Maintaining the sovereignty of Alaska in the face of increasing federal encroachment upon State’s Rights is the paramount mission of the Governor. Any federal regulation, law, or edict needs to be strictly reviewed by Gov. Sean Parnell’s Administration with respect to the duties of the federal government under the Constitution of the United States and with respect to the 10th Amendment.
Alaska is not like the lower-48 States. We are isolated geographically from the United States. Unlike Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the other territories of the U.S., notably Guam and American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska is not in a temperate climate. Alaska is also at the end of the logistics highway in priorities of any sort, other than locking up our land to please some moron Outside who believes that a lungful of mosquitoes or no-see-ums is preferable to the specter of Alaskans being able to drive to Nome.
Alaska’s lands are locked up. The last land transfer to the Feds was in their favor by over 1,900 acres so that a road could be built between the communities of Cold Bay and Kings Cove. A long standing and very expensive situation that could have been resolved many years ago, but the liberals would rather people die than have access overland by improving an existing trail that predated a federally mandated wildlife refuge. A solution that would have cost maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars. The trail was passable by 2 wheel drive pickup in the summer and 4 wheeler year round. Instead, the feds built a $30,000,000 clinic in Kings Cove.
Unfortunately, that did not resolve the problem. Some folks just became too ill and had to be medivaced by air to Anchorage. The problem was that even the Untied States Coast Guard, with its HH60 Huskies, would not fly into Kings Cove. The weather made flying in with these state of the art rescue helicopters too dangerous. Nearby (14 miles) Cold Bay had an all weather runway that could accommodate jets. The only alternative was to move the patient to Cold Bay by boat.
After many years of bureaucratic haggling, tens of millions of dollars wasted, the federal government finally agreed to allow a corridor through the edge of the wildlife refuge using the existing trail. The cost to the State of Alaska for this was over 2,000 acres and tens of years of controversy and hardship for those in Kings Cove needing medical evacuation over 14 acres of incursion upon the wildlife refuge, as most of the trail is outside of the refuge.
Land transfers from the long ago Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act (ANSCA) take many years to accomplish, many of which have yet to be resolved. Affecting this seemingly never ending process is the Alaska National Interest Lands Act (ANILCA).
ANILCA lands were overlaid between ANSCA lands and nearby villages, making it impossible for the village corporations to exercise development of their lands. Costly land transfers had to be effected, some of which are still being worked on yet today. Usually, these land transfers are in the feds favor.
ANILCA lands also stand astride many passes in Alaska, making construction of overland roads impossible. Under ANILCA, motorized transport of any kind is prohibited, except for those Natives living on lands adjacent to ANILCA lands. Modifications to ANILCA allowed them to hunt using motorized vehicles.
ANILCA is so restrictive otherwise, that no rights of way for the State were provided for to build any roads through ANILCA lands to connect communities in the State. Even RS 2744 rights of way are meaningless if they cross ANILCA lands. Lose an engine on your airplane and be forced to put wheels down or floats down on ANILCA lands or waters, and you can lose the aircraft to the feds.
ANILCA, enacted during the Carter Administration, have constituted a major impediment to Alaska being able to do what other States have done in developing a rational surface transportation infrastructure. Alaska, because of ANILCA and the federal government taking over management of federal lands, contrary to the Alaska Statehood Compact, is not equal in the Union of States.
I thought our former Governor Sarah Palin would address this issue. She promised that she would fight the unfairness contained in ANILCA. Instead, she formed the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet now managed by a federal EPA employee. Something Gov. Sean Parnell has decided to continue.
Rep. Harry Crawford (D-Anchorage), who announced his intent to run for the U.S. Congress against Rep. Don Young (R), says that ANILCA is established law and precedent. Of course, Rep. Crawford is from Louisiana. Crawford came to Alaska for the Trans Alaska Pipeline construction in 1975. While he may think he is an Alaskan, he is far from it, given his views on ANILCA.
Rep. Young may have aspersions cast upon him from the Dems, he is still Alaska’s best voice and only voice in the congressional House.
The additional restrictions placed upon 190,000,000 acres of federal land by ANILCA are an affront to the sovereignty and dignity of the State of Alaska. ANILCA is a breach of our Statehood Compact.
It is time Alaska, given its recent resolution regarding sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, challenge the restrictions under ANILCA regarding rights of way and the impediments imposed to the development of the State.
Governor Parnell needs to take the bull in Washington by the horns and either gut the sucker, or throw it out of the way so that Alaska can get on with the business of connecting our communities overland, and accessing the resources Congress recognized were necessary to the development of the State in the Statehood Compact.
---CORRECTION MADE 9/14/2009 Cold Bay, not Icy Bay. As many times as I have harped on that situation, one would think that I would get it right.