In last week's Jan. 3 news bulletin we said the Dec. 21 conveyance of 39,995 acres in the Goodnews Bay area by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to the state of Alaska "cast hope on the state's efforts to secure approximately 20,000 acres in disputed acreage along the boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," referring to a statement made following the conveyance by Ted Murphy, acting BLM Alaska state director, who said the land transfer was "just one of many we anticipate in the near future."
While what he said Dec. 21 is true for conveyances related to the full revocation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act withdrawals known as "d-1s" (referring to Section 17(d)(1) in ANCSA), it is not true for the disputed acreage between the Staines and Canning rivers running along the western border of ANWR.
There are no d-1 selections left for the state in what the feds define as ANWR, Erika Reed told Petroleum News late in the afternoon of Jan. 4 after the Jan. 6 edition of Petroleum News was released online. Reed is BLM Alaska's deputy state director for lands and cadastral survey.
Instead, Reed said, the decision on the disputed acreage will have to wait on Interior's Board of Land Appeals, which will take another 18-24 months.
BUT a senior Department of Interior official told Petroleum News Jan. 7 "we are engaged at the highest level with the governor and his staff on the Canning/Staines river boundary issue," suggesting an agreement could be reached much sooner than a decision from IBLA.
- KAY CASHMAN
See full story in Jan. 13 issue of Petroleum News, available online Friday, Jan. 11, at www.PetroleumNews.com
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