The Alaska House of Representatives approved a bill earlier this month that orders the United States government to hand over most federal land in Alaska to the state by the end of next year. This would include national monuments, preserves and refuges, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But the federal government could keep its national parks.
The tundra land grab has been tried before. A similar attempt was made in 1982, prompting the Attorney General of Alaska to issue a formal legal opinion that the legislation was unconstitutional. Bills of this nature are clearly unconstitutional -- and a colossal waste of legislative time and taxpayer resources.
It is important to focus on the public policy merits of issues involving land use, resource extraction and development, conservation and wilderness -- all of which have pros and cons that can be reasonably debated -- and not get distracted by political sound bites about sovereignty, nullification and states' rights that are poorly grounded in history and law.Read More