Senate approves Adak land transfer

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Senate has approved the transfer of the Adak naval base to the Aleut Corp.

The unanimous vote came late Thursday. Sen. Frank Murkowski sponsored the bill.

The agreement transfers 47,150 acres on the remote Aleutian island to the Native corporation. The transfer includes hundreds of homes, two schools a large runway and a deep-water port built by the Navy. The base closed in 1997.

In return, the corporation will relinquish an equal number of acres that it had sought from the federal government under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

The Adak land transfer bill was first introduced in 1997 but its passage was delayed because of concern over asbestos contamination in a number of the buildings on the base. Congress appropriated money for removal and stabilization of asbestos.

The Aleut Corporation says it's planning to use the base for several ventures, including air and sea shipping, refueling and fish processing.

A nearly identical measure is part of the Defense Authorization bill, which is held up in a House-Senate conference committee. Murkowski submitted the stand-alone bill in an effort to ensure that the land transfer will be finalized during the current congressional session.

The measure now goes to the House.

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