ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - At a signing ceremony, 1.3 million acres of land managed by the federal government was made available for selection by the State of Alaska and an Alaska Native Corporation.
Joe Balash, the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior, signed documents Tuesday that revoked Public Land Orders (PLOs) restricting development in the Fortymile area.
The parcels of land, located in the Eastern Interior of Alaska, had been identified by President Barack Obama in early 2017 as areas of critical environmental concern.
The designation by the Obama administration largely prevented mining interests from making claims to the land.
At the Resource Development Council’s 44th annual luncheon in Anchorage, Balash sat alongside Gov. Mike Dunleavy as he officially revoked the PLOs.
“This is land owed to Alaska, this is land Alaska can hopefully be used to create wealth for the people of Alaska,” said Dunleavy.
The two parcels of land could become part of the State of Alaska’s outstanding land selections from the federal government, roughly five million acres of land is still set to be selected by the State.
Doyon, Limited, an Alaska Native Corporation, could also make claims on the 1.3 million acres of land. Balash who was born and raised in North Pole, said mining companies could begin making development applications.
The governor and Balash highlighted that more PLOs would soon be revoked across Alaska. “We’re going to have a conveyor belt operating,” Balash said.
Copyright 2019 KTUU. All rights reserved.