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May 22, 2000

S. 430 - Kake Tribal Corporation Land Exchange Act
(Young (R) AK)

The Administration has worked closely with the Congress and representatives of the Corporation, State, and village of Kake on S. 430 and could support the bill, as reported by the House Resources Committee, if it is amended to address a few remaining Administration concerns. These include transferring management responsibility for the conservation easement over the Kake village watershed to the non-federal Southeast Alaska Lands Trust. As reported, S. 430 would authorize the Kake Tribal Village Corporation in Alaska to exchange certain lands in the village of Kake, Alaska, for National Forest System (NFS) lands to provide watershed protection for the village. The State of Alaska would relinquish its existing selection rights to these NFS lands and there would be no net loss to the Tongass National Forest (TNF) land base.

The Administration would strongly oppose an amendment in the nature of a substitute that may be offered to S. 430, as reported by the Committee. This possible substitute amendment would require the Federal Government to give up additional subsurface estate to the Sealaska Native Regional Corporation without just compensation to the American people, and create complex management situations within the TNF by further dividing ownership of the surface and subsurface estate.