Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Two staff members of the Southeast Conservation Council returned from a trip to the nation's capital last week to lobby against environmental riders attached to the Interior Department Appropriations bill by Alaska U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.
One seeks to gain an exemption for the Chugach and Tongass National Forests in Alaska to the roadless rule. The other calls for nullifying the Tongass Land Management Plan amendment.
SEACC's Grassroots Attorney Buck Lindekugal said on Action Line Tuesday that they wanted to make certain that supporters of the Tongass in Washington, D. C.knew about Murkowski's riders and the concerns about them among residents of Southeast Alaska.
Crystal Nelson is SEACC's Tongass Forest Program Manager and Indigenous Engagement Lead. She said the senator's riders are not helping anybody in the region. Nelson said approval of them would take everyone in the region back to 2008 to a time when it was more controversial. She said that kind of controversy creates a hostile business environment and slows things down.
Nelson said the only way to move from the current gird lock is through collaboration. She said there are young people like her who are very civically engaged want to use creative problem solving to build a bridge across that polarization. "It's the only way to get things done," she added.