The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority’s resource management committee approved two motions Wednesday to recommend that the Board of Trustees take another vote on its controversial August decision to log portions of Deer Mountain and a parcel in Petersburg.
The committee is made up of all Board of Trustees members, so the recommendation likely will lead to another vote during the board’s regular Nov. 17th meeting.
Following the August decision to move forward with logging plans, there were questions about the transparency of the decision-making process and the lack of public notice prior to the vote.
If the board agrees to revisit that vote on Nov. 17th, members then can again vote to move forward with the logging plans if a federal land exchange isn’t approved by Congress by mid-January, or can reject that motion. The second action is unlikely.
Trust Land Office Executive Director John Morrison told the committee Wednesday that he met recently with representatives of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office, and they were optimistic that the land exchange would move forward during the upcoming lame-duck session.
There was no time for public comment during Wednesday’s committee meeting. The Nov. 17th meeting will include time for public comment, and the Trust also has scheduled public input meetings in Petersburg, Saxman and Ketchikan.
The Petersburg meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. The Saxman meeting is next Tuesday, Nov. 1st, from 3-5 p.m. at the Saxman Community Hall. The Ketchikan meeting also is Nov. 1st, starting at 7 p.m. at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.
This report was edited to clarify the actions of the Resource Advisory Committee.