Murkowski bills pass House, await Clinton's signature

Posted: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two of Sen. Frank Murkowski's bills have passed the U.S. House and are awaiting President Clinton's signature.

The Glacier Bay National Park Resource Management Act would require a study to determine if commercial fishing in the park has had any detrimental effect. The bill guarantees that commercial fishing can continue in the outer waters of the park during the study.

The bill also mandates the study of whether gathering sea gull eggs -- a traditional Native subsistence practice -- would hurt the sea gull population.

Murkowski said he expects the study will prove that commercial fishing has had no negative effects on any wildlife in the park.

The other bill could lead to more Alaska Natives getting contracts and federal jobs in the state's national parks. The bill would require the Interior Department to report within six months on steps it can take to steer more Alaska Natives to work in the parks.

Two sections of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act encourage contracting and hiring Alaska Natives, but Murkowski said the laws have largely been ignored.

The bill requires that a demonstration project be set up to contract with Alaska Natives to run park operations and programs in Northwest Alaska. The project involves the Bering Land Bridge, Cape Krusenstern, Kobuk Valley National Park and Noatak Preserve.

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