Congressional efforts to address University of Alaska’s still unfulfilled land grant

Nov. 20, 2020

Congressional efforts to address University of Alaska’s still unfulfilled land grant promise are in the works and being spearheaded by Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. 

Murkowski discussed the University of Alaska Fiscal Foundation Act during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining (PLFM) legislative hearing earlier this week, during which she highlighted the incredible contributions the UA brings to Alaska and ardent need for the UA to receive the millions of acres of land promised to the education institution upon statehood. 

The bill seeks to resolve UA’s outstanding land grant by directly transferring up to 360,000 acres of land from the federal estate to the University. The transferred land will count against Alaska’s Statehood entitlement, so it will come at no net loss to the federal government. 

“Right now our largest state has a land-grant university with a land grant smaller than just about every other land-grant university in every other state. Alaska has a tremendous need for long-term support and stability for our University system as we navigate some of the most significant economic headwinds our state has ever faced,” Murkowski said. “This bill brings the State of Alaska and federal government together to cooperatively execute a program to fulfill the University’s land entitlement.”

Murkowski also submitted statements of support from Governor Dunleavy, the President of the Alaska State Senate, the University’s Board of Regents, and the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities for the record of today’s hearing. Fellow Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan is a cosponsor of the Senate bill and Alaska Congressman Don Young has introduced companion legislation in the House.