The Department of the Interior Revokes Five Public Land Orders, Making way for Alaska Land Conveyance and Mineral Development

Map depicting land pattern in Goodnews Bay area.
Map of the Goodnews Bay area depicting the land status.  The BLM lands (represented in gold) were those affected by the public land orders that were removed.  The blue hashed areas represent lands being conveyed to the state.

ANCHORAGE – The Secretary of Interior today issued a Public Land Order (PLO), which affects approximately 229,715 acres in the Goodnews Bay area, making it possible for approximately 34,000 acres of state-selected lands to be conveyed to the State of Alaska and allowing for mineral entry on unencumbered public lands in the area.  This PLO revokes, in part, five PLOs issued in 1972 under Sec. 17(d)(1) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

“This is an important step,” said Ted Murphy, Acting BLM State Director.  “These PLOs are being revoked due to the close work between the BLM and the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources.  These collaborations are in keeping with the Secretary’s intent of being a good neighbor.  We’re looking forward to many more collaborations in the near future.”

"The Department of the Interior recognizes the need to review PLOs that may have outlived their intended purposes," said Joseph Balash, Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management.  "Revoking these PLOs will allow us to move forward on several fronts, especially in allowing state selections of lands pursuant to the Alaska Statehood Act of 1959."

Through a joint BLM-state working group, State of Alaska staff identified lands in the Goodnews Bay area as being one of their higher priority selections, setting into motion the request for the Secretary to revoke the associated PLOs.

The PLOs in the Goodnews Bay area were largely lands set aside for study and classification through the land use planning process.  The land use planning was completed with the issuance of the Bay Resource Management Plan, which recommended revoking the withdrawals.  The lands will be open in 30 days, and any applications received prior to that will be considered simultaneously filed at that time.  For information on mining on BLM lands in Alaska see: www.blm.gov/alaska/mining.

This is the first of what BLM Alaska anticipates will be many packages submitted to the Secretary regarding withdrawals made under Section 17(d)(1) of ANCSA.

PLOs are a type of action by the Secretary of the Interior, which establish, modify, extend, or revoke public land withdrawals.  Some PLOs are tied to Alaska-specific laws like ANCSA or the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, while others stem from nationwide laws like the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.

Release Date

Organization

Bureau of Land Management

Office

Alaska State Office

Contacts

Name:
Lesli Ellis-Wouters