WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today approved 26 public lands bills, including three pieces of legislation sponsored by the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The bills now head to the Senate floor for consideration by the full Senate.
Murkowski’s three measures included:
- The Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act (S. 156) restores the traditional subsistence rights of the tribal members of the Hoonah Indian Association of Southeast Alaska to gather glaucous-winged gull eggs in Glacier Bay National Park.
“Gull eggs are a traditional food source and cultural identity of the Huna Tlingit, and I believe it’s an activity they should be allowed to continue legally,” Murkowski said. “This is a no-cost piece of legislation that will allow the Alaska Native residents of Hoonah to partake in the same subsistence activities their ancestors did, and to pass those traditions down to the young people of their community.”
- The Alaska Subsistence Structure Protection Act (S. 736) limits to $250 the annual fee the U.S. National Forest Service can assess on noncommercial cabins in the Tongass National Forest that are used primarily for subsistence activities.
“The Forest Service does not have a category for subsistence cabins in Alaska, so the agency charges the same high annual fee paid by commercial users,” Murkowski said. “This legislation allows a more reasonable fee for these cabins built by families and used for decades, in many cases before the National Forest was even created.”
- The Geothermal Production Expansion Act (S. 363) allows the Bureau of Land Management to award geothermal leases adjacent to existing leases and geothermal discoveries on a noncompetitive basis.
“If a company has already expended considerable sums to successfully lease and drill a prospect, it’s only fair that it gets the first chance to extend its leases in order to fully tap into a geothermal resource,” Murkowski said. “This is one of the best ways to expand the current 3,200 megawatts of geothermal power in this country and help us reach the Energy Department’s goal of having 30 gigawatts of geothermal power in production by 2020.”