The Energy Committee will vote on June 18th on whether to send the Sealaska Bills to the floor.
So it is very important for you to now E-mail and call your Senator today and especially those on the Senate Energy Committee which now has S. 14 and S. 340, the Sealaska Bills.
Here is the contact information for the Senate Energy Committee.
Tell the Senators in your state that they should vote against S. 14 and S. 340 when they get marked up in committee and if they get to the floor of the Senate.
Tell your senators you are opposed to the omnibus method of passing legislation as a matter of principal. Tell them it is offensive to you that 18 bills would be bundled into an hour and a half hearing.
Here are some talking points.
Don't delay. Do it today.
Here are some letters our allies have written:
Territorial Sportsmen - [Mar 21, 2013]
Safari Club International - [Feb 3, 2013]
Alaska Guide Association - [Feb 1, 2013]
Richter (Edna Bay Community) to BLM - [Jan 10, 2013]
You can ask your elected officials to take these steps.
Congress should not reward a corporation which misrepresents or misreports phony numbers to it or an agency like the US Forest Service, especially one like Sealaska which has been claiming for years that it needs new and better lands, because next year it is going run out of timber. By our calculation, Sealaska still has 70 square miles of timberland left.
Sealaska has failed to move new legislation through the last three sessions of Congress over a six year period.
During the same time period, Sealaska asked BLM to finalize land whose location it designated in 1975.
For these reasons:
The 2013 bills will take 9,223 Volume Class 7 acres, or 14.4 square miles. And it will take 11,458 acres of Volume Class 6, or 18 square miles.
This old growth is vital for keeping the Wolf and Goshawk unlisted. These Volume Classes are very rare, comprising less than single digit percentages of the productive forest.
We stumbled across some numbers that are so out of whack and inconsistent with reality that we wonder if Sealaska got them delivered on a meteor.
55,927 Acres Cut
The numbers we found show how many acres Sealaska cut by May 25, 2011 (Congressional testimony of Byron Mallott) and how many acres were cut before 2007 (2008 USFS TLMP EIS, Appendix E data through 2006).
Byron Mallott told Congress Sealaska had cut 189,000 acres by mid 2011.
Appendix E shows 133,073 acres Sealaska cut from its inception through 2006.
Subtracting the 2011 from the 2006 data gave us the number of acres Sealaska cut in 5.5 years.
Sealaska cut 55,927 acres between 2006-2011 we calculated.
Sealaska wastes wood by burning logs that are too long for the ship and by leaving massive volumes to rot in the woods.
Volume of Timber Havested
384,700,000 board feet
Sealaska also reported to the USFS the volume of timber it cut for 2006-11.
The volume between 2006-11 was 384,700,000 board feet.
The cut therefore averages 6,878 board feet per acre.
Consulting with industry experts, we found that number ridiculously low.
Heck, one big tree can contain 10,000 board feet of timber.
The USFS considers 8,000 board feet per acre to be the lower end of commercial timber, and even that is not economical to log on the TNF.
We do know the average volume per acre is 25,000 board feet on the TNF.
But some foresters estimate Sealaska's average is far higher; their legislation sought new lands around 50,000 board feet per acre.
So the average volume per acre over five years was reported by Sealaska to the USFS at about 3.6 times lower than average timber lands now sold.
Put another way, if it takes 3,570 acres on land averaging 25,000 board feet to make 100 million board feet (allowing for scrub acres), Sealaska's 55,927 acres should have produced almost 1.4 billion board feet.
The gap between the number Sealaska reported to the USFS 384.7 Million and 1.4 Billion average yields is so out of whack it might as well have been pulled from a hat.
Lacking any more inside information revealed by Sealaska, here are some speculative inferences that can be drawn from our findings:
Whatever the reasons for the discrepancies, Sealaska now owes Congress, the US Forest Service, its shareholders, and the public an explanation. Why don't the numbers Byron Mallott gave Congress and the numbers Sealaska gave the US Forest Service result in a believable volume per acre?
The human spirit is weak when great sums of money are exchanged. What distinguishes our economy from others is its accountability. It is time this accountability be applied to all ANCSA corporations. It is long past time BLM finalize Sealaska's 2008 request.
Please make these points to your representatives in Congress, to your local organizations, and to every reporter you know.
Piracy only occurs on waters where no one can be held accountable.
We hope that our position will be a rallying point around which not only our towns and allies can rally, but Alaska Native shareholders as well.
Jack Sparrow would be happy to drop anchor in Sea Alaska. For the law blows lightly on its accounts.
Let us explain...
A Government Accountability Office study out at the start of 2013 examined laws that apply to ANCSAs, including Sealaska Corporation's book keeping.
GAO's overall conclusion was Sealaska and other ANC's escape most oversight and regulation of their books under Federal Law.
Who counts how much Sealaska volume is loaded for export to Asia?
Say Jack Sparrow wanted to load some Sealaska trees on board:
In other words, Sealaska is a corporation that is unaccountable to its shareholders, and the corporations that share revenue with Sealaska, or regulators who rely on it to produce meaningful and truthful numbers.
When inconsistencies are uncovered --- and we have discovered a whopper which we will soon discuss --- the lack of verifiable numbers for shareholders' review allows them to draw all sorts of inferences and conclusions which may or may not be accurate, fostering suspicions and mistrust.
Neither the Board nor the Corporate Officers need to reveal the numbers under existing law to allay shareholder concerns even though these shareholders are the kin of the board of directors.