U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski yesterday reintroduced a bipartisan package of more than 100 public lands, natural resources, and water bills. Murkowski, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and one of the four primary negotiators for the package, ensured it reflects a wide range of Alaska priorities.
“While we weren’t able to pass this bipartisan package at the end of the last Congress, its provisions remain important, and we will have an opportunity to take it up early this year,” Murkowski said. “From authorizing land allotments for Alaska Native Vietnam veterans and greater access to federal land for sportsmen, to helping with the right-of-way for the gasline project and the needs of individuals who live in communities like Kake and Utqiaġvik, this is a good package for Alaska.”
The lands package – S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act – includes the following provisions of interest to Alaskans:
- S. 217, the Denali Improvement Act – Provides routing flexibility for the Alaska gasline project in Denali National Park and Preserve.
- S. 346, the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring Act – Improves the nation’s volcano-related capabilities to help keep communities and travelers safe.
- S. 733, the Sportsmen’s Act – Promotes access and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities on federal land.
- S. 785, the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act – Introduced by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, to ensure the federal government fulfills its decades-old promise to provide allotments to Alaska Natives who served in the Vietnam War.
- S. 884, the Small Miner Relief Act – Clarifies that four Alaska miners are to be exempt from the claim maintenance fee assessed by the Bureau of Land Management.
- S. 1149, the Kake Timber Parity Act – Repeals a statutory ban preventing the export of unprocessed logs harvested from lands conveyed to the Kake Tribal Corporation.
- S. 1486, Ukpeaġvik Land Conveyance – Requires the Department of the Interior to convey all right, title, and interest in the sand and gravel resources within and contiguous to the Barrow Gas Field to the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation.
- S. 1493, the Chugach Land Study Act – Requires the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service to conduct a study to identify the effects that federal land acquisitions have had on Chugach Alaska Corporation’s ability to develop its lands, and to identify options for a possible land exchange with the corporation.
- S. 1787, the National Geologic Mapping Act Reauthorization Act – Renews this program, which is run by the U.S. Geological Survey, for five years.