregarded and not worth as much as a million dollar corporation, with millions of dollars worth of business investments and millions of dollars worth of contracts. This Corporation will still make millions of dollars without this Bill, Its CEOs will still make hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary.

It is not the public and the taxpayers' responsibility to subsidize a private corporation just to increase their profit margin.

Sealaska says they are picking places with roads so they will not have to build roads in roadless areas. It is not the roadless areas they are trying to save but the money that it takes to build the roads. Taxpayers have paid dearly for the roads and infrastructure that Sealaska wants in addition to the land. Roads that can cost up to one million dollars a mile to build, and the Corporation wants about twenty miles of main road and countless miles of secondary roads, roads heavily used by the public already without anyone's unprecedented guarantee .This is just another way we are to subsidize the Corporation.

Sealaska says we will lose jobs if they can't keep logging, Yet with all the years of intense harvest in Southeast the Corporation has had, harvesting over 450 square miles of high value timber, they have failed to diversify the southeast economy in any meaningful way. They say they will be logging at a reduced rate now to be more sustainable -- won't this provide even less jobs? They should do this in the entitlement areas where they have already picked their land.

With the passage of this Bill we will lose jobs with the Forest Service, jobs that pay better than the seasonal and part time jobs that come with timber harvest, The jobs for thinning and restoration of second growth will be lost in these areas, as well as personal use timber that is processed by small mils in the area. We lose tourist jobs dependent on healthy forest habitat and fishing jobs effected by destructive logging practices on fish streams flowing through karst landscapes along 60 miles of coastline from Red Bay to Edna Bay. Southeast will lose more jobs and job potential than we will gain.

We also lose a valuable karst resource that has drawn people from all over the world, which has the potential to provide more economical and scientific benefit. Karst that is world class, nationally and internationally significant and the only place in the world where this type of karst is in a temperate rainforest, only then found in three other places in the tropics.

We the taxpayers and subsistence users are being asked again to bail out a corporation.

Judy Magnuson
Port Protection, AK


Received April 05, 2010 - Published April 05, 2010



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