Archive for March, 2009

Morgan Howard Productions video shown at Doyon Meeting

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Doyon website topMorgan Howard Productions produced a video entitled, “Working Together” which was shown to the shareholders at the Doyon Annual meeting.  The video highlights Doyon’s ongoing committment to providing employment opportunities to its shareholders.  President Norman L. Phillips wrote a great letter in the paper earlier in the weekn entitled, “Doyon grows into economic engine” about workforce development for shareholders and all Alaskans.

Four directors were elected this year.  Jennifer Fate, Michael Fleagle, Walter Carlo and Christopher Simon.  Fate and Fleagle were re-elected and Carol and Simon replace long-time board members Florence Carroll of Juneau and Michael Irwin of Anchorage.

Florence Carroll  was not present at the meeting.  She asked for her name to be removed from the nomination list.  Mike Irwin was at the meeting and spoke directly after the election results were announced.  He was very gracious, sincere and in good humor as he spoke about his 15 years on the Doyon board.  He talked about the recent serious concerns in regard to his health and how he is now nearly back to normal.  Great news.

Doyon, Limited, the Native regional corporation for Interior Alaska, is a for-profit corporation with more than 17,500 shareholders.

Murkowski introduces bill; Bering Straits Native Corporation and Alaska land claims

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Lisa MurkowskiAlaska Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill to resolve the claims of the Bering Straits Native Corporation and the State of Alaska to land adjacent to Salmon Lake and to provide for the conveyance to the Bering Straits Native Corporation of certain other public land in partial satisfaction of the land entitlement of the Corporation under the ANCSA.

Senator Murkowski spoke on the floor on S. 522:

Mr. President, I rise to speak to a bill that I am introducing today to resolve a land conveyance dispute in Northwest Alaska, the Salmon Lake Land Selection Resolution Act.

Shortly after Alaska became a State in 1959, Alaska selected lands near Salmon Lake, a major fishery resource in the Bering Straits Region of Northwest Alaska. In 1971, Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to resolve aboriginal land claims throughout the 49th State. In that act Congress created 12 regional Native corporations in state, providing the corporations with $966 million and the right to select 44 million acres of land in return for giving up claims to their traditional lands in Alaska. The land and money was to go to make the corporations profitable to provide benefits to their shareholders, the native inhabitants of Alaska. The Bering Straits Native Corporation, one of those 12 regional corporations, promptly selected lands in the Salmon Lake region

For the past 38 years there have been conflicts over the conveyances, delaying land from going to the corporation, harming the economic and cultural benefits of the corporation to Native shareholders, and complicating land and wildlife management issues between federal agencies and the State of Alaska. Starting in 1994, but accelerating in 1997, talks began among the State, Federal agencies and native corporations and towns in the region, located north of Nome–Salmon Lake itself is located 38 miles north of Nome–to reach a consensus on land uses in the region. Those talks reached agreement on June 1, 2007 with a resolution that satisfied all parties. This seemingly non-controversial legislation will implement the new land management regime

By this bill the Corporation will gain conveyance to 1,009 acres in the Salmon Lake area, 6,132 acres at Windy Cove, northwest of Salmon Lake, and 7,504 acres at Imuruk Basin, on the north shore of Imuruk Basin, a water body north of Windy Cove. In return the Corporation relinquishes rights to another 3,084 acres at Salmon Lake to the federal government, the government then giving part of the land to the State of Alaska for it to maintain a key airstrip in the area. The Federal Bureau of Land Management also retains ownership and administration of a 9-acre campground at the outlet of Salmon Lake, which provides road accessible public camping opportunities from the Nome-Teller Highway. The agreement also retains public access to BLM managed lands in the Kigluaik Mountain Range.

The bill fully protects recreation and subsistence uses in the area, while providing the Corporation with access to recreational-tourism sites of importance to its shareholders and which might some day produce revenues for the Corporation. The agreement has prompted no known environmental group concerns and seems to be the classic “win-win-win” solution that all sides should be congratulated for crafting. The key, however, is for Congress to ratify the land conveyance changes by 2011, when the agreement ratification window closes.

Passage of this act is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the Alaska Lands Conveyance Acceleration Act that this body passed 5 years ago that was intended to help settle all outstanding land conveyance issues by 2009–the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood. In Alaska where controversy abounds over land use, this is a hard-fought compromise agreement that seemingly satisfies all parties and makes good sense for all concerned. I hope this body can ratify this bill swiftly and move it to the House of Representatives for its concurrence and eventual signing by the President. The bill is important for residents of Nome who utilize the area and for all Alaska Natives who live in the Bering Straits Region.

CIRI Wind farm on Fire Island is closer to reality

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Fire Island windmillsAccording to a adn.com’s “Our View” report… “Good news on the renewable energy front: Anchorage’s first commercial wind energy project is going to get significantly bigger. The wind farm planned for Fire Island will go back to its original size: 36 towers with a total capacity of 54 megawatts. That’s enough to power about 19,500 homes.”

Project developers previously had to scale back the wind farm by a third, to avoid electronic interference with Fire Island navigation equipment serving Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.Now the airport and the wind farm developers, local Native corporation CIRI and its partner enXco, are working on a plan to upgrade and move the navigation system to a site on the mainland.”

CIRI president and CEO Margie Brown announced in a newsletter last week:  “We learned in February that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) does not object to replacing the existing VOR (navigation system) with an upgraded ‘dopplerized’ VOR located off island, provided a public comment period demonstrates that the airport does not object, that no user groups will be adversely affected, and that appropriate studies demonstrate that public safety will not be compromised.”CIRI spokesman Jim Jager said Tuesday the company sees no problem meeting those conditions. Putting the new system on the mainland, probably on airport property, will make it more reliable, easier to maintain, and easier for pilots to use, he said. The current equipment actually guides aircraft to Fire Island, not to the airport itself. “