In an effort to push back on what he sees as President Joe Biden’s overly burdensome control and regulation of Alaska’s natural resources, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced his selection of a senior policy advisor who will lead the state’s efforts to reassert control over Alaska’s land and waters.
Brett Huber will direct the governor’s Statehood Defense initiative, which Dunleavy said is aimed at pushing back on federal agencies that want to “overregulate Alaskans.”
“Over decades, federal law passed by Congress is clear, and even the Supreme Court has been clear, that Alaska’s lands and waters are fundamentally different than the rest of the United States,” Dunleavy said in a July 9 statement. “Unfortunately, those in power in Washington D.C. see our state as another parcel to be managed like a park. To fight those attempts to rollback our Alaskan way of life, we need a high-level, focused effort, and Brett brings that to my administration.”
In March, Dunleavy wrote President Biden a formal letter expressing Alaska’s intent to manage the more than 800,000 miles of navigable rivers and 30 million acres of navigable lakes within the state’s authority, which was affirmed in the 2019 Supreme Court decision Sturgeon v Frost.
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This past Wednesday, the governor also announced that Alaska is suing the U.S. Department of Interior for its unilateral extension of land restrictions to 28 million acres of federal land within the state.
“I look forward to supporting Governor Dunleavy in Alaska’s defense against an encroaching and overreaching federal government, and further assisting as he ensures the Last Frontier has a robust future for generations to come,” Huber said in a prepared statement.
Huber brings three decades of experience in public policy with a special focus on state and federal issues. He has worked as chief of staff for a number Alaska State Senate leaders and as a key advisor to leaders in the Alaska Legislature on land, fish and wildlife issues.
The Alaska Legislature agreed to include $4 million in the operating budget for the Statehood Defense initiative.