Letter to The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, United States Department Of The Interior
The Honorable Ken Salazar
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Wasillngton, DC 20240
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Pursuant to provisions of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange Act (Act), recently enacted as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Act, P.L 111-11, this letter is notification that the state of Alaska intends to exchange state-owned land for federal land within the Izembek and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuges. This request specifically complies with the requirements of Sections 6402(a) of the Act.
Under Section 6402(b) of the Act, this request, along with a similar request to you submitted in a letter dated May 1 from the King Cove Corporation, will result in the Department of the Interior (Department) initiating preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this land exchange to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.c. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA). (See Sections 6402 (a) and (b). of P.L. 111-11).
It is essential that the Department begin the NEP A process in order to complete the EIS in sufficient time to allow the land exchange to be completed within the period outlined in Section 6406(a) of the Act. I understand and appreciate that funding for the EIS still needs to be worked out, adding to my concern that the process be initiated as soon as possible.
The state of Alaska fully supports this exchange and is prepared to exchange the state lands identified under the Act's provisions. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has the authority to negotiate land exchanges on behalf of the state under Alaska Statute 38.50 (enclosed). The state statutes require that when an exchange of state land involves unequal or uncertain appraised land values, the Alaska State Legislature must grant final approval of the exchange. To that effect, shortly after President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act into law, state legislation (House Bill 210) was introduced in the Alaska State Legislature to ratify the exchange.
This bill was passed in the Alaska State House within a few days of introduction by a vote of 38-0. The state expects passage of the bill in the State Senate will occur as soon as practicable when the Alaska State Legislature resumes its current session. Passage in the State Senate during the first half of the current state legislative session was delayed only by the interim adjournment of the Alaska State Legislature under its term limit for
adjournment. I am fully prepared to sign the legislation into law as soon as it is passed.
Please initiate proceedings to start on this Environmental Impact statement for this land exchange as provided in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange Act.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
cc: The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, United States Senate
The Honorable Mark Begich, United States Senate
The Honorable Don Young, United State Congress
The Honorable Lyman Hoffman, Alaska State Senate
The Honorable Bryce Edgmon, Alaska House of Representatives
The Honorable Ernest Weiss, Mayor, City of King Cove
The Honorable Stanley Mack, Mayor, Aleutians East Borough
Kim Elton, Director of Alaska Affairs, United States Department of the Interior
Rowan Gould, Acting Director, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Geoffrey Haskett, Director, Alaska Region, United States Fish and Wildlife
John Katz, Director of State/Federal Relations and Special Counsel,
Office of the Governor
Tom Irwin, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Dean Gould, President, King Cove Native
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