21st Century Wire says…
All across the western states, a grass-roots movement has risen to reclaim constitutionally mandated public lands from federal government control.
For decades, significant clashes between the western states and the federal government over public land jurisdiction and ownership have led states to press the issue concerning some 700 million acres of federally controlled ‘public lands’ which include national parks, national forests, and national monuments, environmental zones and other ‘protected areas’. Millions of residents in the western states believe that these lands belong to the states, and that Washington DC must observe its own legal and Constitutional limitations as stipulated in Article One, Section 8, of the United States Constitution.
This battle is just beginning…
Alaska House passes bill demanding transfer of federally-held land
JUNEAU – The Alaska House of Representatives passed a bill Monday forcing the federal government to uphold the Alaska Statehood Act’s land transfer entitlement.
The legislation transfers ownership of 5.5 million square acres of land back to Alaska, along with an additional 100 million square acres of public land.
Designed after Utah’s House Bill 148, House Bill 155 passed with a vote of 27 to 11. The bill seeks the transfer of the 105.5 million acres of land by Jan. 1, 2017. The original effective date of the Alaska Statehood Act land transfer was 25 years “after the date of the admission of the State of Alaska into the Union,” per Section 6 of the act.
“We’re long past the 35-year deadline for land transfers ordered by the Statehood Act,” said the bill’s sponsor, House Speaker Mike Chenault. “The federal government needs to honor the deal, make us whole. Other western states are in the same boat; we’re treated like a park for everyone east of the Mississippi River.”
The federal government currently holds 222 million acres of Alaska land, according to Chenault in his sponsor statement, more than half of Alaska’s 424,512,000 total square acres. The federal government has already transferred 100 million square acres of land selected under the Statehood Act, but has allowed a “breach in good faith” by withholding the last portion, according to Chenault.
Advocates of the bill say the lands selected would go a long way in developing Alaska’s economy, allowing development of natural resources like gas, oil, minerals and timber.
“The government needs to let us manage and develop our lands as we see fit, following our world class environmental and permitting processes, not some East Coast bureaucrat’s whim,” Chenault wrote. “Alaskans know how to best manage and protect Alaska.”
National parks and military reservations were excluded from the bill.
The bill will now head to the Alaska Senate for further consideration.
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