D-1 Lands – Alaska is a TCA Priority Campaign. Learn more here.
Under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 50.1 million acres of federal lands in Alaska were withdrawn from mineral entry. This comprises some of the country’s largest remaining ecosystems with diverse wildlife, and is also home to many Alaska Native communities that rely on fishing and hunting to support their way of life. Under the Trump administration, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) prepared public land orders to open up 28 million acres of this BLM-managed land to mining, oil and gas development. Since that time, tribal organizations, conservation organizations, and local communities have been working to stop the orders and permanently protect this critical landscape.
The five public land orders that were issued in 2020 and 2021 were found to have legal defects in the decision-making process and were deferred pending further review. The process for reviewing these orders is now underway. In August 2022, the BLM announced it would prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to consider the impacts of opening these lands to oil, gas, and mineral development. The public comment period that followed ended in October, and it is expected that the agency will release a draft EIS during fall 2023, with the final version published in late 2024. Conservation efforts will focus on having the BLM issue a management framework that centers on the protection of fish and wildlife, climate resiliency, connectivity, and traditional uses of land and water by the state’s Indigenous communities.
As a key partner in this effort. SalmonState will coordinate actions to advocate for durable protective measures for at least 28 million acres of D1 lands and designate areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs) identified by Alaska Native Tribes to protect subsistence and cultural resources.