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Legislature Approves 250,000 acre University Land Grant


May 18, 2005

The Alaska Legislature has approved a bill to convey 250,000 acres of land to the University of Alaska. The House approved the conference committee report for House Bill 130 on Monday. The measure passed the Senate on Friday.

Governor Frank H. Murkowski proposed the bill in conjunction with federal legislation that would convey 250,000 acres of federal land to the UA system.

"The House and Senate worked through some very difficult issues in an evenhanded way and ultimately delivered a sensible transfer of land that enhances UA finances as well as academics," Murkowski said. "I want to thank the House and Senate leadership for their diligent work and particularly thank Rep. Jay Ramras for his tireless advocacy for the University of Alaska."

The bill replaces legislation approved in 2000 that would have transferred state land to the university system. The 10-year selection process set out in the 2000 statute was difficult, expensive, and time consuming. The process in the bill approved Monday costs less than 5% of the 2000 bill. The land transfer will be completed in three years - the time required for DNR to complete a title search and conveyance documents on the land.

House Bill 130, is the product of more than a year of work between the state Department of Natural Resources and the University of Alaska. In response to lengthy public hearings on the bill, the Legislature removed nine parcels from the list, including the Kodiak Rocket Launch facility at Narrow Cape and eight of the 45 parcels in Southeast Alaska. Another nine parcels in Southeast were set aside until at least 2009 for use in potential borough formations in Wrangell, Petersburg and the Northwest Chichagof region.

The legislation establishes public notice requirements for future UA land sales, ensures protection of existing trails and access and protects Native allotments from transfer.

Much of the land to be transferred to the University is investment property that will generate revenue for the University's endowment. About one-third of the land is education property that will strengthen the University's research and educational mission, according to the governor.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor
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