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Ten Reasons to Support SEACC

Posted by Bob Claus at Dec 29, 2013 01:43 PM |
SEACC exists to get results that help protect the ecosystems and communities of the Tongass National Forest. Check out our Annual Report and consider a donation during this season of giving.

Dear Friends of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council-

The past year was a good one for SEACC and brought many exciting changes.

After roughly 35 years of excellent work in the 6th Street office building, we purchased a new home for SEACC down the hill. We still have the advantages of being in downtown Juneau just a few blocks from the Capitol Building, and owning our own house will increase our visibility and over time decrease our costs.

As we gear up for the busy season in 2014, we are contemplating ways to make the house a magnet for conservation activists as they come to Juneau to work the legislature and State government on important issues.

Lindsey Ketchel, our Executive Director for about 5 years, left SEACC in October. She will be missed, and the work she did to strengthen SEACC will not be forgotten. She was instrumental in strengthening SEACC’s board, expanding SEACC’s work into new areas, and forging lasting relationships with non-traditional allies.

We look forward to welcoming a new Executive Director early in 2014 and embracing the energy that a new leader brings.  The staff and board of SEACC have approached this transition with teamwork and enthusiasm and expect a smooth path forward.

As the interim Executive Director, my respect has grown for the work my colleagues at SEACC have done over the past year and our progressive plans for the future. We are doing great work on mining, clean water, energy, and defense, and in communities throughout Southeast Alaska.

2014 will be a challenging year. We expect to see increasing political polarization over resource development issues and a well-funded push by the State of Alaska to exert more control over federal land and regulatory processes. We expect to re-visit controversial issues like the Tongass Land Management Plan and the Juneau Road project while continuing to fight ill-considered timber, mining, and energy projects region-wide, but we have a great team, a great plan and we expect great things.

Please check out our full Annual Report here.

Thank you for your continued support and for being part of our success.

 

--Bob Claus, Interim Executive Director

 

P.S.  Please consider a donation to support our continued work.

 

 

Top Ten Accomplishments of 2013

 

1) Raised Widespread Awareness on Transboundary Mines

Two years ago few were aware of proposed mining and associated developments on the Canadian sides of the Unuk and Stikine rivers.  Since then, we helped create a large and diverse working group; have resolutions in opposition from several Tribes, commercial fishing groups, and the regional subsistence advisory committee; and garnered the attention of national media, conservation groups, and leaders in D.C.

2) Roadless Rule Victory in Federal Court

SEACC was instrumental in this court case by showing harm and establishing standing due to the direct interests of our members in Tongass roadless areas.  The D.C. District Court rejected the State of Alaska’s lawsuit, ensuring, if upheld on appeal, the Roadless Rule’s continued administrative protection of 2.3 million otherwise vulnerable acres of the Tongass.

3) Empowering Tribal Leaders and Small Business Owners

SEACC completed an extensive toolkit document designed to help tribal leaders maximize the effectiveness of their engagement in Forest Service decision-making.  Another new toolkit targeted small business owners looking to contract with the Forest Service and create sustainable jobs in the forest.

4) Juneau Access Legal Victory

Thanks to the capable advocacy of Earthjustice, we helped convince the D.C. District Court to reject the State’s motion to allow it to record an unspecific and unidentified easement for a new Lynn Canal Highway before it completed the court-ordered supplemental NEPA review process.

5) State Legislative Organizing Successes

SEACC played a critical role in a lobbying effort during Alaska’s 2013 legislative session.  Against unfavorable odds, we helped defeat an extreme rewrite of state water rights law.  Our staff and members were also active slowing down the governor’s radical agenda on cruise ship pollution, transferring 2 million acres of the Tongass to the state, and other issues.

6) Greens Creek Mine Expansion Oversight

Persistent pressure from SEACC and our tribal partners in Angoon prevented the Forest Service from rubber-stamping the mine’s expansion plans, which included dumping toxic mine tailings into a salmon stream.

7) State of Alaska Water Quality Watchdogging

Alaska is in the process of taking over water pollution discharge permitting from the federal EPA, and is seeking to do the same for wetland fill permitting.  SEACC continues to be a leader in Alaska in watchdogging this process, including challenging a decision on the Tonka Timber Sale (near Petersburg) harming crab fishermen and finding serious errors and gaps in multiple draft discharge permits for the Greens Creek Mine.

8) Federal Legislation Reducing Subsistence Cabin Fees Introduced SEACC worked closely with subsistence users in Yakutat and Senator Murkowski’s office to address the high fees charged subsistence cabin owners on the Tongass. A bill introduced by Senator Murkowski passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a unanimous vote.

9) Wrangell Community Forest work

Thus far, SEACC helped pressure the Forest Service to reduce the amount of proposed logging in the Wrangell Island Project timber sale by 31 million board feet and increase stewardship contract opportunities.  We also helped small, sustainable music wood and small mill businesses create jobs in the woods.

10) Big Thorne Timber Sale Decision Remanded

This proposed timber sale would be the largest since the industrial timber era on the Tongass and would seriously impact wolf-human-deer prey relationships on Prince of Wales Island.  SEACC participated extensively in the EIS process and submitted one of a handful of appeals that convinced the Regional Forester to remand the agency’s recent decision on the sale to the Forest Supervisor for more analysis--a highly unusual step.

 

If you've already donated to help us continue our work in your favorite part of the world, THANK YOU!  If not, please consider making a donation today.  We can't do it without your support.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014!

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