Take That, Interior! Alaska Sues to Have Public Land Orders Reinstated

Take That, Interior! Alaska Sues to Have Public Land Orders Reinstated

July 8, 2021

One of the most egregious actions taken by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland since she assumed the Interior Secretary’s role was to put a two-year moratorium on Public Land Orders (PLOs) issued during the last months of the Trump Administration.

That action – including locking out Vietnam-Veteran-era Alaska Natives from acquiring land parcels owed to them under ANCSA – was met with swift rebuke from Alaska’s Congressional Delegation (all of whom supported Haaland enthusiastically during her Congressional review and hearings).

But it was the Dunleavy Administration who took official action yesterday, filing suit against Haaland and the Department of Interior to force a reinstatement of the PLOs, and the potential jobs and resource opportunities owed Alaska under the Statehood Act and subsequent Congressional action.

“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,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a written statement. “The rights granted to the state of Alaska in the Statehood Act, and reflected in its constitution, cannot — and should not — be unilaterally diminished by any federal agency,” the suit says in part.

As the Legislature struggles with creating a solid long-range fiscal plan, it is refreshing to see a Governor act with authority to protect his state from overarching and job-killing federal agency actions.

Power The Future will continue to follow this story, expecting to see Interior refuse to flinch and dig its heels in even more.  After all, the ‘leave-it-in-the-ground’ extremists who support Haaland, Biden and his administration are getting exactly what they want with the PLO freezes; a step toward extinguishing Alaska’s bright energy future.  We won’t let them get away with that without a fight, and applaud Governor Dunleavy for standing tall for Alaska.