Sen. Murkowski Announces Sealaska Lands Bill Meetings

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today announced a series of town meetings on the Sealaska lands bill to be held on Prince of Wales Island and in Southeast Alaska the week of March 8.

"These meetings will allow those most affected by the Sealaska bill to have their concerns fully heard," Murkowski said. "I'm hopeful this effort will help us improve the legislation."

Staff from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are holding the following meetings at the request of Murkowski:

Monday, March 8: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the Craig School Auditorium to hear comments from Craig, Klawock and Hydaburg residents.

Tuesday, March 9: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. at the Thorne Bay City Council Chambers to hear comments from Thorne Bay and Hollis residents.

Tuesday, March 9: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Harborview Hall (the old ferry terminal) in Coffman Cove to hear comments gain reaction from residents on northern Prince of Wales Island.

Wednesday, March 10: 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the Naukati School in advance of the monthly community meeting.

NOTE: There has been an offer of meeting in Edna Bay on Wednesday, March 10, but scheduling decisions by town residents are not finalized.

Thursday, March 11: 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. in the Port Protection Community Building to hear comments from Port Protection and Point Baker residents, assuming final town approval of the meeting.

Thursday, March 11: 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. in the Petersburg City Council Chambers.

Friday, March 12: 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. in the Sitka Centennial Building. This is a town meeting being hosted by Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams, and will involve a panel discussion of the bill before public comments are taken.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Republican Staff Director McKie Campbell proposed holding town hall meetings in order to meet with local residents as quickly as possible.

"Congressional hearings only allow a limited number of invited witnesses to speak and are very difficult to schedule on short notice," Campbell said. "It's our hope that the town hall format will allow everyone a chance to be heard."

The meetings will be video recorded and comments conveyed to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, prior to any committee to consider consider changes to the bill.

The public is invited to make comments and suggestions about the bill during the town meetings. Residents can also submit comments on the bill to: Chuck Kleeschulte, Professional Staff, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, SD 316, Washington, DC 20510.

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