Working to Meet Commitments Interior Revokes Public Land Orders
ANCHORAGE – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued two Public Land Orders (PLO) affecting approximately 1.3 million acres of public lands in the Fortymile Subunit of the Eastern Interior and the Bering Glacier area in Southcentral Alaska. The PLOs revoke, in part, PLOs issued in 1972 under Sec. 17(d)(1) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
“Signing these PLOs is a return to a cooperative partnership with the people of Alaska. These decisions are the product of years of review and analysis, resulting in an action that delivers on overdue federal promises made to Alaskans in the Statehood Act and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and to Alaska Native veterans in the recently passed John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. We are proud to continue to foster economic prosperity for local communities, ensure continued access to public lands for hunting and fishing for generations to come — both sport and subsistence — without compromising stewardship of our nation’s lands,” said Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joseph Balash.
“These actions are the product of close work between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources,” said BLM State Director Chad Padgett. “These collaborations are in keeping with the Secretary’s intent of being a good neighbor and following through with the recommendations we have made in our Resource Management Plans. We’re looking forward to many more collaborations in the near future.”
This revocation will not impact ANCSA 17(b) easements, which ensure public access to public lands as directed by Secretarial Order 3373.
The original PLOs affected by these actions were analyzed in the Eastern Interior – Fortymile Resource Management Plan in 2016, and the East Alaska Resource Management plan in 2007, respectively. Both plans recommended these actions.
The original PLOs in the Fortymile Subunit and Bering Glacier were largely lands set aside for study and classification through the land use planning process over forty years ago. The lands will be open in 30 days, and any applications received prior to that will be considered simultaneously filed at that time. For more information on mining on BLM-managed lands in Alaska, see www.blm.gov/alaska/mining.
PLOs are issued by the Secretary of the Interior to establish, modify, extend, or revoke public land withdrawals under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. Some PLOs are tied to Alaska-specific laws, like ANCSA or the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), while other PLOs stem from nationwide laws like the FLPMA.
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.