Gwich’in Tribal Council President Bobbi Jo Greendland-Morgan says while the Republicans slipped auctioning off land leases from the North Slope into their budget bill, the current prices of leases falls short of the amount Alaskan Legislators are seeking for their budget shortfall.
“If you look into the figures in Trump’s budget bill to meet that target of 1.8 billion dollars, they’re going to need an average bid of $2400 dollars per acre on every 1.5 million acres that makes up the costal plan. That’s ten times the average bid that’s going along the North Slope that goes about 194 dollars per acre,” explained Greenland-Morgan.
She was in Washington last week with a delegation of Gwich’in leaders including , Vuntut Gwitchin Deputy Chief Esau Schaffer, councillor Dana Tiyza Tram, and Porcupine Caribou Management Board chair Joe Tetlichi.
They were also joined by Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, and representatives from the Canadian embassy.
Bagnell says Canada is standing with the Gwich’in calling for the protection of the Porcupine Caribou Calving Grounds.
“I think whats been a big benefit in changing the minds of democrats and soft republicans is the passionate pleas of the Gwich’in and the hard work of the NGO’s like CPAWs Yukon and Alaska Wilderness League which has over 6000 signatures in under two weeks,” added Bagnell.
Legislation is pending in Washington, with the budget provision passing 51-49 in the US Senate.