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AK State House Majority Caucus press release: House to Interior Secretary Salazar: No Wild Land Designations (HJR 21)

HJR 21 points to lack of congressional approval in S.O. 3310 process

Friday, April 01, 2011, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House of Representatives today unanimously passed a resolution re-asserting state’s rights and pushing back at a federal bureaucrat’s proposed encroachment on Alaska’s lands.

House Joint Resolution 21, sponsored by House Resources Co-Chair Rep. Eric Feige, R-Chickaloon, urges U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to withdraw Secretarial Order 3310, which directs the federal Bureau of Land Management to inventory and designate land with wilderness characteristics as “Wild Lands.”

“This is a made-up, unauthorized encroachment on Alaska’s lands and we will not stand by and let it happen without a fight,” Feige said. “This land classification isn’t legally-defined and it’s certainly not congressionally-authorized. The order clearly violates congressional law for Alaska both in ANILCA and ANCSA, which supersede S.O. 3310 – only the Congress has the authority to designate Wilderness Areas.

“Our Majority made promoting and working towards Responsible Resource Development and Access to Affordable Energy two of our Guiding Principles, and if Secretary Salazar has his way, the BLM could lock up NPR-A, or the coastal plain of ANWR. Unacceptable,” Feige said.

Feige says HJR 21 is a response to, and is a clear opposition statement against, Secretary Salazar’s action, which he says is in conflict with the “No More Clauses” in ANILCA, the Alaska National Interest Land Claims Act, as well as the Federal Land Policy & Management Act.

Co-Sponsor Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, the Chairman of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Federal Areas, agrees, and says HJR 21 follows CACFA and the governor’s lead. “We at CACFA have been watching this action by the BLM since the initial order was released in December,” Keller said. “HJR 21 adds the Legislature’s support to CACFA and the governor’s letters already on the record. The resolution sends a compelling message: the ‘stroke of the pen’ mentality cannot be tolerated.”

If Secretary Salazar fails to withdraw S.O. 3310, HJR21 urges Congress to prohibit the use of any appropriated funds by the Dept. of Interior to implement, administer or enforce the order.

“Resolutions against the egregious over-step by Secretary Salazar have already been adopted by our peers in Idaho, Utah and Nevada, and Governor Parnell sent a letter of concern in January,” Feige said. “HJR 21 is critically important to the citizens of Alaska and another milepost for other states to follow in standing up against this land and power grab from Washington, D.C.”

HJR 21 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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