(CN) – Alaska’s conveyance of a quarter million acres to the University of Alaska was unconstitutional, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled.
The state donated the land to the university through two bills, in 2000 and 2005. The proceeds from the university’s sale or use of the land were earmarked for the university’s endowment fund.
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council and Tongass Conservation Society challenged the legislation as improper dedication of state funds. The superior court ruled for the state, but Justice Matthews reversed.
Matthews ruled that the university’s proceeds count as “proceeds of any state tax or license” and cannot be earmarked for the university.
“Because University land is state land,” Matthews wrote, “revenue from university land is state revenue for the purposes of the dedicated funds clause.”
The only exception to this rule is for a research forest, Matthews ruled.