By AOC Executive Director Rod Arno
Sealaska Lands Bill, S 730 – Sponsored by both Alaskan Senators was rumored to be headed for a senate markup this summer. If so, AOC has yet to see a copy of changes to last years’ bill. Rep. Don Young’s bill, HR 1408, was folded into an omnibus bill called the Conservation and Economic Growth Act. Prior to the August/September recess neither of these bills has passed out of the senate. AOC supports transfer of the remaining ANCSA lands to the Sealaska Native Corporation but has concerns regarding access to public lands beyond private corporation inholding in the Tongass National Forest.
Omnibus Federal Lands Bill – Threats of a new
omnibus federal lands bill in the Senate continue. There is the possibility of
S730 being combined in a omnibus bill with proposed legislation to create more
Wilderness designated areas on federal lands. Omnibus bills are like Christmas
trees, with presents enough for Senators to get them passed without individual
bills passing or failing on their own merits.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF) grants–
LWCF is slated to receive hundreds of millions of dollars to buy up private in-holding
within national conservation units over the next couple of years. AOC opposes
the addition of anymore federal lands in Alaska, +60% of state lands are enough
under federal control.
EPA Corps Wetlands Jurisdiction – S 2245 would
block the EPA and Corps of Engineers from getting Wetlands Jurisdiction over
additional water and lands. This bill, should it pass into law, would limit the
wetlands jurisdiction of the EPA, keeping their jurisdiction off of state and
private lands. AOC is monitoring this
legislation to see how it would preserve road building in state and federal
areas designated as forest lands.
Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act – S.2066
Sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski last February.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources last February.
Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 -H.R.4089
moved out of the House and was received in the Senate. Either of these bills, should
they become law, would strengthen outdoor hunting and fishing opportunities on
federal lands. AOC is monitoring these bills and should they start moving in
the Senate, AOC would try to strengthen provisions protecting trapping
opportunities as well.
Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act – S.838
is a bill worth AOC watching. Senator Jon Tester is a Democrat
running for re-election in Montana. On May 14th the bill was referred to Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works. Democrat Senators could allow this
bill to pass in order to gain support for Senator Tester’s re-election.