Think About It……. November 13, 2013
As you know, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge controls millions of prime land on our Kenai Peninsula. Last week their refusal to honor the desires of the Alaska Fish and Game Board and our Alaskan Game Biologists to allow hunting of Brown/Grizzly Bears this fall on their lands, brings to mind what a huge choke hold the managers of Federal lands have on our Alaskan economy.
Ever since then Governor Tony Knowles refused to appeal the Katie John decision, federal land managers have continued to try and seize more and more control and power, from claiming jurisdiction of all navigable streams and rivers that just touch their land holdings to refusing to honor the fish and game regulations adopted by our Alaska Board of Fish and Game. And that is a shame.
Almost 60% of all land in Alaska is owned and controlled by the Federal Government. 28% is owned by the State Government, 12% by Native Corporations and barely 1% of Alaska’s land is in private ownership. The 222 million acres of land owned and controlled by the Federal Government is larger than the entire state of Texas and larger than the combined states of California, Oregon and Washington. An even sadder part is that 148 million acres of land in Alaska is designated at Conservation Units.
During the ANILCA debate Alaskans identified with the need to protect the most beautiful areas, but feared the unprecedented land withdrawals, by the Fed’s would stifle the states economy. And history will show they were right, not only initially, but even more so as the Federal land managers continue to increase their choke hold on Alaskan lands.
The passage of ANILCA had significant effect on Alaska’s lands, for example, it placed known mineral deposits and belts within those Conservation Units and by drawing boundaries that blocked natural transportation routes, it continues to foreclose development of oil and mineral deposits on BLM, state and Native-owned lands.
Specifically, some of the best state-owned mineral lands in the Southern Brooks Range will only have value if transportation corridors are permitted through federal units. So far Federal land managers are denying those transportations corridors, and say they will continue to do so. In fact, did you know that the proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope could not be built at all unless it follows the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline through all federal lands. That’s a shame. When the Federal Government accepted Alaska as a state they made sure that states rights in our state would be almost non-existent.
Alaska’s private sector economy depended then, like now, on natural resource development. Can you imagine how our state economy would grow if Federal control of our lands came to a sudden halt?
But then, come to think of it, that’s probably why we have so many concerned people in the Alaska Independence Party.
Think About It! John C. Davis 10-13-13