Alaska sues Biden Administration for making Alaska a ‘de facto park’


The State of Alaska is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior for illegally and unjustifiably extending decades-long restrictions on nearly 28 million acres of federal land in Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said today.

Interior Sec. Deb Haaland blocked state land selections and Alaska Native Vietnam Veteran allotments, he said. 

“This is a methodical effort by the Biden administration – more than just bureaucratic foot dragging – to frustrate ANILCA and the Statehood land entitlement and leave these lands locked up as de facto parks,” Dunleavy said. “They are consciously ignoring and going around appropriate processes to hold things in perpetual limbo. It has needed to be challenged for a long time and it needs to be challenged now more than ever due to these new delays – and I am challenging it. The intent of ANILCA matters, these unnecessary withdrawals need to be lifted, and we need to finally move this process forward. This is another federal attempt to deny Alaska the full realization as a State promised under our Statehood Compact, and it should not stand.”

These withdrawals have prevented the State from exercising its Statehood right to claim valuable lands or assess the natural resources on these lands, and blocked Alaska Native Vietnam War veterans from selecting land allotments, the governor said in a press release.

Under a 1971 federal law, the Secretary was allowed to issue temporary land withdrawals to restrict the use of federal land in Alaska to allow the Department of Interior time to determine how federal lands should be used in the state. These withdrawals also effectively prevented the transfer of temporarily withdrawn lands to the State under the Alaska Statehood Act.

Many of these 1970s-era orders have never been lifted even though the reasons for the withdrawals have been satisfied for decades. Under 16 such orders, about 28 million acres of land have sat under outdated restrictions, all the while with the federal government proposing that the withdrawals be lifted, but never doing so, Dunleavy said.

In fact, in 2006, the Bureau of Land Management reported to Congress that these temporary withdrawals could be lifted on over nearly all these areas without affecting the public interest. Following that report, BLM has completed numerous, multi-year reviews and land-use plans, each recommending that the withdrawals be lifted. In January of this year, then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued orders based on these extensive analyses to finally lift these 16 land withdrawals from about 28 million acres.

Shortly after assuming office, however, Haaland announced she was unilaterally repealing former Secretary David Bernhardt’s actions from taking affect for at least two years, claiming that the department needed to conduct even more analyses of environmental, endangered species, historical preservation, and military land use laws – analyses that the BLM, itself, said it had already completed or were unnecessary.

“This announcement follows the Biden administration’s already well-established pattern of assuming excessive administrative authority, rehashing completed actions, and even defying settled law to advance the policy goals of anti-development activists and political donors in the lower 48 rather than the everyday Alaskans that benefit from multiple use of public lands,” said Corri Feige, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.

“Any reasonable grounds for withdrawing this land expired long ago, and this renewed delay is entirely unjustified. Interior’s final decision in January to end those withdrawals was both appropriate and long overdue,” said Attorney General Treg Taylor. “The decision by the Biden administration to further delay the effective date of actions lifting these restrictions is a punch in the gut to Alaskans, an affront to common sense, and a violation of law.”

The state’s lawsuit asks the federal district court in Alaska to prevent the Department of the Interior from continuing to delay the January 2021 orders and to direct the Department to lift these 16 obsolete withdrawals immediately.


  1. Alaskans have lost so much in the short time puppet Biden has been in office. Oil, fishing, tourism, logging, all the things this state is known for and needs to prosper. It would be different if we as a state didn’t properly manage our resources and lands but we do. Compare us to the lower 48, especially Democrat run states, and we shine. Thank you Gov Dunleavy.

  2. The Federal Government owns so much of Alaska, and with the stroke of a pen determine the way Alaska thrives or declines. I would like to see our Washington delegation to slip into a bill an “Alaska Tax” on the rest of the US. The Federal Government should pay every Alaskan $150,000 per year. There is no stability any longer, every 4 years the pendulum swings so far that it is difficult for resource development planning.

    • Bob – you don’t want that. Then you’d have every grifter in the world heading here for…. wait for it …. free money.

      Better idea – make it a tax free zone for individuals and business. Every business in Alaska and individual filer pays $1/year in federal income taxes. That would (1) attract business here (since we’re losing out oil industry), provide untaxed income that the state could tax (after then get a spending cap in place and the budget under control), and (3) allow us to still “pay tax” so we maintain our representation in Congress.

      If Alaska is going to be a park, they need to pay admission….

      Off topic – is this the Bob Lee I know and contribute to the TKD kids annually?

  3. Right on! Time for remedy! A big old fat remedy. Only two percent of Alaska land is in private title! How are we supposed to be a state with 98 percent belonging to foreign corporations? C’mon Man! I WONDER WHO Jiden works for anyways! I mean he couldn’t run a state with almost no land in private use.

  4. Talk about a waste of time! This is strictly a political stunt, since I seriously doubt that Alaska has any standing in what the United States does with US property, which is a lot of Alaska. This is an insipid state adminstration trying to look good for doing nothing. It’s time the State of Alaska gets a life, other than looking for a handout from the Feds.

    • Greg,
      Have you ever read the Alaska Statehood Act? It sure doesn’t sound like you have. Alaska is legally owed about 1/3 of the lands that were granted as part of this Act of Congress.
      If you google blm programs lands-and-realty regional-information alaska land_transfer state-entitlements and select the second link you will find on the BLM website where Alaska is still owed 10’s of millions of acre from the Federal Government as part of the Stathood Act. The site says:
      The 1959 Alaska Statehood Act, authorizes transfer of approximately 105 million acres of federal land to the State of Alaska — an amount that was deemed to be sufficient for the newly formed state to become economically self supporting. Approximately 103,350,000 acres were selected under three types of grants: Community (400,000 acres), National Forest Community (400,000 acres), and General (102,550,000 acres). Additional territorial grants, for schools, university and mental health trust lands, totaling 1.2 million acres were confirmed with statehood. The Statehood Act gave the state 25 years to select lands for entitlement. That original time period was amended through several pieces of legislation that lengthened the amount of time for the state to select lands. The state provided its selection list in December of 1993. Except during a brief time following the passage of the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act of 1980, the State has been able to re-prioritize their selections at any time.

      So far, the BLM has surveyed and patented over 67.5 million acres, and approximately 31.7 million acres have been conveyed subject to future survey (Tentatively Approved (TA)). The State of Alaska has approximately 5.3 million acres remaining for its entitlement. The remaining amount of land to be patented to the State of Alaska is very complex as many selected lands are “top filed” on currently unavailable lands, a option provided to the State of Alaska in ANILCA. The lands may be unavailable due to a withdrawal, selected but not yet conveyed under ANSCA or the Native Allotment Act, or some other land status which could change in the future. The BLM is working with the State of Alaska on it’s prioritization of work and unraveling the complex top-filed land selections for it’s remaining entitlement. In short, the remaining entitlement is the hardest, most complex work left to do under this land transfer authority.
      State Patented Acres: 68,680,935 (as of 7/30/20)

      Tentatively Approved Acres: 30,680,345 (as of 7/30/20)

      State Selected Acres: 13,877,000 (as of 7/30/20)

    • Just for reference, that roughly 35,000,000 acres that is still owed to the State of Alaska from the feds is about the size of either Iowa or New York, or the entire areas of Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware combined.

      • Alaska has already selected and now owns about 100 million acres. Two million more acres are to go to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System sometime in the future. That leaves about three million acres still to be transferred. Dunleavy seems to be claiming he wants 28 million acres. The math doesn’t add up, and if Dunleavy thinks the Feds will just hand over another 25 million acres of federal land to the state, he’s got a problem. I’m not sure what Trump had in mind when he OK’d the transfer, but Biden is dead to rights to challenge it.

        • Greg,
          The state does not currently hold title to 100,000,000+ acres of land. Just because the land was selected does not mean the title has been transferred. The land Dunleavy is suing over is the land that has been selected but has not been delivered to make Alaska whole and get us to the approximately 105,000,000 that was granted in the Statehood Act. The state was granted the land and the feds have yet to turn over all that land, that’s not my opinion, that is according to the feds. Dunleavy wants the feds to deliver the title to the lands that were granted and held in limbo since.
          Don’t confused selected land that has been Tentatively Approved with titled or patented land, they are not the same. Until the title and patent to the land has been transferred from the feds to the state it belongs to the title holder, in this case the feds.
          As it stands the state of Alaska is due 1/3 more lands than it currently owns that were granted by and act of congress, the Alaska Statehood Act.

  5. The federal government will own us if we keep sucking money out of them.. Alaskans are notorious for having a hand out. Why would you expect them to treat us as if we didn’t?

  6. Part of the problem Bob Lee, is that the feds have assumed authority (illegally) for all resource development planning. One prime example, is the brand new “Central Yukon Resource Management Plan” done by the USBLM. The CYRMP attempts to set resource development policy not only on federal land, but also State, Tribal, and private land. It is a bold attempt by a bureaucrapcy to lock up the Ray Mountains rare-earth minerals area as wilderness by declaring it “critical caribou habitat” (it’s not) worthy of Wilderness designation by Congress. BLM does not have this power. The CYRMP was carefully designed to make it look like they chose a pro-development model, when what they chose was very slightly less “lock-it-up” then the alternative supported by the greenies. Major kudos to our Governor Dunleavy for having the courage to stand up to the feds on this – it is long overdue. I pray that we have great success on this in the courts – it will go to SCOTUS.

  7. Seems the Feds prefer Alaskans to have to have Federal hand-outs instead of granting our independence as the Act they ignore provides. Seems like the same kind of move the Alaska Lawbreakers are using regarding the PFD. The rest of us have to follow laws; why don’t they?

    • Many years ago the EnviroNazis realized that the more of their people were in higher government positions, the smoother it would be to get regulations to their liking.
      They actually pay their people to apply for government positions which lead to positions of authority and control.
      The socialist commies, and several other special interests, are doing the same thing, embedding their people in government positions. By this we have a very small minority ruling America.
      If you followed the Pebble debate, you would have seen how the EPA is being run by Greenies.
      It’s the special interest shills that have turned our government against us.

  8. The Biden administration hasn’t done very little good, the last 6 months have been disastrous for not only the USA but the entire world! Now everyone is suing just to hang on. He’s put the brakes on national oil and gas development so where does that leave us? Yeah, dependent on mideast oil again, so now gas is 3.69 at the pumps in Anchorage and rising about 10 cents per week and with unnecessary trillions he injected into the economy we’ll see no end to it rising and that trickles down to everything we purchase. Biden is an idiot.

    • Idiots can manage to do evil things, but they’re not capable of being systematic at it. Biden not only telegraphed his agenda, but is systematically implementing it.
      Biden isn’t an idiot. He’s catering to the elements which will help him achieve his agenda. The idiots are the ones who elected him.

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