Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Don Young, Republican Leader of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, joined his Alaska Delegation colleagues and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office at the White House for a signing ceremony for S.47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. This landmark public lands legislation secures important wins for Alaska, and includes provisions championed by Congressman Young.
“Unlike most other states, the Federal Government largely owns and controls a majority of Alaska’s land. Since I arrived in Congress, I have been fighting to return control of our land to those who know and treasure it best: Alaskans,” said Congressman Young. “I am pleased that this bill includes provisions that will allow Alaskans to develop energy on their lands and allows for greater exportation of Alaska timber. This bill also makes good on Congress’ promise of land allotments to our Alaska Native Vietnam Veterans. I applaud my friends on both sides of the aisle for making this legislation a reality, and I am grateful to President Trump for signing it into law.”
Alaska-specific bills previously sponsored by Congressman Don Young and included in this legislative package:
• H.R. 1867 – The Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act
Establishes a program to allow Alaska Native Vietnam veterans to apply for and receive land allotments in Alaska. Congressman Don Young previously sponsored Alaska Native land allotment legislation last Congress, and has worked closely with Former Senior Vice President of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Nelson Angapak, on this legislative solution.
• H.R. 211 – The Chugach Region Lands Study Act
Requires the Department of Interior, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, to identify sufficient acres of economically viable federal land that may be exchanged with the Chugach Alaska Corporation. This land exchange is necessary because the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) Trustee Council has acquired surface estate to 250,000 acres of interests in ANCSA surface estate in lands in which Chugach owns the mineral estate. An exchange would allow EVOS to pursue its conservation goals while providing Chugach with more economically viable land.
• H.R. 348 – The Ukpeagvik Gravel Exchange Amendment Act
Amends the Barrow Gas Field Transfer Act of 1984 with respect to the conveyance to the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation (UIC) of all right, title, and interest held by the U.S. to sand and gravel underlying the surface estate owned by UIC in the Barrow gas fields and Walakpa gas discovery site.
• H.R.4475 – The National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System Act
Directs the U.S. Geological Survey to establish the National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System to protect U.S. citizens from volcanic activity. It also provides necessary resources and direction to modernize the networks that are used to monitor volcanoes within the U.S.
Other provisions of interest:
• Section 1110 – Small Miners Provision (Mining has been a significant part of Alaska’s history, and Congressman Young has led the effort to protect these practices. Click here to read about his previous work on this issue.)
Requires the Bureau of Land Management to allow small Alaskan mining claimants an opportunity to come into compliance with required filing deadlines. It also provides relief to a small number of claimants whose mining claims have been abandoned for failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
• Section 1105 – Kake Timber Provision
Repeals prohibitions on exporting Alaskan unprocessed logs from Kake Tribal Corporation lands, and permits the conveyance of timber from the land to a person for export from Alaska.
• Section 2206 – World War II Pacific Sites Provision
Re-designates the areas of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument located in the State of Alaska as the “Aleutian Islands World War II National Monument.”
• Section 2401 – The Denali Improvement Act Amendments
Expands the non-wilderness areas of Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska where the National Park Service may issue right-of-way permits to construct a natural gas pipeline
• Section 5002 – National Geologic Mapping Reauthorization
Includes reauthorization of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program of the US Geological Survey through Fiscal Year 2023.
• Title III – Land and Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization
Permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It also guarantees 40% of funds to states as well as 3% or $15 million, whichever is greater of funds to guarantee public access to existing federal lands.
• Title IV – Sportsmen’s Access Provision
Declares that Federal lands are open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting in accordance with applicable laws, and requires the Secretary of Interior to identify lands within their jurisdictions for sportsmen’s activities. Additionally, it gives the Secretary the ability to temporarily close federal lands to sportsmen’s activities as necessary, and gives the Secretary the ability to permit and establish shooting ranges on lands that are not designated wilderness.
• Title VII (H.R. 872) – The Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act
Reauthorizes the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, expands the Marine Turtle Conservation Act grant program to include tortoises and freshwater turtles, creates the Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize to encourage innovation in wildlife conservation and combating trafficking/poaching, and helps protect against invasive species in federal lands and waters. Congressman Young is the lead Republican cosponsor of this bill in the 116th Congress.
• Section 9006 – The 21st Century Respect Act
Directs the General Services Administrator to replace the references to the terms “Eskimo” and “Aleut” with “Alaska Native” in the parts of the Code of Federal Regulations that refer to certain minority and ethnic groups. Congressman Young offered a successful committee amendment that ensured this provision does not unintentionally reduce the rights of Alaska Natives under federal law.
(Click here to watch Congressman Young's House Floor speech in support of the public lands legislation during the House debate on February 26, 2019)