S.881: Same Pig, Different
Sunglasses and Wig
By Sandy Powers
June 17, 2010
The proposed revisions of the rehashed Sealaska bill S.881 reflect
but little difference from previous versions. Some of the selections
of the high-value roaded timber got switched with other selections
of high-value roaded timber. Parts of north POW were spared
immediate impact but Edna Bay, Hollis, Thorne Bay and other areas
were hit as hard or harder in return. Some brand new areas were
added, such as two tidal energy sites and two geothermal sites.
A hydroelectric site is still proposed for Josephine Lake.
190,000 acres of additional LUD-II style lockups on Kuiu, Prince
of Wales, Kosciusko, Kupreanof and a couple other islands recommended
by staffers, and no doubt SEACC are thrown in for good measure.
How ironic - the very groups and politicians who call for transparency
and public involvement now eagerly override those guiding principles
when it serves their own personal interests. The revision claims
new protection for karst, but the Forest Plan already identifies
and protects karst. This politically motivated bill hatched
up behind closed doors only panders to the special interests
of a private corporation and foundation-funded green groups.
Murkowski yet seems to believe that she, her staffers, and Sealaska's
management know more about land management than do federal agency
scientists, the EPA, and State ADF&G biologists. She hopes
that swapping out acre for acre of some forest in one spot will
conveniently offset the clearcut of carefully juxtaposed old-growth
reserves elsewhere, or at least shut people up. It really doesn't
matter what happens to the environment and the public, as long
as Sealaska gets what they came for.
There are numerous laws in place for the management of public
lands. Unfortunately, Murkowski imagines that her unilateral
land give-away is wiser and better thought out than the opinions
of interagency scientists. The reason there is a public process
in place is to prevent this very kind of abuse of political power
and single-interest preference.
Other language in this bill regarding "Indian Country"
and "tribal lands" still appears to leave the doors
open to future manipulation by Sealaska. The truth is, this
bill has very little to do with the entitlements owed under ANCSA.
In fact, if it's so easy for Sealaska to over-ride ANCSA, NEPA,
and a host of other laws for its own convenience and profit,
there is absolutely nothing to prevent them from doing the same
thing in another 30-40 years when they run out of goodies again.
Basically this bill S.881 writes them a blank check, drawn on
the accounts of you and I, the tax-paying public. And this is
one pig we can expect back at the trough in another 30 years.
About: "35 year resident
frustrated by hypocrisy and pandering to single interests by
our congressional delegation."
Received June 16, 2010 - Published
June 17, 2010
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