The U.S. House of Representatives approved an omnibus package Tuesday that includes a provision inserted by Alaska Rep. Don Young to transfer land in the Tongass National Forest to the Sealaska Corporation.
The Conservation and Economic Growth Act includes other provisions – like one that would put the U.S. Border Patrol in control of land 100 miles in from the Mexico and Canada borders.
The bill passed 232 to 188.
The package, which still has to get through the Senate, grants Sealaska – the last Native Corporation to settle its land claims – more than 60,000 acres. The land would be used for logging, tourism and cultural preservation.
Environmental groups oppose the land transfer. They claim that logging the selected areas would threaten wildlife habitat, including salmon streams.
Alaska Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski are sponsoring a different version of the bill, which is generally expected to pass the Senate in place of Young’s version.