President Signs Omnibus Lands Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today attended the White House ceremony of President Obama’s signing of the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146).
“This legislation preserves important public lands for future generations without unnecessarily blocking our ability to tap our natural resources,” Murkowski said. “It’s a good example of how we in Congress can find success through hard work and bipartisanship.”
The package, which Murkowski championed and helped guide through the Senate, designates more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers. The bipartisan bill, which was supported by a broad coalition of sportsmen and outdoor groups, contains more than 160 public lands bills, including several provisions of significance to Alaska.
“This package is hugely beneficial to individual communities, especially in western states where the federal government owns so much of the land,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski helped add language to the package protecting access to hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting on public lands. The language also reaffirms the right of states to manage fish and wildlife populations, as well as hunting, trapping and fishing activities on public lands.
Among the Alaska provisions in the package:
• A provision allowing for the establishment of a Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area to promote local tourism. The provision would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide $1 million a year, for a maximum of $10 million over 15 years, to promote tourism of the Kenai Fjords National Park and Turnagain Arm.
• A provision authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to determine whether a land exchange between the state of Alaska and the King Cove Native Corp. and the U.S. Department of the Interior is in the public interest. The exchange – the state would receive about 1,800 acres for giving title of nearly 62,000 acres to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – has been sought by residents of King Cove for more than 20 years to provide emergency access to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay.
• An amendment to the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline Act authorizing the federal coordinator to establish fees that could be spent without further appropriation from Congress for activities authorized under current law.
• Land conveyance to City of Coffman Cove. Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to convey to the city of Coffman Cove a 12-acre parcel of U.S. Forest Service-owned land within the city.