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Rep. Young Responds to Wild Lands Policy

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Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, chair of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, feels President Obama is focusing more on environmentalists interests when it comes to the Wild Lands Policy.

At a hearing on March 1 held by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Young addressed the administration’s “Wild Lands” order, Secretarial Order No. 3310.

“Once again, the Obama Administration is putting the interests of environmentalists above all others,” Young said.

The order, was issued by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on December 23 and directs the Bureau of Land Management to reanalyze millions of acres of public land in a search for Wilderness characteristics. Pending the determination, such lands could end up classified as “Wild Lands” and would be managed by BLM a de facto wilderness.

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“First and foremost, Secretarial Order No. 3310 is illegal. Secretary Salazar’s order not only circumvents Congress’ authority in designating Wilderness areas, but it disregards the healthy balance between resource development and Wilderness characteristics outlined in the Alaska National Interest Lands Claim Act (ANILCA),” Young said. “At a time when our country is recovering from a recession and facing extraordinary turmoil in the Mideast, we should be creating jobs and working to develop our own resources, rather than placing land off-limits, which is precisely what Secretary Salazar’s Order aims to do.”

Under the Wilderness Act of 1964, only Congress has the authority to designate lands as Wilderness areas.