A Seward group, CAPSOL, is heading up a lawsuit against the State of Alaska, saying the state didn’t correctly appropriate lands into the School Lands Trust. We spoke to the attorney on the case, Mark Choate, who explained that at statehood, Alaska was charged with appropriating two parcels of land in every town to the Trust.
Choate: “If all of the lands were recovered or placed in the Trust that should be there, it’d be about 11 million acres, so it’s very, very significant, and instead, right now I think there’s about 180,000.”
Choate said they’re in the process of serving the complaints, after which the state will have 40 days to respond.
Choate: “Well the best case scenario would be that the State meets its Trust obligations and places lands in the Trust that’re supposed to be there, and if those lands have been sold and can’t be recovered, places the value of those properties, the economic value, the cash for the land, the mineral rights, fishing, oil and gas, puts those back into the Trust, so this Trust is funded and properly protected as it should have been.”
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.