Current Issue

  • Volume 33,
  • Number 1 -
  • June 2016

Note From the Editor


Next Steps to Reform the Regulations Governing Offshore Oil and Gas Planning and Leasing
Andrew Hartsig, Michael Levine, Jayni Foley Hein & Jason Schwartz

The Department of the Interior manages offshore oil and gas activities in federal waters. While the agency has proposed and/or enacted important improvements to the rules that govern some of those activities, it has not modernized the regulations that govern offshore oil and gas planning, lease sales, or the review and permitting of exploratory drilling. These phases of the process are overseen by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and, as was shown in our earlier publication on this topic, are ineffective and in need of modernization. In this Article, we argue that fundamental reform is necessary and highlight a series of key themes and topics that must be addressed to improve the regulatory process and promote better, more consistent management outcomes. While the Article draws on examples from frontier areas—in particular the U.S. Arctic Ocean—the recommended changes would apply to and benefit all areas of the OCS.

Sustainable Development, Natural Resource Extraction, and the Arctic: The Road Ahead
Edward Canuel

Sustainable development has emerged as an integral nexus, linking together critically important global issues including environmental stewardship and economic growth. Understanding sustainable development demands a close analysis of evolving definitions, conceptual applications, and areas of convergence and divergence within international, regional, and domestic institutions. The import and impact of hard law and soft law must additionally be explored to understand the application of sustainable development to the Arctic. This Article suggests a three-tier framework to assist the multiplicity of stakeholders with diverse equities to navigate the socio-economic and legal hurdles and potential associated with Arctic development. First, a trend has emerged where soft law is effectively “hardening.” Second, the guiding role of domestic law must not be underestimated. The final tier proposes that multidisciplinary Arctic approaches are integral and yield efficiencies. Taken together, this framework provides guidance for novices and experts alike when considering Arctic sustainable development.

Enjoying Katmai
John Copeland Nagle

Katmai National Park has been part of the national park system since 1918, just two years after Congress created the National Park Service. Located about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, Katmai’s attractions have evolved from the aftermath of an epic volcanic eruption to world-class fishing to the place to go to see brown bears catch salmon. These attractions have yet to attract the hordes of people who visit other national parks, and Katmai remains one of the least visited of the 59 national parks. The Park Service is responsible for managing Katmai consistent with the Organic Act’s dual goals of enjoyment and conservation. In practice, Katmai experiences much more conservation than enjoyment. The proposals to increase visitation to Katmai have failed because of a consensus that not all national parks are alike even though the law governing them is nearly the same. Katmai’s history of benign neglect by Congress and the courts demonstrates that the Park Service is capable of managing remote national parks in a manner that achieves the law’s goals while serving the public’s desires.


Cutting Down Damages Awards in Timber Trespass Cases
Dana M. Diehr

The Alaska Supreme Court recently heard two cases addressing damages awards for timber trespass claims. Both cases, Wiersum v. Harder and Chung v. Park , emphasized the difficulty of obtaining restoration damages and the close scrutiny given to the size of the damages award itself. This Note explores the history of timber trespass and the current method by which courts determine the appropriate damages award. The Note also proposes a possible alternative to the current reticence toward restoration damages in which the plaintiff may elect to receive restoration damages but would be required to use those damages to restore their trees.

North to the Future of the Right to Bear Arms: Analyzing the Alaska Firearms Freedom Act and Applying Firearm Localism to Alaska
John Hill

The Second Amendment has gone from a rarely invoked constitutional provision to being one of the most hotly contested and politically charged protections of the Bill of Rights. Additionally, small government advocates have used local gun laws as a mechanism for challenging broad government regulation while conversely advocating for states’ rights, with Alaska recently joining a series of states seeking to expand local gun rights by passing state laws that nullify federal gun laws. Given Supreme Court case law and as demonstrated by recent Ninth Circuit precedent, the nullification course is almost certainly ill fated. Apart from the big government/small government proxy war being waged through local gun laws, others see the local, traditional character of the right to bear arms in a particular place as the most appropriate manner for scrutinizing regulation, given Supreme Court precedent and historic tradition.

Impossible to Forget: Maness v. Gordon and Alaska’s Response to the Repressed Memory Controversy
Iuniki L. Ikahihifo-Bender

Alaska’s long-awaited legal approach to repressed memory syndrome and the discovery rule was announced in 2014 in the case of Maness v. Gordon . The Alaska Supreme Court held that discovery rule could not be invoked to toll the statute of limitations in repressed memory syndrome cases absent corroborating expert testimony. The court’s brief opinion in Maness provided little discussion on the scientific controversy surrounding repressed memory syndrome, created a relatively unique rule, and ultimately did not decide whether expert testimony would save a repressed memory syndrome claim. This Note aims to provide a deeper understanding of the controversy surrounding repressed memory syndrome in the scientific community and to compare and contrast Alaska’s new rule with the approaches of other states. Finally, this Note presents some alternative approaches the Alaska Legislature could consider and raises future issues that Maness did not address.