HJR 24: Urging the federal government to honor its commitments to transfer land to the state; and urging the United States Secretary of the Interior and the United States Congress to adhere to the recommendations of the United States Department of the Interior in its 2006 report under the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act, including lifting withdrawals.
00 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 24 01 Urging the federal government to honor its commitments to transfer land to the state; 02 and urging the United States Secretary of the Interior and the United States Congress to 03 adhere to the recommendations of the United States Department of the Interior in its 04 2006 report under the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act, including lifting 05 withdrawals. 06 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 07 WHEREAS, in a series of Public Land Orders issued from 1972 to 1975, the United 08 States Secretary of the Interior, under the authority of sec. 17(d)(1) of the Alaska Native 09 Claims Settlement Act, withdrew and reserved land for study and classification; and 10 WHEREAS the affected land was generally closed to disposal and appropriation; and 11 WHEREAS the intent of withdrawing and reserving land was to limit appropriations 12 of land in order to complete inventories of resources and assessment of values, which would 13 allow for orderly development of land use and management objectives for present and future 14 public needs; and 15 WHEREAS the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act gave the state the
01 right to make top-filings on parcels of land; and 02 WHEREAS a "top-filing" is a contingent selection wherein the underlying land is 03 subject to a federal restriction or withdrawal that prevents the adjudication of the land as an 04 entitlement selection, but, in the event that the restriction is lifted, the state selection 05 automatically attaches to the land; and 06 WHEREAS a top-filing is thus a future interest in a selection for the state, but is not 07 considered an actual selection until the relevant withdrawal is lifted; and 08 WHEREAS the land entitlements created by the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska 09 Native Claims Settlement Act, and the Alaska Native Allotment Act have resulted in a tangled 10 web of interests vying for a finite amount of land; and 11 WHEREAS the Public Land Orders under sec. 17(d)(1) of the Alaska Native Claims 12 Settlement Act affect 158,958,000 acres of land in the state; and 13 WHEREAS the continued withdrawal of the land has prevented the state from 14 seeking adjudication of its top-filings, thereby substantially interfering with completion of the 15 land selection process by the state; and 16 WHEREAS, under the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act, the United States 17 Secretary of the Interior was required to prepare a report and make recommendations on 18 which Public Land Orders under sec. 17(d)(1) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act 19 could be lifted "consistent with protection of the public interest in these lands"; and 20 WHEREAS the report was completed and submitted to the United States Congress in 21 June 2006; and 22 WHEREAS the report concluded that many of the land withdrawals "have outlived 23 their original purpose"; and 24 WHEREAS the report recommended that 152,181,400 acres or 95 percent of the land 25 withdrawals "could be lifted consistent with the protection of the public's interest"; and 26 WHEREAS, despite the recommendations of the 2006 report and the unreasonable 27 effect of the land withdrawals on the completion of the land selection process, the United 28 States Secretary of the Interior has refused to act; 29 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the federal government to 30 honor the commitments made to the state and its people under the Alaska Statehood Act, the 31 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the Cook Inlet Land Exchange, the Alaska National
01 Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act; and be it 02 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States 03 Secretary of the Interior to honor the recommendations made in the 2006 report to the United 04 States Congress and lift the 152,181,400 acres of land withdrawals specified in the report; and 05 be it 06 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States 07 Congress to use its considerable influence to encourage strongly the United States Secretary 08 of the Interior to follow through with the recommendations made in the 2006 report; and be it 09 FURTHER RESOLVED that, if the United States Secretary of the Interior does not 10 lift the identified 152,181,400 acres of land withdrawals before January 1, 2017, the Alaska 11 State Legislature urges the Alaska Attorney General to pursue all legal recourse concerning 12 the federal government's breach of its commitments to the state. 13 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice- 14 President of the United States and President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable John Boehner, 15 Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Majority 16 Leader of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United 17 States; the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the Interior; the Honorable 18 Shaun L. S. Donovan, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget; the Honorable 19 Hilary Tompkins, Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior; the Honorable Daniel M. Ashe, 20 Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Robert Dreher, acting Assistant Attorney 21 General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division; and the Honorable Lisa 22 Murkowski and the Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, 23 U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.