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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BEGICH. Mr. President, I wish to speak about legislation I am introducing today with support from my fellow senator from Alaska, Senator Murkowski.

It is all too rare that we get to talk about successful partnerships between private industry and the Federal Government. This legislation would cement just such a successful partnership between a subsidiary of an Alaska Native Corporation, Doyon Limited and the National Park Service.

Briefly this measure would authorize a special use permit and over the longer term an equal value land trade to facilitate a micro-hydro project within the non-wilderness portion of the Denali National Park. The micro-hydro project would allow Kantishna Roadhouse, a backcountry lodge that accommodates thousands of visitors a year, to substantially reduce their diesel use.

Because the lodge is not connected to any utility grid, it must generate its own power. By converting much of the load to a renewable resource, the lodge would improve local air quality and reduce truck traffic on the single park access road, thus improving the experience for visitors to the lodge and park as a whole. It additionally would help the lodge's bottom line.

The legislation has been developed with the assistance of Alaska Region of the National Park Service, and they are supportive of the project. Eureka Creek, the source of the hydro power, is not a fish-bearing stream, and the Park Service is interested in acquiring the lands to be traded from Doyon ownership.

After a good deal of outreach this summer by Doyon and others, we are aware of no opposition to this permit, land trade and the legislation itself. I want to thank the National Park Service for their willingness to come to the table and work constructively to solve problems. Additionally, I particularly want to thank the senior senator from Alaska and her staff for their work on this legislation. It's been a good partnership and I appreciate her help.


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