What others say: Checked off

  • Tuesday, May 9, 2017 10:46am
  • Opinion

It’s a checkmark in the “done” column.

The U.S. Senate passed a 2017 appropriations bill this week, removing the all-too-frequent worry of whether the government will shut down.

Instead of dragging out the question of whether it will, the bill covers federal expenses through the end of September. Federal agencies have their answer in what will be paid for.

In Ketchikan, the answer is particularly welcome.

An item included in the bill will eliminate the possibility of timber harvest on a portion of the community’s scenic Deer Mountain.

The item calls for a land trade between the U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Mental Health Trust.

The trade involves a portion of Deer Mountain and other land in Southeast Alaska amounting to about 18,000 acres for about 21,000 acres of federally owned land on Prince of Wales Island and in the Shelter Cove area of Revillagigedo Island.

The trust pursued the trade for the past 10 years. Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation for the trade a year ago. The legislation failed by year’s end, but by then the trust had decided it had waited long enough and would offer a timber sale on Deer Mountain.

This riled up the community. Lawmakers quickly responded and, as seen this week, the legislation made it into the appropriations bill.

The trust is obligated to generate revenue from its land to support mental health services in Alaska.

The appropriations bill also contains $3.1 million for maintenance at Ketchikan’s Thomas Basin, and its funding for agencies will affect the community and southern Southeast in other areas, as well.

Funding is included to address the opioid and heroin epidemic, Arctic exploration and development, rural aviation, biomass energy, fisheries, and oceans and river water quality. It also continues the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program, a means by which the federal government contributes as a property owner to communities.

Ketchikan’s appropriations success is reminiscent of the days of earmarks a decade ago. The late Sen. Ted Stevens delivered billions of dollars in earmarks to Alaska through chairing and serving on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

With Stevens influence, he was able to deliver for Alaska. Fifteen years later, Alaska’s senior senator and Stevens’ successor, Murkowski has acquired similar influence and earned the respect to deliver for Alaska, particularly for Ketchikan this session.

Alaska’s junior senator, Dan Sullivan, shares her passion for delivering for Alaskans and supported the appropriations bill and the issues relevant to Alaska, too.

The Alaska delegation, which is complete with Congressman Don Young, delivered for Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska

It’s a job well “done.”

— Ketchikan Daily News, May 6, 2017

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

Most Read