House Holds Hearing on Controversial Tongass National Forest Land Transfer Bill
Last week, the House of Representatives held a hearing on a piece of legislation that would transfer approximately 70,000 high value acres of the Tongass National Forest to the Sealaska Native Corporation. Sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the bill has sparked controversy in Alaska and drawn opposition from numerous local governments and concerns from the Obama administration's Department of Agriculture. While the Sealaska Corporation has a right to select its remaining lands pursuant to certain withdrawal areas identified in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, this current proposal would drastically re-write the longstanding agreement and privatize some of the best wildlife habitat, undeveloped coves, bays, and recreational areas in the Tongass National Forest.
The Tongass is by far our country's largest and wildest national forest. Comprising misty fjords and old-growth stands, the Tongass serves as unparalleled habitat for wildlife, stores huge amounts of carbon, and provides exceptional recreational opportunities. It is rightly considered the crown jewel of the national forest system.
The Senate has introduced a companion bill (S. 881) to this highly controversial legislation. Call your Senators today and urge them to oppose any efforts to privatize the Tongass. Take action here.