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28th Legislature(2013-2014)

Bill Text 28th Legislature


00 Enrolled SCR 2                                                                                                          
01 Urging the United States Congress to act on the request of the governor to acquire for the state                        
02 additional land in the Tongass National Forest from the United States government by                                     
03 purchase or negotiation or by seeking amendment to the Alaska Statehood Act.                                            
04                                          _______________                                                                
05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
06      WHEREAS the Tongass National Forest was created in 1907 by a proclamation of                                     
07 President Theodore Roosevelt; and                                                                                       
08      WHEREAS, under the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339), the federal                                 
09 government provided Alaska with a 103,350,000-acre land entitlement, which was considered                               
10 to be sufficient for the newly formed state to become economically self-supporting; and                                 
11      WHEREAS the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) gave the state 25                                   
12 years to select land for entitlement; and                                                                               
13      WHEREAS the 25-year period established in the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508,                                 
14 Stat. 339) as the period in which the state may select land for entitlement was later                                   
15 extended, in effect, by various legislation, with the result that approximately 5,500,000 acres                         
01 of the land entitlement granted to the state by the Act have not yet been conveyed; and                                 
02      WHEREAS, from the 1950s through the early 1990s, the commercial harvest of                                       
03 timber formed a major part of the economy of Southeast Alaska; and                                                      
04      WHEREAS the commercial harvest of timber no longer forms a major part of the                                     
05 economy of Southeast Alaska because the timber industry does not have access to an adequate                             
06 amount of timber that can be economically harvested from the Tongass National Forest; and                               
07      WHEREAS, in the past four years, several efforts to revitalize the timber industry in                            
08 Southeast Alaska have failed because a timber industry cannot exist without an adequate                                 
09 timber supply; and                                                                                                      
10      WHEREAS the United States Congress has placed 40 percent of the Tongass                                          
11 National Forest off limits for commercial use, and the United States Forest Service has                                 
12 administratively set aside an additional 58 percent of the Tongass National Forest; and                                 
13      WHEREAS, at the present time, only two percent of the Tongass National Forest is                             
14 managed for the purpose of providing local communities with the opportunity to harvest                                  
15 timber; and                                                                                                             
16      WHEREAS 91 percent of the old growth timber standing in the Tongass National                                     
17 Forest in 1954 remains standing, and the remaining nine percent that has been harvested has                             
18 now been replaced with young growth timber that will begin maturing in about 30 years; and                              
19      WHEREAS findings prepared by the Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force in June 2012                                      
20 reveal that the timber industry is vitally important to statewide and regional economies in the                         
21 state; and                                                                                                              
22      WHEREAS the principal barrier to job creation in the Southeast Alaska timber                                     
23 industry is the lack of a sufficient amount of timber that can be economically harvested from                           
24 the Tongass National Forest; and                                                                                        
25      WHEREAS an unrealistic Tongass Land Management Plan dictated by Washington,                                      
26 D.C., endless environmental legal appeals, and a lack of political will by public officials who                         
27 are in a position to support meeting timber harvest targets have prevented the United States                            
28 Forest Service from providing the timber industry access to enough economically harvestable                             
29 timber in the Tongass National Forest to make the timber industry commercially viable in                                
30 Southeast Alaska; and                                                                                                   
31      WHEREAS, because the United States Forest Service has not been able to provide                                   
01 the timber industry with access to enough economically harvestable timber in the Tongass                                
02 National Forest to sustain the timber industry in Southeast Alaska, it is time for the United                           
03 States Congress to act on the governor's request to acquire additional land in the Tongass                              
04 National Forest that will provide enough economically harvestable timber to create a                                    
05 sustainable economic base for the communities of Southeast Alaska; and                                                  
06      WHEREAS sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) limited the                               
07 state's selection of land from the Tongass National Forest and the Chugach National Forest to                           
08 400,000 acres with the intention of preserving timber for federal long-term sales; and                                  
09      WHEREAS sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) allowed                                   
10 the state to select land in other regions of the state without restricting the use of the land to                       
11 recreation and community expansion, and, because the timber industry in Southeast Alaska                                
12 has become unsustainable, the state should be entitled to acquire some of its remaining land                            
13 entitlement under the Alaska Statehood Act from the Tongass National Forest;                                            
14      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully urges the United                                   
15 States Congress to act on the governor's request to negotiate state land entitlements under sec.                        
16 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) or work to amend the Alaska                                     
17 Statehood Act for the purpose of acquiring forested land in the Tongass National Forest; and                            
18 be it                                                                                                                   
19      FURTHER RESOLVED that, if the United States Congress fails to convey forested                                    
20 land in the Tongass National Forest either by negotiating state land entitlements under the                             
21 Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) or by amending the Alaska Statehood Act,                               
22 the Alaska State Legislature urges the governor to negotiate the purchase of forested land in                           
23 the Tongass National Forest from the federal government.                                                                
24      COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of                              
25 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and                          
26 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the                                
27 Interior; the Honorable Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture; the Honorable                              
28 Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don                                      
29 Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; and the                                       
30 Honorable Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska.                                                                             
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