Legislature Urges Feds to Fund BLM Statehood Land Surveys - Fairclough's HJR 26
Fairclough’s HJR 26 passes unanimously, patents pending on 66 million acres
Sunday, April 18, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House today concurred in Senate changes to House Joint Resolution 26, urging the U.S. Congress to fund Bureau of Land Management surveys on the remaining 66 million acres owed to complete land grants from statehood and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA. Representative Anna Fairclough, R-Eagle River, sponsored the resolution, which passed the House Feb. 15. “HJR 26 asks the federal government to follow through on their promise at statehood, which they’ve ignored for the past 50 years,” Fairclough said. “That’s a generation of Alaskans who’ve been waiting for them to honor the Statehood Act. ANCSA corporations have been watching the calendar for three decades. BLM is hamstrung by a lack of funding for the surveys and patents. It’s past time for Congress to sufficiently fund the surveys so we can close the book on statehood and ANCSA land transfers.” Congressional funding is needed to allow the BLM to carry out necessary surveys and patents intended to follow passage of the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act of 2004. That legislation hoped to complete land conveyance by last year, in honor of Alaska’s 50th anniversary of statehood, but BLM still has significant work to do, with 40 million acres to the state, 14 million acres for native corporations, and 12 million additional acres awaiting conveyance. Copies of HJR 26 will be sent to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, BLM Acting Director Ron Wenker, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, and all members of the 111th United States Congress.