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The Associated Press July 2, 2010, 10:43AM ET

Proposed changes to Alaska land bill unveiled

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has released details about proposed changes to a bill that would allow an Alaska Native corporation to privatize lands in the nation's largest national forest.

The Thursday release of details comes one day after The Associated Press reported that eight Alaska communities sent a letter to the Alaska Republican urging her to withdraw the bill.

The bill would convey up to 85,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corp. outside boundaries set by the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Murkowski says the proposed revisions are a major rewrite of the bill and seek to address concerns expressed by residents in the region.

Opponents have said Sealaska would choose some of the best and most valuable lands in the forest for their own private, moneymaking enterprises.

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