In 2019, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) prioritized a process to continue the biggest federal land transfer in recent history. Nearly 2 million acres of land were opened to mining by the Department of Interior with no public notice. According to the BLM, the remaining 48 million acres of what are collectively known as “D1” lands may be systematically conveyed to the state, private, and Alaska Native corporations. These land conveyances will likely open 99% of the lands to mineral entry (exploration and mining) and remove community-supported “Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.” It will create a checkboard of unprotected lands across Alaska. Without any opportunity for public involvement, we will lose important and broadly diverse wildlife habitat corridors, hunting and fishing grounds, food security for over 100 Alaska Native communities, public land access, and wilderness-quality lands that border rivers, national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests.
Audubon Alaska is working with partners to identify the areas that will be released and the communities that will be impacted so we can build a strong coalition and effective strategy to protect these regions from mining and other development, promoting their incredible value for the health of communities, wildlife, and water.