What is a 17(d)(1) withdrawal?
This refers to Section 17(d)(1) in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. ANCSA authorized the Secretary of Interior to withdraw and reserve public lands for study and classification. This was done through a series of Public Land Orders (PLOs) issued between 1972 and 1975. The PLOs closed the lands to disposal and appropriation under public laws, including mining and leasing. The withdrawals kept the lands unencumbered for selection by ANCSA corporations, and prevented the creation of new third-party interests that would interfer with land conveyance. The withdrawals also allowed the BLM time to study and classify the lands.
Are there 17(d)(1) withdrawals in the planning area?
Yes. Portions of six 17(d)(1) withdrawals cover lands in the Eastern Interior Planning Area. These PLOs effectively close the planning area to mineral entry and location under the 1872 mining law, and to mineral leasing under the mineral leasing laws.
If the 17(d)(1) withdrawals are modified or revoked, would that make lands in the planning area available for mineral development?
Lifting the 17(d)(1) withdrawals would open some lands in the planning area to leasable and locatable minerals. In some cases, lifting the (d)(1) withdrawals would not have an immediate effect. Lands selected by ANCSA corporations and the State of Alaska would remain "segregated" (unavailable) to leasable or locatable mineral entry. Additionally, the White Mountains National Recreation Area, the Steese National Conservation Area, and some lands within wild river corridors are withdrawn from mineral entry pursuant to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). In some areas, such as the Steese National Conservation Area, the Secretary of Interior has the authority to modify the ANILCA withdrawals, and make lands available for mineral entry. In other areas the Secretary does not have this discretion. In most cases the ANILCA withdrawals apply to public lands that are also subject to 17(d)(1) withdrawals. In areas withdrawn pursuant to ANILCA, removal of the 17(d)(1) withdrawals could result in opening the area to leasable minerals, but would not open it to locatable minerals unless the ANILCA withdrawal was also modified.
What are locatable and leasable minerals?
Locatable minerals are minerals for which the right to explore, develop, and extract mineral resources is established by the staking of mining claims, under the General Mining Law of 1872. Examples of locatable minerals include metallic minerals (i.e., gold, silver copper, zinc, etc.) and non-metallic minerals (i.e., certain limestones, gypsum, diatomaceous earth, fluorspar, etc.).
Leasable minerals are defined by the Mineral Leasing Act and are either solid or fluid leasable minerals. Solid leasable minerals include coal, oil shale, native asphalt, phosphate, sodium, potash, potassium, and sulfur. Fluid leasable minerals include oil, gas, coalbed natural gas, and geothermal resources. Exploration and production of these minerals on BLM lands may only occur on leases acquired by competitive leasing.