WASHINGTON -- The House Natural Resources Committee has voted 34-10 to move the Sealaska lands bill to the House floor for a vote.
The bill would allow Sealaska Corp., the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, to pick choice lands in the nation's largest national forest.
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is the bill's primary proponent. She says the bill is crucial to saving the region's timber industry. If passed, the bill would convey about 80,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest to the corporation.
Sealaska is owed the acreage under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The bill would allow Sealaska to choose lands outside its originally designated areas.