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Governor Defends Resource Development, Access, and Jobs on BLM Lands


JUNEAU, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell has directed the Department of Law to participate in, and support a lawsuit against the federal government filed by the State of Utah. Utah filed a complaint today against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that targets the recently created federal "Wild Lands" policy. 

In December 2010, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar imposed an order significantly changing how BLM manages public lands. The new BLM policy arbitrarily creates a new public land designation of "Wild Lands," directs federal agencies to protect the wilderness values of such lands, creates additional potential costs and delays in the permitting process, and overrides existing regional land use management plans. 

"States, local communities, and residents, particularly in Western states with a large amount of BLM lands, deserve far better from the federal government," Governor Parnell said. "Now is not the time for the federal government to impose new hurdles to developing America's oil, gas, and other natural resources.

"Not only is the 'Wild Lands' order bad policy, it was imposed without following the procedures required by Congress that are designed to allow members of the public and affected states to have notice, information, and an opportunity to comment before BLM's new policy became final.

"Although we were only given the opportunity to comment after the new 'Wild Lands' policy was put into place and deemed final by the secretary, once again, the federal administration ignored the comments of the State of Alaska, other states, and many members of Congress. I will not stand for such overreach by federal agencies and a complete disregard for the rights of states and the public."

The Alaska Department of Law is preparing its own complaint that will include similar causes of action as Utah for not using the required process. Alaska's complaint will include Alaska-specific causes of action relating to "Wild Lands" that amount to de facto "Wilderness," which are limited or not allowed under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act or the statutes governing the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska.

Copies of the Utah complaint and the Alaska motion for Amicus are available at:


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