The following press release is courtesy of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition and Alaska Public Interest Research Group:
FAIRBANKS CLIMATE ACTION COALITION AND ALASKA PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP REQUEST STATE PAUSE NENANA-TOTCHAKET LAND SALE
Fairbanks, AK – The Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition (FCAC) and The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) jointly call on Governor Dunleavy, the Director of the Division of Agriculture, and the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources to immediately pause the Nenana-Totchaket land sale.
In a letter submitted to Governor Dunleavy and state officials today, AKPIRG and FCAC ask seven questions that remain unaddressed regarding the Nenana-Totchaket Land Sale. The letter is signed by over 70 concerned Alaskans seeking answers.
“Our organizations strongly believe that further study of the land and environmental impacts need to be conducted by the state,” said Veri di Suvero, Executive Director, AKPIRG, “additionally, based on conversations with the community in the Nenana area, we believe the state has not done the due diligence to consult Nenana area residents on the implications of the sale.”
The first 2,000 acres of the 140,000-acre Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project lands became available for sealed bids on June 1st, 2022 at 10:00 AM. The bidding period is set to end on October 4, 2022, at 4:30 PM. The state’s vision for the land sale is to encourage large-scale agricultural development in the area, allegedly to improve food security.
Many residents are alarmed by the state’s requirement for buyers to clear and till 25% of purchased land; these concerns have been further exacerbated by conflicting statements from state officials on the specifics of that requirement. Additional concerns have been raised on the land sale’s cost to the public, the lack of consultation of the Nenana Tribe, and other important details officials have failed to clarify.
“I’ve heard inconsistent and contradictory statements from top-level decision-makers about the qualifying uses of the land and protections for subsistence uses,” said Margi Dashevsky, Regenerative Economies Director, FCAC. “Instead of proceeding, the State should pause this extremely rushed and not transparent land sale, in order to take the time it needs to ensure the best interests of Alaskans are met.”
Members of the press or individuals seeking more information can contact Robin O’Donoghue at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-460-1445.