Joe Balash, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, lifted a public land order, an action that adds 1.3 millions acres of Alaska land into a stack available for Alaska State selection.
It’s the first step in a long process of transferring federal land to the State of Alaska. Some of the lands promised at Statehood have been hung up for years because of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which had to be settled.
In what is a lifting of a D1 Public Land Order, lands in the Eastern Interior, Bering Glacier, 40-mile region, and Delta Junction-Tok area are part of the state selection, as is a parcel at Cape Yakutaga.
The next step is for the state to request conveyance of those lands. That is a long process that will involve surveying and making sure that a clear land title is given to the State of Alaska.
Balash, who has worked on this project since becoming Assistant Secretary of the Interior, has made it so those lands are no longer encumbered by a public land order. He made the announcement during remarks at the Resource Development Council in Anchorage today.
Editor’s note: This story will be updated.