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House Urges Feds To Fund BLM's Statehood Land Surveys

Fairclough’s HJR 26 passes unanimously, patents pending on 66 million acres

Monday, February 15, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House today unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 26, which urges the US 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, citing the need for congressional funding to allow the BLM to carry out necessary surveys and patents intended following 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.

“The federal government made a promise to us at statehood, yet 50 years later we are still waiting for them to honor it. That’s unacceptable,” Fairclough said. “And we’re not the only ones. ANCSA corporations are watching the clock continue to tick as well. Despite the BLMs best efforts there’s simply not enough funding coming in to finish the surveys and patents. It’s time Congress put this issue to rest by sufficiently funding the BLM and close the book on statehood and ANCSA land claims.”

HJR 26 now heads to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.

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