Alaska Native Allotments: Alternatives to Address Conflicts with Utility Rights-of-way

GAO-06-1107T Published: Sep 13, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 13, 2006.
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In 1906, the Alaska Native Allotment Act authorized the Secretary of the Interior to allot individual Alaska Natives (Native) a homestead of up to 160 acres. The validity of some of Copper Valley Electric Association's (Copper Valley) rights-of-way within Alaska Native allotments is the subject of ongoing dispute; in some cases the allottees assert that Copper Valley's electric lines trespass on their land. The Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are responsible for granting rights-of-way and handling disputes between allottees and holders of rights-of-way. This testimony is based on GAO's report, Alaska Native Allotments: Conflicts with Utility Rights-of-way Have Not Been Resolved through Existing Remedies (GAO-04-923, September 7, 2004). Specifically GAO determined (1) the number of conflicts between Native allotments and Copper Valley rights-of-way and the factors that contributed to these conflicts, (2) the extent to which existing remedies have been used to resolve these conflicts, and (3) what legislative alternatives, if any, could be considered to resolve these conflicts.

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