Opinion: Just say no to Alaska Native corporation land bill

"The Sealaska land exchange is being touted as jobs bill. Indeed, Sealaska does provide local employment -- about 400 jobs by one estimate. Unfortunately, most of the jobs in the past have been in booms and busts related to logging. Villages like Kake and Hoonah were once primarily subsistence and fishing communities, now face epidemic unemployment following large-scale logging. Sealaska's objectives to maximize profits and to use net operating losses have contributed to this reality.

First, there were two problems beyond the corporations' control. There was a 10-year delay between when the corporations received their ANCSA cash settlements and when they received title to their lands. By the time logging operations were to commence much of the ANCSA cash was already distributed to shareholders or was otherwise unavailable for logging. Consequently, some corporations had to borrow. The second problem was that export markets in the Pacific Rim began to deteriorate soon after the initial timber sales were made. Between the borrowing and the poor markets little profit was made and losses were incurred."

Get the Story:
Joe Mehrkens: Sealaska land bill is just more of the same (The Anchorage Daily News 5/27)

House Committee Notice:
Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Legislative Hearing on H.R. 1408 (May 26, 2011)

Senate Committee Notice:
PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS HEARING ANNOUNCEMENT: to receive testimony on the following bills: S. 233, S. 268 S. 375, S. 714, and S. 730 (May 25, 2011)

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