“Urging the United States Congress to adequately fund land surveys in Alaska in order to issue patents to the State of Alaska and Alaska Native corporations.”
Posted: April 6, 2009
Bill Version: SCS HJR 26(RES)
Status: Legis Resolve 66 : 2010-08-03
House Joint Resolution 26 urges the United States Congress to adequately fund land surveys in Alaska in order to issue patents to the State of Alaska and Alaska Native Corporations. This is critical concern in Alaska because surveys and subsequent land patents issued to the State and Native Corporations are critical to the future use and development of land in Alaska.
At Statehood, Alaska was granted a land entitlement from the federal government of 103,350,000 acres. Alaska Natives, through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), were granted a land entitlement from the federal government of over 45 million acres. In 2004, Congress passed the Alaska Land Transfer Acceleration Act (ALTAA) with the intent of largely completing state and ANCSA land entitlements by 2009.
The United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has aggressively and diligently worked to implement the ALTAA, however, despite BLM's efforts, considerable land conveyance work remains to be accomplished, particularly in the area of land survey. Land surveys are necessary to issue patents to the state and ANCSA Corporations, and are essential to determining with certainty what lands are owned by the state and ANCSA corporations. This certainty regarding boundaries and ownership is needed long term for land use and development.
Congress provided interim title to the state and ANCSA corporations by granting Tentative Approval (TA) to the State and Interim Conveyance (IC) to ANCSA Corporations, but with the understanding that the land would eventually be surveyed and patent issued. Under both the Statehood Act and ANCSA, the federal government is responsible for preparing these land surveys. As of December 31, 2008, over 66 million acres of land still awaits patent in Alaska, including more than 40 million acres of land that has been TA'd to the State and 14 million acres IC'd to ANCSA corporations, and over 12 million additional acres await conveyance.
This resolution asks the United States Congress to budget sufficient funds to BLM to ensure the timely completion of land surveys in Alaska in order that land promised to Alaska Natives and the State of Alaska can be patented. This is especially important with current federal budget constraints.
I urge your support on the passage of this legislation.