Alaska Sues Biden Administration For Extending Restrictions on Nearly 28 Million Acres of Federal Land
On July 7, 2021, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced that the State of Alaska is suing the United States for not releasing withdrawals on nearly 28 million acres of federal land in Alaska. (https://gov.alaska.gov/newsroom/2021/07/07/alaska-sues-biden-administration-for-breaking-promises-on-federal-land-orders/.) Numerous temporary withdrawal orders were issued dating back to the 1970s that have not been released and which restrict the use of the subject land, thereby reducing opportunities for economic development and job creation in Alaska. In 2006, the BLM determined that these temporary withdrawals could be released without affecting the public interest, and in January of 2021, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt ordered the release of these 16 land withdrawals covering the nearly 28 million acres. Not surprisingly, President Biden’s new Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, announced that she was repealing the Alaska withdrawal release for at least two years, in order to conduct impact analyses that the BLM had previously stated was already complete. Based on this policy reversal, and re-instatement of federal withdrawals over a significant portion of the state, Alaska is suing to force a release of the 1970’s-era withdrawals and open up that land for economic use.