780 AM | 96.1 FM 


(907) 443-5221

DOI Halts Development on Millions of Acres of Seward Peninsula and Alaska Lands

Flying over the Kigluaik Mountains. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.
Flying over the Kigluaik Mountains. Photo: Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.

The Department of the Interior is delaying plans that could have opened 28 million acres of Bureau of Land Management lands in Alaska to mining and mineral development.  

In January of this year, the Trump Administration made plans to open the land.

The announcement to delay affects BLM land in five different areas of Alaska, but the most notable halt is on 9.7 million acres in the Kobuk-Seward Peninsula Resource Management area. That area includes the entire Seward Peninsula and large sections of coastal and interior areas of the Northwest Arctic Borough. The lands that would have been opened to extraction include areas upstream of Norton Bay. 

That’s a huge concern for Doug Katchatag of Unalakleet who is especially worried about impacts to fresh water. Katchatag is the President of the Norton Bay Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. He has been watching fish dying in warmer waters for years now as climate change warms Alaska faster than anywhere else in the country. 

“If they were to go ahead and mine, that would kill all our fish and the country they are mining in. We would be hurting, we would be put on the extinction list. That’s our source of survival.”  

– Doug Katchatag

The Department of the Interior said in a media release Thursday that they would use the extra time to correct “defects” in the initial analysis. The Interior Department notes that the orders given in January used outdated environmental impact analysis that dated back over a decade ago. 

The DOI wrote that public engagements and Tribal consultations with the BLM would be part of this additional review. Katchatag is hopeful that the new department, led for the first time by a Native American, Secretary Deb Haaland — might work better with Alaska Native Tribes.

“We do need help from Washington.” 

The Kobuk-Seward public lands contain areas open for selection by Alaska Native Vietnam veterans as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and authorizations from the Dingell Act. Under this new decision, veterans can still make land selections.

Image at Top: Some of the public lands impacted by the decision are parts of the Kigluaik Mountain range. Photo by Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.

Share this story


Recent Posts

KNOM Radio to Host First-Ever Music Fest

KNOM Radio Mission will host its first-ever Music Fest Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15. The event, hosted at KNOM’s Back Yard, will be a great opportunity for the Bering Strait region to gather and celebrate the start of summer. Admission to the event is free.  The two-day Music Fest will feature

Read More »

June 13: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sea ice has not completely melted out of the Bering Sea, there

Read More »

Teller Man Arrested for Terroristic Threatening

A Teller man has been arrested and transported to Nome’s Anvil Mountain Correctional Center following allegations of threatening to burn down a house, according to an affidavit from Alaska State Troopers. The affidavit reports that Chester Topkok, 26, was reported by his niece, Belinda Smith, who called Troopers on June

Read More »

Charity Lewis Crowned Miss ANB 2024

Charity Lewis was crowned 2024’s Miss Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) at the pageant held on June 12. The event held at Nome’s Mini Convention Center showcased the cultural heritage of two contestants, Victoria Gray and Charity Lewis. Both participated in Miss ANB for the first time.  The pageant began with

Read More »



Work for Us:




(907) 443-5221 


(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.