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.
Lesli Ellis-Wouters/ Bureau of Land Management,
Alaska State Office, Office of Communications