Reply from Senator McCaskill

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 09:54:04 -0600
Subject: Reply from Senator McCaskill

February 22, 2010

Dear Mr. Perez,

Thank you for contacting me about the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act.  I appreciate hearing from you, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

To settle the claims of Alaska natives, Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971.  This legislation enabled Alaska natives to form private corporations to obtain over 44 million acres of public land in Alaska.  However, the land conveyance process has proved difficult to complete.

Introduced by Senator Murkowski of Alaska, the Southeast Alaska Native Land Entitlement Finalization Act (S. 881) would authorize Sealaska Corporation, the Regional Corporation for southeast Alaska, to select and receive its remaining land entitlement in order to finalize the conveyance process.  The Secretary of the Interior would be required to complete the conveyances within one year.

Many Native American communities today face a number of challenges to succeed, and I support efforts to improve the lives of Native Americans nationwide.  It is important that the land conveyance process be completed so that Alaskan natives can receive the economic benefits they are entitled to.

However, some stakeholders have raised concerns about S. 881.  This legislation would allow Sealaska Corporation to select lands that are outside the original areas established by the ANCSA, including lands located in the Tongass National Forest.  The U.S. Forest Service believes that the conveyance of these lands could hinder its transition away from reliance on sales of ecologically significant old-growth timber from roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest.

National forests provide benefits such as clean drinking water, wildlife sanctuaries for endangered species, and recreational opportunities.  As a young girl, I grew up spending time with my father in Mark Twain National Forest, and I have many fond memories of those times.  I believe we have the responsibility to manage federal lands in a way so that future generations will be able to experience their natural bounty, just as I did.

You may be interested to know that I support the passage of legislation, such as the Roadless Area Conservation Act (S. 1738), to make the Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule) federal law.  Making the Roadless Rule federal law would protect wild forests, including 25,000 acres of Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest, from logging, road-building, and other environmentally harmful development.

S. 881 is currently being considered by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where hearings have been held.  Should this bill come to the Senate floor for a vote, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.



Claire McCaskill

United States Senator

P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at

Posted via email from danny6114’s Pre- posterous


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