Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/10/1997 01:39 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
       SJR 17 NO ALASKA CHRISTMAS TREES FOR FED CAPITAL                       
  MR. JOE AMBROSE , staff to Senator Taylor, sponsor of SJR 17, read           
 the following sponsor statement into the record.                              
 SJR 17 was introduced to call national attention to the callousness           
 of the Clinton Administration in asking the people of Southeast               
 Alaska to provide Christmas trees from the Tongass National Forest            
 to decorate the federal capital.                                              
 This resolution recognizes that what would normally be an honor is            
 instead an affront to the working people of Southern Southeast,               
 thousands of whom have been made jobless by the anti-timber                   
 policies of the Clinton Administration.                                       
 To further compound this insult, the Clinton/Gore Administration is           
 asking school kids, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, timber-dependent                 
 communities and their elected leaders to pay the cost of                      
 participating in what can only be termed an insensitive farce.                
 This is the same administration that ignored the efforts of the               
 Alaska congressional delegation and the Alaska State Legislature to           
 protect the livelihoods of the workers, families and towns of the             
 This is the same administration whose policies led to the closure             
 of the region's two pulp mills and largest saw mill, costing                  
 thousands of jobs.                                                            
 The three US Forest Service supervisors of the Tongass National               
 Forest say the opportunity to provide trees to decorate the                   
 nation's capitol is "a great moment for Alaska."                              
 SJR 17 makes it clear the Twentieth Alaska State Legislature                  
 considers this "opportunity" to be insensitive, callous and                   
 insulting.  It calls upon President Clinton and Vice President Gore           
 to find another source for its 1998 Christmas decorations.                    
 Number 051                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted the federal legislation that resulted in the          
 Ketchikan Pulp Corporation (KPC) closure, as well as the Sitka pulp           
 mill and Wrangell sawmill, contained two options; one allowed a               
 modest amount of logging to continue.  President Clinton chose the            
 other option which prevents families from continuing to work in the           
 timber industry, and by doing so, expended $110 million of taxpayer           
 dollars sent to Southeast Alaska in the form of economic disaster             
 relief.  Since SJR 17 was filed, the U.S. Government has settled              
 the KPC's claim for wrongful breach of the 50-year contract for               
 $140 million, $25 million in timber stumpage credits, and $5                  
 million in additional credits; therefore the total cost of the                
 closure, caused by the Clinton Administration has been $280                   
 million.  Another pending lawsuit out of Sitka may cost U.S.                  
 taxpayers $500 million.  None of that money will benefit the                  
 timber-dependent families who lost their jobs.  Chair Taylor noted            
 a similar resolution passed the House that morning by a vote of 34            
 to 5.                                                                         
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted Senator Ellis' arrival.                               
 Number 110                                                                    
  SENATOR MILLER  moved SJR 17 out of committee with individual                
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               

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