April 7, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today applauded passage of legislation by the House of Representatives securing protection of a privately owned subsistence cabin on an Alaska Native veteran allotment within the Yukon-Delta National Wildlife Refuge from demolition by federal land managers.
The Murkowski language allows for a one-time exemption to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to provide William Alstrom ownership of a small plot of federal land in the Andreanoff wilderness area of the Yukon-Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Because of a mistake made by federal land management agencies, Alstrom was issued an Alaska Native veteran allotment on land within the wilderness area of the refuge.
“The little things make a big difference to the people who are so deeply impacted by the outcome of the process here in Washington,” Murkowski said. “This is certainly a little piece of legislation, but we have now made sure a mistake by the federal government doesn’t unjustly punish a family in Alaska. I thank my colleagues in the House for their support of this effort.”
In 2008, Alstrom was granted 80-acre Alaska Native veterans’ allotment under ANCSA within the Yukon-Delta National Wildlife Refuge. In 2011, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the allotment had been mistakenly granted on land within a restricted wilderness area and notified Alstrom that the cabin would need to be moved or it would be burned down.
Murkowski’s amendment to protect the cabin was attached to the Green Mountain Lookout Act (S. 404), originally introduced by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (both D-Wash.), which provides a similar exemption for a structure to remain on wilderness land in Washington state. The legislation now heads to President Obama to be signed into law.