Alaska Native Vietnam veterans are eligible to apply for federal lands under a unique program.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has joined female Senate colleagues to urge protections for Afghan women and girls.

And ConocoPhillips just reported on taxes paid to Alaska for the third quarter of 2021. There’s more news in “Five Things to Know.”

Land allotments for Alaska Native veterans

The U.S. Department of Interior is reaching out to more than 1,400 Vietnam-era Alaska Native veterans and their families in Alaska to let them know the first federal land allotments are finalized.

Veterans or their heirs have until Dec. 29, 2025, to apply. The bureau so far has received more than 100 applications from interested vets.

The Alaska Native Vietnam Era Veterans Land Allotment Program was established two years ago, enabling eligible individuals to select an Alaska land allotment of up to 160 acres.

“This has been a long time coming, and I encourage eligible veterans to submit interest to the Bureau of Land Management as soon as they can,” U.S. Rep. Don Young said Friday. “I look forward to well-earned land finally being allotted to these brave Alaskans and remarkable Americans.”

The program is open to all eligible Alaska Native veterans who served between Aug. 5, 1964, and Dec. 31, 1971. It removes a requirement for personal use or occupancy under previous rules.

During the Vietnam War, 2,800 Alaska Natives served in the military — a higher rate per capita than any other group.

The Interior Department still needs help finding eligible veterans and their families to notify them. For more information, contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs at 907-271-4506.

Women senators unite over Afghan protections

All 24 women serving in the U.S. Senate have signed a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden urging protections for Afghan women and girls, since the U.S. military left the country.

The letter states: “In the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, we write to urge your Administration to develop an interagency plan to preserve the political, economic, social, and basic human rights of Afghan women and girls.”

The senators stated that women and girls are suffering under the Taliban, which has a record of “brutalizing, isolating and denying them life and liberty.”

The letter was signed by every sitting female senator, including U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

ConocoPhillips’ investment in Alaska

ConocoPhillips’ third-quarter earnings report showed that the company in Alaska paid nearly $370 million in taxes and royalties, according to the third-quarter earnings report by ConocoPhillips.

• Of that total, ConocoPhillips Alaska paid an estimated $301 million to the state of Alaska in the third quarter, and $68 million went to the federal government.

• Year-to-date, the company has paid an estimated $807 million to Alaska and $173 million to the federal government.

• ConocoPhillips Alaska, in the third quarter, invested $235 million in the state, which was 18% of global capital expenditures and investments, Petroleum News reported.

ConocoPhillips Alaska President Erec Isaacson said that “our continuous investment in projects on the North Slope benefits Alaska’s future.”

Nick Olds, ConocoPhillips vice president, told shareholders the company is committed to the Willow project. A U.S. District Court judge invalidated federal approval of the environmental impact statement for the drilling project.

“We feel the best and most efficient approach there is to really work through” issues identified in the ruling, Olds said. “We still see significant support from the Alaska delegation, the state of Alaska as well as the North Slope Borough.”

Warming trend for Alaska Senate candidate

Palm Beach is close to Alaska — when it comes to Republican politics.

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago will be the fair-weather site of a winter fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka. All proceeds from the event will go to the Tshibaka campaign.

Tshibaka is challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary. Tshibaka is an attorney who most recently led the Alaska Department of Administration. She has the endorsement of the state Republican Party.

Trump vowed to defeat Murkowski for voting to impeach him after the Jan. 6 riot at the nation’s Capitol. The Alaska GOP censured Murkowski for the vote. Tshibaka’s campaign provided a photo of the fundraiser invitation.

Alaska Airlines removing tons of plastic waste

Alaska Airlines is trading plastic water bottles for boxed cartons. The change will eliminate 1.8 million pounds, or 900 tons, of single-use plastics thrown away each year.

The company said that water service is the biggest contributor to inflight plastic waste. The switch removes 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles from Alaska flights.

The airline is the first commercial carrier to toss single-use plastic bottles and cups for paper cups and boxed water cartons. Alaska Airlines began offering the trademarked Boxed Water cartons in first class in early 2021. 

Boxed Water is a recyclable carton, sealed with a plant-based cap. The packaged water goes through a purification process that includes reverse osmosis, carbon filtration and UV light.

Contact Linda F. Hersey at 907-459-7575 or at lhersey@newsminer.com. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMpolitics.

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