State recoups almost $600,000 from suit involving Interior river

The state has re-couped nearly $600,000 in legal fees from a 2012 lawsuit with the Bureau of Land Management over an Eastern Interior river. According to U.S. District Court documents, the state sought a million dollars in fees after prevailing in a suit to gain title to the Mosquito Fork of the Forty Mile River.

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The parties argued over the river’s navigability, as the state is entitled to ownership of lands underlying navigable waters. A state press release said after fighting the case for several years, the BLM abandoned claim to the river.

The state sought attorney’s fees, accusing the BLM of acting in bad faith by arguing points that had already been rejected in previous cases. The court agreed and the BLM recently withdrew an appeal of the fee order, and paid the state $593,000.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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