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Port Graham Corporation Joins Oil-Spill Watchdog Group

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council has added the Port Graham Corp. to its roster as the group’s 19th member entity.

Diane Selanoff, the corporation’s vice chairman, was seated as its representative to the council board.

"Our goal is to ensure the proper degree of regulatory oversight is maintained in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990,” Selanoff said. “It seems that recently we have all become more complacent and as descendents of people who by oral tradition have been here since the Pleistocene period we are concerned and want to be part of the solution. We can't let human nature slip and result in another catastrophe."

Port Graham Corp. is a village corporation formed under the terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. In its Oct. 22, 2009, resolution requesting membership in the council, the corporation cited the impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on its extensive coastal landholdings in Kenai Fjords National Park, as well as on lands and subsistence beaches near the village of Port Graham. The village is located about 30 miles southwest of Homer on a bay also named Port Graham.

“These lands are currently providing economic value and independence to the Port Graham residents,” the resolution said. “The protection of these resources...is very important to the community as well as the public.”

The corporation is developing its lands for tourism at Aialik Bay in the Kenai Fjords.

Port Graham’s membership request was approved at the council’s January board meeting in Anchorage.

“Port Graham Corp. is a welcome addition to our group,” said council president Steve Lewis, who represents the city of Seldovia on the board. “As someone from a spill-affected community outside Prince William Sound, I support other such communities having an active presence and voice on our board.”

Selanoff was born in Seldovia, raised in Port Graham, and now lives in Valdez. She works there as a timekeeper for TCC, a joint venture of three Alaska Native corporations that provides oil spill cleanup services under contract to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

She and her husband, Patrick Selanoff, have five children and four grandchildren. Her interests include hunting, fishing, camping, fur sewing, and teaching family traditions and culture to young people.

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council is an independent non-profit corporation whose mission is to promote environmentally safe operation of the Valdez Marine Terminal and the oil tankers that use it. The council's work is guided by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and its contract with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. The council's member organizations are communities in the region affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, as well as aquaculture, commercial fishing, environmental, Native, recreation, and tourism groups. With the addition of the Port Graham Corporation, the council now has 19 member organizations.

Port Graham is the council’s first new member entity since 1992, when the group added the Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association, and the communities of Tatitlek and Chenega Bay. The council’s other member entities are the cities of Seldovia, Cordova, Kodiak, Seward, Whittier, Valdez, and Homer; the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak boroughs; the Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition; Chugach Alaska Corp.; the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce; Cordova District Fishermen United; the Kodiak Village Mayors Association; and the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation.

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