Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Governor Denounces Decision on Alaska ‘Wild Lands’

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell expressed grave concerns Thursday about a recent decision in December by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to evaluate 87 million acres of federal land in Alaska as potential “wild lands.” That designation would effectively allow the federal government to create more wilderness in Alaska without congressional oversight. Secretarial Order 3310 issued December 23, 2010 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar directed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), based on the input of the public and local communities through its existing land management planning process, to designate appropriate areas with wilderness characteristics under its jurisdiction as "Wild Lands" and to manage them to protect their wilderness values. "Americans love the wild places where they hunt, fish, hike, and get away from it all, and they expect these lands to be protected wisely on their behalf," said Salazar. "This policy ensures that the lands of the American public are protected for current and future generations to come." In comments submitted recently to the Department of the Interior, Governor Parnell said Interior’s wild lands designation will diminish access to federal lands and cost jobs. “Putting such a sweeping initiative in place overnight, with no congressional direction and no advance consultation with affected states or the public, is unfathomable,” Governor Parnell said. He noted that Alaska lands have been repeatedly studied, with large areas placed off-limits to resource development...more

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