Congressman Young’s Letter to Colleagues Supports Sealaska Land Legislation
Sealaska is amazed at the recent “Dear Colleague” letter asking for their congressional peers to oppose S.881 and H.R. 2099. This letter, distributed by the Alaska Wilderness League to members of the press, is an effort to misinform the public about the bill.
The misleading letter incorrectly states the bill’s impact on the “economic and ecological well-being of the Tongass.” The fact of the matter is – if the public cares about the economy and environmental conservation in the Tongass, they would support passage of S.881/H.R. 2099. Passage of the bill maintains vital jobs in the region, creates new sustainable economies, and maintains old growth and roadless areas in the public ownership for the benefit of Alaskans and all Americans.
The letter does not recognize that this legislation fulfills the federal government’s obligation to Sealaska under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). One way or the other, Sealaska selections will come from the Tongass National Forest that is made available for Native selection. Sealaska has yet to receive up to 85,000 acres under ANCSA. This bill simply moves where the selections come from.
To read Congressman Young’s response to the letter go here