October 30, 2017
Senator Lisa Murkowski
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Murkowski,
Greetings from the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. We are a diverse community-based organization comprised of over 280 members, including private sector businesses, non-profit organizations, and local governments. Our member-businesses include some of the largest employers in southeast Alaska, as well as the State of Alaska, which provide family-wage jobs to thousands of Alaskans. The Ketchikan Chamber brings businesses, investors, and customers together, and work towards the common goal of encouraging a sustainable economy which can preserve the socioeconomic well-being of our community, and the families who call it home.
The purpose of this letter is to strongly encourage you to file and support a Resolution of Disapproval to nullify the 2016 Amendment to the Tongass Land Management Plan (TLMP) — approved during the final minutes of the Obama administration — which has recently been determined to be a Rule for purposes of the Congressional Review Act.
The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce filed numerous formal comments, suggestions, and formal Objections during TLMP Amendment process. http://www.ketchikanchamber.com/2016-tlmp-comments We do not believe the Amendment which resulted addressed our concerns, the needs of the Ketchikan community, or the region’s timber, mining, and energy businesses.
The key purpose of the Amendment was to outline a transition to a young growth-based timber industry — a concept that the Alaska Forestry Association and our region’s timber and forest products industry does not support. The young growth transition specified in the Amendment is not economically viable; in fact, the Record of Decision itself even admits that on page 10, stating: “Harvesting 55-year old trees does not appear to be practical or economic in Southeast Alaska at this time. The market for large volumes of young-growth logs has not been demonstrated and this is especially true for small logs from 55-year old stands.”
The Ketchikan Chamber does not believe the 2016 TLMP Amendment is in the best interest of the Ketchikan community; the timber, mining, and energy sectors; or the economic sustainability of southeast Alaska. While the 2008 TLMP is far from ideal, it is significantly better for our region’s economy, and the sustainability of southeast Alaska’s communities, than the conditions created by the 2016 Amendment.
We therefore urge you to take action to nullify the 2016 TLMP through a Resolution of Disapproval.
Thank you for your consideration,
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce